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The Beer Circle » Beer, Smoked Porter, Stone Brewing Co. » Stone Smoked Porter: Original, Vanilla Bean, or Chipotle Peppers?

Stone Smoked Porter: Original, Vanilla Bean, or Chipotle Peppers?

Stone is a brewery this blog is pretty familiar with…and personally I’ve been shown no reason for that to change. Last year I skipped out on trying the Smoked Porter variants–with vanilla beans and chipotle peppers–but when the time came this year I didn’t make the same mistake again. Figuring it would make a good post, I grabbed regular Smoked Porter on my way to the register and opened them over the last week to compare. The results both surprised and impressed me, but the beer that I predicted would be my favorite ended up being just that. Which one? Read below to find out.

Smoked Porter
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This is an outstanding looking smoked porter. I'm very glad I got a picture of the pour. It consists of three fingers of brown head with huge bubbles inside, sitting atop a black pour. The retention is decent, but the lacing is outstanding, coating the sides of my Stone IRS goblet.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The smoke is noted on the aroma, but it isn't a dominant factor. As for the rest, I'm smelling caramel and roasted malts, molasses, chocolate, and slight char. Pretty nicely balanced, but nothing overly impressive. This is more on the porter side of things, and isn't as crazy smelling as other smoked beers that closely resemble bacon.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The balance of the taste, however, is something to write home about. It resembles the aroma, but takes it to the next level. The taste is built on a base of chocolate, caramel malts, molasses, and dark fruits that let the roast--from both coffee and malts--shine through. Sweet, complex, and smokey, this porter is one to be taken seriously.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The body is lighter than most porters, with average carbonation. The beer is silky smooth and is top notch in terms of drinkability.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Stone Smoked Porter is cheap, readily available, offered year round, and is delicious.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
If you're like me and skipped picking this up every time you go on a beer run...bring that streak to an end; you'd be doing yourself a favor. This is going to be tough to top by the additions of vanilla beans and chipotle peppers, but I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Beer Stats
Style: Smoked Porter
Serving: Bottle
Size: 22oz
ABV: 5.90%
BA Score: 91
RB Score: 99
Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter has a black pour with three fingers of very light brown head. Almost billowing, the head has large bubbles and could use a little bit better retention, but the lacing is very nice down the side of the same Stone IRS glass from before.
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Much sweeter aroma than the Smoked Porter (clearly). Big hits of vanilla blend very nicely with the smoked malts and chocolate. It almost smells like ice cream and is extremely inviting.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This certainly is an interesting taste, but I can't say it's as balanced as original Smoked Porter because it's too sweet. The sweetness starts right off the bat with vanilla bean assaulting the palate. The smokiness comes second, underscored by malt and chocolate. Coffee seems to linger at the back-end. I must say I liked the Smoked Porter more. I like the new take on the beer and it really matches the taste of the Troegs Java Head 'Beer Float' I had at Troegs Brewery, but the vanilla hinted towards artificial at points.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The body again is lighter than most porters, but pretty similar to Smoked Porter. Nice and smooth, I'm glad this one was only 12oz and not 22oz because the sweetness got to me after a while.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The bottle was $4.50 for 12oz, which I thought was a really fair price. I don't typically buy Stone 12ozers--22ozers permeate the shelves much more--so I can't tell how it stands up to their other offerings, but I'd pay it again.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This beer was tasty and a nice addition to Stone's line, but the vanilla beans didn't enhance the experience for me. Pick this up if you like vanilla or really sweet beers!

Beer Stats
Style: Smoked Porter
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 5.90%
BA Score: 88
RB Score: 98
Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Pretty much the same appearance as the other Smoked Porters: black with a nicely sized brown head. Really nice retention here, with a half-finger cap of head remaining well after the pour. The lacing is as thick as ever.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
As with the vanilla before, the peppers are very much noted on the aroma. I think this one has a little bit more balance, however. It smells a lot like smoked porter: coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts, but this one adds the spice of the chipotle peppers.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The peppers really add a subtle kick to this beer that really impress me, but fall just short of making this beer amazing. Again, the taste closely resembles Smoked Porter, but this time with a kick of the heat of peppers on the back-end. It really lingers on the palate for a long while. I just wish they were a bit stronger. The coffee and roast of the beer already coats the palate and dominates the finish, the peppers simply add a level of complexity. If they asserted themselves a bit more, this would be one of my favorite porters on the market. I'm not saying I dislike this beer at all, I just don't think it quite warrants a 5 for taste.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. The finish of this beer is as complex as it gets. This porter is smooth and extremely drinkable. The heat and smoke really make the mouth water and keep you coming back for more.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
$4.50 for the bottle, you can't really beat it.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Delicious porter that stands out against its competition. I preferred this to the Vanilla Bean version, and overall I think it was better than the original.

Beer Stats
Style: Smoked Porter
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 5.90%
BA Score: 87
RB Score: 96

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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