Tag Archive: Nogne

Brewdog Mikkeller Nøgne Ø: Black Tokyo* Horizon (Scotland: Imperial Stout:17.2% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black. Quite a fizzy pour but no head results from it.  Leaves a brown sheen around the glass but the beer does not seem quite as viscous as you would imagine.

Nose:  Roasted walnuts, liquorice. Alcohol but not burning. Slight coffee beans. Wood fire. Blueberry jam and brambles. Gin. Lots of candy floss sweetness or possible even toasted marshmallows.  Toasted teacakes.

Body: Very sweet. Blueberry. Very distinct alcohol. Red cherries and sugar cane.  Chocolate fondue. Light coffee at the back, very smooth.  Lots and lots of cocoa. Oddly toasted crumpets.

Finish: red cherries and milk chocolate. Still distinct gin styled alcohol. Marshmallows and strawberry jam. Dry malt drinks. Toasted teacakes again.

Conclusion: It is a pity that the term sweet stout has already been taken for a particular variety of low alcohol stout because if it had not then it would have been the perfect descriptor for this imperial stout.  This is damn sweet, a mix of sugar shock and evident alcohol that comes with fruitiness and force.

Even on the nose there is alcohol on show, though without the burning sensation that comes from low quality examples of “extreme beers” (“Start the Future” I’m looking at you, you foul tasting piece of.. anyway) Throughout the rest of the beer though there is a significant alcohol punch, probably a tad too much, and I got the feeling very quickly that it is one that would benefit from a while in the cellar to smooth it off a tad.

However we are not talking about a hypothetical future beer, we are looking at the one in the glass in front of us. Even with the fire, there is a lot going on. Rich chocolate, some light coffee notes at the back and a huge range of sweet and fruit notes that frankly dominate the character.  With the chocolate and coffee it feels like good quality examples of the items as well, reminding me somewhat of the highly expressive range of coffee flavours in Mikkeller’s  Beer Geek Brunch Weasel in quality.

If it wasn’t for the over evident alcohol then this would easily be a showstopper, and I have a bottle ageing for a future retrospective to see if it lives up to its promise.  For now it is an insane sweet sugar sledgehammer of flavour that is very highly complex and sweet. Frankly it shouldn’t be possible to have this much subtlety behind so much force.  The especially odd toasted flavours (be it marshmallow, teacakes or crumpets) are welcome and completely unexpected.  A fine drink for slow inspection, in fact it would be an insult to try it any other way.

Well worth a bottle to cellar, and if you are impatient and have it sooner rather than later, well it’s still an impressive beer.

Background: Mikkeller Brewdog and Nøgne Ø are pretty much the big three of craft brewers from their respective areas and this is a collaboration beer based on their three respective massive stouts. When finished the stout has then been aged in whisky casks and on pure cacao.  Finally it gets put in a little cardboard box for some reason.  Maybe to allow the bottle privacy, I’m not 100% sure.  As a fan of the respective stouts this was one I was looking forwards to and gave a lot of time to enjoy.

I’ve quite enjoyed my encounters with Nøgne-ø beers, and have been meaning to try more of their products.  Thus it was with interest that I noted a mail shot coming around from R and R saying that James Clay would be the exclusive distributors in the UK for their beers.

Now after reading the announcement I was a slight bit concerned.  As most craft beer fans know, often the most interesting brews are the irregular, seasonal and one off entries that are where the experimentation shines.  I couldn’t help but notice that whilst they were taking over the main line up there was no mention of any of these more rare beers getting a look it, something quite worrying for what would now be the exclusive importer.

So I thought I’d send a message and see what the official word was on this state of affairs.  The news I heard back was promising, confirming that they would be doing seasonal and one off beer. Now of course due to the nature of these one offs, we have no more information at this time. Cost (Nøgne-ø beers are traditionally quite expensive) and how widely available they will be is the big issues, but at least it is the right noises coming out at this point.

Hopefully this will result in wider availability of the Nøgne-ø beers.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Tasting Notes: Nøgne-Ø: Porter

Nøgne-Ø: Porter (Norway: Porter: 7% ABV)

Visual: Dark black, filtering towards bright cherry red at the base. Frothy coffee brown head that doesn’t shift.

Nose: Light toffee, fragrant hops. Slightly grassy, dry. Very milky coffee.

Body: Lots of roasted nuts, rough chalky texture. Bitter charring and chocolate. Crushed grain. Chocolate liquor/chocolate cream.

Finish: Bitter chocolate, very dry. Roasted oats. Lots of ovaltine in this finish. Chocolate cake, raisin. Becomes a milky chocolate towards the end of the pint.

Conclusion: What I took originally to be an uninspired porter with its light nose and mixed early tastes ended up blooming into a slow burn of a porter with chocolate cake richness under the bitter dry body.

It’s a growing experience of a beer that subtly implies its alcohol and hints at flavours early on that only coyly reveal themselves over the full lifespan of the ale.

Impressive then, if not showy, the taste really sneaks up on you, until you suddenly realise how much you’ve enjoyed it

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