April 24th, 2009 beckel
Today I have another beer from the Danish duo over at Amager Bryghus that I am ever so excited to try. After enjoying their Batch One Barleywine so much I thought the only logical thing to do would be to buy more of their beer. So a month or so ago I picked up a bottle of their Hr. Frederiksen an Imperial Stout named after a gentleman who was apparently a major influence and helping hand in the creation of their brewery. They suggest that this is a boisterous but charming ale and I’m inclined to agree simply based on the aroma that greeted me when I opened the bottle. The beer pours a dark mat black color that allows some red hues through when brought to light but is still completely opaque. Head is massive, chocolate brown in color and an easy three plus fingers tall that very slowly bubbles away one small bubble at a time. Leaving a solid millimeter of head on the surface of the beer even 10 minutes later and a bit of lacing around the glass. It is absolutely gorgeous how the head cascades when tilting my glass. The aroma of this beer is delightful. Strong scents of coffee, chocolate and roasted malt are most dominate. Then there is an interesting somewhat sweet fermented fruit like flavor from the grain that I suppose is a bit like blueberry. Initially I noticed a bit of alcohol on the nose, but the more I smell it the less it comes out. Holy crap. Upon drinking this beer is is immensely less sweet than it was on the nose. First I get heavy coffee flavors and dark roasted malt with a good deal of roasty bitterness. As I continue to sip this brew the sweet malt flavors are noticeable near the middle and continue through to the finish though they have a lot of bitterness to combat in the end. The fruit like note I detected in the nose is present with the sweet malt flavors but it is hard to label. The body of this beer is quite thick but not too heavy and the mouthfeel is quite smooth and clean. Though you will eventually notice that this beer is 10.5% ABV it won’t be due to the flavor. Coffee is definitely one of the major flavor profiles in this beer and I can honestly say as someone who doesn’t drink coffee this beer is fucking delicious. Often when a beer has a lot of coffee flavor it is a bit of a turn off for me but this brew is so well balanced I don’t have a thing to complain about. When I initially asked Sean of The Four Firkins about this beer the coffee aspect was my biggest hesitation, I’m ever so glad he persisted. This is one solid Imperial Stout that will likely be enjoyed by anyone who is into quality stouts and can handle the initial shock of coffee and bitterness that may come with the first few sips. The balance of dark bitterness and sweet flavors is simply delicious and I can’t wait to sample more of their beers. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
March 24th, 2009 beckel
When I saw the beer I hold in my hand on the shelves of The Four Firkins I knew not one thing about the brewery that it hailed from; Amager Bryghus other than what the bottle states which is little more than the fact that it was brewed in Kastrup, Denmark and that the brewers obviously have an inventive spirit from reading the brief paragraph on the bottle. After searching the web briefly it appears that this again is a two man inspired operation founded in 2006 and is located ever so securely in an air-raid shelter (lest anyone tamper with the beer). It appears their brews only reached the American market late last year and I am ever so excited to sample this American inspired Barleywine who’s hoppy aroma keeps calling to me. Color is a nice hazy date like brown hue with some red tones that brighten greatly in light. Head is off white and about 3 fingers that fade with in a few minutes leaving a thin layer around the surface and just a small bit of lacing. Though from a distance I kept getting hop aromas as soon as I put my nose in the glass the first thing I notice is dark pitted fruit, raisins, dates and a bit of alcohol. There are also a few floral hop aromas but there are hard to seperate from the malt backbone of this beer though it adds a nice moderate contrast. Floral hop flavors come first to me but are almost immediately ushered away by the somewhat sweet dark fruit flavors produced by the malt and finished with a bitterness in the end that attempts to balance the brew though it isn’t quite enough to hide the alcoholic flavor of this 9.2% ABV beer. This beer as well only uses Simcoe hops and as it warms in my glass more citrus flavor comes through though frankly I’m surprised they don’t shine through a little more. As this beer continues to warm flavors from the caramel malt become much more apparent and work to balance this beer much better than when it was colder. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is pretty smooth making this a rather drinkable beer if you don’t mind a bit of alcohol coming through. You can tell this beer has plenty of sugars present though it is not incredibly sweet and I would be very interested to see how it ages. Definitely a good beer for those who are into big beers regardless if you prefer more malt or hops. I probably allowed this beer to warm for at least fifteen minutes before drinking it but I would encourage everyone to allow this beer to warm even further as all flavors are more identifiable when warm. The dark date flavors are nicely balanced by the caramel malt and the simcoe hops are much more noticeable throughout when served a bit warmer and the alcohol flavors are toned down quite marvelously making this a much more rounded brew. Provided it isn’t still raining tomorrow I will definitely have to grab another bottle of this fine brew to age. If you’re not into high ABV beers this is probably not for you but if you are you should absolutely try it out. Give it a shot and ride your bike!
(Picture awfully dark need to work on my new camera’s settings)