It’s been a while since we’ve tried much from Harpoon; in fact, I’d forgotten this particular beer was hidden away in the basement. But I bought it and socked it away a couple of years ago, hoping and waiting for a day just like today, when Elli proclaimed that it was time to sample some delicious older beers. And the circle has now come complete. Previous examples of Elli’s maritime fixation include Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #32 Pott’s Landbier, 100 Barrel Series #31 Single Hop ESB, 100 Barrel Series #30 Island Creek Oyster Stout, 100 Barrel Series #28 Glacier ’09 Wet Hop, 100 Barrel Series #27 Helles Blond Bock, Octoberfest, Leviathan Saison Royale, 100 Barrel Series #24 Glacier ’08 Wet Hop and their IPA. That’s a lot.
Leviathan Baltic Porter pours a crystal clear rich molasses brown with a light tan head; there are a fair number of garnet highlights peeking through this beer, and the nose is rich in chocolate—both lighter cocoa and darker rich chocolate—mixed with dark fruit, specifically raisin and fig. Behind that, there is also molasses and caramel. Flavors start with caramel and dark chocolate, followed by raisin and cocoa in the middle. The fruit flavors drop in the finish, leaving a mix of chocolate and cocoa, with the cocoa lingering the longest. As the beer warms, molasses and brown sugar flavors emerge, both in the front and in the finish, and the carbonation develops a bit more bite as well—it was initially a bit sluggish when it came out of the bottle, but gets lighter on the tongue as it warms. The fruit flavors also recede with warmth, giving the beer a creamy, rounded, and chewy mouthfeel. As well, there is no discernible alcohol heat or warmth, which enhances the sipping character of this beer. All in all, it would appear that the time spent in the basement has served this beer well. While it is not quite a Baltic Porter anymore—the lighter lager characteristics in the finish are buried under layers of chocolate and dark fruit—it is still a very good and very enjoyable beer. Here’s to more lurking creatures from the depths...
From the bottle: “Dark fruit and bittersweet chocolate notes meld into a spicy finish of this hearty brew made with de-husked roasted malts and a lager yeast.”