Tag Archive: Mikkeller


Betelgeuze

To Øl: Mikkeller: Betelgeuze (Denmark: Gueuze Lambic: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Short lived white shimmer of a head and some carbonation mid body.

Nose: Apricot, lemon. Dry. Horse blankets. Oat feel. Sour crab apple. Yeasty. Gooseberry. Cashew shells. Slightly cloying.

Body: Sharp at back of the throat. Peanuts. Sherbet. Skittles (The sweets). Hop bitterness. Sour apple. Dried apricot. Sugared almonds. Tiny marshmallows. White wine. Vanilla.

Finish: Dry banoffee? Is that a thing? Cashew. Digestives. Reasonable bitterness. Oak.

Conclusion: Ok, this one is pushing my ability to do tasting notes to the limit (or should that be..TO THE XTREME!!!!) (Actually no that would just be silly) It is a gueuze, that is a style I find hard enough to do good tasting notes on, much as I am growing to enjoy them now, however the interactions with the dry hopping on the beer is just blowing my mind.

There are the fruit flavours which you would expect from the hops, but would never expect from the lambic. The two mix together though, making for very dried fruit and everything seeped in sourness. There is tart apple and gooseberry behind and the beer rocks a slightly nutty character which is not unusual for a lambic, but here it gains a slight sugared almond sweetness. I have no idea how. Everything is familiar and yet everything is the fortean unknown.

This also helps show why lambics are the wine of beers, sour, tart and dry with white wine grape like elements; Against this the hop character still sets its stake and claims it distinctly as a beer. It is so refined, all the complexity of a gueuze, and yet makes itself so very easy to drink, It is pretty much the perfect balance between wine and beer and brings in the best of both while denying neither.

One of those beers that redefines how you look at a style.

Background: This was never meant to be reviewed. Or even bought. I mean it did sound interested, Gueuze – a traditionally low hopped style, instead with dry hopping of *deep breath* Citra, Centennial, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Columbus, Tomahawk, Tettnang, Belma, Mandarina Bavaria, Calypose and Bravo. I don’t even know some of those hops. Anyway, despite that I was going to give it a pass. Then one staff member recommended it. Then another. Then a random beer drinker bemoaned losing a take out bottle after drinking several. I was now intrigued. So I drank it. and reviewed it The result is here. The Brewdog Bristol manager compared it to a souped up Orval and I can definitely see where he is coming from.

Drink In The Snow

Mikkeller: Drink In The Snow (Denmark: Low Alcohol: 0.3% ABV)

Visual: Dark reddened brown. Coffee froth brown head.

Nose: Roasted. Bitter chocolate. Bitter coffee. Nuts.

Body: Slight chalk. Tannins. Treacle. Sweet chocolate. Syrup. Coffee.

Finish: Chocolate liquore. Treacle. Tannins. Coffee. Greenery. Slightly roasted.

Conclusion: This is possibly the greatest low abv beer I have ever tried. That may seem like it is being damned by faint praise, but considering there has been quite some competition of the position recently it is intended as praise indeed.

The aroma is pure porter, roasted elements, coffee, chocolate, it delivers exactly what you would expect from that style. I would defy most people to be able to pick it from a range of standard quality porters by aroma alone, it is spot on.

The body is not quite so awesome, mainly because there is a limit on how thick you can get the body at this abv, or so it seems. However within those limits you get a slightly syrupy chocolate, bitter coffee, treacle and even a slight chalkiness. I have seen many a full abv porter that have delivered less. It isn’t perfect, a touch too syrupy and a few tannins notes that are out of place, but basically it is a very serviceable dark beer with great porter notes.

As a normal beer I would be calling this good, but without any qualities that make it stand out above the herd. At this abv? Wow, I take my hat off to the brewers. This just blew my mind and my expectations of what can be done with beer.

I have a dozen of these yet to get through this winter and I am looking forwards to them. This is the perfect beer for when you can’t have a beer. The bar for low abv beers has been raised and everyone else must play catch up.

Background: I have been enjoying sampling a few low abv beers recently, and Mikkellers drink in the sun range have been near the top of the heap. So when I saw this, the dark winter version, in Brewdog’s guest beer section I grabbed a bunch. Mikkeller turn out a vast number of beers each year, and don’t even have a brewery, instead hiring time at different breweries to produce their beers.

Hr Frederiksen Væsel Brunch

Mikkeller: Amager: Hr. Frederiksen Væsel Brunch (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 10.7% ABV)

Visual: Black. Dark chocolate froth.

Nose: Roasted. Sour dough. Bitter coffee. Smoke.

Body: Bitter. Very bitter chocolate. Chocolate cake. Raw coffee beans. Oats. Lots of roasted nuts. Complex coffee elements as it warms, Chestnut mushrooms. Smoke. Salt touch and rocks. Toffee.

Finish: Bitter coffee. Milky coffee touch as well. Raw chocolate. Oars. Roasted nuts. Kiwi. Very long lasting. Molasses. Liquorice. Smoke.

Conclusion: Years on Beer Geek Brunch Weasel is still one of my favourite beers despite immense competition, and as an Imperial Stout it has faced some immense competition within the style. Since this is partially that beer, mixed with another huge beer, we must ask, are they better together? Two becoming larger than the sum of their parts?

Well…No.

However it isn’t bad like say, a mix of tories and lib dems shall we say. Thank fuck. I’d have to wash out my tongue with bleach if it was that bad. Anyway, random political non sequitor that has probably pissed off half of my readers now over and done with. So, the beer!

The coffee that defines Brunch Weasel is here in full and rounded flavour, and similarly it has much more complexity that can be defined in just the word “coffee”. It has all the layers of fine quality coffee as well as all of the beer itself. The limitation comes in that the base beer does not feel as thick and creamy, instead tending towards more roasted and smoke filled flavours. Without that counterpoint this is a much more bitter and more harsh flavoured beer, still smooth to drink texture wise, but rough on the taste.

There is some toffee and chocolate cake sweetness, but for the most part even the chocolate is bitter as hell, and leads into the long lasting, drying and smoke filled finish. The oatmeal of the beer seems more an actual flavour than a texture element that I usually find it as.

So a heavier and harsher beer, more towards a standard Imperial Stout in roasted style and sour dough notes, and more towards Speedway Stout in bitterness level. Probably that description has made someone realise that this is just perfect for them, but it is laying it on a bit heavy for me.

The thing is, despite that not being my preferred style, I am enjoying it. That shows a level of craftsmanship I can respect. There is a lot of flavour, lots of salt and smoke, complex and interrogatable coffee, sour dough and roasted stout style, chocolate, toffee and more. That is huge and on a smooth texture with the alcohol feel floating as a warning but without compromising the experience.

So, not my particular thing, but despite that has very much earned my respect.

Background: This was another contender for my thousandth review slot. Beer Geek Brunch Weasel was one of my earliest anniversary beers and still one of my favourite. This being a blend of that beer and Amager’s Hr. Frederiksen huge Imperial stout made it sound like an excellent beer to celebrate with. Best I know not many bottles of this were made, though I couldn’t tell you how many (Brewdog says 200, but another source says that is only the yellow wax topped version which has more coffee). Drunk while listening to a bit of old school punk with “The Germs”

George Cognac Barrel

Mikkeller: George!: Cognac Barrel (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 12.1% ABV)

Visual: Black and leaves a viscous sheen. Purple red touch in the light. Chocolate froth around edges and zero carbonation on the still body.

Nose: Thick chocolate. Liquore and roasted nuts. Toffee. Chilli seeds. Bitter red wine. Armagnac. Paprika. Plums.

Body: Red cherries and glacier cherries. Mulled wine. Frothy. Chocolate liquore. Fudge. Bitter chocolate. Oily feel. Nutty. Spicy sherry. Orange fruit sugars and fruit pastilles.

Finish: Cinnamon stick. Shortbread. Treacle. Mulled spice. Alcoholic orange jellies. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: Talk about viscous, this thing leaves an oily sheen around the glass and a thicker rich oily feel around the tongue after you have swallowed. The liquore like texture froths up as you roll it around your mouth coasting every inch, and trust me, it uses every inch to deliver the flavours.

It flavour is bitter chocolate spiced up and spirit influenced in a darkly decadent way that reminds me of Dark Horizon. Lot of rich warm spicy notes amongst punishingly bitter chocolate and backed by subtle sweet notes. Admittedly it isn’t as punishing bitter as Mikkeller Black, but then again very little is.

Like a lot of these style Imperial Stouts it feels very chocolate liquore like, here with hints of spicy sherry and subtle orange fruit sugar notes. It all brings to mind a transgressive, self indulgent feel of risqué flavours.

For a similar styled beer Dark Horizon wins out, for a Mikkeller Imperial Stout Beer Geek Brunch Weasel is better and feels more like a beer and so wins my heart. This however still stands out as a silk like and luxurious beer with contrasting challenging flavours that make it a wonderful oily thick thing of its own.

Another Imperial Stout that only suffers if you compare it to the insanely good competition.

Background: How many beers does Mikkeller turn out anyway? Plus they seem to barrel aged variants of pretty much everything. Anyway, this one should be a bit special, it is one of rate beers top 50 beers for the world (an Imperial Stout, in their top fifty list? I’m shocked, shocked I say). Anyway, cynicism aside I’m a big fan of Mikkeller so was looking forwards to this. This was another beer that was a contender for my 1000th review.

Tettnanger

Mikkeller: Single Hop 2013: Tettnanger (Denmark: IPA: 6.9% ABV)

Visual: Hazy ruddy red to gold. Caramel touched tight bubbled head that leaves suds.

Nose: Gingerbread. Caramel and banana. Ovaltine malt drink. Prickly character and resinous.

Body: Bitter. Touch of greenery. Malt drinks and banana. Gingerbread. Toffee malt.

Finish: Malt drinks. Hops. Liquorice. Milky coffee remains. Light greenery. Touch of dried apricot.

Conclusion: An interesting hop it seems, and not just in pronunciation. I’ve not run into the hop before, but it seems to either add to, or give room for the malt character. It seems very much to allow the ovaltine like main character to work as a base.

I had a few of the other single hops on tap to compare and to try and work out where the hop influence ends and the base malt begins and here is what I think is happening. The hops add good resinous character and a little greenery, but more than that they seem to sooth out the malt giving this sweet banana and toffee style. Very good style for relaxing beers and the mix of high resin and bitterness against smooth sweetness is quite fascinating and enjoyable.

As a beer by itself I would say that the ovaltine like elements are maybe a bit too heavy, and possibly a less heavy beer would allow the hop to better express itself, however backed by the toffee and banana it is still pleasant, and that touch of gingerbread spark at the back keeps it alive despite the slightly over heavy base.

The beer reminds me slightly of Oskar Blues/Sun King “The Deuce” with the mix of high malt and banana flavours, though I can’t see any evidence it uses this hop, it just reminds me of the beer. Anyway, a worthy beer to try, very different from the usual IPA expectations but still distinctly bitter.

I’m not sure I have managed to work out exactly the hops influence from this, but it has given me a good starting point. Not perfect but for the experience and a nice calm time drinking I did enjoy it and I can’t ask for more than that.

Background: Single hop beers! A great way for any beer fan to work out exactly what hop contributes what as so help work out what beers they will enjoy. As you can tell I am a fan. Never tried a Tettnanger single hop before, so thought it would be fun. I had tried this already earlier in the week while my sister and her husband was visiting. However it felt a bit rude to be tasting noting as we were catching up over craft beer (It is good having family with taste) so I returned later in the week to review. Ratebeer lists this as 6.8% abv, hmm, maybe the 2013 version has slightly different abv, I’m not sure.

Drink Sun 1 4

Mikkeller: Drink In The Sun 2013 1.4% (Denmark: Low abv wheat ale: 1.4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy peach skin to gold. Large off white mounded bubbles.

Nose: Passion fruit. Wheat. Hops. Lemon and meringue. Apricot. Peach. Musty berries.

Body: Robust bitterness. Grapefruit. Lemon. Apricot. Custard cream biscuits. Tangerine. Gooseberry.

Finish: Bitter hops. Sour grapes. Granite. Apricot. Custard cream biscuit.

Conclusion: So, returning to the Drink in the Sun beers, this time at a slightly bigger abv (a whole whopping 1.4% !?!) which proves to make it a bit more beer like in character. Now, considering that my only real flaw for the 0.3% version was that it occasionally did not feel beer like, especially with the tea and tannins at the end, then could this be the new, all time great, low abv beer?

Well, it has definitely lost the tea and tannins, replacing it with a robust hop character which is very welcome. However for some reason the huge fruitiness of the beer has been toned down as well. Now there is still fruitiness there, but nowhere near the insane wow factor of the 0.3% version. It is similar to the 0.5% version of nanny state where the hops are bigger than the fruit. Now if they hadn’t brought so much fruit in the 0.3% version I would have just considered that the cost of doing low abv businesses but since they obviously can I wonder why they did not. Anyway, the fruit here is brighter and more full bodied that the nanny state version, these feel more bright yellow fruit while that was slightly tarter fruit to my mind. Still it is a close enough comparison.

This is very beer like, and still reasonably fruity, but for all its tannins flaws I would say I prefer the 0.3% version as it is brighter and more pure in its delivered flavour. Now this does have a fuller feel to the body, more passion fruit and more rounded, less fresh and bright. It feels like a missed opportunity in some ways, if they could match the freshness of 0.3 with the body of this it would be the new all time great low abv beer, as it is its still nice wee low abv beer, and very good for the style. It just lacks that little bit to push it make it live up to its potential.

Background: Low abv beer hunting used to be a chore, or a way of wading through chemical nightmares. However recently I have found a few enjoyable low abv beers, so I am on a bit of a hunt for them. I recently tried the ultra low 0.3% abv version of this beer, and was looking forwards to seeing what the hugely robust 1.4% version would be like.

Drink in the sun 0 3

Mikkeller: Drink In The Sun: 2013 0.3% Version (Denmark: Low ABV Wheat Ale: 0.3% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Large white mounded froth that leaves lace.

Nose: Apricot. Pineapple. Custard crème biscuits and moderate hops. Mass market ice cream. Coriander.

Body: Apricot. Moderate bitterness. Fresh lemon. Tannins and tea. Pineapple. Orange juice. Custard sweetness. Passion fruit.

Finish: Tea, tannins and hops. Slight lemon and pineapple. Some bitterness. Passion fruit.

Conclusion: The quest for a great low abv beer continues, and in this hunt in the darkness I have found this from Mikkeller.  This beer actually sits nicely between my prior two picks stylistically in addition to a distinct Mikkeller character of its own.

The hops are well used to compensate for the low abv, very fruity and fresh, I would say in a Nanny state style but these are much smoother and more rounded in flavour. From aroma to early body there is a bomb of citrus hops and sweet flavours. It is almost like a hoppy fruit juice. Then as the hops fade out we get the element that causes me to make my second comparison, that being to the Erdinger Alcohol free beer.

The similarity comes in the tea and tannins like flavours. I’m guessing that the flavours were always there but early on the hops hid them. As with Erdinger it is interesting but not what I am looking for in a beer. With the two being wheat based beer I am wondering if this is a characteristic of wheat beers at that low abv.

This however is better that Erdinger by far, more pronounced  hops and beer feel early on really sells it as an actual beer, if a slightly strange one. If they could find some way to keep that feel and flavour throughout the entire beer then it would easily be a new favourite of mine.

As is I am still impressed, while it isn’t perfect it is the most beer like of any of the super low abv beers I’ve tried and pleasant beer to drink when you don’t want alcohol. The citrus burst is enjoyable by any standard, if obviously not rocking with the big abv guns.
Not bad at all.

Background: I’m eternally on the hunt for good low abv beers, though with very mixed results. Mikkeller are generally awesome.  Thus this seemed like a good chance to get a low abv beer I can really enjoy. At 0.3% it is nigh taking the piss, which amuses me. They seem to have done many different versions of drink in the sun. I have a few bottles of the slightly higher abv 2013 version for sampling at a later date to compare.

Beer Geek Vanilla Shake

Mikkeller: Beer Geek Vanilla Shake (Denmark: Imperial Stout: 13% ABV)

Visual: Black and still. A good milky chocolate head but that soon fades.

Nose: Milky coffee. Vanilla and toffee. Banana milk shake. Milky chocolate.

Body: Very thick. Vanilla. Toffee. Milky chocolate. Banana milk shake. Texture froths up lovely. Bitter chocolate underneath and bitter coffee. Molasses. Slight hop oils in the middle.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Roasted nuts. Finally a quite bitter touch here. Bitter coffee. Chocolate orange.

Conclusion: Bloody hell this is like a fondue that has had a big wodge of condensed cream dropped in texture wise. On the tongue this thing is rich and thick, or maybe like a thick milk shake if we go with the beer’s chosen analogy.

That must be what lets it develop such big and brash flavours I guess, there is huge sweet toffee, banana milk shake and vanilla up first. Luxury feeling and yet not sickly sweet. Next up is the nicely bitter coffee and chocolate that hides behind, though any real bitterness is saved for the finish as we find as we move on.

There is a similar contrast between aroma and finish, the smell epitomises the sweet and thick syrup, while the finish is all the traditional bitter and roasted elements of a stout. It is like the aroma and the finish are warring and the main body is the battleground where they shift back and forth over contested territory.

Lovely, thick and rich. So we will get onto the flaws shall we? Well, they are minor. The two elements of sweet and bitterness do feel at war rather than integrated, but that is about it.

The sweetness is great, and that froth heavy texture really lets it asset itself. The finish is impressively bitter as a capstone. I would still give the nod to beer geek brunch weasel for the best of the range as it is the whole, integrated, package, but this is damn nice. If it could just smooth the transition between elements it would be excellent.

So, yes it expresses the “Vanilla Shake” very well, even if I would say Banana shake myself. It still manages to go into unmistakable stout elements and gives a good package overall. Very nice.

Background: Ah the Beer Geek * selection, I seriously love this set of beers so when I saw there was a new, vanilla infused version I had to give it a try. Seriously, Oatmeal stout with vanilla and coffee from Mikkeller, how could this not work? As you may have guessed, I was a bit excited for this one. Mikkeller are nicknamed the gypsy brewers as they do not actually own their own brewery, instead renting time at other breweries.

Hvedegoop

Mikkeller: Three Floyds: Hvedegoop: Malaga Wine Edition (Denmark: Barley Wine: 10.4% ABV)

Visual: Dark cherry red. Large beige froth.

Nose: Raisins. Malt loaf. Bitter. Wheat. Very milky coffee comes in lightly. Red wine. Cherries. Rum. Musky grapes.

Body: Quite bitter red wine. Raisins. Prunes. Cherries and malt loaf. Spicy. Chilli seeds and green peppers. Red grapes. Fruitcake.

Finish: Bitter red wine. Malt loaf. Wheat. Dry. Dried spices. Quite bitter. Chilli seeds. Alpen (Without milk). Plums.

Conclusion: How very odd, this thing is very much a musky red wine of a beer, bitter red wine and musky grapes along with an almost chilli seed spiciness.  I’m not a wine expert but from the barrel ageing chose I would have guessed something sweeter. Huh.  It is a very dry and bitter beer with a closed bitterness that hangs around long after you have stopped sipping.

Interesting, yes, but feels closed even though it has a range of flavours. Maybe the barrel ageing had a different effect than I expected, or the wheat used in making it, or maybe just the design of the beer itself, but the muskiness and dryness can feel almost moth ball like at times. The flavours never seem to be able to spread their wings. There is a lot of flavour there, but it doesn’t express itself well for my tastes.

I think it is the dried spices and chilli seed that pushes it too far, the elements stick too much with the beers texture and leave a curried feel along with the bitterness. A pity as the red grapes and raisin fruitiness within shows promise but is quickly overshadowed. It does better warmed up, more robust that way, but still leads to a finish that lets it down.

There is, for all my criticisms, a base of a solid beer underneath. Late on becoming more fruitcake, cherries and a solid texture. Unfortunately everything about that solid base seems to weaken it.

Not the best I’ve had from these two giants of brewing.

Background; Ok, technically it is a wheat wine but I’m not adding a new category for every * wine variant they come up with.  As you can guess this has been aged in Malaga wine casks, I never drank the original Hvedegoop but have enjoyed the various *goops that have been released over the years that I have tried. Drunk after watching “The Royal Tenenbaums” which I enjoyed and it put me in a good mood for reviewing.

Its Alive

Mikkeller: It’s Alive: Lychee and White Wine Barrel Aged Version (Denmark: Sour Ale: 8% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed red. Large loose bran flake brown bubbles.

Nose: Bran flakes. Horse blankets. Strawberries. Ice cream. Soft grapes. Rustic. Tinned grapefruit. Peppercorn.

Body: Tart apple juice. White wine. Tinned grapefruit strips. Sweet but tart fruit. Light perfume. Custard cream biscuits. Soft texture. Peppered and with soft cheeses.

Finish: Dry white wine. Custard. Orange segments. Funky yeast feel. Perfumed. Light spices and tannins.

Conclusion: For a strong abv beer, and a sour beer at that, this comes in with an amazingly soft texture and a flavour that was very unexpected.  Lightly tart apple, but hits you playfully with funky yeast and this sweet yet tart fruit (I presume the lychee – I’ve never tried it so can’t say for sure). It is like a beer kitten, playing with a ball of yarn made of flavour in your mouth.

Or something – I really need to work on my similes.

Slightly rustic saison like aroma, bit of wine dryness and grape effects. Smooth yet funky texture. The grapefruit feels like those tinned chunks you get, soaked through and falling apart on the tongue. Over a kitten.  Erm, maybe I should let that simile go..

So, playfully tart and fruity. Lots of wine and a soft fruit influence. Soft custard sweetness and lightly perfumed and tannin touched on the body. All comes together for a beer that is dry but still refreshing.

I don’t feel wowed by the beer, it is tasty and relaxing but feels all cotton buds and smoothness. It has a very nice flavour but somehow manages to keep it so soft that you don’t quite appreciate it. All very gentle and fluffy. Like a kitten.

Ok, ok I’ll let that go (Kitten)

So yes, soft, tart and relaxing. Lots of fruit and just a dash of spice. Feels like Belgium soft cheese soaked in beer and let loose to play.  So, for just that lack of push it isn’t quite a wow beer, and yet is still amazingly proficient. A beer to let wrap around you, to sip, relax and breath deeply as it lulls you to rest.   Really could do ith either more punch or a lower abv as right now it is far too easy to drink and at a low abv would be a lovely session beer. Ah well what can you do.

KITTEH!

..Sorry I don’t know what came over me there..

So, a pretty nice beer, but a bit too easy going to get the respect it deserves

Background: I’m not quite sure what I was on when I wrote this review. In the past week I had been on some quite powerful painkillers, but, not being dumb enough to mix painkillers and booze, my system was clean by this point. Maybe it was flashbacks. Anyway, despite the slight oddity of the review, it amused me so I thought I would upload it anyway. Hope you enjoy.

On the beer itself, well, like the name says, white wine barrel aged and with lychee. Now I don’t know what lychee is, wikipedia helped a bit but I’ve never tried them.  Mikkeller always seem to be pretty mental with experimentation so when this turned up on Brewdog’s Guest Beer selection I thought I would give it a shot.  Drunk while listening to “No Deliverance” album by Toadies, a quite rough and fun album a mate lent me which seemed to suit the beer well with a rustic energy.

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