BALTIC MAJESTY. Copious tan head with nearly a milkshake foam kind of texture, but short-lived for all its swelling glory. Pour is nearly gummy black like oil and impenetrable in the glass. The aroma begins chocolate and malt-heavy with some dried fruit, and as it warms releases increasingly potent purple grape that one realizes was lurking all along. Flavors are thick with toasted barley, bit of anise, cocoa powder, counterbalanced by a lightly citric, almost lemony note in the finish at slightly chilled temperatures. Especially creamy and roasted cocoa-heavy when it warms fully and ‘matures’, though, as it should be enjoyed. Noble hops (Saaz, Hallertau) remain present towards the back of the palate to maintain a bright but not strident mouthfeel despite modest effervescence, along with a hint of phenols and a surprising but magnificently-played lactic twist towards the finish. Alcohol of 7.2% is hardly to be noted, but high enough to lighten the body substantially (ca. 1.015 SG), while bitterness overall is high for the style (45 IBU) and just equal to its sweet first play. Finish is thick but not overbearing; leaves an impression more than a flavor over time. A true paragon of the style’s warring factions and unlikely harmony, all while lying at various edges of the ‘vital statistics’.
Served: 12 oz bottle best before E 10135 H