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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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353 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 353
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
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:
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 added by: ccrida on 04-27-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 353 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lakersfan16
5/5  rDev +20.2%

lakersfan16, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of thewimperoo
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

thewimperoo, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

imperialking, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Exiled, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Photekut, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of azdback
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Poured into a snifter. Almost completely all light sucking, just a hint of dark brown at the stem. Small head of less than a finger. Head is light brown and thin. Lace is minimal.

Smell is really roasted and charred or maybe even barrel smell. Sweet and tart cherries with a bit of vanilla. There is an alcohol burn in this too. This nose is really fantastic.

Taste is initially sweet cherries with oak and vanilla. The cherries really take the drivers seat as this warms. The dark roasted flavors meld very well with the sweetness and tartness of those cherries.

Mouth is velvety, carbonation is creamy. Body is full and the finish is long.

Overall I am floored by this....again. I haven't had this for a year or two, but this has done nothing but get better in the bottle. A must try if you get the chance.

azdback, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of corby112
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

corby112, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of ckeegan04
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

A - Deep black with the faintest hints of mahogany held around the edge. Thick, especsso like brown head that is about two fingers thick. Slowly fades to about a 1/2 inch of foam.

S - Roasted malts, a touch of cherry and alot of vanilla and oak. The vanilla and oak really comes through as the beer warms. Dark cocoa powder and a little roasted coffee as well.

T - Roasted malts of semi-sweet chocolate lead off the taste. Chocolate tastes are very strong. A slightly astringent bitterness from the roasted malts comes through on back end of the drink. Creamy chocolatiness really asserts itself after the beer warms. A touch of roasted coffee is hiding in there as well.

M - Medium to full bodied with a surprisingly creamy feel. Moderate carbonation and just a touch of bitterness in the finish.

O - An excellent beer. Alot of chocolate surprised me a bit but it all played together very well. Another very good beer from Alaskan.

ckeegan04, Sep 28, 2011
Photo of Phelps
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, poured into a snifter. This baltic porter from Juneau is brewed with cherries, brown sugar, vanilla beans and oak chips — none of which sounds bad at all.

From afar, the deep burgundy liquid seems to pulse with darkness, yet a hold to the light reveals surprising clarity. Half a finger of big cocoa powder-colored bubbles crackle and pop, leaving just a thin ring.

Picture a large plate precariously balanced on a stick. On one en you have dark and maraschino cherry syrup; on another, buttery oak. French vanilla ice cream, cocoa nibs and high-proof brandy take up space on the other ends. The proportion of each is perfect, keeping the plate perfectly balanced. It doesn’t get better than this.

Sugary dark fruits, unmasked alcohol and vanilla combine to give the beer an almost bourbon-aged quality that I can definitely get behind. Brown sugar, milk chocolate and dark, sweet cherries are also in there, while a smooth smokiness permeates the background. The malts are just a little too this to support the adjuncts; if they were kicked up just a notch, I’d do the same for the flavor score.

The body is a silk blanket. Soft carbonation tingles the tongue inside the supple liquid while ethanol heat warms the nostrils and throat.

Alaskan’s Smoke Porter is good; their Baltic Porter is better. It’s a crying shame I’ve waited this long to try it — a mistake I intend to remedy by getting caught up with a second bottle forthwith.

Phelps, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of nickd717
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review dated 8/23/2010. Bomber from Whole Foods Los Altos.

Pours pretty much pitch black with a huge tan head that lasts. Has some viscosity to it.

The aroma is very rich. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and dark fruit jump out at you. It’s not extremely balanced, but I like it.

The flavor is a mishmash of all kinds of intense aspects. It’s tasty, but sort of lacks an identity. Did they actually add cherries and vanilla beans to this brew? I definitely do get those flavors, along with your typical roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate. Slight anise.

Very full-bodied and slick on the palate. Really an intense mouthfeel, perhaps a little too much so.

This is good, but the drinkability on this one is just not there. This beer really wears your palate out in a hurry.

nickd717, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of Jeffo
1.7/5  rDev -59.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle provided by akbeerfiend in a big trade a while back. Thanks man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2009

APPEARANCE: A transparent brown pour makes a one finger, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. head quickly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Very transparent as well. A ring remains but leaves no lacing down the glass. A little too thin looking for the style.

SMELL: Bigger nose and it’s totally fruity. Dates, prunes, with some dark grapes and cherries as well. Grape juice maybe, with a couple spoons of brown sugar thrown in for fun. This is going to be way too sweet and off the mark. None of the dark malts that’s expected of a big porter.

TASTE: Bold flavors as well, with lots of fruity qualities. Dark fruits, cherries and grapes, with a good dose of sweet brown sugar. Grape juice. Some light hints of vanilla and dark chocolate at the swallow, but that leads to a bold and persistent, brutally sweet aftertaste of grape juice spiked with brown sugar. Some might like this for what it is, but it totally misses the mark of what an imperial porter should be all about.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Not creamy or smooth enough on the palate, then goes down with a decent burn at the swallow and finishes rather cloying. Definitely needs to be creamier and less cloyingly sweet.

OVERALL: This gets really high marks on this site, so maybe this vintage just sucks. Either that, or people are reviewing it as a beer and not as a Baltic porter. I can see someone liking this one on its own, but as a big porter, it takes three straight strikes looking. It is far too transparent and thin looking for the style, is much too sweet and fruity while missing the patented dark malt flavors the style is so well-known for, and is much too cloying on the finish. I’d scrap this one and start from scratch. Drain enjoyed half the bottle. Ignore this and drink buckets of their Smoked Porter instead. Regardless, thanks heaps for the great trade akbeerfiend. Can’t wait to do it again!

Jeffo, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of harrymel
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008, consumed 11AUG11
A: Pours a deep, dark brown ale with a single finger of burnt cream head which falls to a solid sheet of the same. Spotty lacing. Cherried mahogany hues shine through a beer with excellent clarity where permitted.
S: Cherries vanilla and molasses are sweet and playful. The aromatics are pretty strong here, nice cocoa biscuit malts round out the back end.
T: Differs from the '09 in profile, dunno if it's a different recipe, but more dry malts on this one. Coffee grounds, cocoa dust, light molasses. Still has hints of alcohol heat.
M: Velvety with light carb and a semi dry finish. Good feel.
O: Good beer, wish I had more of the '09, preferred of the two I've had.

Vintage 2009, consumed 24FEB11
Poured to NB globe.

A: dark brown ale with ruby hues around the edges. Quite pleasant looking. Little head, but consistent blanket over the surface of light caramel foam.

S: Cherries, licorice, molasses, caramel, vanilla. Goddam fragrant and beautiful. I find myself leaning in to smell the beer, over, and over. Can't be a bad sign.

T: Not as good as the smell, but still very good. The cherry stands out so much more than I had ever anticipated. The oak shines here more than in the nose. A bit boozy - surprising given the age of the beer. Malty.

M: Full bodied, lower carbonation. I can swish in the mouth only to get more experience with the flavors without being overwhelmed with foam. Good job.

D: Very nice beer. Not the best of the style, but definitely worth a try, maybe two.

harrymel, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of vkv822
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
2009 vintage.

Pours black with just the faintest deep red edges when held to the light. It has a very thin tan head.

The aroma is of deep cherry, brown sugar and vanilla oak. Essentially as advertised on the bottle. Really fantastic.

The taste is of cherry, followed by oak and vanilla. Brown sugar and dark fruits come through as well. Quite sweet.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick, with just light tingling carbonation.

A very nice beer. As it warms the finish becomes a bit thin, but still very enjoyable. Wish I had a couple more sitting in the cellar, though I feel it may be at, or nearing it's peak.

vkv822, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of brotherloco
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Edition. 22oz bottle. 9.8% ABV.

Pours a very dark brown, hints of ruby red when held up to light. Very small tan head, settles to a ring. Minimal lacing.

The smell is wonderful, everything promised on the label is there. Strong notes of vanilla, cherry, and earthy wood. A blend of smores, fig newtons, cherry ice cream and sherry.

Initial flavor is cherry sweet without being over the top, toasty marshmallow middle reveals lingering roasty malt. Stays sweet. Kind of a sting in the finish too, a touch medicinal, but subtle. Although the alcohol may be contributing to this finish, it seems extremely well buried. This is one slow, evolving, complex flavor. I'm really enjoying it.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Never gets too thick and stays quite drinkable.

brotherloco, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to harrymel for sending me the 2009 version (the last one produced to date).

I split this bomber with my wife tonight.

A: Black as night, with a nice mocha head that attached itself to the glass in a moderate way. I can already detect a chewy, gooey, and molasses-like consistency.

S: Huge dark fruit flair, with the burnt brown sugar supporting that in spades. Very candy-like. I can already tell that this is the polar opposite of it's smoked brother, "Alaskan Smoked Porter."

T: I had to hunt for the cherries, but I got more than a dash of brown sugar, vanilla, and oak. The sweetness I got was very reminiscent of Dark Lord, but obviously not as intense.

M: Thick and syrupy, but in a good way. Candy sweetness, with still a decent amount of carbonation prickle. The sweetness definitely lingered.

O: I had high expectations for this one because it had all the ingredients that I love in a beer. It delivered in many areas and on many levels.

Chaney, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of MADhombrewer
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2009 vintage. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance- Black with a small tan head that congregates around the edges of the glass. Little lacing that slides down the glass. 4/5

Smell- Coffee is first. Funny how I can still smell that after a year and a half in the cellar. After the coffee there is vanilla and chocolate and a small hint of alcohol. 4/5

Taste- Sweet and a little nutty. The vanilla is there as well as the chocolate. There is also a dimension of a cup of coffee with cream. A wisp of alcohol rounds out the flavors as if to say "don't forget about me". This is very good. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel- I have tasted a wide range of mouthfeels with baltic porters. I tend to like a bigger mouthfeel and this surely is one. This is one of the creamier ones as well. 4.5/5

Overall- Alaskan stopped making this in 2009. I grabbed a few more when I heard that and threw them in the cellar. I contacted the brewery a couple days ago to see if they were going to bring it back. I was told that "it is too good of a beer to be gone forever. Be patient". That made me pull this out and have one. Can't wait till it comes back. 4.5/5

MADhombrewer, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage
22oz bottle poured into my Deschutes Snifter glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with red edges. A thin dark tan head forms only on the edges, but there are lots of bubbles throughout on the sides of the glass.

S - Raisin, molasses, carmel.

T - Sweet coffee, molasses, toffee, old fruit.

D - Lots of carbonation, almost fizzy.

O - Tastes like a sweet coffee liquor. ok.

HuskyinPDX, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Version, what a treat once again thanks to HimerMan for offering this in trade. Supposedly this was brewed with dark cherries, vanilla beans and aged on French oak; sounds pretty darn good to me so let's go.

Pours a clear, dark brown body with a really serious dark ruby-tinted edges in the light (it's really brown and dark but has a lot of reddish hues along the edges) and a thin ring of khaki-colored bubbles.

Aromas of deep rich chocolate with an equal oomph of dark fruitiness (dark cherry mainly). Lesser notes of vanilla, dark chocolate and sweet toffee emerge as it warms, really inviting.

The tastes begin with ripe cherries and bakers chocolate maltiness. Really is dead on for a chocolate covered cherry cordial; more so than any other Baltic porter or any other beer I have ever had. Just like the nose, as this warms you get a little more vanilla, sweet toffee and roasted/dark chocolate flavors. Bitterness intensifies and the chocolate dissipates as it warms. More darker fruits emerge as you continue to sample (raisins and figs) and maybe even some other fruits like raspberries or blackberries.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with adequate carbonation. Less full bodied than other Baltic porters I've had, but the thinner mouthfeel makes it more drinkable and matches more succinctly with the dark cherry and other fruit flavors. The finish is perfect; not too sticky or sweet and not too dry.

Overall this is a treat, extremely delicious. To be honest it is not as good as the Foothills Baltic porter I had several weeks ago, but is a solid #2 for me in this style category. Glad I now have a couple in the cellar to enjoy in the near future.

claspada, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of JamnesCameron
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008, received from dmeadows in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks Denis!

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep clear dark brown. The only way to get light through it is get it close to a bulb. Minimal light tan head of about half a finger, that drops rather quickly, leaving barely a wisp and a few bubbles on the surface. Some lacing, but the legs drag it back into the brew.

Aromas of anise, cherries, dark fruit, dark raisins, figs, prunes, some cocoa, and a distinct bourbon quality, vanilla and oakiness. And sherry.

Flavors are very much like the aromas. Very complex, a whole lot going on in the glass. Dark cherries, bourbon (vanilla and oak), sherry, dark fruit, raisins, figs and prunes, light cocoa, some anise. There is also a peatiness to it. LIke a light Islay scotch. Some alcohol heat as well. The finish is long, hot, with loads of dark sherried cherries.

Mouthfeel is huge, explosive. Lots of alcohol warmth. Barely perceptible carbonation. Creamy slickness and velvety on the tongue.

Overall a fantastic brew. Would love to compare a fresh bottle to this 3 year old aged beauty. A perfect cold weather, after dinner drink to sip slowly and enjoy.

JamnesCameron, May 18, 2011
Photo of timus1119
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pored into snifter,dark mahogany in color with tints of ruby,nice 2 finger tan head,black cherries,roasted malts,vanilla an oak on the nose,fantastic smelling brew!,taste, much like the nose...fantastic!! perfect example of the style,and then some!...get this brew!...CHEERS!!!

timus1119, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of mikereaser
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 3/31/11, bottle says 2009

Pours a nice pitch black with 2 inches of tan foam that appears to be leaving lots of lacing. The aroma is mostly roasted malts with some vanilla mixed in as well. The suggestion of toffee and caramel are well warrented. The toffee really comes out as it lingers. The flavor is really where the caramel and toffee shines. I'm definitely picking those up mainly with alot of vanilla sweetness coming through in the finish. Its medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Its easy to drink though a bit too heavy for some people. I'd gladly have another but its pushing it after that.

mikereaser, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of grittybrews
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, opened 03/2011. Poured a murky brownish amber with a ruby tinge into a tulip with a thin film of khaki head. Sweet aroma dominated by toffee, vanilla, and dark fruit.

Moderate carbonation and a creamy, somewhat thin mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla, oak, and caramel up front followed by some emerging alcohol warmth, perhaps some slight cardboard oxidation, and dark cherry sweetness. There's a somewhat unexpected hop bitterness on that emerges on the finish, lending a nice note of complexity and balancing the overall sweetness.

I've had a couple of these in the basement for a while and am glad I cracked one open. Not exactly a "go-to" cellar beer, as the flavor profile was a little sweet, but some great flavors make this brew worth trying at least once.

grittybrews, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of northaustin
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: poured into a brooklyn flattop schnifter. pitch black with dark brown undertones when held to the light. minimal light almond head settles quickly and leaves only some traces of spotty lacing.

smell: the vanilla beans are out of control!! im mostly getting a very dry spice smell with a toffee/caramel backbone. some chocolatey roast is still present too. perhaps the smell could mellow more over time. although it smells great right now, too many things are competing and i would hope for more obvious flavors from such a distinct beer.

taste: a shitload of things are bouncing around. in the initial taste young toffee and vanillas are strong but are quickly balanced by a bitter oaky, dark malt flavor.

mouthfeel: please kill me

drinkability: cant remember what i paid for it back in '09, but im sure its worth it. this beer is unique, and the perplexion created by its many flavors and aromas is exactly what i needed.

northaustin, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of billab914
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

billab914, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of ottovon
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

shared with whiterascal

A: pours out a dark brown, almost black, with a tan head that fell quickly.

S: smells of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, some fruit, and dark roasty malt.

T: i get chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt. a little sweet in the front. a little bit of alcohol, and some roasted malt/dark chocolate bitterness in the finish. there is some coffee in there as well.

M: it has a medium-thick mouth feel with low carbonation. very smooth. has a great feel.

D: very drinkable. Something I could drink all night if it wasnt almost 10%

ottovon, Jan 14, 2011
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 353 ratings.