Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper 2016

Brewery: Mikkeller ApS
Country: Denmark
ABV: 10.9%
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Other Notes: Brewed by Mikkeller at De Proef Brouwerij

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Belgian ale brewed with spices.

My rating: 2
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.31
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.1

Intro: A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 17th August 2026. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.
Appearance: A dark amber brown colour with a big three finger off white head that had good retention and left great sticky lacing.
Aroma: Caramel, sweet malts, dark fruit plum and raisins with a hint of chocolate.
Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee, plum, raisins, candied sugar, black coffee bitterness, orange, spices and booze.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: It’s probably overly sweet for my liking. In addition there is quite a lot of booze coming through especially as it warms and in the end, probably too much.

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Mikkeller X’mas Porter 2016 Til Fra Via

Brewery: Mikkeller ApS
Country: Denmark
ABV: 8%
Style: American Imperial Porter
Other Notes: Brewed by Mikkeller at De Proef Brouwerij. Adjuncts – Vanilla Sugar (0.9%), Coriander Seeds (0.3%), Star Anise (0.3%), Cinnamon (0.3%) and Cloves (0.1%)

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Holiday Ale brewed with spices.

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.88
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 16th August 2021. Poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: Black in colour with a nice two finger brown head that had decent retention and left nice lacing.
Aroma: Chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, cinnamon and cloves. I want to say it kind of reminds me a bit of banana cake.
Taste: Starts sweet-ish before turning bitter especially on the finish. Dark fruit plums and prunes, roasted malts, smokey, char, dark chocolate, spices and a hint of vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.
Overall: Quite a nice Imperial Porter with spices, but perhaps a touch too much smoke and char for my liking.

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Samuel Adams (Barrel Room Collection) Stony Brook Red

Brewery: Boston Beer Company
Country: USA
ABV: 9%
Style: American Wild Ale
Other Notes: A unique Belgian Style Red with a hint of tart, fruit and toasted oak character

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Distinctive and enticing, this unique and utterly complex brew builds from the inspiration of Flemish reds. It begins with an earthy sourness and hints of dark fruit but the tartness gives way to a rich maltiness and touch of toasted oak. These flavors are rounded and deepened by the barrel aging for a layered & alluring brew. One of our brewers’ favorite places to experiment is in the barrel room at our Boston Brewery. It’s here that each of our Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection brews was born.

My rating: 2
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.5
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.2

Intro: A 1pt 9.4 fl oz corked and caged bottle with a best before date of 1st October 2017. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.
Appearance: A dark ruby reddish brown colour with a big three finger light tanned head that had decent retention and left only sparse lacing.
Aroma: Fruity tart cherry, red berries, grape, plum, caramel and a touch of vinegar.
Taste: Much less fruit than the aroma, sour, tart, cherry, plum, oak, alcohol and vinegar.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and highly (overly) carbonated.
Overall: Taste was decent but I think its fruitiness was definitely affected by the harshness of the carbonation, which I felt mellowed it, when compared to the aroma. For me, the problem all stemmed from the harshness of the carbonation when swallowing, which I thought was way more than even any soda that I’ve drank before. If toned down a bit, I think that I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

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Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21

Brewery: Harviestoun Brewery
Country: Scotland
ABV: 8%
Style: English Old Ale
Other Notes: Aged in Highland Park 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky casks.

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Aged in selected oak casks, formerly used to mature Highland Park’s beautifully balanced 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

(from tag) Ola Dubh (or ‘Black Oil’) is so named because it is gloopy and viscous. This limited release has been matured in casks from Orkney’s award-winning Highland Park distillery to add complementary whisky notes to what is already an amazing brew. It is chocolatey with a roasty, bittersweet aftertaste.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.94
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 330ml foiled and capped bottle, bottle no. 00214, bottled in April 2014, and best before end of May 2017. Poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: A clear dark brown colour with pretty much no head and only very sparse spotted lacing.
Aroma: Chocolate, whisky, wood and vanilla with maybe a touch of coffee.
Taste: Dark chocolate, roasty malts and coffee bean, whisky and vanilla with a hint of sweet dark fruit, raisin, plum and prunes on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low carbonation.
Overall: Nice roastiness and vanilla with subtle but clear whisky notes makes this go down easy. Definitely on the lookout for the other years now.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Brewery: Schlenkerla (Heller-Bräu)
Country: Germany
ABV: 5.1%
Style: German Rauchbier
Other Notes: 30 IBUs

Brewer Description: (from website) Bamberg’s speciality, a dark, bottom fermented smokebeer, brewed with Original Schlenkerla Smokemalt from the Schlenkerla maltings and tapped according to old tradition directly from the gravity-fed oakwood cask in the historical brewery tavern.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.25
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.1

Intro: A 500ml bottle with a best before date of May 2017. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.
Appearance: A clear dark amber colour with a two fingered tanned head that had decent retention and left nice lacing.
Aroma: Smokey, bacon, ham and toast.
Taste: Smoked meats especially ham and charcoal-ly upfront before giving way to sweet-ish caramel malts and a touch of fruit.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation.
Overall: A very nice smoked beer with lovely smoked ham aromas and taste balanced with a touch of sweetness.

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