What is the difference between a Baltic Porter, a regular porter or even an Imperial Stout? They look the same, they may have the same elevated alcohol by volume and essentially they all use similar roasted grains. The distinction comes in the fermenting style. Basically, a porter or a stout is ale which means it uses top-fermenting yeast while Baltic porter is created by using bottom-fermenting yeast. So simply, Baltic Porter is by definition — a lager. Would a Stout and Baltic Porter taste the same? Possibly, but ale yeast may impart a some ester flavors ranging from mild fruit flavor (like pear or banana) to a strong solvent flavor (ethanol is the alcohol produces by yeast). Lager yeast imparts little or no flavor.
Considering that a Baltic Porter is a lager –it should not come as a surprise that Jack’s Abby, a brewery known for its lager, should venture into Baltic Porter rather than imperial stout. Based in Framingham, Massachusetts, it’s easy to put two and two together on the name of this Baltic Porter.
Framinghammer by Jack’s Abby
Tasting: April 18, 2015
Style: Baltic Porter
Beer #: 734
Once Jack’s Abby’s lagers started hitting shelves in New York (n/a in NJ), I’ve had my eye out for Framinghammer at and its variants (Coffee, Vanilla, Barrel-Aged). A couple of months ago, I noticed a sealed Jack’s Abby case by the entrance of Cable Beverage. My pulse skipped a beat when I turned the box around and it revealed a rubber-stamped “Framinghammer” on the box – scored two bottles.
I returned just a few days ago to the same scenario – a sealed Jack’s Abby case by the entrance but intially dismissed the possibility of a repeat performance. I’m glad I checked as I almost jumped for joy in seeing “BA” (barrel-aged) in front of Framinghammer stamp. I assumed a one-bottle limit – but scored two bottles once again.
We’ll start with the base Framinghammer. Other label notes — original gravity (or density) of 23. Anything over 20 is considered high density. Should translate to a rich body as well as a high ABV. IBU or International Bitterness Units are noted as 55 – or on lighter side of medium bitterness.
Pour is a cola brown with very light carbonation. Crisp and clean roasted flavors with moderate dark chocolate. A bit thin in body and the 10% ABV is barely apparent. A tad more sweetness than bitterness. I’ll put the base Framinghammer at 90 points.
Tasting: April 23, 2015
Style: Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter
Beer #: 735
Barrel-Aged Framinghammer adds some very nice and subtle vanilla notes. Also the chocolate seems a bit more lush. Seems a bit more full-bodied than the regular Framinghammer. Really enjoying this one 94 points.