Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) | Alaskan Brewing Co.

219 Reviews
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Alaskan Baltic Porter is a deep, dense beer with an intricate array of aromas and flavors derived from substantial amounts of specialty malts, dark black cherries and whole gourmet vanilla beans. Aging on toasted French oak adds further complexity.

Added by ccrida on 04-27-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 370
Photo of Hawksfan79
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Glass used: porter/stout glass

Appearance is a motor oil black with a thin fizzy white head.

Strong cherry aroma with a slight hint of wood chips.

A strong cinnamon flavor that morphs into caramel and vanilla and finishes with an alcohol warming.

This beer has a full body mouth feel with slight carbonation.

A fantastic beer I've always been a huge fan of Alaskan's smoked porter and thought it was IMHO the best porter around until I had this.

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Photo of clickpush
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour: 22oz bottle to tulip glass. Hefty latte colored head, two fingers thick, appears over bubbling dark brown body. Actually, maybe make that black. No light passing through, even around the sides. Sticky retentive head.

Nose: Beautiful aroma, chocolate, vanilla, roses, cherries. Lots of fruit for such a dark bodied beer, but not getting a ton of roasted notes. Full, lush smell.

Mouth: Creamy mouthfeel, full delicious flavors. Rich vanilla all the way, with a lingering, nice, light roasty finish. The fruit is subdued but present: cherries & raspberries. Looong lasting finish! Love it, actually. Love it.

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Photo of DoShek
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - black, dark tan head that poured creamy but thin and subsided quickly to a minute ring around the glass, viscous

Smell - raisins and other dark fruits, molasses, heavy malts

Taste - strong malt, dark fruits, little bitterness, slightly roasty, vanilla, reminds me quite a bit of dark naval rum

Mouthfeel - thick, full, and creamy, slight bit of alcohol warmth

Drinkability - could only have one in a sitting, but would not hesitate to have another in the future

This was a great beer. Will definitely be interesting to see how it tastes with a bit of age on it and when the alcohol (which is already barely noticeable) cools a bit. I say good job to Alaskan.

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Photo of ebrauser
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, it's back out!
2012 Edition-
Appearance: Incredibly dark brown with a quickly dissipating, thin head.
Aroma: Strong smell of dried cherries mixed in with a little vanilla, very dark and inviting. Not many beers that I've had have a smell like this one.
Flavor: Oak right away is very strong and pervasive, then mellows into a clearly alcoholic vanilla-ish porter. No roastiness and very little chocolate flavor, not that its a bad thing. Smooth drinking and becoming more flavorful as it warms slightly.
Mouthfeel: Silky smooth but with tons of flavor to make this one to savor. Put this one in the back because it's going to get better (the 2009 with two years on it was incredible).

Update - Draft and growler offering 2012
Appearance and aroma are similar, strong oak and cherry. The flavor is full cherry and thick sweet stout, so amazing. It's not so roasty and sweet that a pint is too much, it's a really slick, strong, well seasoned porter. Only downside was the head didn't leave much lacing. A really, really good beer, aged or on draft particularly.

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Photo of russpowell
4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 vintage pours chestnut tinged ebony with a pinky of mocha head. Good head retention & average lacing

S: Dark fruit, port, & leafy hops, & bananas

T: Dark chocolate, dryness, leafy hops, raisins & plums & a bit of banana?? up front. Vanilla, rum raisin & plums as this warms, along with a hint of creme Brule. Finishes with plummyness, dryness & some nice hints of caramel, bananas & vanilla

MF: Fairly rich, restrained carbonation

Drinks extremely easy for the style & ABV, not much to nitpick on this, awesome Baltic Porter! Attempted to squeeze the bottle like a toothpaste tube, but the damn glass wouldn't yield....

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Photo of ncfrey
4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken 4-11-2010. Bomber into New Belgium glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with red highlights and a thin, quickly dissipating tan head. Looks to have good carbonation. Worth mentioning that I really like the label on this bottle.

s - Super strong, getting lots of big dark fruits from a foot away. More of that and lots of vanilla, an almost bourbon-like smell. Very sweet, some roastiness and coffee underneath. Reminds me of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout (which reminds me of the yams my dad used to make for holiday dinners, with loads of bourbon and marshmallows on top).

t - Again, reminds me of Bourbon County a bit. The vanilla beans and (surprisingly) brown sugar are very apparent, fruitiness is definitely present but more subdued than in the nose. There's a slight bitterness in the middle but a smooth-as-silk, sweet, burnt sugar finish that reminds me, again, of toasted marshmallows.

mf - Fantastic. Creamy and tongue-coating, but not super heavy. This is the best non-chewable mf I've encountered.

d - Despite the ABV and sweetness, this bomber is going fast. I could see 2 of these to get me through a cold winter night.

I was really excited to try this beer (based on other BA reviews), and it totally exceeded my expectations in all respects. I just wish I could find it in New Mexico.

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Photo of azdback
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Poured into a snifter. Almost completely all light sucking, just a hint of dark brown at the stem. Small head of less than a finger. Head is light brown and thin. Lace is minimal.

Smell is really roasted and charred or maybe even barrel smell. Sweet and tart cherries with a bit of vanilla. There is an alcohol burn in this too. This nose is really fantastic.

Taste is initially sweet cherries with oak and vanilla. The cherries really take the drivers seat as this warms. The dark roasted flavors meld very well with the sweetness and tartness of those cherries.

Mouth is velvety, carbonation is creamy. Body is full and the finish is long.

Overall I am floored by this....again. I haven't had this for a year or two, but this has done nothing but get better in the bottle. A must try if you get the chance.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

another incredible bomber sent my way by are killing me James...very slightly chilled and poured into an oversized wine glass

a-pitch light penetration...two finger off white/khaki colored head in spots...lots and lots and lots of lacing

s-whoa...lots of roast and dark fruits dominate the front end...a little smoke and tobacco creep in...the brown sugar is present in a big way as well..tons of vanilla in the front and some wood...

t-taken back...starts off with dark fruits and very vinous...the vanilla and wood rush in and take over..the middle is semi sweet with some roast and coffee....the brown sugar lends itself very gently as well as the very faintest of cherries...the slightest hint of toffee...the vanilla stays throughout...the bittering hops make a presence in before the mad rush of citrus and dry vanilla carry this one off

m-perfect...creamy and smooth..coats the entire mouth...the carbonation is perfect and i do mean absolutely perfect..the hops leave a slight resinous note...

d-man if this stuff was here i would be a glutton for punishment with this one..i love baltic porters but this goes down way to easy and way too fast...abv is no where to be smooth it is dangerous

wow..just wow...this is a terrific brew...i will def seek this one out in the future...

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Photo of billab914
4.64/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured close to black in color with a frothy off white head filling about half an inch of the glass. The head retreated to the edges of the glass where it remained, but left little lacing.

The aroma has a very nice mixture of oak and cherries with a little vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. I get a little of the Baltic Porter, malty, chocolate like flavors bit the additions and treatments steal the show. They all work together very nicely though to create a very appealing aroma overall.

In the taste I get the fruity and sweet cherry flavors and the woody oak right off the bat and throughout the flavor. I get the vanilla and brown sugar sweetness more up front and get more of a dry, bitter-sweet chocolate, slightly roasty flavor towards the finish. The cherry, oak and chocolate flavors linger nicely after the finish.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and carbonation is low. I really like the lower carbonation in a beer like this. Drinkability is very good, I loved the flavors overall. The cherry and oak were excellent and it was balanced enough between sweet and bitter to make it very drinkable. It was definitely all about the additions and treatments, but they all worked very well together. The Baltic Porter style flavors seemed to take a back seat to everything else but it was good enough that I didn't care. Excellent beer overall and it might very well be a new favorite of the style.

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Photo of levifunk
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a small tasting. This was the biggest surprise of the night. Pours dark with a nice head, but I could immediately smell sweet cherry and vanilla. The taste was phenomenal. My biggest complaint with porters is that they seem to taste like watered down stouts, but this was not the case at all. There is a great oak and malt backbone in this beer. The cherry an vanilla are in no way overpowering nor on. Very drinkable. This is simply a great beer!

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Photo of hopdog
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. 2008 Vintage.

Poured a dark brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of vanilla, dark cherries, licorice, bananas, chocolate, and woody. Tastes of dark cherries, vanilla, chocolate, oak, dark fruits, and marsh mellows. Vanilla creme. The addition of dark cherries and vanilla beans were done nicely. The oak was there but not overpowering. Alcohol content well hidden. Nice.

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Photo of Deuane
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Deep brown, purplish tinged, copper with a thin tan head that left spotty lace.

S-Light dark chocolate, malted milk balls, plum and fig with caramel sauce poured on top. All around aroma is rather light but incredibly tantalizing.

T-WOW! Malted milk chocolate covered cherries and marshmallows with a Horehound candy chaser! Absolutely fantastic. One of the most interesting, complex and unique brews I have ever tasted--->and I have tasted a lot!

M-Medium bodied yet feels light and almost airy. Incredibly smooth and rich with long lasting flavours.

D-Simply fantastic! Phenomenal! For something that feels so "light" the flavours work together outstandingly and linger seemingly forever. A most impressive concoction from the folks in Juneau!

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Photo of boisebeerfan
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer caught me by surprise.

It poured a rich dark brown, with a moderate and long-lasting beige head.

The scent was subtle but pleasant: oak, dark-red cherries, chocolate. No real vanilla notes that I could detect.

The taste was very smooth, and there were no harsh fusel alcohol notes. The oak was understated and paired well with the natural cherry. I didn't get any smoked/peaty/phenol tastes.

I didn't think Alaskan put out a beer of this quality, and it was the second of a batch of winter beers I had picked up in bottles this weekend.

TL;DR: An smooth and highly drinkable porter with subtle oak and cherry accents.

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Photo of hardy008
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with 2 fingers worth of head. Good retention and some lacing. Smells of cherries, vanilla, oak, chocolate, and dark brown sugar.

The flavor also is cherries, vanilla, oak, dark brown sugar, and chocolate. Sweet, with some noticeable alcohol, and a smooth creamy taste. This is a good one.

Medium to full bodied, proper carbonation, and a pleasure to drink. A nice beer to sip slowly and enjoy.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark ruby brown, appears nearly black. Rich light brown head with nice lacing. Aroma of toasty malt, dark fruit and cherries with a slight sour aspect. Flavor is toasty malt, dark fruit and cherries. Well integrated. Nice porter flavors with clear cherry tone. A slight bitterness in aftertaste. I love this beer and it's my favorite Baltic porter. I was really glad a tucked a few of these away before Alaskan (temporarily, I hope) stopped brewing it.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Updated scores after some cellar time. This is a great beer. I can't believe they have not made it for 3 years. It is exponentially better than most Alaskan brews (barleywine and smoked porter excepted). 09 vintage.

Almost black but with deep mahogany highlights when backlit. Thick, fluffy mocha head with good retention. Active with spotty lacing. SMELL cherries prominent, vanilla follows. Banana esters, vague roastiness underneath. Oak comes in later. Mellows and balances as it warms. TASTE improves dramatically as it warms. Big malty base delicately balanced by a mild bitterness, with cherry fruitiness and moderate booze. Vanilla, chocolate and woody notes emerge late. Pretty well balanced and fairly complex. FEEL is luxurious. Smooth, creamy, full bodied, strong alcoholic warming, clean finish with some mild bitterness emerging late. OVERALL Seems to me (and others) that it is quite a bit better than last years. Seems smoother, more balanced and complex. Drinks well now, but definitely a sipper. Time in the cellar may round off the sharper edges.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown, with surprisingly good clarity, and hints of ruby at the edges. Head is a foamy mess of crunchy light brown, which leaves sudsy, foaming lacing as the beer goes down. Looks quite wonderful.

Big blackcurrant notes on the nose, mingled with darker notes of oak and spicy charred grain. Hints of oatmeal, coconut and red wine shine through too. Oh man, this is freaking delicious. So much complexity, but all so well melded and integrated. Really lovely.

Taste is also beautiful. Big redolent notes of oak and grain, but subtly and deliciously sweetened by characters of dark fruit and chocolate, then layered with light vinous acidity and fresh coconut juice. Really, really lovely. Feel is smooth, but not too heavy.

Such an exceptionally smooth and deliciously drinkable beer. For all its complexity, depth, alcohol content and pure unadulterated strength, it comes out comforting and delicious. What a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.59/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a light black color porter with a quite large light brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of lightly sweet black chocolate is dominant and very enticing. Taste is also dominated by well balanced sweetness with some quality black chocolate notes. It seems almost impossible for some chocolate malt to taste so good and it makes me wonder if some syrup were used. In any cases, this is an incredible treat and something I wish I would have access to. Body is full with some good carbonation and no signs of alcohol.

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Photo of cocojoe
4.59/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage. Bomber. Alaskan Baltic Porter Ale. Brewed with Cherries, Brown Sugar, Vanilla Beans, and Oak Chips.

A: Fantastic dark black brown. Very dark red hints. Rich mocha head.

S: Complex aroma full of vanilla, dark fruits, sweetened cocoa, makes you yearn to drink this beer. Its got a kind of bite to it. Not sure if it's from the alcohol or the roasty malt. Floral hops. Certain tobacco funk underneath.

T: I cannot wait to taste this.... Interesting. Not as thick and sweet as I was expecting it to be from the aroma. Juicy cherries, rich dark chocolate. Vanilla. Dry tannic/roasty quality finishes it off. Pretty clean tasting.

O: Really awesome. Very complex. A lot of different things going on here. Not as thick malty sweet as I was expecting, which was nice actually. The aging clearly mellowed it out, but kept all of the complex richness of this beer.

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Photo of bort11
4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

johnnnniee included this for Black Booty 09

2008 dated 22 oz bottle, poured into a shaker pint glass. Good inch of tan head that gradually recedes. Not much lacing. Color is a solid black with a hint of purple.

Smell is sweet and a bit like juniper berries. There is some brown sugar in the aroma. Taste also has an interesting berry flavor with a little bit on mint and dark plums. This is very sweet for a baltic porter, they are usually more bitter. I really like this switch up.

Mouth feel is a little slick and has a juicy character. Goes down very easy, and I can't believe it is almost 10%. Wow this is fantastic.
Blipped Black Lounge by Baltic Fleet

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Photo of kbm
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bomber.

Appearance: Black/Dark brown with a slight ruby hue. Huge tan head with good retention and great lacing.

Smell: Huge cherry with cinnamon aroma. Followed up by oak, booze, chocolate, sweet malts and other spices.

Taste: God, I love this beer. Cheery, oak and cinnamon. The oak, while not subtle, is not so prominent that it's over powering. The back end of the taste is a bit of coffee, coco and residual oak.

Mouthfeel: I generally don't like generously carbonated beer but I think the generous carbonation in the Alaskan Baltic Porter doesn't just support the beer but enhances it. Mouthfeel is thin but in a good way; low viscosity.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. With the thin mouthfeel I find myself taking larger than normal swigs. I get little to no heat from the alcohol, which makes this one a little dangerous.

I love this beer.

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Photo of beergoot
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition

Dark brown body with a thin but persistent brown head. Roasted grains, a hint of cherries, bitter chocolate in the aroma. Rich, creamy vanilla flavor, rife with a deep sweet chocolate backbone; nice alcohol glow in the background. Smooth, heavy-body; soft and creamy texture.

An outstanding Baltic porter packed with rich, chocolate and vanilla goodness. The ingredients really shine through in the taste and mouthfeel. Strong, dark ale nirvana...!!!

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pour netted one finger of crackling, light brown foam. That head didn't hang around long; within a minute it had sizzled its way down to a thin, sticky crown. Body is very dark and nearly opaque: shows shades of orangish brown around the edges when held to light. Looks to be fairly light in body, as expected for the style.

Smell: From a short distance away, I got lots of banana bread. I still get that banana bread when I dig my nose into the pint glass, but I also catch whiffs of dark fruit, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla. I'm searching for the oak, but I'm having trouble finding it amid these other strong aromas. Unfortunately, the taste really outdoes the smell in terms of pungency. After a few sips I can't really smell anything. Oh well. What's there is very nice.

Taste: Cocoa and lager yeast come together beautifully! On top of that, I get vanilla, toasted malt, oak, nuts, and sherry. Everything is balanced very, very well! The sherry component rolls right into the dry finish, which I find to be... amazing. I'm loving the taste of this beer (can you tell?).

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and actively carbonated with a finish that's both dry and flavorful. Though high, the carbonation is soft, producing a very pleasant foamy feel. The overall feel is similar to what I would expect a carbonated dessert wine to feel like: nice mouth-coating; fairly syrupy; kinda dry; actively carbonated. I dig.

Drinkability: I didn't expect to like this beer so much. I think I've found my new favorite Baltic porter. Pick this one up if you get the chance. You'll be happy you did.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

09 poured with the most delicate hand into a chalice.
dark brown, date-like color, amber-fringed, sexy. hike up that skirt a little more..the murky much hides much.
big alcohol aroma still evident after 8 months aging. cherries and vanilla up front and personal.
there is a slight astringency, probably from the oak, that is immediately apparent. the alcohol's heat is not distracting from the overall impression this beer makes, which is that of an outstandingly spiced baltic porter, robust and salutatory.
brilliant with midnight bacon and eggs.

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Photo of klikger
4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber served in a tulip.

A - Very dark brown, not much head or lacing.

S - Dark chocolate-covered cherries, coffee, brown sugar, and molasses. I just drooled on myself.

T - Vanilla and booze --> oak, a flood of cherries and chocolate --> more vanilla, more oak, more chocolate --> end is woody (& yes, chocolaty) and not too sweet (surprisingly).

M - Medium-bodied - pretty awesome that it's this light with having so much flavor.

D - Should be sipped to fully appreciate, but it's easy going down.

Star of the night...awesome beer.

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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 370 ratings.
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