Brewed by Ørbæk Bryggeri · Ørbæk · Denmark
Read more www.oerbaek-bryggeri.nu
I can’t say I’ve heard much about this brewery before but when I saw their barleywine on the selves last month I got the urge to try it. I think it was the “Vintage Beer 2008″ and the unique numbering on the bottle that lured me into buying it.
Now back to the background… Ørbæk’s a small town located just outside of Odense (Denmark’s third largest city) and home to two of the country’s most well-known breweries. There’s Bryggeriet Refsvindinge, well-known for their AZ ale No 16 and then there’s Ørbæk Bryggeri.
Ørbæk Bryggeri founded back in 1906 was initially known for it’s rauchbier the Stakitøl, with smoked barley malt from its very own maltery. Due to increased competition the brewery had to file for bankruptcy in the early 1990’s but reopened operations already in 1996 with Niels og Nicolai Rømer as the new owners. To celebrate the 100th anniversary they decided to brew something extraordinary and so Ørbæk Barleywine was born. This here is the 2008 rendition of that beer:
Pours a dark reddish amber similar to tea with a half a finger of snow white head. Looking through the glass I see animated pillars of bubbles from bottom to top. The head quickly fades into a ring of foam.
Smells of headache and booze, an alcohol burn that singes my nasal hair. How’s that for a start? The aromas are first musty and earthy like a cave. Then it takes a turn for red berries, including overly ripe strawberries and maraschino cherries. The later lending it a light sherry smell. Ending the aroma is a blend of smelly feet and cheese. Smells like a Camembert factory, according to Shiva. Its’ no Nynäshamn Bötet nor very smooth, but has a spectrum of fascinating aromas.
Initial reactions upon tasting are:
Marcus – It does not impress me.
Tobias – Oh my God!
First a super intense boozy and fizzy dry bitter. After the boozy shock settles, a muted maltiness pulls through. Flavor wise I get red berry flavored fruit tea with vinous attributes. A minute bitter almond flavor comes through later on. There’s no retention in the flavor, it really comes and goes with each sip.
A rather harshly carbonated medium body. Yet the medium feel vanishes almost right away. Therefore I not sure to call it a medium after all. A light liquid indeed. Leaves a plaquey and mouth-coating feeling.
Overall impression 3/10
This beer was meant to finish a great night with family and friends in a grand finale. Oh was I wrong about that.It lacks the typical smooth and rounded complexity which usually defines the style. An aspect that made me a devoted fan of barleywine in the first place.
If possible this one would go back into to the bottle for maturing another 4 years. Now it’s just too boozy and raw.
It’ll be interesting to see and try what Ørbæk’s other beers do to me at the Ølfestival København 2012 in two weeks time. They’ve got a pale ale called ØPA (Ørbæk Pale Ale) brewed with Cascade hops which sounds good.
Total Score 24/50
Good – Misses the mark on style and/or minor flaws.
Brewed by Omnipollo · Stockholm · Sweden
Read more www.omnipollo.com
Omnipollo had a release-party for it’s new beer Russian Roulette at Bishops Arms (Linnégatan) some time ago. I went with a friend of mine, Per Backtröm to check out the festivities and to talk to the brewer of Omnipollo, Henok Fentie. The beer in question, Russian Roulette is a collaboration between Omnipollo and Evil Twin Brewing and was brewed at Amager Bryghus, Denmark late January 2012.
They produced two slightly different brews but released it under one collective name. First you got a Pale India Pale Ale and second you got a Black India Pale Ale. The name, Russian Roulette, derives from the fact that you can’t tell which one you’re going to get when you order one. A beer with a twist as they say.
Fortunatly we had the opportunity to taste both of them that night, but for the sake of clarity, I’ve divided them up into two different reviews, since they differ in both taste and flavor. First up is Henok’s brew, the lighter one of the two.
Pours golden, slightly hazy, with a medium thick off-white layer of foam that settles pretty quickly, leaving a thin foam layer and lacing around the glass.
The aroma on this one is off the charts! Could be that it’s fresh from the brewery, but I’m getting loads of fruits, like passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry, citrus. Very flowery, getting a pleasant elderflower aroma. Also has some slight dank and earthy notes that balance the sweeter one well.
The taste is fruity, citrusy, grapefruit, herbal, grassy, in other words, very fresh flavor. Also has a fresh and crisp pilsner malt backbone, with some earthy and bready notes. It’s fairly dry with a moderate carbonation level and has a pretty strong bitterness that lingers on after a sip. But hey, that’s what you get with this much hops, right?
Light to medium body, very dry, feels very smooth. The carbonation is adequate, but could use some more to carry the many flavors.
Overall impression 8/10
This is a great summer IPA. Very light, clean, crisp, with loads of wonderful flavors. I can easily see myself enjoying a bottle of this beer at a bar with outdoor seating this summer. Just be sure to have the waiter bring out the bottle and hold it up towards the sun, so you know which one your getting.
We had a great time at Bishops, and were lucky enough to have the brewer himself Henok, give us the backstory of this beer and the brewing process he had together with Jeppe from Evil Twin, while we were enjoying it.
Too conclude a great summer (pale) IPA with loads of aroma and flavors.
Total Score 41/50
Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.
Brewed by Bryggeriet Djævlebryg · Copenhagen · Denmark
Read more www.djaevlebryg.dk
If pale ales and IPA’s make up for the biggest part of the evening, I usually like to finish off the night with a glass of imperial stout or barleywine. That goes for this evening too. It just feels right, finishing with something strong and malty. This particular specimen from Danish Djævlebryg’s been stowed away for a couple of months in my “Beer Cupboard”. It’s high time to review it, before the aroma and flavor gets too mellowed out.
The liquid looks translucid but there is plenty residual yeast, leaving lees at the base of the bottle. Surprisingly the pour creates a finger and a half of super rich bright khaki head, not commonly seen in barleywine. The beer itself is saffron in hue. Looks heavily carbed.
Soft malt base with a grain/cereal profile, towards the oat side of the spectrum. Flavor coming to me are of milk chocolate, almonds, fudge and a light nose of dark grapes. Getting a second whiff I also pick up preserved pears in syrup. There’s plenty of alcohol giving a distinct but rather pleasent burn.
Very and sweet, caramelly and malty upfront with some light dark fruity notes on the back side. Following is milk chocolate, bordering to cereals, mainly oats. A punch of booze comes through, not as balanced or refined in this aspect as, let’s say Nynäshamn’s Bötet. Surprisingly there’s a grapefruit bitter nibble, not bite, in the end.
A medium body with a viscous quality to it. Leaves a resounding bitter aftertaste.
Overall impression 6/10
This is high gravity beer here! The medium body containing generous amounts of sugar and alcohol make it a big beer. I like the flavors in it, but the interfering alcohol and unconventional bitterness disturb me. I’d would have appreciated this more if it had been smoother and more vinous an ale. Now it’s like two worlds colliding, the malts/flavors on one hand and the alcohol on the other. Perhaps cellaring it will dampen the bitterness and marry the flavors with the alcohol better?
Like other beers from Djævlebryg I’ve had, this one comes on with a rather promising aroma only to flaw later on in taste. In general I think the brewery’s on a good path but they still need to tweak the balance of the flavor of this brew.
Total Score 31/50
Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.
Brewed by Cölner Hofbräu · Cologne · Germany
Read more www.frueh.de
Ding dong, it’s beer mail time! A couple of days ago a bottle of kölsch from the three brothers of Brekeriet in Malmö made its way to 99 Bottles’ mail box. With this beauty of beer under my arm I hopped on the subway to meet up with 99 Bottles’ other half, Joao Neves, in his home in the center of town.
So what is a kölsch? Many are not too familiar with the style itself. The beer’s origin is of course of Cologne (in German Köln), hence the name Kölsch. It’s a top-fermented beer which is then cold-conditioned (or lagered) to give it some of its special character. In order for it to be called a kölsch it has to be brewed within Cologne city limits, all according to the Kölsch convention of 1986. The beer is typically served in a Stange glass, a tall slender cylindrical shaped glass. We on the other hand were not foresighted enough to have our Stange glasses with us so a regular sized wine glass had to do.
I get a loud hiss when popping the cap, the carbonation creating wild foaming when poured into the glass, yielding a two finger frothy head. With thirty seconds of retention the head’s gone leaving a creamy lid of tight bubbles. The liquid has the look and transparency of Champagne, cristal clear and strings of bubbles here and there. The beer itself is a golden apple juice/cider in color.
Up front it’s fruity, pervasively acidic and fresh apples and pears. I also get some minute notes of boiled vegetables, particularly of corn. The nose is reminiscent of a dry English cider rather than your average beer, very alert and fresh. Malt and bread notes pop up too.
“A strong malt backbone” to quote co-reviewer Joao. Following the malt is a fruity sensation full of tart and fresh apples and pears. Balancing the fruitier flavors is a Champagne type of dryness. Just around the corner is a light bready taste with cereal grains. Flavor wise there’s also a damp and frowsy quality too.
Champagne, champagne! At least as close as you get to it in the world of beers. A light and thin body verging on watery. This is to some degree balanced out by the fierce carbonation giving it that champagne quality. A zingy carbonation packed with small and biting bubbles. Adding to the Champagne similarit is also the dry feel of the liquid. Finishing it off is acrispand dry aftertaste.
Overall impression 7/10
Früh’s a clean and crisp brew with balanced flavors and a superb dry finish, partially bridging the gap between sparkling white wine and beer.
It’s also incredibly refreshing and therefore a “spot on” brew for a sunny spring or summer day. Früh Kölsch is both a true and very elegant thirst quencher if you will.
In Sweden, Früh Kölsch will be a part of the March release, being available in about 65 stores around the nation.
Total Score 34/50
Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.
Brewed by Meantime Brewing Co · London · England
Read more www.meantimebrewing.com
Critically awarded founder and braumeister Alistair Hook began brewing on a commercial scale in the year 2000. Meantime’s focus has ever since then been on the quality and presentation of the beer.
The beer’s name derives from the Yakima Valley in Washington State in the US, where 75% of all American hops are grown. Yakima Valley neighbors the Cascade range, which has of course lent its name to the popular hops. Yakima Red is a limited brew and was brewed using seven various hops, all grown in the Yakima Valley.
Pours from a 500 ml bottle with a interestingly enough vector-based design in black and white with pink details. The beer is a translucent dark red/orange in color with a cloud white head just short of a finger. No retention to speak of, so the head instantly collapses into a pile of bubbles, swimming around in the center of the glass.
Altogether a very moderate nose, which is primarily malty and fruity. There is also a fruity and citric tartness. Very soft and subtle American hops, almost shy I’d say. In conclusion a weak but interesting nose.
Light caramel sugars and roasted malts. Citrus flavors and refreshing pears and apples, perhaps the acidity of them. Lurking is also something funky or dank. Overall the flavors are dull and actually hard to detect/describe. The taste lacks bitterness completely.
With an ABV at a mere 4.0, it is a watery and thin body we’re looking at here. Liquid’s lifeless. Not much carbon dioxide at all. The tiniest bitterness coming through in the aftertaste. I’d describe the aftertaste as kind of dry and chalky.
Overall impression 5/10
I’m sorry to say but I was honestly not impressed at all with my first Meantime date. A boring and grey bitch with a dull nose and washed out taste. Lame, wishy-washy bod.
Not repulsively bad just anonymous and not very desirable. I’m not going to slag it off altogether though. This light and quite refreshing brew would probably help wash down a steak or whatnot.
Still feel inclined to try it? In Sweden, look here.
Total Score 26/50
Good – Misses the mark on style and/or minor flaws.