Tag Archive: Denmark


To Øl: Sur Sorachi Ace (Denmark: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Pale lemon yellow to apricot. Very large mounded white froth head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Light cheese puffs funk and wheat. Flour. Lemongrass. Brown bread. Pepper. Bready in general.

Body: Sour. Sour dough. Lemon-juice. Lemongrass. Marshmallows. Brown bread. Dill pickles.

Finish: Flour. Cloying bitterness. Sour cream. Lemon-grass. Dill pickle. Slight charring.

Conclusion: Ok, maybe Sorachi Ace doesn’t go with everything. Which is a pity. I still hold that a single hopped Sorachi Ace barley wine would be awesome – but apparently the hop doesn’t suit a sour pale ale. Pity. Anyway, despite how I just opened the notes, this isn’t a bad beer. I just don’t think that Sorachi Ace added to it that well is all I am saying.

The base is still pretty nice – a tart sour character mixed in with a quite bready grounding. As I found with my experience with Sur Mosaic they have the base sour pale down pat – it is bit charred in the finish, which can be a flaw sometimes, but just about fits in here.

The issue then is that the lovely lemongrass, bubblegum and dill pickle flavours of Sorachi Ace kind of get lost in here – it is already quite sour lemon and slight pickle to the base so instead of the hop adding, you just end up with the vegetable kind of notes of the character, and less of the cool stuff. You still get some lemongrass, but generally what shines through here is the (admittedly good) base. The slight greenery just takes away from that. It is far from a bad beer, as To Øl know their shit – but even as a Sorachi Ace fan I have to say it doesn’t fit well here.

So, solid beer in execution of the concept – but the idea, or at least the hop choice, lets it down. Despite that I can still enjoy it for the quality of the base beer and will probably experiment with more of the sur hops range to see which hops work better.

Background: I love sorachi ace. Seriously love this weird hop. I had a very good experience with my last Sur * beer from To Øl – so this was definitely one to try. A soured pale ale, single hopped – what is not to like? Anyway, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while putting on some heavy duty Meshuggah for enjoyment. It is worth noting there is no name on the front of this beer, just a bunch of sperm looking lines. The only place you find the name is in the description on the back. Which doesn’t seem to have been done for the rest of the range. Odd.

To Øl: Roses are Brett (Denmark: Saison: 6% ABV)

Visual: Deep cherry red. Red touched inch of froth. Some carbonation mid body.

Nose: Tart raspberries. Natural yogurt. Slight yeast funk character. Strawberry. Light pepper.

Body: Raspberries. Sour cream. Charred bitterness. Rose wine. Slight bready backing. Milky character. Slight funk sourness. Sour lime. Mandarin orange.

Finish: Rose wine. Sour dough. Charred bitterness. Raspberry. Orange juice. Lemon curd. Kiwi.

Conclusion: Sometimes I praise beer for their complexity – sometimes being able to dig deep into a beer; being able to take your time and find a shifting, ever evolving beer is a great reward. Other times it is enough just to find a beer that does what it does very well and doesn’t shift from that. This is that second type of beer.

It is a very raspberry filled, slightly tart beer with a bready backing, some funk and sour character and a few sour fruit notes that spin off from that main core set. It is that beer at the beginning and that beer at the end.

What sells it as a beer that is more than that simple description is the feel – With a very recognisably saison mouthfeel, slightly rustic and bready, kind of funky with a slight milky smoothness. It lets that lovely sharp raspberry float in the air and do its thing, without losing such a distinctive beer character. It has a feel that doesn’t interfere with the main flavour that lets it keep it simple without being dull. Bravo.

The other fruit flavours mentioned earlier are an extra note there, though they definitely feel like they spin out of the sourness of the main raspberry flavour – you get lime sours, notes of lemon freshness and the like. They are all similarly fresh, tart and sour notes that just add a bit of sparkle. The oddest other flavour you get in the mix is a kind of rose wine feel – possibly that is why the beer is named as it is, or maybe that beer’s name is what caused the image to come to mind for me.

Any which way, this is lovely – from a minute or so in you know what you are getting for the rest of the beer, but it is polished so well that you can just lean back and enjoy it as it is. It strips out everything it doesn’t need and just delivers what it does best. Very good indeed.

Background: This is one grabbed on a whim from Brewdog’s guest beer selection -To Øl, like a lot of the Scandinavian craft beer scene, is solid as hell and the idea of a brett and raspberry saison sounded like just the thing for me at the moment. As the second raspberry infused beer back to back for doing notes on it was interesting to mentally compare it to the De Molen raspberry beer. Anyway, felt like some weird and heavy music to go with this so put on Buckethead’s Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell – a guitar virtuoso’s crunchy, metal like, heavy album.

To Øl Sur Mosaic

To Øl: Sur Mosaic (Denmark: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Massive lace leaving yellow white head.

Nose: Passion fruit. Tangerine. Crisp hop character. Banana. Wheat. Gherkin like sourness.

Body: Lightly tart. Apples. Passion-fruit. Grapes. Dried banana. Moderate bitterness. Sour grapes. Mild gherkin. More sour as it warms. Quite thick for the style. Custard slices. Apricot. Toffee.

Finish: Mild custard hop character. Mild bitterness. Kiwi. Mild gherkin. Mild vinegar on chips.

Conclusion: Sours in a can? Ok, I’ll take that, especially when they are as hop forward as this sour ale. Cans tend to be good at preserving hop flavours, and you wouldn’t want to lose the big flavours you get with mosaic hops.

Now, I say sours in a can – this isn’t half as sour as I would have expected from the name. Make no doubt, it is a sour beer, but more in a cloying, thick, sour dough, mild gherkin kind of way. A very savoury base, refreshing and cloying in equal measure.

This all provides a base from which to take that mosaic hop style and blow you away. I’m very fond of the mosaic hop and that sour beer platform works far better with it that I would ever have expected. There is lots of bright orange and green fruit, all delivered just slightly tarter than a clearer pale ale base would allow, it just gives a different tweak on the hop.

The hop level makes me think of an IPA base with its soft custard and toffee notes amongst the more cloying and sour elements. If it wasn’t for my hated for the number of {adjective} IPA style names out there I would call this a sour IPA. But I do, so I won’t.

Overall, very good with lovely sweet flavour, soft bitterness and cloying sourness. The cloying element does get a bit heavy towards the end – I think it would work better as a 330ml can, or possibly if I had kept the can chilled and poured top ups regularly from that. Any which way, despite that slight flaw this is a very enjoyable beer. Minor points that get in the way of an extended session with it but generally fan and a different use of hops.

Background: A sour pale ale hopped up with the wonderful mosaic hop, from the reliable To Øl. Yeah, worth a shot. Canned, at a larger can size than the usual for craft beers, which is odd in itself. Anyway I am not 100% sure but by memory I think I grabbed this one from Independent Spirit. I could be wrong. Anyway, not much else to add, just trying to get back into putting regular notes up again.

Mikkeller Boon Oude Geuze Boon Bone Dry Mikkeller Selection

Mikkeller: Boon: Oude Geuze Boon: Bone Dry Mikkeller Selection (Denmark: Lambic Geuze: 7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow gold. Massive white loose bubbled head. Quite a bit of carbonation.

Nose: Dry white wine. Crisp apples. White flour. Mixed oats. Champagne. Fresh white bread. Elderberry.

Body: Dry and very tart. Tart apples. Tart lychee. Tart grapefruit. Sparkling white wine. Sharp lemon juice.

Finish: Lychee and pineapple. Tart apples. Dry white wine. Drying. Lightly oaken. Squeezed lemon. Blood orange. Tart grapes.

Conclusion: Ok, yep, this is dry. They nailed that one. Oh, and tart. Tart and dry. Mission accomplished. So, it is dry, is it any good?

Well if feels very white wine influenced – dry (obviously) white wine is there, but also a hint of champagne thrown in as well. Very fresh up front, yet mouth drying as it goes out. However it allows itself a much fruitier flavour range than that description would lead you to expect. There are lots of tart and sharp fruits – apples, grapes, lemon, lychee, grapefruit. If you can name it, and it is tart, then there is at least reasonable odds it will be in there. Absolutely lovely tart flavours, but delivered utterly dry. Your mouth ends up sparkling, but oh so dry after you swallow it down.

It definitely follows the route of the more obviously flavourful recent lambics rather than the more subtle, texture playing, more traditional style of old. It doesn’t completely eschew that tradition though – due to the boon influence it really shines in the mouthfeel territory as well. While dry it is not desiccating and it has a pleasant sparkling fizzing feel without going to soda stream levels – it makes an excellent thirst quenching drink, yet also encourages you to drink more with the dryness – a fact that is dangerous for a 7% ABV beer.

Also, either I am getting really acclimatised to these lambics in my old age, or this is amazingly drinkable for such a dry, tart character. It actually feels accessible, despite the fact it has a quite extreme take on the style. Then again, maybe it is just that my tastebuds have been ruined by Cantillon. That could explain a lot.

Anyway, another excellent lambic. I would say, of the two, that Boon Black label has the edge for me. It has a slightly bigger body that makes it wow more for me – however this keeps closer to the original dry lambic conceit. Any which way, another absolute winner.

Background: According to ratebeer this is the same beer as Boon Black Label. According to 1) My tastebuds and 2) research done to confirm, this is not true. Though it is a close thing. The foeders of lambic used to make this beer did not use up all the lambic, so the remains were used to make Black Label. So same base set, but the proportions were different, resulting in a noticeably different beer. Going by my google they say Black Label should be more full bodied, which matches the notes I had done before looking at that, so sounds right by me. Grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer section, this was drunk in silence on a warm day, chilled way down. Warning the cork pops out very easily, I barely touched it before it erupted in my hands. I had to drink this one quickly, it was coming up to its 2035 Best before date :-p.

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Brunch Big Blend

Mikkeller: Beer Geek Breakfast Brunch Big Blend (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Massive dark coffee froth rock solid head.

Nose: Spiced grapes. Bitter chocolate. Strawberry yogurt. Cinnamon. Carrot. Bitter coffee. Vanilla beans. Bourbon. Cherries.

Body: Spicy. Paprika. Cherries. Bitter coffee and cocoa powder. Pepper. Tingling feel – spirity. Bourbon.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Bitter coffee. Smoke and embers. Peppery. Vanilla beans. Bourbon. Rye crackers. Port.

Conclusion: Not as good as you would hope. Wow, that is a good start isn’t it? yeah, Well, I guess they are right – too many cooks do indeed spoil the broth. Now, it still has a lot in its favour. For one it is complex as fuck. A very complex fuck involving pulleys, diagrams and advance planning. I may not be very good at analogies. Anyway, yes, complex – I don’t think it could be anything but that considering its roots, but it ends up pulling itself in far too many ways.

An example? Well, for one the insanely complex coffee I loved in Beer Geek Brunch Weasel is there, but a lot of the subtlety is lost – there is a lot of spicy packed in at the high end of the notes and it covers up a lot of the base character there, while there is a sparkling spirit character at the base doing the same to the more complex chocolate notes. The tingling isn’t so much raw alcohol – it actually feels quite smooth on that front, but more tingling with the barrel ageing notes. So what is at its base a very smooth beer ends up feeling slightly rough as all the other elements clash with each other.

Now the base beer isn’t everything – you have to expect something to be lost as well as gained when barrel ageing is brought in, but it is a bad sign when you lose too much. So what do you gain? Well, one of the best things is that you get some lovely sweet cherries into the mix, which complement the coffee and chocolate perfectly. Fantastic as the ninth doctor would say if he were a pisshead like me. In fact the best is generally the sweet notes added to the midst of the bitter chocolate and coffee. The worst is probably the excess spicy character which hides more than it adds.

Still a solid, frothy, well textured beer at its base, but it tries to do too much at once.

Background: Grabbed at Independent Spirit, this is a mix of (deep breath) bourbon, brandy, cherry wine, cognac, tequila and whisky aged imperial stout. Think it may also be a mix of Beer Geek Breakfast and Beer Geek Brunch Weasel as well, but that is a guess based on the name. The abv is closer to Breakfast, but the imagery on the bottle makes me think they may haves used the same coffee as Brunch Weasel. Google hasn’t helped out much, so much of this is guessing. I deliberately didn’t refresh my memory on what barrel ageing had been used before doing the tasting note so to keep psychosomatic influences to a minimum. I adore Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, so have been grabbing many variants over the years. Drunk whilst listening to more ocremix stuff.

Mikkeller Crooked Moon Tattoo Stockholm Stout

Mikkeller: Crooked Moon Tattoo Stockholm Stout (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Large creamy brown froth.

Nose: Crushed peanuts. Mashed figs and raisins. Malt chocolate drink. Black olives.

Body: Black olives. Bitter. Cloying. Sour dough and cream cheese. Very bitter black chocolate and bitter black coffee.

Finish: Bitter coffee. Brown bread and black olives.

Conclusion: Well, I often muse, (or perhaps mildly complain is more accurate) about the fact that a lot of recent imperial stouts feel like they are trying to be similar to what is popular at the time rather than carving their own identity. This is a beer that does not suffer from that. This is a beer that is odd. This is a beer that is very distinctive, not quite unique, but definitely taken the less walked road.

Now, with figs in this I was expecting this to lean towards the sweeter end of the stout scale. I was wrong. Damn wrong. This is bitter. bitter chocolate. Bitter coffee. Without contrasting sweetness when cool I actually find this more punishing that a lot of high alpha acid IPAs.

Bitter chocolate and coffee may not sound that unusual, in fact it may sound like every other Imperial Stout out there – however while chocolate and coffee may not be unusual the level of intensity is. What makes this odd is a cloying kind of feel and big black olives flavour – it makes it feel like the beer equivalent of that bread, oil and olives starter you get in some Italian restaurants. But in a stout. Go on, tell me that is a common thing. No, right? An odd one this. I have run into olive notes before, but never so intensely.

The actual expected odd element – the figs – well that only comes out when the beer warms, and not even that heavily then. However, boy is it needed. Without it the beer is too intense on the single, bitter, end of the scale. With it, it is still punishing but now more manageable.

It still feels a bit too lob sided for me, a bit over cloying and heavily olive dominated – but with the slight mashed fig sweetness I can respect it, if not overly enjoy it. Not one for me, but it is well made and I think it will be for many of you. If my notes have not put you off and you want something different then you may want to check it out.

Background: Made with figs, which is the main reason I grabbed it. That and the fact Mikkeller tend to be awesome with Imperial Stouts. Crooked tattoo look to be a bunch of guys who run a tattoo convention and they asked Mikkeller to make this beer for them for that. Bought from the ever reliable Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to a bit of Within Temptation, which seemed to suit the mood for this.

To Øl Black Malts and Body Salts

To Øl: Black Malts and Body Salts (Denmark: Black IIPA: 9.99% ABV)

Visual: Black. Huge coffee froth and a tight bubbled mound of a head that leaves coffee sud rings.

Nose: Coffee granules. Light granite. Bitter character. Burnt wood. Earthy.

Body: Bitter coffee. Charcoal dust. Blended whisky undertones. Salt touch. Some thick chocolate notes.

Finish: Bitter, especially bitter coffee. Charcoal dust. Salt touch. Earthy and spicy. Light strawberry notes occasionally.

Conclusion: This is a harsher black IPA than most of the style. Against expectations it seems to go down the more earthy and straightforward hop bitterness of a British IPA rather than the more fruity use of the word IPAs. But with a Black IPA here obviously. Or a coffee BIPA as it turns out.

Strange as I don’t think they use British hops – could just be emphasising the early boil hops for bitterness maybe? Not really sure, but that is how it ends up feeling anyway.

Now the coffee makes up a very big part of the overall character – and very bitter coffee at that, easily matching the raw bitter hop character. It gets smoother mid body and is backed by some chocolate maltiness, but top and tail is very raw bitter coffee.

The harsher edges are emphasised, with the burnt wood into charcoal notes that make what would be an otherwise smooth beer come out as very drying into the earthy end. It is a very robust beer, so much so that – combined with the abv – there is a spirity kind of blended whisky undertone. Odd as the beer is so smooth texture wise, but there are definite signs of the alcohol in there.

I haven’t ran into many earthy based BIPAs, so this gets points for doing that well, and the coffee is used well – so much so it seems to be basically coffee beer half the time. Overall though – it is only an ok beer to me, and in the market of Black IPAs which is filled with greats. I like that it is a different take on the style but it doesn’t really excite – it has a few notes it does well, but doesn’t really seem to expand out.

A solid well made beer, but nothing that declares it a must drink.

Background: Ok, erm, I just looked this up on rate beer and it is their #1 rated Black IPA. I swear I don’t just write these things to be controversial. Anyway, I picked this up from Brewdog’s Guest Beer section as I had heard a good buzz about it. Anyway this is a Black IPA brewed with coffee, and, according to rate beer – body salts. I have to admit I thought that was just a clever name. Anyway, drunk while listening to a bit of 8 bit zoo – a nice bit of cheery light heartedness to get over the fact I had basically just watched a vast amount of Marble Hornets and I kind of wanted to sleep at some point this lifetime.

Mikkeller Black Speyside tequilla

Mikkeller: Tequilla and Speyside Aged Black 黑 (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 18.8% ABV)

Visual: Black (No surprise there). Thick browned froth head.

Nose: Strong spirit. Vodka and jelly babies. Toasted teacakes. Milky coffee. Cocoa. Light cherries.

Body: Tingling. Sweet chocolate fondue. Jelly babies. Bitter chocolate hints. Orange liqueur. Noticeable alcohol. Toffee notes. Burn on swallowing. Pear notes and strawberry late on.

Finish: Spirity. Very bitter chocolate. Tongue numbing. Smoke. Brown bread. Crème brulee.

Conclusion: How big is too big? And no innuendo please. Mikkeller black was always an intense one, utterly bitter black chocolate with no compromises. Always single minded. This? Well it is different, but even bigger and more intense.

Initially it seemed too spirity – there is a definite alcohol harshness and prickle, which, along with the immensely bitter chocolate finish, makes for a very harsh way out for this beer.

What I find interesting is how the barrel ageing has altered the main body – previously the chocolate was bitter as hell – now it comes in sweet and with an almost chocolate fondue style – this makes for a much needed contrast to the very spirit heavy influence, especially the harsh tequila alcohol air and slight smoke.

It is an odd mix, once you get used to the harshness there is reasonable depth to the main body, with the varied ageing adding different spirit, sweet and fruity notes to the chocolate body.

The finish however is a clumsy mess of harshness, where the main body has quirks – rough edges but in a charming way – the finish doesn’t work. A pity as it lets down the rest of the beer massively – especially as the finish lasts so long so it will be what you are experiencing about half the time.

So, I think they went a bit too big here, all the elements are trying to shout all the time and that means half the time you can’t hear anything but the loudest voice. So, it still has the impressive base of black, but there is too much clashing here. Not bad, but not really a refined beer, nor worth the price tag, So, especially at the insane abv, it doesn’t give you a better beer for it

Background: For anyone wondering, yes 黑 is the kanji for black. If it wasn’t obvious. Anyway, I have had black a few times, but never got around to reviewing it, it is a very bitter chocolate and coffee beer. So when I saw a double barrelled aged version at independent spirit I grabbed one. Well technically I grabbed two, one as a present for a friend. So that may introduce some bias into this review. Drunk while listening to Against Me! White Crosses which continues to grow on me. In fact the beer took so long to drink at the abv that I also listened to the Guilty Gear soundtrack as well. yes I took my time with this one.

Brewdog To Øl Hardcore Maelk

Brewdog: To Øl: Hardcore Maelk (Denmark: Black IPA: 10.1% ABV)

Visual: Black. Good sized creamy brown head that leaves suds.

Nose: Grapes. Champagne. Light spritzy apple juice. Vanilla slice. Light hoppiness. Gooseberry. Slight gin.

Body: Milk chocolate. Apple spritzer. Whisky infused sponge. Gooseberry. White wine. Light roasted back. Cherries. Creamy texture. Light milk coffee notes. Some bitterness.

Finish: Bourbon. Rye crackers. Apples. Elderberry. Gin. Pineapple. Light but rising bitter chocolate. Cognac.

Conclusion: Ok, not what I expected. At all. It is a dark beer. A very dark beer. I know it is half IIPA, but it is still half Imperial Stout. Yet what I get first is tastes like apples and elderberry mixed in with white wine. The fuck? Now I know what an IPA stout mix is, but I have never experienced one that comes through so fruity and fresh.

Behind that fresh fruit comes the more expected dark beer notes that show through with dark and velvety chocolate. It is a beer that suits perfectly being chilled down, where all those lovely fresh notes comes out, then being allowed to warm with dark rich fruit, cognac and chocolate. Even as it warms it shifts back and forth, allowing different elements to come to the fore – at times fresh and spritzy with hop notes, and at others dark and rich.

It is a lovely blend of hops and malt, making for a rich complex ale. Through that you get the feeling it has been soaked through in spirit like a tiramisu base – the balance is impeccable. By the end of the beer you are steeped in classy cognac notes, and quality chocolate delights – the elements before having built to this crescendo, which soothes you down after that high, relaxing from the fresh hops and fruit. This is a beer that is not just good in individual moments but throughout a well progressed life-cycle.

Utter class, in a glass.

Background: A mix of Hardcore IPA and Jule Maelk aged in whisky barrels. Before I had broken it open I was already hearing a positive buzz about it. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was drunk while having a pre Christmas catch up with friends. This should be going up on Christmas day, so hope everyone is having a great time. This mix of IPA and stout is often called a black and tan in the USA, it is sometimes called that in England, but less so, and never in Ireland. Because over here Black and Tan was also the name of a British quasi military group used in Ireland which, well, performed a shitload of atrocities. Never order a Black and Tan in Ireland. This was a public service announcement.

Mikkeller Three Floyds Majsgoop

Mikkeller: Three Floyds: Majsgoop (Denmark: Barley Wine: 10.4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy dark gold. Medium off white head.

Nose: Peach. Digestives. Bubblegum. Milky. Soft hop bitterness. Soft lemon. Very evident from a distance.

Body: Peach and syrup. Lemon and cream. Very smooth. Malt chocolate and orange. Fudge, malt biscuits. Pineapple. Grapefruit. Kiwi.

Finish: Light bitterness and hops. Lemon curd. Peach syrup. The bitterness grows over time. Malt choc orange. Toffee and caramel. Orange, or maybe tangerine.

Conclusion: Damn. Normally I am wary about beers with adjuncts, they are usually the sign of someone trying to turn out a beer on the cheap. Then Three Floyds and Mikkeller do it.

Damn. Again. This reminds me of a halfway point between an IIPA and a barley wine. The hop flavour is absolutely huge, fruity, citrus, and such a range of flavours, but the actual bitterness is way down. The feel is much more towards a sweet smooth barley wine, with an emphasis on the sweet fudge like base.

The beer is so incredibly smooth – is this what corn is meant to do when it is not being used in a shoddy beer? Or is this just a show of the brewers amazing skill at their craft? This thing, at over 10% and while it tingles slightly, that is all you get from the alcohol – a tingle, not really much more than you would get from hop effects. You are aware of the alcohol but it never intrudes.

Yeah. Very impressive.

Frankly, at no point does this disappoint – The only thing I can hold against it is there have been similar, but just slightly better beers. Just slightly. Tiny amount. That is the worst criticism I can give.

Top notch.

Background: The firth big Mikkeller and Three Floyds *goop collaboration. Each one using a different extra ingredient, this time corn being the odd adjunct used. This is the version made by Mikkeller rather than the Three Floyds version as they both brewed a batch. The label on this is awesome – I will have to keep the bottle for a while. Drunk while listening to a bit of the Foo Fighters. Thankfully they seem to have given up denying HIV causes aids now, which put me off supporting them for a while

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