JUNEAU, Alaska – Alaskan Baltic Porter is back as the latest brew for Alaskan Brewing’s limited Pilot Series. This rich and warming brew is a deep, dense beer with an intricate array of aromas and flavors that’s perfect for cold and dark winter nights, and for special occasions like the holidays.
“It’s always fun to brew this fan-favorite, and it also takes a lot of attention to detail,” said Alaskan Head Brewer Rob Day. “It has so many elements – with a blend of specialty malts, dark black cherries, brown sugar, gourmet vanilla beans, and finished on oak. And it is definitely a beer you can drink right away, but lots of folks like to age it to enhance the vanilla and cherry.”
First brewed in 2008 and most recently in 2017, fans have aged every vintage of Alaskan Baltic Porter, enjoying this rare beer on special occasions and in vertical tastings. Age enhances the smooth mouthfeel and malt sweetness as well as the fruit flavors.
Day’s tasting notes on Baltic Porter emphasize deep maltiness, vanilla and cherry intensity and a warming from the 9.8% ABV. The color is jet-black from the deeply roasted malts, with hints of bourbon and toffee present from start to finish.
“Baltic Porters were originally brewed stronger and more hoppy than many other dark beers to endure the trip to remote communities along the Baltic Sea,” remarked Day. “So, it’s robust, with toasted French oak, and dried fruit notes. Here in Alaska, the warmth is also a very attractive feature especially in winter.”
The name and label of Baltic Porter links this beer to the Russian period of Alaska history, with the copula of a Russian Orthodox church featured prominently. These traditional onion-domed copulas are still present in many communities in Alaska, as well as other settlements along the Baltic Sea.
Day recommends drinking it right away, or aging for up to 10 years. “If anyone is still holding onto a 2008, I would recommend planning a special occasion to enjoy that one. I think after 10 years or so, this beer has probably peaked. An excellent way to taste this beer is to get a new bottle and compare it to the aged beer – you’re really able to pick out the changes in flavor that way.”
Alaskan Baltic Porter will be on shelves in 22-ounce bottles and on draft in select locations beginning in December and will available for approximately three months.