Nøgne Ø in Grimstad have been brewing beer for Mikkeller for quite some time: Beer Geek Breakfast, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel and George (amongst others). A while ago Nøgne Ø stopped brewing these beers as they barely have enough time and room to brew their own beers. Mikkeller wanted Lervig to start brewing said beers, supposedly because of their main brewer, Mike Murphy.
Today I’m going to review Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, both the Nøgne Ø version and the Lervig version, side by side. Beer Geek Breakfast is an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee and a bunch of different malts (pilsner, oat, smoked, caramunich, brown, pale chocolate, chocolate, roasted barley, and flaked oats) and sports an ABV of 7.5%. According to the two labels there is not much difference in the ingredients. I’m suspecting a difference in the coffee used, but it does not say anything about that on the label. Perhaps some of my readers know some more about this?
It’s not really a fair comparison though, as beers with coffee tend to loose some of the coffee aroma/flavor (just like hops), and the bottle from Nøgne Ø was brewed in February last year, while the one from Lervig is reasonably fresh. Enough chatter, let’s open the beers!
Nøgne Ø’s version
Brewed at Nøgne Ø in February 2012, and bottled in a .5l bottle. At the time of this writing some Vinmonopolet stores still have a few bottles left.
Dark brown color with a big beige head with a remarkable retention. The head does not seem diminish at all.
Intense aroma which contains round mellow coffee notes, dark bitter chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla and also some hoppy notes lurking in the back.
I’m picking up some hoppy hints right away, which is quickly overrun with a load of dark malts. I’m getting coffee, chocolate and some molasses.
The mouth feel is incredibly smooth, and the carbonation is soft and fits the beer perfectly.
Long finish which has coffee and chocolate up front, and after some seconds a hoppy bitter flavor appears. The finish is really nice and makes me want more.
A really enjoyable stout which has an intense aroma and flavor profile. The beer is incredibly balanced and smooth. Score: 4.8/5.
Brewed at Lervig in December 2012 (as far as I know), and bottled in a .33l bottle with a new label. This beer just recently appeared at Vinmonopolet.
Dark brown color with a beige head. The two beers look identical with the exception of the size of the head (and the retention).
Powerful aroma with a much more intense punch from the coffee. I’m not getting as much roasted aroma on this beer, but it might be that the coffee is overpowering some of the other less intense aromas.
As with the aroma the coffee is very intense and numbs the other flavors. I’m picking up hints of chocolate, roasted malts and vanilla. There is also a noticeable grassy hoppy flavor present. Even if the coffee flavor is quite intense it does not ruin the beer at all. It works really well!
The carbonation level is higher which makes the mouth feel of the beer less smooth. Personally I would prefer lesser carbonation.
Very long finish and a lot more bitter than the one brewed at Nøgne Ø. There is a slight hint of alcohol present as well.
I really enjoyed this beer as well, but found the bottle I had from Nøgne Ø more balanced and smooth. This one has a much more intense and enjoyable coffee profile though.
It’s not really a fair comparison though as the two beers are not equally fresh. Anyways, the score I’m feeling for Lervig’s version right now is: 4.3/5.
I really enjoyed both beers, but Nøgne Ø’s version won tonight because it was more balanced and smooth (which is not really a surprise since it has spent a year in the bottle).
I have had Nøgne Ø’s version when it was more fresh than the bottle I had today, and as far as I can remember the beers are quite similar when fresh. Lervig’s version had a more hoppy punch than the one from Nøgne Ø’s if I remember correctly. I’m guessing the same hops were used by both breweries as well (Centennial and Cascade).
Anyways, fair comparison or not, I got to enjoy two great beers. Cheers!