The BrewDog guys have been messing up the beer scene again – this time not even on their own turf. They sent a few used whisky barrels across the North Sea to their colleagues in Grimstad, Norway. And it looks like they inspired them to be a bit bold and boasting on their label, too.
The beers used for the first batches of beer from the wood from Nøgne Ø were the Imperial Stout and their Christmas beer God Jul.
God jul is a rich, dark beer at 8.5% alcohol. Coffee, raisins, vanilla, a dry, almost oaky finish. Well balanced, a dark beer for cold evenings.
The God Jul Islay edition is just as black, but with less carbonation. A warning on the label says that this is not for kids:
Please be aware that this is not a subtle beer. If you are unable to appreciate Islay Scotch whiskey (that’s their spelling,, not mine!), then this beer is certainly not for you. 3 months of aging in fresh Islay whiskey barrels did this. Certainly great for whiskey lovers, not necessarily so for those in search of moderation and balance. We love it though.
There is a strong whisky aroma, lots of peat and smoke. Quite similar to the BrewDog Smokehead or the new Mikkeller whisky aged Beer Geek Brunch. And that’s just the nose.
The peaty character is very strong. Some sour smoke too. Almost overwhelming, but not quite. The smoke plays with the beer base, like a layer of paint where the wood is shining through in places and you can feel its structure. It is true that this is not subtle – the finer aspects of the flavour are run over.
A new personal favourite? Hardly. But a very welcome addition to the Nøgne Ø range. It will be very interesting to follow this concept in the years to come, as far as I know there will be new barrels next year. I’ll keep a few bottles to compare. Or, at least, that is my intention.
For some lucky readers there might be a few drops to had at the Pig’s Ear festival in two weeks.