Christmas has come and gone but I’ve still got a few Christmas/Winter beers in the cupboard. and the weather is turning colder, so I’m well prepared.
I waited until Christmas Eve to open the first seasonal beer this year; what better choice to start with than Stille Nacht (Silent Night), probably the most famous carol throughout the world.
The Dolle Brouwers have produced Stille Nacht every year since 2000. They claim it ages very well and suggest that it be kept so that comparisons can be made. Their advice is to mark the bottle cap with the year; good advice as my bottle didn’t have a best before date and didn’t look as if it was supposed to have had one! For the record it was bought last year so I am assuming (they don’t hang around long on the retail shelves) it was bottled in 2014.
With Bing Crosby singing Silent Night in the background I opened the bottle and settled down to enjoy the start of the Festive Season.
In contrast to most strong (Stille Nacht has 12% alc. vol.) Christmas Ales this beer is not dark; it poured a cloudy gold/orange with a small head. The leading aroma is the sweet malt. Fruit is there in an over ripe alcoholic punch style; peach and apricot come out a little. An earthy, leathery phenol brought a slight disharmony but that quickly mellowed.
The taste is big, almost bombastic and centred immediately around the fruit and alcohol. Orange seemed to dominate the fruit giving a Cointreau or Grand Marnier feel. Not to be outdone the malt rushes up to join in the fun and remind me that this is a beer. The sweetness would be way over the top for me if it wasn’t for the bitterness that helps to hold it in check.
I would have expected some spiciness and the other fruits to develop as the beer warmed but the above trio proved too overpowering. The follow through is mostly sweet with warming alcohol. Overall I found the beer too thick and heavy and not as well balanced and complex as many dark strong ales. I preferred their weaker Oer Bier (9%) and Mad Bitch (10%).
Happy New Year Beer Drinking!