S & M Brewing Heilige Nacht

Belgian Strong Ale, 12% ABV, 31.8 IBU.

DISCLAIMER: I opened this bottle by mistake. The brewers instructed me not to taste this beer before 2020, but I completely forgot about that. In other words, the beer that I tasted was not the final product! Please keep that in mind when reading this rating.

Heilige Nacht. Yet another reason not to be religious.

It’s quite much darker than De Dolle Stille Nacht, right?

I know for a fact that at least half of S & M brewing is a huge fan of De Dolle Stille Nacht, so a tribute to this ale was to be expected.

In the glass it has a cloudy, deep amber colour, with a frothy, beige, short-lived head that leaves virtually no lacing on my glass.

The aroma is strong and far too dominated by stinging and rough alcohol. Fair enough, this is a big beer, but even a 12% ABV brew shouldn’t smell this boozy. I also get a generic fruitiness and somewhat unclean yeasty notes. In the back I find caramel, honey, dark dried fruits and spices.

In the mouth the alcohol really kicks in! I’ve never had a beer remotely close to being this absurdly alcoholic and insanely stinging and sharp! Fortunately there are other elements here as well, behind the wall of alcohol, and if not exactly saving this brew they prevent it from being a total disaster: dark dried fruits, caramel, sugar and honey. Actually lots of honey, in such a degree that this creation tastes more like a braggot than some braggots I’ve had.

The mouthfeel isn’t too bad (ignoring that it’s close to undrinkable due to the stinging alcohol): full body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Naturally I didn’t manage to finish the bottle, I had to have a more gentle drink. So I poured me a Laphroaig instead. And I swear to Dog, even after a few sips of this peaty single malt, the Heilage Nacht still felt violent and boozy in comparison!

Conclusion: “A beer suitable for Christmas or for long-term aging”. I’ll go for the latter. Maybe it’s possible to drink in a decade or two.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    7/20
Ratebeer score: 2.2/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Eirik 50 år

A birthday brew! Eirik 50 år, ClubGonzo batch 72.

Brown Ale, 6.9% ABV, 35.6 IBU.

Birthday brew and birthday flowers.

It pours a deep brown body with a average-sized beige head that ends up as a fully covering film. Some of the foam is stuck on my glass.

The aroma is rather strong and has some of the dirty yeasty notes that I often find in brown ales, so I guess it’s true to the style. I also get roasted malt, coffee, and sweet, overripe dark fruits. Quite strong flavour of roasted malt, coffee and a touch of yeast, with pine in the back. The taste is light to moderate sweet and moderate to light bitter. Medium body, dry texture and moderate carbonation. A close to decent brown ale with a tad more bitterness and hoppy elements than you average UK brown ale.

Conclusion: What? You find this rating a bit boring? Well, that’s what you get for brewing a slightly boring beer.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0