Ayinger: Altbairisch Dunkel (Germany: Dunkel: 5% ABV)
Visual: Dark cherry red to brown. Large bubbles off white head. Large amounts of carbonation.
Nose: Dried cherries in digestives. Malt chocolate. Vanilla. Pistachios.
Body: Barley. Malt chocolate. Nutty – pistachios. Light greenery. Light cherry, Madeira and fruitcake. Butter and chives. Werther’s originals.
Finish: Barley. Pistachios. Malt chocolate. Light treacle notes. Some bitterness and a kind of faux wheat character. Chives. Werther’s original and butterscotch.
Conclusion: This takes the dunkel style in an odd direction, though that is not immediately evident. Initially it is just fairly nutty, unusual, but not exactly out there. It pushes pistachio style with that kind of greenery notes you can get from the flecks around the shell. A quick google tells me pistachios are not technically nuts, but still, you know what I mean, right? Anyway, still not what I expected from a dunkel – usually they are more chocolate led, while this leans heavily on the savoury side, but that is just the start.
What really gets odd is this kind of greasy fatty butter and chives character in the feel that matches with a butterscotch like flavour. It builds up into a thick, gripping texture that – for me – got wearing fast. I can see how, for all its reputation, buttery notes can be a good thing in a beer but it really doesn’t seem to fit here. It ends up with underlying notes halfway between that butterscotch and a full on Werther’s original, and that note sticks around too long. If it had been a lighter or shorter lasting note I would have been intrigued, but it feels used too heavily here.
Some of that could be that I let the beer warm up – chilled it was more easy drinking and that pistachio base was well used and worthy of note in itself. It was a different take, akin one without a huge amount of depth. I let it warm as I had hoped more would come out, but what did come out did not suit me and it became sickly.
This seems to be a very highly rated beer, but this experience for me was a bit simple and a bit sickly. Against the grain again it seems…
Background: This was grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer section – not one I expected to see there. They have grabbed more traditional beers in before, but this one caught my eye as something different to what they normally stock. Anyway, this is one of Michael Jackson’s 500 great beers, so I had to give it a try. Drunk while listening to some odd, amusing tunes from Ninja Sex Party.