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

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)
379 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 379 |  Reviews: 223
Photo of kwjd
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown colour with a tick tan head that dissipated fairly quickly. Amazing smell of black cherry and vanilla and some chocolate. The taste has the same elements, with the chocolate being a bit more present. Some roasted malt in there too. Very smooth and drinkable.

 269 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Derek's bottle. A porter with a cherry first and then chocolate characteristic. The aroma of the real thing, happy valentine's Day chocolate and cherries. Black with a white foam, and above-average mouthfeel. A strong note of vanilla.OK take the bottle, enjoy the taste. Not sweet, bit certainly not too baltic sour.

 316 characters

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

 1,640 characters

Photo of DaveJanssen
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a 22 2 ways. Reviewed 9/29/2009. Poured into snifters.

Ar: Fruity and sweet, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, intense aroma, very sweet dark cherries, raspberries, vanilla, light burnt grain, molasses, woody/earthy, light whiskey character, complex and sweet, lightly chalky, oak, cherries and vanilla in foreground

Ap: deep brown/mahogany, very low tan head fair retention, clear

F: Cherry, alcohol, sweet cherry is very strong, almost overwhelming but not cough syrup cherry, chocolate, coffee and roast, has a whiskey character from roast wood and strong alcohol, alcohol ends surprisingly clean for how strong it is in middle taste, vanilla and cherry work well together and enhance each other's sweetness, like fantastic whiskey and heavy cherries, very fruity, chocolate, toasted/charred wood, caramel, syrupy sweetness, the malt doesn't have much roast to it, sweet balanced, chalky (not as strong as in aroma), *spicy oak

M: very sweet and full, warm/hot alc in throat, heavy with low carbonation alc cuts the sweetness

O: Helps me understand how whiskey develops flavor, very sweet but it works, would probably age well, alc very strong, cuts sweetness a bit, aggressive

* = ideas from fellow taster

 1,215 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Darkest brown color with only the faintest highlighting at the bottom of the glass. Otherwise, full opacity, a sticky beige head.

The nose is highly charged with dark fruit and alcohol byproducts. There is some evident spicing but I wouldn't call it the focus - I definitely think there is some vanillin involved.

The flavor is heavily malty, with lots of dark fruits leading the way, nearly to the exclusion of the other components. Cherries and something like figs take center stage. There's some roasted barley character as well, caramel sweetness in the middle, and the hops do make a cursory appearance as a peppery sidenote to the readily apparent but not overly meddlesome alcohol notes.

There's a lot going on and it's a big beer. Sweeter than I was hoping but a really good brew.

 794 characters

Photo of slaintemhor
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a bottle of this ('09) in fall of 2009. The colour appeared to be black until held to the light and then it had a garnet hue. The aroma was sweet and reminiscent of boiled candies. On the palate, more sweetness, a creamy mouth feel, rather boozy, lots of glucose sirop, almond extract, cherry and oak with a long finish.

 326 characters

Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle

pours deep thick jet black with a light cocoa cream head. nice light retention.

first sniff brings dark candied cherries and strong oak. this is followed by a subtle vanilla and molasses. very rich and sweet with a faint hint of booze.

light cherries blend well with the oak and vanilla. lots of complexity and lots of flavor. light hints of cocoa and molasses hide behind the bigger cherry. not as rich as the scent but this is for sure a sweet porter indeed. very very faint booze in the finish.

very chewy and thick. light to moderate carbonation. very full.

given how rich this is and the almost 10% ABV, only one at a time however i would for sure drink this again. i forget who sent this to me although i am pretty sure i know who did. i did indeed enjoy this. i love baltic porters.

 806 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Winchester Tavern shaker pint glass.

Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown, with ruby highlights and a finger-thick tan head. The smell is somewhat heavy on the booze, but this is balanced out by dark malts and fruits. The taste begins with a dark cherry flavor, followed by a roasted wheat, followed then by a figgy flavor, and then finished by a brown sugar/molasses flavor. In all, a wild, tasty ride that layers nicely on the tastebuds. The heavily medium body rests perfectly on the tongue, though the relatively high alcohol might check this somewhat, threatening the drinkability for some (though I will be coming back for more on a regular basis).

 669 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 ounce bomber bottle - 2008 vintage, purchased from Liquid Solutions when it was released a few years ago. Uncapped and poured into my Adnams Imperial tumbler at cellar temperature. The porter appears a dark crimson brown color and opaque with a good finger or so of light ecru foam. Nose and flavors consist of booze filled chocolate covered cherries, dark and bittersweet chocolate, deep roasted grains, cocoa powder, cherry-vanilla, more cherry notes (skins, juice), a bit nutty. Rather dry, bitter and just about full bodied with ample carbonation. The alcohol keeps to itself for the most part, but this is still one to sit down and enjoy for an hour or two.

 667 characters

Photo of bum732
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black, some ruby tints, nice lightly tan creamy head, great retention. Smells of strong dark fruits, cherries, moderate oakiness, some roastiness and brown sugar, touch of alcohol, toffee. Tastes of cherry like malt up front with some dark fruits mixed in. Very fruity. Gives way to light chocolate like roastiness and a good bold oak presense. Finishes roasty and dry with some more oak. Pretty good mouthfeel, carbonation is low. Alcohol very well hidden.

This is a really solid baltic porter, lots of complexities. The cherries are fairly bold and really take charge, but they're a lot of other layers as well. Just a great combo of flavors, another winner from Alaskan.

 687 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hwwty4 for this bomber.

A: The baltic porter is dark, a wickedly deep red color that passes for black. Light shining through the beer reveals the crimson. As you'd guess, the ale is opaque. A small head, no more than 1/2 a finger on first pour, sits idly, leaving a faint band of lacing.

S: The baltic porter smells great. Cocoa powder, roasted malts, starchy beans, all big flavors and all appearing in the first blast. Cherries even make an appearance, however cursory it may be. A very full, warming beer.

T: I love the porter's flavor combination. The cocoa powder, beans and roasted flavors are strong. Much to my surprise, vanilla beans come through as well. Cherries follow with a mild sweetness that fits well with the roasted body and vanilla. The feel is smooth, never edgy. A powdery finish, incorporating the aforementioned elements, lingers nicely with little indication of the forboding alcohol content.

M: The mouthfeel is complicated, offering up a wealth of baltic porter flavors with cherry and vanilla present as nice bonuses. The porter is creamy, leaving a lasting flavor.

D: The porter is quite heavy, able to hide its booze for only so long. Despite that price tag, the porter hits all the right notes, especially on a cold January night.

 1,276 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009. Clear and very dark brown with reddish chestnut edges. It had a fine tan cap that showed decent head retention and a bit of lacing. Aromas of malt, chocolate (milk and bittersweet), nuts, dark grains, faint berry/cherry and a slight roast. Moderate bitterness, strong chocolate and malt flavours that lingered in the finish but didn't render the beer overly sweet. Bready with green, leafy hops and a hint of fruit. Light alcohol. Creamy carbonation and a full body made for a very smooth beer. There was just a bit of astringency from the dark grains and a bit of alcohol warmth. Good stuff. The flavours were nicely integrated and it was no problem drinking this one all night long.

 690 characters

Photo of mikey711
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Almost completely black , with only some light able to get through at the bottom of the glass. Minimal head about a quarter inch thick with a tan colored head.

S: Milk chocolate, some sweet coffee notes, vanilla, some roasiness, brown sugar. Some dark fruit notes.

T: A nice bit of smokiness, sweet milk chocolate, roasted coffee notes, dark fruit notes, vanilla.

M: Very smooth and creamy. A slight bit of heat.

D: Really enjoyed this one, but with such a high abv i couldnt have too many of these for fear of dangerous situations :)

 541 characters

Photo of slasher007
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mora2000 for sharing this bottle.

Pours a very dark brown color with light tan head. Smell was bit complex for me. Lots of banana with hints of smoked vanilla and ripened dark fruits. Tastes are roasted malt richness and complex candied sweetness with vanilla cream and oaked cherry finish. Medium and amazingly creamy mouth feel with medium carbonation. I loved every sip of it. Excellent beer

 405 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma caught me off guard. While I do get some cherry and vanilla, the main fruit flavor I get is bananas. Very strange. The flavor is very complex with cherry, vanilla, oak and roasted malts. The beer is pretty sweet and you get some alcohol but it is fairly well hidden. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected. Low carbonation.

 365 characters

Photo of RJLarse
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought a bomber of Alaskan Baltic Porter at a beer store $8.99. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a nearly opaque black color, but it is clear and translucent, with garnet red hues. Frothy tan head is resilient but not sticky. Minimal lacing adheres to the glass.

Smell is strong and sweet. I smells like burnt brown sugar and molasses.

Taste is dark sweet flavor, molasses and dark fruit flavors like prunes and dried cherries. There is a bit of a bitter charcoal aftertaste, with a whiskey-like flavor on te finish.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, cloying, lightly carbonated with some alcohol heat in the back of the throat.

Not the most drinkable beer. Too much ABV to be sessionable, and the flavor is overpowering. It wouldn't pair well with food, or go woth other beers. It's "sippable" that's about all you can say for it.

 830 characters

Photo of manleyphoto
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a gift from the folks at Alaskan and reminds me that Alaskan is making some of my favorite "big" beers.

Jet black with a tan head, the beer looks like an Imperial Stout...A little fuller in body than a typical Baltic Porter.

Aroma is nice with pronounced vanilla and oak notes and a good deal of caramel malt and milk chocolate.

Flavors are about the same, lots of oak and vanilla. Restrained sweetness, cocoa, solid, rich malt flavors, and very subdued hops.

There is a bit more astringency than I would like, and the finish is not as clean as I expect from a Baltic Porter, but overall a very nice beer. I was happy to finish the bottle and I'll be sure to pick up another if I see it again.

Well done Alaskan, keep up the good work.

 755 characters

Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, around $8. 2009 vintage. Bottle notes this at 9.8% alcohol.

A: Nice deep brown in color verging on black, red highlights when held to the light, sand colored head about an inch thick, that reduces down to an island of bubbles and a few spots of lacing. Decent looking beer.

S: Initially all I get is sweet cherries, and vanilla, underneath that there are some flavors of sweet milk chocolate. Overall the smell is almost entirely sweet smells. Pretty definite boozy note. That's all I'm detecting. Smells good, but not at all what I expected.

T: Strong flavors, vanilla and cherries are very strong as well as a huge woody oak note. Behind the advertised flavors are some nice roasted coffee flavors. Fairly bitter, astringent alcohol and a bitter coffee aftertaste. Surprisingly devoid of any chocolate flavors, the cherry is really what stands out on each sip. Very sweet flavored beer and it works good as a dessert.

M: A lot lighter than I had expected, medium carbonation, and incredibly dry, the oak and the alcohol really dry this beer out.

D: Fairly easy to drink, but definitely more of a sipper. I really enjoyed this, even though it really seemed focused on the additives. It would've been nice to have a little more of the true "porter" flavors and have the cherry take a backseat. Thankfully I have a few bottles to sit on for a while, and maybe that will mellow. Decent beer, but not at all what I was expecting.

 1,478 characters

Photo of br3wmeister
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours an very dark brown almost black color. Beautiful multi textured light brown head great retention and nice lacing.

S- Nice malty aroma, caramel, cherries, vanilla, some Irish whiskey notes (cherries and butter) hint of biscuit as well.

T/M- Large malty somewhat smoky flavor up front which drops nicely into a burst of cherries vanilla and oak. Starts like a beer drinks like an Irish whiskey and finishes like a smooth wonderful beer. This has magnificent flavor and is crazy smooth.

 496 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, I mean come on, I have had bottles of this before, but have never opened one for some strange reason that truly escapes me. But last night decided this had to be my nightcap. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/28/2009.
The pour was brilliant, rich dark brown in color with the only thing separating it from Jet Black being a nice reddish hue around the sides and bottom. Huge head of tan comes up quickly and lifts to a height of around two inches, never totally settling down, but instead sitting on top with a huge amount of lacing coming down the sides. Aroma is so much different then I was expecting. Rich notes of cherries and dark malts coming through immediately. Hints of a light hoppiness and just mounds and mounds of chocolate at first. Warming though really brought out a large amount of fruit and raspberries and dark cherry seems to dominate here. Each sip was like a decadent dessert trapped in a bottle. Rich, velvet like carbonation, and warm soothing flavors, this one was making me melt in the chair. Smooth chocolate notes wrapped in a dark fruit blanket that descended and left behind a nice, warm, hop dryness that begged me to come back for another sip.
Overall one of the best Baltic Porters I have ever had hands down. This is what I envision the style being, just a superb offering and one that I really just could not get enough of. Highly recommend.

 1,435 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown, thin lacing, looks generous. Smell, whoooo alcoholic, for reals. So alcoholic you might think its aged in some grain alcohol barrels. But there's some other stuff in there. Wine like in its diversity of flavor.

A sipping beer, but you don't need a lot of time between intervals. While the alcohol is obviously there, for how high it is, it isn't overpowering. I would recommend.

Revisit 8/2011: Not as impressive as the first batch was. A little more bitterness than I like, needs an RIS body to absorb this. Mild licorice/dark fruit. Just not a style I dig so much on.

 590 characters

Photo of crossovert
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, 651 ml bomber.

It pours into my American pint glass with an initially rabid ehad that produces large bubbles, but it settles down into a normal head, but it dissipates quickly leaving behind not much lacing. The beer itself is a dark brown with hints of ruby at the furthest edges.

It smells like a dessert platter. I can smell chocolate, vanilla, cherry, brown sugar, figs, and caramel, all with a heavy dose of oak over the top. Absolutely decadent.

The taste is not nearly as decadent but still very good. The oak really stands out as a great flavor here. The tart cherry and chocolate return in the taste, but the vanilla seems to be lost (there might be a touch of it melding the cherry flavor) instead replaced with some coffee. The mouthfeel is a bit overcarbonated for the stle but not bad.

My regret is I only have one of these, this would be great to try in a few years, a solid beer out of Alaska.

 926 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very, very dark brown in color. There's some translucency around the edges. A little bit of froth around the perimeter, but not much else going on.
Smell is absolutely stunning. A nice amount of dark chocolate, some vanilla and I swear I get a bit of port/sherry as well.
Taste is more of the dark chocolate, but there's a fair amount of licorice flavor as well.
Pretty full and biting in the mouthfeel. Just a hint of the alcohol coming through, but the amount of complexity of the other flavors helps keep it under control so it's not as noticeable.
Very good baltic porter.

 585 characters

Photo of popery
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009. This beer pours coffee black, dark maroon-brown at the edges. The head is light brown and dissipates quickly. The aroma is a bit cherry dominant. It's surprisingly not roasty in the aroma. Besides the cherries, there are also caramel, vanilla and alcohol notes. The flavor is a tad sweet. I wish the oak was a bit stronger. Actually, I wish that the malt was stronger, as well. The roasted malt come out a bit on the palate, but there just isn't quite a big enough malt flavor to push this already quite good beer into the same ballpark as the best Baltic Porters. The beer seems a bit bogged down in alcohol without enough corresponding richness. I can see it improving with age, but I can also imagine it going downhill.

 728 characters

Photo of KeefD
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sparklepants for sharing this one with me. My first Alaskan beer. Pour a dark brown color, but looks like a dark ruby in the light. Decent foam and lacing. Aroma is slightly muted, some roast and dark fruit, perhaps raisins. Flavor is lightly roasted barley, plenty of dark fruit, maybe some light chocolate poking through, and very little bitterness. Creamy mouthfeel, perfect carbonation for the style. Very smooth, easy to drink. A nice beer!

 455 characters

Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 379 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.