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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

365 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 365
Reviews: 221
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 151
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 365 | Reviews: 221 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flagmantho
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of BDJake
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark brown, decent head.

S- Smells like banana candy to me actually, as opposed to cherries. Some of the oak comes out, as do the chocolate malts.

T- Like espresso mixed with bananas, dark chocolate, and vanilla.

M- Pretty thick, with appropriate carbonation, and quite a bit of the alcohol warmth.

D- Comes together well, but due to the nature of the beast, it still takes awhile to finish.

Photo of Arbitrator
1.48/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Purchased at Belmont Station and shared by ramnuts as he made chili. Thanks Frank!

A: Pours a dark mahogany-ruby color; its translucence is immediately apparent in the small pour. The tan head is surprisingly generous for what is (later discovered to be) a nearly 10% beer. Retention is ok, lacing is poor.

S: Vanilla. It was like sniffing a vanilla bottle, actually, with that accompanying alcohol sting. Cherry, brown sugar, and chocolate as well. It was so strong and pungent that it just became sickening after a while. Personal preference I suppose.

T: Again, vanilla beans first and foremost, and they dominated the flavor completely until it warmed to the right temperature. Then it "opened up" and revealed hints of dark chocolate-covered cherries, coffee, and brown sugar... But the vanilla never left. It haunted me. Neither of us picked up the oak advertised on the label.

M: Light-bodied and not quite smooth. I bet that if it were thicker it would hold the flavor better and be slightly less hot.

D: Couldn't even have a second pour, much less finish the bottle. This is a fairly new beer, judging from the earliest review (last season). They may still be tweaking the recipe. I am leaving open the possibility of grabbing another bottle in a later season. But right now? Hell no.

Photo of mikedashg
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark black into my snifter with a good sized brownish tan head

S - Brown sugar, chocolate and sweet cherries for sure. A little vanilla and boozyness.

T - Wow, the cherries, brown sugar and a creamy chocolate kind of hit you right away. Carmalaized malts and just a touch of hops. Mostly a sweet one. Has a little vanilla and oak after taste to it. A bit boozy, as to be expected with almost 10%, and I like it.

M - Very creamy and moderate carbonation.

D - Really balanced in carbonation/look/head/mouthfeel and flavor. EVerything really is very cohesive and the flavors really jump out at you. Well done alaskan!

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Photo of SargeC
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black colored liquid with a golden-tan colored head.

Smell: Sugar, vanilla, oak and roast malt.

Taste: Rich malt with a nice balance with the additional flavors of brown sugar, vanilla and oak. Alcohol in the finish. Touch of hops.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Oily quality, very smooth.

Drinkablity: Great porter. Excellent balance in a big brew.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle $9. I bought this just because I like their barleywine, bad idea. This was dark black, decent head, looks just fine to me. The smell was sweet, sticky, vanilla, uhhh. The flavor hada hint of the cherries and a lot of vanilla sweetness. I honestly could not get past what the vanilla and oak had done to this beer and I did not think there was anything special about it. It was not a bad beer it was just quite average tasting and I was expecting to be wowed. Oh well...

Photo of WeisGuy
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - pours deep dark brown, not quite black, smallish tan head with retention around the edges and minimal lacing

s - some roasted malt, but it's overwhelmed by the cherry, brown sugar and oak additions, slight licorice aroma as well, really "fake" smelling, unfortunately

t - roasted malt and toastiness up front, but a big burst of sweetness, marked by cherry and oak, on the mid-palate, finish is pretty sweet as well with the brown sugar and vanilla making their appearance, almost completely overwhelming the roasted/black patent malt flavors that mark most Baltics, in my opinion, the additions to this beer (cherry, brown sugar, vanilla beans, oak) have taken over the beer, a little hot

m - medium-bodied with moderate carbonation fairly sweet finish, not very much drying, definite alcohol warming

d - a bit too sweet and hot to be overly drinkable, but this is a 9.8% beer, so drinkability is not the aim, a lot of flavors going on, so it gets points for that

Overall, a somewhat disappointing offering, in my opinion. As stated above, I feel the additives have overwhelmed the base beer.

Photo of Beaver13
2.43/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle, dated 2009. Pours brown with a smallish tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is alcoholic fruity chocolate. The alcohol is pretty sharp. Lots of rum soaked cherries, plums, apples and fudge.

The flavor is strong alcohol and lots of slight tart fruits. The some roasted chocolate and some plasticy cardboard bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, I was excited to see a baltic porter since I like the smoked porter quite a bit, but this beer is a bit of a mess - strange fruity alcohol with lots of off notes.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from liquidsolutions or bottletrek, by way of stevemcqueenjr.

22oz bomber. 2008 vintage. tasted in late may/early june 2009. poured into tulip.

very dark black/brown, w red hints under direct light. 1.5-finger tan head fades to wisps and thick ring. lacing barely ever sticks tho.

aroma: sweet dark caramelized malts and fruity cherries and plums, with trace of vanilla. light grassy hop hint, with faint chocolate tones.

taste: sweetly malty and fruity, like aroma. licorice? roast and coffee notes coming in towards the middle, w mild hopping and moderate bitterness. more coffee in aftertaste. alcohol is very well hidden.

medium body, quite smooth, though astringency and alcohol become more present here in the feel. mild to moderate carbonation gives light tingle, and helps with some creaminess.

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage

ale brewed with cherries, brown sugar, vanilla beans & oak chips. 9.8%

a steal at ~$7 for 22oz

dark brownish purple pour. viscous, not much head. aroma bowls you over with the brown sugar/fruit combo more suited to a belgian. the cherries burst as if a pie full of them had been set before me. strangely, this beer is not too sweet, it's actually rather dry. somewhat boozy, but dry. the vanilla and oak dominate the flavor, creating something that exists far away from the cozy domicile of standard baltic porter. strangely though, i can see how the bjcp descriptor sort of fits.

i am in awe of the complexity of this beer. if you approach it expecting a style-defying mindblower, you'll dig it. if you think about some eastern european black bean lager, you'll hate the shit out of it.

regardless, for the experience, this is very good.

Photo of yemenmocha
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours coca-cola brown that is easy to see through upon pouring, but appears almost black once poured into the glass. Head is somewhat modest and recedes to a thin layer.

Nose clearly has the cherry and vanilla, with the cherry having an almost throat-lozenge/cough-syrupy character.

On the palate this beer is surprisingly lighter bodied than what I expected, and helps with drinkability, but of course again the cherry-vanilla takes main stage. Some cola flavors are present, and there's a hint of dry oakiness going on as well.

I like it, but I can see why some may not because it is rather cough syrupy.

Photo of scottoale
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage 22oz. bomber pours a dark reddish brown with a two-finger light tan head and some short lived lace. Looks good, but not overly impressive.

The smell on the other hand stands out, with a bunch of sweet cherry and vanilla in domination of everything else. As it warm quite a bit, some estery notes of alcohol and even more sweetness from the cherries and vanilla stand out.

The flavor starts sweet and estery chocked full of cherry and vanilla with just a hint of oak stepping in, and that's about it. It's very sweet, but not a brown sugar kind of sweet...almost confectionary, powder sugary sweet. There is just enough hops to keep this dessert type ale from becoming too cloying. Only just. It's good flavor with a ton of sweetness, hopefully some age will tone this down a bit, I'm thinking it will.

Medium body with a very mild carbonation and gentle warming contribute to a soft and soothing mouthfeel. I've had two bottles of this brew so far and the first bottle tasted a little more robust and not as sweet as this one. Still very enjoyable, this would make a great after dinner, dessert type sipper for sure.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of joepais
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to thethrone for hooking me up with this brew. The bottle was split between a few of us and poured in tulip glasses. It produced a small tan head that disappeared quickly and never was seen again. The body was midnight black in color with no highlights to be seen.

The Madagascar vanilla was over the top what a wonderful aroma. As it warmed I got a slight cherry note but not much. The brew tasted as well as it smelled sweet, roasted, vanillin and coffees all come to mind. The feel in my mouth was medium with a slight carbonation I did wish for a little more.
A great brew would love to drink it again. The strange thing to me was the said to age it, but there was no sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Was this brew filtered?

Photo of htomsirveaux
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried 14 Sep 2009 at the Taphouse Grill in Seattle.

Poured in a 13 oz tulip. Small light brown head. Dark brown with a reddish hue. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, leather, licorice, some alcohol. Starts quite sweet and chocolatey, almost like an iced mocha. Smooth milky mouthfeel. Dark sweet cherries in the middle. Also black licorice and anise. Dry roasty finish. Finish is warming but does not feel like almost 10pct. Dry cocoa aftertaste.

Like dessert in a glass.

Photo of superdavex
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this down the street for $3.25! An absolute steal and there's more. I'm not telling where.

The appearance was blackish/brown with very little head.

It smelled like cherries, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and alcohol all mixed together. Not something you smell every day.

It tasted pretty much like it smelled with the cherry and vanilla flavors coming up front. You can definitely taste the alcohol, but it doesn't seem like it's 9.9%.

It had a medium mouthfeel with medium carbonation. It was about on par for the style.

The drinkability was very good because of the thinner mouthfeel for the strength of brew and the unbelievably good taste of this one. Just be careful because the 9.9 will hit ya hard.

I don't usually like beers this sweet, but this one has such interesting complexities that it's an exception. I will be revisiting this one many times in the near future as I'm not sure how long these will be at the gas station for $3.25 a piece.

Photo of clickpush
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour: 22oz bottle to tulip glass. Hefty latte colored head, two fingers thick, appears over bubbling dark brown body. Actually, maybe make that black. No light passing through, even around the sides. Sticky retentive head.

Nose: Beautiful aroma, chocolate, vanilla, roses, cherries. Lots of fruit for such a dark bodied beer, but not getting a ton of roasted notes. Full, lush smell.

Mouth: Creamy mouthfeel, full delicious flavors. Rich vanilla all the way, with a lingering, nice, light roasty finish. The fruit is subdued but present: cherries & raspberries. Looong lasting finish! Love it, actually. Love it.

Photo of Jmoore50
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is a dark brown with clear raisin edges. It comes with a crisp head that disappears quickly. No lacing.

The smell is of alcoholic sweet cherries.

The taste is complex. Cherries are the first and strongest characteristic followed by an alcoholic oak chip taste. This brew is really hot, I personally can taste the 9.8% ABV. I cannot taste the brown sugar, but a vanilla taste accompanies the alcoholic tastes at the end.

The mouthfeel is hot, dominated by alcohol and a crisp 'coca-cola' carbonation. I beieve this will be an entirely different beer in 6 months or so.

J

Photo of ElGordo
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On a surprisingly cool and rainy night in August, I decided to switch it up from the wheat beers and pilsners that have become my usual fare this summer. Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a deep dark brown, rich and full but still letting a little bit of light shine through. A khaki-brown, creamy head flourishes for a couple of minutes before subsiding to a thin coating.
Aroma of sweet caramel malt with just a touch of roastiness. A plethora of sweet notes poking through - maple, mocha, and vanilla bean are all present, with a strong underlying boozy character. Palate is sweet up front, with caramel and maple flavors taking center stage. Dark fruit and mocha notes also make their presence known. A husky bitterness comes through before the swallow, balancing things out a bit for the smooth, warm finish.
Body is fairly thick, with a bit of an oily slickness to it. This beer is rich throughout, living up to its high ABV. While maybe not the most authentic baltic porter on the market, this is definitely an enjoyable beer, and a definite change of pace for summertime drinking.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Grizzly bear brown with generous garnet highlights. Amazingly enough, the beer isn't opaque. I hope that doesn't indicate a shortage of malt. Two fingers of caramel colored foam provide a pillowy cap that lasts for a bit, then lays down a thick collar of lace as it descends. A solid look all the way around.

The nose is different from the noses on most Baltic porters. The reason is that ABC adds Madagascar vanilla beans and black cherries, then ages the beer on toasted French oak. In addition to the usual roasted maltiness and dark fruit... the cherries are easily noted, the vanilla is subtle and the oak is hard to appreciate.

As feared, this isn't the biggest Baltic porter on the planet. More malt would have gone a long way toward making the enjoyable flavors even bolder and deeper. Alaskan says that this brew can be aged 'for several years', but I don't think the body will hold up that long. This bomber is approaching an estimated one year and the screws are getting a bit loose.

None of that matters too much because Alaskan Baltic Porter is delicious beer. The vanilla beans and the cherries are present in perfect proportions, both to each other and to the base porter. An apt comparison would be the beer equivalent of chocolate-covered black cherries with a vanilla cream and coffee cordial center. That does sound good, doesn't it?

A passing glance of unmasked alcohol, dark caramel notes and an understated oakiness give the beer of quasi-Bourbon vibe that is also right up my alley. Time to give the taste score a well-deserved bump. The mouthfeel is smooth enough, it just isn't full or creamy enough.

Most beer geeks won't agree, but I think Baltic Porter is a better beer than Smoked Porter. Neither one is burly enough, which keeps them from greatness in my eyes. The Alaskan brewers should take a page out of the Midnight Sun brew book and give us big beer worthy of America's largest, wildest state.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark opaque pour with cola and garnet highlights. Half inch of khaki head. Dark malts abound with profuse toffee and licorice. Slightly sweet caramel and dark fruits with plum and pear accents. Quite an intriguing aroma.

First sip brings sweet dark malts with bold toffee and licorice upfront. Caramel accents with lots of cellar fruits moving in and out as well. Dense with malt and only a touch of hops on the way down with no real alcohol presence. A rich, tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation that goes down smooth and tasty. Thanks to warriorsoul for leaving this one behind for me after Dark Lord Day.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a light black color porter with a quite large light brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of lightly sweet black chocolate is dominant and very enticing. Taste is also dominated by well balanced sweetness with some quality black chocolate notes. It seems almost impossible for some chocolate malt to taste so good and it makes me wonder if some syrup were used. In any cases, this is an incredible treat and something I wish I would have access to. Body is full with some good carbonation and no signs of alcohol.

Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber into goblet on 5/6/09. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured a lovely dark burgundy color with violet highlights and a thin beige head that quickly morphed into a thin ring and patchy retention.

S - Earthy and woody aroma with a prevalent dark fruit tang. Nose is pretty muted at first but opens up as the liquid warmed. A subtle grape sweetness and tartness emerged, as well as some caramel and toffee malt notes.

T - Flavor is woody and earthy with lots of vanilla and dark fruit notes suggesting dried apricots and plums. I sense an odd floral character in the middle that reminds me of mossy wood or something... it totally eludes me for some reason. Malt is pretty sweet overall with caramel and toffee notes.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth texture. Finishes sweet on the palate.

D - Pretty interesting Baltic Porter with some odd flavors but still quite nice and complex overall.

Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 365 ratings.