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Monday, March 2, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 19.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Beer Here: Amnesia Baltic Porter from the Grumpy Troll
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Brewmaster Mark Duchow of The Grumpy Troll in Mount Horeb keeps racking up the awards for impressive beers. The latest: a gold medal in the World Beer Cup for his Baltic porter.

Amnesia Baltic Porter was the top pick in its style category. The World Beer Cup, which the industry likes to call the Olympics of beer, featured more than 2800 beers from 58 counties in this year's competition. Earning a gold medal allows the brewer to claim "Best in the World" for that style.

What is it? Amnesia Baltic Porter from The Grumpy Troll Restaurant and Brewery.

Style: The Baltic Porter is a strong porter with assertive chocolate malt, robust sweetness, some hints of toffee and roastedness. This beer is substantially alcoholic, ranging from 6% to 9.5%. The style evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries from the British porter, but was strongly influenced by the robust Russian imperial stout.

The Baltic porter reflects the strong beers designed to withstand being shipped across the North Sea to the lands of the Baltic Sea. While the porter style is an ale, the Baltic variant is brewed using lager yeast and fermented at colder temperatures.

Background: Grumpy Troll brewmaster Mark Duckow won a bronze medal with his Amnesia Baltic Porter at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival. This batch of the beer is similar, but is not aged in oak. However, it still takes six months to age. Duckow says his first attempt at brewing the style was four years ago while living in Houston, where he teamed up with the local homebrew club called the Foam Rangers. At that point he knew it was a style that he and his beer friends really liked!

Tasting notes:

  • Aroma: Malty with a light earthiness.
  • Appearance: Very dark with ruby tints and somewhat hazy. A thick tan head.
  • Texture: Full bodied.
  • Taste: Assertive chocolate malt with a light fruity plum background.
  • Finish/Aftertaste: Hints of roastedness amid the strong chocolate malt tones, even still a fast tasting or clean finish.

Glassware: The rich maltiness, full body and alcoholic warmth might make you want a large stein, but this is really a sipping beer. Its flavors become smooth and round as it warms, making the brandy snifter the ideal glass.

Pairs well with: Porter is a great dining beer, blending with most meat dishes. However, the assertive maltiness and lightly roasted finish of Grumpy's Amnesia Baltic Porter go especially well with the brewpub's charbroiled butt sirloin steak.

Rating: Four Bottle Openers (out of four)

The Consensus: A- (excellent) from Beer Advocate. This beer has not yet acquired enough ratings at Rate Beer.

The Verdict: I love big robust beers and this one offers complexity in its flavor and lots of warmth so much so that take its name to heart, a little too much and you might start forgetting things. The chocolate maltiness is an excellent complement with a finish that is roasted, not burnt. This beer makes a great dinner companion but an even better end of meal date!

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