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%

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

Mikkeler Single Hop Sorachi Ace IPA

Single_Hop_IPA_Sorachi_Ace_Low_ResBrewer: Mikkeler Brewery, Copenhagen, Danemark
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: This beer is one of Mikkeler’s Single Hop collection, a special lineup of India Pale Ales bittered with only a single variety of hops. Brewed at their plant in D’Proef,  Belgium, the Sorachi Ace IPA uses only this Japanese variety of hops and combines it will a rich, pale malt base.

Tasting Notes: This is only the second time I’ve sampled a Mikkeler beer, and the first time I’ve reviewed one. And naturally, I’m wondering why I’ve held back this long. Without a doubt, it’s one of the better beers I’ve had this year, and definitely takes precedence over the only other beer I’ve had that used Sorachi hops (P49’s Crane Kick). Not only does the beer excel in the way it isolates the complex, lemony notes of Sorachi, a lovely, unfiltered pale malt base provides some fruitiness and a robust backing that really makes for a winning combination.

Appearance: Deep ruby/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong notes of lemon, hint of pine, fruity esters
Taste: Crisp malt, dry, robust fruit, yeast, hint of sour cherry, oak, lemon, hop bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering lemon, yeast, oakiness, hop bitterness
Overall: 9.5/10

Birrificio del Ducato Krampus Speciale

krampus_strongaleBrewer: Birrificio del Ducato, Gruppo, Italy
Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 7.0%
IBU: Unspecified

Description: Named in honor of Krampus, the ancient demon who in days old terrorized villagers in advance of Saint Nicholas who’s been making a combeback in recent years, this strong, spiced ale is a seasonal offering from this Italian brewery that arrives just in time for Christmas.

Tasting Notes: This is another offering from the Craft Beer Advent Calendar, and one which I must admit, is outside my realm of experience. It has a dark malt base, which is quite smooth and rich in tannins, but which is overpowered by very sour wild yeast flavor – to the point that it tastes downright vinegary. I suspected I might ave a spoiled bottle, but a tertiary look at other beer bloggers has revealed  that this is in fact they found as well. I guess it just goes to show you, the world of craft brewing is an extremely diverse and interesting place!

Appearance: Red/brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, yeasty brettanomyces nose, sour cherry, oak
Taste: Rich, smooth dark malt, tannin, sour cherries, yeast, apple cider vinegar
Aftertaste: Lingering apple cider vinegar and sour yeast flavor
Overall: 6.3/10

Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050

weltrenburger_anno1050Brewer: Weltenburger Kloster, Regensburg, Germany
Style: Marzen
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This Marzen is a classic example of the venerated German style, brewed by the world’s oldest Abbey brewery. Rich, deep colored malts combine with a mild dose of Noble hops to create a slightly sweet and syrupy lager.

Tasting Notes: The last of the advent pack, and this one the oldest of the bunch! As a big fan of Marzens, I was quick to appreciate what this beer had to offer. In addition to the usual richer malts and mild tang, I was surprised to notice a hint of smoke and brandy-like flavor. Definitely an interesting and very German

Appearance: Light amber/orange, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugars, caramel, mild hops, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, caramel, hint of smoke, notes of brandy, minerality
Aftertaste: Lingering minerals, malt flavor, smokey sweetness
Overall: 7.8/10

Evil Twin All Occasions IPA

evil_twin_0015_all_occasions_ipaBrewer: Evil Twin Brewing, Brooklyn NY
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 8%

Description: Originally from Denmark but currently headquartered in Brooklyn, the Evil Twin Brewery is a gypsy operation that produces limited-edition and one-off beers as well as a series of seasonal and year-round beers available internationally. This all-season Imperial IPA hails from the Fanø Bryghus microbrewery of Denmark, and is faithfully brewed to create a heavily- hopped beer with a heavy malt character.

Tasting Notes: This is my first time trying anything by Evil Twin and their Imperial IPA can definitely stand alongside anything I’ve tried here on the West Coast. Employing rich and coarse malt base, it also has some serious hop content. This comes in the form of the usual strong citrus and tropical notes, but which are decidedly English in character (i.e. more subtle). The brewery is definitely worth further investigating!

Appearance: Dark orange/amber, very cloudy, sediment, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, good notes of floral hops, citrus and tropical fruit
Taste: Sweet and coarse malt, citrus and alcoholic bite, passion fruit and pineapple
Aftertaste: Lingering hop and malt bitterness, citrus rind and alcohol
Overall: 8.5/10