Balto Heroic Lager | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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Balto Heroic LagerBalto Heroic Lager
54 Ratings
Balto Heroic LagerBalto Heroic Lager

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 09-19-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 47
Reviews by Osiris9588:
Photo of Osiris9588
2.83/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, no date. Pouse a hazy orange with golden hue. White two-finger head, pretty creamy and decent retention.

The aroma is comprised of dry malt and orange, and a distant berry scent, somewhat weak. The flavor is very fruity, yet in an abstract way. It's tart, a bit phenolic, unbalanced, and a bit of a mess. The aftertaste reminds me a Smartie kindy dropped in water for a second. Some more malt would be nice, to anchor it.

The mouth is light, and gets a little sappy with the high sugar content. Being so off-kilter, the drinkability is low. Not one of my favorites from a solid brewery.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Browsing through Tully's the other day and saw some Thirsty Dog 6 packs. It was a golden color with a thin head. It had a sweet, malty aroma. Taste was fruity (banana), some bread, some hops. Fairly assertive, probably worth another try.

The label said brewed and bottle in Frederick, MD.

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Photo of Brenden
3.08/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer may be recently retired, but I did drink it. Notes are from last week.

Just as a note, I had no idea what I would have categorized this one as. I know that "golden lager" is not a style, and it was never specified. I don't know what led someone to categorize this as an amber/red, though.

The color is a deep gold with some clarity. A soft white head forms about one finger tall and fades relatively quickly. Light lacing is left behind in thin patches.
The nose is muted with hints of grains and a soft note of breads with maybe just the slightest mix of caramel malts and hops which, oddly, add little character.
The flavor follows suit, adding a spicy note and something very odd; a strange yeast strain perhaps? I honestly don't know what that weird flavor is and I've never tasted it in a beer before. Hops and malts are balanced, but they're light.
The mouthfeel is a little bland despite a medium body, but at least somewhat lively, though as it lingers it does weaken. It's still somewhat smooth and at least there's a nip at the beginning.
Well,I guess I won't be having this again since it's retired, but I wouldn't seek it out again anyway unless I was searching for a beer that would really confuse me as to what style it was supposed to be.

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Photo of asabreed
2.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light golden color, not a lot of bubbles, and a head that dissipates quickly with very little lacing.

Smell: Dextrin sweetness, hardly any hops, and sweet malt. I can't really discern anything else. Not awful on the nose, just boring and fairly stale.

Taste: Overly DMS and dextrin-sweetened, at least seemingly, with little to no hops curbing any of that. Finishes with the faintest, I mean faintest, bit of bitterness, and DMS sweetness. A bit cloying to boot. Some hops and balance would really add to this--where are those components?

Mouthfeel: Not a lot of carbonation at all, which provides a fairly smooth and watery feel, which I'd rather take than seltzer water. That said, there's not even a lot of carbonation at the finish, which makes it thin and watery by the end.

Drinkability: The same brewery makes Hoppus Maximus and Siberian Night? Hard to believe, but I guess everyone has to have an easy-going brew they can sell? Not sure what the deal is. This isn't a bad beer, but it's nothing I'd really seek out again, as there are certainly a ton of others I'd rather choose. Glad I only got one bottle to sample.

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Photo of cliff1066
3/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.92/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange gold in color with two inch creamy beige head that dissipates quickly leaving a foamy ring and chunks of lacing. It has a Noble hop aroma Taste is caramel malt first then followed up with a refreshing floral hoppiness. I really like this beer. It is not a crisp beer and that should be a fault for a pilsner but NOT a red lager.

There is something in the taste that I don’t know how to describe and I have not seen a description of what I am looking for in other reviews. Having said that I think the beer is way under rated. I will be drinking more of this. And I’d say give it a try if you like lagers and don’t expect them to be pilsners.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.85/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a clear yellow gold with good carbonation. The head is 2 fingers white and leaves some lace.

The smell is lightly roasted malt and a slight lemongrass hopy finish.

The taste follows nice malt very easy to gulp this brew, notes of biscuit and lemon in the finish. Nice

The mouthfeel is ok good lighter body and nice carbonation.

The drinkability is good quite an easy brew to drink and plenty refreshing. Prosit, MK

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Photo of hotstuff
3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

The Rathskeller Wine & Beer Fest:When poured, this beer had a small sized tan head with a clear body and no carbonation.The hue was yellow-gold and the nose was malty as was the flavor.The mouthfeel of this beer was smooth.Not much to expand on with this one.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a golden orange color with about a half inch frothy white head. It smells like sweet malt and grain, and that's it. The aroma isn't strong at all. The taste is sweet. It tastes like sweet malt, caramel, grain, and it also has a bit of a fruity taste to it (I can't really tell exactly what fruit). I can't taste any hops at all. The mouthfeel is light/medium. Drinkability is OK. I'd drink it again, but it's just an average beer IMO.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from notes

brownish amber with a small off white head on top. Very clear with tons of carbonation rippling up from the bottom of the glass.

smells of malted grain, rice, and a touch of grass. Nothing to write home about. After a few minutes it was taken over by a musty bread like aroma and that was about it.. Nice rounded caramel tones in the finish were brought there by a bready like grain and a touch of some earthy and grassy flavors.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.86/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. Pours a deep golden color, slightly hazy. Tiny bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass. Off-white foamy head that disappears too quickly. Smells of toasty caramel malt and bread. Caramel flavor, very smooth. The more I drink, the better the bready aroma gets. Some earthy hop flavor with a hint of bitterness. Light body, high carbonation. Not crisp enough for me. Pretty easy to drink. Not a beer that will blow you away, but not intended to be.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A slightly murky straw pour, decent finger and a half, off-white head.

S: Not a very strong aroma at all... some sweet maltiness with light hops.

T: Flavours are not bad. Sweet, malty, but kind of lacking in hops balance. They only seem to come out post-finish. Not a bad tasting brew, but not really complex at all.

M + D: A light-medium body, but the carbonation is reasonable and it's certainly drinkable. This is an easy one to quaff. I picked this one up because my son liked that it had a puppy on the label. I would get it again for that reasoning and not complain about drinking it, but it's not something to go out of ones way for.

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Photo of Brent
3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average pretty well sums this beer up. Golden color with a good bit of caramel in the aroma. Flavor profile was to the sweet side, with an emphasis on caramel malt. Not much depth to the flavor, it clocked in, intent on getting the job done without thinking about it more than necessary. While a no-brainer can score high on drinkability, this one would get boring pretty fast.

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Photo of Tyrawlings
3/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of DrDemento456
3.7/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well being recently retired I guess this is why I found it at the House of 1,000 beers for a dollar and it was worth the dollar.

A - Well it's not very "golden" as others stated it looks more amber if anything with some haze and a 1/4 inch of head.

S - Smell is sweet with bread and caramel taking front stage and very little musky lager yeast. Not bad.

T - Well it was good so I am not sure of the low score (style discrepancy?) but I got some good toasted almond and a caramel finish which gave this "lager" some great character.

M - Light to medium it was good.

Overall I will have to see if they have any left because for a dollar it was one great "amber?" lager. Worth trying if you see it equally as inexpensive.

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Photo of Zorro
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In the glass this is a clear red-gold colored beer with a tall yellowish white head.

The smell is slightly citrus with a slight lime scent and mildly of malt.

The taste begins sweetish with a slight malt taste. There is a slight lime taste here but mostly this is pretty bland. Very slight hop bitterness but mostly this is very basic.

The Mouthfeel is OK.

Certainly this is a non-offensive beer, but it isn't a great one either. Worth only trying to say you have or for the bottle if you are a fan of Balto.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.15/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single, twelve-ounce bottle copped from Nikki's Liquors in Providence...
Not too sure if this qualifies as an Amber lager... Seemed almost like a Blonde to me...
Golden, light hue with no head nor lacing...
Smell: Light-lager aroma with hints of vanilla thrown into the mix...
Taste: Very vanilla-like flavor with only slight hints of amber and grains...
Decent mouthfeel along with an alright level of drinkability...
Very light on the overall amber red flavor... Certainly an interesting sample, though I wouldn't rate this brew too highly...

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.28/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of grainy malts, caramel, some hops and a touch of fruit.

T: The taste is bready and a little sweet with flavors of caramel, grain and some fruit. There's a decent hops presence that provides some balance and a touch of smokiness in the background. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, this is a decent beer but there really isn't anything to it that stands out enough to make me select it over many others.

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Photo of jwc215
2.78/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours hazy dark gold with a one-finger head that descends to a thin cover.

The smell is of some grain and a touch of lemon.

The taste is of sweet malt, bready, towards caramelish. Not much balance to the sweetness, other than a touch of unfortunate apple-like sourness. Bready, fruity, fairly dry finish.

It seems thicker than it is, but wondering if that comes from too much yeast coming through. Not much depth to it with a watery consistency despite the touch of off-kilter thickness. The aftertaste is less than desirable.

Not impressed. Not horrible, but things don't mesh well. Sweet with an odd sourish fruitiness.

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Photo of neonbrown82
2.5/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Just to aid in any confusion about this beer, it says Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. on the label, but Thirsty Dog is now defunct, so if you have found some on the shelf, it is most likely contract brewed from Wild Goose Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. Check the label under the Government Warning to be sure [make a habit of it with any beer... something I've really come to notice a lot more being ITB].

Now that that's out of the way, This beer was not one of my favorites. I love nothing more than a tasty lager, but only if it is brewed to perfection. Of course, that's arguable since it's based on opinions and all, but this beer does not meet the above criteria of "brewed to perfection."

Unfortunately I wasn't able to deliver my label reading monologue to my roommate before he came home with a shipment of beer from Indiana, and so he failed to realize that this beer does not have a freshness date on the label, and subsequently he didn't ask a clerk about its age [not that I don't appreciate being able to try new beer]. As far as I can tell, this beer is dead.

The beer pours to a golden yellow color. Clear at first conception, but upon closer inspection reveals a cloudy liquid with small chunks held in suspension. As far as I can tell, this beer is not bottle conditioned, thus the chunks are from mal-storage. Not only that, but the beer is eerily still. A single, lonesome bubble of carbonation will rise for every minute I sit and watch.

The smell is off. Lots of vegetal aromas with a dash of DMS. The taste is not much better. Tastes like stewed sweet potatoes with beet sugar. Is this beer really old, or is it possibly this shitty? Both?

I have no desire to try this beer again, fresh or not. How could the Siberian Night possibly have come from the same brewery?

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Photo of dickieb
2.76/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours an average golden color, almost macro esque. The smell is very faint to me, with hints of grain. Flavor is also lacking with some lingering sweetness, and bit of hops worked in somewhere in the middle. This beer is drinkable, as their is nothing offensive about it, but the overall flavor and experience is rather bland. This is the least impressive of the thirsty dog brews

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Photo of johanvond
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Golden lager pours with a white head and dark golden body. It has Big malt flavors that areand carmely. you can smell the hops and the pilsner malts. Slightly dry in finnish with a body that is moderate in viscosity. The hops are low in taste and only tasted in the end. All in all Balto ends up being a clean and mellow lager. Its easy dinking but theres not to much to talk about.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger off-white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is sweet with hoppy overtones, unusually for a lager. $1.80 for a 12oz bottle from Tully’s Beer and Wine Well, ME.

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Photo of eclectic
3.15/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Mildly sweet aroma with a slight hint of hops in the background... pours a golden amber with a decent head...exactly what I expect for the style.

The taste is not very smooth.. there’s a sweetness up front but a bitterness in the aftertaste that just doesn’t sit well with the rest of the beer. I do find it to smooth out as it warms up, and that is why I am giving it an average rating for taste but I definitely would not want to drink more than one of these at a time.. overall a rather average beer that is a bit less drinkable than its style would normally dictate.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A safe beer. No risks taken, yet not much suprise. Solid clear golden color, medium to high carbonation. White loose head fell quickly. Smells slightly malty, caramelly, and hop bitter. On the side of bready or yeasty. Tastes lightly caramelly and bready. Hops and yeast add enough bitter flavor to balance. A bit grainy to the palate. Finishes weak and fading. A decent beer after mowing the grass or to chase down a pizza. Again, safe, but normal.

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Balto Heroic Lager from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.1 out of 5 with 54 ratings