Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Samichlaus Classic

My last review was a light beer, so it only seems fitting that I swing the pendulum hard the other way and review a super strong ale. Samichlaus Classic is an extra strong beer brewed in Vorchdorf, Austria by Castle Brewery Eggenberg. It tips the scales at a mighty 14% alcohol. Mercifully, it is sold in 330mL bottles.

Apparently, according to the label, this amber elixir is only brewed once a year, on December 6, and then aged for 10 months. The label also boldly asserts that it is "The World's Most Extraordinary Beverage".  Quite a claim.

Samichlaus Classic pours with almost no head. It's very clear chestnut brew. The aroma is malt driven and has considerable sweetness, though there is also a tart fruitiness that made me think of cranberries. The flavour is extremely sweet, reminiscent of a ruby port. There are some honey notes, as well as a dose of stone fruit. Also, there is mammoth booze presence. The mouthfeel is quite syrupy and smooth. All told, this stuff is very malty and very sweet, with barely a hint of bitterness.

I enjoyed my bottle outside on a crisp February eve, but I'd be willing to bet that lots of flavour notes could be unlocked as the stuff warms and breathes. Samichlaus Classic is one of the strongest beers I've ever tried, yet it manages to be subtle and almost delicate. If you like sweet and strong, this is clearly the beer for you. It's got a boatload of flavour and potency to spare. I found it far too sugary and fortified to drink more than occasionally, but highly interesting all the same.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10.

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