Smuttynose Brewing Company - Baltic Porter
- ABV: 9.0%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 66
- Serving Temperature: 50-55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter or Tulip
- Malts: North American 2-Row, Munich 10L, Carastan, C-120, Chocolate, Black, CaraHell
- Hops: Sterling
Smuttynose’s Baltic Porter currently ranks #5 among the world’s Baltic porters on RateBeer, as of this writing. We don’t normally care much about scores, for a variety of reasons, but in this case it’s a testament to how well Smuttynose has this recipe dialed in. Jet black with a rich brown head, the beer offers up complex aromas of milk and roasty dark chocolate, dried dark fruits, brown sugar, dark rum, and baking spices. On the palate, we were blown away by its rich, round, smoothness. An impressive array of fruity notes akin to figs, raisins, prunes, and various berries melds seamlessly with the darker notes of chocolate, deeply toasted malt, hints of dark roasted coffee, and smoke. The brewers have managed to impart a luscious sweetness which never seems cloying, but rather just the right level to complement the fruity esters and chocolaty notes. The roasted malts and 66 IBUs of spicy hops contrast the sweetness well, hitting a satisfying balance which persists into the finish with both a mildly sweet fruity note and a roasty bitterness. Smoky, grilled meats are a natural pairing, or simply enjoy this superb Baltic porter as a nightcap. This bottle-conditioned, 9% ABV porter is a prime candidate for cellaring, and we wouldn’t hesitate to put some away in a cool, dark place for maturation, sampling a bottle every 6 months or so. Cheers!
Smuttynose Brewing Company takes its name from Smuttynose Island, one of the Isles of Shoals, a small archipelago just off the coast of New Hampshire and southern Maine. Legend has it that mariners in the 1600s named the island for the nose-shaped 'smutch' of seaweed on the southeast corner of the island. The brewery was founded in Portsmouth, NH in 1994 by Peter Egelston who, years earlier, opened one of the two original New England brewpubs (Northampton Brewery in western Massachusetts), as well as the Granite State's first brewpub (Portsmouth Brewery). His 'beer career' started in 1986 when his sister Janet and her boyfriend convinced Peter to quit his teaching job in Brooklyn, New York and move to Massachusetts to open a brewpub – Northampton, which opened the next year. Peter stayed in Massachusetts until 1991, at which point he opened the Portsmouth Brewery.
You might think that with two successful brewpubs under his belt, Peter would have begun looking to expand by setting up a production microbrewery, but in fact, he sort of stumbled into starting Smuttynose. As Peter puts it himself, "There was a small brewery that had opened here in Portsmouth and went out of business, and the bank auctioned off their assets. I attended the auction without having any intention of purchasing anything. Of course, I ended up purchasing this building full of brewing equipment."
By 2008 the company had begun reaching the limits of their existing brewery, and a plot of land was acquired that would become the home of a brand new facility. With all preparations complete, in June of 2014 Smuttynose moved in to their new brewery at Towle Farm in Hampton. A short walk from the brewery lies their Hayseed Restaurant, offering a great destination to grab a beer from among over two dozen taps while enjoying a beer-friendly meal prepared from local ingredients. For more information about the brewery or scheduled tours, call 603-436-4026, or visit their website at www.smuttynose.com.
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