Wednesday, September 4, 2013

571. Anchorage/Mikkeller AK Alive! Alaskan Wild Ale

Not a lot of information available on this beer out there on the internet. Mikkeller’s web page features Euro-trash glam shots, but very little real beer information. I get it—you’re edgy and shit. But can you tell me something about the beers, please? Pictures of Klaus and his Star Wars fixation really only provide a creepy late 80’s New Wave meets Williamsburg hipster culture vibe that makes me sad I bought your beer. Anchorage Brewing Company’s website wasn’t that  helpful, either, but there was a lot less douche-baggery to sort through to find out there was nothing. Anyway, our second beer from Anchorage Brewing, our first being Galaxy White IPA w/ Brett, and our fourth from Mikkeller, including Simcoe Single Hop IPA (back in the day), Rauch Geek Breakfast, and the Stillwater/Mikkeller collaboration, Our Side

AK Alive! pours a cloudy orange copper with a creamy off-white head and lots of tiny white streaming bubbles in the glass. The nose is an earthy musty funk bordering on goat-y and/or horseblanket; there are oxidized paper hints, but they appear more a product of the Brettanomyces-derived yeast aromatics than via any actual oxidation in the beer itself. Flavors start with a hint of residual malt sweetness before the funky flavors take over, with a spicy earth tang that borders on evergreen; there is a flash of Belgian candy sweetness in the middle, followed by a healthy dose of what I would describe as the classic Brettanomyces bruxellensis dry musty cracker bite running from somewhere in the middle on into the finish, although this is B. bruxellensis on steroids. As the beer warms, young tannic oak flavors make an appearance as well. The body itself is dry—crackery dry, papery dry, or whatever descriptor you’d use to highlight the driest of the dry bodies. The initial flash of sweetness thus provides a nice counterpoint the dry dry body, balancing the beer as a whole, buoyed also by the spritzy bright carbonation. There is some lingering astringency along with some alcohol warmth in the finish that leaves a slightly unpleasant taste sitting on the back of the tongue; it is difficult to ascertain whether the resulting flavors are hop- or yeast-derived. The astringency does increase as the beer warms, although not enough to make me stop drinking the beer; it is merely enough to get me to point it out to all you readers out there. As well, this could be related to the ABV of the beer: at 8%, it is pushing the envelope for something that is going to end up clocking somewhere around 1.000-1.004 FG. The lack of residual body in such a big beer (and young beer, might I add, which contributes) brings both the astringent and alcohol flavors to the forefront in ways that would probably not be as evident after being aged for a year or two. Another possible contender for the lingering astringent bite is the young tannic oak flavors that emerged as the beer warmed. In all likelihood, most of these factors contributed something to finish. Still, an enjoyable and interesting beer; I was hoping to find more about its production when I was poking around the internet, as I’d be interested to hear about the production process of this beer: was this an open or spontaneous fermentation (implied by the “Alive” in the name), an inoculated fermentation (adding cultured wild yeast, or having wild yeast already established in fermentation vessels, like barrels; potentially implied in the “Wild Ale” designation, although this would technically fit both options), or a mix somewhere between the two? I didn’t expect a definitive answer, but I expected more than bupkis. Well, there was this, but otherwise beer rating sites and the likes. Oh well.

ABV: 8%

P.S. I dumped the dregs of this beer into one of the two extra starters I made on Sunday. Just sayin’.


1 comment:

  1. How did the beer you make turn out? What style was it? How long did you age it?