Baltika #4 Original (Dark)
Baltika Breweries

Baltika #4 Original (Dark)Baltika #4 Original (Dark)
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Lager - European Dark
Ranked #95
Ranked #47,985
3.41 | pDev: 14.37%
Baltika Breweries
Russian Federation
Baltika #4 Original (Dark)Baltika #4 Original (Dark)
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Reviews: 292 | Ratings: 466 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

2.25/5  rDev -34%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: Picked up a Bottle of the Baltika #4 along with #3 and #9 offerings and decided to give them all a whirl recently. After having had the #3 yesterday I am not expecting much from the #4. But here goes:

A metric sized half-litre (500ml) brown glass bottle, labeled as 16.9 fluid ounces for the US market. Metallic gold, black and red label, with a similarly colored foil covered crown capped top third. Labeled across the middle of the label as БAЛTИKA, whilst the English wording states “Baltika Original” above, whilst “#4 – Alc. 5.6% vol. Dark Beer” is below.

Appearance: Murky dark brown color, the semblance of the tan colored head that forms during the pour, soon gets sent packing to a cold Siberian Wasteland. Not much carbonation, it soon looks like a 2 day old malt extract homebrew when it settles. No head or lacing whatsoever. Awful.

Nose: Sweet toffee, caramel and some toasted malts. Not much else!

Taste: Tastes are pretty much simple; malts, toffee, caramel. An average, rather basic profile. Reminded me of swallowing your own saliva after you eaten a couple of particularly sticky chewy home-made Toffees.

Mouthfeel: Average body no doubt helped aided by the alcohol levels and high dissolved sugars – but hindered by the lack of carbonation.

Drinkability: The rather flat, sweet, sickly doughy bread feel lends a massive off-putting dimension to the beer for me. I struggled to finish the bottle I had.

Overall: It’s very easy and not very constructive to knock a beer you don’t like – but this is just plain awful. The lack of a freshness date on the Bottle even robbed me of a chance to offer an explanation for its one-dimensional flat body and appearance. $1.69 for the Bottle, worth spending to remind me not to waste my money again.

It’s not even on the Ќяїѕтмдѕ Lїѕт for my worst enemy.

Oct 21, 2003
More User Reviews:
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sokol_1993 from California

3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pour from a large Baltika bottle into a stout glass.
Look: reddish mahogany color. Try to poured with some head, but it dissipated after 5 seconds. Lively though, a lot of bubbling.
Smell: Quite sweet, a lot of molasses smell, quite earthy also.
Taste: again, very sweet molasses taste. Some metallic taste also. A little bit of bitterness from the roasted malt, but not that much. Little presence of hop.
Feel: light body, malty aftertaste. Quite sticky and viscous for such a low amount of ABV.

Verdict: it was actually not bad at all, and was quite enjoyable in a hot day, and is better and tastier than the US macro-brews. However, it's not really that special.

Aug 22, 2016
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monkist from Hungary

3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Apple cinnamon, apple compot is what you get. Both in the nose and in the flavor. So apple-y that you are drinking it as if it was pure apple juice - and then the aftertaste is just too sweet, lacking the natural sour of the fruit juice. And it is not, of course.
This is the one though that resembles most closely of English Ales from Baltika, and which is not bad. Had 3, 4 and 9 from them so far and I might just as well say that this is their best.

Jul 25, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I kinda want to compare this beer to German Dunkels because of the firm pilsner base that holds more maltiness than graininess, but with added amber grains. That said, the grains add a caramel and lightly toasted bread flavor, but not as much as good Dunkels. It's not as caramel-like or toffee-like as English Reds--just caught somewhere in between. An underlying sweetness is noticed, but undefined-- powder sugar-like. Not a bad beer, just remains a bit vague for me.

Sep 22, 2006
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WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Apr 10, 2018
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KarlHungus from Minnesota

3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear watery dark amber color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is of caramel, and hints of chocolate. It is a pleasant aroma. The taste is much like the aroma. It lacks any sort of complexity, but is mildly interesting. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation that is a little too low. Overall, this is a decent beer that I could drink again.

Mar 06, 2010
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tdatt43 from Virginia

3/5  rDev -12%

Mar 21, 2013
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BamaScholar from Tennessee

4.08/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Happily discovered at Frugal MacDougal's for $1.99. 500 ml brown bottle with red foil label. Best by 31 March 2006 (bottle back).

Poured into a pils glass, which caused a head and bubbles after root beer's heart. Hazy mahogany colored brew with tenacious cream-colored head which laces a collar down the sides of the glass. Very pretty.

Smell is pure caramel/toffee. Doesn't hide any sweetness.

This concoction tastes much more complex than I thought it would. Initial hits of caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Some cola bean too. There is a slight astringency accompanied by something bready...a sourdough round? The peanut brittle taste does fight a small metallic presence too, but the caramel wins out. Definitely no hop balance here, but the malt is pure smoothness, delightful.

As stated, it is smooth. A wee bit thin on the palate...maybe the water's different in St Petersburg.

Definitely worth a try! At $2 per, this sweetness is just right.

Dec 04, 2005
NHOKNYCKC from Kansas

2.75/5  rDev -19.4%

May 26, 2012
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gvickery from Texas

5/5  rDev +46.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Jun 15, 2020
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droomyster from Virginia

3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very attractive ruby hue with a tan head that dissipates quickly. Smells of toasty and fruity malts that promise a lot of sweet flavors to come. It is definitely sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. Maraschino cherry-like taste, with lots of toasty and carmelly malts; it has a distinct spiciness that is hard to describe but makes it more interesting. It could definitely use some more hops to give it a nice roundness but it is quite good nonetheless. I would rate its taste higher if not for a small but pesky taste of alchol that should not be detectable in a beer with this abv level. Along with the hefeweizen and porter, this is one of my favorite Baltikas.

Mar 13, 2009
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MonkeyPilates from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev +10%

Oct 29, 2013
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mushroomcloud from Texas

3.77/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This "dark" lager is actually a nice amber (vienna/marzen in appearance) color. There is a 1/4"head that disappears quickly and leaves only a ring. No lace.

The aroma is of sweet malt and immediately reminds me of an Oktoberfest style.

Taste is of sweet malt. Some earthiness and pumpkin bread. Nutty. Slight bitterness in the finish. Very lightly hopped if at all. This strikes me as drinking a cross between a Paulaner Salvatore and a Paulaner Oktoberfest.

The beer is highly carbonated and goes down well. It is easy drinking and not bad. I think it should be re-labeled as an Oktoberfest/Marzen though.

Jul 17, 2005
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jjm2503 from Missouri

3.75/5  rDev +10%

Jun 01, 2012
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blackie from Oregon

3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance: The pour into my pint produces a .75" off white head that gradually recedes. The beer is a slightly hazy, rich, reddish amber in color.

smell: Up front is a banana scent...banana pudding, overripe bananas, and banana bread. Some caramel-like malty sweetness too. A light spicy hop aroma way in the back. The banana like flavors dominate...I am assuming they are some type of ester from the yeast used.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is just over medium.The body is around medium, and has a sort of slick feeling in the back that I don't care for in a lager like this.

taste: Yeasty, banana like esters up front again. Moderately sweet maltiness. Hints of molasses at times. Not any hop flavor evident to me, and a light bitterness that lingers into the finish with banana flavors. Smells and tastes pretty yeasty for a lager...there's even yeast on the bottom of the bottle.

drinkability: It's not a bad beer, but nothing great, and the mouthfeel further limits drinkability.

Received from Zorro in BCG BIF. A best before date of 31.03.06 is printed on the reverse label.

Feb 06, 2006
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Mick91 from Iowa

3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Aug 10, 2013
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BeerNinja007 from New Hampshire

2.14/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

500mL bottle for $2.49 at Hoosick Beverages in Troy NY. Best before 27.02.10 (guess I held on to this one a bit long). Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

Medium brown brew reveals red highlights against a light. 1" of light tan head settles quickly to virtually nothing. Nose is overpowering with sweet burnt caramel. Taste is exactly the same and that's about it. Very simple and boring, pretty terrible. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, rather smooth, light carbonation. Finishes with the same burnt caramel with a bit of licorice.

Jun 29, 2010
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mwar from Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +24.6%

Nov 26, 2012
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AltBock from Ohio

3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

1 pint .9 oz. bottle with a label that's the same as the other Baltika labels, except this one has a number 4 with a red center and it has a bright red foil over the bottle cap. It has a dark brown colored back label that has a little blurb about the beer, where it's bottled, US Government warning, its US importer, what the name of the beer looks like in the Russian language and a best before date. Mine says it's best before 01.05.07. I don't know if they used the American or European method of that dating system. If it's the American method, then it expired on January 5th, 2007 and if they used the European method, then it expires on May 1st, 2007. It was served in a Brooklyn Brewery/Winking Lizard imperial pint glass.

When I first poured it, I couldn't tell what color it was because there were so many carbonation bubbles that it blocked my eyes from peering into the beer. When they left, I saw that the beer is a murky brown, but when held up into the light, it was then a dark cranberry red color. It had a nice and fluffy 1 finger head of white foam that when it dissipated away, it decided to leave a small film of white foam, some white rings, and a just a small spatter of white sticky lace here and there. It had a light aroma of milk chocolate, caramel, toasted malts, and a small hint of peppery hops. When I swirled it around to see if I could get the aroma to wake up, this slight smell of vegetables came out from hiding. It didn't ruin the smell, but it didn't need to be there. Whatever you do, don't swirl it around to wake the aroma up. It had a very nice, light, gentle taste of milk chocolate, a touch of sweet caramel, toasted malts, and the slightest taste of hops at the end. I couldn't tell what kind of hops they were because the taste of hops was too small. The mouthfeel was nice and light with an aftertaste of clean water (that's good!), roasted and toasted malts, and a hint of milk chocolate. I think I might have found a new cheap ($1.80 for this big bottle) decent light beer. This was another one of those beers that I kept taking sip after sip and then finding out the I had just drank the whole bottle without even noticing it. I will get another bottle of this in the near future. I sure hope I don't break the bank if I buy another one.

Apr 04, 2007
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MidloRapid from Virginia

3.75/5  rDev +10%

Mar 18, 2013
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BrewMaven from New York

3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a distinct translucent amber with a 2 finger tan head that slooowly dissipated leaving a cover on top and some lacing . Aroma of bread and dark fruits? Taste was malty and fruity with medium body and a slightly bitter finish. With all these semi obscure and very interesting beers on the market, I doubt I'll ever buy a macro again.

May 09, 2005
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Didier from New Hampshire

3.09/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Oct 31, 2015
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Domingo from Colorado

4.1/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An under-rated beer in an under-rated style.
Pours a medium to dark brown with a nice 1.5" head (from a 22oz bottle).
Not a ton of lacing, but the beer's designed to be a little thinner and more drinkable.
Smells chocolaty and sweet. If I were blindfolded, I'd actually swear this was either a bock or something from Ayinger based upon the malty smell.
Flavor starts of sweet chocolate and caramel blend initially, but fades to a more bitter dark chocolate in the finish. A little hops come forth after a second, but they're definitely not the main focus here. This is malt, malt, malt. I'd guess that rather than going for the milder Mϋnchners, they're targeting the Ayinger take on things.
Mouthfeel's thin, but it keeps this beer drinkable in all situations. Be it a summer day or a winter evening, this beer is always a good fit. It's got the drinkability of a helles, but with a sweeter, almost dessert-like flavor profile.
Baltika's line-up is pretty average overall, but this beer and #6 (Baltic porter) are both world class beers.
The only real downside is the pricing. I've only seen this beer in bombers, and it's usually not cheap. Still, don't let that take away from this brew. It's excellent and multi-purpose.

Apr 22, 2007
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billyrenfroe from Florida

2.5/5  rDev -26.7%

Feb 15, 2014
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DvdP from Netherlands

3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Oct 06, 2020
Baltika #4 Original (Dark) from Baltika Breweries
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 466 ratings