Aphotic Baltic Porter - High Water Brewing

Not Rated.
Aphotic Baltic PorterAphotic Baltic Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

44 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.12%
Wants: 3
Gots: 10 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Aged in a combination of Elijah Craig 18 Yr Bourbon and Gallo Family Reserve Brandy barrels.

(Beer added by: DaveHS on 01-12-2012)
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pjilsner
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
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 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 Mister_Joshy
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of kojevergas
2.78/5  rDev -27%
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 ngeunit1
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
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 shleepy
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Photo of popery
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of AgentMunky
3.58/5  rDev -6%
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 FunkyMacGroovin
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of jpajpajeff
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of brotherloco
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
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 rbrefbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of avaldivia
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of mactrail
2.03/5  rDev -46.7%
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 Diomede
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Adrianized
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
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 codynevels
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
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 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.

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Aphotic Baltic Porter from High Water Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.