Baltika 9

Baltika Breweries
St. Petersburg, RUS
9 Extra Lager

More Baltika! Courtesy of Val, my token Russian friend, this pounder of 9 is some serious stuff. At 8%, this is fairly close to malt liquor. Regardless, I’ve only had this once, in St. Petersburg, and it was awesome.

The pour starts slowly but a dense, cloud-white head inflates quickly and rests at at least an inch. The color is straw gold with pristine clarity and steady carbonation featuring large bubbles.

The nose is very grassy, but sweeter than I expected. There is a sharp, lemon tang – almost like wood cleaner, but with no astringent qualities and a peppery snap.

The mouthfeel is massive. This brew is overwhelming at first – alcohol arrives like a mouthful of snap-bangs, throwing a combination of salty-sweet crispness and the puckering sourness of Nerds candy. I would not recommend letting this beer warm up at all – though as your tastebuds are assaulted by the bitter green apple attack of the hops and alcohol, they eventually capitulate and allow you drink without thinking you picked up the Mr. Clean bottle by mistake.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, but this beer tastes as rough as it will probably leave you feeling if you drink more than a couple of them. As a lager, it’s sort of like the idea of an Imperial Pilsner that has started to emerge, though it’s more similar to Dortmunder than a Pils. So, for a Russian-made Imperial Dortmunder, this is your go-to.

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