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: 147
Photo of armock
4.8/5  rDev +25%
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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Photo of joecast
4.92/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks fantastic in the glass. Head is lighter than expected but thick frothy and sticking to the glass leaving a nice lace. The beer itself is quite dark making it almost impossible to see any light shining through.
The beer has presence.

Certainly much smokies beers out there, but doubtful any smell as appealing as this. The balance and cohesion of the aromas is impressive. Smoke stops short of being a meaty, tangy character and sticks to playing with rather than dominating the chocolate and mild roast aromas. Superb.

The label says smoked porter so as a style I would go with porter over smoked beer. And tasting this beer convinces me that is the right way to go. Great complexity of flavors. Each component is recognizable, enjoyable and fits with the rest of the beer. That dry slight sourness you get in some great porters is there along with a smooth chocolate and coffee character. Smoke is so well integrated I couldn't imagine what this beer would be like without it.

Whew. Thought this would be good, but this is just amazing. Could picture myself easily sitting in a pub on a cold night, roaring fire in the corner and drink pint after pint of this. Wonderful.

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Photo of crnipeter
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, seemingly opaque body topped by thick, creamy tan head with excellent retention that clings to the walls and finaly sets to a 1/3 inch thick, stable cover.
Aroma is marriage of moderate plum and prune-like frutiness, non-roasted malt with sweet, brown suggar character, malt with mild chocolate-like roastiness, herbal-spicy hops and woodsy smokines so delicate it is hard to pick up.
Malt with caramel, bitter-chocolate and liquorice flavors is quickly followed by spiciy-herbal hops leading into the dry finish with lingering hoppy-bitter and roasted aftertaste. Likewise the aroma, balance between the base style and smokines is leaned towards the former and there is just a touch of wisely judged amount of smoked malts. Medium bodied and lightly creamy with moderate, tickling carbonation.
In short, a smoked porter with lots of finesse and superb balance between the malts, hops and roast-derived flavors, with light smokey touch lacking any harsh, burnt or greasy notes. (500 ml, into tulip.)

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.42/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First try for this brewery for me. The Big Smoke is smoked, but not all that big. But I'm not reviewing relative to name. So..

Dark brown, rich, almost black. Bright in a way. Small head, little retention. Would make a nice look if the head could pull more umpf...

Smoke isn't what I'd firstly say as the aroma. Darker malts and prune, some coffee, and metallic sents.

Chocolate malt begins and fades a bit fast, baked caramel is soft and underlying. Sweet underneath, prune and some anise in the middle. Smoke is fleeting, but still there. It borders on a metallic smoke, kind of tannin-y.

Nothing bad here. Solid beer, would like more smoke or something else that would provide strength.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
1.63/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a lowball glass.

Liquid is a dark brown with a small amount of off white head. This beer is potent. I can pick it up from a foot away from my glass. The smell is just lovely. A dirty foot that has been dipped in tar. Even though it smells that spectacular to me I venture for a sip. Somebody ground up some smokey beef jerkey and dumped it in my glass. The carbonation was good and the beer rolled on my tongue nicely. Everything else was awful, and I mean real awful. Two sips and I was spent.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark otter-brown pour appears deep black in the glass with a slight creamy khaki colored head that was mostly lasting thoughout the course. Lacing was good providing a thick spongy coating of good coverage on the glass.

S: Freshly burnt timber, burnt chocolate with a earthy campfire minerality of modest strength. Aromatic retention was lasting 4-5 minutes before any show of weakness.

T: For flavor there was a fresh roasty flavor, yet light and easily manageable. Very clean flavor, of fine german quality, with some highlights of freshly burnt timber, chocolate and liquid smoke. As the label states, this is not a smack you in the face flavor, rather one that is clean and finely tuned for a easy consuming experience. Nice level of smoked malt presence but not quite up for the labeling of the big smoke name.

M: Light bodied, smoky charred warmth with a earthy bitterness. Silky texture and feel turning to a creamy and bubbly texture on longer holds. Leaves a fairly clean and gently smoky charred reminder.

D/O: Overall a very easy and clean drinking smoked porter. The emphasis is on its smooth drinking character, lightbodied style that pleases without overwhelming. At 6.2% this would probably of faired better being a point lower in abv% making this a easy drinking smoked session porter.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into a Jester King snifter. Best before 9/23/11.

A very porter-like pour...imagine that! Wispy tuft of khaki foam quickly recedes to a ring of bubbles. Beneath, the cola-colored body shows ruby and mahogany hues at its edges. Excellent aromas of sharp wood phenols and smoky ash--doesn't overwhelm the nose with the smoke, but instead keeps things in check with some earthy hops and dark roasted malt. Things get a little Band-Aid-like as The Big Smoke warms, but that's a minor nitpick.

Roasted dark malt graininess hits the palate with a sharp, almost metallic twang. Earthy and robust, this porter is. The smoke is a nice touch, adding charred wood and nuttiness to the finish with some bitter hop notes. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly with a medium-light body. Solidly-built. Overall, a tasty smoked porter that I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml. Very dark brown, almost black pour. Just a whispy layer of off white head.

Aroma, some roast, dark chocolate. More smoked peat, bacon. It's not real strong though.

Taste is more pronounced. Very well blended chocolate like malt, canadian bacon, smoked peat. Finishes with the barbeque smoke and some roast, very subtle coffee.

Lighter side of medium bodied, a complimentary amount of carbonation. This drinks very easy, as long as you like it. A real good brew, my first from this country. No buyers remorse with this one. Up there with the Norweigan Wood for my favorite for this style.

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Photo of Naugros
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried to find a beer "worthy" being my 250th beer reviewed on Beer Advocate. I solicited friends and shopped different stores. I got a lot of good advice and almost decided to review Kaliber or O'Doul's here, but instead I'm just putting up the next thing I drank and took notes on. It is a bonus that it's my first New Zealand beer though.

This beer is really dark, but there is some transparency around the edges that leads me to believe this beer is going to be a bit thin in the mouthfeel. The head starts off with barely a quarter of an inch and almost completely disappears, leaving behind the faintest of film on top. Not an impressive start.

The smell makes up for it. Roast + smoke = bacon. LOL, another bacon beer...yay! Well, only at first until you get serious and get down to the business of disseminating the different elements that make it smell like bacon. The roasted malts make for a dark bread sense, but not pumpernickel. There's a floral tone in there that I have to assume is from the hops. Both of these lie under a dominant top coat of smoke.

Like the smell, the smoke overwhelms at first and even after the rest of the elements come through it remains the main player. After a few sips the dark bread of the roast comes out and gets more of a role, almost approaching a balance. If you don't like this at first sip, try, try again. It improves as you drink it and your tongue starts to pick out the malts and the floral hops. Your nose is now telling your tongue, "See? I told you!" Still, the nose enjoyed it more as the balance was better there.

I was dead wrong on the beer appearing thin. This is silky smooth with a medium body. You're also going to experience a twinge of bitterness at the back corners of your mouth.

This is really smooth, but takes a few pulls to get used to. BY the end of it you are disappointed that is gone though. This beer gives me cause to try some more of the brews from the Kiwis. If it keeps up like this we'll start to see more of their stuff on the shelves.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful glass of beer. Pours black and viscous with a firm and thick khaki head.

Nose is medium dark chocolate and plumed coffee with undertones of sweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but with a nice creamy character and carbonation.

Flavors are all big smokey coffee, dark chocolate and big roasted grains with a sweet front palate and an espresso bitter kick.

Finish is all semi-sweet/bitter black chocolate with a hint of black licorice and burnt espresso. The finish goes on forever.

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Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, opaque texture. There was an inch of off white, foamy, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: The smokiness is evident the second you open the bottle, but oddly, not much after that. Has notes of chocolate, coffee and malt. A nice aroma.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, and a bit of chocolate. More like a porter than a smoked beer. The smoky quality wasn't particularly evident, but it still had a nice flavor.

A: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An extremely drinkable beer.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great new smoked porter from a New Zealand brewery that I have not seen before.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate brown with a one finger lighter mocha colored head that held well.The smoke is very faint in the aromas,I picked up mainly chocolate malt and some earthy tones.The palate is well rounded with the smoke coming more into play,it goes well with a nice shot of chocolate and dark roast.Not in your face smoke but a nice well rounded porter roast with decent complexity.

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Photo of brendan13
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque very dark brown with a 2cm dense creamy beige head that slowly falls away. Bit of lace left down the glass.
S - Smokey notes up front with some chocolate & coffee roastiness.
T - Very nice balance of smokeiness and yummy chocolate and coffee roasted malt character. Some very vague floral & fruit hints.
M - Medium to full bodied, carbonation on the lower side medium, noticeable but low bitterness.
D - Another top beer from 8 Wired. Very tasty beer that isn't over the top.

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Photo of dgilks
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark mahogany colour with a thick, foamy tan head. Decent head retention.

Nice, mild chocolate aroma with note of smoke. Slightly oxidised.

Robust, bitter roast notes with a sharp hoppy bitterness. Good.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Fine.

A solid beer with good flavour and nice mouthfeel.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers for the Xmas present from @laituegonflable.

Pours a deep, black colour, with a filmy head of beige coloured foam. Lacing is firm, but sudsy, loose in placed. Body is very opaque, but the edges are lightened a little, giving some brighter emphasis of garnet brown. The highlights look bright, like a gemstone. Looks very decent.

Nose is very roasty and dark, but only with hints of smoke. But contrary to this being a bad thing, it gives it a big and strong character like an American Impy Stout. Very robust and very tasty, with chocolate sweetness mixing with the bitter roasted character laced with smoke. It's genuinely lovely.

Taste is smoother, but still relies upon its heavy roasted character, and only giving a nod to the smoke. Smooth entry with some sweetness on the fore that gets rushed offstage in favour of the roasted and slightly astringent bitter character. Smoke is always in the wings, mingling with, but not dominating the other characters. Light finish means most of the smoothness drops out, leaving the bitter roasted note.

Feel is a little weak and thin, but this, if nothing else, exemplifies that it's a porter rather than a stout.

A very nice beer, and another good brew from 8 Wired. Very smooth, but with oodles of flavour. Great drop.

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Photo of ADZA
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is actually a smoked porter and it pours a dark brown hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger creamy cappicino laced head with a rim of lacing,the smell is a mixture of oak,smoked bacon,ham and burnt firewood,it has a smooth creamy mouthfeel which is neither thick nor thin and allows tastes of smoked bacon,smoked wood,blackberries and some underlying earthy fruit driven hops on the palette at the finish,overall an interesting brew that is easy to knock back but after my last sampling from this brewery i was expecting a little more.

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The Big Smoke from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
3.84 out of 5 based on 147 ratings.
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