Tag Archive: Sweden


Jackdaw: Zwarte Draak (Sweden: Belgian Strong Ale: 14% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Thin to moderate sized brown head. Still main body.

Nose: Smoked ham. Smoked blue cheese. Thick. Raisins underneath. Some chocolate character. Faint prunes.

Body: Thick. Brown sugar. Boozy weight. Bacon smoke. Slight alcohol prickle. Creamy chocolate. Black cherry. Brown bread. Charring. Liquorice. Slight toffee.

Finish: Alcohol air. Bitter chocolate. Bready. Charred. Smoke.

Conclusion: Fucking hell this is big. Then again, it is 14% abv so I shouldn’t be surprised. The strange thing is that generally, with one big exception, it doesn’t really show it much beyond a general “boozy” heaviness. We will get that that one exception in a mo.

Before that – this is fairly heavily smoked. I like that, and it being something different and pretty rare (at least in my experience) – a mix of heavy Belgian quad flavours with smoked styling. The smoke is wonderfull – smoked meat, tons of smoked blue cheese notes in the aroma – though disappointingly this second element doesn’t follow through into the body. Still, the body is brilliant as well even without that element. There is brown sugar sweetness as the main push against the meat and smoke, then as that fades away it has underlying chocolate, black-cherry and other dark fruit hints at the base. Above all it is just so chewy that you really feel like you can get your teeth into it to explore it.

So, anyway, back to that one thing. Erm, the finish is a bit rough. It has some of the notes before, but in general the finish has a simple alcohol air that kinds of hangs around. With a better developed and more refined finish this beer would be easily a classic and one of my favourites. The rest of the beer is an amazing liquid bread, smoked meat and chocolate sandwich that everyone should try.

Buuut, yeah the finish is sub par. Still definitely a beer worth getting. I don’t think I have seen a match of Belgian style to smoke done so well, or with this intensity before. Yeah, there are a few flaws at the end but it is still great.

Try it if you can, especially if you like hefty beers.

Background : A few things here, first, from a bit of googling it seems there are versions of this at 12.5% out there. Guess they must have brewed it up a bit in recent batches. Second, when I grabbed this I thought it was from a Brewery in Belgium I hadn’t run into before. It isn’t, it is from Sweden. Fair enough. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Anyway, a big Belgian style beer was what I wanted at the time, and I drank without doing notes. I was so surprised at its smoked character that I grabbed another bottle to do notes on. This, is that bottle. Put on Louise Distras – Dreams From The Factory Floor while drinking – nice acoustic meets punk ethos meets protest song kind of mix. Looking forwards to whenever her new album finally comes out.

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Dugges: Banana Toffee Chocolate Imperial Stout (Sweden: Imperial Stout: 11.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin creamy brown dash of a head.

Nose: Thick banoffee pie. Very ripe banana. Creamy chocolate to chocolate fondue. Boozy. Oily chocolate. Thick caramel. Praline. Nuts.

Body: Banana liqueur. Banana ice cream syrup. Banoffee pie. Pecan pie. Praline. Nutty oiliness. Slight brown bread. Bitter cocoa backing.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Sweet chocolate. Banoffee pie. Ripe banana. Walnuts. Pecan pie. Bitter coca. Brown bread.

Conclusion: Ok, they missed a trick in not calling this “Banoffee Pie Imperial Stout”. Because this is a god damn huge banoffee pie imperial stout. Maybe the dessert isn’t as well known in Sweden? I have no idea.

Any which way this is basically a mix of thick overripe banana to banana syrup laden over chewy toffee to caramel backed by a moderately bitter cocoa core with some sweet chocolate notes. So, as mentioned, basically banoffee pie in a glass.

There is a tad more subtlety than you would expect from a beer of this type. There is a nutty oiliness and oily chocolate notes, into pecan pie notes. In fact it seems to like sweeter nut notes in general to round out the character.

As time goes on it seems that some of the more sickly sweet notes are lost -which is probably for the best, even though I do miss them – If they had stayed around I would probably have found them wearing over time. Instead bitter cocoa notes and some solid brown bread character come out creating a heavy middle, with the sweeter notes still dancing around the edges.

Definitely not an imperial stout that is for everyone. It very heavily leans on the dessert beer style, which I will admit is a style that can be over exposed at times. However I can’t blame this beer for the rest of the beer scene’s sins, and this is one of the better dessert style stouts – it sells the idea so very well, yet has subtleties beyond that idea.

After much arguing with myself I have decided that this doesn’t quite earn the “My Favourites” tag. Just. It is still really good and fans of sweeter imperial stouts should definitely grab it as soon as they can.

Background: This is the second time I’ve had this, first time I enjoyed it so much I decided I had to do notes on it. So, yeah spoiler warning. These notes are going to be positive. Then again I put this background at the bottom, so shouldn’t be spoiling anything if you are reading sequentially. Anyway, grabbed from Independent Spirit this is is an Imperial Stout made with cacao, vanilla, coconut, rye and oats. Oh, and natural flavours which I resume account for the banana. Wanted something heavy and odd to go with this musically so broke out Marie Davidson – perte d’identite.

Omnipollo: Amurga (Sweden: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)

Visual: Black. Creamy brown head that leaves suds.

Nose: Grated chocolate and chocolate dust. Wholemeal bread. Smooth. Light butter.

Body: Smooth. Wholemeal bread. Treacle. Bitter chocolate. Bitter nutty character. Cashew to walnut notes. Light butter like fatty character. Cherries come over time. White chocolate.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Thick maple syrup. Charring. Charcoal. Light greenery. Salt touch. Cocoa. Bitter nuts. Grapes. Lightly peppery. Cashew shell green flecks. Rough hop character. Butter fatty character. Apple liqueur. Fortified red wine.

Conclusion: Considering the wealth of ingredients that I presume went into this, based on the description anyway, it turns out to be a pretty single minded beer in the imagery it delivers.

It is thick in a fatty, buttery kind of way with solid bitter chocolate into bitter hop character that works as a solid weight on your taste-buds. It pushes through that into heavier charred to charcoal bitter black notes and bready weight. Dark heavy notes are the story here, bitter but on a smooth, if thick, texture all the way.

It is only in the final third of the beer that it starts to push back against that imagery that dominates the first two thirds. White chocolate notes mix into the darker chocolate, and vague hints of cherries escape occasionally, bringing with it light spirity to liqueur sweet notes that work underneath the main notes – an odd mix of apple liqueurs and red wine. This manages to open up the beer in a way that the simpler, heavier front did not.

So, the front is ok but far too simple, all basic rough heavy weight notes. The end however has spicy, spirity subtlety that makes the heavier notes dance and uses the fatty, buttery character to give those notes grip.

It is good, in fact by the end it is very good, but it does take a good whole to get there – the rough charcoal and slight salt notes that are rewarding grounding late on are simple and annoying early on.

So, a good beer that takes a tad too long to get going and reward you for your time.

Background: Ok, this is another beer trying to set the record for most odd ingredients used in ak beer. This is described as a black butter vanilla volcano salt mocha maple white chocolate ganche. Presuming they did not put actual ganache in this means I have no idea which of those are ingredients and what is what they were aiming for. Ah well. Anyway, Omnipollo are a bloody good brewery so I grabbed this from Independent Spirit a while back and waited for a good opportunity to try it. Put on Mclusky: Mcluskyism – still love the utter insanity of their tunes.

Brewdog: Omnipollo: I Wanna Be Your Dog (Sweden: Imperial Stout: 12 % ABV)

Visual: Thick oily black. Thick creamy brown head. Still.

Nose: Nougat. Condensed cream. Sugared nuts. Milky chocolate. Black cherry yogurt. Black forest gateaux. Vanilla.

Body: Black forest gateaux. Vanilla fudge. Black cherry yogurt. Milky chocolate. Bitter black chocolate. Bitter cashew nuts. Slight caramel.

Finish: Black cherry yogurt. Vanilla fudge. Black forest gateaux. Truffle oil. Unsweetened cocoa. Crushed peanuts. American style pancakes.

Conclusion: Damn. This is two great beers. It is the beer it wants to be and manages to be, then the beer it didn’t set out to be but also is. That was a convoluted sentence, let’s try and break that down.

The beer it wants to be, and is, is pretty good. It is intensely creamy and nougat like from the get go – heavy but not sickly. Lots of the sweet touched nuttiness, and lots of vanilla fudge. It is definitely going for the creamier, nuttier, fudge filled style stout and does that well. That is enjoyable, but if that was the only beer it was then I would be disappointed. By itself an overly fluffy, milky style stout can end up feeling like you a drinking a glass full of marshmallows while trying to play a variant of the fluffy bunny game.

Then there is the beer that it did not intend to be but it is – and this is what makes it special. A black-forest gateaux to black cherry yogurt beer. This is more emphasised up from, letting the creamier notes take centre stage later as it fades.

Thus, I am a fan – up front the cherry meets cream comes across as a balance of bitter chocolate, dessert styles against savoury and sweet nuttiness – and this balance last pretty much to the end of the beer. Near the end the creaminess does become over done – but you can counterbalance that by holding the beer in your mouth longer and letting the bittersweet balance come out – it just takes more work than normal.

So, a bloody good beer – lots of depth – eventually seems to move away from its best points and makes it an effort to get back that beautiful balance but it is still possible. Depending on how you like to try your beers that may be an acceptable trade off or not, but for me it is very impressive.

Background: This is described as a whisky barrel aged coffee pecan mud cake stout. I figure of all of those, the only parts actually used in making it is the oak ageing and possibly the coffee. I couldn’t read most of the can as it was in Swedish, so I am guessing. Yes, I know I could have typed it into google translate, but I am feeling lazy today. At least I’m honest on that. Anyway, Brewdog have had a bit of a rough patch recently but are generally very good brewers – Omnipollo generally knock stuff out of the park, so hopes were high. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was grabbed directly from Brewdog’s store. Due to “I Wanna be your dog” sounding vaguely S&M themed I put on some Genitorturer again. Also because that band is ace.

Beerbliotek: Du Luktar Lite Som Första Gången Jag Träffade Dig (Sweden: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Some creamy streams in the liquid. Massive white head.

Nose: Crisp hops and light bitterness. Creamy.

Body: Vanilla. Very creamy. Some toffee. Kiwi. Grapes. Peach. Light hop oils. Light sour cream and chives. Dried apricot.

Finish: Tart grapes. Hop oils. Resin. Slight cannabis air. Greenery. Dry bitterness. Milky.

Conclusion: This is very creamy. As in, this IIPA is far more creamy than a New England IPA tends to aim for – like, milky at the end creamy. Thick is what I am trying to communicate. The bitterness is not as low as you would expect given that but still not a huge part of the beer – it is a fairly solid bitterness in the finish, but not exactly intense for the rest of the beer.

The flavour profile seems to go back and forth – sometimes the creaminess dominates, other times it reins it in a bit – still creamy but now backing a wonderful set of peach, grape and kiwi notes. It really is a beer that is of that moment when you drink it, and you cannot use that to extrapolate to the rest of the beer – you have to take it as you view it in that moment.

Behind that varied character is an oily, resinous style which is the best tell of the beer’s IPA toots – showing slight greenery, even cannabis like in the air of the finish (Says a non cannabis smoker – this is all based on second hand experience so take that with a pinch of salt).

Overall its a solid feel but too creamy dominated for me – I’m enjoying it for the most part – it has definite range and use of hops, but at a lot of the time the milky, creamy character takes the front and it feels kind of empty in that, For some of you the creamy element may be a plus – for me it is ok, but not a beer that I would return to.

Background: So, I shoved the name into google translate. Comes back as “You Smell Little As The First Time I Met You”. I think it lost something in translation. Anyway, I did not realise the breweries name is a pub on bibliotech. Because obviously I am a muppet. Anyway, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – mainly as I had not run into the brewery before and Sweden has a fairly solid beer scene at the moment. Had just random music for this one – felt I possibly could have chilled the beer just a touch more down for best experience – yes this from the person who famously hated chilled beers a bunch of years ago. People change. Don’t think it would have made that much difference, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Stigbergets: Amazing Haze (Sweden: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Lemon to peach colour. Cloudy body and thin white head. Some carbonation is visible.

Nose: Smooth hop character. Cake sponge. Peach skin.

Body: Smooth hop character and crisp bitterness. More oily hops as it warms. Soft apricot. Some greenery. Milky. Peach.

Finish: Cake sponge. Milky. Moderate bitterness and hop character. Slightly resinous. Greenery. Hop oils.

Conclusion: Short way to describe this? It does what it does well, but I want it to do a bit more though.

This is more, well, hoppy that a bunch of the New England IPAs I’ve encountered – it has a good use of the hops in the mouthfeel producing a resinous and hop oily character. It has a solid level of bitterness and generally a solid hop character all around. As a hop head I have to admit a higher level of bitterness and hop feel in an IPA definitely draws me to it, even if that isn’t really what the NEIPA style is all about.

Flavour wise is seems a bit more simple – rather than the huge range you get with the hop feel – the mix of oily, hoppy and resinous characters – for the flavour it leans into soft peach and apricot in a creamy fashion. It is nice, but feels weak against the bigger hop character. It is an ok, if not wide ranging flavour, but that is the main point that comes to mind when I say that it needs a bit more.

It needs either more range, more subtle notes, or more push of the limited flavours it does has – as tight now the milky NE fruit style can’t compete with the bigger hops.

It is a good beer at what it does, but I want more.

Background: Saw this being hyped up a bit when it arrived, hadn’t heard about it so did a quick look round and yeah, this is seriously well rated IPA online so I thought it would be worth a try – even if the New England interpretation isn’t my favourite of the IPA styles. So, grabbed this from Independent Spirit. Broke open this while listening to Rise Against: Siren Songs Of The Counter Culture – I know it catches some shit as the first time they went with a major label, but I still think it is a decent album.

Omnipollo: Buxton: Texas Pecan Ice Cream (Sweden: Imperial Porter: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Froths up a head that vanishes nigh instantly.

Nose: Pecan. Cashew. Coffee cake. Cocoa dust. Light charcoal ash. Caramel. Creamy.

Body: Blackcurrant and liquorice. Slight sherbety feel. Chocolate liqueur. Slightly bready. Crushed pecan. Lactose feeling, yet slightly light mouthfeel. Light chalky feel. Caramel.

Finish: Chocolate bourbon biscuits. Crushed peanuts. Blackcurrant liquorice sweets. Milky. Leaves sheen on tongue. Dry fudge. Pecan pie.

Conclusion: I’m fairly sure Texas Pecan Ice Cream isn’t made with blackcurrant and liquorice. I mean, I could be wrong – ya know, not being from Texas and all that, but I’m still fairly sure.

You may be wondering why I am saying that, it is an odd way to open up the notes. Well, I say it as, while the nuts definitely dominate the aroma – on taking the first sip this came in big with those old blackcurrant and liquorice sweet character. Nice, but completely unexpected given the beer’s concept.

The nuttiness instead rises in the body as the beer warms – so don’t worry about that. There is a similar progression in the texture – while it does have a lactose, creamy mouthfeel, early on it feels deceptively light. I do wonder if this difference in texture is part of what makes an Imperial porter stand out from an imperial stout – they are such close linked styles. The weight does grow over time, but even late on it doesn’t have the fullness you would expect of a lactose infused, 10% abv beer. Even feels slightly sherbety against some chalk feel, and still slightly light. Unusual.

So – it is different to what I expected from the description – early on it is very enjoyable in the blackcurrant and liquorice it brings, and that always plays as a backing to the main beer. The nuttiness becomes quite present over time mixing with creamy caramel and fudge sweetness – it isn’t quite pecan ice cream to my mind, probably would need just a bit more body to sell that imagery – it isn’t bad at all, but it really feels like a bit more work, a bit more body and this could be a huge beer and much better.

Pretty good, a mix of the core concept with a radically different imperial porter base, but not 100% on point.

Background: I very much enjoyed the Ominpollo and Buxton collaboration Ice Cream themed beers when I first ran into them about a year ago. Seeing that Independent Spirit had one of the ones I had missed back in stock, I decided to grab it and give it a try. Made with vanilla and lactose sugar, along with wheat and oats in the malt bill – though not, it seems, any actual pecans. I could be wrong on that so don’t quote me on that one. Drunk while listening to The Algorithm – Brute Force. Missed seeing them live last year despite having tickets, which was a pity, but great electronic, mathcore style fun to listen to when drinking.

Poppels: DIPA (Sweden: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Dark yellow with brown hints, a massive yellowed head upon that which leaves suds.

Nose: Thick, resinous, oily hops. Some bready bitterness. Malt chocolate and choc limes. Dried apricot and dried banana. Mocha.

Body: Vanilla toffee. Brown bread. Malt chocolate. Apples. Good bitterness. Milky coffee. Resinous hop oils. Orange. Slight peach. Kiwi. White grapes.

Finish: Choc lime. Good hops. Vanilla Toffee. Milky coffee. Good bitterness. Kiwi. Apples.

Conclusion: This is very malt led for an IIPA. I know IIPAs tend to be a bit more malty than their standard IPA cousins, and that the more malt led variants are a recognised thing, but when you get one with this much malt it can seem a tad odd to me. What makes it more odd is how the malt leads – it is surprisingly dark in its flavour choices. White there is a more traditional vanilla toffee character it matches a coffee character – admittedly a very milky coffee character, but still coffee – then even some malt chocolate notes. All stuff I would normally associate with darker beers.

Hop flavours are there, but, apart from the resinous character, they feel more like gentle rounding fruity notes. There’s dried apricot and kiwi that slowly build up over time but are always gentle, creamy flavours rather than body and assertive hops. What is odd about this is that the aroma is everything the body is not – the aroma is thick, oily, resinous and very assertive – which is why I was expecting something big and booming which I did not get.

Still, expecting is one thing – enjoying is another. The beer is still fairly resinous as I mentioned before, the actual hop character a bit more bready – it all results in a more sturdy, heavy beer than you would expect, but with less of the sticky muggy hops that would often come with that.

Together, those darker sweet malt notes, bready and kind of resinous hops, and soft fruity notes, come together in something that is not a standard IPA – even with all the variants in style these days – it is more soothing than brutal, more warming than wake up – but with good flavours. It is like a night cap IPA, which is an odd set of ideas together – but enjoyable in that.

Make of that what you will.

Background: This 80 IBU double IPA was the 2013 winner of best Swedish beer – so probably going to be good. Grabbed from Independent Spirit this was drunk while listening to some Jackamo Brown – another from the batch of music Speech Development records gave away free digital downloads of – nice relaxing stuff.

Brekeriet: Picnic Sour Ale (Sweden: Low Alcohol Sour Ale: 2.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Small white head. Fizzing carbonation.

Nose: Rhubarb. Oats. Horse blankets. Lightly tart- pineapple and soft tangerine.

Body: Acidic. Lemon. Dry. Slight cardboard. Tart rhubarb and pineapple. Chalky. Tart raspberry.

Finish: Dry. Squeezed lemon. Slight chalk. Rhubarb rises up over time. Tangerine.

Conclusion: If only there was as much rhubarb in the rest of the beer as the aroma promised. The aroma just oozes rhubarb, I could smell it the entire time I was doing the initial photos to go with these notes. A simple aroma admittedly, but enticing definitely.

The main body still has some rhubarb, more acidic lemon than that, but also it comes with a dull cardboard middle which hurts it. Similarly the generally tart beer has a soft chalkiness that it really doesn’t have enough body to accommodate.

The finish does recover a bit – with the rhubarb fully developing again. Over time the beer does shift back and forth in how it feels – some times it comes across quite full and fruity, other times quite empty and chalky. Generally the longer you hold the beer, the more likely it is that some of the rougher elements come out.

So, it is close to working – some times you get everything coming together just right – but it is too variable in how it comes across. Even when it is more full bodied it is fairly simple in delivery; You get the lemon, the rhubarb and the pineapple at the core – though sometimes a slight tangerine and raspberry come out, especially as time goes on.

I want to like this beer, but it just can’t hold its good points reliably – resulting in an overly dry and chalky feel as you drink on..

A good attempt with distinctly sub optimal results.

Background: After having a great time with the last Brekeriet sour beer I tried, I decided to pick up this low abv one – Looked very interesting, made with rhubarb, which is something I am a big fan of. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to a bit of Erock on youtube.

Brekeriet: Berliner Spazz (Sweden: Berliner Weisse: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Large yellowed white head. No evident carbonation.

Nose: Fresh pineapple and guava juice. Soft creamy lemon. Mashed white grapes. Pencil shavings. Bitty orange juice.

Body: Tart lemon. Soft vanilla. White grapes. Tart pineapple. Lightly acidic. Slight cider. Orange juice.

Finish: Stewed banana. Passion fruit. White grapes – both juicy and tart. Pineapple. Dried mango. Wheat. Vanilla. Salted water. Rhubarb. White wine.

Conclusion: The first thing that hit me here is that the berliner weisse is really just providing a backbone for the rest of the elements to influence. The main flavour instead is all juicy tart fruit as all heck. The passion-fruit is massive and juicy top and tail – oddly in the middle it is a lesser element, with the tarter character giving more pineapple and lemon. The body seems to push the tarter flavours over the sweeter passion-fruit.

The berliner weisse is there – giving slight cider like tartness and a slight extra roughness of feel that shows the base ingredients. Generally though it just pushes the tart, sour body and lets everything else work up form there.

While this is not heavily sour – more tart and fresh – it comes in with the huge range of flavour that I associate with the heavier duty sour beers – from orange juice, to a drier, tarter rhubarb character. Lots of fruit notes is what I am saying, with just a slight dryness. There is a lot to enjoy.

Feels like an awesome, refreshing, summer sun beer. The only real drawback is that the abv is a bit high to do that perfectly; It feels so fruit juice like and so refreshing that it could be dangerous to drink in the sun as you could easily go through them without realising how much you are drinking.

Apart from that , this is a brilliant summer sun bit of fruit drinking – it may not show the base beer style too much, but it is still something that could only be done in an alcoholic drink and benefits from that to make a distinct experience. Very nice.

Background: I sure hope this beer’s name has a different meaning in Sweden. In the UK it is an offensive slang term for someone with cerebral palsy. So, erm, yeah, the oddities that happen in differences between languages. Did a bit of googling but couldn’t find what the meaning or reference would be in Sweden – if anyone knows please let me know. Anyway this is a berliner weisse made with passion fruit. And vanilla beans. Which is a new take on the style for me. Drunk while listening to some awesome Against Me!

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