Dominion Winter Brew 2003 | Old Dominion Brewing Company

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Dominion Winter Brew 2003Dominion Winter Brew 2003
26 Ratings
Dominion Winter Brew 2003Dominion Winter Brew 2003

Brewed by:
Old Dominion Brewing Company
Delaware, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ManekiNeko on 10-19-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 26 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can’t believe I actually found a couple of these just recently as they haven’t been in the store for a while. I thought I would pick up a couple of bottles and give it a try to see how they held up. The 12 oz bottle had a bottled on date of November 12, 2003. A deep opaque black liquid poured from the bottle with about a half-inch of tan head residing on top. After making its entrance the head quickly dropped to a light scattering of bubbles leaving not much in the way of lace. Dark chocolate mixed with a bit of roasted malt mingled in the nose with notes of berries. There was also a bit of an earthy hop presence as well. The flavor started off a bit tart with berries before the coffee and dark chocolate stormed through. A roasted lingering aftertaste was how this finished. The body was about medium with a nice slick mouthfeel that went down very easy. Very drinkable as I would have had more if it was available. Hopefully this brew will return sometime, but for now these bottles have held up pretty darn well.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light brown head atop a dark brown to black beer that shows ruby highlights when held up to light.
Aroma full of chocolate. Earthy. A lightly to medium roasted malt as well.

Taste follows the aroma with a big chocolate flavor. Somewhat bold and quite spicey. Rich, light to medium roasted malt backbone with coffee notes that spring up middle to finish. Decent hop balance. Hint of earthiness not as prominent as the aroma would lead you to believe.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability.
Overall, a good lagered porter. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Big thanks to OldFrothingSlosh for the bottle!

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Photo of Darkale
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black with a thin dark tan head (like coffee with cream). Aroma is mostly coffee and chocolate. Big coffee taste, deep, with an aftertaste of chocolate. Slick and full mouthfeel, very rich and warm.

Nice beer overall. Sweet and round, immensely tasty, and quite a value (especially for those of us who are relatively close to the brewery).

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Photo of RoyalT
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark brown in color with a modest head that left a cool foam ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell – Wonderful balance of cocoa and coffee. There’s also some light fruiting in there, but it’s the even-handed balance of dark, roasted malts, baker’s chocolate, and fine roasted coffee that makes this nose a winner.

Taste – Everything from the nose comes over nicely at the tongue. The flavors are mellow and easy-going and come together quite nicely.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ale felt very satisfying in the mouth.

Drinkability – Not something to ramble on about, just a Baltic Porter that goes about its business quietly. I wish some of the other breweries would learn that lesson. I’m no expert on the style, but this is what I think of when I think of Baltic Porters.

Comments – Alarmingly simply yet incredibly satisfying. This was the lead bottle in a giant Styrofoam cooler sent to me by OldFroth full of East Coast goodies. Cheers for that one, mate!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is a deep and dark ruby. Damn near black. A good looking chocolate brown head forms on the pour and dissipates within a few minutes. Lacing is more than adequate. This beer has got a GREAT roasted malt/chocolate/coffee nose. They bill this beer as a Polish Porter and it comes damn close to authenticity. But in my book, it is better in many ways due to the extra bit of coffee/roasted malt character that a lot of Baltic porters don't possess> But it also has the nice smoothness associated with Polish Porters. It has a nice milky sweet taste going as well. This one hits the spot with me. Carb is nice and mellow facillitating a high drinkability. And a lingering roasted bitterness begs me to take more and more drinks...and I will.

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Photo of stirgy
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 version, but no bottling date.
Poured an extremely deep and dark amber color with reddish highlights. Nearly opaque with a thin head of foam. Actually looks a like a dark stout at first glance. The aroma gives off sweet chocolates and fruity malts. Heavy with ripe sweet raisins and hints of licorice. The taste is tangy sweet with fermented fruits and leaves some sour bitterness on the tongue. The body is fully textured with heavy sweet malts, caramel and roasted nuts. The alcohol peeks through, but is clean. A pretty good treat of a beer. Enjoyable.

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Photo of avylover
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

NOTE. One bottle in the six pack was half empty. Not the first quality issue i've had with Dominion, but I'm reviewing a good bottle here and will review as is.

Black with some mahogony highlights. Large tan head. Nice aroma with some fruits & malted milk aromas. Taste is excellent, with all sorts going on here. There is some slight berry flavors, roasted coffee, and sweet malted milk. All this is finished off with a hearty smoked taste. Very smooth velvety mouthfeel, immensely drinkable. Another great dominion product, I just wish they could improve thier Q.A.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with bottle date. Poured into a Duvel tulip, with a very low tan head. The beer was nearly black, but in the presence of a small lamp, a lovely deep black cherry color. The aroma of the beer was intriguing...lightly roasted malts with suggestions coffee and cola...attractive. Tasting revealed a dark malt base without excessive sweetness, melded with a good perky sensation of cola and coffee, finished with lingering cola, dark cherry, and an appropriate hop bitterness. Very satisfying and tasty! A full mouthfeel and a nice level of carbonation rounds it all out. The porter was rich and full flavored, yet was not too big and alcoholic to detract from drinkabilty. A solid effort. Big thanks to PintOfAle for making this tasting possible!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of dark malt waft from my glass as I pour. A dark-black brew topped by a light brown head. There is a bit of buttery diacetyl in the nose as well as the dark malts. Has a thick creamy body that accompanies the roast character of this beer wonderfully. A light malty sweetness accentuates the creaminess of this brew. Quite a clean beer, luckily the diacetyl in the nose is not as noticeable in the taste. This is a pretty enjoyable beer.

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Photo of byrd
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small tight head that is somewhat foamy. Depletes rather quickly to a thin foamy lace. Malty/hoppy aroma, that for some reason, I’m not all that fond of. Slight coffee notes on the nose as well. Deep black in color with garnet highlights. Light to medium body with a mild carbonation. Short malty start that becomes rather roasty. Very slight hint of chocolate and currents with earthy notes. Roasted notes last throughout, and the hops come in the finish things out. Coffee notes are also noticeable in the finish.

The bottle says “Seasonal Lager Specialty” on the front but says “Polish-style Porter” on the back. Which is it? I’m sure it’s the latter, but it seemed a bit mild and light bodied to me. Okay brew, but I’ve had other porters that I’ve enjoyed much more.

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Photo of merlin48
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12 oz brown bottle with a small white label stamped with "Oct 23 2003", which I'm assuming is the bottled on date. Label states this is in the style of a classic Polish Porter, and that Polish hops and a combination of German malts are used. Pours into an English pint tumbler an almost opaque, inky colour. Small, beige head has moderate retention before receding into ring lacing. Aroma is of big, roasty, dark malts. There's a prominent campfire(or fireplace) smokiness, and a chocolate background. Very creamy in the mouth, with just enough carbonation. Taste is full of flavours. Damn, this is a well balanced Porter. Kona coffee for the slight bitterness, chocolate for the sweetness, and mysterious spices for the excitement. Hops are definitely notable, and provide the extraordinary complexity.
This is the best Porter I've ever sampled. I note that this one is classified as a Baltic Porter. If that's because of the Polish hops, then I'm going to sample this substyle quite a bit more. The good Virginia folks at Dominion should make this part of their regular production lineup.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Perfectly brown color, decked out in an impressive, fluffy, rich toasty tan head.
Aroma: ah, goodness! Espresso, tar, pitch, cola, thick, and twisted. A wickedly arousing smell, redolent with dark, devilish flavors.
Taste: Small hops, major malt, full-bodied, and ringing with continual tastiness. Bits of anise speak up, dark fruits for a cameo, sqeaks of dark rum, shades of bitter root, and it's rather smooth despite the complexity. Mouthfeel is lush and warm, and it hangs sturdily on the palate.
In the end, though, this doesn't really reach the heights attained by the greatest examples of the baltic porter style, lacks their power and fullness of flavor, but I've got to admire the attempt.
Thanks to Mr. ManekiNeko for allowing me the chance to try it out.

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Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black color. Medium head. Aroma is roasted malts, coffee and dark fruits. A medium bodied Baltic Porter. Malts are nutty, roasted malts and dark fruits. Hops are spicy. Very smooth tasting, well balanced Baltic porter. Nice sweet fruity flavors are balanced by the roastyness of the malts and the spiciness of the hops. Finishes very well, with a nice lingering fruit sweetness. Its kind of surprising to see a Baltic Porter as a winter ale, but I like the idea and this beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Daaamn, this is one fine winter brew! Out of the whole bunch that I have had thus far, I would have to rate this one in the tops. It has some characteristics of a solid amber beer, in the smell and the taste, but also blends that with the body of a porter. The color of it is a really dark amber color, almost black. The head was really thick and frothy, and it lasted quite a while. The smell was of roasted wood/nuts, with some unidentified spices. The taste was "earthy" and had a nice chocolate porter feel to it. All in all a very enjoyable brew that will be in my glass some more this winter.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark opaque brown with absolutely no head. Very still. Smell is nicely smoky and nutty.

Taste is malty and creamy immediately with light coffee flavors sneaking in there as it goes. Quite smoky and nutty and lightly sweet from the maltiness. A bit light or thin on the palate. Would liked to have a fuller mouth. Very smooth for a very flavorful beer. would have liked just a touch of carbonation (this beer had basically none) to add a bit of a refreshing quality to this beer but maybe that is indicative of the style, only the second baltic porter I've ever had.

Thanks to PintOfAle for the sample.

*** edit Had another bottle that was much more carbonated than the first bottle. Much, much better. Must've been a bad bottle, others have reported quality issues with this beer. Upped the appearance and the mouthfeel scores. ***

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Photo of hungryghost
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brownish red color, short lived head.
Pleasant smoke smell, roasted malt and caramel aromas.
Smoke flavors carry over into the taste, toffee or chocolate hints are present. There is a faint hop presence, unexpected yet welcome.
This beer is smooth and almost creamy, very drinkable.
I had this at a seasonal beer tasting, of the fifteen offered this was easily my favorite.

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Photo of marc77
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Deep bister hue. Mirked ruddy chestnut when held to light. Thin, but steadfast beige head yields loose lace. Dryish cocoa and hints of bittersweet singed grain, with a lightly smokey black malt twang. Toasted grain with an herbal kiss surfaces as it breathes. Understated aromawise. Snap of dark caramel malt sweetness initially is ensued by a gentle hop and roasted grain derived bitterness. Mildly oily, velvetly smooth, dark chocolate like huskless carafa presence. Trace herbaceous sweetness, but otherwise well attenuated and clean. Virtually devoid of esters, save a subtle prunish tinge. Lightly bodied with a lean, but passably dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes with a flash of smokey and tart black malt black malt, but otherwise abrupt, parched and thirst inducing. A tasty well crafted brew that is more akin to a schwarzbier than a Baltic porter. Somewhat tame, but very soft on the palate and damn quaffable at that.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had business visitors in Moscow this week, and one of them was kind enough to bring me a sampler six-pack of American winter ales. This is the first one I tried. Yum! Poured a lovely clear but deep dark burgundy hue under a one-finger off-white head that faded a bit too quickly. The nose is wonderful - full of toffee and caramel. The mouth is evenly carbonated and heavy with sweet candy. The taste is just as a porter should be - sweet and malty, with a backbone of caramel and spice. There's a modicum of hops in the finish, which combines with the caramel to form a lovely bittersweet aftertaste. If the other samples are anything nearly as good, I'm going to be sorry not to go to the U.S. this winter!

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Photo of nomad
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black, pretty much? Yes. This beer had a thin and soft foam head, kinda chocolatey looking. Also had lots of thin lace grasping everywhere.

Smelled of roasted coffee and some bark-like malt that was dark-toasted but still recognizably malty. It helped to bring some very dark fruity scents out but felt a bit thin sometimes.

Taste comes on with mocha flavors and a strong coffee roastiness, laying heavy over a dark malt and chocolate smoothness; in other words, a full bill of Baltic Porter goodness. Almost winey at times, this beer had a smooth and chewy dark-roast finish that also shows some hoppy snap. Its an easy and comforting finish where the roastiness is delectable. So comforting and appropriate, it really makes the overall taste, though it often does not mix well with an attending quasi-vinous grape flavor.

Its slick and easy mouthfeel needs help, as it could use a little more body. A session Baltic Porter in its flavorful yet simple drinkability - let it warm up and it’ll warm you up. A great six-pack pick I'm glad I made.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours translucent black with ruby brown highlights when held to the light. Low head which fades quickly. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, and a sweet yet grainy aroma. The flavor is well rounded smooth chocolate. The first impression is slightly sweet, then it changes to a more bittersweet flavor. The finish is chocolate and coffee which dries out the longer you take between sips. If you like chocolate and coffee you will enjoy this beer.

I was a little dissappointed to see they brewed a Baltic Porter below 6% ABV, but I was glad to see a brewery in our area try one on for size.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle. "Born on" date of 23Oct03. Paragraph (as previously stated) on the bottle about what this year's beer is brewed as.

Appearance: Poured a near-opaque dark, dark brown in color. When held to the light, a ruby-tinged hue is seen at the edges of the glass. Despite the aggressive pour, only a thin and wispy layer of tan lace sits atop the beer. Minimal lacing of the glass.

Smell: Robust malty sweetness noted. A fresh pot of coffee smell. Bits of dark fruit can be picked up. Baker's chocolate underneath everything.

Taste: A good chocolate base serves as the foundation of the flavor profile. Add to that some roasted coffee beans, caramel, burned malt, and a touch of alcohol snap. Very flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Good dose of carbonation. Medium-full bodied. As it warmed, it became a lot smoother. Almost a bit of "oily"-ness on the lips.

Drinkability: Yet another excellent offering from this Vriginia brewery. Highly drinkable. Nothing overwhelming but full of flavors. Only 5.8% alcohol? Even better. I would love to try this aged in Dominion's whiskey barrel.

Notes: If you are able, try something from Ol' Dom. You'll be glad you did.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, bottled on 10/23/2003. Served chilled in a pint glass and allowed to warm.

Appearance: Inky black topped by a robust dark tan head, slightly frothy. Head dissipates to a layer of bubbles and a ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

Smell: Not overly fragrant. Sweet dark malts on the nose. Mild coffee and raisin notes.

Taste: A tenebrously bittersweet flavor of dark malty goodness. Coffee and dried fruit aftertastes.

Mouthfeel: A hearty medium bodied beer. Very clean in feel, yet it's still earthy.

Drinkability: A great Baltic porter - a wee bit sweet and strong - but not overpowering. Not a session beer, but one or two of these would be nice on a brisk night.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to PintOfAle for this beauty.
The bottle was dated October 23, 2003.
This is a unique, extremely enjoyable beer. It pours a very dark brown with some reddish highlights. The head is small, tannish beige and is gone in a flash.
The aroma is very roasty and pleasant but it's the flavors where this beer stands out. You're hit up front with a complex of hoppiness & roastiness but it slides so smoothly over your tongue and finishes quite cleanly. This is a real treat.

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Photo of TinusTime
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 10/23

Pours a dark tea brown with nice ruby highlights. The head is fairly compact and a tannish colour. evident lacing down the glass.

The smell is of roasted coffee and dryed fruits.

Taste - nice chocolate undertones followed by roasted coffee and a bit of raisiny sweetness. The alcohol is evident and adds a warming, almost like there was a shot of brandy in the glass. The flavours become more pronounced as the beer warms

Mouthfeel is nice and slick, good carbonation, drinks very smooth.

The drinkability would be higher, but this is a bit to full flavoured to be a session brew. One or two at night in front of a fire on a winters night would be perfect.

Not sure if this is to style of a Baltic Porter as its the first one ive had, but it is a fine winter beer and one i will enjoy again this winter.

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Photo of Cizauskas
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The back label on the 2003 Dominion Winter Brew states: "This year's Winter Brew is a reproduction of the classic Polish porters. We used a traditonal lager yeast to ferment this high gravity beer. Our brewers used a combination of German malts and Polish hops to create this unique beer." The rest of the label continues on in Polish, I would suppose repeating this description.

At 5.8%, it's not the high gravity to which some of us have become accustomed, but the 'bite' of alcohol was obvious in this beer, not unpleasantly. It pours dark red/brown, with good legs, and an honest dark tan head. The aroma combines hints of licorice and woody spice with wafts of sweet chocolate. The flavor continues the chocolate theme but contributes roast coffee and malt sugar. There is alcohol present in flavor, almost like a shot of coffee liqueur. The finish is roasty and bitter, again with a warming alcoholic bite.

I drank this with lentil soup and a slice of dense German pumpernickel. Delicious...even if that did suture elements of "old Europe" with "new Europe".

I might compare the beer to Baltika Porter, or to Utenos Porter from Lithuania, or to the late lamented Polish Okocim Porter, or, even closer in style, to the similarly discontinued Swedish Pripps Carnegie Porter, although not as strong as the Okocim's 8% and not as roasty and bitter as the Pripps. (By the way, those last two beers were discontinued by their respective breweries soon after being absorbed by Carlsberg. I sent an email to remonstrate but, of course, there was no response.) ... or to New Jersey's Perkuno Hammer and offerings from other US micros. As with IPA and porter, it's American micros that once more are coming to the rescue of an endangered breed of beer.

With my surname of Cizauskas, I might disagree with the designation "Polish Porter", even with the use of Lublin hops, I would

Baltic would be better, Lithuanian would be best. Labas!

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Dominion Winter Brew 2003 from Old Dominion Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 26 ratings