Amager: Linda – The Axe Grinder (Denmark: American Strong Ale: 9% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black cherry to brown. Large browned bubbled head.

Nose: Hoppy and bitter. Smooth caramel. Malt chocolate and fudge. Spicy rye notes and red cherries. Toasted marshmallows. Slight musty hops and herbal sage note. Light lime and kiwi.

Body: Very smooth. Sage and onion on cooked turkey. Caramel and vanilla toffee. Crushed Blackpool rock. Brandy cream. Glacier cherries. Kiwi. Slightly muggy hops. Spicy rum soaked raisins. Warming Christmas spice.

Finish: Slight charring. Herbal bitterness and slightly muggy hops. Vanilla toffee. Slight cloying cream note. Chocolate liqueur. Bitterness rises over time. Rye crackers. Christmas spice. Riesen chocolate chews.

Conclusion: Ohh this is exactly what I needed. It is big, spicy, warming and soothing all in one. Another beer that feels like a real mash up of styles, and here it happily wears the weight of each one.

Style 1 is close to a Christmas spiced red ale – lots of warming spice, delivered unusually early on as sage and onion, but quickly becoming Christmas spice mixed with rye spice notes. A good start.

Style 2: Bourbon aged barley wine – yeah, still spiced, but here golden syrup sweet, mixed with crushed Blackpool rock. Heavy sweet and powerful with a ton of vanilla and caramel against the spiciness.

Finally, fruity IPA as style 3 – the ageing has made the hop slightly muggy, as you would expect, but it is still reasonably bitter. The hop fruit flavours are green fruit, creamily delivered. This aspect is more subtle due the ageing relaxing and reducing most elements, but it adds another layer and is worth it for the kept hop bitterness that adds an assault punch to this beer.

Together it is wonderfully bitter, wonderfully spicy – soothing, warming and with an almost sickly sweet undertone and huge red fruit. Every element is big, coming together they somehow become soothing – like the world’s biggest, most intense nightcap of a beer. It is liqueur like, a hop assault and manages to use a weight of spicy character without getting lost in just being a spice beer. Great is what I am saying.

Background: Yep, I grabbed this because of the sweet, steampunkesque art. As always I can be kind of easy to sell to. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, this is an Oaked Imperial Red Ale -ratebeer lists it as an Imperial IPA, but that doesn’t really quite fit for me – so I’ve shoved it under the catch all category of American Strong Ale where it seems to fit better for me. It has more dark malt influence than I would give for an IIPA. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Linda of Minneapolis brewing – hence the name. Anyway, drunk while listening to E-rocks take on San’s Undertale music. Just such an epic combination and reminds me of how bloody good that game is.

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