Baltic Porter - Uncommon Brewers

Not Rated.
Baltic PorterBaltic Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

174 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 174
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 12.7%
Wants: 12
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Uncommon Brewers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: illidurit on 01-31-2009

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 174 | Reviews: 88
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A serviceable Baltic Porter, picked up fresh recent trip to PA. Pours a bit thick with a bittersweet chocolate scent. Above average mouthfeel. Very drinkable, a little bitter it could use more, a nice roasting. Nice drinkability, 473 ml can provides a good amount to be be shared by two.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned on 2/17/12.

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cookie dough, and some herbal/spice/licorice notes. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, cookie dough, and just a slight hint of the licorice/anise it was brewed with. There is a mild roasty and herbal bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some really solid aromas and flavors. Quite tasty and easy to drink.

Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark red (close to near black) in color. It poured with a two and a half finger high tan head that has good retention properties and consistently left a half finger high head covering the surface.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of anise and licorice in the nose; these intensify as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some notes of roasted malts and hints of chocolate. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a high amount of carbonation. The beer seems a little thin for the style.
O: This beer tastes like a hybrid between a classic English porter (given its lighter body and lack of bitterness) and a Russian Imperial Stout (with the flavors of licorice and roasted malts). Any traces of alcohol are well hidden from the taste. You really need to let his beer warm up in order to enjoy its aromas and flavors.

Photo of brentk56
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours out with an opaque licorice-colored liquid that is topped by a somewhat thin mocha head; a decent amount of lacing clings

Smell: Sweetened chocolate and licorice tones; a very subtle hint of dark fruit

Taste: Sweetened chocolate, up front, with hints of caramel, coffee and a vague sense of prune developing; the finish is rather sweet and lacks complexity

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer though it seemed a bit one-dimensional to me; as others have noted, it has elements of other styles (at first it seemed a bit like a dubbel but that faded as the beer warmed) but then finished with a more chocolatey American style

Thanks, bytemesis (from the other site), for the opportunity

Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can. A purportedly traditional Baltic Porter, but with amped-up anise and licorice root additions. Sounds like a lark to me.

This beer pours a clear (I guess) very dark brown colour, with slight reddish cola highlights, and two fingers of puffy, foamy tan head, which leaves just a low berm of lace around the glass as it quickly sinks away.

It smells of sharply roasted caramel malt, earthy, kind of vegetal black licorice root, a whiff of BBQ smoke, and an underlying sweet alcohol twinge. The taste is nicely toasted caramel malt, some more lingering meaty smokiness, semi-sweet exotic star anise, on an even keel with more mundane earthy black licorice, hints of savoury spice, a wavering underlying meek sourness, and understated, but eagerly supportive leafy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is sturdy, but at the same tame forgiving, the body a decently innocuous medium weight, and a tad creamy in its only rarely punctured smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, that aspect of the licorice/anise really holding sway, with the malt and undervalued hops quietly going about their business.

An agreeable old-world porter, jazzed up with the proclaimed, and indeed actual (yay, truth in advertising!) licorice boost, which plays out in an even-handed manner, so much so that I don't even really notice it after a while, which is another feather in this offering's collective cap. Worthy of a try, if not more.

Photo of emerge077
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can from Maiden Publick House, dated 06/01/2011.

Poured into a stemless wine glass. Black with chestnut edges. Loose and fizzy tan foam, dissipates fast. Soda carbonation around the edges, loose ring that clings to the sides. Loses steam a bit too fast, glassy surface with clusters of soda bubbles.

Smells like a baltic porter, straight up. Cocoa, coffee, licorice, hits all the signature notes.

Roasty malts, chicory, ashy, bakers chocolate. Lingering bitterness from the roasted malts, lending an impression of mild coffee and dark chocolate. This was surprisingly good, medium bodied and easily drinkable.

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a khaki head. The nose is roasted malt, dark fruit, and some mild licorice. I get a bit of coffee, maybe a little bit of chocolate and grain sweetness. Light bitterness on the palate, presumably from the roasted malt. Licorice, burnt sugar, and dark fruits give some sweetness.

Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tall boy cans, hell yeah!

Pours a nice creamy darker 1+ finger head that fades semi slowly with nice lacing, over pretty much pitch black beer.

Nose of loaded with choc and roast, some toasted malts not crazy chartered, with light coffee. Most of all the chocolate, bakers, dark, cocoai powder, and bit of choc milk. Light earthy hop brings light bitter aroma. Then some caramel, light vanilla, and a nutty nutmeg like aroma round it off. As it warms a hint of licorice.

Taste starts with more dark malts, luscious creamy malts, light roast again without the bitter char and light coffee. then more chocolate although less than the nose, bakers and powdered cocoa mostly. A light burnt like black patent malt flavor is there too. Creamy milky chocolate leaks its way in with a light bitterness and light earthy hops. A light warming booze also sneaks in, with the late caramel, vanilla, and again light nutty malt. Finish is still creamy but not quite as dry as I expected but still drier, more chocolate and light roast, light booze, caramel and vanilla all linger.

Mouth is med to heavier bodied, creamy and luscious, lighter but decent carb, done warming booze.

Overall very impressed actually, wasn't expecting much from a brewery I have barely heard of and from a can, but they did the malts very well without the burnt roasted flavor. Nice chocolate, black patent, light coffee vanilla and caramel, and light nutty, light hops, creamy smooth and drinkable with a light booze kick. Very nice.

Photo of Kegatron
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can into a tulip glass.

Pours black in the glass, topped with several thick fingers of light mocha head. This retains with a rich and frothy ½ finger, which leaves back soapy lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is fairly forward up front with chocolate and caramel flavors, which in turn give away to notes of dark pithy smelling fruit and ripe green citrus, before finally trailing away into a smoky roasted tanginess in the back of the nostrils. This has some depth to it.

The taste is similar, with notes of dark fruit, acrid roasted character, and a green citric bitterness that is balanced by a hefty dose of sticky chocolate sweetness. A LOT of smokiness from the malts starts to emerge as this warms, lingering in the finish with some meaty character and an earthy feeling bitterness that sticks to the tongue. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied and while initially sharp on the tongue, this does smooth out a great deal on the edges of the feel. Maybe a bit too much, as this is ultimately coming off as a touch too light, to the point that it unfortunately does start to distract away from the flavors a bit. Alcohol is well hid for close to an 8.0% ABV, so fortunately not is all lost with the body.

I mostly liked this, with the fruit, roast, hops, and sweetness, all coming together to give this a relatively full flavored ripe and bitter feeling tanginess. The lightness of the body does hurt this a bit but the alcohol is well hid, which helps out in the long run. It’s not the best example of the style but it’s worth checking out if you run by a can.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lol. A baltic porter in can?? Gotta be a first. This is a rare style to see in production. And this one certainly does it justice. It certainly is carrying all of the trademark characteristics I expect for the style. Profile is smooth and consistent. I like this one a lot. No, it doesn't really hold up perfectly against the many other examples of the style I have had, but it is definitely a well made interpretation. Not many American brewers can really touch this style, from what I have seen. (This is an exception.)

Photo of mactrail
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After popping the top you get a big foam-up. Then it's quite beautiful with the abundant creamy head and lacing. However, my first thought is what was that theater candy with the intense licorice flavor? (Black Crows.) Aroma is more licorice. Flavors of black pepper, pencil shavings, and burnt toast. Very dark roast malt with a little sweetness, but it's overwhelmed by that enormous winey charcoal taste.

As a dissenting opinion, I find this tough to drink. I admit it's interesting and spicy, and the frothy mouthfeel is nice. However, the bitter, metallic finish is harsh. 16 oz cans from the Jug Shop in San Francisco.

Photo of kojevergas
3.07/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 fl oz aluminum can served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings, though I'm skeptical. Dated 17/2012 at the bottom (it's possible the month faded with moisture in the refrigerator).

Not paired with food.

Served slightly warmer than refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki-tan head of okay cream, pretty decent thickness, and bad retention (though the ABV is high). Colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. A predictable appearance for a porter.

Sm: Licorice, spices, cream, light roast, and dark malts. A very mild strength aroma.

T: Cream, dominant licorice (vaguely evocative of something like Jagermeister), dark malts as the foundation, vague hints of spice, root, and very light drowned out roasted barley. Balanced fairly well, but it owes that to its simplicity. Not particularly complex or subtle. The brewers would have us believe their usage of licorice is unique, but that isn't the case. It's far from uncommon. That said, it's an enjoyable beer in the style and I do like it. It just isn't all that impressive. Full-bodied from overmalting rather than rounded out flavour.

Mf: Smooth and wet in classic porter fashion. Any cream comes through only in the third act. Too wet. Overcarbonated. Too thick for the lack of flavour.

Dr: A drinkable little baltic porter with a nice licorice kick. Drinks impressively well from the can. I'd get this again, ideally on draught or nitro, but it's not a great beer by any means.

A decent candidate for aging.

Might pair well with chocolate, toffee, toast, or caramel.

C+

Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good beige head that leaves some streaky ring lace. Very dark brown where no light shines through. The head settles to a thin layer of

Near coffee notes, meaning that the coffee is mild contributing to a more mocha aroma because of the cocoa. Light hop nose, this is almost all coffee.

The flavor is a full semi-sweet chocolate flavor. The aftertaste is chewy from the thick body and lots of cocoa. Predictable flavoring of cocoa and mild alcohol. The body is neutral with an average carbonation.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an extremely dark garnet red (almost black) in color with some very dark amber notes when held up to the light and light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a three finger tall dense tan head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of licorice/anise over moderate notes of dark roasted malts and just a hint of alcohol.

T: Strong flavors of licorice/anise over the top of moderate dark roasted malts, chocolate, and just a tiny hint of dark fruits.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Seems a little off from the traditional Baltic Porter style, more of a combination of an American/English Porter and a Russian Imperial Stout. The alcohol is well hidden in the flavor though slightly present in the aroma. Not the easiest beer to drink but can be enjoyed by slowly sipping - also, the flavors are much more pronounced as the beer warms.

Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

More CANned beer from a once-obscure brewery in north-central Cali! I love being the founder of The CANQuest (TM) because it has left me attuned to (seemingly) any brewery that is putting their beers into a CAN. I had some of their Siamese Twin Ale a couple of years ago and was mighty impressed. Let's hope the trend CANtinues.

From the CAN: "Late in the 18th century Britain's great brewing families were working hard to break into new markets. For the Baltic Sea ports they created an eport version of the traditional British Porter. Styled like an IPA to preserve them for the voyage, those profound Baltic Porters served to ward off the chill winds of that northern sea. That said, we weren't satisfied with the Baltic Porter's traditionally subtle hint of black licorice. This ale features a blend of whole licorice root and star anise to create an uncommon addition to that traditional export Porter's hearty character."; "Ale brewed with Licorice and Star Anise"; " Our beers are unfiltered, unpasteurized and undoubtedly uncommon. They're designed to grow over time as they age. Store in a cool place and witness the change."; "Uncommon Brewers - In 2002 we set out to discover the forgotten potential of an ancient beverage all too often taken for granted. Uncommon Brewers was born out of that exploration. Our products are sourced whenever possible from local farms and growers. Some are even harvested by hand from the hills of Northern California."

The Crack & Glug produced one of the most intimidating beer that I have ever had come out of a CAN! It was dense and black with a finger of defiantly thick deep-brown head that seemed impervious to humidity or anything. It had the best staying power of any head I CAN remember. Color was a deep, dark brown/black with only cola highlights at the edges. Nose smelled like licorice, simply put. I was reminded of my mother's love of Twizzlers Nibs when I was a kid, but I had to be desperate to want to eat them as black licorice was not my bag as a kid. Nor is it today, but in terms of innovation, I have to give the brewers major props! Damn, this beer really made my taste buds sit up and take notice. I really could not get much more than the anise flavor from this beer, but that, coupled with its thick mouthfeel, was enough. The finish was like I had just chewed up a bag of black licorice. Phew! One was puh-lehn-tee, but what a one. No way is this going into any cooler but the one for Hula in the Coola Day (01 Feb, annually), when it will help to break the winter doldrums. Kudos for taking such a chance!

Photo of Halcyondays
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a full light tan head, good lacing in this one.

S: Seductive, rich notes of dark chocolate and mild espresso I really liked.

T: Big notes of chocolate, almost opulent, rich cacao. Mild burnt sugar, molasses and French roast coffee in there as well, but the chocolate dominates.

M: Smooth, rich, soft carbonation, ethanol is nowhere to be found, but the big flavours make it a sipper.

D: This is a real nice beer from Uncommon, probably my favourite from them so far. Just a beer to enjoy and think about.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Avenue Bar & Cigars for $3 a pint, on to the beer:

Obsidian in color with a large head created on the pour, though retention and lacing are merely adequate. In the aroma, a little fudge and some licorice greet the nose.

The tastes of licorice, unsweetened chocolate, and pinches of leafy hop and brushes of alcohol put this beer on the 3.75 mark, but the pleasant aftertaste of fudge are enough to warrant rounding up. Body is leaning towards heavy, fairly smooth. A pint is plenty, or at least in the short time span I had to drink this.

A return to Santa Cruz and its Uncommon Brewers has come in reward with this Baltic Porter. Glad my spontaneous instinct got me into that bar in the first place.

Photo of tempest
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split a 16oz can with a friend. It poured dark brown with a light tan head. I liked the mix of roasted, cocoa barley and mild esters in the aroma. The flavor, however, gets a bit thin for the style and the fruit falls out with just the roast left. Something's off, maybe a little too much alcohol taste, or maybe it hasn't aged well. It's close to being a good beer, but isn't quite there.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. If I love beer in cans in general, you better believe I love a canned baltic porter.

Pours an oily brown colour, with a surprising thinness to the body. Head forms a flush of brown cola-foam initially, but quickly flakes out and becomes an almost immaterial ring around the edge. Some weak, bubbly carbonation lends again that sense that it's really quite thin. I'm unimpressed.

Nose is dark and roasted, but not overwhelmingly so: underneath are notes of liquorice, and a related booziness like ouzo or raki. There's a slightly tannic overtone as well perhaps, a brusque burnt tea-leaf or red wine sediment character. Despite all of this, it maintains that reedy thinness. It's ok, but not really actually good.

Taste is certainly a little better, with a roundness giving a nutty flavour on the mid palate and towards the finish. This melds with and sometimes masks the aniseed character, and the harsh tannins which threatened to invade on the nose. Spicy finish leaves a nice bite, before that pleasant nut character smooths and lingers.

Feel is pleasant enough, but still lacking a little body.

Fortunately, the beer has redeemed itself by the end. That nut character which appeared out of nowhere provided coherence and structure, and blended the flavours of the beer into a sensible whole. Without it, it would be a very different story.

Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 16 oz can from Anderson's in Toledo. Dug out from the back of the fridge.

A: The porter is deliciously dark, deep brown-black no matter how you look at it. The first pour generated a thick, cascading head, deep tan and very attractive.

S: Stark but sweet, the baltic porter brings deep roasted malts that have a decided legumey-chocolatey edge to them. The sweeter milk chocolate aromas are the stand out.

T: The sweet milk chocolate and cocoa continue in the first sips. That sweetness pairs nicely with the underlying darkness, roasted as it is. The starchiness is also evident, running throughout the porter. Despite the significant head, carbonation seems to have been tamped down. And, oh yeah, a boozy heat runs right through the middle of the ale, a peppery blast. The spiciness, bold and chocolatey is very nice. An excellent Baltic porter.

M: Good until the heat wave arrived. After that, I was sold by the peppery heat. Uncommon indeed, I wish that I had a few more cans lying around.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a very dark ruddy brown amber with a nice finger of light brown head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of chocolate, toasted mallt and a hint of cherry and anise. Flavor of light fruit esters, toasted malt, licorice and hint of chocolate and cherry. Finishes with an interesting wave of toasted malt and more fruit, leaving a long, pleasant and spicey aftertaste. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Not quite a traditional Baltic porter, but I found the uncharacteristically estery fruit component was very nicely balanced with the malt and spices. Pleasant and well done.

Photo of Derek
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like a can of iced-tea!

A: Black with a bubbly tan head, thin ring of retention, shows a little leg.

S: Molasses, roasted nut, salted licorice, pumpernickel rye bread, light floral & herbal hopping.

T: Molasses, almost dark rum-like, pleasant licorice (not overdone), roasted nut, pumpernickel rye, dark raisins; the herbal & floral hops come across in the flavour as well (nugget & hallertau, I dunno, it's different), a bit resiny, solid bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

M: Slight hint of residual sweetness, with a slightly drying, chalky finish. Perhaps a bit thin & over-carbonated.

D/O: A nice brew... something I'd love to try on cask.

Photo of flagmantho
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz tall can into a pint glass.

Appearance: dark ruby-brown with a haze-free body and strong effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam which is holding up pretty well. An attractive brew.

Smell: darkly malty with a little bit of chocolate and dark fruit; there's a phenolic hint here which really reminds me of a dubbel. I'm also getting a vegetal hint that I don't like too much; so, not bad, but it could be cleaner.

Taste: a little more phenolic in flavor than the aroma. This is not strictly a bad thing, but the beer's other complexities get lost between this and the alcohol. Once again, it could be cleaner.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big, mouth-filling creaminess. Great!

Overall: this is an interesting beer; it really does remind me more of a phenolic, hot dubbel than a Baltic porter. Unfortunately, it's just a little too hot and messy to be great.

Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The legend woodychandler hooked me up with yet another canned beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a pitch black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some licorice. Taste is of roasted malts, some anise and licorice coming through. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality brew.

Photo of wordemupg
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml can poured into tulip 27/7/12

A dark cola nearing black, the cola look is extended but the gone in a flash foam that leaves no lace

S anise and licorice, some rootbeer and a little booze I don't get a whole lot else but its decent

T some char and smoke with some cold espresso to go with everything I smell, its an improvement over the nose

M a little thin but far from water, carbonation gives it some life and there's just a little heat

O decent beer with good flavors and decent in other areas, you must love licorice to enjoy this at all, my complaint is the licorice notes overpower the dark malts

reminds me of pop but the booze hitting my head reminds me that this is strong beer, a little over the top with the adjuncts but a respectable beer

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Baltic Porter from Uncommon Brewers
85 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.