Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 25, 2004
2004 bottle from growler, thanks footbalm. This Baltic Porter pours with a dark brown to black body topped by a thin head with some lacing. The aroma and flavor are great! They’re slightly sweet and malty with notes of dark fruit, a nice chocolate note and a little alcohol. Medium to full bodied, slightly tingly yet smooth. BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - NOV 22, 2004
2004 bottle from growler, thanks to ClarkVV for bringing this to the VA/MD/DC gathering: This beer was one of the highlights of the entire gathering.....that really does say a lot considering the other beers in attendance. Dark black with a small tan head. Medium to full bodied. Great aroma of scotch, bourbon, aged wood, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, light smoke, fruit(?). Taste is exactly what I expected from the aroma. There’s vanilla, bitter chocolate, mild oak, port, coffee, toffee, roasty, light alcohol. The mouthfeel is simply the best I’ve ever had in a beer. It’s like drinking liquid silk. Curious what a perfect 5 on palate is like? This is your beer. ClarkVV (6839) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 22, 2004
UPDATED: APR 19, 2006 2004 bottle from the growler, from footbalm, the most generous trader I’ve ever traded with Brought this baby to the DCMDVAWV gathering. Aroma of scotch, deep, strong, rich and alcoholic. On sheer strength, I’d give it a 10, but because it masks a good amount of the baltic porter aroma, I think it’s only fair to give it a 9. I love the aroma, but this is a beer, not a glass of liquor. Flavor is simply phenomenal. I can barely describe it. You expect to be knocked down by all of the bourbon in the aroma, but it eases up a good deal in the flavor. Vanilla and coffee beans, dark espresso, black licorice, molasses and thick, rich, strong toffee all weave about on the palate, tied together by perhaps the most luxuriously rich, silky palate I’ve experienced. It’s decadent, it’s big, it’s damned good. Because this is from the growler, it has a touch of thinning on the end, but that’s to be expected and hard to really fault the brewer. Very fresh flavor all the way through, with notes of charcoal, bitter tree sap and oak on the finish. Like rum raisin pudding, with a big black pot of french vanilla roast coffee. Spectacular and not overated, I can definitely say that. Deep dark black appearance, small ultra dark tan/mocha head that rapidly fizzles away (it’s from the growler, and yes it’s got a lot of alcohol). Almost want to give it a five for appearance, I’m less concerned that a beer has head retention than I am that is is unfiltered, which this obviously is. Still, notwithstanding how great of an experience it was, the alcohol, roast and bourbon do mask a lot of the qualities I’d like to see out of a baltic porter. Eyedrinkale (3214) - Astoria, New York, USA - NOV 22, 2004
OK, so it’s #16 on the site and one of the Top 3 beers I had at the VA/MD/DC Gathering. There is more going on in the glass then there are notes in my book, thats for sure. Highlights of this magnificent beer is the vanilla, bitter cocoa and roasted coffee. Since I am so freakin sick of oak and bourbon flavors, this was nicely done without being over the top. scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 22, 2004
One of my highlights from the DC/MD/VA gathering. Had maybe 2 ozs worth of this amazing brew. Pitch black, small fizzy tan head. Very complex nose hits you quick with wood, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, coffee and chocolate notes, with lesser notes of tawny port, smoke, and dark fruits found in the background. Aroma and flavor are one in the same. A thinking brew for sure. It was balanced with a decent bitterness rounding it out. Full bodied, soft carbonation, thick vicious, slightly burnt bitter finish. Awesome stuff.....
egajdzis (6693) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 21, 2004
UPDATED: OCT 19, 2006 Poured an opaque black color with a small off white head, light lacing on the glass. Aroma of vanilla oak, chocolate, roast raisins and other dark fruits. Taste was that of more chocolate, roast and vanilla, very light alcohol from the barrel aging was present. Velvety soft mouthfeel. Suttree (6484) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - NOV 21, 2004
BIG thanks to footbalm for this - Has one person ever done this much to champion a beer? And what a beer. Pours black, with no head. Big aroma assault - Bourbon, vanilla up front, with hints of chocolate and port. Flavors include the bourbon, of course, but also vanilla, plum and prune, with some understated oak. I can pick up some hints of red wine, as well. There is a slight and ever-so slightly irritating alcohol burn. Every sip seems different, and it is obviously well put together. The wide variety of flavors blend seemlessly. argo0 (14127) - Washington DC, USA - NOV 21, 2004
UPDATED: SEP 5, 2005 The last time I tried this beer was during a massive gathering, during which I had had lots of beers already, and the sample size I had was minimal. This time it was the Dark Knight Returns version, sampled at the brewpub. Black body, tan head, nice lacing. Aroma is moderately sweet, vanilla, bourbon, molasses, light caramel, chocolate. Taste is much the same, though the chocolate is more pronounced and nearly the equal to the vanilla. Moderately-full body, smooth/creamy. An enjoyable beer, but I am not nearly so blown away as I was last time. (6/4/8/4/15)
zathrus13 (1776) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - NOV 20, 2004
I do not pay much attention to the Top 50 beers these days, so I had no idea this was a Top 50 beer when I tried it (Dark Knight). Nevertheless, it stood out as soon as I tried it, definitely the top new beer I tried at the DC gathering yesterday. Black body with minimal tan head. Aroma is medium sweet, peat/scotch, roasty, oak, light caramel, vinous. Taste is moderately sweet, oak, peat/scotch, chocolate, roasty, light alcohol (12%?! I had no clue!) Medium-full body. Absolutely delicious! I often ask what an Imperial Porter is supposed to be -- a souped-up porter is a stout, so why the fancy name? Now that I have had this beer, I have an answer. (8/4/9/5/19)
UPDATED: OCT 8, 2006 First off, footbalm’s the man. Thanks for bottling this for me any so many others.
Color is black, with a small tan head. Aroma is crazy... bourbon dominates,then chocolate, dark fruit, and vanilla. Body is relatively full and creamy, with tastes of bourbon (again dominate), chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, coffee and some oak. Alcohol is not hidden at all, but it doesn’t detract from the flavor. Absolutely amazing brew. SpringsLicker (3665) - Tennessee, USA - NOV 20, 2004
Thanks to Suttree for sharing this and to Footbalm for all the work he’s done spreading this one around! You did a fine job bottling this from the growler.
Good pop when the cap was lifted on the bottle that formerly held a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale showed that this one hadn’t lost it. Black pour with just a bit of foam that circled the top of the glass. If there was any translucency here, it was too dark at our sampling location to detect it, but this is a very dense brew and I doubt that a brightly lit room would have revealed any more than I could detect.
The first aroma was a heavy solvent - almost varnish like, but swirling the glass released the aromas beneath the vapors that rested on top to reveal heavy chocolate, vanilla, coffee and alcohol in a complex blend. Very heavy aroma that seemed to change constantly. The flavor worked well with the aroma, delivering lots of bitter chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, coffee and roast malt. Not a subtle brew, this one comes out punching.
The medium body worked well with the alcohol, strong but smooth. This is a fine Baltic Porter but a little over the top. Backing off a bit on the Bourbon barrel and/or alcohol content would make this more appealing to me, but if you like a heavy bourbon touch, then you’ll find this one to be a "5".