Tag Archive: Denmark


Broaden and Build: Tired Hands: Awamori – Koji Saison (Denmark: Saison: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale lemon juice colour with small bubbled carbonation to the mostly clear body. Massive white mounded head that leaves suds.

Nose: Jiff lemon. Slight lactic notes. Peppery. Coriander. Slightly sour but milky. Lightly earthy. Bread dough.

Body: Coriander. Lightly earthy. Light tart kiwi. Peppery. Tart grapes. Lactic notes. Cut apples. Tannins and dry teabags.

Finish: Kiwi fruit. Earthy. Coriander. Cut apples. Dry teabags. Peppery. Light vanilla. Light apricot.

Conclusion: This is completely on the other side of the saison style from my usual preferred take – that being the more clean hopped takes by brewers such as Fantome and Dupont. However with that said, this is really good.

The beer is heavily leaning towards the earthy, peppery and spicy take on a saison at its base, this is very much on the robust side of the possible takes, but it doesn’t end there.

There are fresher lemon and fresh cut apple notes that brighten into tarter sour grape notes. Kind of lactic, lightly acidic, sour notes, kind of lactose touched. It results in something that is umami, tart yet slightly savoury, all odd yet mouth filling notes. It is very different, keeping the earthiness from becoming wearing and resulting in a beer that can very much stand on its own two metaphorical feet.

Beyond that there is a kind of Steam Beer, or Saison De Pipaix, oddly gassy texture as well. Not carbonation, just a slightly odd feel, something unusual again in an already strange beer.

Very non standard, mixing earthy, fruity and a mix of odd notes together easily. Not one to have a lot of – the earthiness is balanced well over a single can, but feels like a one and done beer rather than one to session – but lovely to have for one.

A great twist on a familiar style and a very good beer.

Background: Ok, this is a koji saison, so, what the fuck is Koji?
https://www.clearspring.co.uk/blogs/news/8024723-koji-the-culture-behind-japanese-food-production

Ok, well now I know, I guess. Thank you google. This is the second time I have tried this. First time I was just having general drinking and was very impressed so grabbed another can for doing notes on. Don’t know much about either of the two collaborators on this one, so can’t say too much there. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, and I went with Miracle of Sound – Metal Up! For some melodic but thrashy metal tunes. Miracle of Sound is insanely talented, so always a good one to go back to.

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To Øl: Cloudwater : CPH – Quick Splash (Denmark: APA: 5.6% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot. Large mound of white head.

Nose: Flour. Dry peach. Flour like hop prickle. Slight custard.

Body: Moderate hop character and bitterness. Purple peppers. Dry grapefruit. Pink grapefruit. Flour. Vanilla. Slight custard.

Finish: Purple peppers. Grapefruit. Flour like hop character. Lychee. Pink grapefruit.

Conclusion: Ok, I’ll admit I was wrong. In what way? Well when I looked at this and saw that the New England virus had spread from IPAs to its nephew style, the APA, I was worried. Was this to be the beginning of the end? Were we to see NE Saisons, NE Brown Ales or even NE Stouts. IS? THIS? THE? END? OF? EVERYTHING!?

Ok, I exaggerate, NEIPAs are not that bad, even if they are often not for me, but I was worried that- like how we ended up with every kind of IPA under the sun, we would end up with everything being NE style. I still don’t know if that will happen, but you know what, this is genuinely pretty good.

The drier APA character here is compensated for by the tart fruit character, while the lower bitterness of the NE style gets reinforced slightly as the drier APA character makes what bitterness there is punch harder, but unlike some APAs, due to the freshness the flour like hop character doesn’t get gritty. It feels like a lot of the possible issues I have with some APAs and NEIPAs actually offset each other here by the other style pushing back the other way to create an actual balance between the two.

So, tart matched by a dry, well pushed grapefruit notes that go a touch outside the standard tart grapefruit flavour range for a bit of variety. There is even a touch of soft vanilla from the malt, but general that side of things just gives that New England style extra thickness and mouthfeel.

It is a good APA, and an area where I genuinely think the New England take on things works, adding to rather than detracting from the beer style. I am impressed. Nicely done, I applaud everyone involved.

Background: As you may have guessed from the notes I am generally not taken by the New England IPA style. Still, this is a beer made at To Øl’s brewpub, so is a rare chance to try something from there. Even more than that it is made with Cloudwater, who have a good hand with hop heavy beers, so I was interested to see how it works out. Oddly this is a New England Pale Ale, not an IPA, something I did not even know existed until this moment. Not much else to add – bought at Independent Spirit, put back on Visceral by Getter while drinking for some nicely done backing music.

To Øl : CPH – The Boss (Denmark: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice. Good inch of yellow white loose head.

Nose: Crisp bitter hop character. Bitty pineapple chunks. Grapefruit. Slightly bready hops.

Body: Tart grapefruit. Light flour. Low level bitterness. Vanilla. Mandarin orange develops over time.

Finish: Grapefruit. Pineapple. Low level hop character. Custard cream biscuits. Slight flour. Mandarin orange.

Conclusion: Ok, a short while back I bemoaned the lack of IPAs these days that truly commit to the tart grapefruit heavy IPAs that you got back when Nelson Sauvin hops were first all the rage. Well, sometimes you ask for something and end up getting it is spades!

This is grapefruit dominated all the way baby! Some pineapple backing as well, but mainly grapefruit. However it feels different to the big grapefruit IPAs of old. They were clean and tart, either dry and with the malt out of the way or sweet and tart. This uses the texture of the beer to call to ragged grapefruit and pineapple chunks that are nearly falling apart, leaving bits everywhere on the tongue. It is a style that allows the beer to call back to those previous classic while still innovating nicely.

Very nice, very tart, if kind of one note at the start. It takes a while for the vanilla character from the malt to come out, instead you mainly get a very New England style thicker texture, slightly wheaty or oat thickened mouthfeel to the body. Hops are present in a low level but pricking bitterness way. Enough to definitely be an IPA, but far from heavy.

Finally, late on, tart mandarin orange comes out, a much needed extra note to bring back a bit of interest and zest at the end. It is still a tad too one note to be a classic, but mixes a solid bitterness, a new take on grapefruit tartness, a nice use of New England style mouthfeel without otherwise bowing to the NE style, and puts it together to make a pretty damn nice IPA.

Background:Also listed as being brewed by Brus, this is brewed at To Øl’s brewpub (the aforementioned Brus). Normally To Øl do contract brewing if I remember rightly, so a chance to grab some of their brewpub’s stuff in can was very special. Grabbed from Independent Spirit this is a double dry hopped IPA made with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe (no Nelson Sauvin, much to my surprise as you may notice from the notes). I put on Rise Against – “The Suffering and The Witness” while drinking, a pretty good one, even if it can’t quite live up to Endgame for all time great album status.

Mikkeller: Boon: Oude Geuze (Vermouth Foeders) (Denmark: Gueuze: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy pale apple juice colour with moderate white bubbled head.

Nose: White wine. Dry. Oats. Black pepper. Dried apple. Appetizer. Spritzy notes. Yeast funk.

Body: Apple front. Dry. Dry white wine. Oak. Dried apricot. Slight charring. Yeast funk. Slightly sour. Chalk. Menthol Vanilla.

Finish: Dry white wine. Yeast funk. Mature cheese. Peppery. Dry lemon juice. Apple. Sour. Oaken. Champagne. Slight peppermint.

Conclusion: Ok, I wasn’t expecting this to be so apple touched in flavour. It isn’t cider like, which would be how you may expect apple in a lambic to come across, but more like dried apple chunks that have been left in the mix. Beneath that is a very dry, slightly sour, white wine character. It is a surprisingly intense beer though with notes like pepper, slight charring and oak all coming into the mix. While wood notes aren’t unusual in a lambic, this definitely feels more woody than most and more spritzy with it. It has a fizzy mouthfeel that comes across through the dryness.

The rougher edges make it feel like a prickly beer – sour and peppery edges over a white wine and lightly menthol to peppermint touched base. As these settle a vibrant yeast funkiness rises – mature cheese notes complement by the pepper to create a fuller and more rewarding mouthfeel and taste.

It always feel slight sour though – very dry and mouth tingling with an unusual set of minty notes freshening and accentuating the dry base. Its a good look if a tad rough around the edges. It ends up feeling even more mouth freshening that even a lot of other geuzes, which is saying something. At its best it is wakening, at its worst it as an almost freshly cleaned teeth feel – though less gross than that sounds. What makes it work is it never loses that apple character – it is not as strong after a while, but it is definitely the most pleasant characteristic and gives a lot of charm to the beer.

It is definitely an acquired taste – the more peppermint like elements take a while to grow on you. For me it was good but a tad too menthol fresh. I’d go for other geuzes to return to, but this one was definitely interesting.

Background: A vermouth foeder aged lambic? Interesting. I’m not a huge drinker of vermouth, but aware of it enough that this intrigued me. Boon tend to be excellent with their geuzes and a collaboration with Mikkeller tends to add to the quality, so when I saw this at Independent Spirit I grabbed it. Not much more to add – got a whole bunch more lambics and sours to come, what with the recent Cantillon bottle pick up at Zwanze day – so if you like these sort of notes more are to come. Was drinking this the day after a mind blowingly awesome and energetic Crossfaith gig so put their tunes on. Genuinely the highest energy live show I’ve been to in years. If you get the chance and like electronic dance-metal mash ups, definitely give them a go.

Mikkeller: Beer Geek Fudgesicle (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Pours thick with a small brown head. Still main body.

Nose: Creamy to condensed cream. Liquorice. Bitter coffee. Marshmallow. Toffee.

Body: Creamy fudge. Liquorice. Bitter cocoa. Marshmallow. Chewy. Light rougher nut character. Praline.

Finish: Cocoa. Marshmallow. Fudge. Toffee. Hot chocolate. Butterscotch,

Conclusion: Ok, this is very creamy, big, sweet, thick and …very liquorice touched? Ok, there is one element I did not expect in there. Wonder if you can guess which one?

Though in the description above I have kind of reversed the order. From the first moments after pouring the beer I was surprised that a beer with such a sickly sweet name as Fudgesicle opened with such a strong dry, savoury set of black liquorice notes in the aroma.

As you sip your way slowly through the beer it becomes easy to see how it earned its name though. – there is very thick marshmallow to condensed cream mouthfeel and flavours that create a very heavy and chewy beer. Oddly the fudge flavours are probably behind the more bitter cocoa in the list of flavours by intensity, but there is still definitely enough creamy fudge for it to earn its name.

It is also slightly savoury backed – a the liquorice grounding never really goes away. It works well at keeping the beer from becoming sickly sweet, but I will admit I would have preferred a different grounding notes as the liquorice can get wearing over time.

Now it is still bloody enjoyable – one note in the sweet flavours side of things, but very thick and well done. A simple, but enjoyable party of a beer where everything is layered over with sweet heavy creamy weight.

Not Brunch Weasel level awesome, but a creamy, heavy beer that is technically impressive in the grand scheme of things, even if not every element is to my tastes. It you want sweet boozy fun, grab it. With polish I think they could take this even beyond that if they manage to add a few layers. As is, I loved my time with it, even if it is a tad simple.

Background: So, I am a huge fan of the Beer Geek series, with Beer Geek Brunch Weasel probably still being my favourite, and still one of the best imperial stouts of all time. So, when Independent Spirit got in this oatmeal stout made with cocoa and vanilla it damn near leapt into my hands. This was done by contract brewing, rather than at their new USA based brewery, hence still listing it as Denmark where Mikkeller is based (I generally gave up listing by where it is contract brewed as that just got confusing). Put on Idles: Joy as an Act of Resistance while drinking. Amazing album, a kind of Clash meets post hardcore punk with emotional openness, self respect and utter contempt for toxic masculinity. Great stuff.

Mikkeller: Henry and His Science #1 (Denmark: Low Alcohol: 0.3% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow to grain. Medium white head. Small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Jiff lemon. Wheaty. Fresh. Lime cordial. Soft milk. Slight hop prickle.

Body: Lucozade. Chalk touch. Strawberry. Lemon curd. Fluffy hop middle. Hop oils. Lime cordial. Malt toffee. Golden syrup.

Finish: Lemon hard sweets. Lucozade. Strawberry. Lemon curd. Vanilla toffee.

Conclusion: This is not 100% beer feeling – it is about 50% glucose energy drink and 50% beer. Which is a bloody odd experience let me tell you.

The lucozade energy drink style elements are the first hit – sweet, slightly syrup tasting, though not in texture, and sugary. The citrus notes that make up the more beer side of things come in after, lemon and lime notes – very fresh and backed by very subtle fluffy hop feel and hop oils that are the most direct beer feeling element but very subtle. There is a slight chalk grounding touch but that again is very mild

Like a lot of low abv beers it seems to find it difficult to create that elusive “Beer” texture and taste – but here it feels like the beer leans into that, creating a distinctly different drink that uses the low abv to create something new in the beer arena rather than trying to replicate what came before.

Soft strawberry notes develop over time, along with a recognisable, if subtle, toffee sweet backing. The hops lean tart and fresh in a NZ hop style which helps quench the sweetness and make the beer easy to drink.

As an attempt to replicate other beer styles in a low abv I would have to call this a failure. As an attempt to use low abv to create a beer influenced experience that stands on its own two feet this is lovely. Lots of flavour, lots of tart notes and sweet notes, and all just about recognisable as beer touched if nothing else.

Very easy to drink, tasty, and low abv – I’m happy with that.

Background: Low abv beer time again! Along with Big Drop Brewing, Mikkeller are at the forefront of low abv beers in my opinion. Though I think they have a brewery in the USA now, this is one of their “Gypsy brewing” style ones, still done by contract brewing in other breweries. Anyway, this was a nice one on a night when I didn’t want to kick off anything heavy, but felt like a beer. I’d had it a few times before so had a good idea of what to expect going in. Put on some Mclusky while drinking, love their out there, rough sounding, awesome music. This was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Mikkeller: Hallo Ich Bin Mikkeller Berliner Weisse – Alkoholfrei (Denmark: Low alcohol Berliner Weisse: 0.1% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to pale lemon body. Small bubbled carbonation and a large mound of sud leaving head.

Nose: Lemon. Very fresh and tart. Nutty. Sour lime. Lightly milky. Tart apples. Slight sour sulphur funk.

Body: Lemon. Strawberry. Acidic apple meets lactose thickness. Lightly acidic in general. Tart grapes. Subtle vanilla toffee.

Finish: Soft vanilla. Apples. Gooseberry. Acidic touch. Mild raspberries. Slight metallic tang. Sprite.

Conclusion: Ok, I don’t know how they did it, but at 0.1% abv Mikkeller has knocked this one right out of the park.

It is a refreshing, lightly acidic and tart beer, and goes down oh so easily. It is slightly thinner in mouthfeel than a full abv sour, but still manages a nice lactose like grip that makes it compare well with much higher abv beers in its grip and ability to deliver the flavour.

The flavour benefits wonderfully from the lightly acidic character, giving an almost illusionary set of light tart notes float across your tongue as the acidity interacts with the other elements of the beer. There is the expected imagery of lemon and grapes, but also it develops into dancing strawberry and raspberry notes that reward you in every sip.

Now, it doesn’t have that much to round out the tart freshness and fruit, so not a beer to contemplate, but as a summer refresher this is amazing. Lightly sweet with it, it is easy pleasing and easy drinking.

Now if you want a real tart, mouth tingling berliner weisse then I will admit this is not it – it is instead a gentle and lovely thing, and so not one to challenge you. However for quality it sits alongside Big Drop’s Pale Ale – the sour equivalent in the awesome low abv beer league.

Highly recommended.

Background: This is another of my dive into low abv beers, and Mikkeller have a very good track record on those so far. This was another one I tried first from Beercraft but didn’t do notes, but added a few bottles into an order I did from BeerHawk so I could revisit it. Like some previous Mikkeller beers, this is a low abv version of a beer that already exists with the same name. Because that isn’t confusing. Berliner Weisse beers are generally not high abv, but this is the first time I had seen one anywhere near this low abv, so was unsure how well it would work. Put on some old school tunes for this – the classic that is The Clash – London Calling!

To Øl: Sur Tangerine/Mosaic Lemonade Shandy (Denmark: Shandy: 2.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Fast small bubbled carbonation. Medium sized loose white head.

Nose: Tangerine. Flour. Wheaty bitterness. Peppery. Fresh white bread. Tart grapes. Sprite.

Body: Fizzy. Lightly chalky. Lightly sour. Lightly acidic. Lemon. Dried mango. Dried tangerine.

Finish: Chalky. Fresh feeling air. White grapes. Gritty bitterness. Traditional lemonade. Mandarin orange. Acidic air. Lemon juice. Light guava. Dried apricot. Charred notes

Conclusion: I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this, which is kind of appropriate in a way, as I’m drinking it now and I’m not quite sure what I’ve got.

It is kind of generically sour at first, but quite chalky with that which gives a rough rather than a refreshing edge. It has light lemon and grape fresh notes, but shortly after a more identifiable set of orange fruit notes come along – both in a fresh front and more clinging and dry behind.

That mix of elements seems to be the duality that is the issue at the heart of this beer. It has the bright notes from the hops, all orange and tart, which is matched to a drinkably low abv and the lemonade tangerine characteristics, but the chalk note and matching, long lasting, slightly gritty bitterness really work against those positives and make it harder to drink.

It isn’t terrible, which is enough to make me keep thinking that the hops are going to manage to save this beer and smooth out the rough notes. But they don’t. The hop use does bring big flavour from the well used Mosaic hop, which is impressive considering the low abv, but for all that works well when you reach the finish it leads out all dry and charred.

Interesting and even good up front, but gets rougher as it goes on and ends up going against its best elements in the finish. It doesn’t land what it aims to do and I cannot recommend it.

Background: This was a bit of a spur of the moment purchase, it is also the first shandy to have notes done on this site! I saw it as a sour beer at lower abv, with tangerine like flavours and only on closer inspection saw that it was a shandy. So I thought “Fuck it, let’s give it a go, To Øl tend to be solid”. So, it is a mosaic hop sour session IPA mixed with tangerine lemonade. Sure, makes perfect sense. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to The Eels: Live and In Person. I’ve seen The Eels live a few times live, and each show had a radically different feel, with old tunes redone in the style of new albums, so I always like their live albums.

Mikkeller: Weird Weather Non-alcoholic (Denmark: Low Alcohol IPA: 0.3% ABV)

Visual: Light hazy lemon to pineapple juice. Very large white bubbled head that leaves suds.

Nose: Isotonic drinks to Pocari Sweat. Pineapple. Tart grapes. Light tannins. Vanilla. Wheat.

Body: Pineapple. Isotonic drinks. Grapes. Glucose tablets. Lime cordial. Lemon.

Finish: Soft lemon. Grapes. Lucozade. Light hop bitterness and very light hop roughness. Light peach. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Why do so many low abv beers have a subtle isotonic drink to lucozade kind of taste? I’m sure there is a scientific explanation, but it just seems an odd element to be so reoccurring.

Anyway, this feels like a mix of isotonic drinks, Mikkeller’s Drink in the Sun, with just a dash of New England IPA style. There is nearly no hop bitterness – not in oiliness or hop feel either, except for the lightest of touches from a rough hop character element in the finish.

Flavour wise there is light tart fruit – pineapple, lemon backed by some sweeter peach notes, but they are very gentle. Then again, I’ve always found the NEIPA kind of overly gentle for me, with a few notable exceptions. It is soothing in flavour, if not especially special – at times the grapes and pineapple can be pretty rewarding, at others a kind of glucose tablets to isotonic drinks mehness comes out.

Mehness is a word.

So, ok, I’d say it is the weaker cousin of Drink In The Sun, but it does have its own elements. Then again I may have been spoiled as I’ve had DITS on tap where it utterly rocked, while I’ve only had this in can and I’m guessing this would benefit similarly from being on tap.

A nice enough beer for the low alcohol range, but the bar has recently been risen by the awesome Big Drop: Pale Ale, so everyone else is playing catch up now.

background: Huh, there is also an alcohol version of this, and a gluten free one, and an IIPA and.. ok, naming is just getting confusing here. Really going to have to be careful ordering this if you are the designated driver of your group. Anyway, I first tried this after seeing it at beercraft but didn’t do notes then, since it was ok I grabbed a few more cans of it from beerhawk while doing an order to grab a few rarities I had spotted there. Anyway it is described as a New England IPA, which is a brave attempt for a beer that racks in at a mere 0.3% abv. Some of you may notice the IPA glasses are back – I can’t say if they actually make the beer smell or taste better but after I broke the original glass I did notice I missed it when doing IPAs – it adds a bit of glitz to the event, so I pulled my thumb out and grabbed a replacement. Drunk while listening to Paradise Lost – Draconian times. Still one of my favourite albums, such great gloomy heavy tunes.

Mikkeller: Brandy Barrel Aged Raspberry Quadrupel (Denmark: Quadrupel: 13% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black with a thin brown head. Had a slightly purple hue on pour as it hit the light.

Nose: Raspberry. Fig rolls. Suet and mince pies. Raisins to fruitcake. Brandy cream hints. Sweet sherry. Marmalade. Crusty bread rolls. Calvados.

Body: Thick. Raspberry. Cream. Cognac. Marmalade. Tart grapes. Sherry and port. Malt chocolate and oatmeal biscuits. Apples. Stewed apricot. Raisins. Toffee. Liqueur.

Finish: Marmalade. Raisins. Oatmeal. Port. Tannins – tea. Calvados. Raspberries.

Conclusion: OK, this has a lot more beer at the base of it than the recently tried Trippelbock did, and the barrel ageing has given it a lot of spirity high points to make it interesting. Which means, unlike the Trippelbock, that as big as the raspberry character is in this thing, they don’t run the show – and the beer is much better for having that range.

I have the feeling that the base quad is slightly dry – it delivers figgy, sweet dark fruit notes, but in a seemingly a slightly dry way. I have to say “I have the feeling” as it is hard to tell with everything else that is squashed into this beer. The barrel ageing mixes with the tart fruit to crate a cavalcade of spirity expressions – from sherry, port, to apple Calvados. The mix creates so many of the high, spirity notes that I mentioned earlier. The most obvious of them is the thick cut marmalade character, a sugary sweet cognac chunk of character squatting in the middle of the beer, which I presume is the Brandy ageing. By comparison the raspberry influence seems fresh, tart and natural, offsetting the artificial feeling, spirity flavours.

So, does it work? As a quad, probably no – the base beer is recognisable, but is surpassed massively by the other elements. The artificial feeling spirity notes colliding with the tart natural raspberry take up the vast majority of the beer.

It is big, brash and … yes, enjoyable – pretty much by shoving everything in at once and hoping it works. It is about as subtle as a sledgehammer shot. It is far from a carefully layered masterpiece -more a dodgem car collision of notes- but it has character and value as that. Make of that what you will.

Background: OK, this I had to grab, a big quadrupel, barrel aged in brandy, and stuffed with raspberries. The barrel ageing is indicated by a discreet BA on the label, and the specific type is only detailed in tiny text on the back. They seem to be almost anti-advertising this. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and poured into a Westvleteren glass – I decided a huge beer like this deserved the glass. Continuing my attempt to revisit classic albums I put on Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death while drinking this. Easily my favourite of the Iron Maiden albums since their resurgence with Brave New World.

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