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

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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)
383 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: Rotating

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 383 |  Reviews: 225
Photo of WeisGuy
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - pours deep dark brown, not quite black, smallish tan head with retention around the edges and minimal lacing

s - some roasted malt, but it's overwhelmed by the cherry, brown sugar and oak additions, slight licorice aroma as well, really "fake" smelling, unfortunately

t - roasted malt and toastiness up front, but a big burst of sweetness, marked by cherry and oak, on the mid-palate, finish is pretty sweet as well with the brown sugar and vanilla making their appearance, almost completely overwhelming the roasted/black patent malt flavors that mark most Baltics, in my opinion, the additions to this beer (cherry, brown sugar, vanilla beans, oak) have taken over the beer, a little hot

m - medium-bodied with moderate carbonation fairly sweet finish, not very much drying, definite alcohol warming

d - a bit too sweet and hot to be overly drinkable, but this is a 9.8% beer, so drinkability is not the aim, a lot of flavors going on, so it gets points for that

Overall, a somewhat disappointing offering, in my opinion. As stated above, I feel the additives have overwhelmed the base beer.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.43/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle, dated 2009. Pours brown with a smallish tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is alcoholic fruity chocolate. The alcohol is pretty sharp. Lots of rum soaked cherries, plums, apples and fudge.

The flavor is strong alcohol and lots of slight tart fruits. The some roasted chocolate and some plasticy cardboard bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, I was excited to see a baltic porter since I like the smoked porter quite a bit, but this beer is a bit of a mess - strange fruity alcohol with lots of off notes.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 vintage 22 has been in the fridge for a couple of weeks.. I think I paid about $9. Poured into my Delirium goblet.

Dark brown brew with night highlites... 1" tan head leaves descent lace and a good cap...

Nose is pretty complex.. lite chocolate is complimented and slightly amplified by the vanilla (maybe too much for my tastes).. dried cherries for sure, but it seems like there are some fruity esters in there adding to the myriad of goodness. oaky without the unneeded tannic elements.

Alot of stuff going on as soon as the first sips meet my palate.. cocoa and very background coffee.. again tons of vanilla.. followed closely by some cherries ... Bing? oakey with some maple wood notes.. a smidge of alcohol and all the mash-up of flavors remind me of bourbon... more rich than I remember... finishes more malty than sweet but with all the essences of the above flavors.. I personally think the vanilla is a bit overdone.. so I am gonna nick it .. but I still like it alot.

This is at least in my memory better than the bottle that I had with friends a month or so ago.... I also had the '08 a couple of times and remember thinking that this was no where near a Baltic Porter... However, I think this is gonna age fairly quickly.. Flavors and aromas will mesh soon.. maybe 6 months or so.. but I think it's gonna peak quickly too.. I give it 2 years max.

Thanks Matt for getting this one in... I need to stock up and then just sit back and enjoy it.

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

from liquidsolutions or bottletrek, by way of stevemcqueenjr.

22oz bomber. 2008 vintage. tasted in late may/early june 2009. poured into tulip.

very dark black/brown, w red hints under direct light. 1.5-finger tan head fades to wisps and thick ring. lacing barely ever sticks tho.

aroma: sweet dark caramelized malts and fruity cherries and plums, with trace of vanilla. light grassy hop hint, with faint chocolate tones.

taste: sweetly malty and fruity, like aroma. licorice? roast and coffee notes coming in towards the middle, w mild hopping and moderate bitterness. more coffee in aftertaste. alcohol is very well hidden.

medium body, quite smooth, though astringency and alcohol become more present here in the feel. mild to moderate carbonation gives light tingle, and helps with some creaminess.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage

ale brewed with cherries, brown sugar, vanilla beans & oak chips. 9.8%

a steal at ~$7 for 22oz

dark brownish purple pour. viscous, not much head. aroma bowls you over with the brown sugar/fruit combo more suited to a belgian. the cherries burst as if a pie full of them had been set before me. strangely, this beer is not too sweet, it's actually rather dry. somewhat boozy, but dry. the vanilla and oak dominate the flavor, creating something that exists far away from the cozy domicile of standard baltic porter. strangely though, i can see how the bjcp descriptor sort of fits.

i am in awe of the complexity of this beer. if you approach it expecting a style-defying mindblower, you'll dig it. if you think about some eastern european black bean lager, you'll hate the shit out of it.

regardless, for the experience, this is very good.

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

Pours coca-cola brown that is easy to see through upon pouring, but appears almost black once poured into the glass. Head is somewhat modest and recedes to a thin layer.

Nose clearly has the cherry and vanilla, with the cherry having an almost throat-lozenge/cough-syrupy character.

On the palate this beer is surprisingly lighter bodied than what I expected, and helps with drinkability, but of course again the cherry-vanilla takes main stage. Some cola flavors are present, and there's a hint of dry oakiness going on as well.

I like it, but I can see why some may not because it is rather cough syrupy.

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

2009 vintage 22oz. bomber pours a dark reddish brown with a two-finger light tan head and some short lived lace. Looks good, but not overly impressive.

The smell on the other hand stands out, with a bunch of sweet cherry and vanilla in domination of everything else. As it warm quite a bit, some estery notes of alcohol and even more sweetness from the cherries and vanilla stand out.

The flavor starts sweet and estery chocked full of cherry and vanilla with just a hint of oak stepping in, and that's about it. It's very sweet, but not a brown sugar kind of sweet...almost confectionary, powder sugary sweet. There is just enough hops to keep this dessert type ale from becoming too cloying. Only just. It's good flavor with a ton of sweetness, hopefully some age will tone this down a bit, I'm thinking it will.

Medium body with a very mild carbonation and gentle warming contribute to a soft and soothing mouthfeel. I've had two bottles of this brew so far and the first bottle tasted a little more robust and not as sweet as this one. Still very enjoyable, this would make a great after dinner, dessert type sipper for sure.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Here's a beer that I've wanted to try for some time. 2009 edition, 22oz bottle, 9.8%abv.

A big hiss when I popped the cap, it pours a very dark brown with a small amount of reddish hues when I hold up my glass to the light. A good 2 finger head of tannish foam, I'm seeing some very good lacing.

Sticking my nose into the glass, but avoiding the liquid ;^), I get a big greeting from cherries, vanilla, and oak. All about in equal proportions. A wonderful aroma.

First sip in and the vanilla is the first thing I taste followed by a brilliant oaky flavour and a light tartness from the cherries which also brings a bit of the sweet. I say a bit of the sweet because I thought this would be maltier and so, sweeter but this one is really a showcase for the vanilla and oak. I see the label says brown sugar...that's more hidden, to me, than the alcohol. This is pretty potent stuff and I can feel a lot of warming during and after the swallow.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium and the carbonation is very light but is adequate.
Head retention and lacing, this far into the session, are great for as potent a brew as this is.

Drinkability? A 22oz bottle of this 9.8%abv Baltic Porter is all that I can handle. Heck, I'm only 2/3 done with it and I know that I'll be sipping on the rest for at least another half hour but *that* happens with many of the stronger brews that I've tried of all styles surprise and I can still heartily recommend you give this one a go if you see it in your neck of the woods.

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Photo of joepais
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to thethrone for hooking me up with this brew. The bottle was split between a few of us and poured in tulip glasses. It produced a small tan head that disappeared quickly and never was seen again. The body was midnight black in color with no highlights to be seen.

The Madagascar vanilla was over the top what a wonderful aroma. As it warmed I got a slight cherry note but not much. The brew tasted as well as it smelled sweet, roasted, vanillin and coffees all come to mind. The feel in my mouth was medium with a slight carbonation I did wish for a little more.
A great brew would love to drink it again. The strange thing to me was the said to age it, but there was no sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Was this brew filtered?

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

Tried 14 Sep 2009 at the Taphouse Grill in Seattle.

Poured in a 13 oz tulip. Small light brown head. Dark brown with a reddish hue. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, leather, licorice, some alcohol. Starts quite sweet and chocolatey, almost like an iced mocha. Smooth milky mouthfeel. Dark sweet cherries in the middle. Also black licorice and anise. Dry roasty finish. Finish is warming but does not feel like almost 10pct. Dry cocoa aftertaste.

Like dessert in a glass.

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Photo of superdavex
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this down the street for $3.25! An absolute steal and there's more. I'm not telling where.

The appearance was blackish/brown with very little head.

It smelled like cherries, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and alcohol all mixed together. Not something you smell every day.

It tasted pretty much like it smelled with the cherry and vanilla flavors coming up front. You can definitely taste the alcohol, but it doesn't seem like it's 9.9%.

It had a medium mouthfeel with medium carbonation. It was about on par for the style.

The drinkability was very good because of the thinner mouthfeel for the strength of brew and the unbelievably good taste of this one. Just be careful because the 9.9 will hit ya hard.

I don't usually like beers this sweet, but this one has such interesting complexities that it's an exception. I will be revisiting this one many times in the near future as I'm not sure how long these will be at the gas station for $3.25 a piece.

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Photo of clickpush
4.73/5  rDev +14%
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 Jmoore50
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is a dark brown with clear raisin edges. It comes with a crisp head that disappears quickly. No lacing.

The smell is of alcoholic sweet cherries.

The taste is complex. Cherries are the first and strongest characteristic followed by an alcoholic oak chip taste. This brew is really hot, I personally can taste the 9.8% ABV. I cannot taste the brown sugar, but a vanilla taste accompanies the alcoholic tastes at the end.

The mouthfeel is hot, dominated by alcohol and a crisp 'coca-cola' carbonation. I beieve this will be an entirely different beer in 6 months or so.


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

On a surprisingly cool and rainy night in August, I decided to switch it up from the wheat beers and pilsners that have become my usual fare this summer. Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a deep dark brown, rich and full but still letting a little bit of light shine through. A khaki-brown, creamy head flourishes for a couple of minutes before subsiding to a thin coating.
Aroma of sweet caramel malt with just a touch of roastiness. A plethora of sweet notes poking through - maple, mocha, and vanilla bean are all present, with a strong underlying boozy character. Palate is sweet up front, with caramel and maple flavors taking center stage. Dark fruit and mocha notes also make their presence known. A husky bitterness comes through before the swallow, balancing things out a bit for the smooth, warm finish.
Body is fairly thick, with a bit of an oily slickness to it. This beer is rich throughout, living up to its high ABV. While maybe not the most authentic baltic porter on the market, this is definitely an enjoyable beer, and a definite change of pace for summertime drinking.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Grizzly bear brown with generous garnet highlights. Amazingly enough, the beer isn't opaque. I hope that doesn't indicate a shortage of malt. Two fingers of caramel colored foam provide a pillowy cap that lasts for a bit, then lays down a thick collar of lace as it descends. A solid look all the way around.

The nose is different from the noses on most Baltic porters. The reason is that ABC adds Madagascar vanilla beans and black cherries, then ages the beer on toasted French oak. In addition to the usual roasted maltiness and dark fruit... the cherries are easily noted, the vanilla is subtle and the oak is hard to appreciate.

As feared, this isn't the biggest Baltic porter on the planet. More malt would have gone a long way toward making the enjoyable flavors even bolder and deeper. Alaskan says that this brew can be aged 'for several years', but I don't think the body will hold up that long. This bomber is approaching an estimated one year and the screws are getting a bit loose.

None of that matters too much because Alaskan Baltic Porter is delicious beer. The vanilla beans and the cherries are present in perfect proportions, both to each other and to the base porter. An apt comparison would be the beer equivalent of chocolate-covered black cherries with a vanilla cream and coffee cordial center. That does sound good, doesn't it?

A passing glance of unmasked alcohol, dark caramel notes and an understated oakiness give the beer of quasi-Bourbon vibe that is also right up my alley. Time to give the taste score a well-deserved bump. The mouthfeel is smooth enough, it just isn't full or creamy enough.

Most beer geeks won't agree, but I think Baltic Porter is a better beer than Smoked Porter. Neither one is burly enough, which keeps them from greatness in my eyes. The Alaskan brewers should take a page out of the Midnight Sun brew book and give us big beer worthy of America's largest, wildest state.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark opaque pour with cola and garnet highlights. Half inch of khaki head. Dark malts abound with profuse toffee and licorice. Slightly sweet caramel and dark fruits with plum and pear accents. Quite an intriguing aroma.

First sip brings sweet dark malts with bold toffee and licorice upfront. Caramel accents with lots of cellar fruits moving in and out as well. Dense with malt and only a touch of hops on the way down with no real alcohol presence. A rich, tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation that goes down smooth and tasty. Thanks to warriorsoul for leaving this one behind for me after Dark Lord Day.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
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 ffejherb
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber into goblet on 5/6/09. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured a lovely dark burgundy color with violet highlights and a thin beige head that quickly morphed into a thin ring and patchy retention.

S - Earthy and woody aroma with a prevalent dark fruit tang. Nose is pretty muted at first but opens up as the liquid warmed. A subtle grape sweetness and tartness emerged, as well as some caramel and toffee malt notes.

T - Flavor is woody and earthy with lots of vanilla and dark fruit notes suggesting dried apricots and plums. I sense an odd floral character in the middle that reminds me of mossy wood or something... it totally eludes me for some reason. Malt is pretty sweet overall with caramel and toffee notes.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth texture. Finishes sweet on the palate.

D - Pretty interesting Baltic Porter with some odd flavors but still quite nice and complex overall.

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

Pours dark brown into the glass but when you hold it up to the sun there is a crimson diamond shining through. The head is brown and long lasting.
The aroma is caramel, toffee and cherries and lots of vanilla. Very smooth.
The taste is sweet with caramel, toffee and dark malt. Smooth coffee undertones and some dark fruits mixed with the promised cherries and vanilla.
Very smooth with a nice full body. Moderate carbonation. The alcohol is not very noticeable considering the 9.8% ABV.
Overall, this is an excellent interpretation of the style. I want another one.

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Photo of younger35
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had my buddy in Seattle pick me up a couple of these before he came home for Christmas. Although I haven't reviewed many of there beers, Alaskan is one of my favorites. I spent many a night drinking their IPA and Smoked Porter while playing fooseball. Drank from my Darkness snifter.

2008 vintage

Appearance- Pours an ultra dark reddish brown with hues of black and a fairly weak dark tan head. Once it recedes it's pretty sparse. No cap and collar and certainly no lacing.
Smell- Right away the first thing that pops in my head after smelling this beer is bubblegum and chocolate. That may sound bad for a Baltic Porter but its not. The chocolate is creamy and sweet and surrounded by a caramel maltiness. It's not very roasty per say but it is malty. A touch of smoke and vanilla lend to a really enjoyable nose.
Taste- Very interesting stuff. Starts with a big burst of fudge before it quickly turns to a very roasted, even charred, maltiness that is fairly sweet. Interesting because I got zero of that roast in the nose. Loads of vanilla and caramel as well adding sort of a Southern Tier Crème Brulee aspect (except drinkable). I have no idea if this brew is barrel aged or not but it also has a slightly woody aspect, especially as it warms. Maybe a touch of citrusy hops but nothing much. This is all malt through and through.
Mouthfeel- Big and chewy with a nice heft and light creamy carbonation.
Drinkability- I read some of the other reviews and quite a few mention that this beer is too sweet. The one thing I really hate in beers is sweetness/syrupy. I see where they're coming from but I don't find it off-putting in this particular brew. I think it works well with everything that's going on. Granted, I couldn't drink more than one. BUT, I easily put down this bomber and enjoyed every damn second of it!

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Photo of brdc
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large capped bottle, poured into a snifter.

Nearly pitch black, thin light tan head, not a lot of retention but lacing is nice.
Rich, sweet aroma includes vanilla, baker's chocolate, toffee, dark fruits, brandy.
Close to full body, nice velvety mouthfeel improved by the restrained carbonation. Although the somewhat noticeable alcoholic heat, in the form of brandy, balances it to some extent, it is a very sweet brew, with predominant vanilla notes, but brandy soaked fruits, cocoa and cherry are also noticeable.
Very nice, but the unbalanced malty sweetness limits the drinkability.

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Photo of gford217
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours almost black into the glass with a creamy beige head that settles into a thin cap and leaves sporadic lacing.

The aroma is very sweet with

The taste has tons of sweet dark malts and lots of molasses, raisins and even some grapes. There's also some vanilla and wood sweetness with some licorice thrown in. Definitely a sweet aroma.

The taste follows the aroma with a cola sweetness up front. It's got some chocolate, vanilla and dark fruits as well. Got some banana sweetness in the finish with a bit of dry woodiness.

The mouthfeel is very slick with lower carbonation than I expected.

I had high hopes for this when I cracked it but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It's very sweet but not a lot of complexity. A good beer but not one I'll go back to.

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

Finally! I finally had the chance to try this at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, Oregon. Awesome place by the way.

Pours a velvety deep dark black with a rather thin coffee colored head. Looks incredible in the snifter provided.

Lots to smell with this beer. Licorice, oak, vanilla, raisins, dark chocolate, alcohol and some dark coffee.

Taste is incredible. So smooth and yet so complex. Lots of the smells come to life when this stuff hits the tongue. Vanilla beans, alcohol, coffee, dark chocolate. It also has some resemblance to a wood aged beer as well for some reason.

I wish I could have brought a case of this home with me and also get a print of the label since its so nice.

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Photo of bort11
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
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 hopdog
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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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Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 383 ratings