Baltic Porter

9C. Baltic Porter
Overall Impression:
A Baltic Porter often has the malt flavors reminiscent of an English porter and the restrained roast of a schwarzbier, but with a higher OG and alcohol content than either. Very complex, with multi-layered malt and dark fruit flavors.

Aroma:
Rich malty sweetness often containing caramel, toffee, nutty to deep toast, and/or licorice notes. Complex alcohol and ester profile of moderate strength, and reminiscent of plums, prunes, raisins, cherries or currants, occasionally with a vinous Port-like quality. Some darker malt character that is deep chocolate, coffee or molasses but never burnt. No hops. No sourness. Very smooth.

Appearance:
Dark reddish-copper to opaque dark brown (not black). Thick, persistent tan-colored head. Clear, although darker versions can be opaque.

Flavor:
As with aroma, has a rich malty sweetness with a complex blend of deep malt, dried fruit esters, and alcohol. Has a prominent yet smooth schwarzbier-like roasted flavor that stops short of burnt. Mouth-filling and very smooth. Clean lager character. Starts sweet but darker malt flavors quickly dominates and persists through finish. Just a touch dry with a hint of roast coffee or licorice in the finish. Malt can have a caramel, toffee, nutty, molasses and/or licorice complexity. Light hints of black currant and dark fruits. Medium-low to medium bitterness from malt and hops, just to provide balance. Hop flavor from slightly spicy hops ranges from none to medium-low.

Mouthfeel:
Generally quite full-bodied and smooth, with a well-aged alcohol warmth. Medium to medium-high carbonation, making it seem even more mouth-filling. Not heavy on the tongue due to carbonation level.

Comments:
May also be described today as an Imperial Porter, although heavily roasted or hopped versions are not appropriate for this style. Most versions are in the 7-8.5% ABV range. Danish breweries often refer to them as Stouts, which indicates their historic lineage from the days when Porter was used as a generic name for Porter and Stout.

History:
Traditional beer from countries bordering the Baltic Sea, developed indigenously after higher-gravity export brown or imperial stouts from England were established. Historically top-fermented, many breweries adapted the recipes for bottom-fermenting yeast along with the rest of their production.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Generally lager yeast (cold fermented if using ale yeast, as is required when brewed in Russia). Debittered chocolate or black malt. Munich or Vienna base malt. Continental hops (Saazer-type, typically). May contain crystal malts and/or adjuncts. Brown or amber malt common in historical recipes.

Style Comparison:
Much less roasted and smoother than an Imperial Stout, typically with less alcohol. Lacks the roasty qualities of stouts in general, more taking on the roasted-but-not-burnt characteristics of a schwarzbier. Quite fruity compared to other porters. Higher alcohol than other porters.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.060 – 1.090
IBUs: 20 – 40 FG: 1.016 – 1.024
SRM: 17 – 30 ABV: 6.5 – 9.5%

Commercial Examples:
Aldaris Porteris, Baltika #6 Porter, Devils Backbone Danzig, Okocim Porter, Sinebrychoff Porter, Zywiec Porter