Baltika 4

Also From This Brewery

If you happen to find yourself in St. Petersburg, Russia, you would do well to drop by the Baltika brewery to pick up a few brewskis (and where else but in Russia would that moniker be more apropos?) But if you can’t make it to Russia, don’t fret: Baltika beers have a growing distribution in the United States, thanks to the fact that the brewery is mostly co-owned by Scottish-Newcastle and Carlsberg.

Baltika calls this an “original” brew, though it closely resembles an existing style as we shall see shortly. The brewery says it’s made with caramel malt, hops, and molasses. Wikipedia claims that rye is used as well, which would not surprise me in a beer coming from the land of Kvass, though I found no other references to rye as an ingredient here.

The label of the beer claims that Baltika Original is a dark beer with a harmonious bread smack and caramel malt aroma. I am not sure what a harmonious bread smack is, and I’m not prepared to be walloped by a loaf to find out. I suspect they mean, by smack, flavor, and if that is the case I might be able to agree.

Baltika actually brews a number of “numbered” beers, from one to nine. Generally, they are credible and drinkable. Some are very good; Baltika 8 is a well done wheat beer. One is excellent; Baltika 6 is a wonderful Baltic porter.

Baltika 4 pours to a dark chestnut color with a light creamy head formation and a soft, nutty malt nose. A sip reveals a hint of chocolate, light molasses, sweet caramel, and toasted nuts most immediately. You can definitely taste the Munich-malt infused melanoidins here, and the body has a decided richness to it that rolls over the tongue with slightly sweet malty goodness.

In the finish, there’s just a hint of grassy bitter hops. Enough to balance and leave the beer drinkable. It also leaves you wanting more. All in all, this is a pretty credible Vienna-style lager, though that’s not what the brewery calls it. They call it a “dark lager”, which as our own Mark Stevens pointed out in his own review of Baltika 4, it really is not.

And it’s not really “original”, either. It’s still darn tasty though, and at just $2 (or less) for a whopping half liter bottle, a real deal, too. Perhaps not the best beer from this brewery, but still a good one. Three and a half stars, but I'll be kind and round up to four for Epinions considering the price