2015 Baltic Porter (Smuttynose Brewing Company)

Style: Baltic Porter

9.0% ABV

Bottle Conditioned in January 2015

From: Hampton, NH

Brewery’s Note: “Indigenous to northern Europe, Baltic Porters historically stem from the shipping of British porters to the Russian hinterland. Unlike their British cousins, Baltic Porters are often brewed with lager yeast, which is the tradition we follow. Big & bold, with flavors of coffee, dark fruit & raisins, this black beer is smooth as a chocolate swirl.”

The beer pours a thick, fudge-sludge black, forming a small head of tan bubbles that fade into a tightknit scrim. When splashed against the sides of the glass, the beer leaves a fat, wobbly distortion of alcoholic legs, but little in terms of lacing. On the nose, beer smells of chocolate dipped Twizzlers licorice, red gummy bears, touches of coffee and raisin, and just a kiss of fresh baked bread.  The licorice scent moves from Twizzlers to brew licorice and back again, suggesting touches of earthy anise and dirt from the roasted malts. On the tongue, the beer tastes chocolate sweet, and then boozy, and then licorice sweet, with a slowly building roasted bitterness that dries the finish. In flavor, the beer tastes of Twizzlers, soft coffee roast, a touch of red wine berry character, then bakers chocolate, a touch of fudge and then more coffee on the finish. The licorice is, like the nose, complex and evolving as you sip. In the mouth, the beer feels just below full, yet with a svelte, well attenuated beginning. The left over sugars enter on the close and blanket the tongue down, giving it a sticky weight. The beer’s carb is soft, and the mouthfeel comes off velvety, yet with just a scrub of alcohol to add a little roughness. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left damp, while the tongue is a little raw and astringent from the booze. Overall, this is a nice, easy sipping boozy beer with a good bit of things to work through in the taste. While complex, this beer can be sipped and enjoyed with company. It doesn’t demand your attention, but when given it, the beer doesn’t let you down, either. It’s a well put together Baltic Porter that is a classic in the style for a reason. It will age gracefully for years to come, and I intend for it to do just that. A nice beer.

 

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