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.
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
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.