Beer Profile: High Peaks Saranac Chocolate Orange (Baltic) Porter

profiled by Ken Carman for

Nose: orange, chocolate, deep roasted grain sense, hint of alcohol.
Appearance: Obsidian, dense, no light shines through, big brown head.
Mouthfeel: a bit chewy, alcohol accentuated by what may be a lager yeast: not inappropriate for the style but a tad out of balance. High gravity with hint of unfermented: mostly roasted, malts. (They tend not to “ferment,” sugars less accessible.)
Taste: other than the slight out of balance a very impressive brew. Multiple roasted malts blend into a fine symphony of flavor. Not a beer one would want to drink a lot of, unless one has no need to go anywhere and doesn’t mind the morning headache. Chocolate obvious, not as much orange… but this is blood orange peel: which is more likely to add to the bitter than any actual orange taste. That also affects balance a bit to the negative, though not much.

I really enjoyed this beer. Of all the High Peaks series this may be one of the best. I really hope they bring it back. I lucked out: I found a few stores that still had it.

I’d love to see what would happen if they actually added orange, just a hint, as well as the peel. Might reflect the “orange” on the label. Us brewers: home and pro, know “orange” may peel, but I’ll bet the general public doesn’t. However, since they brewed this a while ago the more common “orange” sense the public knows may have faded.

I’d be curious what aging might do. if it tis a lager yeast, that could be problematic, though the higher abv may help with that. If an ale? I imagine some of the orange and chocolate may fade, but I think this would age quite well.

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