Saturday, 2 January 2010
De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht 2008
Inspired by this post by Andy at Beer Reviews, I cracked open a bottle of Stille Nacht 2008 last night as a nightcap. I know - a magnum of La Chouffe and a bottle of Stille Nacht all in one day. I did actually share the La Chouffe, but still - don't tell the government.
It seems a bit perverse to pick on a beer recommended by a brewer, as opposed to one of Mikkel Borg Bjergso's own creations. In fact, coincidentally, the good lady and I shared some of Mikkeller's Single Hop series the other evening, courtesy of beermerchants.com (in fact, for the sake of transparency, I'll mention they were a gift). The Nelson Sauvin was the stand-out beer for us both, having just the right amont of sweet hop fruitiness (lots of passion fruit character) to offset the big, chewy bitterness. But when a man who brews beer that really rocks your world, and he cites Stille Nacht as a beer that he wishes he's brewed (and even says "oh yeah" about the 2008 vintage which he just drank), well, my interest was pricked.
Stille Nacht is De Dolle Brouwers' christmas beer. It's unusual for a seasonal winter beer in that it's quite pale, but also typical in that the alcohol is high (12% abv). It has a lot of dense, fruity malt (apricots and peaches), but the fruit is kept well in check with a big peppery hop character. There's a bit of cognac and alcohol burn in the finish. It's a big beer, very good as a nightcap (because you'll be wanting a nap shortly after finishing it).
It's a good beer, but for me, there is a little bit too much going on - all the elements are crammed in and holding a riot on the palate, rather than a nice synchronised line dance. I'm not one for hoarding or cellaring, but this definitely needs a couple of years to settle down. Then perhaps it will elicit a Barry-White-esque "oooh, yeah" from me too.