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

373 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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 373 |  Reviews: 220
Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
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).

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of bum732
4.42/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of DrJay
4.17/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of mikey711
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
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 :)

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Photo of slasher007
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
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

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of manleyphoto
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of br3wmeister
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.55/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of crossovert
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of popery
3.8/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of KeefD
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
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!

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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 joe1510
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bottle

2008 Vintage

That Grizzly Bear from the Great White North, AKBelgianBeast, sent me this bottle a while back, thanks Phrank! Alaskan's version of a Baltic Porter has the deepest red body you could imagine. It verges on black but when backlit lights up with mahogany highlights throughout the entire body with a ruby ring around the bottom of the glass. Two fingers of creamy beige head sit atop the body and eventually, slowly, settles to a thick cap with sheet lacing left behind. The creaminess sticks to the glass with no problem at all.

The first thing that hits me from the smell is a super rich lactic sweetness along the lines of heavy cream with a touch of vanilla. A soft roastiness brings up the rear that nearly verges on caramel but has enough roastiness to separate the two. Milk chocolate and a sweetened cold coffee compliment this beer in a surprising way. There is no way in hell I expected so much sweet lactic qualities in this beer but I like where it's going.

The flavor follows the aroma nearly stride for stride with big, sweetened lactic notes that border on vanilla extract and thin chocolate milk. Light roastiness pulls through in the middle but it's very light and a touch of cold coffee finish things off. Overall this is a pretty mild brew with zero noticeable alcohol and well integrated flavors. As it warms the coffee notes come forward a little more aggressively and I actually prefer it. They dampen down some of the artificial vanilla notes.

The body is on the heavier side of medium with a moderate carbonation that pushes this one through fairly quickly. The overall mouthfeel is nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. It's just kind of there. I'd prefer a little more heft and a little less carbonation but with that said, it doesn't really help or hurt the overall flavor of this Baltic Porter.

The vanilla extract can get a little cumbersome at times but as it warms the coffee notes make it more bearable. I have no problem drinking this entire bomber and while there are better Baltic Porters out there this is a solid brew with a twist on the style.

Alaskan brewing does some good things with their bombered beer. I'd like to have another bottle of this for the cellar to see if that vanilla/lactic quality would eventually dissipate to a more palate pleasing level. I can't imagine how strong it was a year ago when first released. Thanks for the bottle Phrank!

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Photo of jampics2
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle, 2009 vintage. Purchased at Papago in Scottsdale, AZ and flown back to Cleveland. Split 4 ways with some good friends while watching National Lampoons X-Mas Vacation and enjoying the warm fire.

Appears dark black and has nice head retention. Great looking porter.

Smells like cherries, oak, sugar, sweet malt. Nice aromas.

Taste is great. Nice blend of cherries, vanilla, mild roast, and a great blend of all these flavors creates a unique beer. I love the fact that the extra ingredients are easily identified, harmonious, and not gimmicky. This beer isn't what I think of when someone mentions a Baltic Porter, but this is really nice. Ultra smooth taste.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice creamy texture.

Drinkability is better than average, especially for the style. This is a great beer, happy to have gone to such lengths to try it :)

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

I must say this bottle description is a bit intriguing for a baltic porter, which technically should be a lager. But coming from Alaskan, I expect high quality...

Poured near black with a light tan head. The carbonation seemed appropriate. The aroma is wonderful, and you truly can pick out all the elements added to this beer - cherries, vanilla, oak, brown sugar...along with some dark chocolate and fruity esters. The taste that follows is very nice, and the flavors marry together well. However, after time, this beer starts to taste a bit medicinal and syrupy as a result of the cherries and unfermentable sugar left in the beer. It results in a pretty sweet, cloying baltic porter - I probably would've just labeled it as an imperial porter because of it's lack of a dry, crisp finish. But overall, a nice effort again from Alaskan.

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Photo of Domingo
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty odd beer from the start. It's a Baltic porter brewed using ale yeast, plus cherries and brown sugar. When they already have a winter ale on the shelves, I guess they have to really be adventurous with their special brews.
Pours a really deep brown color with a slightly off-white head. There are some red highlights, and it's surprisingly not thick or sticky at all.
The flavors are all over the place. One minute it's like a strong porter, then you pick up some fruity notes, and then the brown sugar gives it a flavor that reminds me of a dubbel or quad. There are brandy and rum notes and very little question that you're drinking a sipping beer...but that isn't a bad thing.
Mouthfeel is a little thin and I'd say it's really the only knock on this beer. It,however, makes for a good nightcap almost like a brandy or cognac as a result.
It's a sipper and a perfect brew to split. My wife and I shared this on Thanksgiving and both enjoyed it.

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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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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 373 ratings.
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