Monday, 17 December 2012

Beer Advent Calendar Day 13, 14, 15 and 16- Two Mikkellers, one De Struise and a Kernel in a Pear Tree

Good evening all. I was pretty exhausted last night following an epic weekend of jamming and drinking Iron Maiden wine with an old 'Nam buddy, so I had no desire to review a load of beers in order to catch up with the advent calendar. Fortunately I'm feeling it tonight, so I'm going to review four beers now and do two tomorrow; by which point I should be able to resume normal service from the 19th up to Christmas Day. Tonight's beers are as follows; The Kernel/Brodies' India Pale Ale SCANNERS, De Struise Brouwers' Pannepeut Old Monk's Ale, Mikkeller's Monk's Elixir (Barrel Aged Red Wine Edition with Brett) and Mikkeller's Black (Tequila/Speyside Edition). For the sake of clarity I'm going to use the capsule review style for each beer, so at least you won't have to read as much this time round! Reviews below....

The Kernel/Brodies India Pale Ale SCANNERS

Style: India Pale Ale

ABV: 6.9%

Appearance: Hazy pale golden colour, inch of white head that settles to a thin halo around the inside of the glass.

Aroma: Mango, grapefruit, acetone, caramel/honey sweetness.

Taste: Mango, grapefruit, peach, pine, very light coffee notes, decent amount of bitterness in finish. Sweetness during drinking, none of the flavours have particular dominance.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick, light carbonation. Lacks that nice tight head and effortless drinking quality of most Kernel offerings.

Verdict: Not as amazing as I was expecting, particularly when considering the hype it's garnered recently, but it's still a decent IPA. Personally I'd rather choose any other Kernel IPA over this one, but it's still worth trying at least once.

De Struise Brouwers Pannepeut Old Monk's Ale

Style: Belgian Strong Ale

ABV: 10.0% ABV

Appearance: Dark brown, thick beige head that settles to a thin film over the surface of the beer.

Aroma: Candy sugar, plasticine, blackcurrant, marzipan, phenols, rich malt, caramel. Nice and luxurious yet well-composed and light, very similar to a Quad.

Taste: Dark candy sugar, yeast extract, fruity tartness, Belgian yeast character (phenols), caramelised sweetness, warming quality from the alcohol. As with the aroma it's very light, has some woody tones and fortified wine. No sense of alcohol during drinking but a nice hit during finish, sense of hops in aftertaste. Very Quad-like.

Mouthfeel: Thick, well-carbonated. Very smooth and interacts with flavours nicely. 

Verdict: Great beer; plenty of flavours on show, wrapped up in a very drinkable package. Definitely recommended.

Mikkeller Monk's Elixir (Barrel Aged Red Wine Edition with Brett)

Style: Quad

ABV: 10.5%

Appearance: Dark brown colour, thick white head that maintains itself well throughout the beer. Some lacing in the early stages.

Aroma: Plenty of brett funk, vinous, almost like a Flanders Red or an Oud Bruin with the lactic acid quality. Some sweetness from the wine, quite hard to discern anything else due to the power of the wine and brett.

Taste: Vinous, loads of brett, candy sugar, tart fruits, yeast extract. Very powerful wine and funk character, a light Quad profile in the background (malt, marzipan, subtle Belgian yeast).

Mouthfeel: Thick, beer is well-carbonated- compliments vinous qualities and funk power.

Verdict: Pretty intense offering- lots of stuff going on but the extraneous additions certainly take dominance. These can be a bit unbalanced and overpowering now again, but despite this the beer is certainly worth trying at least once as there's nothing else quite like it out there.

Mikkeller Black (Tequila/Speyside Edition)

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 18.8%

Appearance: Black with a brown tinge, short-lived off-white head that settles to a thin halo around the inside of the glass.

Aroma: Smoky/peaty whisky, plenty of booze, licorice, smoked malt, caramel, brown sugar. Very complex and carried a powerful alcoholic hit, some yeast extract, malt, dark fruits.

Taste: Tequila booze and alcoholic burn, caramel, smoke, alcohol hits along sides of the mouth and creates a harsh tartness/warming quality in chest. Licorice, burnt sugar, yeast extract, chocolate, tequila hits bottom of mouth heavily. Finish is relatively flavourless but alcohol continues on long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick, although volatility of alcohol thins it out slightly, moderately carbonated.

Verdict: Truly a one-of-a-kind beer- tequila barrel-ageing supplies a lot of alcoholic intensity whilst whisky barrel-ageing provides a nice smokiness which mingles with the base beer well whenever it manages to push through. Highly recommended.

Until next time....

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