Põhjala Brewery

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Põhjala Brewery
Porter - Imperial
Ranked #109
Ranked #6,262
4.11 | pDev: 8.52%
Mar 09, 2022
Mar 18, 2015
Notes: An imperial Baltic Porter as dark as the Estonian winter nights. Strong enough to keep you warm through the cold evenings.
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Photo of andypeters1971
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75
by andypeters1971 from Georgia

Had it March 2022. Of course it's one of the world's greatest beers. But what if one does not like the Baltic Imperial Porter style? Can one still be a reviewer for Beer Advocate or any other beer reviewing collective? Will I be kicked off the site? I'm going to go ahead and review this even if the answer is one for which I do not want to hear the answer. Yes it was interesting to try once, but I only got about 60% of the way through it before I lost interest.

Mar 09, 2022
4.28 by jophish17 from Georgia on Mar 06, 2022
3.75 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Feb 17, 2022
Photo of backblast
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by backblast from Alaska

Poured black with dark ruby red accents and minimal head that dissipated quickly.

Tastes of sweet charred malt and has a bit of lagerish tasted hiding in it. There dark chocolate and treacle with a mild earthy bitterness. Nicely done.

Jan 27, 2022
4 by rare_bird from Michigan on Jan 25, 2022
4.15 by Avitra from Switzerland on Dec 12, 2021
Photo of misteil
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by misteil from Ireland

we are approaching winter, and this seemed like the right beer to mark it, it claims to be as dark as an Estonian winter’s night, and to be fair it’s pretty black alright, really nice aroma of treacle, molasses, chocolate, coffee, fig, prune, cherry, flavour pallet much the same, chocolate, coffee and dark fruits, low bitterness, medium bodied, low carbonation, quite smooth, not as heavy as you’d expect a beer this strong to be, all in all a beer for a cold night, a fireside beer, nice stuff

Oct 30, 2021
4.24 by dt_gbpackersfan from Missouri on Aug 27, 2021
Photo of woemad
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by woemad from Washington

11.2oz/330mL bottle purchased at Community Pint for $5.99. The bottle has both a best by date and a bottled on date stamped on the neck, but it is very difficult to read. It seems to indicate that it was bottled in 2019, and is best consumed by 2021, but I can't make out an individual month or day.

Poured into my Community Pint glass (a glass of indeterminate type), this was a very deep brown color, with a somewhat modesty sized, mocha colored head. Minimal lace.

Brown sugar, mollasses, dark fruits and toffee in the nose. Smells glorious.

Not quite as complex in the taste as the nose promised, but still very good. Sweet, with a bit of char upfront, a more complex dark fruitiness in the middle, and a very slight touch of boozyness in the fadeout, which is otherwise fairly clean. Definitely brewed with a lager yeast.

Medium bodied, slightly creamy mouthfeel, yet fairly clean finish, or as clean a finish as such a beer can have.

First new Baltic Porter I've had in a couple years, and my first beer ever from Estonia. Really dug this. I'll be looking out for more beers from Pohjala, as my research indicates they brew a lot of barrel aged goodies. Sadly, Pohjala was a Shelton Bros. distributed brand, so future beers from them may be unavailable on these shores.

Aug 08, 2021
4.5 by Ristaccia from Nebraska on May 10, 2021
Photo of puck1225
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by puck1225 from Texas

Had not seen this beer or brewery before, and I believe this is my first b from Estonia. I hope it is not my malt. I love beers like this, smooth, bold, flavorful.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Rich dark brown color with good head and beautiful curtain lacing. Strong smell and taste of dark chocolate, licorice, dark berries, and vanilla. Wonderful full bodied feel. Every so slightly boozy. Yes, I see where this would keep you warmon a cold Estonian evening.

Found it in a bottle shop in Cincinnati, May need to ask my sister-in-law to get me more!

Apr 10, 2021
Photo of Sigmund
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Sigmund from Norway

330 ml bottle, as Põhjala ÖÖ Imperial Baltic Porter. ABV is 10.5%. Pitch black colour, moderate brown head. The aroma has notes of roast malts, caramel, dark chocolate, molasses. Fairly sweet and rich flavour, with the same elements as in the aroma, also notes of liquorice, sweetened coffee and bittering hops. Pretty impressive.

Jan 05, 2021
Photo of minterro
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
by minterro from California

Bought at Hazel's in Boulder CO. Batch 787. Consumed: 12/10/20. "As dark as the Estonian winter nights" seemed right with snow and cold temps in the forecast here.

A&S: Thick looking beer when poured. Head is about 3/4 of a finger of light brown head that dies quickly to a ring with specks in the center. Pitch black in color. The aroma consists of caramel, dark chocolate. A touch of alcohol.

T&M: A little one-dimensional, but it does that one dimension right. Strong, smokey, and bitter. Touch of woodiness. Warming, but the ABV goes pretty unnoticed for 10.5%. Bitterness really hangs on the tongue. Mouthfeel medium with more of a crisp feel than expected.

Overall: I don't think I have had any beers from Estonia before. Very solid brew, I would recommend.

Dec 11, 2020
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by JonnoWillsteed from England

L- Black as the night, not a photon gets through even held right in front of a halogen bulb. Pours with 1mm dark tan head - unsurprisingly sparse given it's ABV%.
S- Mild coffee and mild creamy (lactose?) notes. Smells like a winter-warmer,
T- Ooh indeed! Big ABV% note right near the front, like a brandy doused coffee cake. It's pungent but an elegant beast.
F- Pungent, deep, full-on, a slow-sipping beer ideal for winter.
O- Just wow, this beer is quite something. It never risks even hinting at being sweet or over-rich; it's just full-on solid. I'd happily drink this again.
Bought from TremblingMadness/York for home delivery. 330ml bottle £3.99. Not cheap but put it like this - I have drunk cases upon cases of beers far less good than this that have cost far more this. Considering the ABV% and that it's a niche import and retailer I reckon that's actually a good deal.
BB: 20/12/2021
pppppps. By gawd... as I get to the tail end of this glass, 50ml left, and it's warming somewhat the liquor note is really amplified, it's huuuge! I don't know how they achieve this without directly adding a brandy/rum 50/50 mix to it. In brief, for that most unusual full and mighty impact do not over-chill it!!

Dec 02, 2020
Photo of peabody
3.79/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by peabody from Kentucky

03/21/2014 11.2oz.
Pours out a dark thick black liquid with very few and very small brown bubbles.
Aroma of oak and dark chocolate with a subtle red wine and vanilla finish.
Chocolate syrup flavor with grape skin and an oak and booze finish.
For a porter to retain the flavor this has, the must have been something right.

Aug 22, 2020
3.75 by BdM from Netherlands on Jul 21, 2020
Photo of snaotheus
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by snaotheus from Washington

11.2oz bottle served in a pair of SIP Fest 2020 snulips. "BD 24102019, BB24102021".

Black, with a small head. Smell is rich, roasty, coffee and chocolate.

Taste is also rich chocolate, coffee, bitter roast, booze if I think about it. Maybe a bit of anise.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick. Overall, pretty darn good.

Jun 15, 2020
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
3.89/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

L: Dark chocolate brown, a thin and loose dark tan head settles to a ring and no lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts, acrid coffee, char, and dark fruit and raw cocao.

T: Follows the nose with some strong bitey notes of dark and maraschino cherry and char. A little rough.

F: Decent weight for the style, smooth and a touch undercarbonated for my taste.

O: This was on the stouty end of the spectrum which I enjoyed but overall I prefer several of Põhjala's offers.

Jun 01, 2020
Photo of just1cho
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by just1cho from California

*Poured into a Teku glass from a 12oz bottle*

*Bottled on: 04/04/19*

*Drank on: 05/13/20*

This beer poured a deep dark brown/coffee brow, as expected, with a mocha colored half finger thick head. This however, had no retention to it what-so-ever.

On the nose, there was a boozy and roasted sweet malt quality to it upfront. This developed into aromas of dark coffee, smoky char, pipe tobacco, with a pronounced dark cherry aroma on the back end.

The taste was dark chocolate upfront with a earthy olive oil taste to it. Without being overly sweet there were also pronounced dark fruit notes such as raisins and dark cherries making this taste like dried black cherries dipped in dark chocolate. This eventually mellows out into a char like bitterness in the back-end.

Full bodied and with a medium carbonation, this beer hid the alcohol pretty well in the taste making this really drink-able. The char bitterness was definitely noticeable but it wasn't lingering or overwhelming.

I overall enjoyed this beer. I felt like this was a pretty above average imperial porter but it wasn't anything memorable. I'm not sure if the age on this contributed to the pronounced dark fruit notes I got from this, but regardless, it was quite enjoyable and tasty.

May 16, 2020
Photo of shoredtitchtp
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by shoredtitchtp

Pours black as night. No head but a little token lacing.

Smells toasty.

Chocolate, coffee and fruitcake.

Mouthfeel a bit creamy. Not much carbonation.

Smooth, roasty finish.

Mar 08, 2020
4.09 by Dazka from Italy on Feb 14, 2020
3.42 by stephenlee93 from England on Feb 05, 2020
Photo of Shanex
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Shanex from France

330ml bottle purchased in a local beer store.

Poured into a Guinness pint, left a three inch brownish head lasting a bit.

Smells is roast and chocolate.

On the palate this is following the nose and slightly boozy/overwhelming with alcohol but still pretty drinkable and pleasant all around.

A nice Porter, which I’d buy again and worthy of an outstanding score. I dig the style, and it won’t disappoint you.

Feb 05, 2020
Photo of BBThunderbolt
3.13/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

11.15oz bottle (purchased at Garden Path Fermentation) poured into 14oz teku. brewed on 04/04/19, best by 04/04/21. Poured a solid black color with about 1/3 inch of tan head that had low retention and no lacing.

Nice roast notes in the nose, but a notable alcohol aspect almost overwhelms them.

Similar on the palate, some nice roast, and even a bit of chocolate, but the alcohol dominates, especially on the finish.

The body was a bit lighter than is preferred in the style, and had a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability was fine, but not great.

Overall, an OK beer, and scratches that Estonian tick off the list.

Feb 02, 2020
Photo of SABERG
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by SABERG from Massachusetts

Poured from a 33 cl bottle dated 27/03/19 into the test glass
A - Soot colored backdrop, fine carbonation feeds a mocha colored cap. A ring of mocha clings to the glass wall during the entire experience.
S - Blackberry jam, cocoa, burnt caramel, light roast coffee, all wrapped in a slight woodfire
T - Roast malts, bakers chocolate, a bit of tobacco, more blackberrie, Vietnamese coffee, with an ashy touch
M - Hefty on the palate, sweet and sticky, then waves of ashen cocoa ride through, not enough to swing to the bitter side, but trying really hard. Linger is semi sweet and rich, like flourless chocolate cake.
O - A very good Baltic porter, rich and jammy on the palate, with aromatics and the flavors in a tense stand off. Worth the effort to try

Jan 05, 2020
4.06 by Sulty from Massachusetts on Dec 11, 2019
4.27 by desint from Belgium on Nov 23, 2019
Photo of josanguapo
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by josanguapo from Spain

En copa Teku. Viendo La Liga de la Justicia y, luego, Mr Robot 4x05. Con pistachos ECI. Perfil chocolatoso, sensacion ligera en boca y bastante calidez alcoholica, pero todo tan bien implementado que no molesta en absoluto

Nov 18, 2019
3.89 by bylerteck from Canada (ON) on Oct 17, 2019
Photo of jrc1093
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by jrc1093 from Connecticut

Best before 11/20/2020

Pours a deep black body (as advertised) with some dark brown highlights, and topped with a frothy, dark khaki head; good retention leaves no lacing and a lingering frothy collar.

Aroma opens with burly roasted malts and heavily roasted coffee tones; milk chocolate accentuates a sweetness to a finish of bitter ash smoothened by raspberry and dark fruit; alcohol presence is fleeting but sharp when noticeable.

Taste continues with blunt roasty malts, a softening tone of dark chocolate, and borderline acrid coffee; boozy notes and dark fruits round out the profile; ashen lingering on the swallow. A rollercoaster of intensity, both positive and negative.

Mouthfeel shows a medium, moderately creamy body edging toward heavy and with a minor carbonation; a char and acidity present in tandem across the palate, while higher boozy tones become more apparent over time, but don't ruin the experience. The finish is smooth, roasty, and (save the alcohol presence) soothing on the swallow.

Burly, blunt, and intense, for better or worse. The base of this beer is rich and deep, but quickly becomes untamed, leaving me to appreciate a quality as incomplete as it was promising; overall, the parts are better than the whole, making this one something I'd only haphazardly return to.

Sep 28, 2019
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by LiquidAmber from Washington

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a half finger dark khaki head with great retention and nice lacing. Aroma of dark toasted and biscuit malt, chocolate, mild coffee and slight caramel and dark stone fruit. Flavor is semi-sweet dark toasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, plums and dates; some fudge on the finish with residual mild char. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess. I've just been really impressed with everything I've had from this brewery. You would expect that a Baltic porter would be a specialty from Estonia and would be correct. This hits all the malt and dark fruit notes I want from this style and then adds a little mild char and coffee notes to the finish. Baltic porters are not a common style, but one of my favorites and this is a great one. I tried the somewhat lighter Talveöö in the past on tap, and this is as enjoyable as that one. Recommended.

Sep 26, 2019
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by Lone_Freighter from Vermont

Poured into a snifter, the appearance was a thick pure black color in body showing a tan foamy finger's worth of head. Dissipated finely to leave some modest concave lace.
The aroma had a fantastic blend of sweet ashy coffee grounds and beans rolling into some dark chocolate and milk chocolate nibs. Some caramel and dark fruits play together with some dark toast.
The flavor slightly leaned towards the sweet side but pushed in a sly rugged ashy dry woody toast/char in the background. Semi-sticky aftertaste of sweet coffee, sweet ash and dark toast.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a good sipping quality about it. Good carbonation and some invasive dryness. Nice finish of roast, dark toast, dark chocolate and some ash.
Overall, super awesome dark beer period! But was it a true Baltic Porter? To me, perhaps a touch more of lager yeast normally used for the style could have shown its presence in this.

Sep 25, 2019
4.5 by paulish from New York on Sep 20, 2019
4.13 by TheHopsman from Nebraska on Aug 22, 2019
4 by trevorpost from Pennsylvania on Aug 18, 2019
Photo of bobv
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by bobv from Vermont

11.2 oz. bottle.
Moderate pour yields a 5/8 inch tan head over a near black body with some lacing. Nose of dark malt, chocolate, caramel, and ever so slight dried dark fruit. Taste mirrors nose somewhat, with all kinds of chocolate rummaging in and around of my palate; bitter chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, dark chocolate, slight milk chocolate. Wow! As it warms I'm catching slight hazelnut aroma and flavor. Wow! Very nice feel and overall, I highly recommend seeking out this Imperial Baltic Porter from Estonia! Cheers!!!

Jul 08, 2019
4.5 by Stengelfoot from California on Jun 26, 2019
4.5 by shigg85 from Japan on Jun 16, 2019
4.09 by robotic_being from Florida on May 14, 2019
Photo of beergoot
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by beergoot from Colorado

Midnight black body topped with a dense, creamy, light tan head. Gently sweet aroma infused with a light cherry undertone; a suggestion of charred grain. The flavors start with a rich, fudge-like chocolate character; heavy sweetness (not cloying); cocoa; booze; charred grain bitterness. Heavy, thick mouthfeel; mildly astringent; lots of residual sugar body; some alcohol heat; semi-sweet mouthfeel overall.

I loves me some norther European and Slavic heavy-duty beers, and this one does not disappoint. It's alcohol presence is definitely noticeable yet is pretty well counterbalanced with the heavy dark malt bill. It has definite heft in the mouthfeel (chewy, almost). An awesome specimen of a Baltic porter.

Apr 23, 2019
Öö from Põhjala Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 129 ratings