Baltic Thunder | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

very good
539 Reviews
Baltic ThunderBaltic Thunder

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by akorsak on 01-05-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 539 | Ratings: 926
Photo of flannelman808
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a columbian coffee brown brown with a heaping portion of raspberry syrup and in the light the red shines through as does the light... this is a rather clear beer. A very light tan head tops it off and has poor retention. I will say oddly it seems to be sticking to the glass rather well (ie good lacing).

S: Some mocha qualities though they are rather played down. Perhaps a minor fruity note as well... Once again I'm going with raspberry, perhaps milk chocolate covered.

T: Ok so this is sort of a weird brew. Seemingly subtle and then flavors sort of develop late. Milk chocolate, and a subtle boysenberry comes to mind. All of this is followed by some boozy hoppy bitterness. This beer is a great example of why we don't always use the tip of our tongue to taste sweetness. It's flavors effect the mid and back palate of ones mouth and argue if you... simply not the front.

M: light onset yet heavy finish

D: um... a little boozy and sweet for me.. this is lower than avg.

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When I visiting friends in Tallin, Estonia in the late '90's I remember how easily the Estonians made winter seem; jackets unzipped, mini-skirts & high heels slushing through the late winter's dirty black snow. Farmer's markets in near freezing conditions. Life goes on and this is just how it is when you live in a cool temperate climate. That hardened, unblinking look in people's eyes; This coldness is nothing compared the unbearable frozen world from which we have just thawed. It made me appreciate the wind on my cheeks; an affirmation of Life, freedom.

This bottle of Victory - Baltic Porter brings me back to that time; bus trips through Latvia and Lithuinia, friendly chats in ancient stone carved Estonian bars over Irish coffees, Baltic porters & lagers. The sense of human kindness (and alcohol) warming any cold-front or downtrodden spirit fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to cross it's path. Discovering family in forms of temporary friendships, bonds of energy wrapped up in moments, unforgettable and only once.

With these memories resurfaced I pour the dark reddish brown liquid into my glass. A thin head arrives, as a greeting, then quickly disappears.

The distinct smell of a Fluffernutter sandwich brings me back to being 8 and lunchtime at my Auntie Di's house; taking a break from swimming in the above-ground pool with my cousins, all sun burns & baby fat. Toasty marshmallow & crunchy peanut butter make strange, but interesting (and delicious) bed fellows.

The taste here is all toffee and weak coffee (aka: hot brown). Yummy and easy-to-drink with a slight natural sweetness and solid roasted backbone. This would be quite session-able (and I wished I had another) if it wasn't hovering at 8.5% ABV. The high alcohol volume is well hidden and it is to blame for my ramblings.

Enjoy this on a cold night with a head full of memories.

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Photo of EkimGram
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark roasty brown with a thin head that dissipates fairly quickly. No visible carbonation.

Smell: Sweet, roasty malts, a slight hint of alcohol.

Taste: Lots of the roasty burnt flavour. Some bitter notes in the middle. Finishes slightly boozy and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Slight to moderate amounts of carbonation. Semi-medium body that is smooth and silky.

Drinkability: A very solid beer. The hop presence is rather strong but it is balanced pretty well with the roasty flavour profile. A fuller body may be nice.

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Photo of stewart124
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby red with a centimeter of tan head.

Toffee and hazelnut in the nose some coffee

Plenty of roasted malt character with milk chocolate mousse notes. Medium bodied with a nice toffee/caramel and for lack of a better description 'milkyway candibar' finish. This is all malt for sure. Layers and layers of sweetness.

Mild bitterness with little to no hop character. Alcohol is slightly warming but fairly subdued and after 2 years in the basement these layers mellow. In the finish I get some cherry and currants.

This is a very nice baltic porter.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First note a distinctly graham cracker nose that shortly leaves, but was nice while around. Darker malt, a little alcohol, darker fruit.
Head seems to leave abruptly. Dark largely clear beer with red highlights.
Flavor with strong toastiness and very dry. Some dark fruit and an apparent alcohol taste.
Soft and filling carbonation, yet still a thinness to body.
Drinks fine, but somehow this beer isn't as satisfying as I desired or hoped for.
Thanks Bry.

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Photo of pants678
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The deepest brown, no head to speak of just a light beige.

The hops come off first then toffee, coffee--sorta mocha-y.

Same as the nose, the hops are prominent. So bitter it's hard to to tell the back from the font, not necessarily bad. A lack of chocolate, nuts and toffee are most prevalent. Hits the edges of the tongue and it's quite pungent. Not staining, but striking.

The hop presence keeps the weight down. For a porter, I could keep this glass full.

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Photo of bsp77
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bomber into Snifter.

Appearance: Rich, dark mahogany with thick initial light brown head but just leaves a few whispies.

Smell: Chocolate, caramel, cherry and noble hops. A little restrained.

Taste: Very malty and sweet, with chocolate, toffee, cherry and just a touch of coffee and spicy noble hops, especially toward the finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, fairly smooth lager body.

Drinkability: Nice sipper but comes across as more of a sweet Doppelbock, as the roasted qualities are a little too restrained. Not Victory's shining moment, but still quite tasty and good to try.

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Photo of Sudsy89
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle, chilled.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. Has a low level of carbonation, average-size head. Looks nice, like an Imperial Stout but perhaps not as dark. Aroma is similar, lots of roasted malts and coffee/chocolate in the taste as well. I think it was less bitter than I expected, and at 8.5% abv, it seems surprisingly drinkable. I enjoyed the flavors, although as other reviewers have said, it is on the sweet side. This is a good porter, would be a good intro to the style or perhaps before trying an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of sraimondi
2.72/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had not had this for quite some time, so I was very interested in revisiting it, especially during our first snow storm of the year.

A--Marginally on style, as it was just a bit too light in color when compared to the seminal Baltics from Northern Europe.

S--Malt is prevalent, with some very faint fruity esters. While the style doesn't call for much hops in the nose, the malt breadiness was a bit too much, IMHO, for the style. The benchmark BPs also have more alcohol in the smell.

T--As with the smell, malt is the prevalent feature. Unfortunately, it was right on the boundary of cloying, hence my low rating here, given the style. BPs need to have some hops characteristics, which may be masked in the end. This beer is just way too malty/sweet for the style.

MF--Nice and full with some carbonation, quite good.

D--The ABV is well masked, no hotness, although I think, given the style, in the end, this is a shortcoming.

This is an odd brew. On the one hand, it is a very well made beer, although a bit out of balance; too sweet. On the other hand, it is just not on style and doesn't closely resemble the benchmarks for this style.

Personally, I think it is closer to a doppelbock. Anyway, an enjoyable drink, especially in a snow storm, just not on style.


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Photo of crossovert
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle.

It pours a dark brown with a quickly dissipating off-white/tan head.

The smell is reminiscent of an American porter because it has a huge coffee scent along with some cocoa.

The taste reminds one more of Baltic porter. It has a subtle fruitiness, still a bit much with the coffee flavor. There is some chocolate and caramel in there as well.

The flavor perhaps doesn't go as far as it could with a Baltic porter and it is a bit over roasty for the style, but it is a very nice beer.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Duvel tulip. Dark but with red hues and light passes through the beer as I near halfway through. Tan head with big bubbles faded and left lacing which eventually disappears. Still a nice looking pour. I'm really excited about this beer. Even the bottle is cool.

The smell is of chocolate, dark fruit and even some wild cherry. Taste is rich in malty flavors with a complementary spiciness from the alcohol and some welcome bitterness on the finish. There's a light smokiness and some fruitiness in there as well. The alcohol contributes to the flavor rather than detract like some higher ABV ales. Not too much of anything here, a really balanced flavor. Less of the burnt coffee taste than some other porters, but the alcohol and hops serve that purpose and keep the sweetness in check. This should be a taste that almost all porter lovers will enjoy to some degree. I find it delicious. It was a perfect complement to my wife's homemade Southern fried chicken.

The mouthfeel is right on the money, kind of medium to rich and full, and not a bit of wateriness. Light carbonation is appropriate for the style. Oh goodness is this drinkable! I had some before dinner, during and now after with a pipe of aged Virginia/perique. No problem at all finishing the bomber all by my lonesome.

I am really impressed with Baltic Thunder, as I have been with all the Victory beers I've had. This one is right up there with all my favorite porters and Baltic porters. I'll be buying more that's for sure.

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Photo of jchow79
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bomber at a friends holiday party.

Appearance: Dark as night - think of oil in a glass

Smell: Fragrance of chocolate and molasses and smoke. I love the aroma. Theres an earthy undertone as well - smells a bit like dirt was mixed in. Absolutely awesome.

Taste: High concentration of malt and chocolate. Delicious on the tongue with a long finish. Smooth and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Thick and oily in the mouth. Coats the tongue and smooth all the way down.

Drinkability: I probably could have finished this bomber on my own. Loved it. I think this is a really great offering!

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep mahogany brown with glints of garnet. A very modest head disappears almost instantly, leaving a wisp of soapy tan floating up top.

Smells oaty, with pleasant biscuit-malt overlaid with a nose tingle of alcohol. Toffee and coffee notes are also present.

Tastes very nice; has a nice, roasted coffee taste, mellow yet distinct, with hints of chocolate and toffee. An almost bready malt gives this a full bodied taste. Ends slightly bitter for a nice finish.

Full mouthfeel, smooth yet bold, with a slight bitter feeling around the tongue and inside of the mouth.

This is an excellent porter, certainly one of the better I've had this year. Full and delicious, I would absolutely have this brew again.

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Photo of jlpayne
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Sprightly. No head. Semi-opaque. Brown with deep red hues.

S - Limited nose. Muted scent of malts. Some sweetness.

T - Much more going on in the taste. Earthy. Malts and hops very well balanced. Alcohol is barely present.

M - Light carbonation dances on the palate. Wispy. Very enjoyable.

D - Extremely drinkable. The 8.5% abv is barely noticeable.

Another solid beer from Victory. Recommendable.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - dark brownish body, big full tan/creme head.

S - nutty, toffee, cocoa, roasted malt.

T - dark chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts.

M - medium/heavy body. solid carbonation balance. goes down very smooth and the alcohol will sneak up on you.

D - This is one of my favorite styles of beer and this didn't let me down. Most assuredly a sipper, delighted in sharing thoughts will I sampled this selection with my best friend. Check this beer out.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

gotta go quick - gotta fix dinner for the fam!! Pours a deep dark mahogany with wonderful blood red highlights. Crowned by two-fingers of smooth and creamy head, this beer looks fantastic!! Wonderfully carbonated by champagne-like bubbles, the head softens into a marshmallowy half-finger and leaves wonderful lacing. Aromas are somewhat faint and show some fig, fruitcake, a tiny bit of vanilla or caramel, and fresh bread. Wonderful, creamy smooth flavors abound. Huge malt component hits right upfront, then slowly diminishes into a nice round roasty flavor. Amazing how they melded those two malt components. I love it. Finish is long and well-balancing, where the hops really come in and mop up without overdoing it. Middle of the pricv range but this beautiful beer is worth tracking down. Not as malt forward as many others in the style I've had, but well-balanced instead.

What I like most: The beautiful pour and wonderful malt character in the flavor.

What I like least: The somewaht faint aroma profile.

Verdict: Delicious and worth tracking down.

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Photo of peacebone116
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into an over-sized wine glass.

A: Dark black/brown with a reddish hue in certain light. Quickly fading muddy head.

N: Coffee and smoky hickory.

T/M: Coffee and a hint of chocolate. very smoky with the note of toffee sweetness. Texture is light (a little more than expected for this genre, but it does classify it as a "dark lager" on the back-of-the-bottle blurb); very drinkable.

I really enjoy Victory's take on traditional beers. They are very innovative and put a great spin on traditional German/Belgian style brewing. While I found this beer to be no different (the smoke nuances are very interesting), I did not pick up on the fruit notes I typically expect to find in a porter, which was a bit of a let-down. Good beer nonetheless.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into an Irish pint glass.

Look: hard to tell because of the lighting in the bar, but its dark brown with red highlights at the bottom and the sides. Thin tan head that doesn't stick around for very long but leaves an okay amount of lacing.

Smell: roasted malt, coffee, and dark caramel. A little sweet. Its simple but enjoyable.

Taste: follows the nose nicely. Coffee, some molasses, a hint of dark fruit, some roasted malt and dark caramel. Again, like the smell, fairly simple but enjoyable. The 8.5% ABV is hidden extremely well by the taste.

Feel: probably the biggest weakness of the beer in terms of the style, but its fairly thin for a Baltic Porter and is a bit on the thinner side of medium bodied. Carbonation is moderate. No alcohol warmth.

Drink: considering its 8.5% porter, this is exceptionally drinkable. Since its fairly light on the palate in terms of complexity and body, you could drink a lot of these.

Overall, decent but not exceptional. I think I might've enjoyed it more but in my mind I was comparing it to Storm King and that's probably an unfair comparison. Still, it was a good porter and hit the spot nicely. I would recommend giving it a try. Cheers!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains coffee, honey, dark fruit, roasted malts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of honey, dark fruit and milk chocolate followed by a hearty roasted malt character. There are background flavors of black coffee and some smokiness. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. 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, good kick, good representation of style, although there are better beers in the style, this is still a solid porter worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of wedge
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 maybe...

Dark, nearly black color with a thin beige head that quickly slips down to a creamy ring. Aromas of dark malt, dried fruit sweetness, toffee, slight oxidation, berries, and bread. Rich, roasted, chocolaty flavor...dried fruit esters, smooth coffee and a bit of tar-like smoke. Medium bodied, smooth, and quite drinkable.

Very rich and chocolaty. It's no Perkuno's Hammer, but then again, that was one of the best beers I've ever had. All in all, very tasty! Totally worth taking beyond the "best by" date...

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark tanish black, a slight red tint to it, 1/2 creamy head

Smell - Malts, chocolate, spices, yeast, classic victory smell

Taste - Nice and roasty with a chocolate background to it. Alcohol is masked well. I can taste the victory hops in it also. The spices are tangy mixed with cocoa and carmael . Nice and strong but has some sweetness to it

Mouthfeel - A real treat. Tounge gets tingly with the hop bitterness and alcohol warmth, but palette and throat gets malts, spices and chocolate. Nice mixture for sure

Drinkabilty - Well, its strong enough that this 22oz is enough for sure. This is borderline about as weak as you get for a baltic porter for its bitterness and kick. Great winter beer, will drink again

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Photo of ectomorph
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber with no freshness dating, but does reveal itself to be a lager, served in a DFH glass.

A - Gorgeous dark ruby body. Great clarity shows some of the tan head forming carbonation. Small tan head fades quickly, little lacing.

S - Dark toffee, caramel, with some fruit esters from the yeast. Clean fermentation otherwise, and the aroma overall is pleasant.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, black fig, black strap molasses. Roasty and malty with just enough bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. The roast character is prominent without tasting burnt or ashy in anyway, blending into the dark chocolate really well.

M - Medium bodied to the point of being dryer than most Baltic Porters. Good carbonation with a very clean finish that isn't usually here either... I like it.

D - For a Baltic Porter, high. The clean finish coupled with the absolute masking of the ABV makes it above average for the style.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 6 November 2010, on tap at Tap at Mallet in Rochester, NY for the "Victory Total Tap Takeover."

Served in non-standard glass, no head, runny lacing, Color was like that of Coca-Cola (the bar was dark) with a touch of maroon. The aroma consisted of slight bitter hops, coffee, and over-roasted malts. Taste is overwhelmingly coffee, some toffee (like that of a Heath bar but not sweet), a touch of caramel, and slightly over-roasted malts. Only a little bit of alcohol hotness was present. This was a medium-bodied beer with roasted coffee flavor that hangs out in your mouth. Not sure that I can drink more than one of these beers per season.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Clear and a deep, dark red/purple color. One inch off-white head fizzles out quickly and leaves only a light lacing.

S: Deep plum-like darkfruit with sweeter notes of black cherries. Hint of tartness. Faint dark chocolate underneath it all. A very understated nose.

T: Big taste of slightly tart plums and cherries grabs the palate at the outset. Complexity builds as flavors of molasses, raisins, and chocolate covered cherries make themselves known. The finish seems to last an eternity and consists of black cherries and a hefty dose of dry chocolate/toffee roasted malt flavor that takes a while to kick in.

M: Moderately thick, smooth, and creamy. Moderate carbonation rounds it out.

D: Good.

Notes: Pretty good. The nose does not do this beer justice. Not as bold as some of the better Baltic Porters out there. Probably more akin to how I imagine some of the older recipes to have tasted. Darkfruit tastes are prominent. Very malty, and certainly complex in that right, but it all seems to live in the shadow of the darkfruit esters.

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Photo of pburland23
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a dimpled mug.

This was my first foray into the Baltic Porter style. Having always enjoyed Victory in the past, I figured they were a safe choice.

Poured a pleasing deep, dark brown with an almost non-existent head. Not totally opaque. Smelled of chocolate and coffee. The taste was not as bold as I was anticipating. The mouthfeel seemed thin. It didn't feel like a stout in my opinion. As for drinkability, it was a little rough around the edges while cold. The beer mellowed as it warmed in the mug, but it was not the most pleasing introduction to the style. Would I drink it again? Maybe, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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Baltic Thunder from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.87 out of 5 based on 926 ratings.
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