“Well rested in barrels that previously aged brandy, this Baltic Porter is as refined as it is monstrous. Characters of fruit cake and plush chocolate lend a softer side to the bold, abyssal beast beneath. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”
Appearance: Glossy black with a finger of tan foam forming on top. Steady reduction with a wet lace being dragged down the glass.
Aroma: We must admit we don’t see many Aussie breweries opting for the Brandy barrel option. It’s not a spirit that we’re totally fond of but for this expression it displays sweet and spicy notes of ginger bread, chai tea and mulled cider. Once again we’re seeing the same issues that plagued the unflavoured BBA series which is the base Baltic Porter notes are super subtle and aren’t reallyfusing with with the flavour of the Brandy barrels particularly well.
Flavour: Wow, full marks for overall smoothness but in a sense it’s also its downfall. There’s zero roasted characters – which we’d come to expect from the style – minimal chocolate, coffee and nutty qualities as well. Fleeting hints of chai spice, gingerbread, dark fruits, toffee and port before she settles on a kinda sweet and spicy finish.
Mouthfeel: Pretty light on to be honest. Not a whole lot of grip but a slightly lifted Co2 helps. Medium body. The 11.7% ABV is very well buried though.
Overall: This is just plain old average from Hawkers. The aroma only just passes muster but from there it went downhill. It’s lacking balance, intensity and cohesion. By the end it was a boozy, watery mess. Very ordinary.