Though labeled “Baltic”, a name derived from the beer’s voyage through, as well as by the brewers circling the Baltic Sea who took up this style, this porter actually hails from England. As one of the country’s main exported beers along side IPA and Russian Imperial Stouts at the time, Baltic Porters were shipped to their allies in the east and consequently shared en route. Much like England’s IPAs, which endured the long trek to India, Baltic Porters ended up a different beer than when it had left, changing with the colder temperatures of the voyage. Combined with it’s time at sea this beer, brewed as an ale, essentially became cold-conditioned, smoothing it out considerably.
The beer loving countries who acquired a taste for this beer as England passed through, such as Denmark, Poland, Norway, and Sweden, took to this beer, brewing it as their own; a lager, or in some cases, a cold-conditioned ale or a hybrid beer, developing it into the style it is today.
Baltic Porters have risen to popularity in America as craft brewers strive to produce unique styles; this one in particular combines the bold porter flavor and maltiness with the smoothness of ever-popular lagers for a unique experience.
Don’t let this dark beer’s appearance be deceptive; most Baltic Porters are brewed as a lager and remain incredibly smooth though they appear menacing. Dark brown to black in color, Baltic Porters should be served in a snifter little warmer than other beers, poured at 55 – 60°F so their nuances can emerge fully.
Sweet malt aromas are dominant and impart chocolate character from milk to bitter dark cocoa and are the ingredient that also contribute the style’s common dark fruit theme of raisins, plum, prune, and so on. The beer’s flavor mirrors that of the aroma and typically is void of any hop character as it’s presence is only the for balance. Molasses and anise, or licorice, are also common aromas or flavors in Baltic Porters, again, derived from the dark malts used.
The cold-conditioning or lager process leaves this dark beer smooth as velvet, full-bodied and sweet but never cloying and usually deceptive as this style can range from a “lower” 7% ABV to pushing 10% ABV making it a damn good cold weather warmer!
Milwaukee Brewing Co. “Admiral” Stash
Vintage Brewing Co. Ulfberht