Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean

When a well respected brewery makes a beer whose name alone sound delicious you tend to get your hopes up. That’s how I felt going into Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. While not a bad beer at all I would still describe it as not being anything particularly unique or impressive. Mostly it’s just another solid American porter with subtle vanilla and smoke flavors.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (760) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 24, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque black body with no visible carbonation. Forms a large, tan, frothy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Not quite as potent as I’d expect considering the brewery and the style. Mostly a mild porter aroma with subtle milk chocolate overtones.

Taste: This is one of those beers where the first swig is pretty impressive, but then it becomes a little mundane afterwards. I’ve never been a huge fan of smoked porters because oftentimes the smokiness distracts from the genuine palate, but that’s definitely not the case with Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. The smoke character is subtle and more noticeable in the aftertaste rather than the swig itself.

Mild bitterness up front with a strong sensation of malty sweetness through the middle. A strong chocolate candy bar taste as it finishes with a subtle hop bite. The peat smoked malt is discernible in the aftertaste. A slight astringent, almost sour characteristic, but easily tolerable. If you’re expecting an epic level of vanilla and smoke you’ll be a bit disappointed as Stone seems to be going for something a bit more low-key with this brew (oddly enough). Regardless, it’s satisfying and flavorful enough and worth trying.

Drinkability: At only 5.9% ABV, Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean is one of the brewery’s lighter offerings. It’s not a sticky and syrupy, but has the weight and mouthfeel of a traditional porter. Silky smooth texture with the right amount of carbonation that’s easy to slurp down. The smoky, dry aftertaste is noticeable, but tolerable. A beer that’s probably better with a meal than as dessert.
 Grade: 7/10

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