Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout review

Nøgne Ø Imperial StoutOne of the many pleasures of trying different beers is the endless variety of breweries who put out an imperial stout. There is a brewery from Norway that's been getting a lot of media attention lately here in the states that goes by the name of Nøgne Ø. Nøgne Ø is located in Grimstad, Norway which is situated about 175 miles southwest of Oslo along the southeastern coastal tip of the country. One distinctive feature of all of their beers are their colorful labels with a big Ø. Today's brew review covers their Imperial Stout which happens to have a big purple Ø on the label.

This time of year is perfect for drinking rich dark brews. The Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout is a big beer weighing in at a respectable 9% ABV and bittered at 75 IBUs. Those numbers alone should tell you that you're in for quite an experience. Imperial stouts have nearly twice the grains and alcohol in them than regular stouts. Nøgne Ø created this brew with a mix of Maris Otter, Munich, and roasted barley, some oats, black and chocolate malts and hopped it with Columbus and Crystal hops. Then they top fermented it with an English Ale yeast.

Appearance: The beer poured dark as molasses and came with a generous thick dark brown head which stayed around for several minutes. This brew came in a big 500L bottle and had plenty for 2 good sized samplings. This brew will set you back $7.99 or so at your local beer store.

Aroma: Once poured, I let this brew sit out for a bit as I wanted to let it warm up to 50 to 55 degrees before tasting. Immediately as I poured it into my wide-mouthed glass, I could smell a rich bouquet of dark roasted malts with a hint of alcohol bite. There was more chocolate aroma than coffee aroma in this brew. I could see that this stout was decently carbonated as well.

Mouthfeel: Once warmed, I inhaled it's aroma deeply and took a sip. Oooo! This brew seemed to attack my taste buds with a sharpness and carbonation. The bubbles seemed to fizzle all around my tongue. Quite different than most dark stouts that seem not to have much carbonation at all. This brew made my tongue tingle as it journeyed down to my throat.

Taste: The Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout was very rich and full bodied. It had a wonderful dark malty taste with a nice bitterness. It is also a nice warmer as well going down. I could feel a nice glow after a few sips. This one is crisp enough that it doesn't leave an aftertaste. The malts and hops are very well balanced and the high alcohol content doesn't distract from the experience.

The alcohol on the nose became more apparent as this brew warmed. I found myself eager to get to my 2nd glass and finish this bottle. It's nice to have found another terrific example of an imperial stout that is available locally. This makes a delicious after dinner brew. I paired this beer with an Ice Cream Sandwich ice cream and poured little over the top. The brew made the ice cream fizzle as it seemed to attack the ice cream as it did my tongue. It tasted wonderful!

Overall: I'm an instant fan of Nøgne Ø now and am highly recommending their imperial stout to all dark brew lovers. It's worth the extra couple of bucks for this kind of drink. It gets a solid Thumbs Up from me. Anyone else who has tried this also get a tingle on the tongue from this? If so, let me know.

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- Stone Imperial Russian Stout review.
- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast review.

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