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.