Friday, December 24, 2010

Samichlaus Helles (2007 vintage)

Since today is Christmas Eve and tonight is Santa Claus's night, I pay tribute by reviewing a beer bearing his name. There are two versions of this beer, the Samichlaus Classic which is a double bock, and the Samichlaus Helles which is a hellerbock ("helles" is German for "bright" - it has nothing to do with Hell).

Even though this beer is ONLY 14% ABV, it's the beer I consider to be the world's TRULY strongest beer. Samichlaus is made with BEER yeast AND it's not an ale, it's a lager - which is a more difficult style to brew. Those "extreme beers" by Dogfish Head, Samuel Adams, Brewdog and other breweries use saki yeast and/or they're not brewed like beer, but distilled like a spirit.

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (621) - Albany, USA - DEC 24, 2010
Poured an 11.2oz bottle into a pilsner glass. 2007 vintage.

APPEARANCE: Beautiful, clear shade of copper/orange. Small, yellowish/eggshell head. Leaves some lacing at first, but eventually fades away.

AROMA: All malts all the time. Caramel, butterscotch syrup and a distinct rhubarb spice. Very potent. No alcohol in the nose.

TASTE: Starts off with a super rich, syrupy sweetness. Much like the aroma it’s caramel and butterscotch syrup with rhubarb spice. Drank at fridge temp it’s quite tasty and satisfying. But because it’s something of an extreme beer it must be drank slowly. As it warms the palate seems to lose its robustness. The initial flavors are still there, just not as strong. The alcohol never upstages the organic palate, though.

MOUTHFEEL: At fridge temp it’s actually quite crisp like a lager should be, and yet still noticeably thick. As it warms and becomes tepid it seems thin and flat.

DRINKABILITY: Drinks exactly how a 14% ABV beer should drink. There’s only a little bit of warmth from the booze in the finish, but it catches up to me FAST. Before I was even finished I felt numb and warm. It’s difficult to drink this is more than sips.

OVERALL: Impressive for what it’s able to accomplish, despite the fact it’s a tad gimmicky. I liked it, but I wouldn’t go above and beyond trying to find this beer.

Grade: 7/10

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