Ducato Krampus

Reviewed by on December 2, 2013 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Birrificio Del Ducato

  • Origin: Italy

  • Rated On: November 29, 2012

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 9.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: between cold and cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

This seasonal offering comes to us in a 750ml squat sparkling Champagne-esque bottle. Strange devil/saint dualism imagery on the front label. How is this Christmas/Holiday-related, you might be wondering? Well, the back label, in Italian, tells the story of the European alpine region legend of a demonic anti-Santa character (the Krampus), who roams the streets on Dec 5, and frightens the local children, making severe judgement for punishment on the naughty of the bunch, in advance of San Nicola’s (ol’ Saint Nick) arrival. A very Dr. Seuss meets Grimm’s fairly tales cultural meme.

This beer pours a hazy dark orange-tinted amber hue, with two vibrant fingers of foamy, crackling pale beige head, which leaves little in the way of lace as it steadily sinks away. It smells of mildly tart cherry and lemon zest, wet earth, sweet, somewhat sugary caramel malt, and muddled winter spice. A fairly wintry aroma, to be sure.

The taste is subtle caramel malt, some dried black fruit, a bit of candy sugar, funky yeast, a weird, but not unpleasant, root-like sourness, and waning warm spices, which, when combined with the wine-like masked alcohol, produces strong mulled-wine leanings. The carbonation is average, if very slightly prickly, the body an airy medium weight, and smooth with a mild clingy, filmy caveat. It finishes fairly off-dry, divided equally between grain and refined sugar, kept agreeably in check by an ethereally drying combination of essentially hidden booze and wraith-like spice.

One strange beast, this, so quite apt for the story accompanying it. The individual flavours, when extracted and analyzed, sure don’t seem all that enticing. However, working together, they all make for an approachable, even easy-drinking Belgian-style pale ale – strong, and well worthy of San Nicola’s, as opposed to the Krampus’, attention.

Brady White



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