Samichlaus Classic

Reviewed by on November 26, 2014 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

  • Origin: Vorchdorf, Austria

  • Rated On: November 25, 2014

  • Best Before: November 2018

  • ABV: 14%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Doppelbock

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Samichlaus (Santa Claus in English) is produced once a year, on December 6, and then aged for 10 months, to be released the following winter.  It is made in the style of a very strong doppelbock, and was once considered the strongest beer in the world.  Since surpassed, they have resorted to calling it ‘the world’s most extraordinary beverage’ on the label, which is otherwise full of silver and sepia tones – looks quite cold and, well, Teutonic. Ho ho ho.

This 330ml bottle (2013 edition) pours a clear, bright medium orange brick amber colour, with a thin cap of bubbly beige head, which strangely takes a while to disappear, leaving no lacing whatsoever.

It smells of rather sweet fruity malt – raisins and prunes, mostly – warm toffee, mild earthy, leafy hops, and a subdued, but bristling alcohol heat. The taste is big and warm, the caramel/toffee sweetness meshing well enough with the phenolic palate hostage-taker that such a big ABV can be, with an aged dark fruit, earthy, woody maple sap, and resinous character pushing through the mire, providing barleywine/red vinous parallels in spades. The carbonation is quite subtle, and hardly noticeable at times, the body a big and beefy, stick to your ribs kind of medium-full weight, with a smoothness that is actually patently remarkable – there is no obvious alcohol edge. Oh yeah. It finishes warm and sweet, the malt and black fruitiness lingering all the way down the rabbit hole.

A lovely sipper, methinks it would soar with a nice cigar. As for the Santa Claus theme, as well-structured and tasty a strong beer this is, I don’t know that ol’ Saint Nick would do well to have one of these with the requisite cookies (leaving the milk for the kiddies in the morning), and possibly be cited for an SUI (Sleighing Under the Influence).  This is ideally saved for the easy chair and roaring fire – and may duly provide visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.

Brady White

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