10.10.10 Is Upon Us

Jacob McKean

As the calendar rapidly approaches October 10th, 2010, we’ve been inundated with (at least half a dozen) inquiries as to the composition of this year’s Stone Vertical Epic Ale. Eagerly anticipated by beer geeks and numerology nuts alike, the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is our homage to Belgian yeast and the benefits of aging beer.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Stone Vertical Epic Ales are designed to be able to be consumed in, well, an epic vertical tasting on 12.12.12.

Initiated in 2002—when the notion that Stone might still be around in 2012 was more hope than certainty— the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series has given Stone brewers an avenue for creative expression while helping spread the good word about the benefits of cellaring beer.

Those conscientious enough to cellar the complete Stone Vertical Epic Ale series under proper conditions (55 degrees or less and dark), will be treated to a rare liquid education on the effects of age on beer when December 12th, 2012 rolls around.

That said, Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale is mighty tasty right out of the gate. Fermented with the legendary Ardennes strain of Belgian yeast, 10.10.10 is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale brewed with pale malt and triticale (a cross of wheat and rye), hopped with German Perle hops, and steeped with chamomile during the whirlpool stage. In secondary fermentation, we added a juice blend of Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties. The wine grapes came from Temecula’s South Coast Winery, located about 30 miles north of our brewery.

Stone Head Brewer Mitch Steele, who studied enology at UC Davis and spent 8 years toiling as a vintner in his early days, made the trek up to South Coast to watch the grapes that would become 10.10.10 go from vine to juice:

The juice and beer blend fermented with surprising vigor to produce a dry, complex, full-bodied beer brimming with floral, fruity aromas. The beer cannot be described as “grapey” or “herbal,” as neither the juice nor the chamomile overwhelm the Belgian yeast character; in fact, identifying the ingredients would be a challenge for even the most astute nose. The constituent parts instead impart layer upon layer of nuance and flavor, with the result being a highly drinkable and royally delicious Belgian-style beer.

Having tasted the beer and liked it immensely, the vintner’s at South Coast informed us that the wine character will develop with age, making 10.10.10 the perfect candidate for a little over two years of cellaring (how convenient!)

The beer was bottled on Monday and will, ironically, be released on October 11th, 2010, since the 10th is a Sunday. It can be found wherever Stone special releases typically land. And while Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale is drinking great right now, we highly recommend tucking some away for 12.12.12.

Mitch’s Tasting Notes:

The Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale pours hazy gold with a creamy white head of foam. The aroma is a blend of banana, wine and berry esters, with hints of clove and chamomile. The taste shows an increased intensity of fruit flavors as the varietal character of the Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc juice starts to assert itself mid-palate. The beer is tart and extremely dry, a result of the acidity of the grapes, and finishes with a lingering aftertaste of wine, banana esters and a hint of chamomile. It is an enjoyable beer to taste, possessing an elegance and complexity of flavors that show different aspects throughout the palate.

Saison du BUFF: Media Blitz, Take Two

Jacob McKean

Today we unleash upon an unsuspecting world the latest installment in our collaboration series: Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone Saison du BUFF. Three great breweries, three old friends, one hellaciously herbaceous beer.

Before divulging any more details, let’s fire up the flux capacitor and set the Delorean to 2003. That’s the year Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Bill Covaleski of Victory, and our own Greg Koch formed the ill-fated Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor (BUFF), a three person organization with the mission of “flex[ing] their verbal muscles in a no-holds barred attack on mindless video-drone beer attitudes,” in the words of the original press release.

BUFF held a single press conference in an aisle of a Boston liquor store. Despite sending invitations to a slew of mainstream media contacts, a single member of the beer press deemed the event worthy of attendance.

Seven years later, Greg, Sam, and Bill felt that the time was right to commemorate that abortive shot across the bow of brewing mediocrity, and a collaboration beer seemed the perfect forum for their unique brand of sudsy activism.

Amazingly, despite having brewed well over a hundred different beers between the three of them, none had made a beer like Saison du BUFF, which takes the earthy quaffability of a Belgian farmhouse ale and adds the kind of twist you’d expect from these three brewing miscreants: sage, thyme, parsley, and Stone Estate (i.e. our parking lot) grown rosemary.

As you can imagine given the personalities involved, the Saison du BUFF brew day was like watching a gaggle of crazed lemurs operate heavy machinery. Fortunately, someone was there to film it:

So what does Saison du BUFF taste like, you ask? How about we have Sam explain:

“Minty, piney, estery nose to it…Ohhh, that’s a good beer, starts out kind of marmaladey and sweet, and then it gets kind of clovey and dry…rustic, earthy, and hay[-like], wheaty. Beautiful, complex, very drinkable saison. First one came out awesome!”

Not to be left out, Bill sent us these tasting notes: “Fluffy white head is taut over golden incense burner of inviting aromas. Bright hops evident on the nose but deeper notes of oily sage also very apparent. Or was that the rosemary…? A sip and I am no closer to the truth but totally enthralled with this brew. It makes me hungry as the herbal flavors are both bright and savory with the lemony hops lifting all impressions. Body is firm and food friendly. Bon appétit!”

If that sounds up your alley, you should be able to find Saison du BUFF wherever you can find Stone. If you don’t get Stone, but you do get Dogfish Head or Victory, you’re in luck because Greg, Sam, and Bill will be brewing two more batches of Saison du BUFF, once at Dogfish Head on June 6th and again at Victory on June 10th. So keep your eyes peeled and your noses primed for this pungent, uniformity-smashing collaboration beer.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout gets blend-o-riffic!

Jacob McKean

2010 marks the 10th year we’ve brewed our darkest, most foreboding beer: Stone Imperial Russian Stout, the most recent incarnation of which will be released on April 19th. We take great pleasure in knowing that Imperial Russian Stout has brought its inky, formidable joy to the mouths of Stone fans for a full decade now, all the while accumulating a flattering collection of awards and praise.

In honor of this palate-pounding milestone, we decided to make something special in tribute to our beastly, luscious imperial stout.

A shadowy meeting was held to determine an appropriate honor for Imperial Russian Stout on its big anniversary. Since inspiration doesn’t come out of thin air, kegs of Imperial Russian Stout from 2003-2010 were hauled up from the depths of our archives, including a special bourbon barrel-aged version from 2008.

Stone President & Co-Founder Steve Wagner beging the daunting tasting process

Stone President & Co-Founder Steve Wagner beging the daunting tasting process

With such mighty vintages in attendance, it is little wonder that the idea of a blend—a cuvee de Escondido & San Marcos, if you will—was quickly decided upon. Beakers, pipettes, palette-cleansing fluids, and other blending implements were hustled into the room, and the alchemical process commenced.

After hours of rigorous tasting and fervent debating (and yet more tasting,) a final blend was decided upon.

Following the momentous assembly, a limited number of kegs of the new Stone Imperial Russian Stout 10th Anniversary Special Blend were mixed, with some set aside for archiving and a small amount placed in red wine barrels for aging. An even smaller quantity was diverted for yet another blend, dubbed “Stone Imperial Russian Stout—GK Madman Mix”, created by our own CEO Greg Koch.

For those eager to grace their palates with this historic fluid, the Blend goes on tap today at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

2010 Stone Old Guardian Set To Rock Your Palate

Jacob McKean

Monday marks the 2010 release of one of our biggest, boldest beers: Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. While the exact recipe for Stone Old Guardian is tweaked every year to fine-tune the flavor of this mammoth mother of a beer, the changes this year are a bit more substantial.

Have no fear, zealous Stone Old Guardian devotees, 2010 Stone Old Guardian is still the beer you know and love. But we like to keep things interesting—especially for those who like to hang onto beers and conduct vertical tastings down the road—so we’ve thrown a couple of compelling new ingredients into this year’s batch.

Mitch and the Brewing Team experimented with a new type of crystal malt made from a variety of British barley called Maris Otter. They were so pleased with the pilot batches made with Maris Otter crystal malt, that they decided to use it in the release version, giving the beer a slightly maltier, nuttier flavor (once again, no reason to fear: with 90 IBUs, it’s still menacingly hoppy.)

A rare photo of 2010 Stone Old Guardian in its natural habitat

A rare photo of 2010 Stone Old Guardian in its natural habitat

To go along with the new malt, Mitch decided to dry hop it with East Kent Golding hops, another traditional British brewing ingredient that wowed the Brewing Team in the trial stages.  I can attest that it does in fact smell like unicorn tears, as scandalous internet rumors have suggested.

So while these changes may push 2010 Stone Old Guardian in a somewhat more continental Anglophilic direction, it’s still every bit the brash, lusty American Barleywine of years past. In fact, we like to think the spirit of adventure exhibited by this year’s version is part of what makes it so frickin’ sweet.

Speaking of adventure, 2010 Stone Old Guardian is on tap at the Bistro this week for 2010 Stone Winter Storm, so if you get here before Saturday, you’ll get a chance to try it before the general release.

Ken Schmidt Hits the Road to Compete at the GABF

Matt Steele
Monday night we had a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) send-off party in the Bistro for Ken Schmidt, the gifted home brewer behind the Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter recipe. Local beer enthusiasts came by to wish Ken luck and to taste some of the delectable beer he’ll be competing with in the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF. Word on the street is that the beer is maturing nicely, with the coffee notes prevailing in the beginning and the coconut and macadamia nut coming on later as the beer warms up. Some starry-eyed beer geeks were so impressed with the beer and its creator that they even asked Ken to sign their bottles—proof that Ken is a bone-fide beer-lebrity now.

Ken Schmidt celebrating with fellow craft beer revelers in the Bistro on Monday night for our Ken Schmidt GABF Send-off Party

Ken Schmidt enjoying Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter with fellow craft beer revelers in the Bistro on Monday night for our GABF Send-off Party.

Word spread so fast about the deliciousness of the revered brew that all the cases allocated to the Stone Company Store sold out by 7pm Monday night. The beer only enjoyed a brief 8 hours of shelf life before every last bottle found it’s way into the anxious hands of local beer enthusiasts. The Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens also drained their allocated keg, so don’t expect to get it here any time soon (we are sometimes able to squirrel away a little for special appearances, so keep your eyes peeled for it in the future). Lest you now feel in the depths of despair, here’s some good news: we’re still distributing the beer to certain lucky locales, and we put together a list of places where you can find it. Southern and Northern California, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington, New York, and Colorado will all be getting some eventually, but it may not arrive until as late as mid-October, so ask your local specialty bottle shop and be patient. Our collaboration brews are notoriously low yield and extremely limited in availability, so count your blessings if you’re in one of the above locations.

Greg Koch celebrating Ken's victory at our AHA Rally and March Madness Competition back in March. Ken won the opportunity to brew his beer on our system and submit it to compete in the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF.

Stone CEO Greg Koch and Ken Schmidt toasting Ken's victory at our homebrewing competition back in March. Ken won the opportunity to brew his beer on our system with Garrett Marerro from Maui Brewing Co. and our very own Mitch Steele. He also won the chance to compete with the beer in the Pro-Am Competition of this year's GABF.

If you are fortunate enough to find Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter, then raise a glass to Ken for fashioning such divine nectar, and wish him luck at the GABF!

-Matt Steele

Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter – Mitch's Tasting Notes

Editor’s Note: Here are Mitch’s tasting notes for our upcoming collaboration brew, Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. You’ll be able to judge the flavor profile for yourself when the beer starts hitting shelves (in very limited quantities!) on September 21. Until then, enjoy Mitch’s take on this delicious brew!

Appearance:
Deep brown, opaque with a creamy light brown head of foam.

Aroma:
Intense Kona Coffee combined with chocolate malts. The toasted coconut is also prominent, and when combined with the coffee and roasted malts, helps make this beer’s aroma reminiscent of a chocolate macaroon!

Flavor:
Coconut is more intense in the flavor with the coffee notes fading a bit to the background. Roasted chocolate malt and fruity esters make more of an impact here also, and the finish is where the macadamia nuts come in. It’s amazing how the flavor changes as this beer travels across the palate, and how all three of the special ingredients make their presence known in different stages.

Palate:
Full bodied, rich and luscious. It is simply incredible how smooth and silky this beer is.

Overall:
This is just an amazing beer to taste. The 3 special ingredients, Kona Coffee, toasted coconut, and macadamia nuts combine wonderfully, and come across at three distinct stages of tasting this beer. Just a wonderful beer to relax with and drink slowly, especially while thinking about the islands!

The masterminds behnd the beer (from left to right): Garrett Marrero from Maui Brewing Co., Homebrewer Ken Schmidt, and Stone Head Brewer Mitch Steele

The masterminds behind the beer (from left to right): Garrett Marrero from Maui Brewing Co., Homebrewer Ken Schmidt, and Stone Head Brewer Mitch Steele

Bottles of Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter on the bottling line

Bottles of Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter on the bottling line

-Mitch Steele

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale: Mitch's Tasting Notes


The Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is a bit of departure from the last two Stone Vertical Epic Ale editions, which were golden in color. The newest one can best be described as a Belgian style Imperial Porter. The beer is deep brown, with intense roasted character provided by chocolate malt.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

During the brewing process, we also added dark candi sugar, vanilla bean, and tangerine peel to complement the flavors of the porter. The vanilla bean addition is fascinating, as it actually enhances the chocolate character from the roasted malts, and the candi sugar adds a nice hint of molasses flavor to the finish. The tangerine actually turned out to be quite subtle on the finish (and didn’t impart as much of an orange flavor as we reported earlier), and combines nicely with the chocolate malt character. We aged this beer on French Oak chips, which contributes a smooth and subtle woody undertone and even more vanilla flavors.

Mitch and the brew crew proudly displaying their newest creation

Mitch and the brew crew proudly displaying their newest creation. From left to right: Mitch Steele, Sean Brennan, John Egan, Jessica Gilman, Jeremy Moynier, Laura Ulrich, and Justinian Caire.

All in all the Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is a very complex beer, the flavors evolve and develop as the beer warms in your glass, making the enjoyment of it a very fun and delicious experience!

Appearance:
This beer pours deep brown with a thick, frothy, creamy head of tan foam.

Aroma:
Many layers, starting off with chocolate and coffee from the chocolate malt, and vanilla notes from both the vanilla bean and French Oak. A balanced oak flavor comes through in the mix. As the beer warms, the influence of the Belgian yeast is more evident, as tropical fruit and spice flavors become more pronounced.

Flavor:
Begins with chocolate roast malt character and vanilla. The vanilla accentuates the chocolate nicely. Layered in are banana esters, and hints of clove, and then the finish is a bit stronger on the oak with hints of molasses and citrus from the tangerine peel.

Palate:
Medium body, very complex, and finishes very smooth. The 8.6% alcohol is not overly evident, and the flavors blend together nicely.

Overall:
A delicious, complex beer. It should age nicely over the next three years, and the flavors should continue to meld together wonderfully.

-Mitch Steele


Editor’s Note: Look out for Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale on September 9, 2009, and check the website for the latest info.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Revealed


When I hear the term “epic,” I think of things like Beowulf and Jan Crouch’s hairdo. However, the term isn’t solely reserved for grandiose tales of heroism and towering pink wigs. It can apply to finely crafted beer too, as we’ve proven year after year with our Belgian-inspired Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. Beginning with the first release in 02.02.02, our Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is an eleven-year series with a new edition released one year, one month, and one day after the previous, culminating in a truly Epic vertical tasting on 12.12.12.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

The last few Stone Vertical Epic Ales have been lighter in color, but this year’s Ale is a sinfully dark Belgian Porter, and instead of using American hops like last year, we’re using two European hop strains: Perle and Magnum. Staying true to the series, this year’s batch also comes packed with some unique, mouth-watering ingredients. If you follow us on Twitter, you already know what some of them are. Check out what we tweeted on June 1st.

The ensuing deluge of fanatic @replies reaffirmed what we already know: Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is going to make sweet, sweet love to your palate. Before we allow you to spend too much time on any visual imagery from the previous sentence, let’s move right along and ask and answer the question “So how did this divine libation come into being?”

Our Head Brewer, Mitch Steele, had a dream. And that dream involved a beer with orange and chocolate in it. “I’ve always liked orange and chocolate,” said Mitch, “and always wanted to brew a really chocolaty beer with some orange in it.” Turns out that Stone CEO Greg Koch’s favorite childhood dessert was orange sherbet with hot fudge (fairly irrelevant really as that fact did not come into play in the creation of this beer, but instead was simply inserted by him as he was reviewing this blog post and no doubt is an attempt to simply see his name worked into the blog somewhere). The delicious combination of tangerine peel and chocolate malt lends the beer its orange-chocolate character, and the addition of vanilla beans actually enhances the chocolate character of the chocolate malt. Stone Assistant Brewer Jessica Gilman, who helped Laura Ulrich bring Mitch’s creation to life, confessed her love for the beer. “It was fun to brew, and the brew day actually went really well. When I was checking the gravity the other day, I couldn’t help noticing that it smells really good—the tangerine peel is CRAZY in that thing!” As if the beer wasn’t decadent enough, the brew crew decided to age it on French Oak, further enhancing the vanilla character and adding to the overall complexity. I’ll give you a moment to wipe up the drool. We’ll assume it’s from the description of the aroma and flavor, and not from the previous paragraph above that. Sicko.

Bottles of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale going through the filler

Bottles of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale going through the filler

With three more chapters to go in our Vertical Epic Ale series, our masterpiece is still incomplete. It’s still uncertain whether Beowulf will triumph valiantly over Grendel, or if that legendary pink wig will stand the test of time. But like with most Epics, the climax is usually the best part.

Hey, what? There you go again. That’s a perfectly legit word and doesn’t only mean that. Really, I’m starting to wonder about you.

Look out for Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale on Wednesday, September 9, 2009, and stay tuned for a detailed homebrew recipe.

-Matt Steele

bashah – The Black Double Belgian IPA by Stone and BrewDog

As posted on BrewDog’s Blog

01.08.2009

bashah - The Black Double Belgian IPA by Stone and BrewDog

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Graeme Wallace, Steve Wagner, Martin Dickie, Greg Koch and Mitch Steele. Just about to mash in!

Greg Koch, Steve Wagner and Mitch Steele, all of Stone Brewing Co. from California, have spent the last couple of days at BrewDog. Stone, and in particular the approach of founders Greg and Steve, was a huge inspiration to Martin and myself when we started BrewDog. For all at BrewDog, having Greg, Steve and Mitch over and brewing with us is pretty much like a crazy music fan being able to go on stage and rock out with their favourite band.

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Matteo Milan, Graeme Wallace, Stewart Bowman and Mitch Steele checking on the mash.

We brewed a special Stone-BrewDog collaborative beer, a double black Belgian IPA called bashah. We are going to release some more details about the beer itself later; there are a few pretty exciting twists to it.

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Matteo Milan (our Italian Brewer) prepared a stunning BBQ at the end of the brew-day; our brewing system is quite labour intensive so everyone worked up a good appetite.

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We had some amazing beers with our food including a 2003 Stone Vertical Epic and a 2003 Speedway Stout, oh and some Tokyo* (much to our amazement, drinking this beer did not lead to the downfall of Western Civilization). Narayanan gave us some excellent signing and Martin conducted a kick-ass whiskey and chocolate tasting. We also shot the first few scenes of a soon to be huge hit movie, The Bare Mitch Project, a porn-horror thriller starring Mitch Steele and Graeme Wallace shot in our very own Canteen of Death.

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Stars of the new movie: Graeme Wallace and Mitch Steele.

On Friday Greg, Mitch and I went lobster fishing, caught some mackerel then sweet-talked my Grandmother into cooking the mackerel when we got safely back into port. Other highlights of the visit included a beer and food extravaganza at Musa which is our favourite restaurant in Aberdeen and a tour and whiskey tasting with the guys from Duncan Taylor.

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Greg and Mitch doing some North Atlantic lobster fishing.

The label text for bashah was written by Greg and myself while driving to dinner on Friday evening, hopefully that is not going to show too much in the final copy!

We all had a blast brewing and hanging out with the Stone crew, for us their visit is the most exciting thing that has ever happened at BrewDog – it was a real privilege to be able to brew with our heroes!

The first release of the beer should be around mid September. Watch this space.

Greg Koch’s thoughts on the collaboration:

“James, Martin and the entire team at BrewDog really went to a lot of energy to show us a great time…and they sure did! We packed the two-and-a-half days (just 1 1/2 for Steve) solid. Castle visiting, distillery visiting, brewing, dining in a 150+ year old banana hanging warehouse in Aberdeen, selecting used single malt Scotch whiskey casks from a rare whiskey collector/broker (by tasting the whiskeys that used to be in them of course) for diversion of some of the bashah for aging, touring the small, lonely, windy roads of the countryside and seaside in Jame’s hold-on-for-dear-life driving style, BBQing at the brewery, lobstering and mackerel fishing w/James’ father and granddad (w/said mackerel subsequently being artfully cooked up by his epitome-of-hospitality grandmother), and finally as a testament to the sheer exhaustion at the end of the day: successfully falling asleep in the little hotel with the pub attached on Friday night at Midnight in the middle of horrid karaoke renditions of Bon Jovi songs in Scottish accents by the local, VERY inebriated town folk (We momentarily thought about checking out the pub, but then Mitch and I decided that the risk of accidentally offending the wrong soccer team — with something presumably as simple as a “sorry…what did you say?” — and thus leading to an even quicker “lights out” might not have been worth it.  Sure we would have risked it for a pint of BrewDog but they didn’t have the good taste to serve their beer, and we definitely weren’t going to go in for an uninspired pint of Euro lager! It’s not like we’d had a shortage of beer after all.).

“I definitely can’t wait to taste the result of ‘bashah’– the world’s first ever (as far as we know) commercially brewed Black Belgian Double IPA!”

-GK ( @StoneGreg )

Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans – Laura Ulrich’s Delicious Brainchild


Sure, Stone Smoked Porter is delicious by itself. No question. But it’s also pretty damn tasty with some artisanal vanilla bean ice cream in it. Hordes of Bistro-goers agree that our Real Beer Float made with Stone Smoked Porter and Niederfranks Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is out of this world. That’s exactly how Stone Brewer Laura Ulrich got the idea for Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans.

Around the time our Bistro first opened, Laura tried a Real Beer Float and had an epiphany—you know, the old light goes on above the head moment. “I don’t really like ice cream,” said Laura, “but I tried it and it was like nothing I’d ever had, and I said ‘I bet vanilla beans would be amazing in a cask of Smoked Porter.’” Laura presented her brilliant idea to our Head Brewer, Mitch Steele, and he agreed to try it. It was difficult to achieve the right beans-to-beer ratio at first, but our brew crew has nearly perfected it. “At first the vanilla beans were pretty potent,” said Laura, “so we cut back. We’ve cut back ever since.”

Stone Brewer Laura Ulrich with her prized creation

Stone Brewer Laura Ulrich with her prized creation

Laura used to get the vanilla beans for the brew from our Bistro kitchen. She would show up on the Bistro’s back porch like a poor stray brewer and beg for a few vanilla beans. Our kind kitchen crew obliged her for a while, but as the beer became more popular they finally told Laura to get her own vanilla beans. So she lined up a distributor, and the rest is history.

Thinking of adding vanilla beans to your homebrew? It’s super easy. Think of it like brewing a tea with vanilla beans and tossing it in your brew. Here’s how we do it:

-    Slice the beans down the side w/out slicing the whole bean in half
-    Open the beans and scrape out the goo
-    Cut up the leftover bean shells
-    Boil the goo and diced shells in water
-    Let it cool to the proper temperature and add it to your brew!

So why did Laura want to add vanilla beans to our Smoked Porter? Why fix it if it ain’t broke? “I think it’s just a little more rich,” said Laura. “The C02 with the vanilla beans just has that old school flavor to it—that flavor that you remember as a kid growing up and having a root beer float.”

Stone Smoked Porter Real Beer Float

Stone Smoked Porter Real Beer Float

Whatever your reason for enjoying Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans, be it nostalgia for a past era of roller-skating waitresses and root beer floats or plain old gustatory indulgence, you won’t be disappointed.

Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans is only available on special occasions in the Bistro and in the Stone Company Store for growler fills. Check out our growler fill schedule to see when it will be available again, and follow @StoneStore on Twitter for advanced notices on growler fills and Twitter-only specials.