Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast review

Mikkeller Beer Geek BreakfastI've heard a lot about this brewer recently and it encouraged me to pick up a bottle of one of their beers. Normally I don't review stouts in the summer time but I felt compelled to open one up the other night and thought - "What the heck! I'll drink a stout in the summer!". Mikkeller is essentially a gypsy brewery from Denmark. What makes this a gypsy brewery is that they go around to various other breweries and make batches of their beer remotely. So while the brewers are based in Denmark, their beers can be literally made from anywhere. Today's beer review is one of their many stouts and is called: Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast.

Now let me tell you right up front, despite the fact that I call myself a Beer Geek I draw the line when it comes to drinking alcohol early in the morning. Breakfast beverage or not, this oatmeal stout blended with coffee weighs in at 7.5% ABV and comes in a 16.9oz (500ml) bottle and would get you a tad tipsy in the morning. I chose instead to imbibe in the early evening during my normal tasting time.

This particular beer was brewed not in Denmark but in Norway at Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norge. I already know how good Nøgne Ø beer is but how would a guest beer from that brewery taste? I was eager to find out for myself.

Appearance: The bottle opened up with a loud hiss when de-capped. As I poured this beer into my English pint glass a towering head quickly built up, and I mean BUILT WAY UP! Despite trying to pour this beer very carefully, there built up a head that was 4 to 5 fingers tall. Wow. That's a big dark tan head that just wouldn't quit. The foam stuck around for a very long time. I had to let the beer settle for about 10 minutes before I could drink it. I took a 2nd picture below to show you how it looked when I could finally fill up the glass.

Beer Geek BreakfastBeer Geek Breakfast pours extremely dark. One of the darkest beers I've seen. It's thick and viscous looking and reminds you of molasses (or motor oil). Kinda like Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy.

Aroma: The aroma is very powerful. My nose was filled with the smell of black licorice, roasted dark malts, dark fruit, coffee (of course) and a slight whiff of alcohol. This isn't an imperial stout but it's darn close. I could also pick out the scent of their Centennial and Cascade hops in this brew. I don't normally smell hops in a stout but I could in this beer.

Taste: As I took the first sip I was slightly surprised at the bitterness and dryness of this beer. It was thick and chewy yet smooth. I knew this would be a big beer and could possibly be a bit over the top for a "breakfast beer".

Coffee initially dominates the first part of the tasting. There is such a strong sense of coffee I almost felt like adding some cream and sugar to it. Yes, it does remind me of coffee. It's rich and malty and has the added taste of bitter chocolate and black licorice. It's creamy though.

After a few sips the bitterness mellows out and it becomes a much smoother drinker. I've had sweeter stouts than this but it's a very distinguishable beer. The gourmet coffee really changes this brew.

I'd be very tempted to pair this stout with either cinnamon toast or perhaps a thick cinnamon sweet roll that's covered with white frosting. Only then would I consider this to be a good breakfast beer. It shouts to be paired with something sweet. Ice cream also comes to mind. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of those food items handy for this evening's sampling.

The beer gave me a nice warm glow. In a 71 degree room the beer nearly broke me out in a sweat. I'd prefer to drink this beer in cooler conditions. The beer itself was only slightly cooled and was about 15 degrees lower than room temperature. Perhaps it would taste a bit better colder, say around 50 degrees.

Overall: Mikkeller makes one impressive stout. It was a very good drink. The only downside for me was the fact that I'm not a coffee drinker and the amount of coffee flavor in this beer was a bit too much for my liking. Still, I had no problem drinking it down and would recommend it to anyone who loves stouts and especially coffee. I'll give this beer a decent Thumbs Up and would drink this again sometime this fall or winter.

Related articles:
- Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout review.
- Youngs Double Chocolate Stout review.
- Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale review.
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review.
- Goose Island Bourbon County Stout review.

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