Baltika 6 Porter

I think this may very well be my first beer from Russia. It says it was brewed there, and it is "premium," but that seems like a very subjective term. The bottle itself is embossed with the seal of the brewer, and it looks fantastic. It has this odd little pull tab attached to the cap that makes it easy to open without a bottle opener, but it seems like it's different just for the sake of being different. I wish some US brewers would spend this much time designing and making their cans and bottles.

The black beer is tainted slightly red and slightly brown at the fringes of the glass, but the middle is pretty implacable. There isn't much head to start with, and it pretty much goes away almost completely (yes, there is a semicircle around the rim, but it feels like it doesn't want to be there). The aroma is thick and rich with heavy liquor, wood, oatmeal, and smoke.

First sip is caramel, coffee, chocolate syrup, and even some cola. It's a striking beer that is distinctly unlike any of the porters that have come before it. This is a beer from a country I've never had one from, and like the time I had a beer from Iceland, this has a special and unique take on the style that I can only assume is indicative of the kind the country of origin likes in their beers. I know this is dangerous ground - I don't want anyone to think that Budweiser is what we Americans look for in a beer.

Tip-in is bitter chocolate syrup, slight coffee, and some cherries. The middle spread out into a strange and almost indistinguishable mix of oak, light toasted wheat, and the kiss of a harder liquor. The finish is an onslaught of bitterness, toffee, caramel, coffee, and more bitterness.

Bottom Line: Odd and hard to really get into.



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