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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.

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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 370
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I didn't know they made a Baltic Porter so I jumped on this when I saw it in the store. Alaska has some fine beers and this one perplexes me a bit.
A dark brown pour. Very deep. A good looking creamy head is gone pretty darn quick. Hmm..

Smell is like their smoked porter, but calmed down a bit. Less smoke and umami, more cherry and vanilla, which causes some confusion in me brains. What makes this a "baltic"? I dunno.
Not to say it's bad. It's a good beer. Taste is like smoked porter light. Again..cherries and vanilla. Kind of odd, but good. slightly thin.

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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 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 Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma caught me off guard. While I do get some cherry and vanilla, the main fruit flavor I get is bananas. Very strange. The flavor is very complex with cherry, vanilla, oak and roasted malts. The beer is pretty sweet and you get some alcohol but it is fairly well hidden. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected. Low carbonation.

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

22oz. Bomber
2009 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a very deep brown color, very nice carbonation, with an awesome thick/creamy tan head, with some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some very nice chocolate/caramel notes, vanilla, slight oak/cherries. The taste is awesome as well, malty, sweet, slightly bitter, slight oak notes, nice chocolate note. Medium body, a really smooth brew, very would know it's high ABV. Very drinkable, this has got to be the best brew I've had from Alaskan, hands down.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass. This is the 2009 vintage, which I am re-drinking and re-reviewing after the Great BeerAdvocate Crash of aught-nine.

Appearance: black with a red hue when held up to the light. Two-finger tan head with nice persistence.

Smell: lots of apple, pear, plum and grape, almost like a very intense white wine. There's a little malt in there but the aroma is surprisingly whimsical. Fantastico.

Taste: here the malt is huge with a subtle hint of flavor matching the aroma profile. It is quite sweet, which is to be expected, but in addition to the lovely fruit flavor there is a creamy flavor. Some roasted chocolate shows up but it's an afterthought to this seriously magical dessert beer.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick with just enough carbonation to remind you that this is beer.

Drinkability: in spite of (or maybe because of?) its huge ABV, this is a remarkably tasty beer with incredible drinkability. If my liver could handle it, I'd quaff several of these back to back.

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Photo of John_M
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Couldn't find any of the 2008 Abyss at the N. Seattle Central Market today, but they had a goodly supply of this stuff.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with at best fair head retention and lacing. That's the only flaw to this beer, if you want to call it that, as otherwise this beer is clearly world class. The nose on this beer was so sweet I was initially afraid I hadn't adequately cleaned my glass of dish washing soap. However, trying the beer in a different glass produced the same results. I get some lovely cherry, vanilla, chocolate and rootbeer, with possibly a hint of ginger as well. This beer really does smell terrific. The flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, except there is a more pronounced milk chocolate, vanilla and cherry flavor. The mouthfeel is nothing short of incredible, as the beer has a rich, long, luxuriously soft, creamy finish. Damn, but this porter is delicious. Each sip begs you to take another. The beer finishes very well and is entirely too easy to drink. Given the 9.9% abv., I almost feel as if I should take away points, as one is very tempted to drink glass after glass of this terrific beer. It's THAT easy to drink!

This beer is just outstanding and, along with the Smuttynose JD oaked porter and Olfabrikken baltic porter, is yet another outstanding porter I've come across of late. This used to be a type/style of beer I really didn't care for all that much. However, beers like this are quickly making me a convert. Good stuff.

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Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage.

A: Black, tan head, very little retention or lace.

S: Chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, mocha, AMAZING!

T: Huge vanilla (a little much for me), oak, bakers chocolate, mocha.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a drying finish.

D: This huge brew is definitely a pleasant sipper.

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Photo of rudzud
3.21/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this at a little bottle share at Tree House Brewery. Reviewed from notes. This is a 2009 vintage.

A - Poured into a Tree House glass a thin brownish hue, looks slightly watery, with a thin mocha head that leaves faint wisps. Not a bad start...

S - Ugh! I know this has cherries in it, but all I'm getting is cherry cough syrup aromas. Really disappointed here. Not getting much chocolate or malts just overwhelming cherry syrup.

T - Unfortunately it is like the nose with big, almost sickeningly sweet cherry cough syrup as well as cola syrup with heavy malty sweetness and molasses. Way, way too sweet for my tastes.

M - Mouthfeel was super, super thin here. Lighter carbonation just feels watery.

O - Overall I was looking forward to this beer but it really fell short. Not sure if it is just an off bottle or what but this vintage did not hold up.

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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 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 Bitterbill
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

Drinkability? A 22oz bottle of this 9.8%abv Baltic Porter is all that I can handle. Heck, I'm only 2/3 done with it and I know that I'll be sipping on the rest for at least another half hour but *that* happens with many of the stronger brews that I've tried of all styles so..no surprise and I can still heartily recommend you give this one a go if you see it in your neck of the woods.

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

Thanks to hwwty4 for this bomber.

A: The baltic porter is dark, a wickedly deep red color that passes for black. Light shining through the beer reveals the crimson. As you'd guess, the ale is opaque. A small head, no more than 1/2 a finger on first pour, sits idly, leaving a faint band of lacing.

S: The baltic porter smells great. Cocoa powder, roasted malts, starchy beans, all big flavors and all appearing in the first blast. Cherries even make an appearance, however cursory it may be. A very full, warming beer.

T: I love the porter's flavor combination. The cocoa powder, beans and roasted flavors are strong. Much to my surprise, vanilla beans come through as well. Cherries follow with a mild sweetness that fits well with the roasted body and vanilla. The feel is smooth, never edgy. A powdery finish, incorporating the aforementioned elements, lingers nicely with little indication of the forboding alcohol content.

M: The mouthfeel is complicated, offering up a wealth of baltic porter flavors with cherry and vanilla present as nice bonuses. The porter is creamy, leaving a lasting flavor.

D: The porter is quite heavy, able to hide its booze for only so long. Despite that price tag, the porter hits all the right notes, especially on a cold January night.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, 2012 vintage. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that stayed around a while. There's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like dark fruit (cherries), caramel, vanilla, coffee, brown sugar and some oak. I think the taste is pretty much like the aroma, but with the addition of some roasted malt and molasses. There's also some bitterness in the finish, but overall there's a good mix between the sweet and bitter flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and a bit creamy with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good brew, I'd like to try it again in the future. Definitely worth trying!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.21/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Comes out dark brown, thin head, 1/3", lighter brown in color. Aroma drops massive alcohol blast, less dark fruit.

Taste brings the alcohol again, dark fruit bitterness, red wine notes, mouthfeel keeps dropping that bitterness. A little bit of anise. Just doesn't have the body to absorb this high level of relatively challenging stuff/style.

Found the bomber format to be expensive, excessive and not worthy of a repeat purchase.

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

2009. Clear and very dark brown with reddish chestnut edges. It had a fine tan cap that showed decent head retention and a bit of lacing. Aromas of malt, chocolate (milk and bittersweet), nuts, dark grains, faint berry/cherry and a slight roast. Moderate bitterness, strong chocolate and malt flavours that lingered in the finish but didn't render the beer overly sweet. Bready with green, leafy hops and a hint of fruit. Light alcohol. Creamy carbonation and a full body made for a very smooth beer. There was just a bit of astringency from the dark grains and a bit of alcohol warmth. Good stuff. The flavours were nicely integrated and it was no problem drinking this one all night long.

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a clear very dark red, like blood, light bit of purple, out of the light it looks black, medium sized tan head forms, drops some lacing as it settles down to a thick ring around the glass and thin layer, good retention. Smell is nice, vanilla, milk chocolate, plums, candi sugar, light bit of roast, quite sweet, caramel and a bit of molasses, very fruity, strawberries and honeydew, alcohol creeps in a bit but is well hidden, blackberry and cherry, very fresh aroma. Taste is cream soda, fresh fruit and vanilla, some spice, milk chocolate, brown sugar sweetness, cola character, rum raisins, a bit milky, fresh berries, pretty neat. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth but the alcohol is well hidden. Pretty interesting beer, unique and tasty, bit of a strange sweetness and cola flavour/aroma, but I like it. Thanks Russ!

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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 Beerandraiderfan
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown, thin lacing, looks generous. Smell, whoooo alcoholic, for reals. So alcoholic you might think its aged in some grain alcohol barrels. But there's some other stuff in there. Wine like in its diversity of flavor.

A sipping beer, but you don't need a lot of time between intervals. While the alcohol is obviously there, for how high it is, it isn't overpowering. I would recommend.

Revisit 8/2011: Not as impressive as the first batch was. A little more bitterness than I like, needs an RIS body to absorb this. Mild licorice/dark fruit. Just not a style I dig so much on.

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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 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 Rutager
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown with barely any light coming through, topped with a half finger of pale brown head.

Smell. Dark malts and dark fruits with a little vanilla and dark chocolate ...dark!!! Anyways, smells pretty good.

Taste. Dark fruits again with sweet chocolate syrup, and vanilla with some dark malts and a bit of marzipan.

Mouthfeel. Thick and a bit syrupy with low+ carbonation.

Overall. Nice stuff. A sipper that's being sipped a little too quickly.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle $9. I bought this just because I like their barleywine, bad idea. This was dark black, decent head, looks just fine to me. The smell was sweet, sticky, vanilla, uhhh. The flavor hada hint of the cherries and a lot of vanilla sweetness. I honestly could not get past what the vanilla and oak had done to this beer and I did not think there was anything special about it. It was not a bad beer it was just quite average tasting and I was expecting to be wowed. Oh well...

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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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