Arctic Circle Ale - Malmgårdin Panimo

Not Rated.
Arctic Circle AleArctic Circle Ale

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BA SCORE
88
very good

125 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 125
Reviews: 73
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 9.6%
Wants: 26
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Malmgårdin Panimo visit their website
Finland

Style | ABV
Sahti |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 03-03-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 125 | Reviews: 73 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kwjd
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Coronaeus
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of spinrsx
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of polloenfuego
3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer looks good and smells great. Where is let me down was on the taste. While it is a decent beer, it does not taste like any traditional Sahti I have had, and I think that is what I was expecting. My wife is Finnish and every summer I wind up drinking Sahti homebrew. Arctic Circle seems harsh by comparison. Just my two cents worth, it might be a regional thing or local ingredients, but I have not had a Sahti that tastes this bitter.

Photo of Devon_
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I expected more white snow from the Arctic Circle! Once you're done rolling your eyes and I have your attention back, let me seriously point out that the beer does in fact pour with very little head. I should also clarify that what's in the glass is not butterscotch pudding, though it kind of looks it, but actually a traditional Finnish beverage known as Sahti. Unfamiliar with it? So I am.

Having only tried a few prior to this I've little basis for comparison. But this one has a distinct bitterness in the aroma that's not quite like anything else; its special ingredient - juniper twigs - likely has something to do with it. This boldly malty, semi-sweet, semi-smoky bouquet is similar (by no means identical!) to the coastal, 'beach barbecue' smells of a briny, earthy, peaty scotch.

Arctic Circle Ale consists of a nice tapestry of flavours: spicy rye grain, softly bready barley, hints of sooty peat and kettle caramelization, as well as a little bit of citrusy, gin-like character from the juniper. It tastes like raw almonds and fruitcake at its base though heavier, more serious malt and bruised banana flavours usher those notions out along with some help from the alcohol.

Indeed, befitting to its name, Arctic Circle will certainly warm you on a cold night - this 7.3% isn't impolite but does seem the size of a dump truck. On the finish, any previous notions of sweet dried fruits turn immediately stewed. Alcohol doesn't interrupt or deter drinkability - sitting fireside with a heavy blanket, this warmth in fact adds to the enjoyment - but this one is open about its strength.

If this beer sounds different from anything else on the market it's because it is. Arctic Circle Ale is bound to be a true discovery for most people. A real tough one to properly assess without much experience with Sahti, the only opinions I can really share are that I enjoyed it and found it a deeply interesting ale. This one is absolutely worth the adventure and exploration.

Photo of Long813
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of thehyperduck
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Aug 2016. I purposely saved this one for a month or so - as both my first sahti and first Finnish-made beer in general, I figured it would make a great subject for my 800th review. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep, turbid copper-amber colour, topped with over an inch of foamy, light tan-coloured head. Retention is fairly good; it takes more than five minutes to seep away into a bubbly cap and frothy collar, depositing some strands of lace as it recedes. The aroma is malty and herbal, featuring strong notes of caramel, treacle, rye malt and juniper. Banana, prune and maybe even a touch of licorice also come through, with a hint of booziness.

This nifty little brew combines a lot of unique elements into a surprisingly coherent, well-balanced whole. Caramel and syrupy molasses sweetness are featured strongly, with bready, spicy rye malt present in a similar role. It becomes increasingly herbal from thereon in, with plummy dark fruit and banana leading into a hint of chocolate, and finally a leafy, herbal juniper astringency in the finish. Mild suggestions of anise and boozy warmth in the aftertaste, with a lingering juniper, pine-sappy bitterness that fades slowly. Medium-bodied, with low carbonation levels that impart a very smooth, soft feel on the palate. Surprisingly drinkable, given the high abv and strongly sweet/herbal flavour profile. I probably wouldn't want to drink this all night, unless perhaps the furnace breaks during an apocalyptic snowstorm.

Final Grade: 4.08, a solid A-. Huvila Arctic Circle Ale is a stellar herbed beer, though having had no other sahtis I cannot provide much perspective on how it compares to other examples of the style. This brew manages to maintain an ideal balance between syrupy, malty sweetness and the spicy, herbal features imparted by the juniper, English hops and rye malt. Great stuff; worth seeking out if you are at all a fan of traditional herbed beers, gruits, etc.

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

600 ml bottle served cold into a pint glass. Really excited to see a Sahti in the LCBO. Purchased for $5.60 CDN.

Appearance - hazy honey brown color, with an off tan head. A finger and a half of head with nice amounts of sticky lacing left behind eventually due to the great retention. A few visible bubbles, but hard to tell due to the cloudiness.

Smell - very herbal, with some low hanging berries, and a subtle inviting sweet aroma. Some flowery aspects as well. Something akin to molasses in there as well.

Taste - wow quite a it going on here. Starts off with and earthy fruitiness, the juniper shows up here, with some mild bitterness, before the bitterness turns more serious. Transitions into a bit of a smoky flavor, and there's little bits of molasses and toffee interspersed throughout. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - smoothly, lightly carbonated, body is a little heavier than average.

Overall - definitely a different experience than my first with a Sahti, but this is delicious, easy drinking and potent enough to warm you up a bit on a cold winters day.

Photo of evil_liver
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Hoppy_McGee
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of DamoTO700
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of mick303
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured slightly chilled into a tulip glass. A dark coppery brown colour, quite hazy with minimal film but some decent lacing.

S - aroma is very interesting, caramel malts, estery spice, juniper, also a rustic yeasty aspect which compliments the malt. Some floral and heather aspects, really interesting, mulled apple cider.

T - a malty start with a bit of caramel sweetness, a character a bit reminiscent of apple cider with a nice spicy rye body and then a full junipery flavour, caramel malt and honey, earthy bitterness, maintains a bit of spice to the finish. Well accentuated and flavourful.

M - nice moderately big body with a nice resiny spice to it, quite a pleasant juniper character, a light carbonation to it. Very drinkable.

Pleasant and complex. This is my first Sahti and this is a delightful and well made beer. Interesting combination of caramel malt with a touch of juniper resin and flavour, kept in really nice balance, with some rustic yeast characters and fruitiness, apples and mulled peach, a pleasant herbal finish with a bit of a medicinal quality but artfully balanced with the lingering malt. Well-recommended.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

what a special and unique beer, tastes like some of the ones ive had done with birch syrup, but different from any beer on the market. its a deep ruby to caramel color, clearish until the yeast cake at the bottom of the bottle starts to break up and add some sediment to it, not muc light getting through it, viscous, and not much head even as i try to raise it up. where the lack of carbonation is less appealing in looks, it makes the beer in mouthfeel. love the density of it, carrying the pine notes of the juniper and the sweet malt as long as possible, and its heaviness makes it a perfect winter warmer. i really love the malt in this, its so deep and rich, caramel and toffee and butter cream (in a good way). the juniper is less intense than anticipated, especially in the nose, where it only adds a layer rather than dominating, but it does have a sappy element in the feel, which works. smells and tastes like a traditional english ale yeast, and therefore makes it seem just a little like an english barleywine in style. the aftertaste is amazing, and the more i drink this and let it warm up, the more i like it. my first beer from these guys, and one of my first from finland (if not the very first), i would love to travel here and see whats out there in terms of beer. this is so different from anything else, wonderful!

Photo of nullbort
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into nonic pint. "finnish ale brewed with juniper twigs" (to be honest i've never tasted juniper before). best before aug 6, 2016, which is printed at the very top of the bottle's neck. poured on november 16, 2014

a: an opaque, deep caramel colour. a very aggressive pour yields 2.5 fingers of head

s: full of caramel and earthy scents. some fruity aromas like slight grapefruit, figs, and raisins, and a pinch of alcohol

t: starts off with a huge and distinct spicy/herbal-y/earthy quality, which i'm guessing is the juniper flavour, along with strong malty caramel. mid-palate exhibits mild raisin/fig notes, along with a potent punch of a kind of smoky taste, which is quite interesting. the finish (heh) has lingering herbal bitterness, with touches of caramel and smoke

m: medium-ish body and medium-minus carbonation. feels quite thick in the mouth, really nice

o: an intriguing, flavourful beer. give it a shot

Photo of DaPan
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of BGDrock
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: murky, dull brown, like prunce juice; fine, almond coloured head with good retention and stickiness

Aroma: loads of spice - cumin, clove, allspice, with some toffee lying underneath - definitely peaking interest

Taste & Mouthfeel: big, rich toffee flavour aggressively coats the palate, bringing to mind a scotch ale; a whisper of hops cuts the sweetness, and coupled with light spice notes - now almost completely indistinguishable - it leaves a dry, mildly burnt finish, eager for another sip; reading a couple reviews after I did mine, flavours I couldn't quite identify in the finish were likely contributed by the juniper, interesting

Overall: great aroma, big flavour, easy drinking, and not overwhelmingly sweet when it could easily have been - could still treat this like a dessert beer though, it gives a delightful sense of sticky toffee pudding

Photo of Wajohnst
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%

Photo of TerryW
3.54/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Coffee coloured under a moderate head that settles to a full cap. Only spotty lace. Nose is all burned caramel malt, comes across as fairly sweet. Whiff of alcohol. And indeed, sweet to taste, with some sort of interesting funky, smoky thing happening. Good that way, but sweetness means this is just a one off. The smoke/funk is what I'm assuming is the juniper and that makes it kind of an interesting brew despite the sweetness. Noticeable alcohol as you go. Worth a try, but be prepared to find your way past the sugar to see what else is in there.

Photo of Bf_89
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Cramshawbar
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of andrenaline
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of yancot
4/5  rDev +1%

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Arctic Circle Ale from Malmgårdin Panimo
88 out of 100 based on 125 ratings.