Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts Ale

st-sylvestre_3montsBrewer: Brasserie de Saint Sylvestre, Cappel, France
Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs:

Description: This ale, which hails from the Flanders region of northeastern France, is Saint Sylvestre’s flagship beer. Brewed in the traditional way, it combines a pale malt base with hearty Flemish hops, fermented using top-fermented yeasts, and then conditioned in wooden barrels. The name itself (3 hills) refers to the three hills in Flanders – Mont Noir in Belgium and Mont Cassel & Mont des Cats both on the French side of the border.

Tasting Notes: This brew as a lucky find, which I happened at one of the better purveyors in Victoria (they are good at stocking what one might consider obscure brews). It also quite the pleasant sampling, consisting a crisp, bubbly, but also smooth and refreshing beer, that has an oaky profile that is reminiscent of a stiff white wine. The flavors also call forth a good northern French ale, with a firm and fruity malt base, a mild hoppy kick, and champagne-like effervescence. Given my fascination with Belgian and Flanders beers, I will be seeking out more of this brewery’s products!

Appearance: Straw golden, clear, thick, bubbly head, good carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, hint of oak, mild herbal hop notes, Flemish yeast 
Taste: Crisp, slightly fruity malt, mild herbal hops, strong oak, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, slightly bitter, lingering oak
Overall: 8.3/10

Schneider Weisse TAP X Mathilde Soleil Weizenbock

schneider-weisse-mathilda-soleilBrewer: G. Schneider und Sohn, Kelheim, Germany
Style: Weizenbock
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The Mathilde Soleil was Schneider Weisse special brew 2015, which was first released at the  Braukunst Live 2015 beer festival in Munich. This limited special wheat beer was brewed in honor of the former head of the brewery, Mathilde Schneider, who presented Bavaria’s first wheat doppelbock in 1907. Continuing in the tradition of Mathilde, this beer combines barley and wheat malt with a variety of hops that were grown in small quantities specifically for this special series.

Tasting Notes: Schneider und Sohn are well known for their mastery of the wheat ale, and their Aventinus Dopplebock is one of my absolute favorites. That, and the limited availability of their products where I live make any limited releases from this brewery a rare treat. Speaking of which, the brew is very well-balanced. It has a lovely deep orange hue, it has a mighty yeasty backbone, and has some lovely fruit flavors – apple and orchard fruit – a hint of spiciness, and some oaky flavor. A very tasty and well-rounded Weizenbock!

Appearance: Deep orange, cloudy, sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugars, baked bread, spicy yeast, grassy and herbal Noble hops
Taste: Semi-sweet malt, apple, apricot, notes of oak, strong yeast, hint of spice
Aftertaste: Lingering apple and malt flavor, yeast and spice notes
Overall: 9/10

Erdinger Pikantus

erdinger_pikantusBrewer: Erdinger Brewery, Erding, Germany
Style: Dark Bock
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This dark bock beer is a seasonal Spring beer, but one which is equally enjoyable during the cold, winter months. It fashioned using a combination of wheat and barley malts which are then subjected to a longer than normal maturation process, thus resulting in the venerated bock style.

Tasting Notes: This is the next sampling in my Erdinger pack that came in honor of Oktoberfest. And so far, it is my running favorite. Smooth wheat malts and barley malts are accented by notes of brown sugar, dark fruits, and a gentle hint of herbs and a spicy yeast base. And yet, much like all Erdinger beers, it remains very smooth and drinkable. Reminds me of why I love bocks!

Appearance: Dark brown, translucent, fluffy head and good carbonation
Nose: Rich malt base, subtle notes of herbs, brown sugar, spices, yeast
Taste: Smooth malts, hints of brown sugar and molasses, dates, raisins, mineral tang
Aftertaste: Lingering smooth malt, sugars, spicy yeast and minerals
Overall: 8/10

Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel

erdinger_dunkelBrewer: Erdinger Brewery, Erding, Germany
Style: Dark Wheat
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The dark twist on the Erdinger Weissbier, the Dunkel employs an increased proportion of the original wort and fine yeast. The end product is then matured in the bottle in order to effect a deeper, richer-tasting wheat beer.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling from the Erdinger pack, and another that I’ve never before had the chance to try. As Dunkel wheats go, this one was a bit subtle for my tastes. Still, the usual toasty malts, roasted nuts, and hints of cocoa are all there, lingering amidst a clean-drinking weissbier.

Appearance: Deep brown, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, semi-sweet malt, syrup, yeast, hint of chocolate
Taste: Gentle wheat malts, hint of smoke, roasted nuts, mild mineral tang, herbal hops
Aftertaste: Lingering wheat malt flavor, mineral tang, clean finish
Overall: 7.5/10

Erdinger Kristall

erdinger_kristallBrewer: Erdinger Brewery, Erding, Germany
Style: Crystal Wheat
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Erdinger’s Kristall is a traditional Bavarian-style of wheat beer known as Kristalweisse (“crystal wheat”), which refers to its clear color. This is due to the extended filtration process, which is known in the industry as “fine filtration”.

Tasting Notes: This is the first brew from a sample pack sent to me courtesy of the company itself, in honor of Oktoberfest. And in exchange for the gift, I will be doing a series of honest reviews of their product line. Suffice it to say, much like the Erdinger Weiss, the Kristall is a clean drinking wheat ale with a smooth malt base, subtle hops, and a slight hint of minerality. I lament that I am drinking it during the approaching fall season because it was clearly made for summer!

Appearance: Straw golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth wheat malt, graininess, mild herbal notes, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, grains, mineral tang
Aftertaste: Clean finish, lingering wheat malts, minerals
Overall: 7.8/10

Gaedingur Stout

gaedingur_stoutBrewer: Gaedingur Brewery, Skagafjordur, Iceland
Style: Stout
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: My latest sampling from the Advent Beer Calendar, this stout comes all the way from Iceland, and combines the stout malt, water and hops with licorice to create a strong yet smooth ale that is rich and varied in flavor.

Tasting Notes: Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of licorice stouts, but this one managed to strike a very nice balance. The nose is definitely yeasty, and has some sugar to it that reminded me of a Bock or Belgian ale. And the flavor is nicely varied, packing espresso, bitter chocolate, and licorice in a nice, bitter (but not too bitter) balance.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark, roasted malt, roast espresso, sugars, licorice, yeast
Taste: Rich malt, dark chocolate, espresso bitterness, licorice, yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, licorice and espresso
Overall: 8/10

Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams

Loncium_schwarzegamsBrewer: Loncium Brewery, Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria
Style: Dunkler Bock
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: Unspecified (low)

Description: The Schwarze Gams is brewed in the Germanic tradition of Bock beer, employing dark, rich malts and a subtle dose of Noble hops to achieve a well-balanced, malty, and slightly sweet beer with intense mouth feel. It won the silver medal at the 2011 European Beer Star in the Dunkler Bock German Style category, the silver medal at the 2012 World Beer Challenge in the category of German Style Dark Bock, and the bronze at the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards.

Tasting Notes: This is yet another late sampling from the 2014 Advent Beer Calender, one which I tried already but didn’t get around to reviewing. As Bock’s go, this was definitely a very decent one. It was a tad subtle, compared to many others I’ve had. However, this is something that’s to be appreciated. Subtle, complex, smooth, malty, and slightly sweet.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, raisins, brown sugar, molasses, mild herbal hops
Taste: Rich, deep malt, mineral tang, dates, raisins and brown sugar, herbal hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering dark malts, sugars, and minerality
Overall: 8.4/10

Mikkeler Dry Stout BA Sauternes Edition

mikkeler_drystoutBrewer: Mikkeler Brewery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: Stout/Sour
ABV: 4.1%
IBUs: Unspecified (low)

Description: As part of the breweries Sour/Wild lineup, this stout is brewed at their branch plant in D’Proef, Belgium. It is fashioned using dark-roasted malts that are then fermented with brettanomyces yeast before being aged in Sauterne (French sweet wine) barrels for a complex flavor.

Tasting Notes: This was an odd combination, and one which works on some levels, but not others. It combines a stout base, with all the bitter notes of coffee and dark malt, and the addition of brettanomyces yeast adds a dimension of sour cherry and lactic acid that gives it a certain bite. These seem a bit at odds, and very little of the Sauterne wine comes through, except at the tail end of things. Not the best combination beer, in my humble opinion, but certainly an interesting one.

Appearance: Black, virtually opaque, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark roasted malt, roasted espresso, brettanomyces
Taste: Rich malt, bitterness, notes of coffee, sour cherry, yeast, hint of sugars
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, sour yeast and coffee
Overall: 7.3/10

Mikkeler It’s Alive!

mikkeler_itsaliveBrewer: Mikkeler Brewing, Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: Sour/Amber Ale
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs:
Unspecified

Description: This beer is part of Mikkeler’s Sour/Wild lineup, and a tribute to Orval and Trappist brewing. Employing an amber malt base, the beer is also heavily hopped and bottle-fermented using wild stbrettanomyces yeast.

Tasting Notes: While this is a fitting tribute to Orval (they managed to imitate the taste and appearance quite closely) this brew is a bit heavy on the bitterness. However, it manages to grow on you, it packs the usual punch of a sour ale with notes of sour cherry and oak, and has the strong malt base and effervescence of a Trappist-style ale.

Appearance: Dark amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Coarse malt, strong notes of oak and brettanomyces
Taste: Crisp malt, oak, sour cherry, yeasty effervescence, hop bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, bitter yeast, oak flavor
Overall: 7.8/10

Mikkeler Single Hop Summit IPA

mikkeler_summitipaBrewer: Mikkeler Brewing, Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: Like all the beers in this phantom brewery’s Single Hop series, this beer is brewed at D’Proef in Belgium, using only pale malt and a single strain of American hops. In this case, the hop variety is Summit, a common hop used in barleywines, IPAs and Stouts that imparts a deep, earthy quality.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling of MIkkeler’s wares, and the second in their Single Hop IPA lineup. Overall, I was impressed. The use of Summit hops imparted an interesting mix of citrus, grass and earthiness to the brew. And it was well balanced with a good malt base that was smooth and just the slightest bit sharp. You could say this beer is defined by a strong, subtle, and complex character – one that is understated but gets the job done.

Appearance: Solid amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, subtle hints of citrus, tropical fruit, grassy
Taste: Slightly sharp malt, mild tang, earthy hops, mild notes of citrus, grass
Aftertaste: Lingering earthy, citrus and hop bitterness
Overall:8.2 /10