15 March 2010

The demons' share

The bottle of Stone Smoked Porter I bought at Utobeer brought out the inner Meldrew in me. While I occasionally kick myself for not checking the dates on bottles, I don't really think I should be expected to examine the liquid levels. Still, caveat emptor and all that. I was left with most of a bottle of this well-known Californian beer.

Despite a fairly hefty 5.9% ABV and a thick body to go with that, there's quite a light, dry portery character to it overall. While the body is pretty much opaque, the head is a light tan shade rather the inky brown more usual in high-gravity black beer. Much like its northerly compatriot Alaskan Smoked Porter, its smoke credentials are understated, and balanced well against the roasted grains. The flavour they impart is very slightly phenolic, like a well-diluted peaty scotch. In the background there's some dark fruit and more than a hint of chocolate too.

This isn't an extreme beer in any way. Rather it's balanced, drinkable and much more of a solid friend than a muscley demonic freak. I'm always wrong-footed by how nice Stone beers are. They should have painted a pussycat on the bottles. In fact, it's only their bottling line that's properly evil.


  1. I think they use peat malt as apposed to Rauch malt (beach wood) or the alder smoked malt with Alaskan

    I would no worry about the out of data Alaskan regularly do fights of their porter over the years and I can't see why this one not age for many years past the data

  2. Stone tend to be advertised as hop monsters don't they? Which I find odd as well as there seems a lot more to them from my sole tasting of them at the GBBF.

  3. The Beer Nut - Doh! I like to think we do a pretty damn good job with our fill-level quality control, but clearly that one slipped through. Shame too, as it would have likely ended up in my own fridge at my house for, errr...proper disposal. I owe you a beer next time you come by our brewery!

    As stated on the bottle text, our gargoyle wards off the modern day evil spirits in beer. And since there were no evil spirits (a low-fill isn't exactly an evil spirit, per se) in the bottle, I'd say he did his job, no?

    red dave - Since we've never advertised our beer in our 14 years, I'd argue that we aren't advertised as hop monsters (although, yes, admittedly many of our beers DO qualify for that range)! So...I suppose we do have a bit of a reputation, eh!


    Greg Koch, CEO
    Stone Brewing Co.

  4. Ahh, there's your mistake, Greg: to ward off evil you should be using a grotesque. Gargoyles are different and are solely for spouting water. If you put a gargoyle on the bottle instead of a grotesque, that might explain what happened my beer.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I think I'll start putting Sheela-na-Gigs on my home brew from now on.

  6. Based on their super-soaker abilities, a gargoyle would definitely put me off a bottle of beer more than a grotesque. Unless of course it was spouting beer from within the bottle...

  7. never seen a beer level like that!

  8. In accord with your opinion on Stone. Despite the likes of Arrogant Bastard, Ruination and the Russian Imperial Stout having heavily robust flavours, they are true masters of balance, allowing you to enjoy the extreme of taste by sending something along with it to smooth the ride. Always impressive.