Review: Stone Smoked Porter

Review of Stone Smoked Porter from Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, CA.

Beer Type: Porter  ABV: 5.9%  IBUs: 53  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “When first released, our smoky version of a traditional English porter was ahead of its time. Today, it’s a highly regarded staple among craft beer fans and our go-to food compliment; pairing effortlessly with all kinds of cuisine, from peanut butter and banana sandwiches to braised pork belly to apple pie. This worldly libation is dark, smooth, and complex, with rich chocolate and coffee flavors suffused with subtle smokiness from the addition of peat-smoked malt.”

The Reality: This beer starts off with a smoky coffee scent. The flavor has a lot of bitter roasted notes, with a smoky backdrop that is not overwhelming, and you also notice that it is devoid of all sweetness. It has a bitter black coffee finish and the aftertaste has a touch of burnt carbon to it that sticks for a bit. I never picked up much of the “rich chocolate” flavor that they mention. Overall I’d say it tastes more burnt than smoky.

Final Verdict: I have to admit I had higher hopes for this one, because I’m such a fan of smoked beers. It was fine, it was drinkable, but it wasn’t dynamic. I felt that the lack of even the faintest sweet note (from, malt, dark chocolate or anything) kept it from being well-balanced and having the smoky flavor come from peat-smoked malt provided a burnt taste, in my opinion. On the bright side, this beer won our first Beer Battle against Ballast Point Victory at Sea (read more), and some people like things better when they’re burnt, like roasted marshmallows or books that have different ideals than their own.