Guerde (1164) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - MAR 8, 2014
3.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
(bottle) Pours a dark, reddish brown with a towering off-white head that takes awhile to recede and leaves a ton of lacing. Why not a 5. Aroma holds all the components listed on the bottle with light smoke, ample vanilla, and some roasted malt and chocolate. The aromas in total equate to a cookie-like smell. Kind of a macadamia white chocolate chunk cookie to be more exact. Flavor doesnít hold quite as well together as the aroma, but itís decent, with plenty of vanilla, smoke, and roasted malt showing up as well. A salty, minerally component flies in here thatís unwelcome, and it kind of crashes around and messes up the flavor. Thereís a nice lingering finish of vanilla here thatís really nice and redeems the preceding flavor. Have to ding this a bit on the palate as itís a bit too thin for something that smells so rich and decadent, as the aroma led to expectations of a beer with a little more heft. Overall not a bad beer though.
chinchill (1797) - South Carolina, USA - MAR 7, 2014
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Shared pint at the 2014 Most Arrogant Bar Bash (Barleys in Greenvillle, SC).
The aroma indicates that is over-loaded with vanilla, Tasting confirms this impression. The mix of sweet malts and vanilla compound each other, and the ale would be better if one or the other were reduced a bit. So much vanilla I can barely detect the smoked malt.
Feel: smooth with very good, medium-light carbonation.
GarrettB (1022) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 6, 2014
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
July 18th, 2012 - Itís easy to see why the addition of vanilla bean to the smoked porter seems so attractive. Stoneís particular style of briquette-on-the-tongue type flavoring is forward, aggressive, and as Stoneís bottles always love to loquaciously proclaim, this is purely intentional - drinker be damned. Thus, the addition of the smooth and subtle sweetness of vanilla bean seems like a concession to the weak-willed drinkers. Frankly, I think itís a fine concession, and welcome, too. The Smoked Porter is great, and as long as we have access to the original, a riff on a classic is welcome in the beer market. This cover of one of Stoneís seminal brews pours with a gorgeous, cinnamon colored head. Take it in quickly - it deflates soon after the pour, leaving a brew that has that deep ember and charcoal glow. Oddly, it smells like fresh rain on a sidewalk, with lots of custardy or flan-like vanilla, and a touch of juniper that I often catch in Black IPAs. The porter elements - dark malts, smokiness, and char - fade into the background of the scent. The flavor is similar, though gives more leverage to the traditional porter flavors. A malty harshness greets the tongue at the beginning of the sip, transitions to a subtler smoky charcoal taste, and then the vanilla pipes up, with a freshly vanilla pod taste. The carbonation is boisterous but not excessively loud, complementing the flavor which, as a supporter of somewhat subtler flavors, I find quite nice.
unclemike (2222) - Ft. Riley, Kansas, USA - MAR 4, 2014
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours with a huge, light brown head covering a murky brown body. Aroma of canilla extract, some cocoa powder, coffee and a bit of something woody, like a cigar humidor. Taste is a lot of wood, smoke, and dry coffee. Syrupy mouthfeel, and light bubbles
jmohno (1063) - Iowa, USA - MAR 2, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark,but clear with red. Strong chocolate aroma, maybe milk chocolate with the vanilla. Rich cookie like aroma. Same in taste, not real rich, fairly bittersweet though,with vanilla sweetness and raasty finish. Dryish finish, but pretty chewey body.Strong piney finish.
dinkle50 (960) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 2, 2014
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Reddish brown pour with a thin head that fades quick. Aroma of light smoke and some vanilla shake. Light mouth with big carbonation. Bitter finish after a full on vanilla milkshake assault. Lots of bitter roast. This is a curious mix of flavors. Dry finish. Some lace present.
Busick (379) - South Carolina, USA - MAR 1, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
I love the smell of vanilla and this beer gives off a great aroma! The smokiness mixed with the taste of vanilla beans makes this a beautiful beer on the palate and tummy!!! Yummy!
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
jbuskirk (433) - Holdrege, Nebraska, USA - FEB 24, 2014
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Vanilla porters arenít exactly a novel idea, but I canít recall having one thatís been as well executed as Stoneís effort. The addition of Madagascar vanilla beans gives this ale a distinct character of spice and sweetness. Youíll notice it right away. You donít need to have your nose next to the glass to pick up the aroma of vanilla bean, roasted malt, and smoke. The taste is rich and robust, yet quite balanced. This porter starts off with a flavor of sweet vanilla and gradually gets more bitter. Its middle hints at bittersweet chocolate, and the finish is a balance of coffee and smoke. Yet, thereís just a final touch of vanilla/chocolate sweetness that keeps inviting you back for another sip. As usual, the good folks at Stone prove that they know their craft.
shrubber85 (7554) - Greenville, Indiana, USA - FEB 23, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft. Vanilla, light smoke and chocolate malt aroma. Black with moderate head. Sweet vanilla chocolate malt flavor. Light bitter finish. Delicious.
koleminer20 (577) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - FEB 22, 2014
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
22 oz bottle shared at a tasting on February 17. The pour is a beautiful medium-to-darker brown with a nice off white head that dissipates slowly, leaving a decent lace. The aroma is surprising. There is a good vanilla blast on the front end, which is good as itís in the main namesake. Then there is a light smokiness that moves through in the middle, and carries through the back end. The flavor is strong on vanilla at first, slowly moving through a coffee character, and finishing a little chocolate-ish. The smoke is present through most of the flavor, growing in strength as you drink. The mouth feel is definitely thin, and the aftertaste, although good, doesnít linger hardly at all.