Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts Ale

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

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