Beer Review 0110: Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, located in Farmville, North Carolina, are the self proclaimed dark beer specialists. They began producing beer in August 2004, and are known in most circles for their Milk Stout (I gave it 87 points in my review). The Duck-Rabbit logo is indeed the optical illusion you are probably thinking of. Paul Philippon, founder of the company, taught philosophy before changing careers, so he decided to use the logo as a connection to what he did before becoming a dark beer specialist.
Duck-Rabbit’s distribution is fairly limited; I know they are only available on the east coast, and I think even then that they’re pretty much primarily found in North Carolina. The Duck-Rabbit website (duckrabbitbrewery.com) is in sad need of update; I don’t think it’s been touched since last decade. In fact, the beer up for review today, their Baltic Porter, isn’t even listed.
A Baltic Porter is typically stronger than your average Porter. This one comes in at 9% ABV (alcohol by volume), and I’m hoping it is a treat.
This beer poured a large and creamy tan head, which had a lasting quality. The beer was very dark but not completely black — it’s more like a ruby brown, with the red ruby coming out around the edges. It’s a beautiful color, and there’s no sediment to be found. There wasn’t any lacing, either.
There was a lot going on in the nose, dominated mostly by malts. There was chocolate and coffee, along with hints of smoke and some general toasted notes. There’s an acidic scent, too, which I’m going to credit to the hops (maybe?). Since this is a 9% ABV beer, there is a bit of booze going on, and a faint bit of dust rounds things off. These aromatics really put me in the mindset of an old ale.
Flavor-wise, this Baltic Porter hits you up front with a surprising coconut sweetness, which transitions to rich layers of chocolate and coffee, opening up to present complex tastes of molasses and dark fruit. The finish is slightly smokey, acidic, and bittersweet, with a noticeable alcohol warmth as it travels through the chest.
This is a fantastic beer, with only two things for me to complain about: I thought the carbonation was a bit high, and the acidity level seemed to grate on my tastebuds the more I drank. The mouthfeel of this one is in between thin and thick, but it does have a drying effect thanks to the acidity. This is a good beer, complex, and with some surprises. I know this isn’t a Winter Warmer, but it might as well be!
Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter, 90 points. Price: $2.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.