Beer Review: Sinebrychoff Porter (“Koff” Porter here in Arkansas)
Style: Baltic Porter
MSRP: $3.10 for a 11.2oz bottle
What do you get when you cross an English Porter with a Russian Imperial Stout? Well, in this case you get one of the finest beers available in the state of Arkansas, Sinebrychoff Porter (“Koff” for short). The Baltic Porter style is a stronger and more-robust variation of the English Porter and was originally brewed to be shipped across the North Sea to the Baltic Coast. This version is basically an English Porter with Russian balls.
Koff comes to us from Finland, the land of peace, prosperity…and thievery. According to the great beer writer, Michael Jackson, after Sinebrychoff Brewery lost its top-fermenting yeast during Finland’s period of Prohibition, they cultured the yeast from a bottle of Guinness in order to restart production to coincide with the postwar Helsinki Olympics. This dark, top-fermenting beer has remained unchanged to this day.
Now that we’ve touched on the history of this wonderful beer, let’s review its beauty:
Koff pours opaque and totally black in color with two fingers of a coke-colored head with good lacing all the way down. The nefarious appearance begs a smell. This is one of the richest aromas we’ve found in a Porter. An initial scent of dark coffee grounds and roasted malts is overtly perceptible, followed by dark chocolate, licorice, molasses, and faint dark fruit undertones. The solid nose builds great anticipation for the main stage and supports it entirely. Remarkably, the taste even surpasses its wonderful aroma with bold flavors of coffee, burnt toast and licorice. Baker’s chocolate and roasted grains provide an understated bitterness. Additional sweet notes of raisins and caramelized apples provide a welcome balance to the bitterness. The enjoyment doesn’t stop there. The feel of this beer is overwhelmingly velvety, yet dry. This smoothness not only allows the flavor profiles to effortlessly evolve on the tongue, but it lightens this beer and provides a greater drinkability while disguising the alcohol. It’s the Russian version of Guinness – made to keep men alive (or perhaps served as breakfast) through the cold winter.
Taken as a whole, Koff is undeniably World-Class and we’re not the only ones to offer up so much credit. This beer has received many accolades including two Silver Medals at the Brewing Industry International Awards, it was named by the Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago as one of the United States’ Best Imports, as well as being named one of “The 25 Best Beers in the World” by Men’s Magazine. In addition, BJCP lists Koff first in the Baltic Porter Style Category. Thanks to our underhanded Finnish friends, we are able to bring two epic styles together into one 11.2oz bottle.
On the heels of our previous 5-Diamond review (Ola Dubh 18), Glidewell Distributing is making major strides to provide the Arkansas craft beer enthusiasts with World-Class beer. Let’s raise a glass to great beer!
You can find this ballsy beer at the following locations:
Colonial Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
The Vineyard – Fort Smith
The Bottle – Fayetteville
…. and don’t forget to tell your beer store to grow a pair if they don’t have this porter!
We gave this beer 5 diamonds: