Beer Review: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Is A Must Have

image of Alaskan Smoked Porter 2011 courtesy of our Flickr page Over the weekend as we sat down, enjoying another college football game on the television, we took time to sample Alaskan Brewing's Smoked Porter.

Most people who seek out and consume this darkest of ales (and lagers) often associate color with alcoholic strength. However you’re mostly right in your assumptions. Believe it or not that darkest of Irish Stouts with that familiar name is only around 4.5%. That Schwarz beer you are enjoying with that tasty bratwurst or pork loin, around the same. However there are other so-called 'dark beers' out there that are to be respected.

So with that bit of trivia out of the way we wanted to remind you of a few, well respected, but definitely not to avoided beer. An annual tradition since the late 80’s, this beer has become the standard for whenever someone craves a smoked porter.

But you're probably asking yourself, so what's a smoked porter? Good question and we can only help you with this bit of info from the Brewers Association.

Smoke porters are chestnut brown to black in color. They can exhibit a mild to assertive smoke character in balance with other beer characters. Black malt character can be perceived in some porters, while others may be absent of strong roast character. Roast barley character should be absent. Medium to full malt sweetness, caramel and chocolate are acceptable along with medium to medium-high hop bitterness. These beers are usually medium to full bodied. Fruity esters are acceptable. Hop flavor and aroma may vary from being negligible to medium in character.

But now you're probably asking what makes Alaskan's Smoked Porter so special? Here's the brewery with that answer.

Brewery Description

The dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavor of this limited edition beer make it an adventuresome taste experience. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited "vintages" each year on November 1 and unlike most beers, may be aged in the bottle much like fine wine.

Introduced in 1988, Alaskan Smoked Porter has been credited with helping inspire an American revival of smoked beers. Alaskan Smoked Porter is one of the most award-winning beers in the history of the Great American Beer Festival and a perennial winner at the World Beer Cup.

Water, five types of malt, 2 varieties of hops and yeast with no adjuncts, no preservatives and no pasteurization. Our glacier-fed water originates in the 1,500 square-mile Juneau Ice Field. Prior to brewing, selected malts are smoked in small batches under carefully controlled conditions in a commercial food smoker using local alder wood.

Our Thoughts. You Must Have This. Another year of Alaskan Smoked Porter is here and we couldn't pass up another chance to see if anything has changed. For the most part there isn’t much that has changed about this beer.

Out of the bottle (or on draft) Alaskan Smoked Porter appears dark as night while it rests in the glass. Within the first minute a strong two inches of mocha-colored head forms. As it warms up the once confident mass featured on the ocean of darkness recedes leaving only small dots of lace throughout the glass.

Smelling you can recall memories of sharing a beer or conversation in front of a campfire. Notes of alder, chalk and dark fruit are prevalent in the sniff. Further analysis via a casual sip reveals notes of smoke, hints of molasses, citrus and overall roastedness. Overall Alaskan Smoked Porter has a medium to strong weight as it rests on the tongue during the initial swallow.

Thoughts by your Colleagues


In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.

About the photo’s author

Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.

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