Portsmouth Imperial (Baltic) Porter | Portsmouth Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Portsmouth Imperial (Baltic) PorterPortsmouth Imperial (Baltic) Porter
50 Ratings
Portsmouth Imperial (Baltic) PorterPortsmouth Imperial (Baltic) Porter

Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bigger, darker and more "Imperial" than our Robust Porter, brewed with a Baltic flair.

Added by Bierman9 on 03-17-2006

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 50 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by sethmeister:
Photo of sethmeister
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the Portsmouth Imperial Porter, or at least that's what they seem to be calling it now.

Growler filled yesterday and poured into my Portsmouth pint glass shows an inky black with brown edges and ruby highlights when held to a lamp. Tan head leaves panels of lace about the glass.

Scent is creamy chocolate and espresso with lightly burnt roasted qualities.

Taste is the same. Chocolate and cold coffee, with some lightly burnt roasted notes beneath; caramel. Charred bread crust. A touch of smokiness builds nicely as I proceed toward the bottom of the glass. Has a very "creamy" flavor / sensation - I can't seem to quantify that. Hops are subdued; very light bitterness at the end.

Mouth is silky and substantial.

Drinkability is excellent. Disturbingly easy to quaff.

Unsurprisingly, another delicious ale from Portsmouth. Not quite as good as my favorite example of the style, Victory's Baltic Thunder, but very good all the same.

 949 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in a tulip glass, which made it look pretty cool. It was a very dark brown, almost black, with a thin head and some great lacing. It had a sweet, licorice odor, with some roasted grain. A nice smooth taste, sweet, a little fruit, some hops. It's 7.5% ABV, but I didn't notice the alcohol at all. A pretty good beer to drink.

 345 characters

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

22oz bomber split two ways, into Portsmouth snifters.

Dark malt, dark fruit, rich sweetness.

The color is dark with very deep brown with auburn notes at the edges. ideal.

I agree with another review that the warmth brought extra flavor forward and had similar experience with dark fruit and raspberries. I do not think this is a 'dessert' beer but I certainly understand the sentiment. There is a distinct fruit aftertaste that is undercut slightly by bitter chocolate notes.

As this warms I do think the mouth feel dips a touch; it loses some of the fullness. If I was reviewing this only after it sat for 10 or more minutes I would likely rate the mouthfeel a 4-4.5, however fresh out of the bottle it is full, sweet, silky and still crisp at the finish.

Wasn't expecting much, though this is one of my favorite styles. Genuiely surprised. I've had most of the PB offerings and this is easily my 2nd favorite of their beers.


 941 characters

Photo of puboflyons
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 12 ounce glass on March 1, 2010. It pours dark brown to black with a thin tan head and some ruby hues. The aroma is a mixture of dark malts, cereal, grains, and milder hops. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy or kind of slick. I would settle at a little higher than medium. The taste is for the most part subtle with both hops and malts but it ends more bold. Soft to heavy. I liked its transition. Not bad at all.

 428 characters

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

this was an utterly fantastic beer. one of the best of the style i have had in a very long time and one of my favorite styles for sure. simply amazing.

The pour was brilliant, rich dark brown in color with the only thing separating it from Jet Black being a nice reddish hue around the sides and bottom. Huge head of tan comes up quickly and lifts to a height of around two inches, never totally settling down, but instead sitting on top with a huge amount of lacing coming down the sides. Aroma is so much different then I was expecting. Rich notes of cherries and dark malts coming through immediately. Hints of a light hoppiness and just mounds and mounds of chocolate at first. Warming though really brought out a large amount of fruit and raspberries and dark cherry seems to dominate here. Each sip was like a decadent dessert trapped in a bottle. Rich, velvet like carbonation, and warm soothing flavors, this one was making me melt in the chair. Smooth chocolate notes wrapped in a dark fruit blanket that descended and left behind a nice, warm, hop dryness that begged me to come back for another sip.

 1,111 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got a growler of this to go at Kate Day 2010

Review adapted from notes taken 3/6/2010

Appearance: Black with a light brown/tan head - it could definitely pass as a stout - nothing really memorable about the head or lacing

Smell: Roasted and burnt malts - some less burnt malts, too - biscuits - chocolate, coffee, vanilla, dark fruits

Taste: Two words: epic malts - a really interesting range of malt flavors - burnt, roasted flavors, and sweet, mellow flavors - hints of biscuits and warm, soft-baked pretzels - bread, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla - there is some sweetness, too, that works really well - some hints of hops, but not much - some dark fruit flavors thrown in the mix - very complex

Mouthfeel: Somewhat heavy, very chewy, very smooth, some alcohol heat

Overall: Definitely not a session beer, but not exactly a sipper - somewhere in the middle, and it works

I honestly think this is the second-best thing I have ever had from the Portsmouth Brewery. Considering my #1 pick is Kate the Great, I think this says a lot. I plan on getting more of this whenever possible.

 1,091 characters

Photo of BZero007
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Portsmouth Brew Pub. Poured a Dark porter style color with off white Head. The aroma was of chocolate and coffee but very faint which is fine. The taste was very interesting as I do not like a very coffee flavored beer but this coffee flavor was bitter and burnt abit which made it mild. The Chocolate flavor also came threw with roasted malts in the background. Another flavor that lingered was the Hopps, they seemed to hang around and mixed well. The beer was a very smooth beer with a bit of carbonation that I felt matched the hint of Hopps well. Could Easily sit and and drink this beer threw the night before it crept up on me.

 657 characters

Photo of andylipp
4.5/5  rDev +9%

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

Another beer better than KtG 2010.

Pours a dark brown/black color with a thin light tan head, leaves a bit of lacing along the glass.

Smell has a deep roasted malt aroma with bits of coffee and vanilla.

Taste is similar to the aroma except bitter chocolate plays more of a role, definitely can feel the alcohol but not overwhelmingly so that it distracts.

It would have been nice to have gotten a few bottles of this to see how well it ages, but the cooler was raided long before I arrived in Portsmouth.

 508 characters

Photo of kevgod
4/5  rDev -3.1%

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

Had this beer as part of a sampler tray at the brewpub. Served in a 30z glass.

A-Ink black with a espresso crema head

S-spiced bread scent

T-Nice full malt flavor but with some nice hop balance, some coffee flavors

M-full thick

D-Great representative of the style. Full of great flavor but very drinkable.

 311 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out pitch black with a pinky sized tan head that has decent retention and leaves medium lacing. A small tan cloud stays atop the beer with a ring around the edges. The smell definitely could be stronger but it has roasty, fruit, cream and earthy hop notes. Also some cocoa comes through. The taste has good roast malts and cocoa notes. The malts are very porter-esque. There is also some fruit and hoppy hints and a bit of alcohol. The hops lend some bitterness to the beer. The mouthfeel is nice. It has a good moderate body with nice medium carbonation. It is very creamy and goes down smoothly. A tiny bit of warmth makes for a nice feel as the beer leaves a coat of roasty malt and fruit. Drinkability is good. The taste was good and the beer was sold at a decent price. The 9% ABV is very well hidden and there are no off flavors in a well balanced beer.

 865 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64oz that was purchased at the brewpub two days prior on 3/1/10 (KTG Day) into a Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla, coffee and touches of hops and alcohol.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of chocolate, coffee and vanilla that are followed by a hearty roasted malt character. There's a little bit of an alcohol sting that creeps in along with some dark fruit flavor. The hops presence is very mild but that is to be expected with this kind of beer and it's enough to create a good balance and put a cap on the complexity of this beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium-to-heavy body, low carbonation but I attribute that to the growler waiting for two days, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a very solid stronger dark beer and one of the more complex porters that I've had, definitely worth drinking for a long time.

 1,163 characters

Photo of phingdong
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of BierBliss
5/5  rDev +21.1%

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

Poured from a bottle into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours almost pitch black with hazy brown edges. There is a two finger off-white/almost tan head that quickly fades to a tight ring around the top of the glass. There is a light amount of oily lacing left behind.

The smell is dark chocolate, roasted malt, some light coffee (more as the beer warms), licorice, vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. This is a very deep smelling beer (that's weird, but I am not sure how else to explain it). As it warms there are more and more layers of smells that become more apparent.

The taste is not as complex as the smell, but it's very good. The chocolate, sweet caramel, vanilla and brown sugar. The taste is not as roasty and there isn't as much coffee as the smell, but it's still there. The most interesting component of this beer is the black licorice that seems to linger and attach itself to all the other flavors. It introduces them and outlasts them, accentuating them along the way.

The beer is medium to heavy bodied with a smooth full flavor. The carbonation compliments the style and the flavors well. The alcohol is well hidden, it's just present enough. This is a beer that I have enjoyed multiple glasses of on tap, and will be sad to see it go.

 1,268 characters

Photo of wildcat29
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap before KTG 2010.

Pours a moderate brown with a light head. The nose is some light chocolate and coffee in addition to roasted malt. The taste is slight chocolate and roasted malt. Mild coffee character. Really doesn't push anything too far and is a bit bland. Moderate body with a bit of alcohol. Drinks decently, but isn't all that great.

 368 characters

Photo of lifebeer
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

got a growler at the brewpub, kept on its side in the fridge for ~5 days, served a little cold:

a. pours mocha/black with 1/4 finger light coffee head

s. smells of dark roasted malts,smoky peat, and sour, earthy yeast

t. tastes similar to aroma, dark roasted malts, smokiness, black licorice

m. creamy

d. very drinkable, light and not too filling

wish i had taken better notes, this review does not do it justice! a very delicious beer, that should be served at less than cold temperatures. cant wait to go back for a refill.

 531 characters

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

Huge thanks go out once again to Rochefort10nh. Pours a dark brown color, ruby edges, with a two finger tan head that left some glorious down the glass. Aroma is slightly muted, but there's some nice brown sugar, cola, and chocolate notes coming through with only a touch of booze. Interesting flavor on this one. It's sweet, with flavors of caramel, light chocolate, a hint of roast, and something that almost tastes like grapes and/or grape skins. Very smooth, easy drinking brew for the high ABV. Great stuff here. Carbonation is perfect for the medium body and the alcohol heat is minor. Liked this brew a lot. Putting away this bomber will be no problem. Thanks again, Keith!

 680 characters

Photo of LtCracker20
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a Pourtsmouth Tulip. Growler filled while sipping Kate the Great on March 1st, 2010.

A- Poured a deep black with slight ruby hues. Poured with a 1-inch khaki head that slowly fell to a cap and left some very nice lace.

S- Roasted malts, a little chocolate smell, as well as some sweetness, a caramel aroma. None of the 9% abv is here.

T- Just like the nose. Roasted malts and caramel sweetness. And again, the abv is hidden very well.

M/F- Maybe just slighty too much of a full body for a porter (even a Baltic) in my opinion. But creamy and it goes down well, hiding the 9% at all costs.

Notes- Growler was filled on Kate day so this is still pretty fresh and am looking foward to finishing it this within the next few days.

 758 characters

Photo of flexabull
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of joepais, thanks again!
(I reviewed this originally as the regular porter, joepais informed me that this is what I drank on 4/3/08...)

Pours a light and clear brown color, with a very nice large off white head. Looks good.

Aromas are of light chocolates, bitter burnt coffee, and some light pine like hops. Very strong noce for a porter. I like it.

This is a nice tasting Porter, very full flavored, with an excellent finish. Beer is very crisp and clean tasting on the first sip, then settles into some dry bitter chocolates, along with some nutty and creamy malt notes. Finish has a very slight mineral hop bite. This beer is balanced very well, has some very distinct porter flavors and characteristics.

Mouthfeel is good, feels especially full and smooth up front, then has a nice prickly finish from hops.

Drinkability is good. This is an excellent porter. Not quite my favorite, but it's close.

This is my first Portsmouth beer, and if the others that I have in my fridge are as good as this... I am going to be a happy beer drinker.

 1,063 characters

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

On tap at the brewpub the other day.

This porter pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive in this beer, with coffee, vanilla and noticeable licorise. The licorise really comes on strong on the the palate, especially with the fairly sweet flavor profile. This beer really has an impressive intensity of flavor, with the slight bitterness in the finish countering the sweetness and licorise. The beer is quite full bodied, with a good, fairly long finish. Drinkability is pretty good, though the high abv. started to wear on me after a while.

This is a pretty good porter, but it's the sort of beer where I really felt as if one was enough.

 689 characters

Photo of DNICE555
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tulip glass on tap at the brewery before KTG day 2010.

A - Dark brown, opaque, huge tan head that fades quickly. Lacing is present throughout.

S - Nutty espresso, hints of vanilla, alcohol, spices.

T - Chocolate, Espresso, huge vanilla presence which I love. The alcohol is def there and heats it up nicely.

M - Very rich full bodied porter with low carbonation.

D - The alcohol is present which makes this one a sipper. It is very smooth and very thick. Really sets the bar high for Imperial Porters to live up to.

 524 characters

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

Thanks to FooFaa for hauling back a growler of this from his pilgrimage to KtG Day.

A-Deep dark black/brown with a medium tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left decent lace.

S-Nice aroma of dark rich roast, touch of licorice and toffee. Hints of coffee and molasses in the background peeking out from a touch of spicy hops.

T-Rich, roasty malt up front with a light backing spicy bite. Nice building licorice presence, dark roasted coffee and a touch of tree bark. This one builds in flavour as it warms.

M-Medium-heavy bodied and quite robust, This is nearly chewable at times. Certainly the best feature of this brew.

D-Solid stuff. I was told that this brew was better than KtG....well to me, no it isn't. I certainly like it but it feels like it is trying to hard to be rich and roasty...the target is in range but the bullseye is being missed.

 860 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Portsmouth Imperial (Baltic) Porter from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 50 ratings