The Grade
The Bruery

The GradeThe Grade
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Style:
Porter - Baltic
ABV:
7.6%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.13 | pDev: 5.33%
Reviews:
20
Ratings:
73
From:
The Bruery
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  1
Gots
  15
SCORE
91
Outstanding
The GradeThe Grade
Notes: The Grade is in. It’s built on the backbone of a rich, cold-fermented baltic porter made popular in countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Similar to an imperial porter but distinctly different, the baltic porter style is heralded for being full-bodied, roasty and smooth, with overtones of toffee, coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit. We take it one step further and hammer it home with the bold, sweet flavors of maple syrup and a touch of fenugreek, placing it in a different, experimental class entirely. The Grade is not your average baltic porter, and that’s A-OK in our book.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 73 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a tulip(because they told me to) glass to a nice black beer which is topped by a dense and rocky two and a half fingers of light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of tons of maple with some roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate hiding in the background
T: Taste is roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate with a nice maple undertone. This beer isn't overly sweet which is nice but the maple does add a nice dimension to the beer. On the swallow it's more light maple with some roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee rounding things out into the finish with a touch of smoke.
M: This beer feels to be fairly full in body and just slightly syrupy. Not overly heavy or chewy though. Carbonation is light and silky smooth while the beer has a slightly drying finish.
O: Overall this is an interesting beer. It has some good flavors and a nice amount of complexity going on. It hits those notes you expect from the base beer with a nice twist from the maple. This is a beer that I'd like to see make a return in cans during the winter months.

Feb 23, 2020
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superspak from Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/30/2016. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, maple syrup, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, and dark/brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts, maple syrup, fenugreek, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with big strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, maple syrup, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, and dark/brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Mild herbal, grassy, spicy hops; and roast/char bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, maple syrup, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, dark/brown bread/crust, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, maple syrup, fenugreek, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance; and no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Very clean lager flavors, not overly fruity/yeasty. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/bready, and lightly slick/sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 7.8%. Overall this is a fantastic Baltic porter. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, maple syrup, fenugreek, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV, with the mildly bitter/drying finish. Fantastic balance of clean/rich malts, maple syrup, and fenugreek flavors; with solid earthy hop presence/balance, and restrained yeast notes. Not overly sweet/heavy from lingering dryness. A highly enjoyable offering, and outstandingly spot on style example.

May 20, 2019
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with JLindros. 2016 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown almost black with a thick mocha head that fades to leave light lacing and a thin blanket.

S - Big aromas of maple syrup and maple candies. Nice darker fruits and roast, really solid Baltic Porter notes. Really aromatic with excellent balance and toasted marshmallow.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with loads and loads of maple syrup and maple cream. Really good dark fruit and licorice along with toasted marshmallow. Really good earthy notes as well as.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, creamy, little thick and luscious.

O - Overall this was a very solid porter with excellent maple notes. Can't believe how good this still is!

Serving Type: bottle

Mar 16, 2019
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with rudzud
Pours a giant foamy brownish creamy rich head with great retention and lacing, opaque basically black beer

Nose big maple, sweet maple candy creams with mild dark chocolate cocoa and roasty coffee, some fudge and vanilla ice cream, but nice Baltic porter roasty, toasted marshmallow, wish the fruits were a touch more

Taste more big maple, maple syrup and a little maple cream candy, raw earthy vanilla, chocolate fudge and mild roasty coffee, dark chocolate, toasted marshmallow and hint of spices, nice licorice, plenty of bitterness mix of dark malts and spicy hops, little bit of dark fruits but not a ton, roasty gets a bit high but def within range, soft lager like characters, finishing dry and medium bitterness, more licorice and marshmallow and cocoa lingering

Mouth is med bodied, but soft creamy almost chewy, but a soft lager like note, nice medium carb

Overall very nice, good lagered Baltic porter with great malts, maple, chocolate, vanilla, spice, coffee, etc, wish the fruit was a bit more but very nice

Mar 16, 2019
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into my tulip glass at 43 degrees. A two finger head with poor retention. The light brown head is billowy and airy. The beer's head left no lacing. The color of the beer is dark brown in color and opaque. The beer's overall appearance is average.

The nose on this beer is phenomenal. Rich roasted malts with maple and fenugreek, toffee, chocolate, coffee, yeast, earthy, wood, brown sugar, molasses, floral, baking spices, and caramel for the aromas.

That is a complex flavor profile. The fenugreek, maple syrup, and roasted malts are the stars in this beer. Toffee, chocolate, yeast, caramel, vanilla, molasses, baking spices, brown sugar, earthy, woody, floral, and herbal for the flavor.

The mouthfeel of the beer is chewy. The body of the beer is medium, medium carbonation, and a long finish.

This beer is phenomenal. The flavors are harmonious and balanced. An excellent example of a baltic porter. It was a pleasure to drink this beer.

Jan 13, 2018
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours deep black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that good retention

S- roasted charred malt up front with undertones of chocolate, maple syrup, toasted walnuts, toffee, caramel, raisin & a hint of coffee

T- dark roasted/charred maltup front with notes of chocolate and coffee, followed by a big maple/fenugreek sweetness, as well as notes of toasted walnut, toffee/caramel, raisin & fig. The finish gives more nutty notes as well as a maple finish

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns creamy into the finish

O- bold and roasty baltic porter complimented nicely by the maple sweetness

Jan 07, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I hate the prices and the strange availability of their better and more special beers, but i love the bruery, and its beers like this that keep me coming back again and again. this is a rich and full bodied baltic porter, classic but substantial and of extremely high quality. on its own, it would be an outstanding beer, and i would like to try it like that sometime, but with the additions of a whole bunch of maple syrup and some fenugreek (seeds i would think), it is elevated into something really special and unique. its cool because the base baltic porter is rich but dry, full bodied with cocoa and roasted flavors, light coconut too, and a bready lager tasting yeast to it. it also has a crispness, a cleanness uncommon in big dark beer with such depth. the maple syrup then almost undoes some of this tidy briskness that has been established in the base, but i think by fermenting this to dry and then adding the maple, we end up with a really clear and pure expression of the maple in here, its not obstructed at all by grain sugar, and its silky texture and gorgeous natural flavor are on full display. the fenugreek is oily, toasty, herbal, and lightly spicy. its dosed just right for me and very distinct. it seems to always end up with things like cinnamon and cardamom in both food and drink, and so to have it relatively isolated like this is just brilliant, and i think it compliments the yeast character as well as the maple syrup here really nicely. we had this beer on an all time hangover as a breakfast brew, and it really did bring us back to nearly full functioning humans again. the maple and the roast, the fenugreek and the cold fermented smoothness, this beer is expert and inventive, as good as it gets! maple for days too, sweet at the right times and thick from it in a beautiful way. incredible beer!

Nov 01, 2017
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VeganUndead from Virginia

3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Think bodied carbonation that remains, and heavy maple syrup on the nose. But the adjuncts are barely present on the flavor profile, solid, but I'll chalk this up to one I shouldn't age

Jul 03, 2017
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ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a nice surprise. I haven't had many lagers from the Bruery, but they nailed this Baltic-style Porter. Pours a beautiful dark brown, almost black, with a fluffy brown head. The flavor is roasty and maple, but not overly sweet. Nicely done.

Apr 25, 2017
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ThickNStout from Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle acquired through The Bruery's Society. Bottled 8/30/16. Served in a Bruery snifter.

Pours black tea with three fingers of khaki head. The foam dies downtk a modest ring but leaves no lace.

Aromas of maple syrup, grape jelly, chocolate and caramel. Intriguing for the style and it works.

The taste has layers of maple syrup, bakers cocoa, semi bitter peanut skins, candied dark fruit, lactose and bread with almost no discernible alcohol. The maple character is quite enjoyable.

Smooth, creamy, medium feel with mild carbonation. Clean finish with maple syrup, dark fruit and some subtle chocolate notes.

The Grade is an excellent baltic porter from The Bruery. The maple syrup really elevates the well-constructed base.

Mar 07, 2017
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cvm4 from Mississippi

4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L - Pours a black body with a two finger tan head.

S - A pungent hit of maple! Delightful! It follows up with some toffee, vanilla and a touch of coffee.

T - Overall, the taste is sweet, but the nose should have given a hint of what's to come. Maple syrup dominates. Notes of bakers chocolate, vanilla and roasted malts.

F - Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Wet finish.

O - Overall, it's sweet but a very enjoyable beer to drink. The base beer and adjuncts come together just right. Glad this one wasn't a big boozy bruery stout or old ale.

Mar 05, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Bruery in Placentia, CA.

This pours a very dark brown, nearly black, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This seems really similar to those maple sugar candies- which is cool. There's some definite vanilla frosting too.

This is quite sweet and sugary, but it works. There's lots of sugary and candied maple syrupy flavor. The vanilla character reminds me of frosting. The base Baltic Porter provides some slight fruitiness.

This is medium bodied, pretty creamy, with a good drinkability.

Though this might be too sweet, it's still enjoyable. I'm not sure what the fenugreek adds to this.

Jan 21, 2017
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well going into this one I thought there was little chance I would be down with said beer. Wrong. Pours black and has about 4/5" brown head on it. Aroma rocks of maple first, coffee, toffee, caramel and bourbon after that.

Taste, pretty sweet, hides alcohol well, pretty viscous, slight bitterness to it as if it was a doppelbock and baltic porter blend. The dark fruit bitterness is there, but there is so much else going on that you don't really have to worry about that aspect overwhelming you like so many other baltic porters that tend to be hot in terms of alcohol but also bitter dark fruit notes too. I dunno what fenugreek is or what it adds to this beer. Good with help, but putting one of these down solo might be difficult.

Dec 30, 2016
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into an oversized wine glass appears black in color with 3 fingers mocha colored head that fades slow leaving a curtain of lace.

Aroma of maple syrup, chocolate and slight cola or rootbeer aspect. Slightly fruity to herbal.

Tastes maple sweetness slight herbal feel before cola/rootbeer and chocolate.

Medium in body with modest carbonation. Pretty good.

Dec 30, 2016
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into Guinness glass

L: Dark black with very big 3F+ light tan foamy head. Good retention, leaves moderate lacing and cap and ring.

S: Lots of maple in the nose, some vanilla and caramel. Roasted malts.

T: Roasted malts pushed more to the front in the taste. Dark fruits and bitter chicory coffee tastes. Maple comes in lightly near finish (hard to say if fenugreek comes in differently as it tastes quite maple-like)

F: Medium to full body, light to medium carbonation. Bitterness runs a bit out of kilter on finish, so balance is not what it could be. Constructed imaginatively and decently.

O: Gonna go with "glad I tried it, wouldn't again" and let it lie.

Dec 27, 2016
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Hop_God from California

4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A:deep espresso. Super thick caramel to khaki head. Thick bubbles and lacing.

S: sweet maple syrup. It smells like breakfast when you're in a log cabin in the mountains somewhere during a snowstorm in Colorado Faint nutty aroma is well some Bert sugar almost Caramell dark fruits some dates and candy figs

T: maple syrup. Oak. Smoky nuts. Bitterness. Hops. Some earthy notes. Turtle chocolate.

F: a bit thin. Sweet upfront and finished bitter to nutty aftertaste.

O: pretty solid. Not a huge porter fan but this is quite nice.

Nov 30, 2016
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juablu from California

4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml into snifter glass. To me, smells more like caramel than maple syrup, but scent is my weakness. Maple is definitely there. Only weakness - I wish it had a bit more mouthfeel but I think that would make it more of a stout. Still very enjoyable.

Oct 28, 2016
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scottfrie from California

4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into snifter. Bottle date 8/30/16.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a billowing dark tan head that really frothed up in the pour. The head took forever to slowly fade into a thin collar leaving spots of soapy lace down the glass.
S: Extremely sweet nose that reeks of sticky maple syrupy. The syrup basically dominates, but I get hints of vanilla and caramel as well.
T: Maple syrup flavors dominate my palate as well, but the finish has notes of bitter dark chocolate and roast. The aftertaste has a lingering hint of cola, fudge, roasted grain, and caramel. While the flavors are sweet, this beer isn’t cloying or syrupy. A clean smokiness lingers on my palate long after the swallow.
M: Medium-full body, smooth and fairly drying mouthfeel despite being so sweet, with bubbly and soft carbonation despite being so ample and frothy. This drinks really easily.
O: A bit sweet at first but easy to get used to. The clean and crisp mouthfeel really helps cut the maple flavor. This isn’t something I’d drink regularly, but I enjoyed this bottle and would drink again.

Oct 21, 2016
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Phil-Fresh from California

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Caramel, light chocolate and dark fruit with lots of maple syrup.

A: Deep brown color, opaque with a thin off-white head that forms a thin film across the glass.

T: Caramel malts, light chocolate flavor with dark fruits, slightly sweet and very pronounced maple syrup.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation.

O: Awesome; the beer has a great maple syrup component that really works well with the beer's typical Baltic Porter aroma and flavors of caramel, light coffee and chocolate malts and, estery dark fruits.

Sep 18, 2016
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Furlinator from California

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bruery tasting room on 09/13/16.
Pours translucent dark cola with a khaki head that remains through the drink down. Smell is dominated by maple syrup with faint coffee and a hint of vanilla. The taste follows with the maple taking a back seat to the coffee. Slightly thin in texture.

Sep 14, 2016
The Grade from The Bruery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 73 ratings