Last year under a bit of everyone’s radar a beer was produced and released out of Juneau, Alaska that had a softness like vanilla and accents of oak, cherries, and licorice. Sadly though this was a limited release last year (the area only got around 90 cases to share with everyone) and to those that didn’t get their hands on a pint or bomber all is not lost.
This year starting earlier this month Geoff Larson and company opened the floodgates and have placed more of this dark crude from the Great White North out there for everyone.
“JUNEAU, Alaska (September 2009) – This September, Alaskan Brewing Co. rolled out a limited edition release of Alaskan Baltic Porter in 22 oz bottles. This gourmet brew is the newest edition to Alaskan’s growing list of high-end, high-alcohol beers, including Alaskan Smoked Porter and Alaskan Barley Wine, to be released in the 22 oz bottled format. Last fall, beer consumers in select areas in Alaska, Washington and Oregon eagerly snatched bottles of the 2008 Baltic Porter vintage. This year, Alaskan expanded distribution of this rich and complex brew to the 10 western states where Alaskan beer is sold.
Substantial amounts of specialty malts, dark black cherries and gourmet vanilla beans make Alaskan Baltic Porter a deep, dense beer with a variety of aromas and flavors.
“This beer is all about the ingredients,” says Alaskan brewer Michael King. “A ridiculous amount of hand-peeled and seeded whole gourmet Madagascar vanilla beans were used along with nearly 500 pounds of dark cherries and a variety of specialty malts to create a dynamic and smooth experience. Aging on toasted French oak and the addition of vanilla beans really round out the flavor.”
Alaskan’s Baltic Porter is full bodied and jet-black in color with garnet highlights and a dense tan head, characteristics similar to a Russian Imperial Stout. The smooth, deep maltiness is accentuated by raisin and licorice notes as well as chocolate and mild coffee characters. The oak brings hints of bourbon and hot toffee. The higher alcohol content contributes to the warmth of this richly flavorful beer.
Alaskan Baltic Porter began the same way many of Alaskan brews get their start, as part of the brewery’s limited edition Rough Draft series.
“We first released Alaskan Baltic Porter on tap in 2007 as one of our Rough Drafts available only in Alaska,” explains Alaskan Brewing co-founder Marcy Larson. “It was an instant favorite among our Brew Crew and those in our home state that had the chance to try it. This year we decided to release a limited amount in bottles for people to take home and enjoy for years to come.”
Like Alaskan Smoked Porter, our Baltic Porter can be enjoyed fresh or aged like a fine wine. The vanilla characteristics are more apparent in fresher vintages while the malty and complex dark fruit flavors become more dominant with age.” source, Alaskan Brewing Co.
If this beer produces the same richness and compexity that the Alaskan Smoked Porter or Big Nugget Barleywine have in the past, then this beer will no doubt keep you warm in its early years and satisfied in its twilight. Seek this out at your nearby grocer or ask them to order a case of Baltic Porter so that you can relive those memories all over again.