Samichlaus Bier is brewed once a year on December 6th, St Nicholas day, at the Eggenberg castle at the edge of the Austrian Alps. It is then aged for 10 months before bottling and distribution.
Samichlaus is an Eisbock and is not just resting quietly during those 10 months. After 10 days in a fermentation vessel it is cold lagered for 3 months. Then it is frozen to remove some of the water, which increases the alcohol to Samichlaus’ record-holding 14% ABV.
Today I’m reviewing a 2009, which has been aging for 4 years.
Samichlaus pours dark, clear red with very little carbonation and no head. It has aromas of dark cherry, sweet candy, raisins, and dried prunes. It tastes sweet, caramel malt, with lots of dark fruit, cherry and alcohol. It’s like a old world, rich fruit cake in a glass. This beer is certainly a sipper. If I didn’t know it was a beer, I might think after tasting it, that it was a brandy liqueur.
When the original brewery discontinued making this beer in 1997 a cry went up from beer lovers around the world. Schloss Eggenberg obtained the rights, original recipe, and original yeast to make Samichlaus. Fears were abated when in 2000 Samichlaus was released again and passed the taste tests of Christmas beers lovers.
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