Baltic Porter
13th highest rated style (of 102)
Highest RatedAlaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series) (89 / 100) Average score70 / 100 (Very Good)
Lowest RatedBigsi's Baltic Porter (50 / 100) Number Tried70
Bigsi's Baltic Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 27.02.18 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(OK)
Baltic Porter brewed with Liquorice, Aniseed and Sambuca for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.

Pours a brown colour with a fair darkness to the edge. Beige foamy head, retaining alright. Looks fairly standard.

Smells dark-malty upfront, with chocolate and dark fruit notes. Aniseed comes through distinctly yet strangely weak, with some clove notes as well. Liqueury-sweet as well, which is not great.

Taste is also weakly Sambuca-esque. Chocolate and a slight nutty edge upfront on the malt, develops some earthy coriander and star anise towards the mid and then finishes sweet and liqueury with a slightly watery edge as well. Not a whole lot of beer character, tastes like a watered-down anise spirit.

Decent texture; has a slight carbonation edge which helps lift it out of potential wateriness.

Pretty unimpressive beer overall. Blandly aniseedy and could really use more porter character throughout as the malt base feels just like a vessel to pour some Sambuca flavour into.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 2.75 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Cherrywood Smoked Rye Baltic Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.12.17 from a can
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark brown colour, with nice fine film of head, beige. Nice cascade and trail of lace when tilted. Bead is good and replenishes the head when it's tilted. Decent looking beer.

Smells smokey mainly. Good darkness to it with a nice chocolatey roast, and some meaty, woody smokey character. Big and smouldery, nice roast accompaniment. Enjoyable, yeah it's lots of aromas i like.

Taste is good, with a nice roasty flavour that's nicely sweet, kind of creamy even. The smoke comes through midway, maybe a little earlier than it was invited but takes over for the back palate where it certainly is welcomed. It's largely smouldery with a hint of spice heat and maybe booze to it, and yeah, when it finishes it's a bit hot from the booziness, with some wood smoke notes, hint of coffee roast but largely a big whisky type spiritous character. Not bad but overdone on the back having developed some nice characters that it kind of drowns in the end.

Yeah the feel is a bit hot; boozey texture from start to finish. Body is OK so midway it gets well padded but otherwise a bit overdone.

A nice beer but I'd love to try the version with 2 fewer alcohol points per volume. There's lots of complexity that gets lost in a myriad of booze.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
Bottleworks 16
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.12.17 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(OK)
Pours a dark brown colour with cola glint at the edge. Head is deep beige, nice and bubbly with a decent crown retaining. Lacing is nice, not too clingy but tilting gives a good reverse cascade as well. Looks pretty nice.

Smells nutty, maybe a bit weak or sour. Mild chocolatey roast, hint of coffee spice maybe but not a lot of oomph so it smells a bit insubstantial. Salty, even. Not strange but smells like an odd example of the standard dark beer smell.

Taste is also a little flawed maybe. Standard dark beer notes, with caramel upfront and some darker roast with unsweetened chocolate on the back. Oxidation midway though, which gives an odd berry note and some tannins, with the whole thing giving a slight oxidised vinous character through the heart of the palate. Decent caramelised characters, with some deeper darker notes but they don't ultimately go anywhere and the whole thing tastes a bit muted and repressed. Nice but disappointing.

Yeah a bit dry and boozey but without feeling big and syrupy in the body so it feels like it's missing a trick on the texture.

Feels flawed; like it was a good, even great beer at some point but it's just gone off the rails a bit either in process or possibly even after bottling/distribution. It's the kind of thing i like but just not hitting the mark.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 3.25
Criminally Bad
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.10.17 on tap
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Oak-Aged Baltic Porter brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.

Pours a dark-brown colour, really quite cloudy for the style. Medium density head, light beiege in colour. Looks alright, not sure about that haze though.

Smells quite sweet, fruity even, with some oaky notes giving vinous character and some rum sweetness. Touch of citrus on there as well as some dark fruit. Quite pleasant but a bit odd for the style, too. Maybe a touch sweet oak-wise.

Taste is decent. Spiritous sweetness from early-mid through to the back, with bourbon and rum characters. A nutty, chocolatey edge to the malt upfront that blends well into it. Touch of pepper on the back. I feel the oak dominates a bit too much as it's pretty much all there is to the back-palate. But it's not bad at all.

Good body, hint of alcohol but not too sharp. Decent.

Bit heavy in places, and in all honesty I'd be interested in trying this before the oak was added (or it was added to the oak, alternatively) as I'm not getting a lot of the base beer. But not bad.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Bottleworks 16
Reviewed by Jez on 07.10.17 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
22oz brown bottle with a shattering cap of wax. Aged in gin barrels. Purchased from Bottleworks in Seattle. Shared with Sam. Sentence fragment.

Pours a somewhat thin-bodied brown, with a futzy, large-bubbled head of beige that leaves specks of foamy lace. Carbonation is fine but fast. Looks okay, but not amazing.

Nose is pleasant. There's a nice sweetness that matches against a slightly savoury roast character to form the basis of the aroma. But over the top there's sharper, metallic notes which echo hollowly. It has the coppery twang of blood, mingled with a slight citrus detergent note. hmm.

Taste is also decent, but not necessarily much more than that. It has a greenness on the back—a vegetative, slightly citrussy tone which doesn't work that well with the rest of the beer. The beer itself is fine. There's a clear backbone of malt, thinned a little by the lager yeast (I assume). The back is relatively light, leaving a bit more room for the roastedness to persist, along with those greener, herbal, vegetative notes.

Feel is light, which works. There's a slight smoothness through the centre, but mostly it steps out of the way.

It's a pretty decent brew. It's not exceptional, though, and a beer like this deserves to be exceptional. For an anniversary ale, it's a bit of a disappointment.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Cherrywood Smoked Rye Baltic Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 07.10.17 from a can
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml can purchased from Beer Cartel. Shared with Sam.

Pours a deep ebony brown colour, with a fine mesh of beige that leaves long streaks of lace. Body has some weight behind it, but the carbonation is fast and skittish through the body. Looks decent.

Nose is rich and deep, with a firm backbone of very solid toasted malt. It has a slightly sharper note from the rye, which turns into an almost fruity acidity. And, of course, the whole thing is wrapped up with a wreath of smoke—this itself has a sweetness to it, aromatic and almost floral. It's very nice.

Taste is also very good. Here, there's a firm sweetness that binds tightly to the smoke, giving hints of suet-filled Christmas cake. There's enough darkness to balance it all, with a slick bittersweet note of dark chocolate lurking in the background. the back is rich and jammy, with more dark fruits giving an almost berry-like finish. It's pretty special.

Feel is slick and clean, but with enough weight to support the complexities of the palate.

Overall, I'm genuinely very impressed. This is a really nicely made beer, and despite all the disparate elements, they're woven together into something complex but coherent. This is very tasty stuff.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.25
Mātes Piens
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 24.08.17 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Brett-fermented and barrel-aged baltic porter brewed for GABS 2017. The name translates as "Mother's Milk" in Latvian I think? Tried at the festival on tap.

Pours a dark-brown colour, but quite pale for the style. Clear body with thin cream ring of lace the only remnant of a disappointing head after a short while. Disappointing.

Smells Bretty, and corporeal. Some vinous characters blending with barnyard notes for a nice tart character with a touch of cherry. Not very oaky though, and also not very baltic portery. Just sort of funky without nuance.

Taste is better. Nice chocolate malt character upfront that descends into a fairly Bretty mid-palate but it blends nicely with the oak which is more prominent here. Some sweet spice characters and a good barnyard funk late. Not particularly dark though, and I feel like they could have upped the darker malts just a bit as it feels a bit light and insubstantial in the end.

Decent body, touch of booze to it but just a light warmth. Pleasant.

Not bad as tart, bretty beers go but it's a bit by the numbers for something with that character, and doesn't extend to the heights it could have.
appearance: 2.75 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
'Life is Like a Box of Chocolates' Baltic Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.08.17 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Brewed for GABS festival 2017, and tried there on tap.

Pours a mahogany colour, fairly pale but certainly within EBC range for the style. Pale at the edges, with pale beige head, foamy and retaining alright. Looks OK.

Smells decent; largely roasty with a touch of bitter chocolate and a slight spicy coffee character. The roasty bitterness just gives it that aroma of slightly weak coffee.

Taste is pleasant. Chocolatey and slightly roasty through most of it, again with that spicy coffee character. Some vanilla and coconut character comes through especially midway. Nice porter notes with a good malt base, and some pleasant spice on the back, with a touch of coriander seed as well. Really not bad at all.

Decent body, slight warming alcohol. Standard for the style but well delivered.

Good baltic porter; nothing really exciting.

I think given the scores I may have done this beer a disservice not revisiting it, because looking back on my notes now it sounds like a well-constructed but standard offering which can often surprise on revisiting. I wish I'd retried this now as I feel like it slipped a bit under the radar (which happens when you put a standard offering into GABS).
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
I can't believe it's not dessert
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.08.16 on tap
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Soured Imperial Porter, brewed for GABS 2016 with a huge addition of snide sarcasm directed at the festival goers. Interesting strategy. Tried at the festival on tap.

Pours a dark brown colour, clear with beige head. Large bubbles, doesn't really stick around. Looks like a standard porter, not a bad head for it being soured.

Smells vinous, mostly. Notes of champagne with a touch of cherry sourness, some roasty hints and a touch of spice, coffee too. Not bad.

Starts out kind of sweet, with a standard caramelised malt note and touch of vanilla. Gets vinous, a little bit insipid and flabby like a poor straight merlot, but develops a good touch of funk mid-to-late, with notes of cherry, green apple and just general barnyard organic notes. Could use a bit more roast for the style, but not bad.

Full body, goes down pretty nicely.

Surprisingly good. I have a lot of respect for Newstead's brewing ability, so even though I hate the philosophy behind the beer they've managed to pull off a coup. I'd warn them against alienating festivalgoers further, it just seems like they're sniping for the sake of being 'edgy' but it just seems petulant as well, and when you're this good at brewing you can make the beer speak for itself.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Captain Amylase
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.07.16 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Molasses and rum porter, brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.

Pours a coffee colour, really really dark to the edge, almost black. Head is foamy, beige and medium retention. Lace is pretty good too.

Smells of rum, and I'm a bit put off from the start just because I don't like rum. There's some nice spice notes backing it up though; cinnamon, clove and a touch of oaky sweetness. Odd sourness as well. Yeah not sure what to make of the nose.

Taste is also rummy, fairly sweet for the most part with vanilla and chocolate underlying the whole palate. Some cinnamon notes towards the mid, with a good belt of oak on the back which may just be a sidenote of the booziness. Nicely constructed, in terms of front-middle-back with a trail off of bitterness that cuts off the sweetness.

Full body, decent level of carbonation and the alcohol is well-hidden.

Yeah, not bad. I don't get a whole lot of molasses but I get a fair bit of the rum. What's more, it's testament to Mountain Goat's brewing quality that even though this isn't the sort of beer I like, the palate is constructed in an approachable and pleasant way so I can still enjoy it.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Oaked Baltic Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.04.16 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Bottle offered to me as a nice Friday evening beverage by Mother, who purchased it somewhere that mothers go to buy beer for their sons.

Pours dark brown, small beige head with little bubbles. Some fairly decent lacing but not very sticky. Not bad, but a bit thin looking.

Smells mild upfront but when it warms up there's a richer, viscous boozey roast. Chocolate, vinous with some carob and vanilla. Bit strong but not really complex, sort of one-note intense.

Taste is fairly mild upfront, has a thin front with some hints of darker malts but not a lot of roast or robust character. Gets roasty midway with coffee notes and spice, slight sour edge late-mid which makes it feel it's a little lacking in body, especially for the size. Don't get much oak, just a touch of booze and some roast bitterness on the back. Alright but not very complex. Not that that's essential, but it feels like the strength comes through as heat rather than as different flavours.

Yeah, surprisingly thin. Bit of heat on the back. Yet somehow a bit viscous/sticky.
Yeah not that exciting. Fairly decent, but I expect more from an oaked baltic porter.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.25
Tsarina Esra
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.03.16 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Bottle gifted to me by Jez for Christmas. Shared with Steve during brewday, 18 March 2016.

Pours dark brown, clear with fairly lacklustre head, off-white/beige. Yeast floaties throughout. Looks a bit meh generally, especially those yeast chunks which may be my fault more than the beer's. Still.

Smells decent and oaky. Caramel and chocolate notes dominate with a big bourbony vanilla aroma late. Bit of booze, cherry and spearmint. Pleasant; just a hint of tartness that balances a big sweet boozey fragrance.

Taste is sweet; big chocolate and caramel toffee, peanut brittle upfront. Hugely sweet, burnt sugar character that gets deeper, richer with choc notes. Bit of nuttiness late too, with some booze and a mellow oxidised character which works well with the strength. Mild yeasty note but mostly just soft, caramelly sweetness and rich roast. Good tasty porter.

Oozey, goopey stickiness. Not much texture though, could use a bit of cut through.

Nice big porter, well aged and it handles its age with good grace. Like Lawrence Tierney.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 4.0
Oaked Baltic Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 21.11.15 in bottle
Overall:
59 / 100
(Decent)
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Sampled on the day I went skydiving, as a counterpoint to rushing adrenaline.

Pours a pleasant deep chocolate brown, with a fine head of beige that settles into a persistent creamy ring. Carbonation is fine, tending towards actually powdery. Some streaks of lace. Looks pretty good.

Nose is interesting. Some dark sweeter notes, but there is a very faint suggestion of acidity to it, somewhere between black olive and apple skin, possibly from the oak. Mostly, it's easy enough to ignore, and there are some pleasant toasty notes which provide the basis, along with a touch of carob. It's pleasant enough.

Taste is actually a little similar though. There's a slight mineral, or metallic character towards the front of the palate, that gives way to a more pronounced salty or briney note. Some faint chocolate on the back turns dusty, leaving a dirty carob note that's more earthy than sweet. Again, it's decent enough.

Feel is robust, but a little thin, which isn't unexpected for a Baltic Porter, so it's fine with me.

Overall, it's decent enough. I'll admit that I was maybe hoping for something more, but perhaps I wasn't actually expecting it. But as it is, it's drinkable, maybe just not terrible exciting.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
The Gloaming
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.11.15 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Cherry baltic porter, on tap at the Quarrymans.

Dark brown, bronze tinge at the edge, bubbly off-white head with not a lot of density. Looks a little light, but OK.

Smells fruity and somewhat sour. Touch of chocolate, maybe. Cocoa with cherry. Not bad, but the dark elements are underutilised.

Taste is more roasty and robust. Decent fruit element underlying, cherry definitely there but it comes across as vinous under the roasty bitterness. Somewhat on the burnt side of roasty, but it's nicely matched by a slight tart dark fruit note midway, then it dominates on the back. Touch of vanilla late, which is weird: sweetness unmatched to the dark bitterness. Not bad and certainly the most interesting beer I've had from Badlands.

Seems thin on entry and exit down the gullet, but has a decent body midway. Maybe a touch too much carbonation.

Decent fulfillment of the brief. Feel it could use more sweetness on the finish, or more tartness to just amp up the curiosity. But it does what it promises; just not as briliantly as it could in theory be.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Billy's Baltic Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 16.08.15 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(OK)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. This is a collaboration between Cavalier and the Palace Hotel.

Pours a rather weak mocha-brown colour, which is definitely rather light at the edges. Head is a mild tan, forming a foamy crest to begin with, but which crackles itself out to a thin film. Lacing forms in minor specks. Body is surprisingly light and the carbonation is rapid. Genuinely, I'm a little unimpressed.

Nose is also a bit weak. Thin, cereal graininess comes through along with a hint of sharp pungent coffee that evaporates fairly quickly. As it warms, there's a more rounded, russety tone of mixed grains that lends a bit of body and a suggestion of sweetness. But still, it's a bit underwhelming.

The trend continues onto the palate. There's a lightness here, possibly from the lager yeast (assuming it's made to style), that leaves the back palate almost empty, and without any type of linger to add interest to the aftertaste. Towards the front, it's more of that bland steeped grain character, with just a flick of some kind of dark fruit as the rest of the flavour evanesces. The feel on the front is okay—it has a little body to it that helps round things out at least.

Overall, I'm genuinely not a particularly big fan. It's not a bad beer, by any means, but it is a fairly uninspired one, and doesn't really do anything particularly sui generis. Indeed, it's not even a stalwart exemplar of a Baltic Porter—there are certainly examples out there that are both more interesting and more generic.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Stab in the Dark
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours a deep, black brown colour, opaque and sinister in the glass. Body is very solid, but hold very fine and fast carbonation. Head is beige-brown forming a full, fine solid ring that leaves sheeting lace. Looks good.

Nose is a little dull, disappointingly. Some mild toasty characters and a little bit of oak, but also a slight grassiness, or something else that makes it seem a little too sharp.

Light entry on the palate too, but a little fragrant as well, almost giving a slight floral tone. Liquorice and carob smooths out the centre with a slight, sweet roast to broaden it. Smooth in the back: more roast and a touch of vanilla to smooth things out. The finish has darkness and a linger of that aniseed.

Feel and finish are body full-bodied and very smooth. Very good stuff.

Overall, there's a consistency here that really helps it a lot. The booze is hidden well also. Overall, I liked it a fair bit.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.0
Baltic Cherry Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.06.15 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
500mL bottle gifted to me on my birthday; shared with Andrew and Iain.

Pours a dark muddy brown, light beige head that dissipates quickly to a simple rim. Touch of lace, but otherwise looks a bit listless. Good colour though.

Smells roasty, chocolatey. Rich cocoa-rich gooey fondant with a touch of cherry that takes a slight medicinal note and maybe some mild vinous character. Very rich and appealing.

Tastes chocolatey as well, not quite as rich though. Chocolatey front, gets some lighter sweet notes midway, then more bold cocoa-rich chocolate midway, with some light cherry notes - not tart, but rich with a slight hue of fruit lightness as a complement. Pretty tasty, just doesn't quite have the fullness on the mid-palate which could have carried me on an amazing journey.

A little light, but the late palate is velvety smooth and nice. No real sign of alcohol.

Rich, desserty beer. Chocolatey smooth with a touch of cherry.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Stab in the Dark
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 16.06.15 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a black colour with a bit of pale brown at the edge. Beige head, foamy with a nice crown left on top. Looks pretty damn good.

Smells of dark grain. Touch of espresso - piquant, with some roast character. Very grainy though, kind of smells like the mash tun of a dark beer, really cereally.

Fairly sweet upfront, malty notes with a touch of chocolate. Decently roasty and somewhat dry late-mid with a fair bitterness, and a touch of dry wood. Decent, with a bit of booziness. Full-on porter. Like an English porter but the volume cranked up.

Decent body, not massively thick but bold in its presence. Warming alcohol.

Not too bad; sort of to style but with some elements really dialled up. Kind of what I've come to expect from the Littles.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Blended Baltic Porter (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.03.15 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark brown, oaky colour up to the light, head is beige. Small bubbles, thin crown. Lace is sticky and looks great.

Smells chocolatey; toffee with caramel. Funny wet mash character with a touch of cereal grain. Hint of roast. Not bad.

Taste is malty, sweet. Lots of caramel character especially upfront and continuing a bit long onto mid-palate with brown sugar joining it. Roast comes through on the back, very necessary but retaining an odd sweetness, giving a touch of cherry medicine and some treacle as well. Could use some more bitterness maybe, roast is there but it gets a little suffocated by sweetness which just lingers longer than it needs to. Not bad but a bit middling.

Smooth upfront, then a touch of roughness towards the back. Mildly harsh.

Not bad, spicy portery notes. Feel like it could use more potency on the roast or just succumb to full sweetness, it just seems like a bland version of a nicely constructed beer.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Blended Baltic Porter (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Reviewed by Jez on 24.12.14 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
650ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria. Shared with Sam on Xmas Eve.

Pours a deep brown that shows good clarity when held to the light, surprisingly. Head forms a good solid persistence of beige that sticks around as a firm film that leaves wedges of lace. Body is fluid, but fairly heavy, leaving nice trails of powdery carbonation when tilted. Looks really good.

Nose is boozy but rich and sweet. Lots of stewed fruits or fruitcake, with a touch of carob and brandy. There's a slight solvent note as well, perhaps the booze coming through a little bit too strongly, but it does give a slight suggestion of black marker. As it warms, so too comes through some warmer notes of chocolate and cocoa. It's very pleasant.

Taste is actually really good. There's a lightness I didn't expect, but it gives a beautiful subtlety to the palate. Dusty chocolate and mildly warming booze, again it tastes more like brandy than bourbon to me. There's even a pleasant cherry character coming through the back. The lightness is really lovely. As it warms and blends together a bit it really makes a pleasant melange.

Overall, it's a really nice drop. The barrel aging isn't quite as prominent as I've seen in others of its ilk, but there's a consistency and complexity that makes it feel like it's just ingratiated itself nicely in with the other characters. I liked it a great deal.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.25
Betsy
Reviewed by Jez on 24.06.14 on tap
Overall:
52 / 100
(OK)
Tried on-tap at GABS2014 in Melbourne.

Pours a deep red colour, certainly a little light for a porter, with a relatively clear body that does seem darker than it should be otherwise if it was genuinely clear. Head is a firm ring of yellow white that stays around fairly persistently. Looks decent enough.

Nose is dusky with grain notes and a disappointing flour character. As it swirls and warms it gets a little toastier, with some chocolate coming through as well. Weaker on the finish, and I don't really feel a hint of the vanilla or the coconut, which is a shame.

Light brown malt entry on the palate that disappears fairly quickly, leaving an empty, grainy, husky flavour that doesn't do much. On the back we get an inky, almost chemical character (which may be coconut meat—or worse, may be artificial coconut essence). Very faint, receding sharpness.

Feel is very light indeed.

Overall, it's not a really great beer. It's mostly dull, and the few twists that it attempts tend to go awry. Certainly not one of the highlights of the festival.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Acid Freaks
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 29.11.13 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark brown muddy colour, with foamy cream head. Bit disappointing lacing-wise but given the 'adjuncts' in this beer I'm not surprised it's a bit listless.

Smells like...hmmm.... vinegar. Yeah, that's about it. Interesting, but... beery? Not particularly.

Taste is a bit more beery. Slight roasted malt notes, with a touch of chocolate and cocoa. Balsamic hits midway and it gets a little vinous towards the back. Roasty at times too, with a nice vinegar edge. More portery and diverse than the nose suggested. Pretty nice beer all up.

Decent body, no carbonation. Yeah it's hard to get this right when you're adding something so acidic. Pretty good padding for the potentially over-tart palate.

I actually wouldn't mind a bit more balsamic on the palate. The nose is screaming with it and the palate is more like a nice traditional porter with a hint of twist. Nice beer overall though.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Acid Freaks
Reviewed by Jez on 13.06.13 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
A Baltic Porter brewed with Balsamic Vinegar from the brewer's brother, a craft vinegar maker. Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.

Pours a light, clear and rather limp brown colour, very light in the body. Head is an oily yellow that forms a large-bubbled (or large-buboed) pocked ring that leaves no lace. I looks a bit unappealing.

But, yep, there's balsamic aplenty on the nose, giving that spicy, sour and woody character mingled with just the faintest sweetness from the beer itself. Absolutely delivers what it promises here, and has captured the balsamic character nicely.

Unfortunately, this doesn't carry on to the palate. Light, perhaps slightly zesty entry leads to a dead, but slightly toasty brown malt character. Further towards the back is a touch of the vinegar, but no real sourness, and certainly no acid freakiness. Some woody balsamic characters are lost in the void.

Feel is very light: I could understand it if the acidity were more pronounced, but it just feels like a weakness here, especially for a Baltic porter.

Overall, I don't feel like it goes full tilt at delivering its promise. It's neither acidic enough nor Baltic enough. It needs more of something, anything, and the aroma just doesn't drag it through the rest of the way.

appearance: 2.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Black & Tannin
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.05.13 on tap
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on launch day at the Local Taphouse.

Pours a dark chocolatey brown, with a big red tinge. Slight rim of head, tan colour, revived with a vigorous swill. Lacing is unimpressive, but overall not bad.

Smells very impressive. Dark and roasty, some light berry and spice notes from the shiraz, slight vinous tannins and gooey chocolate. Yeah, nice.

Taste is sweet, with loads of chocolate, some licorice, pepper and mild oaky wood. Shiraz notes are late and very subdued, slight tannins with a bit of a fruity note which could well just be a fermentation by-product: dark berries and plum notes. Slight dry spice, nutmeg and pepper. Remarkably smooth in the end, sweet but with a twist.

Big body, still a bit of boozey warmth. Drying at the back.

Complex, big and rewarding. A big brew with a nice twist to the sweetness overall.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Black & Tannin
Reviewed by Jez on 01.04.13 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. This was a collaboration between Hunter (where it was brewed) and the Sydney Taphouse AleStars (with some help from Doc from Doctor's Orders), a Shiraz barrel aged Baltic Porter. It's the sister beer to the Melbourne AleStar's BONZA IPA brewed at Mornington Peninsula.

Pours, dark, definitely dark, but with a weakness at the edges, as though it fades to clear rather than to a lighter brown hue. Head forms a pained ring of bubbly off-white froth at the edges. Body is extremely light, which is an interesting enough trait as it is, but it makes the beer seem a little more insipid as a result. Hmm.

Nose is mild: some faint roasted characters, ephemeral red wine, some chocolate, blackberry and a singing aniseed character. It does actually get better once it warms (as a Baltic Porter, it sat on the Local's lager lines). When it's warmer, there are richer characters: vanilla bean sweetness, and perhaps a touch more of the wine. It's still not as big or as rich as it could be.

Taste is pleasant enough. Some mild dusty chocolate, smooth underlying sweetness with a kick of astringency on the back. Not much hint of the oak, and I think the red wine I get is probably just a figment of my expectations. The aniseed spice lifts again, in an unexpected, but not unpleasant way. As it warms, some Concord grape and an odd banana ester character comes through. Again, it's decent, but it doesn't really win me over overall.

Feel is light, but with enough weight to carry the lighter-than-expected flavours.

Overall, its decent and pleasantly drinkable. But really it's also pretty disappointing. No, that's maybe going too far: it's a nice beer, but the oak should be more prominent, the wine should be more prominent, and the beer should be more complex overall. Maybe it's just a case of not living up to expectations.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Baltic Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 22.12.12 from a can
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Pint can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. If I love beer in cans in general, you better believe I love a canned baltic porter.

Pours an oily brown colour, with a surprising thinness to the body. Head forms a flush of brown cola-foam initially, but quickly flakes out and becomes an almost immaterial ring around the edge. Some weak, bubbly carbonation lends again that sense that it's really quite thin. I'm unimpressed.

Nose is dark and roasted, but not overwhelmingly so: underneath are notes of liquorice, and a related booziness like ouzo or raki. There's a slightly tannic overtone as well perhaps, a brusque burnt tea-leaf or red wine sediment character. Despite all of this, it maintains that reedy thinness. It's ok, but not really actually good.

Taste is certainly a little better, with a roundness giving a nutty flavour on the mid palate and towards the finish. This melds with and sometimes masks the aniseed character, and the harsh tannins which threatened to invade on the nose. Spicy finish leaves a nice bite, before that pleasant nut character smooths and lingers.

Feel is pleasant enough, but still lacking a little body.

Fortunately, the beer has redeemed itself by the end. That nut character which appeared out of nowhere provided coherence and structure, and blended the flavours of the beer into a sensible whole. Without it, it would be a very different story.

appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Drei Von Dänen
Reviewed by Jez on 31.10.12 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a very dark, hearty black, with a relatively soft and fluid body. Head is a frothy, large-bubbled mess of mocha-brown, that leaves some fine streaks of lacing. The more I look, the more the fluid and light body surprises me for a beer that looks otherwise like this. It's interesting.

Nose is dark and dry, with a rich roasted smokiness, even tending towards ashy. Low intrinsic sweetness, although there's a dark fruit character that gives a hint of black cherries or raspberries. Some dusty cocoa notes come through as it warms as well. It's quite intoxicating.

Taste is deep, roasted and dark, with a biting, slightly bitter nuttiness providing the bulk of the flavour—something like brazil nuts or almond skin. Certainly some bitterness on the back gives a hint of that ashy note suggested by the nose, but the smoothness of the nut character levels it out and slides the palate on. As well as this, the lighter body actually helps restrain the flavour from becoming too pronounced and heavy, again giving this slick, sliding feeling to the beer.

Smooth and tasty. There's an aromatic or ephemeral hint of booze to it, but it barely registers in the flavour. That really helps with the drinkability, as does the true smoothness and lightness on the palate. What you end up with is a super-slick (and super-dangerous) brew.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Dark Depths
Reviewed by Jez on 22.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Pours a deep dark colour, appropriately enough. Pretty fully opaque black, with a frothy, and majestic head of palte brown. Lacing is excellent. Body is a little light, but otherwise, it's a damn-fine looking beer.

Really interesting nose. Roasted, but oddly sweet, almost with a hint of dark fruit like you'd get from Belgian yeast fermentation. Some light crushed green hop characters come through, some pepper, and a pleasant dark spicy note. Really complex and very interesting.

Taste is a bit more disappointing. There's an emptiness through the centre of the palate, that leaves a touch of estery fruit, but not much real sweetness. INstead, the roast nibbles around the edges, and a pronounced bitterness comes through on the back. There's not enough fullness to it, not enough genuine hop flavour for a really nice IPA, and the flavours don't mesh all that well together.

Don't get me wrong. It's a decent beer, and a pretty interesting one as well—but it's a little bit like an experiment that doesn't quite work. Very pleased to have tried it once, but I'm not sure I'll keep drinking it.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Drei Von Dänen
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a very dark brown - not quite black - colour with effervescent head that might have been less ostentatious if I didn't pour it deliberately to be so. Beige colour, quite bubbly on the top but lovely and dense with sticky, off-white lace. Looks awesome.

Smells nice and stouty. Lots of dark chocolate and coffee roasty, but a pleasant wood smoke note backing that up. Kind of salty, with a rich red wine note lurking underneath. Nice contrast, and good roasty backbone to let the other aromas fly.

Taste is dark and brooding. Nice big chocolatey malt upfront that gets kind of salty midway with wood smoke, cedar and a taro root-vegetable kind of note. Smooth, boozey transition to the finish, where that woody cognac note resides, then finish is all roasty, with bitter coffee roasts tempered by a slight puffy grain character. Really pleasant palate, big and bold but not overblown, and a balanced malt profile to match a fine spiritous drink.

Full, but smooth, with a hint of boozey sting late being the only duff note. It's a significant one, though, and very noticeable.

Big brew, with nice complexity. I would call it an after-dinner beer; wouldn't really go with meat or dessert, but will soothe the mind as you sit by the fire after it all. Like a good cognac, really.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Baltic Thunder
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 17.11.11 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a very dark chocolate colour, brown at the edges when held up to the light. Head is off-white, nice and fluffy when poured, dissipated to a thin cloud with a pleasant rim of lace. Slight trickle of bead. Nice.

Smells chocolatey and grainy. Quite sweet, with a mildly bitter cocoa edge to it but largely caramelly and a touch of wet mash aroma to it, giving a fairly underattenuated sense. Touch of espresso at the back, but largely sweet. Not bad, expected more.

Taste is quite similar, quite sweet with a very noticeable freshly malted grain flavour. Touch of caramel and chocolate grain. Yeah very chocolatey really, with a touch of cola, some lemongrass, berries and peanuts, almost peanut buttery late with a touch of saltiness. Not as dark as it could have been, but it's a porter so even though I'm craving more stouty bitterness, I forgive this for its pleasant, lightly roasted-grain flavour and sweet but dry finish. Quite enjoying this.

Bit thinner than I maybe expected for 8.5%, comes across as really quite dry. There's a presence but it's not very thick or malty.

I've had better baltic porters especially from the US, but it's a nice inoffensive drinking beer.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Smoked Baltic Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 14.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Picked up from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.

Pours a pleasantly thick and pleasantly opaque black-brown colour, just giving hints of copper-brown at the edges. Head is large-bubbled, but frothy and firm. Lacing is excellent, leaving rivulets of foam down the edge of the glass, much in the lager style. Looks great.

Nose is equal parts smoky, sulphury and roasted. The sulphur character comes no doubt from the heavy fermentation with lager yeast, but it blends rather smoothly and pleasantly with the smoke and dark characters to give a complete picture. It doesn't have the deep sweetness I might expect from a Baltic Porter, but it has depth nonetheless. Very nice.

Taste is similar, with a big dose of smoke from the rauchmalz, which almost overpowers the rest of the characters. But, no, there are more subtle roasted characters, and even the hint of high-cocoa chocolate giving a vague sweetness, and a smoothness to the feel. Indeed, the body is a little light and crisp, but this is perfectly to style, and the smoothness of flavour gives it a sheen to work around these things.

This is certainly a smoky beer. In fact, the smoke is so dominant it almost makes it truly a smoked beer first, and a Baltic porter (a very distant) second. I actually genuinely love the smoke character, but I appreciate the style on which it is based as well.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Mørke - Pumpernickel Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 07.06.11 in bottle
Overall:
85 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a murky, dark dark brown colour, only a sliver of colour really visible. Head is stunning: beige, dense, small bubbles that wobbles on top but retains, with a beautiful, vibrant cascade when poured. Lace is clingy and thick, like coffee foam. That's a stunning beer.

Smell is very pleasant and roasty. Very grainy, with dark rye bread and some quinoa notes. Some espresso grounds add darker bitterness, while there are some light caramel and raisin notes just brushing it with sweetness. For 7.5%, it could have had more oomph. As it is, it's just nice.

Taste is roasty form the get-go, with dark espresso blending with caramel notes on the assault to give a kind of coffee cake flavour. Roastiness carries the baton to the mid, where it provides a nice earthy bitterness late with a big lift from the spices - fennel, with maybe a touch of star anise and nutmeg. Finish is a bit dry, with dark grain providing a mild bitterness that doesn't have the intensity of a stout, but retains a pleasant smoothness instead. Great palate - sweet, spicy and bitter but retaining a balance and drinkability that you just couldn't do with a stout.

Smooth feel. Not seamless as there's a bit of sharp carbonation midway but otherwise brilliant.

Cracking beer; great use of unusual ingredients to spice up what is already a smooth, drinkable brew.
appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.05.11 on tap
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark, dark brown, just a slight sliver of colour at the edge. Head is gorgeous - ochre, beautifully dense and retaining crackingly well. No real lace, but otherwise just a gorgeous beer.

Goodly amount of chocolate on the nose, bits of espresso on there giving a touch of sour roastiness. Hint of wood as well, but not much. Overall a bit simple for 7% but hits all the right notes.

Taste is similar to the smell but smoother. Lots of chocolate on there, rich and dark and roasty and bitter even. Develops espresso characters on the mid that then get quite spicy towards the finish, with that nice coffee bean piquancyl, which mellows out just beautifully towards the back. A bit sour, but it's drawn out so seamlessly in its transition from front to back. A masterful palate construction.

Full body, nice swirly texture as it goes down. Lovely.

Yeah, theres a bit of a foggy haze as I drink this, quite hot for a porter. It's so pleasant and balanced though, so I just don't care.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Wild Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 01.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
355ml bottle purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley.

Pours a dense and sparkling black-brown, surprisingly fizzing with carbonation as it enters the glass. A head forms, then subsides to a film of melted-milk-chocolate cream. Lacing is slick as the head. Body is reasonably heavy, but doesn't hold much carbonation when tilted. Not bad, but not that exciting.

Nose is very boozy and very oaky, giving some genuinely spiritous notes of American whisky—toasted coconut, bourbon vanilla, and raw, rugged, woody oak. Quite sweet for its part, but it's clear the oak is the main event here.

Taste is similar, very boozy and very oaky, almost to the death of everything else. Indeed, the whisky and oak notes roar up the front palate, and by the time they've subsided, we're left with just a tingle of roasted malt on the back, giving a slight ashy bitterness. Apart from the sweetness that comes from the oak, there's very little roundness or anything filling out the palate.

In some ways, I feel as though the aging process has taken away more than it's given. Sure, we get that huge note of oak and booze, but it's to the detriment of the palate, holistically. It feels to some degree like a beer that has been aged too long—it's just a little too thin and a little too empty for what it is.

Not a bad drop, and interesting to try, but I think I'll stick to the original Gonzo.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 17.03.11 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a very, very dark brown, just tinged round the sides. Head is ochre; settles out to a thinnish film with some decent clingy, thick lace. Pretty good-lookin' dark heavy.

Smells quite espresso-esque. Lots of roasty, almost spicy, coffee with slight sour, vegetative edge and a good, intense peppery spice that almost makes me sneeze. Sweet oak underlying as well. Not sure about its overall drinking appeal but it's intriguing and nicely complex.

Taste is intense, with big whomps of flavour throughout. Lotso roasty malts with espresso and dark oak with plenty of liceorice and pepper as well. Mild vanilla underlying, with a slight weak cocoa that also lingers past the back of the roast flavours. Full, heavy beer with the big spike of flavour on the front where it should be, and a decent lingering afterwards. Nice.

A good texture to this beer, it just glides down. Does feel a bit thin upfront, but I think that's par for the porter course, even a big one like this.

Yeah, the mild finish is a surprise, but a pleasant one, and it in fact excels to become the key selling point here.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique
Reviewed by Jez on 12.03.11 in bottle
Overall:
88 / 100
(Superb)
Purchased for me from Slowbeer by @epiclurk, and shared with @FakeCousinAndrew, @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.

Very dark black body, with a hint of reddish transparency at the edges when held to the light. Head is pleasantly full and crackly, a deep tan colour. Minimal lacing, and the body is actually slightly lighter than I expected, but otherwise, a really good looking beer--one I want to sink my teeth into.

Lovely roasted but slightly sweet character, a lot like you get in a barrel-aged American Impy Stout. Some amount of almost seltzer acidity to it, but with very dark overtones of burned out campfires and toasted coconut. Deep but pleasant.

Taste is very roasted, but with really lovely notes of brazil nuts and almonds coming through to balance the dark characters. Gives it a leavened and sweeter, lighter note to go with the bold and brash darkness. Very refined as well.

Mouthfeel is slightly lighter than it might be, but this perhaps is the only thing that turns this from an Imperial Stout into a Baltic Porter. It's ever so slightly more supple and airy on the palate, which aids the drinkability.

Very, very good beer this one. Trois Mousquetaires continues to impress me, and this, indeed, is them at the top of their game.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Baltika #6 Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 03.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)

Cheers to @laituegonflable for the bottle for Xmas.

Pours a dark and devlishly opaque red brown. Only in the thin parts of the glass can you see any light through it, and then it's clouded into obscurity. Head is frothy at first, and settles into a fine-bubbled film on the top that looks pretty sturdy and creamy. Lacing is good, and the body has some good weight behind it. Overall, a decent looking brew.

Dark grain on the nose, with lashings of molasses and tea-leaf, and an odd estery weizen character. Nose is strangely balanced between all these, and it gets a shock of boozy vinous characters as well, leaving it a very odd package all up. Together, they create these phantom characters of chilli pepper and vanilla. Weird.

Taste is similar, although the sweetness is a little more pronounced here and the estery characters of banana come through a little more strongly. Dark grain character on the back, but the booze note sweeps up here as well, leaving it more like a burn of spirits on the finish - sharp dark bitter fruits, a bit of cherry liqueur. Feel is very smooth and soft.

For all its oddities, this is a reasonably pleasant beer. It has a lot of smoothness and a wide swathe of flavours on the palate. Love the complexity, even if the complexity means it ends up a little anarchic.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Mørke - Pumpernickel Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 29.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)

Brewed at Norway's Nøgne Ø by Denmark's second most prolific non-brewery, sent to California and picked up by an Australian to sample. What a multicultural brew... I like that "Hops were harmed in the production of this beer".

Looked as though it wasn't forming a head as I poured it, so made the mistake of enhancing the angle, leaving me with a good five centimetres of foam once the head coalesces. Body indeed, as they would say in Denmark, mørke, a deep and dark red-black colour which light has trouble penetrating, even though it doesn't seem to be opaque with sediment. Head is frothy and tan, leaving little lacing, but looking boisterous as it collapses. Pretty tasty looking brew, it has to be said.

Nose is relatively dark, but reasonably subdued. Some clout of burnt rubber, a hint of bourbon barrel but minimal spice as suggested by the title. Smells robust and roasted at least, a very pleasant stout character (which the bottle claims it is, despite the name of the brew: "Stout with spices added"). Not as robust as some, but true enough and tasty enough.

Taste is also pleasant and true, without really pushing the envelope. Spice? I wish it had it, because it would probably liven up the beer a lot. What we end up with is a roasty and deep, but reasonably generic. The rye perhaps lends a slight rugbrød note to it, and the dry finish rather accentuates the yeast and bread characters. Perhaps it is slightly different to a standard stout or dark baltic porter - in fact, the more I drink, the more I get a pumpernickel bread character to it - but it doesn't extend the realms of beerdom in the ways I thought it might. Feel is smooth and clear, with a slight sheen.

Certainly not a bad beer. In fact, it's one that I enjoyed a great deal, and would enjoy again. Possibly a beer that didn't quite live up to its potential in my mind, but certainly a worth brew nonetheless.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a reddish-tinged dark, dark brown colour. Head is ochre, thin and bubbly, with lacing that is decent but doesn't really stick. Nice colour; head is a bit lacklustre but a quick swill revives it nicely with delicious reverse cascading. Nice.

Smells quite dark and sour, with a really odd cherry note coming through and a real liqueury bitterness. Some coconut notes coming through as well; if there were more chocolate this would smell like a cherry ripe. It's quite sour overall though and more sweetness would be pleasant. Impressive, though, and I'm most definitely intrigued.

Taste has lots of coconut on it. A slight cherry sourness as well, and hints of copper. Sweet with touches of mild coffee on the back. Some vinous notes on the mid that also add a touch of booziness to proceedings and yeah, some dark fruits like currants/raisins on there as well. Nicely tart to go with the mild darkness.

Texture is a bit thin but there is a decent foaminess on there as well. Yeah pretty nice, I quite like it.

An interesting drop. Plenty of flavour but nothing really overly bold or dark. A nice full-flavoured porter.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Alaskan Baltic Porter (Pilot Series)
Reviewed by Jez on 25.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
89 / 100
(Superb)

Pours a deep dark brown, with surprisingly good clarity, and hints of ruby at the edges. Head is a foamy mess of crunchy light brown, which leaves sudsy, foaming lacing as the beer goes down. Looks quite wonderful.

Big blackcurrant notes on the nose, mingled with darker notes of oak and spicy charred grain. Hints of oatmeal, coconut and red wine shine through too. Oh man, this is freaking delicious. So much complexity, but all so well melded and integrated. Really lovely.

Taste is also beautiful. Big redolent notes of oak and grain, but subtly and deliciously sweetened by characters of dark fruit and chocolate, then layered with light vinous acidity and fresh coconut juice. Really, really lovely. Feel is smooth, but not too heavy.

Such an exceptionally smooth and deliciously drinkable beer. For all its complexity, depth, alcohol content and pure unadulterated strength, it comes out comforting and delicious. What a fantastic beer.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Le Baron Noir
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.08.10 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Looks like cola when poured. Seriously, it's dark, red-tinged brown with lots of big bubbles around the side. Leaves a nice ring of cream-coloured lace which is where the resemblance falls down. Not a huge head, otherwise looks pretty...hmmm...mediocre.

Nose is pleasant and chocolatey. A lot of smooth, dark chocolate on there, slight cola (again!) character, lots of dark toffee as well, burnt sugar really. Yeah, sweet, dark, maybe some milky coffee on there as well, pretty pleasant.

Taste is a bit thin, some pleasant roastiness on there. Cocoa with hazelnuts, mild coffee bean character and a slight hint of English toffee. Starts sweet, gets nutty and a bit roasty at the end but never reached a 'lot' of flavour. Thin on the mouthfeel and palate. It's decent but I wouldn't really rate this against some other Baltic porters I've had, it just seems a bit insipid for something I expect to be richer, heartier. This is a good porter, but I expect more flavour and texture when you ramp up the ABV to 7%.

Certainly drinkable, I'm just a little disappointed in the palate.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Le Baron Noir
Reviewed by Jez on 16.08.10 on tap
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)

On tap at the Local Taphouse's Canadian Spectapular in Sydney.

Deep, dark red colour, almost black except for the clarity in the body which allows the passage of some light. Head is a pleasant film of dusty light brown. Decent lacing. Nice.

Very boozy on the nose - pleasant with dark rum and bourbon noticeable, all balanced with a base of dark roasted grain. Very delicious indeed; so dark and nice.

Taste is also good, with a big welling of booze and darkness, matched very pleasantly with some rugged grain notes. Even a hint of kirsch or cherry seed coming through along with the liquor characters. It's all very nicely matched together. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I'd expect, but not bad.

Yep, this is a very nice brew all up. Tingling with flavour and very rich. I'm quite the fan.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 07.07.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a very dark mahogany character, just a shade or two under pitch-black. Head is ochre, beautifully dense, a few pock-marks appearing on the top giving it a meringue appearance. Lace is a bit sparse, sticky but a touch on the thin side. The only criticism I have of a beautiful beer.

Smell is mostly sweet and chocolatey. Not a huge amount of dark or roasted character. Slight toastiness but yeah, distinct cocoa and espresso with a hint of cherry and some mint. Mild nutty character, roasted almonds and some brown sugar as well. Pleasant, but overall subdued. I'd expect more for the style.

Taste is curious. Starts chocolatey, dark overall but with a distinct sweetness, then gets more robust as the palate goes on. More roastiness comes through, lots of spice with some star anise notes, warming alcohol and espresso coffee. Sweet for the most part, lots of cocoa and more brown sugar. Quite smooth. Has a subtle, actually almost underplayed palate. The palate is deceptively simple and all the stuff that's going on beneath the surface is very pleasant indeed.

Fair amount of body, slight spiritous harshness towards the back, leaves creamy, but leaves a dryness behind. Very nice texture.

Yeah, the subtle underpinnings of a sweet tasty beer packed into a darker, more robust hamper.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series)
Reviewed by Jez on 03.07.10 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)

Bought in New York, and carted back to Sydney via LAX miraculously unscathed.

Pours a deep and dark tawny brown-black, with a very fine-bubbled foam of chocolate brown head. Some very nice lacing, and it looks pretty heavy. I like it.

Big toasty notes of dark, bitter chocolate, with boozy overtones on the nose. Dark notes of rum and brandy. Plenty of dark, sweet and heavy notes to make this worthy of the Big Beer moniker.

Taste is full of quite sweet dark characters, like fruit mince. Spicy and redolent with that slightly spiritous booze aroma. It's certainly not as roasted and intense as a stout would be, but it has much of the woozy spice and heady elevation that a high alcohol stout often imbues.

Very drinkable for its breadth and depth. To be completely fair, I've had better and richer dark, strong beers. This is a very nice one, but I must have had unreasonably high expectations.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Zywiec Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.06.10 in bottle
Overall:
54 / 100
(OK)
Pours a dark, dark brown hue, mahogany around the edges. Head is disappointingly invisible or even, one might say, not there. Leaves small, inoffensive drops of lacing here and there but not much. Looks thick, but otherwise flat and dull.

Nose is fairly dark and sweet. Traces of chocolate, honey and breadcrumbs in there. Definitely a lot of grain and yeah, a sweetness dominating. Decent and appealing enough, could definitely use more roasty aroma and strength.

Taste is a bit meaty actually. Has a light toasted character on the front, then takes on a certain sweet-but-savoury character, like a glaze with more honey, some molasses as well, and a slightly rich salty character like beef. Some woody notes to finish and a slight whisper of burnt bitterness right at the end. Has its moments but ultimately a bit sweet and syrupy for me, lacks the robustness one would expect, even from a porter. Good job hiding the alcohol though.

A bit watery but not quite, has a texture as it slides down. Alcohol noticeable as a slight sting in the tail. Not bad.

Yeah, enjoyable enough. Just lacks depth and strength of character. There's a niggling thought that this bottle is a bit old, so standby for a re-review in the future some time.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Gonzo Imperial Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 29.01.10 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark cola colour with modest beige head, sinks quickly to leave a thin rim around the glass. Not much bead, and lace is thin but nice and sticky. Decent porter look.

Nose is fairly roasty, with a bit of sourness like good roasted coffee. Hints on there as well of macadamias and hazelnuts, a nice hint of smoke as well to go with obvious chocolate notes. Nice and mild/sweet, but would like more aroma.

Taste is fairly roasty with a lot of nuttiness - burnt, roasted flavour on the front blends into more macadamias, hazelnuts and a little marzipan sourness. Some nice roasty bitterness on the back is not overdone, has a pleasant and sweet chocolate character backing up the burnt smokiness, like dark wood. Overall creates a very balanced dark beer, nice burnt but lots of chocolatey sweetness.

Very thick feel, lots of texture. Almost too much, I kind of wish it was a bit thinner to go with the sweetness. Kind of overemphasises the roasty bitterness. But it's still good.

Can't detect a lot of alcohol and the burnt roastiness is well tempered and balanced, a very drinkable beer.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Mash Baltic Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.12.09 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse on one of the hottest days of the year. Am I insane?

Pours a dark, dark brown with slight jaffa-orange tinge up to the light, mocha cream head that is nice and densely foamy but sinks quite quickly, leaving a modest crown behind. Lacing is nice and thick.

Nose is a nice rich, dark affair - lots of pleasantly dark chocolate, with some espresso notes and some spicy notes of aniseed. Almost has a bit of an ouzo character lingering behind thanks as well to a slight alcohol fragrance. But yeah, rich and chocolatey overall.

Taste is quite spicy and dark, a lot of licorice on there and a petroleum robustness to it. Has a sour flavour reminiscent of cooked asparagus, a fair espresso character and some bitter cocoa. Overall a bit lacking - actually a bit watery for the most part of the mid-palate. Palate resides mostly on the back, while finish is a bit light, with a whisper of burntness and a slight sour espresso flavour. Decent, but a bit underwhelming for a Baltic.

Mouthfeel is fairly slick, kind of watery in the mouth but a thicker, richer texture going down the throat.

Certainly drinkable - alcohol is well hidden and flavour is nice. The lack of robustness is a bit disappointing for the style but certainly doesn't harm its quaffability.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Grand Imperial Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
If there were a BeerFly entry for the Little Bottler opposite Granville Station in Sydney I'd file a report, but somehow I don't think there is. Anyway, that's where I picked this one up.

Pours a very dark brown with a red tinge, ochre head that froths delightfully around when poured. Head becomes a thin crown, but lacing is a beautiful sheet of sticky beige. Looks, great, looks porterish. 2 thumbs up.

Nose is delightfully rich and complicated, like Anna Nicole Smith. Strong espresso character with a tart, plummy edge, but also something so sweet behind it, it's a muscat character, liqueury and syrupy. Perhaps a little too sweet for me, but otherwise fantastic smell.

On the palate, that sweet, fortified wine character takes over and renders this very sweet indeed. Has very little roasted character, but notes of sweet cherry, grapes and fruity syrup runoff. Finish is slightly darker, but never reaches any charcoaly bitterness which I was expecting. It's just thick and syrupy, particularly on the feel, a little heavy in the mouth.

Overall, this has some very nice flavours that just don't quite hit the spot with me because it's all so thick and rich and sweet. But it's very enjoyable and a unique brew I'm very happy to have had. I'm very pleasantly surprised by this Polish Porter, but ultimately where it comes from is immaterial - this is just a great beer.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Grand Imperial Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 10.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)

Pours a deep reddish black, with an initially tight-bubbled head of crema foam, which collapses against the edges of the glass, leaving some truly excellent lacing. Shame about the retention, but otherwise a fine looking beer.

Very toasty, roasted grain character. Lots of dark bread, organic sweetness, and even the tantalising hint of smoke and port. Really extremely sweet and sweaty, quite organic, roasted and dark. Not bad at all.

Smooth and incredibly sweet on the palate. Dark fruit mingles with dark chocolate, not unlike a Bavarian black forest cake. Again, there are hints of smoke and deeper things, but the rich, heavy, christmas pudding type brandy-soaked fruit sweetness wins out without even trying. A very heavy and full-flavoured brew. Mouthfeel is extremely good, a smooth and thick chewy texture that works in perfect harmony with the rich sweetness on the palate.

An extremely flavoursome and very heavy beer. Very, very sweet - would make an excellent complement to a dark, sweet dessert. I enjoyed it a great deal.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Voodoo
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)

On tap at Sydney's Local Beer SpecTapular.

Lovely reddish dark brown colour, with a fine bubbled head of crema foam. Very clear, which I actually don't like, but it's pretty tasty looking overall.

Quite a sharp roasted note on the nose, hint of spice like cinnamon, but otherwise quite roasted and raw, with a slight sour character coming up. Not bad, but pretty "Australian Dark Ale"-like. Typical.

Taste is prtety similar, although the sweet roasty note sticks around for a while, and is pleasant enough. There is a light sour note on the palate too, but I'm not wowed by this overall. Pretty thin on the mouth too.

Not an incredibly impressive batic porter. Certainly not terribly heavy or complex, and I can't say I'm a huge fan overall. It comes out as a pretty weak and generic Australian dark.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Voodoo
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a slightly red-tinged very dark brown, with a thin ring of head left from a decent froth, nice beige colour. Wobbles a bit, thick and gelatinous in the glass, looks pretty nice.

Nose is a big hit of intense coffee roastedness, slight vanilla/choc sweetness, hint of wood smoke as well. Robust and pleasant, a good man's beer with nice burnt aromas.

Taste is really quite tart, with the burnt character being there but not overwhelming. A sourness, almost balsamic vinegary in character, is the dominant flavour. Hints of espresso and cocoa behind it, but it's really more tart than anything else. Finish has a nice roasty bitterness and more what I'd expect from a Baltic Porter.

Quite nice drinking with good flavours, and a slick, slightly full mouthfeel. Not as thick as I expected from the gelatinous wobble it gives off when you swish the glass. Decent overall though, definitely decent.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Shipyard Imperial Porter (Pugsley's Signature Series)
Reviewed by Jez on 06.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a very odd reflective dark brown. The curve of liquid out of the bottle looks transparent from the reflections of light it was scattering. In the glass, it's a deep red brown, with a thick head of beige foam. Good lacing. Looks very decent indeed.

Extremely sweet notes of nuts and chocolate on the nose, very reminiscent of a rich chocolate brownie. Some caramel, and light rum-like alcohol note as well. Very sweet - quite a noseful, to be honest.

Rich smoky character on the palate. Lots of charred malt, tannins and a heavy blackness, undeniably like nicotine. The palate starts quite sweet, with a caramel quality, but quick lets out a bomb of ashy roasted black, which permeates the rest of the palate. It's not bad, but it's just a little intense, and once it hits, that's all you get.

Very heavy brew, where the roasted character is the main event, verging on being the only event. Not bad - in fact, pretty interesting. Something I can only handle in moderation though.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Gonzo Imperial Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 28.05.09 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a deep dark brown with an absolutely massive solid and thick head of light brown bubbles. Just huge and billowy, to the point of ".. the hell??". Some very nice fine carbonation around the edges of the glass ensures the head stays well fed. Pretty insane look, but pretty good too.

Light carbonic acidity, dark bread characters and a noticeable fragrant hop twang. The dark notes are underneath, and the hops are pungent and fruity over the top, leaving this a very pleasant highly-hopped hybrid porter. I approve.

On the palate, the dark malts take to the fore, with a rich and creamy burnt grain husk character. It's lightened though by the crisp and invigorating hop bitterness which mingles very well with the roasted bitter characters. It left me unsure where the hops ended and the malt began, which was quite an exciting experience. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick, certainly not as opressively effervescent as the head might have lead me to believe. An excellent palate, all round, one which has a lot to offer.

That 7.8% is well hidden, and this is a sippable and enjoyable brew. Despite its forthright and irreverent nature, it stays surprisingly drinkable. But rest assured, there's enough kick in it to remind you that it's still near the cutting edge.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Baltic Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.12.08 on tap
Overall:
84 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours black-ish with brown-tinged edge when held up to the light. Virtually no head, but leaves yummy circle of lacing where the head would be.

Nose is very Belgian - rich and sour with a strong berry character and an almost brandy strength to it. Quite reminiscent of Rodenbach Grand Cru, only pleasant. Fantastic, even.

Chocolatey and thick on the palate. Has a sour woody character on the front but softens to very sweet and dark cocoa-rich chocolate towards the back. In two words, fucking divine. Such boldness and depth on the palate. Rich and delicious.

Mouthfeel is so smooth and velvety. Delicious.

Not a beer for every day, but save me Jeebus, what a beer!
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5