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Arctic Circle Ale - Malmgårdin Panimo

Not Rated.
Arctic Circle AleArctic Circle Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

134 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 134
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 9.9%
Wants: 28
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Malmgårdin Panimo visit their website
Finland

Style | ABV
Sahti |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 03-03-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 134 | Reviews: 75
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.77/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottle: Poured a clear brown color ale with a medium size off-white head with OK retention. Aroma of roasted malt is mostly dominant with some vague spice notes. Taste is dominated by roasted malt notes with light dry caramel and some distant spices notes. Body is light with medium carbonation. I thought this was short on character and not something I would seek again.

Photo of ssmack
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky dark brown with copper highlights. Half inch of mixed beige head but I had to pour hard to get it. Fine carbonation at the surface. Some lacing but no retention.

I can smell the juniper. Brown sugar and roasted grain. Delicious.

Wow. Tons of taste. The juniper works very well with hops. Roasted grain forward with juniper at the edge of the palette which lingers withe the hop bitter aftertaste.

Medium feel with no carbonation. Warmth from alcohol.

A very pleasant surprise for me. I will search this one out again. Great winter ales.

Photo of polloenfuego
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
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 biegaman
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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 thehyperduck
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
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: 4.07, 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 +0.5%
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 mick303
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
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 kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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 BGDrock
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%

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 TerryW
3.51/5  rDev -10.9%
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 rudzud
2.93/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to JLindros for sharing

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a dark dark murky brown hue with a thin head that faded to leave a really thin halo. 3.25

S - Aromas of well, incredibly bland. No berries, no sahati notes. Incredibly bland and vegetative. Hmm... 2.75

T - Taste is rather mediocre, very sweet, lightly sticky, light rye and darker malts. Thin, no real juniper, faint caramel. Ehhh 3.25

M - Mouthfeel is thin and watery, very bland. 2.25

O - Overall this beer was a big confusing mess. Really rough. 2.75

Serving Type: Bottle

Photo of jlindros
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light fizzy small head, dark murky mud cola brown color.

Nose oxidation, weird herbal spice note, sweet candy and molasses like, little dark fruits, husky straw malt, little caramel, etc, raw bread and dark rye, lots of fermenting bread, mild raisin. Later mild medicinal juniper.

Taste semi sweet, thick and syrupy, candy molasses, chewy, mild sugar cane stalk husky like, raisiny as well, mild baking spices, candy, little bitter juniper and twig like. Finish semi sweet, mild baking spices, sweet molasses and syrupy notes lingering, etc.

Mouth is med bod, Syrupy light carb.

Overall meh, not a big fan of the style and this is meh even for the style.

Photo of simont1
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very different bitterness on this one, very different ale in general, I guess it’s a Sahti. Rye is nice, very nice mouthfeel, a bit fruity feel to it, quite a bit bitterness, but nicely balanced, and the malt gives very interesting new flavors that I don’t really resemble with "beer" or classic malt, but soy, maybe butterscotch, and some leather feel to it, taste is really full...

Photo of tanarm
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sort of a haze to it. Dark Brown in color. Bone white head fades quickly. Seems aged.

Aroma is woody, dusty, earthy right away. Tart fruitiness lingers in the background. Not sure about this...

Taste is nice, very complex. Earthy, woody flavor gives way to the fruitiness. Dried fruit, raisins, cranberry, with a touch of candy sweetness. Dried cherries. Oak. Finish is dry enough. Slight toffee, caramel. Some alcohol comes through. Juniper is there throughout it all, but not so its distracting. Dry, chalky, almost tannic in finish.

Carbonation is medium low. Good for style. Medium bodied.

Overall a really tasty, balanced, well made beer, very unique. I'm glad to have tried it. This will never be the most popular of styles but I think it has its place on a cold day when you want something besides a barleywine.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish body, some red tint, with voluminous head and lace and contains an aroma of some sweet malts, pick up a little rye in there, sweetness is caramel/toffee variety, along with touch of citric hops and that floral, spicy juniper smell is noticeable. Light, easy to drink body, as I get some of the rye which helps smooth it out and gives off a touch of bread and there is some sweet caramel and toffee as well. The juniper is noticeable and adds a snap to finish but the balance is there and nothing is overpowering. A very pleasant beer that warmed up ever so slightly as I "nursed" it.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a half-litre bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice.

A: Clearish, with no head. Red-orange.

S: It smells...like spicy dirt? Herbal, grassy(?), gentian root, pine bark, fruit (pears and strawberry), and perhaps...yeast? It's complicated and strange, but pleasant. I imagine this is mostly the juniper?

T: Huh. It's okay, I guess. The history makes it more interesting than it is. It's a flattish, blandish beer, with a definite herbal note that is pleasant but not overpowering. The finish has a surprising amount of bitterness, but the yeast tastes stale and dead.

M: Unremarkable.

O: I'm definitely glad I tried this, and would suggest you do the same, but I will probably not be seeking it out in the future. Still pretty cool!

Photo of kylehay2004
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No head on a murky brown with golden hues body. Aroma of dark fruit, mostly fig, red apple, raisin and plum with some caramel and candy sugar as well. Flavors are a little bittersweet with more dark fruit initially including sour cherry, fig and raisin with a toffee, chocolate and caramel finish which is more bitter and sharp/tart than sweet. The base is bready throughout. Light to moderate carbonation with a relatively thick body that coats the mouth. Nice to try one of this genre from the area for which it is known. Well balanced and becomes more drinkable as its enjoyed.

Photo of nickfl
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours with a small head of white foam on top of a lightly hazy, amber-brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves only traces of lace.

S - Fruity notes of cherries and juniper with a bit of bready malt.

T - A very brown, bready malt profile up front with some juniper in the middle. Finishes with a distinct, rye bread flavor and lots of lingering juniper mustiness.

M - A fairly thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - A big, heavy, malty beer that is bready and rustic in the way that you would expect a sahti to be. Not something I would drink every day, but well worth trying if you come across it.

Photo of Resuin
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 50 cl bottle into a Chimay Chalice.

Appearance: Pours a muddy-copper color and doesn't leave a head. Not a particularly "attractive" beer, but let's see how it smells.

Smell: Caramel and malts up front, also has a smoky characteristic to it.

Taste: Caramel and malts again, a bit of juniper in there as an afterthought that actually helps lift this one up a bit. As it warmed up in my glass, the flavors became more pronounced and this definitely improved it.

Mouth-feel: A little watery, but not too dramatic. Not very carbonated for a beer with a body this light for the style and ABV.

Overall: Although this is different than I expected after reading the description on the bottle, I now see what they meant. The juniper was extremely subtle, but I definitely see why this a "winter ale". A malty brew with a fairly light body, this beer delivers what it promises, I just wish the juniper was a bit more pronounced.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch tan head that sticks around a little while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is rich and malty, the brew smells like caramel malt, dark bread, herbs, and some dark fruit. The herbal and caramel flavors are strong in this brew. It also tastes like nuts, dark bread, and some dark fruit. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's syrupy and slick with low/moderate carbonation. I think this is a good brew, I liked it! $8.99 a bottle, I think it's worth trying at that price.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From: Wally's Wines, Los Angeles, CA
Date: None
Glass: Tulip

This was a sampling of my first sahti, had little in the way of expectation as I've never had the style before. Very rich and malty, quite caramel-laden, very little hop presence and the juniper (at least in this bottle) is subdued and in the background. Overall, I suppose I would have appreciated the juniper being a bit more noticeable in both taste and smell, as this would have differentiated the beer and the style from a bock or imperial brown ale. This is highly drinkable, but perhaps not something I'd spend $7 for a bottle of again, given that no dating is present and little reference to work with.

Pours a 1.5cm head of light tan foam, composed of small to medium bubbles, with average retention. Fades to a thick ring around the glass with modest lacing (a few large spots here and there). Body is a dark brown with reddish hues, opaque, with light bringing out lighter orange-red tints amidst the general brown backdrop.

Aroma of caramel, syrupy malts, richly roasted nuts. Seems to be missing the juniper, or it has dissipated with age (of course, I'm not sure how old this bottle actualy is). Rather doppelbock-like, when considering the caramel, malt intensity, and vague nuttiness of it all. This smells just fine, but I'm not sure if it's indicative of a quality, fresh sahti or not.

Overall, flavors are rich, malty, with slight hints of juniper and woodsy resin. Tasting opens with caramel sweetness that features slight chocolate as well. Mid-palate experiences rich caramel malts with modest juniper-like pine flavors. Back of palate continues the hearty caramel malts, but also some tanginess and bitterness, possibly from the juniper or ethanol, which can also be lightly detected. Aftertaste of caramel malts mixed with light juniper berry/twig flavors and subtle bitterness.

Beer's body is medium-heavy to heavy bodied, with medium-low carbonation, the result being a mouthfeel that is exceptionally smooth and full. Does not close dry, but there is a bit of stickiness across the palate and lips.

Photo of russpowell
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a crimson head mahogany with a sliver of tan head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Figs, cinnamon, & peppery notes

T: Dark fruit, some medicinal notes, & dryness up front. Leafy hops, raisins & more dryness as this warms. Finishes with woody hops, figs & dryness, just a bit of medicinal twang...

MF: Medium bodied, near zero carbonation

This is alright, the juniper is fairly muted. Had way better & (fresher?) American versions for much cheaper

Photo of RuckusDu
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - crazy bubble action. Only about a half finger of head. Large light beige bubbles. Body is rootbeer brown.

S - nice caramel, some other sweetness, and a hint of chocolate.

T - not quite as sweet as the aroma. Some good light hops beaks it up. Chocolate and caramel dominate.

M - god carbonation and body. Only slightly buttery.

O - pretty good but nothing to fly to Finland for. It is refreshing and simple.

Photo of jrenihan
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is dark brown with small, off-white head that dissipates to a film quickly.

Scent consist of floral and herbal notes. Juniper, something that I cannot place that is somewhat minty?

Taste is malt, caramel, herbs of some sort, juniper. Very 'natural' flavours. Not bad but not really my thing.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Light for the ABV.

Overall? I have zero experience with the style. My first Sahti. I think it is OK as a beer, no real idea how it rates as a sahti.

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Arctic Circle Ale from Malmgårdin Panimo
88 out of 100 based on 134 ratings.