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Suregork Loves Beer

Beer Reviews, Homebrew, Rambling

Christmas Beers: Brewdog There Is No Santa & Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul

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Since I haven’t reviewed a single ‘Christmas’ beer yet this year (even though I have a couple of them in my beer cabinet) and tomorrow is Christmas Eve, what better time than to try two spiced beers by Brewdog and Nøgne Ø. I’m not usually a big fan of beers that are spiced to taste as something else, e.g. gingerbread or glögg, but hopefully these will be drinkable, and at least go along with the gingerbread and ‘christmas pastries’ we baked today. Merry Christmas to all you readers!

 
 

  • Brewery: Brewdog
  • Country: Scotland
  • Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer
  • ABV: 4.7 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket, 4.20 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Brewdog’s Christmas beer, There Is No Santa, is a stout seasoned with cocoa nibs and ginger stems. Since it’s only 4.7% ABV, it is available in shops other than Alko as well. I found no information on any malts or hops used, but I assume the spices are the central flavor element of this beer. Let’s see how it tastes!

Brewdog There Is No Santa
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The beer pours with a dark brown, almost black, color, and if held against the light, one can notice some red tones in the color. A fluffy cream-colored head is formed during pour, but it collapses really quickly, leaving minimal lacing along the glass.
Smellwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The spices dominate the aroma, and especially the ginger is prominent, which together with some tones of cinnamon, give this an aroma similar to that of gingerbread. There are also some tones of roasted malt and chocolate hidden behind the spices.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The flavor is very similar to the aroma, and it is dominated by tones of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. This is joined by some roasty tones from roasted malt, cocoa and dark chocolate. There is a slight sweetness in the flavor as well, making the flavor, like the aroma, very reminiscent of gingerbread. The flavor ends with a lightly dry and bitter finish. A bit too much spices for my taste, but I guess it suits the occasion.
Mouthfeelwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The beer has quite a light body with a medium carbonation level. It was quite easy to drink, but felt it was a little too watery, and could have used a bit more body to it.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This is definitely a Christmas beer, as it tastes very much like the gingerbread we just baked. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not a big fan of spiced beers, but still felt this was drinkable and suited the occasion. Could have used a bit more body, a little less spices, and some more flavor from the malts. Might buy again next year.

 
 
 
 

  • Brewery: Nøgne Ø
  • Country: Norway
  • Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer
  • ABV: 6.5 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Alko, 6.33 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

The second beer of the evening is Nøgne Ø’s Underlig Jul. This is a beer inspired by glögg, mulled wine, and has been spiced with 5 different spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, coriander and cloves. Other than the spices, the beer has been brewed with Maris Otter, Munich, caramel, and chocolate malts, and hopped with Columbus and Cascade hops to an IBU of 30. The beer was fermented with an English ale yeast. Nøgne Ø also brew another Christmas beer, called God Jul, which is more of an American Strong Ale, and not spiced at all. Seems more to my taste, but is unfortunately not available in Finland. Let’s see how Christmasy this one is!

Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The beer also pours with a dark brown color, though slightly lighter than There Is No Santa. A huge cream-colored head is formed during pour, and while it collapses (which takes a while) curtains of lacing are left along the glass.
Smellwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Spices also dominate the aroma of this beer, and similar tones of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, typical of gingerbread and glögg, can be detected in the aroma of this beer. Behind the spices, tones of floral hops, as well as a slight maltiness and roastiness, can be detected.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The flavor is also very spicy, but I think it has a slightly different focus compared to There Is No Santa (it's more 'harsh'). There are strong hints of cinnamon, ginger and even some licorice-like tones, and these are joined by roasted (almost ashy) tones from the roasted malts. The flavor ends with a slightly bitter finish. Again, not really my cup of tea.
Mouthfeelwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The beer has a medium-full body and a medium carbonation level, making easy to drink. The spices were a bit too harsh, and felt it decreased the mouthfeel a bit.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Of these two beers, I liked Underlig Jul slightly more, due to it having a bit more body, and a bit more complexity in the spiciness. On the other hand, it was a little harsher on the tongue. I really like when brewers are experimenting with beer and exotic ingredients, but overall I'm not really into Christmas-spiced beers. Again, it fits the occasion, but would probably not drink again, especially due to the quite high price.

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