Wednesday, December 15, 2010

439. Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone Special Holiday Ale

Hot damn! Hold the presses! Holiday AND collabo? Dag, that’s like a little slice of heaven! Even further, this is a collabo remake from 2008, when the original was produced by Stone in San Diego. So it’s like old school and shit. For this beer, Kjetil Jikiun from Nøgne Ø, Ron Jeffries from Jolly Pumpkin, and Mitch Steele from Stone all got together to produce a beer that would make beer geeks scream like 13 year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. And I’d like to apologize to 13 year old girls for comparing them to beer geeks. But my favorite part of this beer is the name: I like that Special is used to describe Holiday—I guess that Holiday is no longer special enough by itself, and requires further qualifiers to make the holiday season even more special. Get ready for next year’s Super Special Holiday Ale.

Special Holiday Ale pours a hazy and murky brown—kinda like that sweet ol’ Mississipppi that the folk were drinking by the glassful back in the day—with a minimal tan head that actually thickens and has better retention as the beer warms. The nose is spice mixed with dry fruit; we’re not talking fruit cake or anything, but there is a chewy dried plum aroma underlying the initial spice burst. As it warms, a dark Belgian candy sweetness develops and the spice diminishes, although the fruit sticks around. With even more warmth, the sage starts popping out more distinctly. When initially poured, the flavors were rather muted: chewy malt sweetness in the front, a drier middle with slight spice-related flavors, and finishing dry with a touch of bitterness and juniper tang. As the beer warms, the front contains juniper along with the chewy malt sweetness, and plum and raisin dark fruit flavors emerge in the middle. Chewiness increases across the profile, and the white sage starts playing with the juniper in the lingering finish, mitigating and balancing the bitterness. The body is medium with a chewy yet dry mouthfeel, and the carbonation is medium to light. There is a slight residual mineral/spice character that lingers past the sage/juniper/bitter finish that detracts from the complex flavors that exist across the profile—it is a bit of letdown after all of the interesting and balanced flavors that play across the palate, although this too disappears as the beer heads to room temperature. Nonetheless, an interesting beer. Even if it needs the special to make the holidays complete.

We Three Kings be making the beer...

From the bottle: “This is the second Nøgne Ø release of Special Holiday Ale, which was first brewed in San Diego in 2008. Each brew is following the same recipe, including Michigan chestnuts, white sage from southern California and Norwegian juniper berries, but differences in brewing and aging practices produce different beers. Cheers to being different! Skå!”

ABV: 8.5%
OG: 22° P
IBU: 50
Ingredients: Grimstad water, malted barley, malted rye, malted oats, hops, white sage, carraway, juniper berries, chestnuts, yeast


No comments:

Post a Comment