Eggenberg Samichlaus (Santa Claus) Classic is my mainstay Christmas day beer. You can read the full story behind this record-setting 14% ABV lager here. It’s brewed in Austria only one day a year, on December 6th. Then aged for 10 months, during which time it is cold lagered and frozen to boost the flavor and alcohol.
I’m opening a 2009 today, making this bottle 6 years old since bottling, and 7 since brewing.
Samichlaus pours mahogany with little carbonation. The aroma is dark cherries, vanilla, dried pitted fruit and sweet malts. When I tasted a bottle of 2009 last year, I found it too syrupy sweet. That happens sometimes with aging. Another direction aging will take beer is toward sherry or port, thinner, not so boozy, and sweet. I taste that with this bottle.
The yeast esters have brought out flavors of raisins, dates, and dried figs. And the yeast phenols have produced leather and vanilla notes, particularly on the long finish.
Samichlaus Classic is fairly easy to find. I buy one each year to put in the cellar rotation. Cheers!