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
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S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine

Barley Wine, 11.5% ABV, 45.6 IBU.

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine, batch 3. Photographed inside a Mac Pro cabinet.

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine, batch 3. Photographed inside a Mac Pro cabinet.

Batch 3 from S & M Brewing is a potent barley wine. It pours a cloudy, deep brown to copper body, with a creamy, dense, beige and long-lived head that ends up as a thin layer.

Strong aroma of caramel, lightly roasted malt, dark dried fruits and stinging alcohol. In the back I get overripe generic fruity notes, chocolate and honey.

The strong flavour is very much on the caramel malty side, there is very little hops in the flavour, but it has a good bitter bite in the long finish. Also orange and liquorice. I’m not sure if it has enough hoppy flavours to be called an American barley wine? It’s also very alcoholic, it’s stinging and boozy, but there are no solvent or unclean notes.

It has a fantastic mouthfeel (ignoring the booze), with a full body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Conclusion: too boozy, too little hops but a nice caramel maltiness. It kept growing on me, so I finished the bottle with pleasure. 

 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0
Trying to copy the picture on the label...

Trying to copy the picture on the label…

S & M Brewing Move On Up

Golden Ale/Blond Ale, 5.4% ABV, 30.6 IBU.

Golden body.

Golden body.

S & M Brewing batch 1.

S & M Brewing batch 1.

Look what I found in my beer cellar, the very first batch from S & M Brewing!

It pours a close to clear, golden body with a rather small, white head that soon reduces to partially covering film. A decent amount of foam still clings to my glass when it’s empty.

The moderate aroma is pleasant, fruity, mellow, well balanced and clean, with nice yeasty notes, light fruit and hints of vanilla. It’s neither revolutionary nor especially exciting, this simply smells like an easy-to-drink session beer.

The flavour is also restrained, but as was the case with the aroma, it’s quite pleasant and clean. I get a generic fruitiness, perhaps with some apples and with a dash of citrus, hops and a gentle backbone of pale malts. The taste is light to moderate sweet, and I’m a bit surprised that the IBU is as high as 30.

It’s rather light-bodied, is has a smooth texture, it’s softly carbonated and it dries up a bit in the finish.

Conclusion: a drinkable, simple and pleasant brew that won’t make anyone feel ecstatic.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0

S & M Brewing B is for Blonde

B is for Blonde by S & M Brewing, Belgian Blond, 6.7% ABV, 23.6 IBU.

A cooperation brew between ClubGonzo and the inspiration behind the magnificent imperial stout M, Marianne – here is the second batch (and my first) from S & B Brewing!

Cloudy body, cloudy sky.

Cloudy body, cloudy sky.

It pours a cloudy, opaque, medium orange to amber body with a quite large, creamy, white head that laces my glass very well. The head settles as a fully lasting layer.

The aroma is quite faint, and quite frankly it’s not that interesting. I get sweet fruits and light Belgian yeast with some subdued spicy notes.

There is more happening in the strong flavour, the Belgian yeast is stronger and the fruitiness is more pronounced. I get mainly sweet light fruits, especially apples. Also sweet caramel, and in the back there are hints of spices and vanilla, and, hey, some vague traces of solvent. Moderate sweet taste with a light bitter and long-lasting finish.

It has a pleasant mouthfeel, medium body, moderate carbonation and a light dryness.

Conclusion: a bit anonymous, but quite tasty and drinkable.

S & M Brewing B is for Blonde

S & M Brewing B is for Blonde

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.0/5.0