Ever since coming up with the venerable iStout over a decade ago, 8 Wired have always had a thing for big, bold, dark beers. Baltic Smoke, a New World Beer & Cider Top 30 Baltic Porter is certainly one of those, but with a few surprising nuances that stand it apart. Like all Baltic Porters, it’s been cold fermented and conditioned like a lager, which has quite an effect on its character compared with other strong dark ales.
The unmistakable black forest chocolate aroma that’s so core to Baltic Porter is here but intertwined with gently salty German beechwood smoke. Meanwhile, the cold fermentation produces an immensely smooth palate (despite the high 8% abv) which lets the big chocolate and coffee flavours slide along the tongue, with a berry fruit complexity and aromatic bitterness rising in the finish.
This is absolute comfort beer and enjoying it over these increasingly cold winter months is like a big weighty duvet for the soul.