Smoke Porter

Smoke Porter Beer Style: A Guide to Brewing’s Dark, Smoky Sensation

Reading Time: around 9 min

Smoke Porter beer is like the swashbuckling cousin of the ale world: it’s dark, it’s mysterious, and it has a smoky secret. Picture this: you’re sipping on a brew that whispers tales of ancient brewing traditions through its rich, malty flavor and that seductive hint of smoke. 

It’s not just a beer; it’s a history lesson in a glass.

So you want to brew this liquid campfire yourself? 

Get ready to cozy up to some seriously smoky malts and the perfect blend of hops. It’s like building a pyre for your taste buds. Only instead of firewood, you’re piling on grains that have been smoked over tantalizing woods like hickory or cherry. 

Trust me, even if your barbecue game is strong, this will up the ante.

Key Takeaways

  • Smoke Porter beer serves up history with a side of smoky flavor.
  • Key ingredients include smoky malts and a harmonious hop blend.
  • Pairing with food amplifies its unique taste, making it a culinary adventure.


The Rich Tapestry of Smoke Porter History

Smoke Porter is not just another beer; it’s a narrative in a bottle. Picture a blend of campfires and beer festivals stitched together by history. And you’ve got yourself a smoked porter. Let’s crack open the history keg and see what pours out.

London Porter and Its Smoky Offshoot

In the foggy streets of 1700s London, porter was the working man’s pint. Dark, robust, and as dependable as a sturdy umbrella. And you can thank the old, fire-belching kilns for that signature smoky whisper. The malts got their tan in a wood-fired kiln.

And no doubt you’d have caught a whiff of burnt biscuit roaming the London air.

That’s the cradle of our smoky buddy. You see, smoked porter dashes in like an old friend with soot on his boots. It’s essentially the lovechild of traditional porters and the impulse to grill anything and everything. 

Imagine the porter marching through time, picking up a smoldering stick along the way. What’s that in your glass? A slice of history with a hint of bonfire, that’s what.

Ingredients? Think malt with an attitude; brown malt or chocolate malt usually steals the show. Darker than a winter’s night in London. Toss in traditional English hops, and you’ve got yourself a swig of yesteryear.

American Craft Beer’s Smoked Renaissance

Fast forward to modern day, and a whole new bunch of brewers are stirring the smoked porter pot. The late 20th century brings us to Alaska and California, where the craft beer crusaders Alaskan Brewing Co and Stone Brewing are leading a revolution one smoky sip at a time. 

These guys are like the cool uncles of the beer world.

Wrapping the historic porter style in a new, hazy embrace.

This isn’t just beer; it’s liquid bravado. Alaskan Brewing Co. throws down the gauntlet with an alder-smoked version that pats you on the back and whispers tales of frontier life. 

And let’s not breeze past Stone Brewing who sets the bar high, or should I say, deeply roasted, with a porter that feels like eating a bar of dark chocolate in a forest fire. In the best way!

These craft beer champs are why when you think smoked beer now, you nod with respect to both the bygone British era. And a tip of the hat to America’s craft beer renaissance. Fire it up with smoked malts that have courted a more refined smoke. 

Think wood chips soaked in sophistication.

Grab a pint, because with every sip, you’re dancing through centuries of brewing mastery. Savoring the craft, the creativity, and the char. 

Smoke Porter Hops

Dissecting the Smoky Brew: Ingredients & Brewing Process

Thrust your senses into the realm of smoke porter beer, where the blend of traditional brew ingredients meets a dance of woodsy whispers.

Water, Malt, Hops, and Yeast: The Fantastic Four

Picture your typical superhero squad: water, malt, hops, and yeast. They’re the backbone of your smoke porter. Your quest begins with water, the unsung hero that can make or break your beer’s character. Lean on the soft side.

Too many minerals and your smoky elixir could end up tasting like old nickels.

Now, malt is where your smoky adventure truly kicks off. 

Think roasted barley, crystal, black patent, and the VIP, chocolate malt, coming together for a flavor that’s more complex than your relationship status. A pantheon of smoked malts, often wood-smoked, will give your beer that fireside chat essence. 

Careful though. Excessive smoked malt can turn your drink from a smoky treat to…

…feeling like you’ve licked an ashtray.

Key Malts for Smoke Porter:

  • Roasted Barley: Adds coffee notes.
  • Crystal: Sweetness for balance.
  • Black Patent: Deep, dark color and a hint of bitterness.
  • Chocolate Malt: Rich, dark chocolate flavors.
  • Smoked Malts: The smoldering heart of the brew.


Hops are next, and here’s where you play it cool. You’re not making a bitter hop bomb, but a gentle giant with a touch of hoppy grace. Choose varieties that complement, not overpower the malt’s smoke and Chocolate Malt rhapsody.

Yeast is the silent ninja, turning your sweet wort into a boozy delight. For smoke Porters, you want a clean yeast that lets the smoke and malt flavors shine, not a spotlight-stealer.

Hopping Amounts and Stages

Alright, smoky sensation seeker! 

Ready to brew a Smoke Porter that’s got more layers than an onion wearing a parka? Buckle up, because we’re about to hop into a world where the campfire meets the keg.

First off, let’s talk about our hop headliners. For your Smoke Porter, you’ll want hops that don’t steal the spotlight from the smoky malts but still have enough gumption to say, “I’m here, and I’m fabulous”. 

Enter East Kent Goldings, the British gentleman of hops.

Bringing spicy whispers and a touch of honey. And for a bit of American flair, why not throw in some Willamette? It’s like a jazz musician’s smooth riff in the middle of a rock concert.

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks. When your brew pot’s rolling with a boil, toss in 1 ounce of East Kent Goldings for a bitter baseline that’s as steady as a metronome. 

This goes down when the boil starts, setting the stage for all that smoky goodness.

But don’t wander off yet! 

With 15 minutes left in the show, it’s time for Willamette’s solo. Add another 0.5-0.75 ounces to give your Smoke Porter a finish that’s as smooth as a velvet smoking jacket. It’s a subtle nudge, not a shove.

Complementing the smokiness like a fine cigar.

The Intricacies of Smoke: Wood-Smoked Malt and More

The magic in the smoke lies in the malt and the specific wood used to smoke it. Each wood type plays a symphony of flavors, so pick your ensemble carefully.

Wood Types for Smoked Malts:

  • Cherry Wood: Fruity undertones.
  • Hickory: Bold, bacon-like vibe.
  • Oak: Subtle vanilla hints.
  • Mesquite: Intense and sharp.


Selecting the wood is like choosing the bassline for your favorite track. It sets the rhythm for the smoke flavors. For an authentic touch without setting your kitchen on fire, buy pre-smoked malt. 

But for the die-hards, smoke your own grains over your chosen wood.

Remember, you’re the artist here, and your smoke porter recipe is your canvas. Play with the levels of smoked malts to find your perfect match. Keep it subtle or take your taste buds camping; it’s all in your creative, beer-loving hands. 

Just keep those flames of passion for brewing as high as the smokiness level you desire. 

Cheers to the smoky brew!

Smoke Porter Beer Style

Analyzing the Anatomy of Taste: Flavor Profile & Food Pairings

Let’s take a wild ride through the bold world of Smoke Porter, where each sip whispers tales of firewood and sweet indulgence.

A Symphony of Aromas and Flavors

Oh, you think you’ve tasted bold before? Wait till you get a mouthful of Smoke Porter. Smoke isn’t just whimsy here. It’s the headliner, doing a tango with the standing ovation of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel notes that follow. 

The malt base is like a cozy blanket of complex carbs, offering hints of nuts and toffee. While hops skip in with just enough bitterness to keep things interesting. Every gulp carries a robust yet harmonious balance, dancing a fine line between a smoky campfire sing-along…

…and a decadent dessert bash.

  • Malt Base: Robust, caramel, chocolate
  • Hop Character: Balanced bitterness
  • Aroma: Smoked wood, chocolate, vanilla
  • Taste Notes: Chocolate, vanilla, nutty toffee, and of course, smoke


The Dynamic Duos: Perfect Food Partners

Pairing food with Smoke Porter is like finding the yin to its yang. It’s a match made in taste bud heaven. Imagine slicing into a grilled sausage, and as it sizzles, your Smoke Porter stands by…

…ready to swoop in with its smoky caress.

Or picture diving spoon-first into a deep-dish of bread pudding. Where caramel and chocolate from your Porter sing backup to the main act. 

When it comes to cheese, go bold or go home! 

A sharp cheddar will high-five the robust flavors in your pint.

Top Food Pairings:

  • Savory: Grilled sausage, smoked brisket, sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sweet: Bread pudding, chocolate lava cake, toffee desserts


Grab your fork, and let’s dig in!

Beyond the Barrel: Culture and Commerce

You’ve tasted the robust flavors, now let’s talk about Smoke Porter’s swagger in the world of craft beer where it’s not just about what’s in the barrel but also what surrounds it.

Popularity Contest: Ratings and Top Commercial Brews

When you’re tracking down the crème de la crème of Smoke Porters, ratings can be your treasure map. Let’s not beat around the bush; everyone wants to know which brews are the talk of the town. 

A quick peek at beer rating platforms can show you that Smoke Porter carries a mystique that only a brew infused with the essence of a cozy campfire can.

Brewery Name

Beer Name

Avg. Rating

Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaskan Smoked Porter


Stone Brewing

Stone Smoked Porter


Hill Farmstead Brewery

Fear and Trembling


Surly Brewing Co.




Remember, these numbers aren’t just digits.

They’re badges of honor, proving that Smoke Porters can stand tall next to any double IPA at a tap takeover. Your buddies at Yazoo Brewing Company and O’Fallon Brewery have been slaying it, consistently scoring past the 3.5 mark. 

Who wouldn’t want a piece of that action?

The Right Glass for the Class: Serving Up Style

You wouldn’t eat a steak with a spoon, right? So, let’s not disrespect a Smoke Porter by pouring it into just any glass. To appreciate the cascading colors and sniff the smoky whispers, you’ve got to suit up with the proper glassware.

  • A nonic pint glass will do your porter proud, giving it just enough room to flaunt its heady aromas.
  • If you’re feeling fancy, a snug tulip glass can concentrate those scents and flavors, making each sip a fireworks display for your senses.


Remember, the right glass can be the difference between saying “that’s nice” and “shut the front door, where has this beer been all my life?” 

Cheers to making every sip count!

Picture of Damian


A lifelong learner, hop enthusiast and a lover of the state of extreme exhaustion.

Finance Analyst in the Investment Bank and co-founder of