Tag Archive: Norway


Amundsen: Dessert In A Can: Chocolate Marshmallow (Norway: Imperial Stout: 11.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Viscous pour. Thin white dash over the body instead of a head.

Nose: Marshmallow. Condensed cream. Fudge. Milky chocolate. Praline. Pecan. Nut oils. Oily in general.

Body: Bitter chocolate and sweet cocoa dust. Cream. Walnuts. Praline. Marshmallow. Chocolate ice cream.

Finish: Cocoa dust. Marshmallow. Chocolate cream cake. Chocolate ice cream.

Conclusion: Ok, I both love and hate the fact this beer sums itself up so perfectly – it basically tastes like chocolate ice cream covered in marshmallow. It is useful that it does so, but it does leave me little left to do.

However, I am a professional (Ok, an enthusiastic amateur with delusions of competency), so I will try to describe it more than that.

The chocolate elements are well done – chocolate ice cream is dominant by the end, as I indicated before. – but there is a hint of bitter chocolate notes at the front, and a more substantial, and while sweet, less sickly sweet cocoa dust character. The marshmallow is there in the thickness as well as the taste, so it definitely fully delves into its gimmick.

More than that it has a nuttiness – mixing pecan and walnut along with an oily nut character; Elements that add a savoury to bitter undercurrent to this otherwise very sweet beer.

Generally it does its one gimmick, and adds a few founding notes – doing it well. You know what you are looking for in this beer and you get it. Not a world shaking super beer, but it definitely does the job it sets out to do, and just a touch more.

Background: I’ve seen some backlash against the so called “Dessert beers” online, and while I can kind of see why, I am still a fan. Some people dislike them as they are moving away from making a beer a beer, and instead trying to copy other things. Some people just dislike them due their seeming omnipresence at the moment, which I can kind of see, but like all the others, it is just a thing in fashion at the moment. I saw it with hoppy IPAs, sours, gose, barrel aged beers, and now dessert beers – whatever is popular seems played out – but there are still tons of other beers, and this fad too will pass. Taken as an occasional treat, I enjoy the concept. This one is another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit. Incidentally the label on the can gets rubbed off pretty easily – as I found when I took it home in a bag with other beers – hence the worn down quality of the can in the photo. Is it just me or does the white line up to the “A” make it look like someone has etched a cock on the can? This was drunk while listening to Nightwish – Dark Passion Play. A mate introduced to to Nightwish over Christmas so been giving them a listen.

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Lervig: Cloudwater: There’s a Cold Beer In My Fridge And I Need A Drink (Norway: IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Murky dark apricot with a massive yellow-white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Pine needles. Resin. Oily hop character. Pineapple. Vanilla and custard cream biscuits. Watercress. Wheaty air.

Body: Sticky, oily hop bitterness. Apricot. Kumquat. Soft grapes. Love heart sweets. Thick creamy texture. Peach juices.

Finish: Stewed apricot. Sticky oily hops. Solid bitterness. Moss. Raw eel sashimi. Resinous. Brown bread.

Conclusion: On first glance I rolled my eyes at this one, as this came out looking like the prototypical New England IPA. It is all cloudy and hazy on the eye, which is a nice look I will admit, and the NEIPA is not a bad style, but it is not my favourite style due to often taking a light, low bitterness take on the style which is not what I was looking for right now.

This beer quickly kicked that idea into touch. Pine needles and oily hops come out in the nose, then into sticky, oily bitterness in the body, and a solid bitter kick on the way out. This packs in all the nice alpha acids and oily hop character that I like in an IPA. Obviously if you like the low IBU, smooth NEIPA style, your mileage may vary significantly.

Beneath that the fruit is juicer and thicker than in most NEIPAs – using the creamy texture for extra mouthfeel but not tying the fruit character to a similar smoothness. Instead they give sticky stewed apricots and grapes to match the sticky hops punch for punch. There is good use of a savoury kumquat style backing and moss like notes underneath – mixed with a umami, kind of eel sashimi, hard to place kind of character – basically savoury grounding notes against a big peach syrup sweetness that adds range around the solid bitterness.

All together a great IPA – uses the creaminess of NEIPA, the “dank” hops of current popular trends, and the fruit use of a more traditional USA IPA. What keeps it from classic status is a lack of range to come out throughout the beer- it just lacks extra notes to dig into as time does on, but that is about all. Another great IPA.

Background: Ok, this was basically pressed into my hand at Independent Spirit, and I was told to grab it. So I did. Let’s face it Cloud water know their hop beers, and Lervig have a good rep – plus the can looks like someone vomiting up green. Which is nice. Always the best reasons to grab a beer. Anyway, made with rye in as well, so that is an actual thing about the beer.

Haand: Brewdog: Stone: Inferno IPA (Norway: IIPA: 10% ABV)

Visual: Caramel brown to ruddy red body under an inch of caramel brown touched head.

Nose: Kiwi, grapes and hops. Shreddies. Ovaltine malt drinks. Brown bread. Dried apricot.

Body: Thick, prickling hops. Nettles. Good bitterness. Hop oils. Toffee. Thick texture. Low hop burn. Sticky apricots. Cream. Kiwi yogurt. Sticky mouthfeel.

Finish: Caramel. Dry hop bitterness. Low hop burn. Brown bread. Good hop character in general and good level of bitterness. Sticky hop oils and resinous. Palma violets.

Conclusion: This is fairly “dank” in its hop use. Yes I am putting quotes around that, I still find the current meaning of the word “dank” to be odd. Anyway, this is sticky, resinous with lots of hop oils and a pretty solid level of hop bitterness. That really seems to be the core of this beer – Thick, sticky and hoppy.

To back that up the malt load is heavy, thick and sweet – almost fondue impression giving thick feel that gives what would be a big sweet character to back up the hop oils. Not too sweet in reality though despite that, with the hop character coming through it ends up as a big bready to shreddies malt style – very stodgy, thick and quite savoury when everything comes together.

Hop flavour wise is a more subtle deal – there is creamy fruit with some kiwi and some apricot that are present but mainly as backing notes. There is a touch of hop burn with it that adds a mild acrid note, but it is low enough to only add a prickle below this heavy beer rather than damaging it.

It doesn’t have a huge flavour range – the sticky hop side of things really dominates. I would by lying if I said I didn’t enjoy thus, more for the feel than anything else, that sticky hop resinous feel makes a very pleasant sensation as it goes down.

However it could do with more to it than just feel. It has a good mouthfeel, but needs to do more with the hop flavours. Still, a sticky hop experience is an enjoyable one. With work this could be the basis of an awesome beer, it just isn’t there yet.

Background: So, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers, best get that out there first as they are a collaborator for this beer. I am an unbiased actor on Stone beers, unless you considerer thinking them an awesome brewery for the quality of their beers, especially their hop forward beers, is bias. Don’t know much about Haand, but always happy to try more beers from Norway. It just feels more metal. So, with metal on my mind I drank this while listening to … No Doubt again. Listen, I only thought up the metal link later on, ok? Anyway this was grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer selection.

Warpigs: Lervig: Socks ‘N’ Sandals (Norway: American Pale Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Very hazy lemon juice looking body with a moderate sized crisp white head.

Nose: Lemon – fresh to lemon meringue in style. Slightly wheaty. Becomes dry, salted lemon over time.

Body: Fresh lemon. Brown bread. Light milk. Light kiwi and lime. Light chalk. Salted lemon. Dried pineapple. Sweet vanilla to vanilla toffee.

Finish: Nan bread. Moderate hop character and bitterness. Lemon. Drying. Slightly peppery. Slight chalk.

Conclusion: Flavour-wise this is simple and refreshing – it is another beer where the complexity comes with how it feels. Frankly, it declares everything about its flavour to the eye. It looks like lemon juice; It tastes like a range of lemon based substances backed up by a dry APA character, moderate hops and bready backing.

Anyway – about that feel – it is slightly wheaty feeling against the traditional APA breadiness, against a slight fresh feel from the lemon side of things, into slightly chalky texture on the way out. Not a world shaking set but it is an ever changing range that keeps the simple flavour from getting samey. It also helps that, as time and warmth affects the beer you do get some variety late on. Some toffee sweetness gets added to the body in the middle and a peppery outro helps draw a line under each sip to break things up.

It is both solid and satisfying – a mix of fresh lemon and dry bready APA that balances both elements resulting in something that is not too heavy a drink. The flavour does expand slightly as I indicated before – even the fruit range expands with some pineapple and such joining in – not much and not for long, each time doing just enough to keep you interested. It never reaches the level where you go “wow” but each time you think you are going to get bored, it throws out a little bit more to bring you back in.

One you are never going to complain about, not a must have but solid craftsmanship.

Background: This is listed as a mixed fermentation double dry-hopped APA. Which sounded interesting, also the can looked interesting, and I don’t see why people rant about socks and sandals so much. If they look stupid, but you like them, then who cares? Anyway, so this was a beer for me it seemed. Another beer grabbed from good old Independent Spirit, drunk while listening to a bit of Carcass – on a general metal kick currently.

Amundsen: Oceans West Coast IPA (Normay: IPA: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold. Moderate caramel touched head. Clear.

Nose: Peach. Fresh fruit. Tinned tropical fruit. Lime cream.

Body: Kiwi. Prickling hops. Fudge. Tart grapes. Slight lime tang. Moderate fluffy hop character. Peach.

Finish: Lime cordial. Moderate bitterness. Toffee. Kiwi. Watermelon jolly ranchers. Prickling hops. Tart grapes. Malt toffee chocolate. Malt biscuits. Blackpool rock.

Conclusion:An interesting mix of IPA interpretations here – the hops are fresh fruit mixed with artificial fruit hard sweets, mixed together in a tart way – lots of green fruit, backed by a hint of peach. This kind of fruitiness usually matched to a quite clean base in my experience. However here it goes instead to the darker and sweeter fudge to chocolate base giving extra layers of sweetness. Even in that it feels off – thinner mouthfeel than a base that sweet often gives, but not as light as a drier base would be.

Then you have the hop character – a solid, fluffy mouthfeel, robust bitter core. Not overly resinous or sticky, just solidly bitter and present. All together it nearly works – nearly – but all the slightly different takes result in a bit of a mixed up beer. The more artificial sweet notes become cloying next to the bitterness and as a result the main base also feels slightly too sweet, but without the grip a solid core needs.

You end up with a beer of big flavours pulling it in every direction and as a result going nowhere. It is not that bad, but just can’t tie everything together. A bunch of experiences with no coherent theme.

Background: This is another one of those cans with a top that comes completely off – and since the can is very full it nearly resulted in some spillage. Avoided thankfully. Have to be careful with these cans. Anyway, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – I was attracted to the brewery range by their insanely brightly coloured cans – and Chris who works there mentioned he enjoyed this one, so this one it was. Drunk while listening to Against Me! 23 Live Sex Acts because you can never go wrong with more Against Me! In your lives.

Lervig: Way: Three Bean Stout (Norway: Imperial Stout: 13% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thick look on pour. Thin creamy brown head.

Nose: Thick. Tofu. Liquorice. Crushed hazelnuts. Aniseed. Oily coffee notes. Cinnamon. Cream. Chinese stir fry. Sherry spirit soaked sponge and raspberry jam.

Body: Thick. Oily. Jam sponge. Tofu. Chocolate. Cinnamon. Liquorice. Bready. Savoury core. Cocoa.

Finish: Fudge. Savoury beans. Brown bread. Cinnamon. Sherry soaked sponge. Liquorice. Vanilla. Slight charring. Oily.

Conclusion: This is a very savoury stout at its core, wrapped in sweet trappings. A lot of the savoury character I’m guessing is due to the tonka bean used in making it; I’m not overly familiar with tonka beans so I can’t say for sure if that is the cause. The best way I can describe it is like a thick, tofu character mixed with green bean savoury taste. Similarly there is a moderate liquorice character which also adds to the more savoury side of the beer.

Outside of that thick, unusual core is a more traditional chocolate stout style – oily sheened with coffee notes. Even here is the more stouty side it has some less common elements with cinnamon and spirit soaked sponge thickness to it.

That thickness really is the thing that stands out about about this beer. In all elements this has it is very robust – now that level of thickness is not unexpected at 13% abv but it doesn’t bring a lot of the other elements you would expect at that strength. For one the alcohol is very much hidden in a thick, complex beer, it does not feel boozy nor burning. It doesn’t have insane sweetness from the malt, nor heavy bitterness from coffee. Lots of the usual notes from high abv stouts are not here.

So you end up with a very interesting, very savoury tasting beer with only some sweet edges. Unusual in that it really builds a range of oily and savoury notes and uses the stout weight with them. It may not be a beer to have all the time, but damn it is good for an occasional try.

There are lots of elements here that could be intrusive if used too heavily, but instead delivered in a restrained fashion, especially shocking for a 13% abv beer. If you are bored with there being too many identikit imperial stouts, then give this one a go. You won’t regret it.

Background: This was listed as a collaboration beer, made with the Brazilian brewery “Way Beer”, however the bottle doesn’t mention that. Looking online there are bottles with both brewers logos on so I’m guessing the collaborated on the original brew, and this is a re-brew made with the same recipe. Probably. This is an imperial stout made with cocoa, tonka and vanilla beans. I grabbed it from Brewdog’s guest beer a while back – let’s face it imperial stouts don’t go off easily. Again drunk while listening to some Jackamo Brown – very cool and chilled.

Lervig: Oud Beersel: Black Acid (Norway: Sour Ale: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Small brown head.

Nose: Acidic apple mixed with thick molasses. Madeira. Rum soaked raisins. Dry sherry. Fruitcake. Sultanas.

Body: Tart yet thick. Bready. Sultanas. Chocolate sauce. Pear drops. Dry sherry. Tart black-cherry.

Finish: Charring. Tart pears. Malt chocolate and grated chocolate. Dry sherry. Raisins and sultanas. Madeira. Slight chocolate liqueur. Marzipan.

Conclusion: Whoever first thought of mixing sour beers and stouts – I salute you. Each time I encounter this unusual mix I am reminded that this is the beer style I never knew I needed, yet now I have it, it is brilliant.

For all its large base elements used to make it, this is a very balanced beer between the styles. From approach to aroma you get huge apple, tart and fresh and yet backed with chocolate thickness. It continues that way as you start drinking – fresh, touched with tart apples and pears up front then the sour character just seeps into heavy chocolate liqueur and dark fruits.

In some way it feels like the barrel ageing is what makes it perfect – a bridge built between the two, marrying the styles brilliantly. If you will excuse my mixed metaphors.

It brings dry sherry, dry fruitcake and spirit soaked raisin notes that are familiar to the stout style, but also vinous enough to not seem out of place in a sour beer; It works as matchmaker mid body then as the finish comes in it plays its own game – leading out for a long time with dry sherry like complexities.

Together it takes brilliant elements from each of the three influences and makes it a rich, yet tart and vinous beer with the stout weight giving it a lovely heft.

A brilliant complex mix – definitely worth getting. Go. Get it!

Background: Now this one jumped out at me at Independent Spirit – It is a mix of Oude Lambiek from Oud Beerel, with a Lervig brewed stout. I love the whole sour stout thing that pops up every now and then, and this one has been aged in the Cognac barrels that the Lambic was blended in, and then in Akevitt barrels. I had to google what Akevitt is. Anyway, put on some good old 90s tunes – Garbage 2.0. I slightly prefer the more raw feel of original Garbage album, but both of them are awesome.

Ægir Bryggeri Witbier

Ægir Bryggeri: Witbier (Norway: Belgian Style Wit: 4.7% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice. Thin white head – mainly sud bubbles. Low carbonation.

Nose: Lemon. Pineapple juice. Coriander. Wheat. Dry. Meringue.

Body: Dry. Lemon juice and lemon curd. Cinnamon. Coriander. Carrot. Traditional lemonade. Light greenery. Palma violets. Slight cardboard.

Finish: Carrot. Dry. Wheat. Greenery. Cardboard. Palma violets. Menthol. Lime. Orange zest.

Conclusion: This seems very dry for a wit – feels quite highly attenuated, which is a mixed blessing here. It leans the beer away from the overly sweet popular interpretation and gives a good platform for fresh lemon flavour to come through. That element, combined with the dry base, makes for a pleasant mouth refresher in the mid body. It also lets the spice work delicately, it can be a rounding note rather than having to be pushed up to fight with a sweet base – coriander and carrot on the savoury side, and cinnamon dusted doughnuts on the slightly sweeter edges.

So with that said, what is working against it? Well the dryness also has characteristics similar to an over attenuated America Pale Ale – it gets slightly harsh near the end of the body and brings out an unpleasant cardboard like element in the finish. It is that finish that really hurts it – while the dryness can introduce weaker elements in the rest of the beer, they are usually contrasted by very well done elements. In the finish there is little redeeming to contrast the flaws. A pity, as shown by the first paragraph there is a lot of good in this beer but the finish just stomps on it.

So, it has promise, but really needs to work on the dryness balance as it really lets itself down in overtime (AKA the finish). I would recommend they keep trying though, as this feels like if the brewers keep pushing at it, it could be fine tuned to something very nice.

Background: OK, I grabbed this one because it is from Norway – we don’t see many of their beers over here, and they tend to be fairly solid. I went for their Wit as you don’t see that many of them comparatively, and it is a solid beer style, done here without and fancy craft twists. Felt it would be a good way to get a handle on the brewery. I was surprised by the can – the ring pull takes the entire top of the can off, more like a soup can kind of ring pulls. Drunk while listening to a mix made up of my most listened to tracks, so definitely ones I would enjoy for this beer session :-). This was grabbed from Independent Spirit of Bath.

Horizon Tokyo Black

Nøgne ø: Mikkeller: Brewdog: Horizon Tokyo Black (Norway: Imperial Stout: 16% ABV)

Visual: Black. Grey dust over it in the centre, and brown bubbles at the edges.

Nose: Real bitter chocolate. Real roasted nuts. Sour dough. Resin. Alcohol touch.

Body: Cherries. Chocolate liquore. Black cherry. Jelly babies. Bitter cocoa. Sugar cane. Orange liquore. Toasted tea cakes.

Finish: Bitter chocolate and milky coffee. Cream. Nuts. Alcohol air.

Conclusion: I was expecting to be mainly making jokes about this being a superfluous review, having already reviewed a different version of this. However, it turns out this is pretty different. This is heavier and darker, with more bitter flavours. It has some of the big sweetness, especially mid body where you get lots of fruit and jelly babies, but top end and tail it is much more raw bitter cocoa and coffee. It still had that noticeable alcohol air, but I think the heavier bitter emphasis helps offset that an makers for a better beer.

Here the sweetness mid body is a treat, not a sugar shock and, while it grow over time, the heavier sweetness doesn’t hit until the end when it is more manageable.

Overall this is a lovely imperial stout, like its Brewdog predecessor it could probably do with some time in a cellar to let the alcohol air lighten a little (I have tested with the Brewdog version, it works – two years in it was smooth as silky and lovely)

So a big gun of a beer, a bit alcohol touched, but apart from that a lovely mix of dark bitter chocolate and coffee, toasted tea cakes, dark fruit and jelly babies. Even better at 25ml it is the perfect size for beer of this strength. Now both versions of this beer I have had are excellent, but I will give the nod to the Nøgne ø version this time.

Which, considering my massive Brewdog bias, is saying something.

Background: Some of you may be thinking “Hold on, haven’t you revived this before?” In which case can I be the first to say … holy shit you have a good memory. I have reviewed the Brewdog version of this, which has slightly different abv This is the Nøgne ø version, so I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. Anyway, broke this open with a bit of “Rise Against”, because I finally pulled my thumb out and picked up one of their CDs.

Dark Horizon

Nøgne Ø: Dark Horizon: 4th Edition (Norway: Imperial Stout:16 % ABV)

Visual: Black. Brown bubbles at the edge and dashes across the body.

Nose: Chilli/Green peppers. Coffee in a bitter and black fashion. Sour cherries. Fresh baked white bread. Subtle bitter red wine with sediment. Avocado. Slight sour tartness  touch.

Body: Caramel. Brown sugar. Treacle. Coffee. Green peppers. Madeira. Musky grapes. Spicy. Red wine and cherries. Bitter chocolate mixes with chocolate liquore. Almonds.

Finish: Bitter coffee, yet creamy. Cinder toffee. Madeira cake. Spiced cherries. Raisins. Tart grapes. A touch of chilli like heat.

Conclusion: Well…fuck. This is bloody amazing. Bitter. Coffee infused but with spiciness dark fruits and a mix of subtle red wine touches.

It opens with a bitter coffee and lightly spiced nose. Impressive, but hardly a hint of what is to come. The body is the thing. Bitter coffee and chocolate, it feels like it has been soaked in Madeira and bitter red wine. The slight spice is braced against that huge chocolate liquore and toffee sweetness.  It just feels so very full. Each element is present at the same time

With most complex beers they seem to shift from one note to the next, here it all seems full on all the time. The Madeira is infused into the cherries which seem to have been left in pepper seeds for the spice. Everything is mixed in together, nothing feels small.

The beer feels its abv, but it comes out in a spicy heat rather than a direct alcohol burn. Similarly warning, but not as off putting in other words. The texture is smooth and slightly viscous. The flavours, while all up front, are so numerous that you could be examining the beer to the last drop.  The wine feel and flavour is both subtle and yet omnipresent. To explain, it is not a distinct element of flavour but a mix of elements that call the varied wines to mind as you drink. The heavy and musky grapes mixing with sweet Madeira in the same breath.

It takes a lot to surprise me in the Imperial Stout race but this one did it. More full of flavour than most barrel aged beers, more drinkable than lower abv beers and more flavoursome than most beers full stop.

If you get the chance, drink it.

Background: Drunk at Brewdog Bristol.  The combination of odd triangular box and tiny bottle got me some odd looks, but considering the beer’s reputation I had to give it a try. From the box it sounds like they use coffee bean and Muscovado Sugar in brewing it. Half way through I was given a small glass of cold drip coffee to try, and I found afterwards that it set off the beer wonderfully making each note stand out much more obviously.  The pub had live music on at the time as well, combined with a lovely day it made for an excellent environment in which to enjoy the beer.

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