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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

366 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 366
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: 366 | Reviews: 221
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 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 mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, I mean come on, I have had bottles of this before, but have never opened one for some strange reason that truly escapes me. But last night decided this had to be my nightcap. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/28/2009.
 
The pour was brilliant, rich dark brown in color with the only thing separating it from Jet Black being a nice reddish hue around the sides and bottom. Huge head of tan comes up quickly and lifts to a height of around two inches, never totally settling down, but instead sitting on top with a huge amount of lacing coming down the sides. Aroma is so much different then I was expecting. Rich notes of cherries and dark malts coming through immediately. Hints of a light hoppiness and just mounds and mounds of chocolate at first. Warming though really brought out a large amount of fruit and raspberries and dark cherry seems to dominate here. Each sip was like a decadent dessert trapped in a bottle. Rich, velvet like carbonation, and warm soothing flavors, this one was making me melt in the chair. Smooth chocolate notes wrapped in a dark fruit blanket that descended and left behind a nice, warm, hop dryness that begged me to come back for another sip.
 
Overall one of the best Baltic Porters I have ever had hands down. This is what I envision the style being, just a superb offering and one that I really just could not get enough of. Highly recommend.

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

lots of flavors for a baltic porter. pours blackish brown with a mocha head about an inch high that fades after a few minutes. it smells sweet from the brown sugar, and pleasantly woody. deep dark chocolatey malts give is a smokey smell as well. cherries are the first thing i taste, a little tart, a little sweet, dried and chewy. then comes a wave of brown sugar, molasassy, but not too too sweet. the vanilla is very understated, not potent at all, and the oak gives it a very mature finish. mouthfeel is excellent, big body and moderate carbonation. the alcohol is very well disguised. would never know this was puching 10% abv. overall a very enjoyable beer, probably my favorite from the pilot series so far.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark brown body with ruby-tinted edges in the light and a thin ring of khaki-colored bubbles.

Smell: A deep scent of dark malts mingled with a liqueur-like black cherry aroma and notes of vanilla, seasoned wood, unsweetened chocolate, and toffee.

Taste: Rich dark maltiness with flavors of baker's chocolate and toffee. Hmm. It's rather sweeter than I would have imagined from the nose. Minimal roastiness. Splash of cherry cordial stirred up with some black cherry cola. Touches of vanilla and oak. Light earthy bitterness. Finishes dry and fruity with a lingering chocolate-coated cherry taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Loaded with an almost shameful amount of flavor, this brew pleases me on several levels and is one I wholly recommend.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Winchester Tavern shaker pint glass.

Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown, with ruby highlights and a finger-thick tan head. The smell is somewhat heavy on the booze, but this is balanced out by dark malts and fruits. The taste begins with a dark cherry flavor, followed by a roasted wheat, followed then by a figgy flavor, and then finished by a brown sugar/molasses flavor. In all, a wild, tasty ride that layers nicely on the tastebuds. The heavily medium body rests perfectly on the tongue, though the relatively high alcohol might check this somewhat, threatening the drinkability for some (though I will be coming back for more on a regular basis).

Photo of Jason
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Shared at at the Tree House bottle share back in December. Reviewed from my notes. 2009 vintage.

Light fizzy head, touch lacing, dark brown color.

Nose dark malts, chewy oats, light roast, acrid, hint choc, faint smoke, some cherry cough syrup.

Taste creamy choc, light roast, hint cherry that turns to cherry cough syrup eventually, lactose like, lots of milk choc on the end, cola syrup, sticky sweet, light acrid burnt roast and little wift of smoke.

Mouth is med bod, syrupy, little carb.

Overall meh, nothing special but decent beer.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of russpowell
4.69/5  rDev +13%
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....

Photo of mactrail
2.52/5  rDev -39.3%
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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
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
carbonation.

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

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of GClarkage
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Halcyondays
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of corby112
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of DoubleJ
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
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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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.