My goal of focusing my drinking and reviewing on non-IPAs in 2017 is much easier in the winter, I love porters and stouts and tend to drink a ton of them this time of year. I know some people drink stouts in the summer and pilsner in the winter, but I’ve always been a fan of rotating my beer styles to fit the changing seasons. Dark and malty beers just go better with cold sinter nights. One dark beer sub-style that is underutilized is the Baltic porter, dark lagers that typically feature high ABVs. The longer fermentation at lower temperature helps mellow out the booze resulting in beers with big malt flavor coupled with an easy drinking lager body. One very good Baltic porter that I recently tried for the first time is Spectral Beast from Relic Brewing Company in Connecticut. Relic Brewing Spectral Beast is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 12 oz. cans.
Relic Brewing Spectral Beast pours pitch black with a solid tan head. The scent is all rich and roasted malt. The flavor is also very malt forward with notes of strong coffee, dark chocolate, black licorice and plum. The hops add earthy flavors, late bitterness and balance. Spectral Beast has a full body but it’s incredibly easy to drink for a beer with 10% ABV, it goes down so smoothly that you need to be careful. The finish is crisp and clean with a little lingering malt flavor. Relic Spectral Beast is a very good version of a Baltic Porter, a big beer with tons of flavor but no alcoholic burn. Definitely worth a shot if you like big and dark beers. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Relic Reviews: