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.

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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 370
Photo of timus1119
4.82/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pored into snifter,dark mahogany in color with tints of ruby,nice 2 finger tan head,black cherries,roasted malts,vanilla an oak on the nose,fantastic smelling brew!,taste, much like the nose...fantastic!! perfect example of the style,and then some!...get this brew!...CHEERS!!!

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Photo of mikereaser
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 3/31/11, bottle says 2009

Pours a nice pitch black with 2 inches of tan foam that appears to be leaving lots of lacing. The aroma is mostly roasted malts with some vanilla mixed in as well. The suggestion of toffee and caramel are well warrented. The toffee really comes out as it lingers. The flavor is really where the caramel and toffee shines. I'm definitely picking those up mainly with alot of vanilla sweetness coming through in the finish. Its medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Its easy to drink though a bit too heavy for some people. I'd gladly have another but its pushing it after that.

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

2009 bottle, opened 03/2011. Poured a murky brownish amber with a ruby tinge into a tulip with a thin film of khaki head. Sweet aroma dominated by toffee, vanilla, and dark fruit.

Moderate carbonation and a creamy, somewhat thin mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla, oak, and caramel up front followed by some emerging alcohol warmth, perhaps some slight cardboard oxidation, and dark cherry sweetness. There's a somewhat unexpected hop bitterness on that emerges on the finish, lending a nice note of complexity and balancing the overall sweetness.

I've had a couple of these in the basement for a while and am glad I cracked one open. Not exactly a "go-to" cellar beer, as the flavor profile was a little sweet, but some great flavors make this brew worth trying at least once.

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

appearance: poured into a brooklyn flattop schnifter. pitch black with dark brown undertones when held to the light. minimal light almond head settles quickly and leaves only some traces of spotty lacing.

smell: the vanilla beans are out of control!! im mostly getting a very dry spice smell with a toffee/caramel backbone. some chocolatey roast is still present too. perhaps the smell could mellow more over time. although it smells great right now, too many things are competing and i would hope for more obvious flavors from such a distinct beer.

taste: a shitload of things are bouncing around. in the initial taste young toffee and vanillas are strong but are quickly balanced by a bitter oaky, dark malt flavor.

mouthfeel: please kill me

drinkability: cant remember what i paid for it back in '09, but im sure its worth it. this beer is unique, and the perplexion created by its many flavors and aromas is exactly what i needed.

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Photo of billab914
4.64/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured close to black in color with a frothy off white head filling about half an inch of the glass. The head retreated to the edges of the glass where it remained, but left little lacing.

The aroma has a very nice mixture of oak and cherries with a little vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. I get a little of the Baltic Porter, malty, chocolate like flavors bit the additions and treatments steal the show. They all work together very nicely though to create a very appealing aroma overall.

In the taste I get the fruity and sweet cherry flavors and the woody oak right off the bat and throughout the flavor. I get the vanilla and brown sugar sweetness more up front and get more of a dry, bitter-sweet chocolate, slightly roasty flavor towards the finish. The cherry, oak and chocolate flavors linger nicely after the finish.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and carbonation is low. I really like the lower carbonation in a beer like this. Drinkability is very good, I loved the flavors overall. The cherry and oak were excellent and it was balanced enough between sweet and bitter to make it very drinkable. It was definitely all about the additions and treatments, but they all worked very well together. The Baltic Porter style flavors seemed to take a back seat to everything else but it was good enough that I didn't care. Excellent beer overall and it might very well be a new favorite of the style.

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Photo of ottovon
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

shared with whiterascal

A: pours out a dark brown, almost black, with a tan head that fell quickly.

S: smells of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, some fruit, and dark roasty malt.

T: i get chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt. a little sweet in the front. a little bit of alcohol, and some roasted malt/dark chocolate bitterness in the finish. there is some coffee in there as well.

M: it has a medium-thick mouth feel with low carbonation. very smooth. has a great feel.

D: very drinkable. Something I could drink all night if it wasnt almost 10%

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

22oz bottle, 2008 vintage. Big thanks to Jason for this unexpected gift! Served cellar temp in a New Belgium Globe/Snifter.

Pours thin dark brown with a one finger light brown head that leaves just some temporary spots of lacing but holds a good foamy cap.

Aroma is strong dark fruits, cherries, raisins, figs, plums, good dose of chocolate, some vanilla, bourbon, coffee, caramel, smoke and burley tobacco round thingd out but it's mostly chocolate and dark fruit. Some alcohol heat on the nose as well. Great overall aroma strength.

I can simplify the flavor as pure liquid Raisinettes or chocolate-covered cherries. And I love me some Raisinettes and chocolate covered cherries. Serious chocolate, dark fruits, raisins, cherries and the like, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, a bit of coffee, not much in the way of hops and virtually NO alcohol. Couple years did it good in that regard, surprised to see this at almost 10% ABV! Fairly sweet lingering finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, very creamy and velvety, low carbonation. Feels full in the mouth but not too full in the belly which is what a proper Baltic Porter should be.

One of the better examples of the style that I've had. Always high on my wish list but never thought I'd get a chance to try this. Quite a treat.

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

2009 Version, 22oz Bomber, standard pint glass, 45 degrees or so at start.

A: Very nice deep dark brown, with minimal tan head that dissapeared quickly. Minimal to no lacing present, for the most part.

S: Fantastic smell; oaky, dark cherries, vanilla, brown sugar...vinous molasses...complex.

T: A touch sweet with good balance; nice roasted malt presence to go along with the vanilla, the dank oak character and the cherries...the alcohol comes through a touch. Molasses/brown sugar as it warms...nice wood notes mixing with the dark fruit sweetness and malt complexity.

M: Relatively chewy and sticky...moderate to full body. Vinous.

D: Overall, very good drinkability for a dense porter.

Loved it.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A very dark brown brew with a reddish tint, with a large head the color of toasted marshmallows. The head leaves no lacing and fades to nothing rather quickly.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, faint coffee and cola.

T - Sweet cherries, molasses, bourbon, cola and coffee. Aftertaste moderately bitter of molasses, cola (without the sweetness) and char.

M - A little harsh, pretty refreshing and moderately thick.

D - Pretty good! I really enjoyed this one. The beer has a robust flavor, some might say it is too sweet (it is really sweet), but the flavor is so pleasant that it okay against the sweetness. Its actually easy to put back a whole bomber.

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Photo of mrkc
4.77/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

65.1 cL bottle - that's a strange volume. Still, a dark purple label with the vintage clearly noted. There's no head, just the thinnest of tan rings around this dark, opaque beer. It smells of vinella and cherries, a rich sweet smell which just barely masks the alcohol smell. It smells a bit like molassass - potentially the brown sugar used in making this. The smoky oak flavour and the brown sugar really carry through the drink. If you let it linger, the cherries really come through on the finish. It's a tad dry, and the alcohol content periodically comes through. There's a bit of bitterness, like cross between licorice and dark chocolate, that's hard to place. Eminently drinkable, this is a phenomenal brew.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

09 poured with the most delicate hand into a chalice.
dark brown, date-like color, amber-fringed, sexy. hike up that skirt a little more..the murky much hides much.
big alcohol aroma still evident after 8 months aging. cherries and vanilla up front and personal.
there is a slight astringency, probably from the oak, that is immediately apparent. the alcohol's heat is not distracting from the overall impression this beer makes, which is that of an outstandingly spiced baltic porter, robust and salutatory.
brilliant with midnight bacon and eggs.

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

2008 bottle

A - It pours the deepest possible hue of mahogany-crimson, capped with a persistent crown of sandalwood-colored froth. Quite impressive.

S - Deep maltiness punctuated by notes of oak, vanilla and the most delectably sophisticated nuance of cherry.

T - The flavor takes the elements of the nose and runs with it. The flavor profile is so richly complex; succulent notes of malt-driven caramel and toffee yield to rich impressions of chocolate covered cherries, delicious oaken butteriness (not diacetyl), faint mulled spice. No matter how I try to articulate its greatness, I will necessarily understate it. Also getting: molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, floral jasmine and the faintest hint of smoke. Nutty too. What a powerhouse!

M - Excellent; silky, velvety, delectable.

D - ISO more of this immediately.

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Photo of klikger
4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber served in a tulip.

A - Very dark brown, not much head or lacing.

S - Dark chocolate-covered cherries, coffee, brown sugar, and molasses. I just drooled on myself.

T - Vanilla and booze --> oak, a flood of cherries and chocolate --> more vanilla, more oak, more chocolate --> end is woody (& yes, chocolaty) and not too sweet (surprisingly).

M - Medium-bodied - pretty awesome that it's this light with having so much flavor.

D - Should be sipped to fully appreciate, but it's easy going down.

Star of the night...awesome beer.

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Photo of Pabs311
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage

A- Beer pours super dark, with some red highlights shining through. the head is thin, creamy, beige hangs around shortly and then settles to leave minimal lacing on the glass.

S- the nose on this beer is awesome. chocolate covered cherries, coconut, vanilla, toffee all come through. aromas meld together quit lovely making this a awesome beer to smell.

T- very similar to the nose. well blanced between all the flavors. chocolate and cherries are most forward and the remaining flavors that the coconut and oak add in compliment very nicely. very tasty brew.

M/D - Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. coats palate great and just what i like to see from a porter as far as mouthfeel. i wish i could get this beer on the east coast, it would be my go-to for porters.

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Photo of 6DaysBottomOcean
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark with a small creamy head that dies down to a cap, smells.. belgian? Man this thing seems like a quad, aromas of plums, figs, raisins.. Flavor seems that way too, there's a warming alcohol that heats up on the back end but doesn't get in the way. Lots of dark fruits, caramel, sweet malts, very slight roastieness hidden in the background. This is a nice beer, but nothing like any other baltic porter I've had, would do well with some age of it.

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

Pours a reddish-tinged dark, dark brown colour. Head is ochre, thin and bubbly, with lacing that is decent but doesn't really stick. Nice colour; head is a bit lacklustre but a quick swill revives it nicely with delicious reverse cascading. Nice.

Smells quite dark and sour, with a really odd cherry note coming through and a real liqueury bitterness. Some coconut notes coming through as well; if there were more chocolate this would smell like a cherry ripe. It's quite sour overall though and more sweetness would be pleasant. Impressive, though, and I'm most definitely intrigued.

Taste has lots of coconut on it. A slight cherry sourness as well, and hints of copper. Sweet with touches of mild coffee on the back. Some vinous notes on the mid that also add a touch of booziness to proceedings and yeah, some dark fruits like currants/raisins on there as well. Nicely tart to go with the mild darkness.

Texture is a bit thin but there is a decent foaminess on there as well. Yeah pretty nice, I quite like it.

An interesting drop. Plenty of flavour but nothing really overly bold or dark. A nice full-flavoured porter.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown, with surprisingly good clarity, and hints of ruby at the edges. Head is a foamy mess of crunchy light brown, which leaves sudsy, foaming lacing as the beer goes down. Looks quite wonderful.

Big blackcurrant notes on the nose, mingled with darker notes of oak and spicy charred grain. Hints of oatmeal, coconut and red wine shine through too. Oh man, this is freaking delicious. So much complexity, but all so well melded and integrated. Really lovely.

Taste is also beautiful. Big redolent notes of oak and grain, but subtly and deliciously sweetened by characters of dark fruit and chocolate, then layered with light vinous acidity and fresh coconut juice. Really, really lovely. Feel is smooth, but not too heavy.

Such an exceptionally smooth and deliciously drinkable beer. For all its complexity, depth, alcohol content and pure unadulterated strength, it comes out comforting and delicious. What a fantastic beer.

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

22oz bottle into snifter. 2009 edition.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a thin dark brown head that receded into a thin film that left a few spots of lacing.
S: I pick up the cherries, vanilla and oak that this is brewed with. Big warm notes of alcohol as well. Maybe a touch of chocolate.
T: Rich flavors of chocolate covered cherries and creamy crème brulee. The oak is right there adding a musty woody flavor that blends well with the strong warm alcohol. There is an overall sweetness to the brew from the brown sugar with hints of dark fruits throughout.
M: Full bodied with a light, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is rich and pleasant.
D: A great sipper. Very bold and delicious. So much flavor it's hard to deal with!

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Photo of Jwale73
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jedwards for sharing this - I've been wanting to try it for a while now. 2009 vintage poured two shades shy of black with an almost wine-like hue. Head was half an inch, loose and tan-colored and quickly dissipated into a bubbly skim that coalesced around the edges. Nose reveals cherries, cocoa, booze and a trace of wood. Taste follows nose; however, some raisins and prunes also come out in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel was light-medium with a mild, even carbonation. An interesting brew with a fair amount of complexity and a well-hidden abv. Quite tasty, but doesn't touch Smutty's Baltic Porter.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled upon some bottles of this while in Juneau. It wasn't until after I purchased it that I realized it was brewed with cherry, vanilla, oak, and brown sugar. I must say, I am extra excited to try this one now.

A: pours a dark brown with ruby highlight, some light passes through, thin head and little lacing

S: whiskey soaked cherries up front pair huge vanilla bean character and some gentle notes of oak and chocolate round out the aroma. Lots going on here. The cherry smells borderline artificial, but the chocolate and roast comes quickly to save the day.

T: some sweetness up front with notes of cherry. The cherry tastes much more natural than it smells and pairs nicely with the vanilla profile. The oak melds in nicely as this beer finishes with some roast. The taste is wonderful. This is an excellent dessert beer.

MF: thin for a baltic porter, the big flavor makes up for this, medium carbonation

D: this beer has a ton of things going on and I must say it is well executed. A beer with all of these specialty ingredient could easily turn out to be a mess, but Alaskan brewing company pulled it off nicely.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 22 ounce bottle poured by Halcyondays. Thanks for going to Arizona for this. On to the beer:

I would like to see a little more head to this blackwater, but that's a minor complaint to this gem. The nose is big, starting out with lots of licorice, then moving on to toasted oak and semi-sweet chocolate. The flavor starts well too; I get the oak (but it tastes more like it came from a bourbon barrel), chocolate brownies, a touch of vanilla, toasted. The intensity of the flavors cahnges as the beer's journey goes on, changing to being less oak and more sweet. The vanilla aftertaste is very appealing, as is the hidden booze and well controlled big body.

Could I do 22 ounces of it? Yeah, I probably could, but Alaskan needs to get this style to Orange County for me to find out.

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

22 oz. bomber, great label, brought back from AZ, 2009 Vintage,

A: Pours black as night, with a medium off-white head, light lace.

S: Not huge at first, but in the end there comes a nice mix of cherries, licorice, brown sugar, some tar and oak. Good nose with a little coaxing.

T: What I first notice is how the oak and vanilla flavours combine to form a bourbon barrel flavour. This beer is not bourbon barrel aged, but it sure tastes like it is. Dark cherries and the brown sugar come out a bit as it warms, and in the end the beer is dominated by great dark chocolate flavour which I really liked.

M: Medium/full-bodied, silky smooth, the booze is lightly noticable but works with the flavours here and adds to the smoothness.

D: This is a really good beer, not outstanding, but really good. Just missing another layer of complexity. I have no idea why this is not distributed in CA, but it is in AZ which is farther away. This will definitely sell. Alaskan - I don't care if you don't distribute the barleywine, switch it out for this. I'm not buying the barleywine again, but I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of levifunk
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a small tasting. This was the biggest surprise of the night. Pours dark with a nice head, but I could immediately smell sweet cherry and vanilla. The taste was phenomenal. My biggest complaint with porters is that they seem to taste like watered down stouts, but this was not the case at all. There is a great oak and malt backbone in this beer. The cherry an vanilla are in no way overpowering nor on. Very drinkable. This is simply a great beer!

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Photo of Xul
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark brown with deep ruby highlights, capped by a foamy, one finger beige head with moderate retention.

S: Dark caramel base with a strong brown sugar presence, along with some maple syrup like character. Vanilla and dark cherries are evident, along with some boozy notes swirling around in the background. Light oakiness that becomes stronger as it warms.

T: Starts out with brown sugar and some faint dark cherries, but quickly opens up into a much bigger dark fruit character along with vanilla and some dark chocolate. Oak stays in the background while roasted coffee comes in near the end. Long finish of roasted coffee and dark cherries.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation, a bit too thin and fizzy.

D: Relatively easy to drink for such a big beers, but the alcohol isn't entirely hidden and the mouthfeel detracts a bit. Still an overall great beer.

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

Cheers to colts9016 for this excellent 2009 vintage.

Pours super-dark brown, nearly black with a 2 finger lofty cocoa-colored had. It fades fairly quickly into the opaque liquid and leaves behind a soft ring and spots of thin lace.

Smell is rich and delicious, full, thick and syrupy with a mapley presence. Cherry sweetness provides a fruity dimension.

Taste is very bold and flavorful. The wood chips definitely come through along with syrupy cherry and caramel malt that's so roasty it borders on coffee-like. Feel is moderate, somewhat carbonated, slick and sticky with a dry roastiness that provides great dimension in the beer.

Drinkability isn't as low as expected based on the ABV. It is tasty with a complimentary body that makes it go down pretty smoothly. Really nice beer.

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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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