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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)

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218 Reviews

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Reviews: 218
Hads: 367
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 11.86%
Wants: 149
Gots: 42 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ccrida on 04-27-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Alaskan Baltic Porter is a deep, dense beer with an intricate array of aromas and flavors derived from substantial amounts of specialty malts, dark black cherries and whole gourmet vanilla beans. Aging on toasted French oak adds further complexity.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 218 | Hads: 367
Photo of mactrail
2.52/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

What is this, blackberry jam? A pie-flavored, burnt crust, Splenda-sweetened beverage I hesitate to call beer. The aroma is light but the nose of wood and vanilla is pleasant enough but tiki torches are smoldering in the background.

Black as an Alaskan night in the glass. A thin mustache of foam but sub-par carbonation. So sweet it tastes like something you'd have at the deli for breakfast with coffee. But that bitterness never lets you forget. I would call this blackberry Manischewitz with a dark, guilty secret. Finally, after some remorse, the flavor of canned sweet cherries comes through. Bitter, cardboard, woody, burnt sugar, fruit cocktail-- it tastes like Sterno looks like.

The label says this is the 2012 version. I call it undrinkable, though for cough syrup it would be pretty good with a vodka chaser. In fact, now that you mention it... From the 22 oz bottle bought at Liticker's in San Diego.

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Photo of Jason
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black color. Pours like motor oil in the glass so to get a goo head going on I have to have a fine splash down the middle of the glass which formed a latte like sticky head. Slight taffy aroma with a soft chocolate, faint ripe fig and mild char nose. Big lush creaminess cradles the delicate smoothness, amazingly smooth. Sweet dark and burnt sugar flavors to kick things off, a hint of brownie batter and dark fruit in the middle. The alcohol is a bit warm but does not play like it is 9.8% abv. The modest hopping really lets the maltiness shine here. Finishes sweet with a long linger of mellow roasted grain.

A big beer with modest complexities, they are there but just not in your face. The alcohol is somewhat hidden, hard to tell it is that strong. All around a solid beer.

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Photo of russpowell
4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 vintage pours chestnut tinged ebony with a pinky of mocha head. Good head retention & average lacing

S: Dark fruit, port, & leafy hops, & bananas

T: Dark chocolate, dryness, leafy hops, raisins & plums & a bit of banana?? up front. Vanilla, rum raisin & plums as this warms, along with a hint of creme Brule. Finishes with plummyness, dryness & some nice hints of caramel, bananas & vanilla

MF: Fairly rich, restrained carbonation

Drinks extremely easy for the style & ABV, not much to nitpick on this, awesome Baltic Porter! Attempted to squeeze the bottle like a toothpaste tube, but the damn glass wouldn't yield....

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2012 vintage. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, dark bread, brown sugar, toast, cherry, raisin, vanilla, toffee, oak, clove, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt notes with the cherry/brown sugar/vanilla additions and oak; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, roasted malt, light coffee, cherry, raisin, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, oak, clove, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, dark bread, toast, roasted malt, light coffee, raisin, cherry, toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, oak, clove, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors with the flavor and oak additions; with huge robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and moderately silky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Baltic porter style! All around awesome balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt with flavor additions and oak; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Alaskan Baltic Porter, 9.8% ABV.

Solid blackness under a roasty tan head, starts solid, slims down.

Aroma: rich roasted dark barley malt is the dominant factor of course, with notes of smoke and char on top, with hint of cocoa and coffee below.

Taste: Big in the mouth, with sweet dark malt overtaking the senses. Molasses and brown sugar take charge now, with sweetness being fully in charge of the flavor. It ceases with the initial sip and swallow, and ends dry and cool. But not mellow. I almost wrote mellow. It's strength is very evident and threatens to become part of the flavor.

That said, halfway in it is starting to feel a bit more balanced, and easy on the tongue. Darnkess and deliciousness, all in one. Glad to have tried it.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 5/21/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting. 2009 vintage.

a - Pours a dark brown color, with 2 inches of brown head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of oak, whiskey, dark fruits, caramel malts, and vanilla. Wonderful combination.

t - Tastes of vanilla, oak, whiskey, and roasted malts.

m - Very smooth and creamy, medium body and low

d - I thought this was a great porter. Wonderful vanilla, oak, and whiskey in the smell and taste. Would love to try again.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma caught me off guard. While I do get some cherry and vanilla, the main fruit flavor I get is bananas. Very strange. The flavor is very complex with cherry, vanilla, oak and roasted malts. The beer is pretty sweet and you get some alcohol but it is fairly well hidden. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected. Low carbonation.

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Photo of billab914
4.64/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured close to black in color with a frothy off white head filling about half an inch of the glass. The head retreated to the edges of the glass where it remained, but left little lacing.

The aroma has a very nice mixture of oak and cherries with a little vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. I get a little of the Baltic Porter, malty, chocolate like flavors bit the additions and treatments steal the show. They all work together very nicely though to create a very appealing aroma overall.

In the taste I get the fruity and sweet cherry flavors and the woody oak right off the bat and throughout the flavor. I get the vanilla and brown sugar sweetness more up front and get more of a dry, bitter-sweet chocolate, slightly roasty flavor towards the finish. The cherry, oak and chocolate flavors linger nicely after the finish.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and carbonation is low. I really like the lower carbonation in a beer like this. Drinkability is very good, I loved the flavors overall. The cherry and oak were excellent and it was balanced enough between sweet and bitter to make it very drinkable. It was definitely all about the additions and treatments, but they all worked very well together. The Baltic Porter style flavors seemed to take a back seat to everything else but it was good enough that I didn't care. Excellent beer overall and it might very well be a new favorite of the style.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 22 ounce bottle poured by Halcyondays. Thanks for going to Arizona for this. On to the beer:

I would like to see a little more head to this blackwater, but that's a minor complaint to this gem. The nose is big, starting out with lots of licorice, then moving on to toasted oak and semi-sweet chocolate. The flavor starts well too; I get the oak (but it tastes more like it came from a bourbon barrel), chocolate brownies, a touch of vanilla, toasted. The intensity of the flavors cahnges as the beer's journey goes on, changing to being less oak and more sweet. The vanilla aftertaste is very appealing, as is the hidden booze and well controlled big body.

Could I do 22 ounces of it? Yeah, I probably could, but Alaskan needs to get this style to Orange County for me to find out.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I didn't know they made a Baltic Porter so I jumped on this when I saw it in the store. Alaska has some fine beers and this one perplexes me a bit.
A dark brown pour. Very deep. A good looking creamy head is gone pretty darn quick. Hmm..

Smell is like their smoked porter, but calmed down a bit. Less smoke and umami, more cherry and vanilla, which causes some confusion in me brains. What makes this a "baltic"? I dunno.
Not to say it's bad. It's a good beer. Taste is like smoked porter light. Again..cherries and vanilla. Kind of odd, but good. slightly thin.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, great label, brought back from AZ, 2009 Vintage,

A: Pours black as night, with a medium off-white head, light lace.

S: Not huge at first, but in the end there comes a nice mix of cherries, licorice, brown sugar, some tar and oak. Good nose with a little coaxing.

T: What I first notice is how the oak and vanilla flavours combine to form a bourbon barrel flavour. This beer is not bourbon barrel aged, but it sure tastes like it is. Dark cherries and the brown sugar come out a bit as it warms, and in the end the beer is dominated by great dark chocolate flavour which I really liked.

M: Medium/full-bodied, silky smooth, the booze is lightly noticable but works with the flavours here and adds to the smoothness.

D: This is a really good beer, not outstanding, but really good. Just missing another layer of complexity. I have no idea why this is not distributed in CA, but it is in AZ which is farther away. This will definitely sell. Alaskan - I don't care if you don't distribute the barleywine, switch it out for this. I'm not buying the barleywine again, but I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Liquid Solutions Xmas present for me while helping a fellow BA with Secret Santa.

Pours a dark brown with a smallish tan/white head that laces the sides all the way down. Nice dark ruby highlights when held to the light. Smells really sweet like cream soda. Strong aroma of dark fruits, cherries and plums, some vanilla, mix in some chocolate and some roast. Really great nose! Taste is roasted malts and dark dried fruits. Quite sweet. Finishes with a bit of alcohol and a lingering bitter fruit if that's possible. Sticky/silky mouthfeel, thick body, light carbonation. Great brew, I wish I had bought a few more.

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Photo of corby112
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with slight mahogany edges and a one finger beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Small spots of lacing left behind.

Sweet malt aroma that's slightly smokey/toasted with hints of dark chocolate, toast, caramel and toffee. There's also a slight lactic presence along with a touch of vanilla adding another dimension to the nose.

Medium bodied with a nice balance of roasted and sweeter notes. Lots of toasted malt along with hints of roasted coffee, toast and smoke balanced by some sweet chocolate, toffee and subtle lactic presence. Although it is pretty robust, the sweeter notes balances things out nicely and this beer is surprisingly drinkable.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown, with surprisingly good clarity, and hints of ruby at the edges. Head is a foamy mess of crunchy light brown, which leaves sudsy, foaming lacing as the beer goes down. Looks quite wonderful.

Big blackcurrant notes on the nose, mingled with darker notes of oak and spicy charred grain. Hints of oatmeal, coconut and red wine shine through too. Oh man, this is freaking delicious. So much complexity, but all so well melded and integrated. Really lovely.

Taste is also beautiful. Big redolent notes of oak and grain, but subtly and deliciously sweetened by characters of dark fruit and chocolate, then layered with light vinous acidity and fresh coconut juice. Really, really lovely. Feel is smooth, but not too heavy.

Such an exceptionally smooth and deliciously drinkable beer. For all its complexity, depth, alcohol content and pure unadulterated strength, it comes out comforting and delicious. What a fantastic beer.

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Photo of John_M
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Couldn't find any of the 2008 Abyss at the N. Seattle Central Market today, but they had a goodly supply of this stuff.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with at best fair head retention and lacing. That's the only flaw to this beer, if you want to call it that, as otherwise this beer is clearly world class. The nose on this beer was so sweet I was initially afraid I hadn't adequately cleaned my glass of dish washing soap. However, trying the beer in a different glass produced the same results. I get some lovely cherry, vanilla, chocolate and rootbeer, with possibly a hint of ginger as well. This beer really does smell terrific. The flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, except there is a more pronounced milk chocolate, vanilla and cherry flavor. The mouthfeel is nothing short of incredible, as the beer has a rich, long, luxuriously soft, creamy finish. Damn, but this porter is delicious. Each sip begs you to take another. The beer finishes very well and is entirely too easy to drink. Given the 9.9% abv., I almost feel as if I should take away points, as one is very tempted to drink glass after glass of this terrific beer. It's THAT easy to drink!

This beer is just outstanding and, along with the Smuttynose JD oaked porter and Olfabrikken baltic porter, is yet another outstanding porter I've come across of late. This used to be a type/style of beer I really didn't care for all that much. However, beers like this are quickly making me a convert. Good stuff.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. Bomber
2009 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a very deep brown color, very nice carbonation, with an awesome thick/creamy tan head, with some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some very nice chocolate/caramel notes, vanilla, slight oak/cherries. The taste is awesome as well, malty, sweet, slightly bitter, slight oak notes, nice chocolate note. Medium body, a really smooth brew, very would know it's high ABV. Very drinkable, this has got to be the best brew I've had from Alaskan, hands down.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated A2012. Poured in to tulip.

A - Poured black with a thin layer of light brown head.

S - Roast and brown sugar aromas contribute to a big overall sweetness. A very faint tart cherry aroma in the background.

T - A really prominent brown sugar flavour mixes with vanilla bean up front. Roast enters mid-palate and the finish is more sweet brown sugar with a slight tartness. Very slight woody/oak presence in the background. No cherry flavour is detectable, just the slight tartness.

M - Medium body with a good chew. Light carbonation.

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Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hwwty4 for this bomber.

A: The baltic porter is dark, a wickedly deep red color that passes for black. Light shining through the beer reveals the crimson. As you'd guess, the ale is opaque. A small head, no more than 1/2 a finger on first pour, sits idly, leaving a faint band of lacing.

S: The baltic porter smells great. Cocoa powder, roasted malts, starchy beans, all big flavors and all appearing in the first blast. Cherries even make an appearance, however cursory it may be. A very full, warming beer.

T: I love the porter's flavor combination. The cocoa powder, beans and roasted flavors are strong. Much to my surprise, vanilla beans come through as well. Cherries follow with a mild sweetness that fits well with the roasted body and vanilla. The feel is smooth, never edgy. A powdery finish, incorporating the aforementioned elements, lingers nicely with little indication of the forboding alcohol content.

M: The mouthfeel is complicated, offering up a wealth of baltic porter flavors with cherry and vanilla present as nice bonuses. The porter is creamy, leaving a lasting flavor.

D: The porter is quite heavy, able to hide its booze for only so long. Despite that price tag, the porter hits all the right notes, especially on a cold January night.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 vintage 22 has been in the fridge for a couple of weeks.. I think I paid about $9. Poured into my Delirium goblet.

Dark brown brew with night highlites... 1" tan head leaves descent lace and a good cap...

Nose is pretty complex.. lite chocolate is complimented and slightly amplified by the vanilla (maybe too much for my tastes).. dried cherries for sure, but it seems like there are some fruity esters in there adding to the myriad of goodness. oaky without the unneeded tannic elements.

Alot of stuff going on as soon as the first sips meet my palate.. cocoa and very background coffee.. again tons of vanilla.. followed closely by some cherries ... Bing? oakey with some maple wood notes.. a smidge of alcohol and all the mash-up of flavors remind me of bourbon... more rich than I remember... finishes more malty than sweet but with all the essences of the above flavors.. I personally think the vanilla is a bit overdone.. so I am gonna nick it .. but I still like it alot.

This is at least in my memory better than the bottle that I had with friends a month or so ago.... I also had the '08 a couple of times and remember thinking that this was no where near a Baltic Porter... However, I think this is gonna age fairly quickly.. Flavors and aromas will mesh soon.. maybe 6 months or so.. but I think it's gonna peak quickly too.. I give it 2 years max.

Thanks Matt for getting this one in... I need to stock up and then just sit back and enjoy it.

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Photo of Duff27
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thin off white head receeds quickly. Dark brown base. Splotchy lacing, collar.

Very malty nose. Fruity. Dopplebockish.

Holy oaks! Oakiness dominates according to me. Vanilla, cherries. A little hot on the booziness but not too bad. Would guess around 10%abv.

Thicker end on the mouthfeel, super smooth. Medium carbonation.

Well above average Baltic porter. Smooth mouthfeel, very oaky...to sum it up. Thanks for the share 4DAloveofSTOUT.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark ruby brown, appears nearly black. Rich light brown head with nice lacing. Aroma of toasty malt, dark fruit and cherries with a slight sour aspect. Flavor is toasty malt, dark fruit and cherries. Well integrated. Nice porter flavors with clear cherry tone. A slight bitterness in aftertaste. I love this beer and it's my favorite Baltic porter. I was really glad a tucked a few of these away before Alaskan (temporarily, I hope) stopped brewing it.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass. This is the 2009 vintage, which I am re-drinking and re-reviewing after the Great BeerAdvocate Crash of aught-nine.

Appearance: black with a red hue when held up to the light. Two-finger tan head with nice persistence.

Smell: lots of apple, pear, plum and grape, almost like a very intense white wine. There's a little malt in there but the aroma is surprisingly whimsical. Fantastico.

Taste: here the malt is huge with a subtle hint of flavor matching the aroma profile. It is quite sweet, which is to be expected, but in addition to the lovely fruit flavor there is a creamy flavor. Some roasted chocolate shows up but it's an afterthought to this seriously magical dessert beer.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick with just enough carbonation to remind you that this is beer.

Drinkability: in spite of (or maybe because of?) its huge ABV, this is a remarkably tasty beer with incredible drinkability. If my liver could handle it, I'd quaff several of these back to back.

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Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage.

A: Black, tan head, very little retention or lace.

S: Chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, mocha, AMAZING!

T: Huge vanilla (a little much for me), oak, bakers chocolate, mocha.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a drying finish.

D: This huge brew is definitely a pleasant sipper.

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Photo of DrJay
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009. Clear and very dark brown with reddish chestnut edges. It had a fine tan cap that showed decent head retention and a bit of lacing. Aromas of malt, chocolate (milk and bittersweet), nuts, dark grains, faint berry/cherry and a slight roast. Moderate bitterness, strong chocolate and malt flavours that lingered in the finish but didn't render the beer overly sweet. Bready with green, leafy hops and a hint of fruit. Light alcohol. Creamy carbonation and a full body made for a very smooth beer. There was just a bit of astringency from the dark grains and a bit of alcohol warmth. Good stuff. The flavours were nicely integrated and it was no problem drinking this one all night long.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Here's a beer that I've wanted to try for some time. 2009 edition, 22oz bottle, 9.8%abv.

A big hiss when I popped the cap, it pours a very dark brown with a small amount of reddish hues when I hold up my glass to the light. A good 2 finger head of tannish foam, I'm seeing some very good lacing.

Sticking my nose into the glass, but avoiding the liquid ;^), I get a big greeting from cherries, vanilla, and oak. All about in equal proportions. A wonderful aroma.

First sip in and the vanilla is the first thing I taste followed by a brilliant oaky flavour and a light tartness from the cherries which also brings a bit of the sweet. I say a bit of the sweet because I thought this would be maltier and so, sweeter but this one is really a showcase for the vanilla and oak. I see the label says brown sugar...that's more hidden, to me, than the alcohol. This is pretty potent stuff and I can feel a lot of warming during and after the swallow.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium and the carbonation is very light but is adequate.
Head retention and lacing, this far into the session, are great for as potent a brew as this is.

Drinkability? A 22oz bottle of this 9.8%abv Baltic Porter is all that I can handle. Heck, I'm only 2/3 done with it and I know that I'll be sipping on the rest for at least another half hour but *that* happens with many of the stronger brews that I've tried of all styles so..no surprise and I can still heartily recommend you give this one a go if you see it in your neck of the woods.

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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 218 ratings.