This limited-release Smoked Porter is brewed with vanilla beans. The nose is packed with warm vanilla, smelling like donuts, cocoa powder, campfire, coffee with cream and sugar. On the palate, roasted barley opens up on the front-end, quickly establishing firm chocolate flavor. A mild sweetness fills the middle-register with flavors like caramel and brown sugar. Vanilla bean overshadows the whole show without demanding attention or disrupting flow. Black, burnt malts soon rise above that sweet body, underscored by a bitter edge. Smokey, charred grains dig deep with a faint hint of worcestershire, coconut, and walnuts. As malts eventually decay, hops uplift the palate with light citric highlights, accompanied by herbal tones that leave with a drop of oil. Mouthfeel is smooth and gentle, departing with mild dryness.
Altogether, I think its an improvement on the original, at least according to my taste. The vanilla isn’t overbearing, but blankets the palate, smoothing out the edges. I actually find it much more present on the aroma. What I enjoy most is a delicious marriage of vanilla and roasted coffee. Somehow the drinking is good, thanks to low bitterness and alcohol. However, this leaves a void of desire for something more substantial (I would have wished for a double). Regardless, it’s good, and I recommend it.