Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Samichlaus Bier

Posted by jwpiper on January 29, 2009

Charles Street Liquors has a reputation for a rather decent beer selection, so I decided to check it out – looking for some beers which have trouble trickling their way to Ohio. I found a handful, including some Shelton Brothers imports which I can’t seem to find, and some beers which exceed our 13% ABV limit. Passing on the Shelton Brothers imports (Struise Tsjesses to be precise) since I’ll be in Belgium just next week and may still find it there, I picked up a couple of the high ABV brews. My first pour was Samichlaus Bier from Brewery Castle Eggenberg in Austria, formerly brewed and conceived by Hurlimann Brewery in Zurich Switzerland. I’ve heard quite a bit about the cellaring potential of this beer, and I wanted to try it fresh. Well, fresh with this beer means it was lagered for 12 months and stored on wood for another 12 months. So the date on the bottle was 2007. I split it, poured it at cellar temperature, into two wine glasses.
The doppelbock pours an amber, coppery brown with a thin off-white head. There’s plenty of light coming through for a doppelbock – on the paler end of the spectrum. Looks more like an old ale the 14% ABV enforces this thought.
The aroma is actually a bit musty, which was unexpected and a bit off-putting here. Definitely boozy on the nose, there are also rip fruits (prunes), caramel, and some smokiness.
The booze is better masked in the flavor than it is in the small. It is very rich and sweet with flavors of burnt sugar and prunes. It is a little bitter on the finish. I’m a bit underwhelmed with this beer.
It is definitely thinner than I expected, not cloying. It’s smooth and a bit creamy.
This is a sipper. Both the bitterness and sweetness has the potential to slow you down with this beer.
This was a little bit of a let down, but pretty good. I won’t be stocking up on these, but I can definitely see how this would improve substantially with age.
$5.45/330ml. At this price (and availability for me), I could see myself buying a few to cellar and see what happens, but I could also see this being the last time I have this beer… and I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I don’t think I’ll be having this again without some additional age on it.

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