Cue deep raspy movie guy voice: In a world where fickle craft beer drinkers constantly demand new beers to try, only Stone could offer up…Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. End deep raspy movie guy voice.
OK, to be fair, lots of brewers are doing up all kinds of new beers these days that are really variations on existing brews they offer. Stone has done a couple of variations actually on their classic Smoked Porter, the new vanilla bean variant being one and Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers being another. The latter I was lucky enough to find at Total Wine the day it arrived, and it flew off the shelves that same day.
Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean I had to work a little harder to find. Truth be told, you might say I stumbled upon it, as it was on draft at the Taco Mac Georgia Chapter Room when I was there on a birthday pub crawl. They had it on draft, and I never did find it in bottles at the liquor store. Still, that made my draft find all the more a treat.
Stone says of the beer on their website:
In 2006, almost exactly 10 years after we first released Stone Smoked Porter, Stone Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich had a brilliant idea: What if she added whole Madagascar vanilla beans to a small batch of the finished beer? And voilá, Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean was born! It was an instant hit, as the resulting flavor combinations—rich vanilla melding with the malty, chocolatey, coffee-like characteristics of the beer—were practically made for each other. Originally available only as an occasional growler fill or on tap all-too-briefly at special events or in our restaurant, this exquisite creation was released in a single bottle run for the first time in 2012, much to the delight of its many fans…who instantly began clamoring for more. Your voices have been heard.
And of course, Stone has brought back their Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. The beer has an alcohol content of just 5.9% by volume, so I could easily kill a 22-ounce bomber (if I could find one) without too much ill effect. IBU count is 53. And Stone suggests drinking within 120 days of bottling. I paid $7 for a pint, which actually seemed quite reasonable after the $12 I had just doled out for a pint of Founders Big Lushious.
My glass of Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans arrived a jet black color with a fluffy white head and soft smoke and vanilla in the nose. Taking a sip, I got dark chocolate and roast up front peppered with subtle phenolic smoke as the beer progresses. Bigger notes of vanilla emerge right on into the well-balanced roasty finish.
Overall, I enjoyed this beer very much, it had just the right amounts of vanilla, roast and smoke such that all flavors were present. For my taste, I would have liked more smoke, but hey, you can’t have everything in life.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.