Review: Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle, Stone Brewing

 Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers
Stone Brewing Co. — Escondido, CA

  • Style:  Smoked Porter
  • Bitterness:  53 IBU
  • ABV:  5.9%  
  • Malts:  Two-row Pale, Crystal, Chocolate, and Peat-smoked.
  • Hops:  Columbus and Mt. Hood
  • Special Ingredient:  Chipotle peppers
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle (Full Disclosure: pre-release sample provided by brewery)

Description:  Stone's description for Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers is quite lengthy. Surprised? You can read it in the entirety of its arrogantness in the picture at the end of this post.

Random thoughts:   A few tidbits about this beer. First, Stone has never released Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers in bottles. That ends on June 18 when it (along with Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean) will be shipped and sold in single 12 oz. bottles.

Second, I'm sampling an extremely fresh beer. I was at Stone Brewing in Escondido on Monday and got a quick tour of the bottling line. It just so happened they were bottling this beer for the very first time as we walked by. Randy Clemens, Stone Media & Communications Linchpin, picked two cold bottles off the bottling line and handed them to me. Now, I'm not sure why a grown man would be absolutely giddy upon receiving a few beers, but I was. Please forgive my beer geekiness. I expect my two bottles of Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle were the first two bottles to ever enter the State of Oregon—in the history of the universe! That's deep. OK, on to the beer. 

The tasting:  Dark brown in color with a tan head that dissipates fairly slowly. Aroma of roasted malt, smoked malt, and chipotle. The pepper is prominent in aroma, and I didn't have to search for it. Flavor is very similar to aroma with the addition of light chocolate notes. The chipotle heat is a nice complement to the smoky malt and the level of the heat is moderate. The spicy pepper makes its presence known without being overwhelming. The hop bitterness doesn't stand out and alcohol isn't noticeable in aroma or flavor. Stone Smoked Chipotle w/ Chipotle Peppers is light to medium bodied, has a smooth mouth feel, and finishes with smoky malt and lightly lingering chipotle.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  In my humble opinion, when a brewery calls out the name of a specialty ingredient in the beer's name, I expect to taste it. Stone delivered in that aspect. The "right" level of pepper heat is subjective. I like heat, and wouldn't have minded a couple extra notches of capsaicin. In the end, I expect the level of heat will please those who are looking for a beer with a spicy kick.

If you're so inclined, you can make a homebrew version of Stone Smoked Porter (with or without Chipotle) using Stone's own recipe from their 2011 book. Check it out.

Have you tasted Stone Smoked Porter or the Chipotle or Vanilla incarnations?

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