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

373 Ratings
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by ccrida on 04-27-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 373 |  Reviews: 220
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very, very dark brown in color. There's some translucency around the edges. A little bit of froth around the perimeter, but not much else going on.
Smell is absolutely stunning. A nice amount of dark chocolate, some vanilla and I swear I get a bit of port/sherry as well.
Taste is more of the dark chocolate, but there's a fair amount of licorice flavor as well.
Pretty full and biting in the mouthfeel. Just a hint of the alcohol coming through, but the amount of complexity of the other flavors helps keep it under control so it's not as noticeable.
Very good baltic porter.

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Photo of 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 carteravebrew
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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 Domingo
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
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 younger35
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
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 chinabeergeek
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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 froghop
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours an opaque with a thin tan head, and some lacing.

smell is of chocolate, malt, some coffee, touch of smoke, and a touch of licorice.

taste is of sweet malt, some hops, milk chocolate, a little bit of coconut in the back.

overall the alcohol is well hidden by the nice flavors.

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Photo of Docer
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bomber, poured into a pint glass.

- Nice reddish dark chocolate brew... just can't see anything through it in the pint glass... but would be transparent in something smaller. Nice foamy mocha head.. leaves a few blotches about.

- Smell of cherries and vanilla at opening... up front has a chocolate vanilla cherry candied blast with a hint of alcohol and woodiness to it. Sweetness sure seems to be the brown sugar. Perhaps it smells just a touch too sweet.

- Fantastic smooth imperial porter. Certainly a porter up front with a woody roasted chocolate malt... and nice bitterness to it.. while a very subtle cherry flavor comes through... any sweetness is a nice blend of vanilla and the brown sugar. Overall the flavor is much better than what I guessed it would be after smelling it. Alcohol is well hidden.

- Overall not very dry... little chalky... zinginess gives the palate some watering...

- Truly a great porter, and surprising from them for me because all I have ever seen down here in Portland, OR for years is mostly their basic offerings which just didn't top the regulars we already had here. This however is a contender.

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

Updated scores after some cellar time. This is a great beer. I can't believe they have not made it for 3 years. It is exponentially better than most Alaskan brews (barleywine and smoked porter excepted). 09 vintage.

Almost black but with deep mahogany highlights when backlit. Thick, fluffy mocha head with good retention. Active with spotty lacing. SMELL cherries prominent, vanilla follows. Banana esters, vague roastiness underneath. Oak comes in later. Mellows and balances as it warms. TASTE improves dramatically as it warms. Big malty base delicately balanced by a mild bitterness, with cherry fruitiness and moderate booze. Vanilla, chocolate and woody notes emerge late. Pretty well balanced and fairly complex. FEEL is luxurious. Smooth, creamy, full bodied, strong alcoholic warming, clean finish with some mild bitterness emerging late. OVERALL Seems to me (and others) that it is quite a bit better than last years. Seems smoother, more balanced and complex. Drinks well now, but definitely a sipper. Time in the cellar may round off the sharper edges.

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Photo of blindpiggie
4/5  rDev -3.1%

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

Thanks to Kelley for sharing this brew.

22oz. Brown bottle poured into tulip.

A: Pours a very deep brown, nearly opaque in the light. Moderate head on the pours with some retention and some lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruits and a good mellowed alcohol. Nice rich malts that aren't overly rich or sweet.

T/M: Nice full flavor malts but not too rich or cloying. Lots of chocolate and dark caramel. Very pleasant alcohol. Dark fruits and a richness that grows as it warms. Body is full and rich but not thick and cloying.

D: Still pretty drinkable for a big as it is.

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Photo of Fievel
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, around $8. 2009 vintage. Bottle notes this at 9.8% alcohol.

A: Nice deep brown in color verging on black, red highlights when held to the light, sand colored head about an inch thick, that reduces down to an island of bubbles and a few spots of lacing. Decent looking beer.

S: Initially all I get is sweet cherries, and vanilla, underneath that there are some flavors of sweet milk chocolate. Overall the smell is almost entirely sweet smells. Pretty definite boozy note. That's all I'm detecting. Smells good, but not at all what I expected.

T: Strong flavors, vanilla and cherries are very strong as well as a huge woody oak note. Behind the advertised flavors are some nice roasted coffee flavors. Fairly bitter, astringent alcohol and a bitter coffee aftertaste. Surprisingly devoid of any chocolate flavors, the cherry is really what stands out on each sip. Very sweet flavored beer and it works good as a dessert.

M: A lot lighter than I had expected, medium carbonation, and incredibly dry, the oak and the alcohol really dry this beer out.

D: Fairly easy to drink, but definitely more of a sipper. I really enjoyed this, even though it really seemed focused on the additives. It would've been nice to have a little more of the true "porter" flavors and have the cherry take a backseat. Thankfully I have a few bottles to sit on for a while, and maybe that will mellow. Decent beer, but not at all what I was expecting.

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Photo of 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 AKBelgianBeast
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good to see this one coming around in bottles (just wish they would do it with the coffee brown already. Or make an imperial stout, or put that smoked porter in some barrels already, or...)

Pours a deep dark black, but there are some very ruby hues when held up to a light. Head is nice and fluffy, light tan color, and lingers fairly well. Doesnt leave very impressive lacing, but some is there.

Nose is a bit weak for my taste. An odd metallic flavor mixed amongst dark malts, some chocolate, a slight touch of coffee way in the back there. A little bit of vanilla and some kind of dark fruit.

Hmmm. Taste is pretty complex. It doesnt quite hit you right up front, but it gets more complex as it rolls on. First some dark malt hits, but is quickly joined by a bit of vanilla flavor. Some oak is here, a bit of chocolate. Coffee i got in the nose was probably just from some darker malts, maybe chocolate malt or black pat or something. An odd metallic flavor through the middle. There is a wierd dark fruit aroma i cant quite put my finger on that i did not get in the on tap version. A stronger cherry presence I think. Cherry is certainly not a dominant characteristic, but it is there. There is some oak flavor in here towards the finish as the alcohol starts to make its presence known, although nowhere near what one would expect. Finish is fairly dry, and chocolate and oak linger on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, but slightly thin for the style. With an abv pushing 10 i would like just a touch more viscosity in here. Carbonation is right where it should be, maybe a tiny touch strong, but nothing significant.

Drinkability is pretty decent for the style, and quite good for the abv. This one drinks like its 6 or 7%. I could take down a couple of these, but after that i would probably switch to something lighter.

Overall a very decent and respectable offering from Alaskan. Nothing to write home about, this is no olfabrikken or smuttynose, but it is a very decent baltic. A few kinks could be adjusted, maybe a bit more roastiness, but other than those few small things, this is a good baltic. Will be throwing a few of these in the cellar to see how they do. I think it has the potential to cellar for a few years at least. Another good one from Alaskan, not quite up to the smoked porter or barleywines grade, but still a good beer.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Included in the first monthly "Beermageddon Night" with several people. Review is from my notes. A thousand thanks to Erik for sharing this with us. Poured into a teku glass from a 22oz bomber.

Pours a darkened, black color with brownish streaks throughout the rims of the glass. Having just had the 2011 Abyss vintage beforehand, it was nice to see another great imperial stout follow it up with a similar tint and generous 2 finger of head. Color is an off-khaki at the top, with several streaks of bubbles gliding upwards. Lacing is decent, although not too prevalent. Has a viscous nature that was very similar to their Smoked Porter I had a while back. Looks very hearty and inviting.

The aroma is filled with a surprising sugar sweetness and roasted character, almost to the point of being between milk and dark chocolate, yet not much of either. There's a tinge of coffee here, as well as some vanilla and sugar, but it's really the semi-dark chocolate sensation that shines here. It's not super sweet, however, and luckily there's a bready, cracked barley flavor that backs it up, as well as a light floral hop character that's pretty masked underneath. Either the malts are really the one providing the extra bittered touch, or the hops may be a little old at this point. Booziness is pretty present, even with the extra sugar on top, but isn't too distracting or anything. Given the fact that this was the final beer we had this night, it's only fitting that this would be treated as our dessert. Satisfying overall.

The flavor continues more of the same, but really goes even more out of its way to emphasize the chocolate-y goodness within. As a fan of chocolate decadence of all kinds, yet not the largest porter drinker, this really ends up being more enjoyable to me by focusing less on a smokey, coffee character, and far more on a caramelized, cocoa nib centered flavor. In one sense, this is a lot like eating a milk-chocolate fudge brownie filled with vanilla. Plums and figs abound. It's really the extra alcohol doing its job here beyond the large malt chunks, and as a result, allows it to be more silky and smoothened out than I would have expected. It's actually never sweet enough, and therefore pretty easy to drink. However, I wouldn't be able to say if I could have a whole bottle on my own.

I gotta say, Alaskans really know how to make big yet very comforting beers when they want too! This is definitely a sweet, sugar filled porter, but I've never really had too many Baltic Porters in the past and this definitely peaked my interest. The are a good alternative to the heavy character of various imperial stouts, but definitely I'd like to find more with extra balance going on. This is still very recommended from me, and a must for porter and chocolate fans.

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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 mmilyko
3.25/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of Joecaddie
5/5  rDev +21.1%

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

Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pour netted one finger of crackling, light brown foam. That head didn't hang around long; within a minute it had sizzled its way down to a thin, sticky crown. Body is very dark and nearly opaque: shows shades of orangish brown around the edges when held to light. Looks to be fairly light in body, as expected for the style.

Smell: From a short distance away, I got lots of banana bread. I still get that banana bread when I dig my nose into the pint glass, but I also catch whiffs of dark fruit, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla. I'm searching for the oak, but I'm having trouble finding it amid these other strong aromas. Unfortunately, the taste really outdoes the smell in terms of pungency. After a few sips I can't really smell anything. Oh well. What's there is very nice.

Taste: Cocoa and lager yeast come together beautifully! On top of that, I get vanilla, toasted malt, oak, nuts, and sherry. Everything is balanced very, very well! The sherry component rolls right into the dry finish, which I find to be... amazing. I'm loving the taste of this beer (can you tell?).

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and actively carbonated with a finish that's both dry and flavorful. Though high, the carbonation is soft, producing a very pleasant foamy feel. The overall feel is similar to what I would expect a carbonated dessert wine to feel like: nice mouth-coating; fairly syrupy; kinda dry; actively carbonated. I dig.

Drinkability: I didn't expect to like this beer so much. I think I've found my new favorite Baltic porter. Pick this one up if you get the chance. You'll be happy you did.

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Photo of bort11
4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
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 KeefD
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sparklepants for sharing this one with me. My first Alaskan beer. Pour a dark brown color, but looks like a dark ruby in the light. Decent foam and lacing. Aroma is slightly muted, some roast and dark fruit, perhaps raisins. Flavor is lightly roasted barley, plenty of dark fruit, maybe some light chocolate poking through, and very little bitterness. Creamy mouthfeel, perfect carbonation for the style. Very smooth, easy to drink. A nice beer!

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