Beers in Review: Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean, and with Chipotle Pepper

At the time I am writing this, the 2012 Presidential Election has been called. Incumbent Barack Obama has been re-elected. Governor Romney has taken his sweet time giving his concession speech, so much so that some news outlets are saying it borders on “sour grapes”. Unlike the vote I cast this morning, I couldn’t decide which beer to drink tonight to commemorate the moment. So I chose 2 beers: Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans, and Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.

Stone Smoked Porter, Vanilla Bean (l) and Chipotle Pepper (r).

Stone Smoked Porter, Vanilla Bean (l) and Chipotle Pepper (r).

Stone Smoked Porter (with Vanilla Bean), 5%

Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans in a glass.

Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans in a glass.

Very dark brown color, essentially black, with ruby highlights, and a beige colored head. The aroma has a roasted malt character, with coffee and dark chocolate notes, with a hint of vanilla. There’s also a restrained, yet noticeable, smoke quality. The flavor is of deep roasted malt without a harsh, burnt quality. There’s a dark chocolate flavor, nuttiness, as well as some noticeable vanilla notes. I also pick up a slight tannic bitterness. Hop flavor is citrusy, hop bitterness is medium. Body is medium/medium-full, carbonation is high, finish is dry.

This is a tasty beer! I liked its roasted malt character with restrained burnt malt character. The vanilla really brings out the chocolate quality of the malts and there’s just enough bitterness for balance while still remaining a malt forward beer. The smokiness of the malt is just right, enough to add complexity and depth, without overpowering everything else.

Stone Smoked Porter (with Chipotle peppers), 5%

Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.

Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.

Very dark brown color, essentially black, with ruby highlights, and a beige colored head. The aroma has a roasted malt character, nearly tangible smokiness, and chipotle pepper quality. The flavor is of deep roasted malt without a harsh, burnt quality. There’s a dark chocolate flavor, slight nuttiness, as well as some noticeable Chipotle pepper quality and a modest pepper heat in the finish that is enough to let you know this is a pepper beer. Hop flavor is citrusy, hop bitterness is medium, there’s also some tannic bitterness. Body is medium/medium-full, carbonation is high, finish is dry.

This is also a tasty beer. The Chipotle character fits well with this style. Like the vanilla version, the smokiness adds complexity. The Chipotle pepper heat adds a nice touch but isn’t overwhelming.

The Same, but Different

Trying these two beers side-by-side was a pleasure as well as an interesting experience. It was great to compare and contrast these two beers. Because these 2 beers use the same base beer, the similarities are undeniable. Yet the two different treatments, using vanilla beans in one and chipotle peppers in the other, ended up producing beers that provided different experiences. The vanilla bean really brought out the chocolate character already present in the smoked porter, likewise, the chipotle pepper accentuated the smoky aspect of the beer. Both great treatments, both fun, and delicious.

Last Call

The decision to review these 2 beers on Election night was inspired by the fact that there were still folks out there who were undecided. With all the TV ads, debates, articles, and news coverage, you’d think there would’ve been enough time to make an informed decision. I guess not.

That said, it’s really your prerogative, no, it’s your privilege, to vote or not vote. With all the coverage and negative media surrounding both candidates, I can’t blame you if you were sick of it all enough to not vote. But this election is more than just choosing who will be our Commander-in-Chief. In the great scheme of things, the POTUS will probably have very little effect on your day to day lives.

What will have a much more profound effect on your day to day lives are the local measures and propositions in contention, as well as the local seats of government up for grabs. These initiatives and people will touch upon your lives in a significant way, in some instances, for years to come. So I hope you exercised you right to vote and helped to define the course of your community. If not, I hope that headshot to a Promethean Knight was worth it.

Mabuhay!

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2 Responses to Beers in Review: Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean, and with Chipotle Pepper

  1. Peter, very helpful review as usual!

    I’ve been considering that, regardless of who you voted for, having a homebrewing president is good for the whole craft beer industry. It’s great to know that we have a pro-beer leader.

    God Bless America!

    • Peter says:

      Thanks Chris! I appreciate the kind words. Yeah, craft beer writer Jay Brooks made a very convincing argument for voting for the candidate that was pro-beer.

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