Eric and I will be brewing a Smoked Amber Ale later this week so naturally I thought it would be suitable to do a review on a popular smoked beer.
First off, Stone Brewery, to me, brews big flavor and big hop beers. I bought the Stone Smoked Porter hoping that it would have a big smoke flavor and also hoping it would not have a big hop flavor which I assume would kill the smoked malt flavor. I should have known better. At first pour I could smell a faint smoke scent from the glass and of course chocolate and coffee malts. I tasted it and could right away taste the smoked malt, but as I started enjoying the flavor it was killed by the inevitable "big hop" flavor Stone is known for. That big, bitter flavor (too much hops for a porter in my opinion) killed all the malt flavor right away; the chocolate and the smoked malt flavors were completely dead. And of course the bitterness stayed through to the following drink... and the next. So unfortunately the only malt flavor I got from the beer was from the two-second period when I first tasted it. With that being said, it is a good beer; just not the style of porter I'm used to or enjoy.
The aim for our smoked beer will be big malty and smokey flavor and just enough hops to balance it out; NOT to overpower the malt. In my opinion, the smoked malt should be the star of this beer. Here's a copy of Smokey the Bear Ale. Hopefully it comes out great and it'll be a great fall beer to drink by a open fire!