Baltic Porters: Where's the Love?!

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ManBearPat, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (476) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Having only come across a handful of these tasty bois, I’m wondering why it seems like no one brews them?

    Any reason for this?

    I’d like to hear some recommendations. Like straight up Baltic Porters... I’m sure people will ignore this and suggest the BA framinghammer series, but I’ve had many of them (they are delicious) and just want some strong, roasty, and smooth, dark lagers.
  2. honkey

    honkey Zealot (577) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    We just released a Baltic Porter in Tombstone a couple weeks ago. A lot of people just don’t even know what they are.
  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,820) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I used to enjoy the 2 Polish ones that I saw back in the day. Alaskan makes one occasionally. Black Tooth in Sheridan also brews one occasionally.

    I'd like to see more of them too.
  4. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Zealot (522) Mar 19, 2012 California

    Totally agree. I love Baltic Porters. I have had a few that are amazing (Karl Strauss and Morgan Territory). Chewy, rich and full of flavor.
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  5. BeardedWalrus

    BeardedWalrus Disciple (389) Jun 5, 2018 North Carolina

    I was fortunate enough to have a delicious barrel aged Baltic Porter from Sierra Nevada a few days ago. It was tasty, a sweet, malty concoction that drank easier than any stout or imperial porter could hope to. I'm with you, if it were up to me we'd be drowning in Baltic porters.
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  6. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (476) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    I honestly don’t really ‘know’ what they are... my gut tells me they’re sorta like a RIS, but fermented with a lager yeast- though this might be totally wrong.

    What I do know is the few I’ve come across I’ve enjoyed immensely:slight_smile:
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  7. jamshard2mash

    jamshard2mash Initiate (97) May 4, 2017 California

    Enegren maple baltic porter is the best baltic I've had to date. From what I've been told Enegren is the first and only brewery to use maple to carbonate the beer. It's amazing and mostly a shelfie here in SoCal
    IceAce likes this.
  8. beergoot

    beergoot Poo-Bah (5,071) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
    Society Trader

  9. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (597) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    I've only had a few, but based on even that small a sampling I can say I love the style. Smuttynose's was great, but I have no idea what the status of the beer (or brewery) is. Regular (non-BA) Framinghammer is also top notch. A (small) step down were Black Boss and Barrier Brewing's Rip Rap.
  10. AccipiterofBeer

    AccipiterofBeer Aspirant (233) Nov 28, 2016 New York

    Sixpoint's Beans series was amazing. I think they've stopped distributing it though.
  11. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,162) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    I prefer Saku over Boss, but this is one style where I find great bang for your buck in the cheap imports. $3.50 or something, and in a surprising number of grocery and convenience stores. Locally, Bend Brewing, 10 Barrel, and Spider City have put out tasty versions. Deschutes even released one in 6pks last year.
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  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,820) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Oh yeah, Just Tapped was a goodie from Deschutes.
    sharpski likes this.
  13. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (954) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Did Tombstone brew that as a lager or an ale? A local brewery here (Untied) brewed one as a lager recently and it was outstanding.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  14. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,661) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

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  15. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (2,308) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Did someone say Baltic Porter? If you whisper in the wind it sounds like something else. Peace...
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  16. MikeWard

    MikeWard Poo-Bah (1,890) Sep 14, 2011 Pennsylvania

    They do seem to be a bit harder to come by, outside of Jack's Abby and Sixpoint Beans series. Duck Rabbit makes a pretty decent one, not sure if they distro out to Colorado.
    sharpski likes this.
  17. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,427) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Devils Backbone has one that I thought was pretty good - that may see increased distribution since the AB purchase.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,360) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I just posted the below in another thread earlier today:

    Workhorse Brewing

    Baltic Porter (8.0% ABV)

    A balanced grist bill comprised of English and German specialty grains set the tone for this malt-driven lager. Malty-sweet flavors from the toasted base malts quickly yield to the more rich and heavy notes of deep cocoa and roasted coffee. A long, lagering phase tempers this beast into a smooth winter warmer.

    I had a draft pint last weekend and I enjoyed drinking this beer.

    On a separate but related note Workhorse also has a beer branded as Black Lager on tap as well:

    Black Lager (5.5% ABV)

    “This mahogany-colored lager is built upon the foundation of two German brewing traditions: Pilsner and Dunkel. We've taken a recipe heavily influenced by toasted malts and married it with the spicy and floral hoppings of a Pilsner. Extensive lagering yields a beer rich in malt character shored up by pronounced hop flavors and aromas.”

    RochefortChris likes this.
  19. Barettes

    Barettes Aspirant (256) Aug 4, 2019 Washington
    Society Trader

    If you have a nearby Total Wine or other store with a good import selection, Fortuna Komes offers a very good Baltic Porter. Zywiec is another decent, if not spectacular, Polish offering.
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  20. honkey

    honkey Zealot (577) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    For the purpose of answering the question, it was a lager. But I’m tempted to channel my inner @marquis and point out that it’s neither a lager or an ale. :wink:
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,360) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Weedy, if were to utilize the same wort but ferment one as a Stout/Porter (e.g., an ale yeast strain with a warm ferment and no subsequent lagering phase) and the other as a Baltic Porter (e.g., a lager yeast strain with a cool ferment and a subsequent lagering phase) do you think you could readily pick them out via a blind tasting?

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  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,937) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Pretty sure Michael Jackson claimed he coined the "Baltic Porter" term back in the 1990s. Don't believe me? Well, that's what this guy said, too, seven years ago.
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  23. honkey

    honkey Zealot (577) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    I think that would be one of the easiest blind tastings I’ve done. Our lager yeast is considered to be one of the more flavorful lager strains (Augustiner was the source for the culture) and even still I think the relative lack of flavor in comparison to even a bland ale strain like Chico Ale yeast would be obvious.
  24. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,113) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    I think we need to refer to these as Baltic Bois, myself. :wink:
    I see them a lot now at smaller breweries, whether or not they are... well... successful.
  25. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (954) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    LOL good answer, as is the answer in post # 23.
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  26. lackenhauser

    lackenhauser Poo-Bah (2,516) Dec 10, 2002 Maryland
    Society Trader

    IPAs showed up and pushed them and other beers right off the map.....
    johnnybgood1999 likes this.
  27. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,867) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I've always loved the name Baltic Porter. It makes me think of the cold, dark Baltic Sea of the North and the kind of beer only the toughest of Russians, and Vikings would drink? Then there is reality with some soy boy sitting in his mom's basement drinking one, waiting for his friends to come online to play some lame video game.
    Stoutmaster9 likes this.
  28. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (255) Jun 4, 2005 California

    With six porter styles listed on BA, it gets confusing which is what. My only 2 goto porters are Alaskan Smoked and Anchor. While I know those don't fit this category, I'm looking forward to a porter "expert" explaining the differences between all these (sub)styles.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  29. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Disciple (330) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    All I’ll say on the topic is that a local brewery rebranded a beer that wasn’t selling well from “Baltic Porter” to “Hoppy Brown Ale”, plus changed the name. The beer sold much faster after the change.

    That said, I love Baltic Porters and have a home brewed one on tap right now.
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  30. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,820) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Here's an interesting article regarding Baltic Porters.
  31. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (255) Jun 4, 2005 California

    Thanks for that BB! I will have to reread that once I have a proper Baltic in front of me. In thinking about it, I have had the Zwyiec (polish dude lives next door) and a He Said by 21st Amendment. Since it appears to be seasonally correct, I need to search one out :wink:
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  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,165) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Smuttynose still exists and has beers on the shelves, at least here locally in Boston. I’m not sure what the status of their Baltic Porter is though.

    And yes, to the OP, even though you may not be looking at the Framinghammer series, there is still regular Framinghammer.

    All that’s important is that it’s good. You could call it a seltzer for all I care*.

    *Please don’t call it a seltzer.
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  33. Mister_Faucher

    Mister_Faucher Crusader (759) Dec 3, 2014 Washington

    When it comes to Baltic Porters I'm a bit of a traditionalist. The local EuroDeli I sometimes get lunch at carries Komes and Black Boss (both Polish) and they hit my wheelhouse for the style.
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  34. IMN0P

    IMN0P Initiate (5) Oct 19, 2019

    Pohjala makes a bunch of different Baltic porters, Öö comes to mind for a no frills Baltic Porter from them. They also make a bunch of barrel aged ones too, Sajand was incredible. Pohjala is generally pretty easy to find around me in southern New England at least.
    micada likes this.
  35. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,918) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
    Society Trader

  36. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (760) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Snuttynose makes(made) a great Baltic Porter. I actually bought a case a bunch of years back, might have 1-2 left.

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  37. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (476) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    I gotta go there.. looks like they have a wide variety... that’s what’s up- ya boi don’t need 7/10 IPAs when I walk in somewhere
  38. TheEpeeist

    TheEpeeist Devotee (456) Nov 5, 2008 Pennsylvania

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  39. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (301) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I have compiled the numbers for each brew of porter made by a Swedish brewery in their brewing logbook which runs from 1910-1920. Below is an example of one of the brews and what the information means, it should be possible to decipher the list from it since the format is always the same unless the information is missing.

    This brew was made on 12th of may 1911, using 32kg of Saaz hops for 45HL wort of 20% plato, pitched at 14 degrees reaumur with the yeast EI (the E signifying the origin of the yeast, the I signifying the generation of the yeast), it was transfered over to the cellar on 19th of may at 11.5% plato, the cellar temperature was 0 degrees reaumur and it was packaged on the 24th of august.

    A few things are interesting here. One can note the pitching temperature which is either 59F, 63.5F, 65F, 65.7F or 61.3F, normal top fermentation temperatures up until 1914 when it drops to 51F, same as for the bottom fermented beers brewed, pilsner and lager beer etc. Then in 1916 the pitching temperature is raised to 65.7F again before they stop brewing porter until it returns in 1919 when it is pitched again at a lower temperature, 52.2F, with one brew at 59F and then down to 50F for the rest of the brews.

    So the question becomes if this was a top fermenting yeast which was flexible enough to be suitable for both bottom and top fermentation temperatures, or a bottom fermenting yeast fermented at significantly higher temperatures than normal. I'm thinking that this was a top fermentation yeast which they started fermenting at a lower temperature. One clue comes from when they started brewing their pilsner beer with a top fermenting yeast in november of 1917. The pilsner entry has a note in the margin of "Top fermenting yeast from Grönvalls Stockholm", the yeast being denoted Gr in the yeast column thereafter. This yeast was pitched at around 52.3F, which was the same temperature which was used for the bottom fermenting yeast used up until that brew.

    So a top fermenting yeast, most likely, fermented at times like a top fermented beer, at times like a bottom fermented beer, but stored cold throughout, with varying lenghts of cold storage. So quite the changing hybrid of a beer.
    #39 Crusader, Feb 14, 2020 at 12:26 PM
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 12:35 PM
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  40. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,013) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I cut my dark beer teeth on Carnegie Pripps and Sinebrychoff porters. These are genuine Baltic porters and I think are still available.