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

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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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 370
Photo of kaseydad
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

Pours a murky brown colored ale with a beige foamy head that starts strong but simmers down to a slight film.

The smell reminds me spot-on of a vintage barleywine. Malty with heavy brown sugar whiffs. Me likey. Oak is definitely there and there is the vanilla present as well. Not getting the cherries as indicated on the label. Everything else listed has come out to play.

The taste brings out hints of dark fruit and a long finish of roasted sweet malt. Picking up the oak in the flavor as well. Don't want to say it, but the end also seems watery to me. Not a robust Baltic Porter in my mouth by any means.

More carbonation than I expected.

Overall I have been wanting to try this for awhile and while I enjoyed my session with it, it did not live up to my expectations. Was looking for a hint of cherries since that is listed first, but alas....it was not to be. Maybe I sat on this too long, but now that it's available again, a fresh bottle may need to be consumed.

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Photo of mactrail
2.52/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

What is this, blackberry jam? A pie-flavored, burnt crust, Splenda-sweetened beverage I hesitate to call beer. The aroma is light but the nose of wood and vanilla is pleasant enough but tiki torches are smoldering in the background.

Black as an Alaskan night in the glass. A thin mustache of foam but sub-par carbonation. So sweet it tastes like something you'd have at the deli for breakfast with coffee. But that bitterness never lets you forget. I would call this blackberry Manischewitz with a dark, guilty secret. Finally, after some remorse, the flavor of canned sweet cherries comes through. Bitter, cardboard, woody, burnt sugar, fruit cocktail-- it tastes like Sterno looks like.

The label says this is the 2012 version. I call it undrinkable, though for cough syrup it would be pretty good with a vodka chaser. In fact, now that you mention it... From the 22 oz bottle bought at Liticker's in San Diego.

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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 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 brewcrew76
3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown, black with a thin tan head.

S - Heavy oak and vanilla creating leather and tobacco aromas. Bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, dark cherries, smoke, dark fruits and brown sugar.

T - Strong oak flavor, slightly overwhelming. Vanilla, smoke that seems to build with each sip, fairly sweet, dark cherry, dark chocolate and roasted malts that linger through the finish.

M - Medium body with carbonation on the low side. Touch of hot alcohol with a roasty lingering finish.

D - Interesting beer. Love the aroma but the oak/smoke combo gets a bit strong at times.

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Photo of DimensionX
4.83/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: almost jet black with a hint of dark ruby around the edges. Nice thick dark tan head.

S: big time cherries on the nose with hints of oak and vanilla.

T: Taste is where this beer is a viking. Big time but smooth roasted malt character forms the backbone of this beer before a wallop of delicious cherry and oak smack you upside the mouth. After that a hefty dose of vanilla, chocolate, and maybe some hints of fig follow up and round off a complex and intense group of flavors. Overall really incredible, the oak is a bit heavy right now but should mellow nicely. Definitely a beer worth of some cellar time.

M: Drinks like a big beer without being sludgy.

O: Really an incredible beer overall and probably the best that Alaskan makes or at least distributes, I can't believe they don't sell this all year long. I really like that I can easily taste and differentiate all the ingredients at this point, it will be fun to watch them blend together as the beer ages. There is really a lot going on in this beer but none of it feels extravagant or out of place.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andy forthis one. Poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark brown with about an inch of khaki head.

Lots of dark fruits on the aroma with some oak. Hints of bitter chocolate with some unripe bananas in the background. Boozey on the pallet hints of char oak. Maple is noticeable with dark fruits lingering in the background.

Full and robust body with soft carbonation. Overall this one is tasty. Lots of good flavors.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.62/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. The color is black with a nice tan head.

The aroma has some nice chocolate with some cherry.

The taste is full of maple. The cherry notes are muted in the taste. There is some mild chocolate as well. This is definitely a sweet beer.

This is full bodied with sharp carbonation. This is tasty. I like the flavors here.

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Photo of trevorjn06
3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with garnet highlights. Almost no head, slight ring around glass. No lacing.

Aroma is vanilla up front, some chocolate, the cherry comes through a bit but vanilla dominates... a bit too much for me.

Taste follows the nose a bit, lots of dark vanilla beans, dark cherries, light chocolate. Overall too much sweet vanilla for me. Some alcoholic heat on the finish.

This beer is OK but just doesn't do it for me overall. less vanilla and a bit more robust roast malt would improve it.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: A generous finger of tannish head. Black and opaque. Heavy lacing.

S: Sweetish, but with jarring elements of wine and metal. Banana bread, milk chocolate chips, and brown sugar.

T/M: It *is* sweet, big, and substantial. Smooth, sleek, and ensorcelling with a vivifying alcoholic undercurrent. Berries (oops! looking at the label, cherries), oak, vanilla, chocolate. Thick and satisfying.

O: Very nice beer, but somehow less than exceptional. Recommended, and I'd have it again...I'm not quite sure where my reservations lie.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black body with 2 finger head. Good amount of lacing.

S: Sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, roasty aroma, chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit notes (cherries, I guess - as mentioned on the bottle label, I also get some raisin and fig). Slight alcohol taste. I would really give this one a higher raiting if it was a tad bit less sweet.

M: Thick, syrupy. Alcohol can be felt slightly.

O: Very good dessert beer. Too sweet for my taste though.

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Photo of JohnnyP3
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 22oz bomber. Pours a very dark and rich mahogany...almost night with a full moon, with about one finger of head. Kicks off a delightful aroma of dark cherry, vanilla, black licorice, burnt sugars, and a nice whiff of alcohol heat. Taste is more of the same with notes of brown sugar, oak, leather, and some rich earthiness. Dark cherries and vanilla notes are pronounced. Very warming as it goes down. Some dark fruit notes are there such as plum and fig. So much there to explore. Mouthfeel is smooth as velvet with a above avg viscosity. Overall, Alaskan produced a fine work of art to savor now and over the years to see how it develops with age.

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

lots of flavors for a baltic porter. pours blackish brown with a mocha head about an inch high that fades after a few minutes. it smells sweet from the brown sugar, and pleasantly woody. deep dark chocolatey malts give is a smokey smell as well. cherries are the first thing i taste, a little tart, a little sweet, dried and chewy. then comes a wave of brown sugar, molasassy, but not too too sweet. the vanilla is very understated, not potent at all, and the oak gives it a very mature finish. mouthfeel is excellent, big body and moderate carbonation. the alcohol is very well disguised. would never know this was puching 10% abv. overall a very enjoyable beer, probably my favorite from the pilot series so far.

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Photo of Dope
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 batch, very fresh. Thanks Scotchboy!

A: Very dark brown with a big fizzy light brown head. Fades at a moderate pace, leaving just dots of lacing here and there. Decent head retention at least.

S: Lots of fresh, vibrant cherries. Not artificial cherry syrup, it actually smells like a glass of cherries. Mild chocolate and a touch of oak. Maybe a hint of vanilla? It vaguely reminds me of Dr. Pepper oddly enough.

T: Lots of cherry up front with vanilla but backed up by a decent roasted malt character this time. Chocolatey initially with the cherries. Once the cherries fade, it becomes more of a bitter roasty/char flavor with a touch of coffee. Char and oak in the finish with a long bitter, drying aftertaste. Cherries float in and out of the aftertaste nicely to boot.

M: Somewhat heavy but super creamy and smooth. Carbonation dead on.

O: Excellent baltic porter. One of the best cherry flavors in any beer I've ever had. Tastes like someone dropped a few cherries into my beer. Drinkability is top notch, no sign of alcohol and excellent smoothness. Can't wait to try this one with a few years on it.

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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 ChrisPr
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, opaque ultra-dark brown, with a thick, creamy tan head that lingers for a long time. Rich, bittersweet chocolate, wood, leather and cherry in the aroma. This body is great - big, rich but immensely drinkable. The first taste is of bittersweet, dark chocolate which soon melds with a subtle cherry that grows and then lingers into the aftertaste. There is vanilla in there, and wood which provides a great background and finish.

The base beer has that great metallic Baltic Porter taste and with all the great additional flavors it really is an amazing beer. This maybe doesn't have all of the complexity as some of the great barrel-aged beers, but it is a great, ready-to-drink delicious brew that is a phenomenal value for the quality. I really wished this was brewed every year!

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Photo of Duff27
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thin off white head receeds quickly. Dark brown base. Splotchy lacing, collar.

Very malty nose. Fruity. Dopplebockish.

Holy oaks! Oakiness dominates according to me. Vanilla, cherries. A little hot on the booziness but not too bad. Would guess around 10%abv.

Thicker end on the mouthfeel, super smooth. Medium carbonation.

Well above average Baltic porter. Smooth mouthfeel, very oaky...to sum it up. Thanks for the share 4DAloveofSTOUT.

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Photo of Rizalini
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Stone goblet...

A - Pours almost black. Thick and viscous with a 1/2 finger of light brown head that fades rather quickly. No lacing to be seen.

S - The smell reminds me of Deschutes Black Butte XXIII. Rich dark chocolates, dark cherries, and oak.

T/M - On the taste, the flavors are more pronounced believe it or not. On the front you get a sweet molasses, and fruityness of the cherries. The middle leads to the oak, and the finish is a carmel/vanilla. Great evolution of flavors from start to finish. Medium/thick mouthfeel. Great carbonation.

O - This porter rivals any other great porter out there, and at a great price too. The only thing is the alcohol is not that well hidden, but at 9.8%, I guess it's to be expected. Might have to buy 1 more to age for a year or two. Great brew Alaskan, cheers!

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Photo of SHODriver
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 batch
A: pours a deep black with a small tan head that fades to a collar around the glass into a snifter
S: smells of chocolate covered cherries and a hint of vanilla. very sweet. roasted malt and slight coffee as well
T: tastes of chocolate, some coffee, a nice roastiness, cherry, some vanilla, and a slight caramel oakiness. swallow brings more cherry and chocolate along with a bit of roast malt and slight coffee. roast malt bitterness helps to keep the sweetness in check but still a dessert beer.
M: nice and soft carbonation on a medium mouthfeel that is very smooth but not quick thick and silky
O: absolutely phenomenal, fantastic complexity and excellent flavors. Deceivingly drinkable at almost 10% ABV and not a whisper of alcohol comes across on the palate. I can't sing the praises of this beer enough, it's top notch.

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Photo of jera1350
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In a snifter, this one pours a slick looking black with a head that is light brown and contributes some nice lacing.

The nose is mainly of rich malt with a light cherry that comes through, a hint of oak and coffee.

Phenomenal taste. Rich decadent malt with the vanilla bean and oak front and center. Underlying hint of black cherry with roasted coffee beans in the finish. Great depth of flavor.

Very smooth, but not as full as say an imperial stout. The body makes this nicely drinkable.

Loved this beer and will have to get some more of it. Lots of flavors that work very well together.

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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 Sean9689
3.62/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Treebs!

A - Pours black, tan-colored head, thin cap, thin collar.

S - Smoke, dark chocolate, toffee, roast, and toasted malt. A nice mix of flavors, but the smoke overpowers the rest of the beer.

T - A little too much smoke for me on the palate. Dark chocolate, roast, malts, light caramel. I like the smoke, but wish it was dialed down a bit. Alcohol is pretty well-hidden. Finish is creamy smoke and bitterness.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - A nice Baltic Porter, but overly smoked with less sweetness then I'm normally use to for the style. I would probably try again, but wouldn't actively seek out this beer.

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Photo of Treebs
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a Portsmouth tulip. 2008 vintage courtesy of Matt (mfavoino). Thanks buddy!

A: Pours a semi clear brown color with no real head forming on the pour.

S: Nice dark fruits, chocolate, molasses and oaty and roasty malts.

T: Same as the nose. Nice dark pit fruits, with a much sweeter malt profile. Pretzel bread malts, some sweet vanilla, a little oaky and some nice dark chocolate.

M: Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and nice carbonation. The finish is roasty and drying.

O: A very solid beer and this has held up extremely for being close, if not very close to four years old. Thanks again for the vintage tick Favi.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting.

2009 vintage.

Pours a clear dark brown with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form randomly around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, vanilla, and cherry. Taste is the same with an aftertaste like a cherry vanilla cola. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the cola-like flavors were unexpected.

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Photo of Cinderbike
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage into a snifter.

A - dark brown, ruby highlights, minimal tan head.
S - Cherry pie, dark chocolate, fresh baked cookies, lavender, toffee, toasted bread. Lots going on, in a good way.
T - Vanilla, tart cherry, chocolate, hints of coffee and tobacco. Tons of malt. Hops have faded a bit, and you can't even guess the alcohol level it is so smooth.
M - Medium-high, but not chewy. Carbonation is on the low side, which only helps showcase the flavors here.
O - a great porter. Love the cherries.

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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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