Putting finish line brews in perspective
Posted on 7/5/2012 at 8:05 AM EST
(317 days ago)
1 Member Rating | Delicious Overall
Most dedicated beer fans can recall at least a handful of wow moments. Maybe you stumbled across a world class beer completely by accident. Maybe you were lucky enough to meet a world renowned brewer. Maybe you were fortunate enough to score a private tour of your favorite brewery. All of these unique experiences build on your beer related stories portfolio. I recently enjoyed one such moment when I visited the world famous Mikkeller Bar in Copenhagen, Denmark. As if that alone wasn't enough to pad my archive of good beer stories, I was awestruck by what I was able to find on the tap menu. Let me put it like this: I'm about to review the Mikkeller Black 2012, a 17.5% Imperial Stout... on draught. No special order, no bottle from the cellar, no ''wink wink, let me get you something special''. On tap. This is the kind of craziness you can experience at the Mikkeller Bar.
In the glass, this beer is stark black with absolutely no edging. Not exactly surprising considering this beer's menacing character. It comes with a creamy tan head that dissipates very quickly. We all know what that means: strength, and a whole lot of it. On the nose, this beer is surprisingly restrained. I was expecting a merciless wallop of alcohol and a roast so harsh it could knock a fly off a dog turd. But, that wasn't the case. Complex it is, but straight forward it is not. Without resorting to disjointed gibberish, the best way I can describe this aroma is to imagine a blend of a Barleywine and a Russian Imperial Stout. All distinct notes apply. Needless to say, I was slightly intimidated. Thankfully the aroma does prepare you for the first sip, despite its inhibition. You already know that you're diving into a complex onslaught, and that's exactly what you get. The first note to slam your taste buds is a fierce rich roast with a pungent fennel note. It's infused with phenol and minty flavors and rests upon a strong under layer of alcohol. Not surprisingly, this beer is very hard to get through and is an obligate sipper. The alcohol burn, while not the prominent trait, is still very strong and very present from start to finish. Oddly enough though, it's still strangely drinkable. While it does take a while to get through, it's by no means unpleasant. It drinks more like a brandy or a scotch. I'd say the only weirdness I experienced was with the mouthfeel. It's deceptively smooth to start with a savory roasted base and a barleywine like sweetness, but quickly escalates into insanity. The resulting finish is quite unyielding; very rich, very bold, and leaves a tart toasted aftertaste that lingers for a very long time. Overall, the Mikkeller Black 2012 is the beer equivalent of a Hulk smash. If you're not properly prepare for it, this beastly brew will punch a hole in the back of your throat and slap the poor sucker standing behind you. That being said, it doesn't change the fact that this is one dangerously delicious brew. Its richness and complexity is second to none, so definitely acquire one if you ever have the opportunity (the bottle is usually denoted by the Chinese symbol for ''black''). But, I say this only to seasoned drinkers with a honed, preferably dark imperial palate. This beer is way too big for novices and average craft beer fans. I would say that the Mikkeller Black is a finish line beer, but that fails to put it in perspective. This is the beer you drink when finish line beers become boring.
Member Comments (2)
I don't think I have ever hated you as much as I do at this very moment. You know my obsession with stouts, and this sounds like one of those "crawl over broken glass coated with salt into a vinegar pool if you have to in order to even look at it" beers. Please excuse me while I go sit in a dark room and soak in my severe depression that you just brought on.
Heh, I actually felt guilty writing this review knowing you would have to read it. It would be like you drinking a mind-blowing doppelbock while hanging out at a tiny beer garden in a tiny town somewhere in the heart of Bavaria. I would have to find a dark corner to pout in for several days.
Posted on 7/8/2012 at 4:55 PM EST
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