If there's one thing that Labor Day weekend doesn't get enough of, it must be beer. So I thought I would do my part.
Grand Imperial Porter from Browar Amber, Bielkowko, Poland, 8 pct ABV, is a tasty Baltic porter. I would say that this is one of my favorite styles, but, really. Aren't they all?
Baltic porters are lagers, not ales, like your typical english porter. Like the better known India Pale Ale style, this was a style designed for shipping: high in alcohol, with strong flavors to mask brewing flaws and/or the stresses of long transportation chains with uncertain handling. Baltic porters characteristically have a bit of sweetness, some bitterness from dark-roasted malts, and perhaps a hint of licorice, but often with a soft mouthfeel. So, not the overwhelming punch of a Russian Imperial Stout or an American Imperial IPA. Basically, a cross or blend between the high-alcohol, high-impact Russian Imperial Stout style and the softer, happier english porter style. Outstanding domestic examples include Victory Baltic Thunder and the Alaskan Baltic Porter or, so I'm told (since I haven't yet had one), Surly's Smoke.
This one fits right smack in the middle of my experiences with the style: soft mouth-feel (reminiscent of one of my favorite english beers, St. Peter's Old-Style Porter), big but not overwhelming flavor. Lightly carbonated. Some chocolate and coffee, some licorice, but not too much. It is a wee bit on the sweet side, but only a wee bit. I had no trouble finishing the 16.9 oz bottle because it was so smooth. Like a comfy recliner. A beer to take you to a happy place.