Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stone Smoked Porter review

Stone Smoked PorterIt's nice to know that many brewers are highly active on the social media front and follow up with fans of their beers. The last time I reviewed a beer from Stone Brewing Company of the North County San Diego area I was graced with a comment posted by Greg Koch of Stone himself. While he was ok with my review he had some issues with a particular comment I made about his beer. So while I'll always try to be honest about my beer reviews, I won't please everyone.

Anyway, tonight I pulled out a bottle of Stone Smoked Porter and wanted to give that a try. I had another nice dark brew the night before and I was still in the mood for something from the dark side. I've had other smoked beers before, including one from Alaskan Brewing Company, so I wanted to see what Stone Brewing had come up with for comparison sake. I wasn't going to be disappointed tonight.

Appearance: This smoked porter poured a nice deep dark brownish mahogany with some ruby red edges along the glass. I was almost able to see all the way through this beer held up to the light but barely failed to see the other side of the glass. I was granted a nice 2-finger tan head that held up nicely with a light lacing. There were enough bubbles coming up through this beer to let me know it was carbonated.

Aroma: The aroma surprised me a bit. I was used smelling huge campfire like smoke from other smoked porters but the Stone smoked porter was quite a bit less smoky than others. I could only describe it as mildly smoked, which is still a good thing. Stone has a way of either being over the top, as in their Arrogant Bastard, or changing gears a bit as in this beer. I could also pick up an abundance of chocolate and coffee notes in the aroma with a mild bit of hop in the background.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was really spot on for a porter. It had a nice creamy and smooth feel that left just a hint of dryness and a slight coating on the tongue. It tingled the tip of my tongue as I swished it around my mouth.

Taste: The taste was also a bit surprising. I expected to taste a huge smokey flavor but found it to have just as much coffee and chocolate and caramel malts as there was smoke. The smoke was actually blended into this beer very well. Definitely not overdone. It's a sharp contrast to a beer like the Alaskan Smoked Porter.

The beer is not as heavy as a stout but richer than your typical porter. This beer weighs in only at a 5.9% ABV and a moderate bitterness of 53 IBUs. If I was blindfolded I couldn't have guessed that this was a Stone brew. I'm just so used to be hit hard with hop and bitterness from other Stone brews that this was a nice change of pace drink from them.

It's nicely bitter and semi-sweet up front. It was highly enjoyable. Later in the tasting, I got the feeling that I wanted to eat some bacon and eggs with this brew. A good breakfast porter for camping! It would also go well with some nice creamy desserts. @IronOrr on Twitter suggested that this brew goes well as an ingredient in homemade cheesecake. Sounds like a great combo to me!

Overall: I'd sure love it if Stone Brewing would consider putting this beer into a can. I'd love to take this on a hike or campout sometime. It's low enough in ABV that it won't knock you over if you finish the entire 22oz bottle. It's a nice delicious dark brew. I'd sure love to get a clone recipe for this brew and homebrew it sometime. Anyone have a good extract recipe for this? I'd love to have it.

Thumbs Up to Stone for surprising me with this beer. It proves you don't have to be over the top with every brew to make great beer.

Related articles:
- Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 review.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout review.
- Stone Arrogant Bastard review.
- Smoked beers from Fort Collins Brewery.

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