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Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series)

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1,028 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,028
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.37%
Wants: 196
Gots: 117 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.24% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
35 IBU

2007 - 8.1%
2009 - 8.7
2010 - 9.02%
2013 - 9.8%

(Beer added by: GratefulBeerGuy on 01-22-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,028 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Onenote81
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a very thick deep black. There's a big frothy tan head resting on top. Great retention; left some lace spots on the glass. Scents of roasted malts, sweet cream, and milk chocolate.

Very creamy body. Carbonation level is low. This is just silky smooth. This is a very sweet Baltic. Mild coffee bitterness present, but this has notes of vanilla, chocolate milk, and a little grape on the finish. This isn't as bold as I expected, but it is still good nonetheless.

Onenote81, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of younger35
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this brew as an extra from naproxen. The last Smuttynose Big Beer I had was pretty darned weird. Hope this one is better lol. Drank from my Darkness snifter.

Appearance- Pours a pitch black with a decent one finger dark tan head. A decent enough collar remains along with a lightly spotty cap and some very light, random lacing.
Smell- Nice and chocolaty with loads of sweet milk chocolate and malted milk balls. A fairly strong molasses aspect as well as there is deep caramelized sugar smell. Maybe some coffee as well as there is a bit of a char. Gentle whiffs of vanilla and alcohol finish.
Taste- Starts with a big bold rush of extra roasted coffee and rich dark chocolate. A fair amount of caramel is evident as well right form the get go. A slight bitterness sneaks in toward the middle that's somewhere between a malty char bitterness and slight citric bitterness. The flavor is intense and as I get into my second glass it starts to get ever so slightly cloying. The finish is chocolaty still with a bit of alcohol that lingers.
Mouthfeel- Pretty rich beer with a nice fullness and super smooth creaminess. The alcohol really shows toward the finish of the beer and adds a touch of warming.
Drinkability- Pretty damned tasty brewski. It's fairly easy drinking and it's just chocked full of chocolaty goodness. It can get ever so slightly cloying towards the bottle of the bottle but nothing to crazy. Thanks much Aliza!

younger35, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of yesyouam
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Baltic Porter is a dense, brownish black beer with a tall, dense brown head with oily bubbles. It leaves very nice, even lacing. The aroma has notes of licorice, wood resin, molasses, dark roastiness and chocolate. It's pretty full bodied, smooth, fluffy, chewy, a little bubbly and the finish is slightly acidic. It actually tastes pretty dry and it's really well balanced with some bitterness. There are flavors of licorice, wood resin, coffee and dark chocolate. The slight sweetness comes in the aftertaste along with a resiny bitterness... and alcohol. It's very enjoyable and very drinkable. You could pass this off as an imperial stout. I got this 22 for four and a quarter.

yesyouam, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to azagthoth for sharing this one this past weekend.

A: The pour is dark brown, bordering on black with a fluffy brown head.

S: The aroma is good, if not a bit simple. A lot of chocolate and roasted malt with a bit of vanilla.

T: A wonderful chocolate flavor is the star of the show. Roasted malt and coffee provide a nice background and contrast of flavors.

M: Medium bodied with carbonation that is actually a bit on the lighter side.

D: I've had a few different Baltic porters and this one is easily the best. Great flavors and a nice body (rather than being thin and "lagery").

womencantsail, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of elgiacomo
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-rate of 2009 vintage with over a year of additional age. Dunno if it was the age, the previous bottle, or my palate, but I'm much more impressed with this beer now than I originally was.

Served at cellar temperature. Pours dark brown/black with a big foamy and frothy brown head that leaves some clumps of lacing and recedes to a wispy island and ring.

Aroma is a perfect blend of rich chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts with dark fruits of cherries, raisins, figs and black currants. Some anise, vanilla and a touch of oxidation round things out. Excellent strength.

Flavor is chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, cherries, raisins, black currants, anise, some vanilla, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and very little alcohol presence. Moderate sweetness. Very bold and robust flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy, medium to full bodied, with medium carbonation.

Probably the best American-brewed Baltic Porter I've had to date. Can't wait for this year's batch to come out!

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Oct 3, 2009

Bomber bottle, 2009. Pours very dark brown, nearly black, with a nice half-inch brown head.

Aroma is roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and a touch of sour milk.

Flavor is chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, with hints of dark fruits and vanilla. Alcohol bite is noticeable.

Full, creamy mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

Baltic Porters are one of my favorite styles, and while this is an excellent example, I feel it is a bit over-rated. Sinebrychoff (Koff) Porter is superior. Duck-Rabbit's is very good, but inconsistent. I've only had this one Smuttynose Baltic Porter, so I cannot commend on its consistency. Every Sinebrychoff I've had has been exactly the same, and is, IMHO, the best Baltic Porter out there.

Appearance 4, Smell 3.5, Taste 4, Mouthfeel 4, Drinkability 4, Score 3.9

elgiacomo, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of Jwale73
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 vintage. 22oz. bottle served in my New Belgium Globe glass. Poured the color of cola with a frothy, 1.5 inch tan-colored head embedded with craters and ringlets. Head eventually settles into a sold skim, with spots and slashes of lacing exposed during the tasting. Nose reveals dark chocolate up front with some dark fruit in the background. Taste follows nose, with the addition of a creamy quality, as well as a metallic hint, barely detectable towards the back - still mighty tasty I have to say. Mouthfeel is medium and lively with a slightly creamy texture towards the finish. This is a really delicious beer I have to say. I can't believe I waited so long to try this. A nice sipper on a cold night and a bargain to boot at $5.99. I love this brewery.

Jwale73, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of muscleonthewolf
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a small glass.

I held my glass up to light, and nothing shone through. Completely opaque, which I appreciate; the achievement of true density. The head was thin, a dark reddish-tan, but still some lacing as I emptied the glass.

Brown sugar smell? Dark malt; definitely a dark chocolate scent. Very good and thick.

Taste-wise, it's pretty smooth, though there is this coffee taste running around the mouth. Chocolate covered espresso beans?
Well, not THAT sweet, but the feeling is there. A bit of an alcohol tinge but not very pronounced.

Smooth and thick in the mouth. Bitter-ish aftertaste but not unpleasant.

I could probably kill two more of these bombers and be good. This drove me to put on my Weakling "Dead as Dreams" record and rock out. Any beer that brings out the black metal spirit is probably good one. Baltic, indeed.

muscleonthewolf, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of ThirstyBird
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Track 84 in Warwick RI
A - Super dark brown with mocha colored head that falls slowly.
S - Huge roasty malty, chocolaty nose.
T - Rich chocolate roasted malt. It finishes with a black licorice flavor.
M/F - Full body - thick and smooth. Carbonation on the lighter side
D - It is truly on of the world's best baltic porters in my opinion.

ThirstyBird, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this at Cobblestone's in York, PA, 22oz bomber shared with carlos - poured chilled in a pint.

A - Ebony w/ thick tan cap, tight bead and little lace, opaque color w/ rocky head

S - A rich aroma of dark cocoa, creamy vanilla and buttery toffee

M - Smooth creamy and light roasted w/ mild tinge of spice and alcohol

T - Malty w/ light truffle-like cocoa hints of toffee and nutty toasted notes w/ graham cracker tinges. The flavor is sweet w/ mild biscuit and burnt caramel.

D - A highly drinkable Baltic Porter, very smooth and clean, with mild alcohol effect on the palate - highly recommended

Slatetank, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of ProudBeerSnob
3.78/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into pint glass. Pitch black beer with standard tan colored head. Very litle lacing, but that's to be expected with the style.

Aroma is the weak point of this beer. very dry nose with some roated malt, but little else.

Taste is more complex. Roasted malt with notes of chocloate, which allowed it to pair quite well with a very dark chocolate with ginger. Mouthfeel is a tad thin for the style, but still quite drinkable.

Smuttynose makes solid beers. Though it is is not a great beer, it is a solid one that I will seek out again.

ProudBeerSnob, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this stuff..

Nice bible black color.
Enduring head and some lacing.

Nose has hints of caramel, coffee, toast, and a smattering of hops.

Flavor is robust- with generous hops bitterness and the toasted malt-- yet all well balanced because this beer is definitely a porter and not a stout. It's "weight" is also lighter on the palate than a stout.

Finish is a long lasting but not overpowering-- ending with more of the toasted malt than the bitter hops.

mouthfeel-- where's the other bottle?

dinrkability-- dittos.

Very enjoyable beer. Worth looking for it.. put it on the top of your beer search list!

gueuzeonhigh, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of animal69
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours an impenatrable ruby-black color w/ a thin lt. brown crown that dissipates quickly leaving a nice ring of broken lace in my snifter

S- a vinous woody/smokey dark roasted malt smell full of citrusy hops, a bit of a pecan/burnt toast in the mix, notes of dried fruit and licorice combined w/smoke come through as it warms

T- a very sweet smoky, dark roasted coffee flavor, a bit tart and burnt brown sugar-tasting but in a good way from the get-go, whole grain bread & bitter burnt toast give way to a "meaty" almost apple/orange mixed w/ soy sauce undertone when warmed, some serious hop play in between, finish is thick, smokey, mineral and a touch of chocolate and alcohol, a sweet combo IMO

M- a full body, a bit low on the co2 but not unexpected, very thick on the tongue

D- one of the best baltic porters, not even a blink when asked to drink

animal69, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of ScreamForMe
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Chris!

Pours black with a nice head. Lacing abounds.

Dark fruit and the others usuals associated with a Baltic abound. Nice hop presence in the back end.

Lovely mouthfeel to this brew. At just $5-$6 bucks for a bomber - if this were here in Seattle, I'd be picking up a few. Great stuff!

Next Review!

ScreamForMe, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque, abyssal black; like light is scared of it black. Muddy brown head wisps, collars and belches some lacey dribbles.

Roasty dark fruit, cocoa, Kahlua, and woody hop aroma. Lots of unfermented sugars. Taste is equally dark, deep, complex, and sugary. Roasty Nestle's Quick, molasses, and minor hop spice in back.

Bottomline: this is a big, bad-ass beer that gets up every morning and eats Jagermeister covered pancakes while listening to Slayer.

donkeyrunner, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of kbm
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours the black. Huge almond head with slow dissipation leaving a thin head ring on the side of glass. Good lacing.
Smell: Sweet dark fruits especially plumb. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, brown sugar and slightly boozy.
Taste: Follows the nose pretty closely. Roasted malt with bitter dark chocolate. Lasting coffee bitterness on the back of the tongue. There's a bit of warming booziness.
Mouthfeel: This has very sharp carbonation with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. This is a great mouthfeel for such a roasty beer.
Drinkability: Definitely not a gulper but pretty drinkable nonetheless.
Overall a wonderful beer and, imo, a great buy at $7 per bomber. Wish it was more available in California.

kbm, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of CHADMC3
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, and really more opaque body with an enormous cascading, frothy head that leaves a sticky tan lacing clinging to the inside of the glass.

Quite a diverse aroma that appears to include sweet malt, dark sweet fruits, perhaps even vinous, and sweet dark chocolate.

Delicious flavor highlighted by the chocolate malt as well as rich, roasted malt without seeming burnt, dark fruits close to the finish, and the faintest bit of hops at the end.

Medium to full in body and carbonation, very smooth, with a pleasant, and not overwhelming warming sensation.

This is an excellent example of the style, absolutely tasty and full of character. The flavor is rich, the brew is easy to drink and the 8.7% abv is buried.

CHADMC3, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of alpinebryant
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark oilcan black with a light tan head strong at first, then surrounding the edges as it went down.

Smelled of dark roasted malt, very sweet, fruit scent

Tasted very similar to smell. I am a fan of Baltic Porters usually related to the sweetness that I have found in the examples I have tried. This one holds up pretty well in the sweetness field with flavors of roasted grain, sweet malt, purple plums and raisin. Medium to thick mouthfeel with barley flavors providing a thicker body.

Drinkability on this is on par for what one would expect for a 8.7% baltic porter. Cannot drink it all night, but would love to be able to

alpinebryant, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

Pours near black with a gigantic creamy head that engulfs have the glass. Smell is musty roasted hops, almost has a sweaty shoe funkiness to it. Some chocolate cake and marshmallows, floral hops, and a nuttiness. Not bad.

The taste seems more like a classic RIS than a baltic porter. I often find this style to have an odd sweetness that turns me away, but this one is damn nice. Good chocolate cake background with a nice balance between the dark malts and hops. The body is nearly full, and there is tons of carbonation--perhaps a tad too much but the body makes up for it. This is a very solid beer. I really didn't have any expectations and came out of this wanting more.

alcstradamus, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of CoolJosh
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was generously shared by treyrab.

Pours an incredible viscous black body with a darker khaki head to match. Looks stunning, and similar to a great stout.

The smell is really roasty. Some nice bitter chocolate and a roasted saltiness really stand out well. These same characteristics carry into the flavor. Matched with a silky smooth mouthfeel, the flavors go far. Once again, Smuttynose fails to disappoint in their big beer series. I'm really falling for this brewery.

CoolJosh, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Looks like a struck match when poured into the glass with a thick, creamy brown froth, great retention, & above average lacing. The nose is pretty & sweet with aromas of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, coffee, alcohol, molasses, smoke, baking spices, dark fruit, & chocolate cake follow through on the palate with a pronounced roasted malt smokiness. The beer is dry, but sweet with a syrupy texture, creamy mouthfeel, long finish, and a smooth hop bitterness from beginning to end. Due to it's hop presence and roasted flavor, I could easily confuse this for a RIS in a blind tasting. From the Baltic Porters that I've had in the past, I would be looking for less of a hop presence, less of a roasted flavor, & more of a dark fruit characteristic found in traditional styles. Still, this is a fantastic beer & highly recommended!

BevMoAndrew, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours black with a small fizzy tan head.

Scent of rich dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malts, and sugars. A very rich scent with a strong sweetness, but not overly so.

Taste of rich dark fruit, bittersweet dark chocolate, roasted malts, charred oak, caramel, and sugars. The flavor adds to the scent quite well; the dry bitterness compliments the rich sweetness very well.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and oily with a good tight bite from the carbonation.

paco1029384756, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Wine Gourmet, Roanoke, VA. Poured in to a 22 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark, inky black, thick but not terribly thick-looking, giving rise to about one-and-a-half fingers of dense, foamy, cocoa tan head, a huge, mass of creamy, marshmallow-thick fluff that never really quite falls below one-finger, dense and sticky enough to cling to itself as well as it clings to the wall (so it sort of climbs up the sides of the glass). So, yes, the head retention is amazing, so naturally, the lacing is equally as impressive - waves and eruptions of thin, sticky, delicate snow cling firmly to the sides of the snifter perfectly. Very impressive.

Aroma: Sweet cocoa is strong, melding well with a huge quantity of toasty earthiness, dark fruits, rum raisin, prunes, slight brown sugar. Unfortunately (and hence the 4.0), as it warms, the booze begins to come out in this one in a way it doesn't even approach in the mouth.

Taste: A fantastic array of flavors, both complex and enjoyable. From the light - caramel, toffee, raw, whole saccharine notes - to the darker - dark toffee, espresso, full roast to French roast coffee, toast, and tons of bittersweet cocoa. A few peat smoke notes and tons of earth and dirt overtones accompany dark fruits - raisins, faint cherry notes - and a spicy, unusually strong hop presence. Any spiciness of an alcohol burn is buried in the hop bitterness, too, pleasantly enough.

Mouthfeel: Not terribly thick, though it's getting relatively close to that thick border. A great amount of embedded carbonation provides enough of a lift to where it melds wonderfully with the flavor components, however. A slight oilyness fails to in any way alter the creaminess of this brew, which is, well, creamy, particularly as it warms. Very nice.

Drinkability: I jumped back and forth between 4, 4.5, and 5.0 on every single category on this beer, and I mention this to suggest that there are a lot of intangibles about this beer. It changes a lot as it warms, and I believe the whole here is greater than the sum of its parts. A quintessential Baltic porter, this one hits all the right notes with few missteps, and comes highly recommended at a very reasonable and drinkable (stylistically speaking) 8.7% abv. Excellent.

CrellMoset, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of afausser
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours almost black, with a purple tint and about a finger of fluffy head (which is near white at the top and turns more of a mocha color near the bottom). The head dissipates into a thick ring around the glass. Extremely fine, golden lacing that quickly disappears.

Smell: Heavy aromas of bitter chocolate. Roast coffee, caramel, vanilla, and roasted malts. I'm also getting a slight scent of dark sweet fruits. As it warms, the fruit scent gets much stronger.

Taste: Predominantly coffee and molasses, with hints of chocolate and cherries. Plenty of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A lot of tiny carbonation. It's great. The alcohol provides a touch of warmth--just enough.

Drinkability: Goes down very easily. Excellent, and would love to have again!

afausser, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Absolute purists insist the style should be reasonably clear, with garish highlighting at least, and should be of a deep brown colour but not black. Such people might have a qualm or two with this one. It most certainly is black and so opaque, in fact, that it eclipses all traces of light. They would approve, however, of this frothy, persistent, ebony-coloured head (it's as if someone took a blow torch and caramelized a block of sugar over top the beer).

This is a familiar smell to anyone who frequents coffee or confectionery shops and it makes a most welcome scent for any dessert tray. Rich, bitter cocoa beans and gourmet coffee dominate the bouquet. But they are not alone. The list of performers also includes dark toffee, blackstrap molasses, caramelized brown sugar and black licorice. It's a star-studded playbill, hand it to Smuttynose for the good casting.

That combination results in an aroma that forms a type of magnet from which the nose cannot be torn away; there is a coinciding effect on the palate. And I'm beginning to suspect that hops are playing some role in all of this. It's hard to pay them any attention, however, with licorice-infused almond butter, dark toffee topped with currants and chopped bits of black cherries and fresh-roasted coffee distracting the taste buds.

For all its roasty, bitter flavours the beer is curiously not all that roasty, nor all that bitter. In fact, this has a very clean character, one (at least partially) ceded from the lager yeast used to ferment the beer. Despite all the dark chocolate, cocoa and coffee, there is little to nothing roasty or astringent about it - and nothing the least bit burnt.

All that being said, it certainly is more roasty (and bolder) than most for this style. It drinks, in my opinion, a lot more like an American porter than a Baltic one. The beer concentrates heavily on the bigger flavours (dark chocolate, black licorice, espresso) while largely excluding the sweeter (toffee, brown sugar) and more subtle (currants and dark fruits) ones. Hops also play an uncharacteristically large role in the whole production.

The only thing making me hesitate to call this an 'Imperial' Porter is that, even now that the beer has reached room temperature, it hides its alcohol masterfully. As much as it trumpets its big flavour it has managed to ditch the alcohol (or any perception of it, anyhow). I've come to expect nothing less from a brewer who has proven a master of both versatility and consistency. Another stellar offering from one of America's most stellar breweries.

biegaman, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of hooliganlife
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks kennyo!

pour was jet black, thick, light creamy head

lots of molasses with hints of vanilla and roasted malts. a touch of sweetness and dark cherries

again, lots of molasses. hints of roasted malts, charcoal, dark cherries, black coffee, and a slight bitterness.

very full bodied, and quite thick. lots of micro carbonation

this is a huge baltic porter with tons of robust flavor. it was pretty easy to drink although a bit of a sipper at the same time. superb!

hooliganlife, Nov 27, 2009
Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,028 ratings.