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Suregork Loves Beer

Beer Reviews, Homebrew, Rambling

SOPP Helsinki 2011 – Suuret Oluet – Pienet Panimot

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Yesterday I paid a visit to the Suuret Oluet – Pienet Panimot (Big Beers – Small Breweries) festival at Rautatientori. This 3-day event (28-30.07)  is a chance for Finnish microbreweries to exhibit and advertise their products, and consequently beer lovers to taste new brews. The event is free if you enter before 18:00, after that entrance is 5 euros. You also get to buy a deposit glass for 2 euros, in which all beer is served, and when you leave you can either return the glass and get back your 2 euro deposit or take it home as a memory. There is a glass rinsing station available, if you wish to give your glass a rinse between beers. All in all there are 14 microbreweries (one Estonian) at the event, offering a total of 81 beers (you can find the whole list by clicking here). Prices varied between 3 and 4 euros for a 20 cl portion (bigger portions were also available, but if you want to try out many different beers I recommend the smaller ones). The following microbreweries could be found at the event:

  • Hollolan Hirvi, Hollola
  • Koskipanimo / Panimoravintola Plevna, Tampere
  • Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas, Laitila
  • Lakeuden Panimo / Mallaskoski, Seinäjoki
  • Lammin Sahti, Hämeenlinna
  • Malmgårdin Panimo, Loviisa
  • Nokian Panimo, Nokia
  • Panimoravintola Beer Hunter´s, Pori
  • Saimaan Juomatehdas, Mikkeli
  • Stadin Panimo, Helsinki
  • Suomenlinnan Panimo, Helsinki
  • Teerenpeli Yhtiöt, Lahti ja Helsinki
  • Vakka-Suomen Panimo, Uusikaupunki
  • Taako / Pihtlan Olut, Saarenmaa, Estonia

 

I had time for a short visit yesterday, and was planning on tasting the following 6 beers:

  • Beer Hunter’s CCCCC IPA
  • Beer Hunter’s Nasty Suicide Imperial Stout
  • Hollolan Ameriikan Hirvi APA
  • Malmgård Arctic Circle Ale
  • Plevnan Siperia Imperial Stout
  • Stadin Panimo Vintage Ale 2005 Barley Wine

 

I was able to test all of them except Malmgård’s Arctic Circle Ale. I unfortunately have no pictures from the visit, but I’ll post some short taste notes below:

Beer Hunter’s CCCCC IPA

This American IPA is brewed with five C hops, i.e. Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Chinook and Columbus, and has an ABV of 7%. The beer has an amber color, with a minimal head that quickly collapses leaving almost no lacing along the glass. The aroma is full of citrus and tropical fruits, and it is clear that this beer is hop-centered. The flavour contains some tones of caramel, but is quickly overtaken by tones of citrus, mango, pineapple, and resin, and ends with a (slight) bitter finish. Quite well balanced, with nothing overpowering, but I felt the body was a little light, and it somehow seemed as if the beer had been watered down. The carbonation level was also on the low side. A good attempt on an American IPA, but it seemed as if something was missing from it. Score: around 3.5

Beer Hunter’s Nasty Suicide Imperial Stout

This Imperial Stout was one of the new releases at the event. I have no further information on this beer other than it contains muscovado sugar, honey, has an ABV of 12%, and is supposedly ‘Belgian-styled’. The beer poured with a very dark brown/black color, and a minimal cream head. The aroma was sweet, with tones of raisins and roasted malts. The flavour was quite sweet and similar to the aroma and contained tones of roasted malts, licorice, raisins, and fruits. Could find much hoppiness in the beer, and bitterness was low as well. The high alcohol level was very well hid behind the sweetness. I felt this beer was a little too sweet for my taste, and would rather have had some bitterness and slight hoppy tones instead of the rich and fruity tones. The body was quite full and the carbonation level was low. Did not really enjoy this one, was a bit too sweet and ‘Belgian’ for my liking. I would have prefered a more bitter finish. Score: around 3.0

Hollolan Ameriikan Hirvi APA

This American Pale Ale by Hollolan Hirvi has been brewed using pilsener, münchener and dark caramel malts, and hopped with Tettnanger, Magnum and Tomahawk (dry hops), to an ABV of 5.3% and an IBU of 51. The beer poured a clear amber color, with a thin white head. The aroma was sweet, resiny, citrusy and aggressive, with the Tomahawk (a.k.a. Columbus or Zeus) tones dominating. The flavour is also hop dominated with citrusy and resiny tones upfront, and some maltiness in the background. The flavour ends in a slightly bitter finish. This beer also seemed watered down, and I felt it had a bit too light body. The carbonation level was also on the low side, but overall this was a very drinkable APA, with some delicious and aggressive hop tones from the Tomahawk.  Score: around 3.0-3.5

Plevnan Siperia Imperial Stout

This Imperial Stout by Panimoravintola Plevna was definitely my favorite of the day. This has been hopped to an IBU of 100 with Tomahawk, Mount-hood, Simcoe and Vanguard, has a EBC of 300 (meaning its pretty damn dark), and an ABV of 8%. The beer was originally brewed for Olutravintola Pikkulintu’s 5 year anniversary. The beer poured pitch black, with a tan head, that left some lacing on the glass. The aroma contained tones of vanilla, coffee, roasted malts, and hops. The flavour was full of roasted tones, featuring coffee, chocolate, licorice, as well as some bitter, citrusy and resiny tones from the massive hoppiness. The beer was very well balanced, and no particular flavour element dominates. The body was full and smooth, while the carbonation level was quite low. A very drinkable and tasty Imperial Stout, that definitely was my favorite of the day. This is also the only beer I tested that is available from Alko as well. You can (only) buy it from the Arkadia Alko for 18.21€.  Score: around 4.0-4.5

Stadin Panimo Vintage Ale 2005

This Barley Wine from Stadin Panimo was the least favorite of the day, and the only one I was close to pouring out. Since I haven’t tried many other (aged) Barley Wines I can’t tell how well this beer fits the style, but I at least didn’t like it. I have no information about this beer, other that it was brewed in 2005, is described by the brewery as a Madeira-like Barley Wine, and has an ABV of 11%. The beer poured a murky amber-brown color, with an almost non-existing head. The aroma is sweet, and has tones of raisins, plums and alcohol. The flavour is pretty much equivalent to the aroma, and is very sweet and caramelly, together with tones of raisins, plums, madeira, and alcohol. The beer was way too sweet for my liking, and the fruity and rich tones put me off. This definitely not a session beer, and body was full, and the carbonation level was low. This might have worked better sitting by the fireplace a cold and stormy winter night, but here in the warm summer under the scorching sun, it was a real challenge to finish the beer. The keg is unfortunately empty so there is no possibility to taste it anymore for those interested. Score: around 2.0-2.5

 

All in all it was a great experience, and there are some beers I still want to try, so might have to make a trip to Rautantientori today 🙂

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Suregork Loves Beer » Blog Archive » Finland’s Best Beer – Sinebrychoff Porter

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