Sunday, 23 December 2012

Beer Advent Calendar Day 23- De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht

Good evening all. In what seems like the blink of an eye we're only a couple of days away from the big day, and Day 23's door serendipitously revealed the final bottle that I brought back with me from my Brussels holiday earlier this year- it's Stille Nacht, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale from De Dolle Brouwers (Esen, Belgium). This bad boy has garnered a lot of positive feedback over the years, so when I saw it in De Bier Tempel I knew I had to get a bottle for the festive season; it's also one of the rare Christmas-oriented offerings present in this year's advent calendar. Really looking forward to this one, so let's get straight into the review after the pics....

Stille Nacht (12.0% ABV) pours a hazy amber colour with a short-lived thick white head that settles to a thin film over the surface of the beer. The sediment in the bottle is quite loose and so some of it managed to find its way into the glass despite careful pouring. The aroma can only be described as "Christmas in a glass", with marzipan, candied fruits, candy sugar, light yeasty phenols, toffee apples, cinnamon and some rich sweetness residing in the background. The general aroma is reminiscent of a diluted Quad- the spiciness from the yeast isn't as intense and the candy sugar provides lighter, sweeter fruits. There's also some Brett-style funk in the background that mingles very well with the sweetness and fruitiness, and there may even be some faint citrus fruit hoppiness somewhere in the mix. The alcohol is noticeable to an extent, and can burn the nostrils slightly if the beer is inhaled too deeply. Despite this, it's pretty amazing stuff so far! The taste isn't quite as nuanced but delivers a lot more intensity, with candy sugar, phenols, grapefruit, funk, caramel sweetness, brambles, yeast extract and a decent kick of booze during drinking. The yeast character isn't overpowering and so allows the candy sugar and fruit to come through, whilst the funk creates a slightly effervescent backdrop that compliments the fruity tartness. The alcohol warms the chest quite significantly and doesn't cloy on the palette, making the finish seemingly endless. The mouthfeel is thick and the beer is well-carbonated, which is ideal for the flavours on show and offsets the power of the alcohol. Overall, this is a quintessential Christmas beer with enough alcohol to warm up even the coldest soul, and a panoply of rich sweet fruits that mimics after-dinner pudding perfectly. Highly recommended, this is a truly fantastic beer that I'll definitely be seeking out again next year.

Until next time....


  1. A top beer that tends to be too sweet in the first year or so after production. Well worth ageing for 2-3 years.This is one of those beers that improves and then mysteriously loses condition and regains it over time. I've drunk fantastic 30 year old bottles unlike other aged so called 'classics'.

    1. Thanks for reading, I've heard a lot of support for ageing this beer so I'll have to grab a few in the future and do just that!