Smoked Beer – Danish/American: Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

This Friday’s beer is a Smoked Stout by Evil Twin, called Ashtray Heart. We’ve had a Smoked Porter before, and this one is confused. On the front it states Smoked Porter, further on the back it says Smoked Stout. Who knows? All I know is Evil Twin make some great beers.

Evil Twin is run by the famous Mikkeller’s brother Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from New York. I still feel as though he tries to keep his Danish identity, which is why I’ve declared this as a Danish beer!

Let’s start with Evil Twin‘s Description of the brew:

Amazingly rich, seductively dark and smoking good. Yes a real heartbreaker. We recommend only the truly skillful, heavyweight beer champions to battle this awfully irresistible and potent smoked Stout. Careful this satisfactory product might give you a Placebo effect.

I enjoyed this description, it’s true. It is Seductively Dark… but more on that later! Bit sensationalist in the second section, but I suppose this isn’t a great introductory beer so it makes sense! I love the reference to the Placebo song, and that’s the first thing I thought of when this beer arrived.

It was really hard to find any hints at the recipe with this one, so I had to do a lot of tasting and research. Here’s what I think is used in the beer. As this is a Porter, Stout… lets say Dark beer we’ll start with the all important Malts. Peat Smoked, Black Malt, Pale Malt, Malted Wheat, Rye Malt, Roasted Barley and Carafa Type 2. As far as Hops go, I think Mt. Hood and Centennial have been used. As you can see, a lot of Malt goes into this one, and I think that’s why it leans toward the Stout side of things!

When you pour this beer, it’s very Dark and Black with an impressive Off White head which seems to carry on forever! In fact, pouring this one normally I couldn’t fit it in my Duvel Tulip. It dissipates slowly leaving a little bit of lacing which eventually disappears completely. It’s got great retention and eventually fades to a ring around the glass whilst you’re enjoying this. On the nose, tonnes of peat smoke aromas, a little bit of Rye, Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee with a touch of Alcohol. I love Smoked Beers, so this made we want to put it straight down the hatch! On the palate, lots of Smoke to begin with, Rich Dark Chocolate, Toffee, Burnt Sugar and a little bit of a Citrusy finish. What an amazing, complex flavour. The Carbonation is pretty high for the style, but it was to be expected with this style and actually brings out the complexity in this brew. It’s smooth and finishes Medium Dry. What a beer for Spring weather, although it’s seriously smokey the other flavours in there are ridiculously balanced.

You can buy Ashtray Heart in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Out of stock currently, but this one is worth trying so keep checking!

EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%

Barrel Aged Porter – Danish: Mikkeller Texas Ranger Aged in Eagle Rare Barrels

Mikkeller Texas Ranger

This Wednesday’s beer is from the Legendary Mikkeller. It’s an iteration of Texas Ranger, a Porter with Chipotle peppers added. This particular version has been aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey casks.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s Description of the brew:

Ale Brewed with Chipotle Chili & Aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.

Quite a modest description from Mikeller, but he’s known to be quite a mellow and quiet person. I feel it lets you make your own mind up on the beer, and gives you a guideline on what to expect. I don’t think I need to say much more!

The recipe for this one is quite a basic American Porter recipe, the malts being Maris Otter Pale, Smoked, Chocolate, Cara-crystal and Brown malts. The hops in this brew are Simcoe and Northern Brewer. What really gives this it’s flavour is a generous offering of Smoked Chipotle Peppers and the fact it’s aged in the famous Eagle Rare Bourbon Barrels for 6 months after fermentation.

When you pour this beer, it’s Black with a dark Tan coloured head. The head sticks around for quite a while with good retention throughout drinking, starting medium and ending with a small head. It leaves a lot of sticky lacing around the glass on the way down. On the Nose there’s lots of Roasted Malt akin to Coffee, Caramel, Chocolate and a slightly fruity Smokey smell coming from the Chilli Peppers. On the Palate, first there’s hints of Roasted Coffee but it quickly goes into a lovely, smooth Bourbon flavour which balances out the heat from the Chipotle peppers. In the background you get Caramel, Chocolate and some Fruity and Smokey tones from the peppers. The body is quite thin, but it works well with this style. It finishes dry and a little bitter with a touch of heat coming from the Chilli Peppers.

I bought this beer from Cotteridge Wines in the UK, recently voted the UK’s best Bottled Beer shop. Unfortunately it’s the only place I have seen it! Including having a search of the web. It may be worth giving them a shout on Twitter to see if they have some, as it’s a really great brew – even if you don’t like Chilli!

EST. CALORIES: 198   ABV: 6.6%

Fruit Porter – Danish: Mikkeller I Bet Yuzu Glad I Said Orange

Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter

With all this rainy weather, I thought a nice Porter would be a good pick me up. This week’s beer is the legendary Mikkeller‘s I Bet Yuzu Glad I Said Orange. A Porter brewed with a fruit called Yuzu, a popular fruit in Japan and Korea. I’ve only ever posted up one other beer on here brewed by Pressure Drop with this fruit in, and it was a great beer!

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

A porter with Yuzu (Citrus fruit), wheat and lactose. Flavor is sweet of yuzu with notes of orange and coffee.

A short but sweet description of this brew. Sources say Mikkel can be quite a quiet man, and this description seems to be evidence towards this. Although it’s short, it’s to the point. As it’s so to the point, I can’t really say much more apart from it’s got the extra ingredients listed and some idea on how it should taste.

The Malts are usually very important in a Porter, but in this one less so. The Malts used are Pale Malt, Brown Malt, Caramel Malt and Chocolate Malt. There’s also Malted Wheat. The Hops in this one are Challenger, Fuggles and to up the Citrus a little I think Mikkeller have used Cascade. After this, the Yuzu is added, I would imagine mainly juice as Yuzu can be hard to work with. During fermentation the Lactose is added.

When you pour this beer, you get a typical Porter looking beer – Black with a big Tan coloured head. The head retention is absolutely great, owing to the Wheat in the brew. On the nose you get lots of Citrus/Orange notes, owing to the Yuzu and some Coffee and Chocolate undertones. There’s also a bit of sweet Lactose in the Aroma too. When you taste this beer, you get a big initial kick of Coffee, followed by some Lactose sweetness and ending with the Citrus and Orange notes in the beer. The mouthfeel is quite light for a Porter and is a little more acidic than some beers. It finishes quite sweet. Quite lightly carbonated also. At 6% I can see myself drinking quite a few of these beers in one day and really recommend it.

You can buy Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter in the UK at:

Mikkeller Webstore (In Stock, Coversion is around £3.45)

Beer Gonzo (In Stock at time of Writing)

EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%

Stout – Danish: Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake

 

This week, as the winter is taking it’s hold I will be writing about a Legendary Stout from Mikkeller – Beer Geek Vanilla Shake. A Stout brewed with French Press Coffee and Vanilla.

This beer really is one of those sought after brews, and as soon as I saw it I knew it had a place here for Winter. I’ve had it cellared away for a couple of months.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

From the beer geek breakfast series – the beer that really put Mikkeller on the map – we decided to shake things up by adding a truck load of vanilla to the french press coffee trick, creating a whole new dimension to the beer that are loved by freaks and geeks worldwide.

I like Mikkeller’s descriptions – he always knows that the beer he has brewed is good and he taught some of the best brewers in the world. Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, who went on to form To Øl for example. The French Coffee trick is impressive, and although I’m still not 100% sure of it I have the recipe for the base Stout and I will attempt to decipher what they do. There’s always a mystery to the descriptions, and I think that creates a good interest in the beer itself. As Mikkeller is a Gypsy Brewery, this one was brewed at the Lervig Brewery.

As with all Stouts, the all important Malt comes first. As Vanilla Shake is based on an Oatmeal Stout, there’s quite a lot of fermentables involved! Pilsner Malt, Flaked Oats, Cara Munich, Smoked Malt, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley are in this one. As for the hops, we’ve gone American as this is quite a sweet stout. Centennial and Cascade hops are used, aiding the sweeter and fruitier tones in the brew. The next part is where this brew comes into it’s own – Coarsely ground Coffee Beans and Vanilla Beans are brewed using the French Press Method. Scalding water is used (just before boiling point), a little salt is added. Whilst the water is reaching scalding point, the coarse ground Coffee and Vanilla is put into the French Press. The scalding water is added, the Coffee and Vanilla mix stirred and left for 4 – 5 minutes to steep. After this, the plunger is pressed down at a steady speed and the Vanilla Coffee is added to the Fermentation after cooling.

When you pour this beer, it pours a thick black. I know everyone describes Stouts as something light cannot penetrate but light really cannot penetrate this one! There’s a thin Cola foam coloured head which dissipates quickly, leaving a mocha coloured ring around the glass. The lacing is very sticky and leaves a small ring after drinking. Now on to the aroma, wow! As soon as you open the bottle you get a blast of Vanilla Beans, with big Roasty malt and Sun-dried Fruit with Rum notes in the background. Given the fact this beer is 13%, it’s expected that there will be some sort of boozy smell but the Vanilla and Chocolate malt have transformed this into a satisfying Vanilla Rum smell. The taste initially goes with the Aroma, lots of Sweet Vanilla to start with, making way to some huge Roasted Malt flavours and Espresso. There’s some Belgian Dark Chocolate finishing with some Rum-Rasin Ice Cream notes. The Beer is very thick in your mouth, a lot like a Vanilla Milkshake. Carbonation is low making way for a Creamy Mouthfeel. You’d expect this beer to finish bitter, but it finishes sweet with a final Vanilla note. This beer would be great with a Christmas Pudding (or even baked into one!) or after a Roast Dinner on a cold Winter’s evening and it’s something I’d definitely recommend to anyone.

You can Purchase Vanilla Shake online at the following places, unfortunately it is always in high demand and it’s a hard beer to get at times. I got mine from Bottledog in Kings Cross, London.

Mikkeller Website

The Beer Boutique

Bourbon Barrel Aged version can also be bought from Mikkeller’s Website here.

For any Bars/Shops wanting to stock this beer, Mikkeller beers aren’t imported in big numbers to the UK. The best people to speak to about getting some of their beers are Brewdog or Mikkeller themselves!

EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%

Imperial IPA – Collaboration: Danish: Mikkeller, English: Siren Craft Brew, American: Hill Farmstead Brewery: Limoncello IPA

I’m going to finish August off with this awesome collaboration brew from 3 great breweries – Siren Craft BrewMikkeller and Hill Farmstead Brewery.  This is an Imperial IPA brewed to mimic Limoncello, honestly an extremely refreshing beer and something I’d never had before until a few weeks back. After tasting it, I knew I had to put it on the blog.

Although this is definitely a summer brew, it’s something you can drink on the colder days to help keep you warm too due to the 9.1% ABV!

Let’s start with Siren’s decription of the beer:

This is a truly different beer. The concept was to develop the flavour and mouthfeel of Limoncello and fuse with the carbonation and lemony hop hit of an IPA. Using pale and wheat malts, the base beer goes through a 24 hour sour process to add to the tartness of the beer. Tons of lemon zest and juice are added to the boil along with all the citrusy lemony hops available.

A very informative, short but sweet description of the beer by Siren. So we’re expecting a nice tart flavoured beer with underlying hop tones and sweetness. Sounds incredible even from the description and very interesting indeed!

After doing a little bit of research (didn’t have to go far!) I found out that this beer uses Pale Ale malt and some Malted Wheat. Wheat usually goes well with a tart tasing beer, and will also help the head creation and retention on a brew with this much ABV! This is then made into a sour mash to aid the tartness. The hops used in this are interesting, Citra and Sorachi-Ace. A very well informed hop choice, as Sorachi-Ace is a hop that injects tonnes of Lemon aroma and flavour into the brew, whilst Citra is a crazy fruity hop that will help with the Citric Acid tones in the brew but also add some delicate Gooseberry and Lychee smoothness to the beer. After this, a bucket full of lemon zest and juice is added for good measure and some Lacto or Lactic-Acid to help with the tart flavour of this brew. I think all in all, this is a great attempt at trying to mimic Limoncello in beer form!

When you pour this beer, you’ll notice the awesome hazy-amber colour of the beer and the big white head forming. It really does take a few pours to get this all into a glass, and rightly so (after all that wheat!) The head dissipates quite quickly after sitting for a while, there is some sedimant in the beer but I think this is due to the lemon zest as it does not seem to have the typical hazy yeast appearance. When you finally get to smell the beer after it settles down, you get a big hit of Lemon Juice and fresh citrus with some citrus hop aromas and some lacto coming through. It smells a bit like freshly squeezed lemonade! Now comes the taste, if you think this is going to be similar to shandy or a lager top you will be disappointed. I was plesantly surpirsed, this beer really is something different. You get a massive hit of clean lemon flavours which then desends into a sour bite. The lemon definitely has the front seat in this beer and the sourness comes after which is a pleasent surpirse. I noticed some lychee and a little bit of freshly cut grass on the tail end. This is a truely different flavour but works out to be extremely refreshing. Obviously you can’t have too many of these due to the percentage, but this beer works well in the sun and after a hot, sweaty days work (or gym session!). It finishes quite dry and sour but with a crispness from the lemon which is second to none. 

Overall, this is a great beer and truely different and surprising compared to other IPAs that have fruit added.

You can purchase Limoncello IPA in the UK at:

Eebria

The Grumpy Goat

And at Brewdog bars and Bottledog Kings Cross.

There may well be some other places too, check google!

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9.1%