Last updated: December 31. 2013 12:27AM - 622 Views
By Derek Warren Weekender Correspondent

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Beer: Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean

Brewer: Stone Brewing Co.

Style: American porter

ABV: 5.90%

Description: Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean pours a deep brown with a thick beige head that lingers long and leaves a very nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is dominated by vanilla bean and notes of smoke sneaking through and combining with the rich roasted malts emanating the smell of chocolate and coffee, all blending together to create a breathtaking bouquet. The vanilla hits the palate up front and is soon followed by rich cocoa, coffee, and a slight biscuit note before the vanilla returns and then leaves a wonderfully clean and smooth finish. The medium body and moderate carbonation make this one incredibly smooth porter. The smoke flavor is certainly present, but it does not dominate the flavor profile, as is typical with most smoked beers, and instead imparts a subtle sweetness to the beer. Overall, Stone absolutely nailed this one and has given the masses yet another wonderful and aggressively flavored beer to enjoy in large quantities!

Food pairing: Smoked beers can be a bit overwhelming when pairing with foods but tend to go very well with meats, especially those of the BBQ variety. However, the copious amount of vanilla in this beer tends to make this smoked porter more of a dessert beer, which certainly makes for very interesting flavor combinations. During the holiday season, we are inundated with baked goods, and Stone Smoked Porter can be paired with just about all of them, whether they be chocolate chips, sugar cookies, Russian tea cakes, or Hershey’s Kisses cookies; this beer will highlight and add chocolate flavorings as well as a deep vanilla characteristic, all while highlighting the sweetness in the cookie and the beer. If you are feeling rather adventurous, then head over to Stone Brewing Co.’s website and check out the recipe they uploaded for Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean Beer Nog: an absolutely fantastic way to ring in the New Year!

The final word: Stone Smoked Porter has been available for some time, and many of us have tried it in the past. While a smoked beer of any kind may be too much for the casual beer drinker, Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean really takes the edge off the smoke with the abundant vanilla flavor. It must also be noted that the vanilla flavor is in fact from vanilla bean and not from vanilla extract; this commitment to using fresh ingredients is what makes Stone Brewing Co. the great brewery that they are today. Porters are of course great beers to enjoy on these cold winter evenings, the heartier the better, and Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean is definitely hearty and an absolute must-try if you are a fan of porters or smoked beers. So get it while you can or you will be left out in the cold!

Rating: W W W W V

Where can I get it? Currently available in 22 oz. bottles at: Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; Backyard Ale House, Scranton; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre.

Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!

-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Follow Derek’s beer blog at idtapthat.org.

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