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The Big Smoke | 8 Wired Brewing Co.

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The Big SmokeThe Big Smoke

Brewed by:
8 Wired Brewing Co.
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Now what is this? A smoked beer?? It really isn't as crazy as it sounds. 250 years ago virtually all beers were smoked (it's true, Google it!), but with the dawning of the industrial revolution most of the smoke lifted. However, in the German town of Bamberg the flame has quite literally been kept alive and to this day the town’s brewers produce world renowned beers brewed with their own special rauchmalz (beechwood smoked malt).

We’ve taken our best porter recipe and added a good measure of that same Bamberg Rauchmalz. The smoke mingles beautifully with the rich, dark roasted chocolate flavours of the porter without being overpowering. Although it pairs extremely well with smoked seafood, barbeques, strong cheeses and hearty stews, its food friendliness isn’t limited to savouries; chocolate and caramel based deserts are great companions too! Trust us; it really isn't as crazy as it sounds.

40 IBU

Added by ADZA on 11-26-2010

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 146
Photo of joemcgrath27
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - effectively tar black, thumb of mocha head dissipated quickly to a thin covering
S - definitely has big smoke, a little sour peat aroma, charcoal, and faint hint of fruit syrup
T - definitely delivers what in advertises in terms of smoke, beyond that there are hints of caramel and boozy sweetness
M - medium body, fairly creamy, the smoke gives it a somewhat dry ashy finish
O - its says big smoke and that's exactly what you get, so its hard to argue in terms of rating it, don't bother if you're not a fan of smoke flavour

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Finger and half of tan head, pitch black body.

Smells of beechwood smoke and burnt malt. Very strong aroma.

Strong burnt wood taste, then moves towards a creamy, milk and roasted malt flavor. Delicious.

It has a soft and creamy texture. Low carbonation.

Really good and well put together.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip 12/6/12

A very dark brown with a deep cola edge, a large three finger mocha head looks a little airy and quickly falls to a thin film that leaves just a few random patches of lace

S coco powder and milk chocolate mix well with the mellow smoke, much too my surprise I can pick up on some hops through all the dark malt, just a little cold coffee in there too

T mimics the smell quite well with just a little nutty dark toffee, not over the top smoke and some pipe tobacco plays a small part, not very intense but mellow can work well at times

M light bodied for the color but far from thin, fluffy from the bubbles and a nice charred wood aftertaste that lingers for a while with a little coco powder

O not over the top smoke but it allows the chocolate notes and a little hops to shine through, very drinkable stuff as my half liter bottle was gone in no time

another solid offering from a "new to me" brewery, pricy here in Alberta but I just might buy one to tuck away for a while and see what happens

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Photo of biboergosum
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Classy, upscale presentation - check. Dear import micro price - oh yes. And now for the rest of the story.

This beer pours a very, very dark chestnut brown colour, almost opaque, but for some broad reddish cola highlights when exposed to the June evening sunlight, with one fat finger of thinly foamy beige head, which leaves a few instances of arched lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of roasted caramel malt - meaty to the bone, at first, as a smoked campfire essence bleeds with all things carnal, only to soon cede a bit of territory to a more easy-going cola sweetness - and some earthy and leafy bitterness. The taste is a pretty big sidestep from the aroma - right up front I get big semi-sweet chocolate malt, with a supporting stolid breadiness, the lingering ashes of a still relevant visceral smokiness, some oily nuttiness, a subtly sour milky note, and adequately bitter earthy and weedy hops.

The carbonation is quite soft, and unexpectedly caressing, the body a stocky medium weight, and mostly smooth - weirdly, in this particular case, fouled solely by the hops - yeah. It finishes sweetly malty, of the nutty chocolate bent, with a tame waft of the lead-off smoke now transferred to an oh so more suitable supporting role, as the hops persist in assuming the final balancing onus.

A smoked beer with the best tendencies, IMHO - freak me out with the aroma, do a context shift with the malt for the taste, and rest on your laurels thereafter - not a bad thing, here. Overall, a nice, multi-varied, if not overly complex, smoked beer. Recommended, if you've the cash to burn.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet black color with a two-finger, tan, bubbly head of long-lasting foam. It left sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very smoky, like a campfire.

T - It was smoky and roasty with come caramel and molasses. The smoke flavors mellow as it warmed up.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied brew with a fairly dry finish.

O - This is a pretty interesting beer. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to finish this smoky brew but it mellowed and was pretty tasty.

 509 characters

Photo of mynie
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Might be my first New Zealand beer. Certainly my first from 8 Wired. 22 oz bomber purchased from John's Grocery in Iowa City.

Pours very dark for a porter, just barely translucent when held up to a light, and topped with a thick, rocky head that stands as firm as custard.

Smells like a lightly smoked porter. A lightly smoked light porter, i mean. Even at room temperature, it's pretty tame and boilerplate.

The flavor is a great deal more portery than the aroma. Rich, bitter, lightly sour porter barley starts things off, getting a bit creamy in the middle, and ending on a cross between firm, bitter hops and light smoke flavoring. Nicely hopped, nicely smoked, and nicely balanced, this is a refreshing and remarkably sessionable beer.

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Photo of Duff27
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big two inch tall light tan head on a dark brown/black body. Head has some decent stayin power and splotchy lacing.

Nose is more of a cola smell than smoke. Smokiness is faint but there.

Some more cola hints. Smokey bacon aftertaste...comes out more as it warms for sure. Good drinkability.

Creamy mouthfeel with a crisper than normal (for a stout) carbonation.

Overall the smokiness was not as overpowering as I usually like. Having said that, this one was pretty tasty and drinkable. Worth a try but wouldn't seek out. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A huge, rocky, beige head quickly overwhelms a Harp nonic before it slowly turns to seafoam, leaving patches of lace. This is a dark brown beer with carbonation on the inside wall of the glass and dark ruby highlights. The look is reminiscent of an ice cream float.

There is a hint of some smoke and some Baker’s chocolate and soap. Smokiness is drawn out with each sip.

Summer sausage is discernible along with oak, dark chocolate and a modest finish of black coffee. Overall, this is okay but nothing special.

A medium body with watery texture, lively carbonation, and residual sugar.

The long journey may have taken a toll on this one, which is generally muddy.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty very drinkable smoked porter. Good and substantive hopping. Worth paying up for. I drink the bomber inside of half an hour. Nice colour and wine like hoppy smoked aroma. I was concerned about the chocolate muddling up the character of this smoked porter, rather it smoothed it out and improved drinkability.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a frothy 3 finger off-tan head that stays at a solid creamy layer atop the brew with thick, soapy lace.

Aroma is a dark mix of caramel, dark bread, a touch of chocolate, and a leathery, dried meatiness, slightly sweet. Hints of clove and pepper tie it all together.

Medium-bodied palate is heavy on the dark chocolate- chewy, with a woody, almost green sweetness that brings out a touch of that meaty smoke. Bitterness is mild, while flavors of pepper and leather lead to a lingering dry, dark toast character.

Quite a tasty smoke brew. The nose pops a just a little bit more than the rather deflated palate, which is a shame, but at least nothing is over-the-top or blown out. Didn't get the explosive carbonation that others seem to have had, either.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Holy shit is this overcarbonated. First pour was nearly all head. After a good half hour, I finally got a full glass. Black color. Three fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is good and some lacing is left.

3.0 S: Really dry and dusty. Bacon smokiness. Light roast. Simple and not particularly enticing.

3.5 T: Taste is a little better. Dry overall again, but there's a little more sweetness in the form of chocolate and caramel. Smoke is fairly light and adds a touch of bacon again. Grainy, dusty, with a moderate roast.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good creaminess, especially for the body. Normally I'd give this a solid 4.0, but I have to penalize the brewer's for the obscene amount of carbonation.

3.5 D: I was hoping this would be smokier than it is. In any case, it isn't a bad beer, but I'd never pay $10 for a bottle of it again.

 867 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Explodes out of bottle with a five+ finger light tan head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Deep mahogany color, no highlights. Fierce carbonation and medium bodied. Smoky nose and flavor is a smooth smoky malt with a serious smoky aftertaste. Pricey at $10.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

 327 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle. Served in a mug, the beer pours dark brown with a couple inch frothy tan head. The head stays around a very long time, and there's a good amount of lacing. Aroma is smoked and roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of coffee. Although smoke is noticeable in the aroma, it's not close to being overpowering at all. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, the brew tastes like smoked and burnt/charred malt, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. I think the bitter/roasty flavors are bit stronger than the smoky ones, but it's still a tasty brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and has high carbonation, way more carbonation than I would like for this beer. I think it's a decent enough brew overall, I'd buy this again at some point in the future.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to YaKnowBrady for this bottle!

Ooh, some smoked goodness from a new country (Kiwi-Land). Let's do this: It pours a clear deep, dark ruby-brown topped by over a finger of dusty tan foam. The nose comprises rich smoke (not too dark/peaty, but thick and heavy enough to really make an impression), light roasted malts, mild cocoa, walnut, and a few drops of maple syrup. The taste is mostly a lithe blend of smoke, chocolate, light roast, and maple syrup. Good times, indeed. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a moderate carbonation and a dry, slightly prickly feel. Overall, were this not a touch light and overcarbonated, it would be a downright great smoked porter. As it stands, it is very, very good, and I would never turn another down.

 803 characters

Photo of corby112
1.76/5  rDev -54.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Pours a dark brown color that appears black in the glass with a two finger frothy beige head that slowly fades into a lasting cap. Spots of soapy lacing left behind.

Smoked malt aroma with lots of toasted malt without feeling burnt along with some faint sweetness. I was hoping that it would be smokier but it is pretty tame. Slightly meaty with hints of charcoal and burnt toast as well as some coffee bean and dark chocolate.

Medium bodied with lots of tight carbonation up front and an odd metallic flavor that covers up the smoke. Likely infected with hints of charcoal, burnt acrid charred toast and ash. Very dry finish really gross and extremely difficult to drink.

 674 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Slowly opened bottle with a huge "hiss" that didn't abate. Ouch. The over-carbonated beer started to perculate out of the bottle and I had everything to pour the 500mls into three pint glasses!

Not a good start.

A: deep, dark copper color with, imagine this, amazing thick head that took awhile to settle down, big frothy bubbles
S: slightly cloying, light smoke but more underlying CO2 throughout (again, imagine that!), some treacle that is very interesting
T: CO2 bite detracts from overall taste, soft chocolaty taste with some, but not a lot, of smoke flavor, disappointing overall, finish is CO2 bite
M: soft and mellow with noticeable CO2 bite

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Photo of July2Nov
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, dark brown...almost black in color. Tan head that soon becomes a healthy lacing of foam.

Smell: Like smoked bacon, syrup and some licorice.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Big smoke flavor upfront and some syrup too. Good carbonation. Smooths out into a good roasted chocolate flavor. Getting a syrupy taste at the tail end, that lingers. Good amount of malts. Lighter-medium in body.

Overall: Not a huge fan of smoked beers, but I really enjoyed this one. Would get it again, depending on what I was pairing this up with for a solid dinner option.

 558 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at West Lakeview Liquors. Served in a Surly pint glass.

A - Three-plus fingers of light tan foam erupt as the beer is poured, slowly settles to a thick cap, leaving behind a few specks of lacework. Body is a dark, transparent, cherry-wood brown color.

S - Smoked malt! A bit of dry-roasted nuts, char, and some mild dark fruit sweetness, but otherwise this is heavy on the campfire, smoked meat, and perhaps a touch of peat.

T - Taste is also pretty smokey, but with a milk chocolate finish - reminds me of those omnipresent foil-wrapped Easter egg chocolates. Aftertaste is mostly char and roast bitterness, but this somehow manages to avoid being overly burnt and astringent.

M - Somewhat over-carbonated, with harsh, prickly bubbles that burn the upper palate. Sticky, slightly gritty, medium body that leaves a mouth-coating smokey sensation. The texture is appropriate for the style, but the carbonation needs to be dialed down a bit.

D - The 500ml bottle would probably be better shared by two people, due to the intensity of the smoked flavors, but the lower alcohol made this fairly easy to finish. An enjoyable smoked porter - worked my way through the bottle while listening to Stravinsky's Firebird (1919 version).

 1,247 characters

Photo of dansmcd
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark cola colour, almost black. Small skin of frothy head, sticky bubbles cover the glass.

S - Open fire, pot pouri, lavender, coffee, musty black truffle.

T - Much smokier than the smell, very much like a rauch. Burnt malts and coffee. Ashy.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering coffee bitterness.

O - Full flavoured from start to finish. Like a vegetarian version of a Schlenkerla rauch. If the Schlenkerla rauchbiers are smoked ham hock, this is barbequed eggplant (good but missing some grunt).

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Photo of Macca
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours black with a solid 2 centimetres of dense beige head which drops down to leave a persistent covering.

Hardly getting any smoke on the nose. Lots of milk chocolate though.

Smoke comes through stronger on the palate. BBQ flavoured. Certainly not as overpowering as something from Bamburg. A lot more subtle. Chocolate still there though. A hint of espresso.

Medium to full bodied.

Not sure about this one. I think i was expecting more smokiness. Maybe it's the subtlety that makes it good? I'll have to revisit and try and figure it out.

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Photo of flexabull
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was pleased to see this beer at Olive Tree Market in San Diego.

Pours a dark brown color with a very faint head.

Aromas are very nice, sweet malts, chocolate, charred wood, campfire, and some peat.

Taste is malty up front, light chocolate, and some bitterness, than the smoke kicks in. Slightly meaty, with some peat, campfire, and light bitterness on the finish. This is a nicely balanced smoke beer.

Mouthfeel is good, pretty smooth, with decent body.

Overall, I like this beer a lot. It's smoky, but well balanced, definitely worth trying.

 547 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

rich dark notes of a deep chocolate brown were underplayed with hints of a rustic red underneath. Almost opaque in appearance it was not at all easy to see through to the other side of this one, but no visible carbonation was noticed. A small head of maybe an inch rose up initially but quickly faded from site leaving little to nothing in its wake other then some decent side glass contribution.

The aroma was thick, rich with peat and smoked notes, if you like smoked beers, this was the top of the game for smelling. Lots of light fruity notes swilling around and an almost molasses like sweetness that descended upon it as it tried to warm up on me. Intensely smoked, huge rich notes of peat, charcoal, wood, lots of earthy and vinous properties as well. Rich notes of pine almost in the finish attempted to dry out the palate but were pushed aside by a huge smoked malts flavor that lasted on your tongue long after it was gone. For as rich as it was at times, it remained wonderfully balanced and continued to impress me with that aspect of it. The carbonation was kind of low, which caused a touch of flatness to it, enhancing the dry finish, but still causing a distraction overal;

 1,190 characters

Photo of ZacHart
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a pitch black brew with a huge, tan fluffy head that reduced to a thin, persistent head.

S: a sultry blend of rich, molasses malt and roasted, smoky scents.

T: a classic porter flavor with a present but not overpowering smoke flavor.

M: thinner mouthfeel than the appearance would imply; on the higher end of carbonation; pretty light overall.

O: a flavorful and not overpowering brew; a great introduction to the flavor of smoked malt for those unfamiliar with the smoked styles

 486 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, plenty of colour with decent beige head that dissipates after a while. Lace is nice, thin but sticky.

Smells nice; roasty and spicy with a touch of smoke. Lots of aniseed to it with some tobacco, mint and cherry. Nice sweetness underlying an otherwise pleasant, spicy, smokey aroma.

Taste is quite intense at first, massive roasty flavour with espresso bitterness. Lots of dark smokey flavours come through midway with a touch of peat and carob that mellows it out nicely towards the back but doesn't escape the really intense bitterness. Some more smoke would be helpful, to raise the palate to that pleasant complex and contrasting spicy character that was so effective on the nose. This is mostly just strong bitter flavours, roasted and quite burnt.

Nice and full, the body covers the slight carbonated fizz on the feel.

Yeah, decent complexity and nice porter notes, would just like a stronger smoke flavour to create more contrast in the palate. Otherwise very nice.

 1,000 characters

Photo of armock
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - The dominating scent is from the smoked malt but theres enough roasted malt to keep it a porter

T - Love at first sip the roasted malt is upfront for a second then the smoked malt kicks its ass and tastes wonderful

M - This beer has a fuller body with lighter carbonation to it

O - If you couldn't tell this is a very enjoyable beer for me the smoke is nice and present in the flavor the body is damn near perfect I'm not calling it a session beer but its one that I could drink all night if you like smoked beers you'll love this one worth getting if you see it around

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The Big Smoke from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 146 ratings.
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