Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew

Reviewed by on January 21, 2014 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Nøgne Ø

  • Origin: Norway

  • Rated On: December 7, 2012

  • Best Before: Jan 12, 2022

  • ABV: 11.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: between cold and cellar temperature

  • Style: American Barleywine

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

A 500ml bottle, a beer brewed in Norway to mark the ‘turning of the sun’ on the winter solstice, December 21st. I do like the sage-appearing Inuit/Laplander with the old-school futuristic shades depicted on the label.

This beer pours a murky, dark reddish brown colour, with one finger of dense, tight foamy beige head, which leaves a solid, uninterrupted mesa profile of lace around the glass as it evenly subsides. It smells of somewhat acrid smoked malt, fruity and a tad medicinal at the same time, which is a bit of a surprise to the ol’ olfactory senses, lemme tell ya – not much else is initially perceptible beyond that. The taste is more of the same meaty smoke character, thankfully blended into a heavy caramel/toffee malt, with some singed field berries and bitter leafy hops grinning and bearing it.

The bubbles are probably as dazed as I am, and do their best to show it by staying low and out of the way, the body rendering the first normal experience in terms of a decently hefty medium weight, and an inexplicably discordant overall smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, the struggling malt carry the day in the face of the medicinal smokiness. All else is seemingly frittered away in the fray.

As I was initially distracted by the folksy solstice brewing info, I didn’t actually read the ingredients before jumping into this. Turns out it wouldn’t have mattered – there’s nothing there that would indicate the head-on collision one should expect here – should it not be a given that one must indicate the sea-side smoking (i.e, the Islay-fication) of your malt-based inputs? Anyway, take a generally agreeable hefty barleywine, toss in on the BBQ with the catch of the day, and see what transpires, I guess. It does settle down about halfway through (yeah, I persevered, for truth and, well, ego, mostly), with the obviously well-obfuscated 22-proof alcohol eventually tending my wounds. A nice gift idea, maybe, for the Scotch aficionado on your list.

Brady White



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