Alaskan Smoked Porter | Alaskan Brewing Co.

972 Reviews
Alaskan Smoked PorterAlaskan Smoked Porter

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavor of this limited edition beer make it an adventuresome taste experience. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited "vintages" each year on November 1 and unlike most beers, may be aged in the bottle much like fine wine.

Added by Bierman9 on 10-18-2001

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Reviews: 972 | Ratings: 2,008
Photo of EmperorBevis
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled and hopefully bottle conditioned
Pours a jet black body with lustrous foaming tobacco stained head
Smells like irished up cocoa
That doesn't come across I get smokey booze

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Photo of jmasher85
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I really thought I wrote a review of this beer when I drank it, just after it's 10th birthday in December of 2016 (bottled 11/1/2006. Guess not. Pity. Well, I have a 2012 that I can break out any time and do a formal review for, and based on my experience here, I can't imagine this beer will become loads different after longer than a decade. First of all, it's incredible, and I can't think of any way to improve upon it. It remains to this day the most GABF award-winning beer of all time. Granted, competition wasn't as stiff in those days, but modern day "experimental" craft beers seem almost masturbatory or expositionist compared with the relatively subtle mastery of Alaskan Smoked Porter, or the great Belgian and German non-adjuncted beers.

I mean, when you imagine that a beer this rife with flavor came from 4 malts, 2 hops, and a furnace full of smoking alder, it's impressive the depth of flavor you get. Smoked malts & wood, with a slightly sausage/bacon scent are the dominant flavors. Further exploration finds dark fruits like red grapes and prunes. This is not to say it's sweet; rather, there's a bit of a tannic quality to it, and a fairly dry, surprisingly smooth texture. I'll review another one later and see if it's any less dry when younger, but in any event, this beer works great as it is in this bottle.

I can understand why it's a classic, and I can understand why it's far more neglected nowadays, but any chance you get to try it will be greatly rewarded.

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Photo of mynie
4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Kind of surprised that it's 2017 and smoked beers still haven't taken off. Normies are ordering beer that tastes like bourbon, or tart Jolly Ranchers, or horse blankets, but still the masses have somehow not embraced beer that tastes like cured meat and cheeses.

Anyhow, this one is a classic, and it has eluded me until very recently. Believe it or not, beers like this used to generate a bit of hype, and were even traded for. Michael Jackson loved it (see link at bottom), and it's often credited as the standard bearer of American smoked beers. Its relatively limited release no doubt added to its mystique, along with the fact that it was the first beer of note to come from Alaska--or at least the first that most of us had heard of.

I always felt that good beer should lend itself to conversation, and that great beer should lead to contemplation. Following this philosophy might lead to allowing a beer's mystique to unduly influence our judgement, but I feel such may be warranted in the case of a forgotten standard bearer.

My contemplations, I will admit, are shallow and insular, but that's only because I haven't been doing enough of them lately. The beer makes me think of half-understood traditions that are barely 25 years old, of a sense of frontier adventurism I am afraid is quickly dying and becoming horrifying, and of the illogical pride I feel when thinking of myself as a citizen of a country so vast as far-spread that within its borders there can lie a land so completely alien from my own.

The beer is symbolically loaded. Those of us who are only a little older, and who grew in states only a little more backward, are now gleeful for the abundance of somewhat competent (albeit far too expensive) breweries. Can you imagine life in Juneau, Alaska in the late 1980s? There would be no greater godsend than a brewery such as this, let alone one that created perhaps the first smoked porter in the known history of beer.

And the beer itself does live up to the hype, even by 2017 standards. There's nothing visceral or violent about it. It is clearly a porter, bereft of wild bacteria or bourbon aging. But it succeeds near-perfectly within its conceptual confines; it didn't seek to reinvent the wheel, or to make some sort of pornographic mutation of the wheel, but only pull off a solid blend of styles. The beer is an excellent American porter through and through, combined with the assertive, but not overwhelming, meaty smoke nodes of a German rauchbier.

The result is hardy and invigorating, instantly accessible yet interesting enough to keep a drinker engaged throughout several pints. Truly an American classic.

Cool review from Michael Jackson:

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Photo of schavuytje
2.67/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

smelling Worschester sauce
with a taste of whiskey with smoke malt
fairly dry finish
distinct taste unappetizing
had perhaps drunk too young but there was still a lot to be done for a good porter

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Photo of qrazvan
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring a black, dense body with medium head.
Smells of smoked prunes, vanilla, coffee.
The taste is, surprisingly, not dominated by the smoke aromas, but instead I could find a lot of vanilla, aged oak, some caramel, the coffee (of course) and the smoked prunes . You can feel that it has undergone some aging (mine is from 2012) and developed some fine blended scents.
A higher amount of carbonation would be nice.
Not a fan of smoked beers, but this one convinced me.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2013 from the big bottle in a snifter. A brew I have chased after for
a number of years----like 20 years worth of seeking and finally here it is in
of all places---OHIO. Bought at the Andersons in Columbus on the annual jaunt
to Wooster.

This fine brew pours a dark blackish brown with cola highlights and a moderate head of
off white foam that subsides to a thick ring of off white foam and a thin layer with
subtle lacing. Nose of subtle smoke, dark cocoa, sweet roasted malts, subtle coffee, and
light earthy notes. Flavors exceed the nose with cola and coffee with bitter cocoa and sweet
mild smoke awash in roasted malts. Nice mouth feel that is smooth, moderately coating, and medium
on the feel finishing with char and smoke notes with coffee and cocoa and light carbonation.

Overall, this one was worth the wait and cherished. I had the 2014 and liked it aged better
so this is the best of the ages I bought---2013,14, and 15.



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Photo of janubio
3.62/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. Dark opaque colour, with a medium brown head that holds for a while. Good lace.
Aroma is smoky but not so overwhelmin' as in other smoked beers, coffee, dark fruits, caramel. Palate is creamy, with medium body (I expected it a bit more dense), normal carbonation. Taste is smoky caramel, dark fruits, coffee, chocolate. Good.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, 2013 vintage. Kinda surprised to see the 2013's on the shelf in Ohio since this is Alaskan's first year distributing here, but I'm not complaining! Served in a Great Lakes Brewing snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stayed around for a while. There's also a decent amount of lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like smoked malt/meats, coffee, roasted malt and some dark fruit. For the most part I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some chocolate and woodiness noticeable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and a bit creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. It's also easy and enjoyable to drink. I thought this was a good overall brew. The smoke is definitely noticeable but not overpowering. It's a nice combination of smoky, sweet and roasty flavors, certainly worth picking this one up! $8.99 a bomber.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pour is straight black with a lightly tan head. Head sticks around a bit and provides a bit of lacing. The scent is the distinguishing trait of this beer. It smells like a campfire in late fall, with the smoke being almost the entire scent, and a touch of dry, dark malts at the very back end of the smell. The tongue is hit first with a huge dose of smoked, just like the scent, but there is a bit more complexity in the flavor. As the smoke starts to lead into the dry, dark malts, a bit of smoked meat flavor kicks in. The impression is of a smoked chicken wing, before giving way to smoke again as the beer washed off the palate. As for feel, this one is light and highly quaffable, while providing a dry and robust flavor. Weight is slightly thicker and heavier than average.

Overall, if you like smoke, this is your beer. It smells like a campfire and tastes like one too. Not for the faint of heart if you're not a smoke fan, but this is one of my favorite signs that it is autumn.

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Photo of fitrock2112
3.57/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - The Smoked Porter held up to the light and nothing getting through. Maybe a quarter finger of off white head.

S - Smokey malts with an little roasted malts on the edge.

T - Different for sure. Tastes like peat moss from a expensive scotch whiskey. Not sure if peat was used or some damp wood, but it doesn't matter it takes over everything else.

F - Medium mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

O - For a smoked porter or the category they are fulfilling I guess it's good. Unfortunately this will be my last one.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Wicked Weed snifter. Label says 09/08/15.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a cobweb pattern of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Smoked malt gives off a mesquite type of aroma. Not much else.

T- Great smoke character reminds me of bacon. I can almost taste the salt of the bacon it's so close. Very well-balanced too since the roastiness of the malt comes through as well. Also somewhat sweet.

M- Kind of thin, even for a porter, with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- I don't really like smoke but this has more emphasis on the barbecue type rather than the ashy campfire side. Quite enjoyable but would like to try it a bit fresher to see how it's evolved,

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Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage - Light smoky flavor, easy to drink. Pairs well with anything on the grill. Not my preferred style, but this or Yazoo Sue is the perfect fall campfire beer.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage Drank Oct 10th, 2016

Dark brown with a ruby tinge. Slight haze, and no visible carbonation. Topped with 3 fingers of beige head, leaving a random, chunky lacing.

Smells of smoke, toasted malts, a hint of molasses, and cocoa.

Tastes of rich, dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate truffles, smoke, and hints of tar and tobacco.

Medium, thick body, with moderate carbonation.

Got in Kalamazoo at a small bottle shop, drank in New Hamburg, Ontario. Really well balanced, the smoke is not overpowering, and the chocolatey sweet qualities, balanced with the more charred qualities makes for a great tasting brew. Cool label as well.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black in color with no penetration to light. There's about three quarter's of an inch of creamy beige foam on top. The aroma is packed with amazingly enticing smoked malt. I taste exactly what I smell, deliciously smoked malt with notes of dark malt and a smoky campfire. The mouth is lightly oily and viscous. This is a real treat.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hits those middle of the road brown hues, tan head, 5/6". Excellent retention and lacing. Aroma was a little bit of smoke and roast.

The smoke taste is nice and mild, some tobacco notes, wood/coffee from the malt bitterness. for whatever reason this always drinks better outdoors than it does indoors.

Only thing is I wish it was in a 12oz bottle. Forging through 22oz of this by myself is like a little overkill, I don't mind it at all though in a smaller proportion.

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Photo of airevac19
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pulled my 2008 vintage from the cellar tonight (wife gave me a gift box of this and a 2014 vintage w/2 branded snifters). Served at cellar temps. Poured into one of the Alaskan snifters. Very strong Alder wood smokiness smell and taste (more pronounced than in other vintages I've had). Very little head on the pour as expected. Very smooth mouthfeel to this one. Glad I put this one down in the cellar.

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Photo of Schoeni
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got the 2014 ed, so this one has been cellared for about 2 yrs, pours with dark brown colour, very big and nice creamy caramel head. Poured in too quick, cause never thought about that this beer would have that kind of good aroma of dark roasted malt, little bit smoky but not too much: rather cocoa and dark fruits. I take a sip, another one...yess!brilliant taste of cocoa, plum, dark chocolate. Super soft and also super tasty.its unfiltered and therefore superseamy and creamy..the smoked malts are definately there, but are not overplaying the taste.Great body and good hoppiness.... One of the best beers.

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Photo of Buck89
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice opaque brown color with a thick tan head. Good retention. Nose full of smoky malt and a bit of chocolate. Taste followed. Huge for this ABV. Smoked malt, bread, chocolate. Full bodied.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from IAmJacksHopTongue (thanks!). Bottled 09/19/12. Served in a goblet.

Pours dark chocolate brown with a tall three and a half finger cap of milky sand hued head. The airy froth settles to a thin ring but even that fades after a while without leaving any lacing.

Smells of smoked malt, caramel, mild roasty malts, very slight oxidation and a hint of cocoa.

Tastes of dark chocolate, smoke, old bread and faint burnt caramel. Flavors are well rounded but a tad subdued. Goes down easily with no alcohol apparent.

Smooth, creamy medium light body with subtle carbonation. Char and bitter bakers cocoa plays on the palate in the finish.

Smoked porters can often be a bit much for me but this slightly aged bottle from Alaskan Brewing was smooth, rich and easy to drink.

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Photo of TheBrosy
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass from a 22oz bottle. Vintage 2015.

Appearance: Pours jet a deep dark brown. Nearly black. A rich creamy tan head with good retention.

Smell: Very powerful smoke aroma. Hints of chocolate as well as hop aroma.

Taste: The smoke flavoring is very well balanced with a nice amount of malt flavorings, with the chocolate malt noteworthy.

Mouthfeel: Cream full body with medium carbonation.

A brilliant porter. Even if you don't care for smoky brews, you need to give this a try. Glad I bought a second bottle so that I can leave it to age.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage. Pours dark as a starless night. Normal head volume, outstanding lacing and world class retention.

Nearly world class nose of rich smoked malt that delivers a nice campfire bacon aroma. Had it been a bit more intense, it would have achieved world class status. Underneath roll light roast, chocolate and hop notes.

Heavy medium body with a smooth and somewhat creamy texture. World class carbonation that provides a burst in the middle and a finely bubbled prickly finish. The body / carbonation ratio is perfect and really allows the flavor to open up.

The flavor profile is quite outstanding. Surprisingly, the smoked malt delivers a subdued campfire bacon flavor, not the delicious intensity of Schlenkerla. In other words, this one is balanced better. This balance, or lack of smoke intensity, allows the other flavors to shine. Light bitter bakers chocolate, hints of molasses and a light hop spiciness appear from the middle on. Bitterness is light and has both a hop and roast character. As middle bitterness begins to fade, sweetness (caramel, molasses) maximizes and smoked malt comes to the forefront. It delivers a slight campfire bacon flavor but is mostly oak smoke. The finish is slow sweet fade that leaves a lingering oak smoke and just a hint of dryness.

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Photo of chrishiker1409
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a dark black, with a tan coffee like head. It dissipates rather quickly leaving a ring of head around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S: Smoke, dark chocolate, roasted notes.

T: Follows the nose with a little less smokiness. Still the smoke is quite present unlike many smoked porters I've had.

F: Lighter than I thought it's be, but very smooth. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated.

O: A great one. Too bad I don't have access to it on a regular basis.

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Photo of trubeernick
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Midnight black but clean
Smell: Hints of smoke, but not over-whelming. Roasty and hints of chocolate
Taste: What a great balance. It is just on the level of smokiness that I would want or like in a Rauch.
Feel: Just thick enough. At 6.5% its a great balance.
Overall: I will get this more in the future. I really am interested in aging this. Being a good price and good beer for the colder nights.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This pours very appropriately the color of wood coals in the pit, not yet fully black, with burning embers around the edge. A very thin, fizzy, spotty tan head shows it's face upon the initial pour, but fades away quickly.

Aromas of roasted malt and well balanced levels of alder wood smoke bring to mind sitting in a restaurant with good ventilation that specializes in delicate barbecue--it's quite pleasant, savory, appetizing and unoffensive. This is in stark contrast to other brews that go overboard, delivering an experience more akin to being seated in the smoking section in the 80s, or suddenly being downwind of an overly aggressive bonfire.

The smoke is also well balanced in the flavor. This is one of the most finely balanced smoked beers I've had, where as it warms, the roasted malt shows itself more and more and the smoke takes a back seat. However, the smoke is ever present, very lively, bright, and almost verdant. It's as if you are hiking in the Alaskan rainforest, through the cedar and spruce, over the moss and dew, and catching hints here and there of a campfire off in the distance where someone might be smoking some salmon. There is a bit of green, and something sweet in the background of the smoke that further helps in keeping the smokiness at a well balanced, unoffensive level.

The carbonation is well hidden visually, but it is quite light and fizzy on the tongue. With the roasty and smoky elements added in, it still seems much more substantial than a typical porter.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hard to get, but worth the wait if you like interesting ales.
The first whiff of smoked malt never leaves.
The oily/chocolatey rich mouthfeel balances the bitter smoke.
I hope I find this again and can try it with spicy food.

Deservedly, on the "1001" list.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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Alaskan Smoked Porter from Alaskan Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 2,008 ratings.
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