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Positively the last of winter brews

The 1996 Joulu (Yule) Porter, from the Saku Brewery, near Tallinn, Estonia, came in at 8.0 per cent by volume. It had an aroma of freshly-sawn wood, or perhaps a fresh log fire, with some smokiness. The huge head looked like that on a milk-shake. The palate began with mouth-filling, toasted marshmallow, notes, but slipped away to a quick, silky finish. A sweetish interpretation of the Baltic Porter/Imperial Stout style.

The 1996 Weihnachts (Holy Night) Bier, from the Ayinger Brewery, near Munich, Bavaria, had 7.0 per cent by volume. Both the color and flavor reminded me of dark chocolate, and the texture was smooth and fudgy.

A batch of No. 1 Barley Wine, produced at the Bass Museum, in Burton, England, had a gravity of 1105 (28 Plato), producing an alcohol content of 8.4;10.5. Only pale ale malt is used, but a 12-hour boil creates enough caramelisation and evaporation to produce a dark chestnut colour. The beer has 6 lbs of hops per barrel, and is matured in cask for 10-12 months. The result is surprisingly light-bodied for the high gravity; firm, smooth, and oily; its sweetness remarkably curbed by earthy hoppiness tannic wineyness and oakiness.

Published Online: OCT 1, 1997
Published in Print: OCT 1, 1997
In: Beer Hunter Online

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