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

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

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by ccrida on 04-27-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 370
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 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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Photo of July2Nov
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition served @ Denver Rare Beer Tasting 2011.

Appearance: Dark with a frothy off-white head, just the way I like my porters.

Smell: Has a coffee like scent of roasted beans. A hint of vanilla comes out too.

Taste & Mouthfeel: This one is hefty but with a smooth taste. The Vanilla is upfront, with the cherries delving into the background a bit. The abv is hidden very well with just a slight bit of sting coming in after the first gulp. Very well balanced with the malts and the Pacific Northwest hop varieties.

Overall: A well-rounded porter that lives up to it's reputation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of corby112
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with slight mahogany edges and a one finger beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Small spots of lacing left behind.

Sweet malt aroma that's slightly smokey/toasted with hints of dark chocolate, toast, caramel and toffee. There's also a slight lactic presence along with a touch of vanilla adding another dimension to the nose.

Medium bodied with a nice balance of roasted and sweeter notes. Lots of toasted malt along with hints of roasted coffee, toast and smoke balanced by some sweet chocolate, toffee and subtle lactic presence. Although it is pretty robust, the sweeter notes balances things out nicely and this beer is surprisingly drinkable.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

A - Deep black with the faintest hints of mahogany held around the edge. Thick, especsso like brown head that is about two fingers thick. Slowly fades to about a 1/2 inch of foam.

S - Roasted malts, a touch of cherry and alot of vanilla and oak. The vanilla and oak really comes through as the beer warms. Dark cocoa powder and a little roasted coffee as well.

T - Roasted malts of semi-sweet chocolate lead off the taste. Chocolate tastes are very strong. A slightly astringent bitterness from the roasted malts comes through on back end of the drink. Creamy chocolatiness really asserts itself after the beer warms. A touch of roasted coffee is hiding in there as well.

M - Medium to full bodied with a surprisingly creamy feel. Moderate carbonation and just a touch of bitterness in the finish.

O - An excellent beer. Alot of chocolate surprised me a bit but it all played together very well. Another very good beer from Alaskan.

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Photo of Phelps
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, poured into a snifter. This baltic porter from Juneau is brewed with cherries, brown sugar, vanilla beans and oak chips — none of which sounds bad at all.

From afar, the deep burgundy liquid seems to pulse with darkness, yet a hold to the light reveals surprising clarity. Half a finger of big cocoa powder-colored bubbles crackle and pop, leaving just a thin ring.

Picture a large plate precariously balanced on a stick. On one en you have dark and maraschino cherry syrup; on another, buttery oak. French vanilla ice cream, cocoa nibs and high-proof brandy take up space on the other ends. The proportion of each is perfect, keeping the plate perfectly balanced. It doesn’t get better than this.

Sugary dark fruits, unmasked alcohol and vanilla combine to give the beer an almost bourbon-aged quality that I can definitely get behind. Brown sugar, milk chocolate and dark, sweet cherries are also in there, while a smooth smokiness permeates the background. The malts are just a little too this to support the adjuncts; if they were kicked up just a notch, I’d do the same for the flavor score.

The body is a silk blanket. Soft carbonation tingles the tongue inside the supple liquid while ethanol heat warms the nostrils and throat.

Alaskan’s Smoke Porter is good; their Baltic Porter is better. It’s a crying shame I’ve waited this long to try it — a mistake I intend to remedy by getting caught up with a second bottle forthwith.

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Photo of nickd717
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review dated 8/23/2010. Bomber from Whole Foods Los Altos.

Pours pretty much pitch black with a huge tan head that lasts. Has some viscosity to it.

The aroma is very rich. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and dark fruit jump out at you. It’s not extremely balanced, but I like it.

The flavor is a mishmash of all kinds of intense aspects. It’s tasty, but sort of lacks an identity. Did they actually add cherries and vanilla beans to this brew? I definitely do get those flavors, along with your typical roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate. Slight anise.

Very full-bodied and slick on the palate. Really an intense mouthfeel, perhaps a little too much so.

This is good, but the drinkability on this one is just not there. This beer really wears your palate out in a hurry.

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Photo of Jeffo
1.71/5  rDev -58.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle provided by akbeerfiend in a big trade a while back. Thanks man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2009

APPEARANCE: A transparent brown pour makes a one finger, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. head quickly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Very transparent as well. A ring remains but leaves no lacing down the glass. A little too thin looking for the style.

SMELL: Bigger nose and it’s totally fruity. Dates, prunes, with some dark grapes and cherries as well. Grape juice maybe, with a couple spoons of brown sugar thrown in for fun. This is going to be way too sweet and off the mark. None of the dark malts that’s expected of a big porter.

TASTE: Bold flavors as well, with lots of fruity qualities. Dark fruits, cherries and grapes, with a good dose of sweet brown sugar. Grape juice. Some light hints of vanilla and dark chocolate at the swallow, but that leads to a bold and persistent, brutally sweet aftertaste of grape juice spiked with brown sugar. Some might like this for what it is, but it totally misses the mark of what an imperial porter should be all about.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Not creamy or smooth enough on the palate, then goes down with a decent burn at the swallow and finishes rather cloying. Definitely needs to be creamier and less cloyingly sweet.

OVERALL: This gets really high marks on this site, so maybe this vintage just sucks. Either that, or people are reviewing it as a beer and not as a Baltic porter. I can see someone liking this one on its own, but as a big porter, it takes three straight strikes looking. It is far too transparent and thin looking for the style, is much too sweet and fruity while missing the patented dark malt flavors the style is so well-known for, and is much too cloying on the finish. I’d scrap this one and start from scratch. Drain enjoyed half the bottle. Ignore this and drink buckets of their Smoked Porter instead. Regardless, thanks heaps for the great trade akbeerfiend. Can’t wait to do it again!

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Photo of harrymel
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008, consumed 11AUG11
A: Pours a deep, dark brown ale with a single finger of burnt cream head which falls to a solid sheet of the same. Spotty lacing. Cherried mahogany hues shine through a beer with excellent clarity where permitted.
S: Cherries vanilla and molasses are sweet and playful. The aromatics are pretty strong here, nice cocoa biscuit malts round out the back end.
T: Differs from the '09 in profile, dunno if it's a different recipe, but more dry malts on this one. Coffee grounds, cocoa dust, light molasses. Still has hints of alcohol heat.
M: Velvety with light carb and a semi dry finish. Good feel.
O: Good beer, wish I had more of the '09, preferred of the two I've had.

Vintage 2009, consumed 24FEB11
Poured to NB globe.

A: dark brown ale with ruby hues around the edges. Quite pleasant looking. Little head, but consistent blanket over the surface of light caramel foam.

S: Cherries, licorice, molasses, caramel, vanilla. Goddam fragrant and beautiful. I find myself leaning in to smell the beer, over, and over. Can't be a bad sign.

T: Not as good as the smell, but still very good. The cherry stands out so much more than I had ever anticipated. The oak shines here more than in the nose. A bit boozy - surprising given the age of the beer. Malty.

M: Full bodied, lower carbonation. I can swish in the mouth only to get more experience with the flavors without being overwhelmed with foam. Good job.

D: Very nice beer. Not the best of the style, but definitely worth a try, maybe two.

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Photo of vkv822
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
2009 vintage.

Pours black with just the faintest deep red edges when held to the light. It has a very thin tan head.

The aroma is of deep cherry, brown sugar and vanilla oak. Essentially as advertised on the bottle. Really fantastic.

The taste is of cherry, followed by oak and vanilla. Brown sugar and dark fruits come through as well. Quite sweet.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick, with just light tingling carbonation.

A very nice beer. As it warms the finish becomes a bit thin, but still very enjoyable. Wish I had a couple more sitting in the cellar, though I feel it may be at, or nearing it's peak.

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Photo of brotherloco
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Edition. 22oz bottle. 9.8% ABV.

Pours a very dark brown, hints of ruby red when held up to light. Very small tan head, settles to a ring. Minimal lacing.

The smell is wonderful, everything promised on the label is there. Strong notes of vanilla, cherry, and earthy wood. A blend of smores, fig newtons, cherry ice cream and sherry.

Initial flavor is cherry sweet without being over the top, toasty marshmallow middle reveals lingering roasty malt. Stays sweet. Kind of a sting in the finish too, a touch medicinal, but subtle. Although the alcohol may be contributing to this finish, it seems extremely well buried. This is one slow, evolving, complex flavor. I'm really enjoying it.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Never gets too thick and stays quite drinkable.

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Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to harrymel for sending me the 2009 version (the last one produced to date).

I split this bomber with my wife tonight.

A: Black as night, with a nice mocha head that attached itself to the glass in a moderate way. I can already detect a chewy, gooey, and molasses-like consistency.

S: Huge dark fruit flair, with the burnt brown sugar supporting that in spades. Very candy-like. I can already tell that this is the polar opposite of it's smoked brother, "Alaskan Smoked Porter."

T: I had to hunt for the cherries, but I got more than a dash of brown sugar, vanilla, and oak. The sweetness I got was very reminiscent of Dark Lord, but obviously not as intense.

M: Thick and syrupy, but in a good way. Candy sweetness, with still a decent amount of carbonation prickle. The sweetness definitely lingered.

O: I had high expectations for this one because it had all the ingredients that I love in a beer. It delivered in many areas and on many levels.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2009 vintage. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance- Black with a small tan head that congregates around the edges of the glass. Little lacing that slides down the glass. 4/5

Smell- Coffee is first. Funny how I can still smell that after a year and a half in the cellar. After the coffee there is vanilla and chocolate and a small hint of alcohol. 4/5

Taste- Sweet and a little nutty. The vanilla is there as well as the chocolate. There is also a dimension of a cup of coffee with cream. A wisp of alcohol rounds out the flavors as if to say "don't forget about me". This is very good. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel- I have tasted a wide range of mouthfeels with baltic porters. I tend to like a bigger mouthfeel and this surely is one. This is one of the creamier ones as well. 4.5/5

Overall- Alaskan stopped making this in 2009. I grabbed a few more when I heard that and threw them in the cellar. I contacted the brewery a couple days ago to see if they were going to bring it back. I was told that "it is too good of a beer to be gone forever. Be patient". That made me pull this out and have one. Can't wait till it comes back. 4.5/5

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage
22oz bottle poured into my Deschutes Snifter glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with red edges. A thin dark tan head forms only on the edges, but there are lots of bubbles throughout on the sides of the glass.

S - Raisin, molasses, carmel.

T - Sweet coffee, molasses, toffee, old fruit.

D - Lots of carbonation, almost fizzy.

O - Tastes like a sweet coffee liquor. ok.

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Photo of claspada
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Version, what a treat once again thanks to HimerMan for offering this in trade. Supposedly this was brewed with dark cherries, vanilla beans and aged on French oak; sounds pretty darn good to me so let's go.

Pours a clear, dark brown body with a really serious dark ruby-tinted edges in the light (it's really brown and dark but has a lot of reddish hues along the edges) and a thin ring of khaki-colored bubbles.

Aromas of deep rich chocolate with an equal oomph of dark fruitiness (dark cherry mainly). Lesser notes of vanilla, dark chocolate and sweet toffee emerge as it warms, really inviting.

The tastes begin with ripe cherries and bakers chocolate maltiness. Really is dead on for a chocolate covered cherry cordial; more so than any other Baltic porter or any other beer I have ever had. Just like the nose, as this warms you get a little more vanilla, sweet toffee and roasted/dark chocolate flavors. Bitterness intensifies and the chocolate dissipates as it warms. More darker fruits emerge as you continue to sample (raisins and figs) and maybe even some other fruits like raspberries or blackberries.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with adequate carbonation. Less full bodied than other Baltic porters I've had, but the thinner mouthfeel makes it more drinkable and matches more succinctly with the dark cherry and other fruit flavors. The finish is perfect; not too sticky or sweet and not too dry.

Overall this is a treat, extremely delicious. To be honest it is not as good as the Foothills Baltic porter I had several weeks ago, but is a solid #2 for me in this style category. Glad I now have a couple in the cellar to enjoy in the near future.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008, received from dmeadows in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks Denis!

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep clear dark brown. The only way to get light through it is get it close to a bulb. Minimal light tan head of about half a finger, that drops rather quickly, leaving barely a wisp and a few bubbles on the surface. Some lacing, but the legs drag it back into the brew.

Aromas of anise, cherries, dark fruit, dark raisins, figs, prunes, some cocoa, and a distinct bourbon quality, vanilla and oakiness. And sherry.

Flavors are very much like the aromas. Very complex, a whole lot going on in the glass. Dark cherries, bourbon (vanilla and oak), sherry, dark fruit, raisins, figs and prunes, light cocoa, some anise. There is also a peatiness to it. LIke a light Islay scotch. Some alcohol heat as well. The finish is long, hot, with loads of dark sherried cherries.

Mouthfeel is huge, explosive. Lots of alcohol warmth. Barely perceptible carbonation. Creamy slickness and velvety on the tongue.

Overall a fantastic brew. Would love to compare a fresh bottle to this 3 year old aged beauty. A perfect cold weather, after dinner drink to sip slowly and enjoy.

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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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