Aphotic Baltic Porter - High Water Brewing

Not Rated.
Aphotic Baltic PorterAphotic Baltic Porter

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

50 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 50
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 2
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
High Water Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DaveHS on 01-12-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Aged in a combination of Elijah Craig 18 Yr Bourbon and Gallo Family Reserve Brandy barrels.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 19
Reviews by aasher:
Photo of aasher
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I received this beer in a box from New Hampshire last week.

Aphotic pours a full bodied dark chocolate brown with a two finger, very smooth and creamy dark khaki head. The head looks great. It is Yeti esque. The nose is pretty simply. It features dark roast, dark chocolate, bitter baking chocolate, and it has a "different" oak element. The flavors are big and roasty. It features plenty of dark roasted malt, bitter cooking chocolate, oak, and it has an odd and vinous grape character. The alcohol is pretty well hidden. Really, the flavors are pretty well balanced. I don't get any bourbon at all, from the nose or flavors, but I could pick out some brandy. It's not over the top but it's there. Overall this is a decent beer, solid all around, but nothing too crazy. I'd prefer a few standard Baltic Porters to this BA Baltic.

More User Reviews:
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours opaque black, living up to its name, with a one finger light brown head that fizzed and dissipated at first, but settled into a thick brown cap with lots of lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate, light vanilla and a hint of cherry juice. Flavor of toasted malt, coffee, vanilla, licorice, chocolate and a hint of dark stone fruit with a nice lingering char, hop bitterness and hot cocoa in the finish. Lighter in body than expected for its complexity, closer to medium bodied. Quite a bit going on in this porter, with some mild fruit flavors that may be from the brandy barrels, but are perfect for a Baltic porter. Flavor starts with a thin roastiness, but develops a more integrated dense malt and chocolate flavor that then fades into the roasty, lightly charred hop finish. Nice flavor progression. I'm not getting much barrel influence here, but it may contribute to the complexity of flavors. I really liked this porter and hope it gets brewed again.

Photo of rlee1390
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Black with a two finger almost brown head with some lacing.

S-Oak, chocolate, roasted malt, slight coffee and a tad vanilla.

T-Starts with oak and bourbon. Rounded out with roasted/burnt malt. Tad but of coffee. However something is off.

M-Light and well carbonated, overly carbonated for a porter.

O-There is something off with this beer. Not sure what exactly it was. I wish I knew what it was but it was off putting.

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

Porter aged in oak barrels. Vintage 2011

A-Pours inky black with mahogany highlights and a thin, tight coffee colored head. Leaves very minimal stringy lacing down my snifter.

S-Mouth watering aromas of coffee and dark chocolate up front. Whole wheat toast, vanilla bean, lightly toasted American oak.

T/M-The flavor profile leads with bittersweet flavors of cacao nib and coffee. Roasty malts intermingle with assertively dry hop bitterness. The label doesn't indicate whether or not this was aged in bourbon barrels, but there is definitely a bourbon-like vanilla/oak flavor on the back end. Thin caramel sweetness emerges as it nears room temperature. Medium to full bodied with moderate, supportive carbonation.

O-A tasty Americanized Baltic Porter. I like the inclusion of a big hop profile. This will probably age very well.

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood Brewing

Pours nearly black in color with a khaki head. Smells of roasted malt and dark fruit to begin with. Lots of licorice notes and perhaps some vanilla from the oak. A good chocolate and coffee aroma, too. The flavor is more impressive than the nose. Good roast, chocolate, and coffee with a more pronounced vanilla and oak flavor. A little bit of cocoa as well as some toffee sweetness. The body is a bit thin, unfortunately.

Photo of kojevergas
2.83/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2011 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the style.

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

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a two finger head of nice tan colour, good cream, good thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Colour is a solid nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visibile, but then it's nontransparent... Opaque (or aphotic, if you prefer).

Sm: Light roasted malts, cream, hints of acidity, and slightly pungent yeasty funkiness (but not in a brett sort of way). Dark malts. Quite intriguing. I'm excited to try it. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Very inviting.

T: Brown sugar, roasted malts, some chocolate, strange yeasty funkiness, hints of bittering hops, cream, dark malts, and well-rounded acidity. An interesting baltic porter, with an interesting build. Decently balanced. The brown malts in particular are wonderful as a foundation, and do well alongside the yeast. It's certainly got character, but the mixture of the funkiness and the porter build is a bit odd for my tastes. Neither simple nor complex. Some subtlety is present.

Mf: Smooth and wet in classic porter fashion, with some underlying biscuity coarseness from the yeast. Thick enough. Adequately carbonated.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but I wouldn't get it again. I find it strange, but fans of the style might really like it. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but I have nothing against it. It's decently priced for what it is. Hides its ABV well. There's no harm in picking this one up.

I don't know that age does particularly much for this beer.

Low C

Photo of mactrail
2.09/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Some barrel taste, but more tar, oxidized wine, boysenberry syrup, and burnt raisins. More like an Old Ale paired with last year's fruitcake. Aroma of Truly awful aftertaste that just won't leave you alone. Looks nice enough in the glass, dark brown with attractive foam, for what that's worth. Medicinal taste of burnt sage and more than a hint of that cherry cough syrup that makes you shudder as it goes down.

This stuff may have some happy bacteria working away. I can't see any other reason for the peculiar flavors. The weirdly bitter flavor is not something that comes from hops alone. Label says 2011 so it can't be that old. From The Boulevard, San Diego, 22 oz bottle. Kiss the drain, dude.

Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From Notes

Appearance- opaque dark black with and medium brown foam on top that lingers

Aroma- dusty chocolate some cofee notes.

Taste- Roasty toasty and dry on the front end a little acidic almost in the end. hops are piney and resinous but take a back seat to the roasted malt. the finish is like a burnt marshmallow. It makes me want to captain a boat in a stormy sea!

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with a dry finish not even the slightest hint of booze.

Overall- This beer for whatever reason tasted really good. It was a hot day and this made me feel like i was in the hold of a cargo ship in a drafty damp bunk. Plotting the impending mutiny on our captain gone mad.... It was roasty but not warm man was it tasty !

Photo of brotherloco
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. 2011 Edition. Served in a snifter.

Pours pitch black. "Aphotic" as described on the back of the bottle. A pillowy 2 finger mocha head forms and hangs around for awhile. Settles to a thin covering. Some big swaths of lacing.

Aroma of rich, roasted chocolate malt. Smokiness from the roast. Brown sugar sweetness. Dark fruits. Vanilla oakiness from the barrel. A slight sting of vinegar and alcohol.

Initial flavor is surprisingly tart, a little like a barrel aged sour ale. I suppose that's why there was some vinegar in the nose. That flavor lingers, but does fade away as bitter roasted and smokey malt take over. Long lingering finish. Very dry roasted coffee bitterness.

Medium bodied with medium-sharp carbonation. Not as smooth a feel as I'd like with this style.

An interesting blend of flavors. I like the uniqueness, but I'm unsure of the sour qualities.

Photo of flagmantho
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass. This label says "Imperial Porter", rather than "Baltic Porter", but is otherwise identical to the pictured Aphotic label (with the waterfall and everything).

Appearance: completely black with some highlights of brown around the edges. Head is a thick finger of frothy dark-tan foam. Nice.

Smell: lots of rich roastiness with plenty of chocolate and coffee elements, underscored by an element of dark fruits which I like. There's a bit of a chalky yeast character here, too, which makes it seem more like a Baltic porter. Overall, quite good.

Taste: quite bitter and astringent, but with an underlying dark fruitiness which really works its way to the top through the middle of the palate. The finish is bitter and roasty, but not vegetal, which I like. Classic Baltic.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation. Not 100% the creamy texture I like, but certainly getting there.

Overall: I quite like this beer. Baltic, Imperial, or whatever, it's a tasty strong porter with the right amount of fruit and roastiness in a good balance. Kudos!

Photo of Akiloverbatim
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade from timfoolery, pretty delicious, not my typical style. but truly enjoyed this barrel aged beauty.

a: black with a tanned leather head.

s: delicious

t: vanilla, red berries, coffee, delicious

m: velvety

very happy with this one for one that i never would have suspected to like

Photo of AgentMunky
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into an Allagash cervoise glass. Vintage 2011. I've heard this talked up around the Bay Area, and the price tag suggests the same. I hope it's not another over-hyped barrel-aged beer.

A: The name is appropriate; no light is getting through this beer. Darkest brown, opaque, with three fingers of fluffy brown head. Great lacing.

S: Strong-sweet malts, with a notable bourbon influence. Some coffee/roast as well. Dry. Excellent nose, though with a touch of metal.

T: Alas, I fear it is another one of "those beers" aged in barrels only to emerge slightly anemic and sour. It's not BAD, but it's not quite what I was hoping for. This said, it grows on me. The roasted malt is dominant, with a distant 'wannabe' oakiness and the merest hint of vanilla. The aftertaste is quite nice, creamy and nutty and full of coffee. Damn nice.

M: "Luxurious" and "rich" the mouthfeel is not. Thin, flat, and dry would be more apt descriptions.

O: Overpriced and overhyped. It's not a terrible Baltic Porter, but save your time and money for something else. Still, if someone gives you one, you'll probably enjoy it. I did, overall.

Brewmaster's Notes
Released: January 10, 2012
"This beer is one of my favorites. It was a blast to brew it and was really an evolving process. One third of the beer was barrel aged in 18 Year old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels, another third was aged in premium Brandy barrels and the final third was aged in stainless. After 4 months of aging the three different variations were combined back together resulting in the blend you have in front of you. Copious amounts of Carafa 1, 2, and 3, as well as chocolate malts and Midnight Wheat malts were used. Deep, dark and delicious!!!! Enjoy....Steve "

Photo of Pjilsner
4.24/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in my trusty unbreakable plastic mug!

A: Very black. Burnt creme head reminds me of a very even creme brule. Head craters and sinks away. Lacing stuck around until I was finished with the glass.

S: Like a coffee milkshake and a roasted marshmallow in the BEST way! I love the smell and can't wait to see how it tastes!

T:Bitter, slight sourness, funky. I really like it! The bitterness is strange and I can't compare it to anything I've tried, but it's pleasant. Tart AND roasty. Not much malt sweetness. Some of the alcohol bites through but it isn't intense. I don't find the alcohol to be in the way at all, in fact I would say it's quite balanced.

M: Thick and mild, soft carbonation. Wet finish which made my lips smack noticeably.

O: I picked this up because I'd always been curious to try a Baltic Porter. While I have no idea whether this is "to style" or not, I can say that I really enjoyed it and will pick it up again anytime I see it. This beer probably isn't for everyone and it's a very much a different beer than the kind of porter you'd pick up at any old supermarket. I can't recommend it enough though. The strange funky flavors with the delicious sweet-roast smell really connected with me. I'd buy these often if I could get them easier.

Reviewed from notes

Photo of Adrianized
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a one finger thick creamy mocha head.  Looks really great.

Not much on the nose.  Some vanilla,  cured meat, oak, coffee, and a touch of male syrup.

Lots of roasted malt, some coffee, wet wood, black licorice, vanilla, cacao nibs/cacao baking powder, and maybe a bit of sea salt. Finishes bitter and very dry.

Mouthfeel is light, but not watery.  Good carbonation.  Feels good for a porter (vs stout... but that's a never ending debate).

Overall there's something about this porter that in having trouble placing... But I keep reaching for the glass.  It's a very nice classic dry porter, a great example of the style.

Photo of DaveRinn
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle, almost no head but good carbonation. the little head that develops dissipates quickly. Beer is as dark as advertised.

I get very little aroma from the beer.
The taste is quite good, smooth and malty, and has a singular and unique flavor profile.
The mouthfeel is not as creamy as i would like but is quite good.A little thinner than one might expect here.
Overall, an excellent beer thatI would drink again.

Photo of gregk
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aphotic is a very nice example of a well balanced barrel aged beer. The mix of burbon, brandy, and stainless help to balance out the flavor profile and not overwhelm the drinker. Color is very nice as is the mouth feel of the beer. I can only imagine how good this beer would taste after being aged for several months!

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black with a hint of brown with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head atop. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind a thick layer of lace.

S - Aroma is lots of oak and vanilla, with some strong roasted chocolate malts, a hint of coffee, a bit of dark fruit and some booze.

T - Starts off with vanilla and roasted chocolate malts with a bit of dark fruit sweetness and a bit of black licorice. Through the middle, some strong oak flavor comes through with with some dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor and and a bit of earthiness. The finish is a mix of oak, vanilla, milk and dark chocolate, dark fruit, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and thick, with a warming, sweet, and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. The Bourbon barrel aging added some great flavors to the Baltic Porter base. The balance of barrel flavors is really nice here.

Photo of seand
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark inky brown, with a fair amount of dense dark tan head. The head dissipates to a thin film on the surface but retains a relatively thick ring around the edge of the glass, and leaves lots of lacing.

S: Rich molasses with a touch of vanilla.

T: Thick roasted malt with a high note that's almost a touch tart. Hops come through a bit towards the finish.

M: A touch on the light side of full bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall, enjoyable. It's not something I'd likely go out of my way to search for, but I enjoyed it and wouldn't say no if someone else was pouring.

Photo of shleepy
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Writing based on 2-week-old notes. Served from bottle into tulip glasses.

A: Pitch black; enormous, tan head. Looks great.

S: Slightly tart roastiness.

T: Bitterness balanced with the aforementioned tart roastiness. Very chocolatey.

M: Medium body. Creamy.

O: Enjoyable, but not as good as the Drake's barrel-aged stuff that's on tap at the Barrel House.

Aphotic Baltic Porter from High Water Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.