Tonight Christmas came early to BeerNorway HQ. I’m about to try some Christmas beers from none other than Nøgne Ø. The beers I’m trying are Julesnadder, Underlig Jul, God Jul and Special Holiday Ale.
Nøgne Ø Julesnadder
First up is Julesnadder, a beer with a modest 4.5% ABV that is sold outside of Vinmonopolet here in Norway. This beer is still fairly fresh as it was brewed only 4 weeks ago. Beers such as this one usually gets better with a little age, but I’ll pop it anyways. It’s probably the most fresh Christmas beer I have ever had.
Dark brown color with a beige head. The head leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.
Some lovely hints of roasted malts and some burnt wood. I’m also getting some hints of yeast and some wheat-like notes. The aroma fits perfect for a cold and rainy autumn evening.
The flavor also has a nice roastiness to it, but not as much as I had expected. There are some caramel-like sweetness as well. As the temperature of the beer rises I’m getting some nutty flavors, reminding me of some brown ales.
The mouth feel is creamy and the carbonation is soft.
I’m getting some bitterness up front, which is accompanied with some roasted flavors after some seconds. Long lasting finish.
Overall a really tasty low alcohol Christmas beer. Even though the body is creamy it’s pretty easy to drink, and I enjoyed it with some almonds and Brazil nuts. I can really recommend this beer as a all-round beer for Christmas. It will probably work well with a lot of the dishes served, with nuts and cakes, or by itself.
Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul
Next up is Underlig Jul (Peculiar Christmas), which is a spiced beer with an ABV of 6.5%. The beer has been brewed with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cilantro and cloves. According to the label the beer is made to shorten the gap between beer and mulled wine. The beer was brewed back in August, so it’s also fairly fresh. I have had this many times before, but never this fresh.
A lovely dark brown/mahogany color with a big beige head. The head leaves some really sticky lacing on the glass.
There is a huge amount of spices in the aroma. I’m picking up cardamom, cloves and ginger. There are hints of coriander/cilantro in the aroma as well.
It’s definitely leaning towards gløgg aroma-wise.
Most of the spices dominate the flavor of the beer as well. There is a nice malty sweetness lurking in the back.
Body is full and the carbonation is slightly sharp.
Long finish with a good amount of ginger and cloves. Some bitterness towards the end.
A really spiced up beer which I have previously enjoyed with some traditional Christimas sweet pastry. The label recommends Goro and Fattigmann which I don’t have around. I had some nuts with this beer as well, which was OK. The name is pretty fitting as the flavors of this beer might feel slightly peculiar for some. Remember to keep an open mind people!
Nøgne Ø God Jul
Now I’m about to have one of my favorite Christmas beers, God Jul. This is a powerful beer with an ABV of 8.5% which suits this time of the year perfectly.
Dark brown pour with a gigantic head. The head does not last very long though, and does not leave much lacing.
I’m actually picking up some hoppy notes up front which is somewhat surprising. There is not much smoke in the flavor as previous version have had. There are also some sweet sirupy aromas coming through.
Smells sweet and powerful.
The flavor is somewhat sweet with hints of maple syrup and caramel. I’m also getting some alcohol. It has a (dark) fruity touch to it as well.
Full body with a good amount of carbonation.
The finish does not last too long and is quite warming. I’m getting some yeasty notes up front and some boozy character after some seconds.
A really full bodied complex beer with a ton of flavor. The sweetness of the beer makes it a sipper, which I tend to like. The high ABV comes through as a nice warming sensation when drinking it, which feels really nice when looking through the window out into the cold rain.
I have some different vintages of this beer in my cellar, and God Jul tends to age really well, so pick up some extra bottles and let them sit in the cellar for a year or more. As with the other beers I enjoyed this beer with some nuts, which was lovely.
Nøgne Ø Special Holiday Ale
The last beer is a collaboration between Nøgne Ø, Jolly Pumpkin and Stone Brewing Co. with an ABV of 8.5%. This beer has been brewed with chestnuts from Michigan, white sage from southern California and juniper berries from Norway.
Dark brown color with some red coming through on the edges of the glass. The head is beige and disappears quickly.
The chestnuts and the juniper berries comes through in the aroma. I’m also getting some hints of liquorice and toffee.
The flavor has much of the same as the aroma. I’m getting something which reminds me of ginger as well.
Full body with a soft carbonation. The combination make the beer feel really creamy and smooth.
Long lasting finish with some lovely spicy notes. There is a hint of alcohol after a few seconds as well.
A big and complex beer that I would love to age for a bit. This and God Jul are my favorites of the lot. This bottle was batch #1023, brewed in the beginning of September this year. I don’t have any of the previous vintages, so perhaps I’ll pick up some extra this year to store in the cellar.
This is perhaps the ones I spent the longest time with as it develops nicely as the temperature rises. The combination of the smooth body of the beer together with the sweetness is also a reason to take it slow.
And that’s that. I hope to pick up some more Christmas beers and perhaps some of them will be reviewed as well. Anyways, cheers, and merry Christmas.
Disclaimer: I received these beers from Nøgne Ø.