Brew Review – Victory Brewing, “Baltic Thunder”

Victory Brewing's Baltic Thunder

Have you ever lost a loved one?  I mean a beer.  A beer you loved?  A beer you told all your friends about?  A beer you’d take home to your mother? And then one day, it’s gone.  You read it in a newspaper or got a tweet from a friend.  Gone.  Never to be seen again.

The reasons why beers disappear are varied.  Sometimes the breweries just aren’t that good.  Sometimes it’s location.  Sometimes it’s business.  But whatever the reason, breweries and brewpubs close down.  And every now and then, a great beer goes down with them.

Such is the case (in my opinion) with Heavyweight  Brewery’s Perkuno’s Hammer Imperial Porter.  Heavyweight, in Ocean Township NJ, closed in 2006 and sadly took this awesome beer (and many of the other great beers they brewed) with it.  But sometimes, good people won’t let good beers die.  Cue the people from Victory Brewing.  After realizing that Hammer’s disappearance from the shelves left a huge empty hole  that needed to be filled they put their heads together with Tom Baker (Heavyweight Owner/Brewer – he was last seen  here) and Lew Bryson (well known Author of Mid-Atlantic breweries)  and came up with their own tribute to the style – Baltic Thunder in 2008.

*SNIFF* Heavyweight's long gone beer.

Them : Baltic (Imperial) porters are similiar to IPA’s in that they were born due to a need for beer to survive being shipped a great distance.  Introduced to the Russian’s, the dark beer was brewed with a higher level of alcohol to survive the trip.  The grain bill  for Baltic consists of imported German 2 row and roasted malts.  An interesting addition to the grain bill is black-eyed peas which substitutes for the Roman Beans (Tom’s research showed they were a traditional ingredient in the style) found in the original beer. The beer clocks in at 8.5% ABV and can usually be found in 22oz bottles and on rare occasions draft.

Me : Baltic Thunder pours  with a small head the dissipates into a thin ring that circles the entire edge of the glass.  The color is black from top to bottom – no light getting through this baby.  The nose has tones of malt, mocha and chocolate.  Some people I know would probably dial coffee in there as well – it all depends on what your palette reference is built from.  In the mouth Baltic Thunder continues along the same theme. It starts in the front with a malty (dare I say sweetness – perhaps molasses) that finishes in the back with a dry roastiness.  And then all that lingers in the after taste, along with slight stickiness.

Thanks Victory for saving one of my favorite beers.  Now if you could bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000, that would be awesome!

What beer have you lost that you wish someone would bring back?

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