I have known for a time that Ole at Bar & Cigar still had some bottles left of the original batch of Nøgne Ø #100. Some weeks back I managed to talk him into doing a vertical tasting of #100 and to include a bottle of the original batch, and yesterday was the day.
We enjoyed the following batches of this beer:
- #100 (the original, from 2004 (I think))
- #348 (27-03-2008)
- #590 (10-02-2011)
- #727 (23-11-2011)
- #767 (20-02-2012)
Here are my notes that I wrote during the tasting (not too structured):
Very dark clear golden brown with some head. Looks great! The head disappears quickly.
Lots of caramel and dark fruits in both aroma and flavor. The beer has some port-wine like notes in the aroma. The finish is quite bitter and short. The beer has a good warming feel to it but does not have much alcohol in neither aroma nor flavor. The beer is well balanced.
This beer is about 8 years old and is past its prime, but it was still a huge treat.
Lots of (Christmas) spices in the aroma. The flavor reminds me a bit of Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul. There is also a good amount of spices in the flavor. I’m picking up juniper in both aroma and flavor. The finish is quite bitter and gets a tad bit uncomfortable after a while. Leaves the mouth really dry.
Some spicy notes, but not like #348. This beer has a much better balance between the malts and the hops. Quite complex flavor profile with a long and comfortable bitter finish.
Now we are starting to get more hops in the aroma. This one has a slight grassy bitter feel to it. It’s a lot more balanced than #348 but not as complex as #590. It has a full mouth feel and is sweet, but not a typical malty sweetness. A long finish with some hints of alcohol up front.
Much like #727 but with more hops in the aroma, and more bitterness in the flavor. This batch feels very monotonous compared to the other batches. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good beer though, no doubt about it.
Personally the highlight for me, taste-wise, was batch #590. Really complex and balanced. Perhaps near its peak? I believe I have one or two more bottles of this batch so I’ll probably pop one later on and see how it has aged.
Being able to enjoy the original batch was of course also a big highlight for a beer geek such as myself. A big thanks go out to Ole Cigar for sharing a bottle of the original batch, and to Tom Young (Kjempetorsken), Gustav Jørgensen, Bernt Rostad and Jonas Jacobsen for attending the tasting.