Arctic Circle Ale - Malmgårdin Panimo

Not Rated.
Arctic Circle AleArctic Circle Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

76 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 76
Hads: 137
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 12.98%
Wants: 30
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Malmgårdin Panimo visit their website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 76 | Hads: 137
Photo of WastingFreetime
4.67/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a dark brown color with reddish highlights, and a light tan two finger head that has fairly nice retention and lacing. Smells of a dark fruit mixture on top of a spicy rye malt and some aroma of dry campfire wood. Flavor is gin-like from the juniper twigs at first and morphs into an earthy noble hop-spiced rye note that sweetens up in the finish to more of a standard caramel malt profile (the rye falls away from the barley), albeit with tannic and gin accents throughout. Luscious smooth and heavy mouthfeel, lightly carbonated. Truly an excellent Sahti, remarkable for being so dark and rich compared to other Sahtis I've had. This one is a must-try if you can locate a bottle.

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Photo of Duff27
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Half inch, off-white bubbly head. Beer is a brown color. Relatively well kept head retention, good lacing.

S- Brown sugar smelling. Some cola aspects.

T- Very sweet and flavorful. Juniper, spices...dark syrup notes.

M- Well carbonated, crisp on the tongue. Medium mouthfeel, slightly syrupy.

D/O- Rated to style. After trying Arctic Circle Ale, it's no wonder it's (currently) the number one rated sahti in the world. This was my only "want" on BA for the longest time and I just stumbled upon it at a Binny's last weekend!

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Photo of drpimento
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Different than I expected and much different than another juniper beer I've had. This one reminds me of a softer easier chewy porter or stout. Poured with a fine light tan head that settles down to a thin cover and some lace. Color is a a cloudy brown with dark amber highlights. Aroma is very malty with hints of rye fruit roasty and the juniper. Flavor is the same but with lots more going on. Roast comes out more. Very well balanced. Texture is like I said, chewy and full with great carbonation. Nice finish. Session.

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Photo of mj001jk
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a thin hazel-colored foam.

Aromas are reminiscent of some Belgian ales from the past, sweet molasses, spicy wood and herbs with red apple sauce dominating the olfactory sense. Very appealing...

Initial mouthfeel is fresh and lively, dry yet satisfyingly rich in flavors. Again, a slightly sour Flanders red ale comes to mind when comparing this to anything I've had before. An incense-like tannic sensation on top of a minor alcohol burn on the finish reveals the juniper clearly, but not in any intrusive way.

Everything is balanced perfectly for me and it goes down way too smooth considering the 7.9% ABV.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle, served up at scandanavian tasting at brasserie v

appearance: served in a belgian chalice - bright tangerine body, light bubbly beige ring

smell: toffee, caramel, fresh juniper berries, woody, adequately hopped

taste: very interesting beer - the juniper twigs add a nice twist, dark rye malt, woody, bready, honey, apple peel.

mouthfeel: medium body, abv comes through right about at the listed level

drinkability: good

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Photo of DaveHS
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep burgundy, with almost no head. Leaves thin, soapy Belgian lace.

S: Light, grassy hops, light boozy notes, and typical English barleywine maltiness. Very light juniper aroma.

T: Surprising. I expected the juniper to completely dominate the character, as it often does in Scandinavian herbal beers. Actually, the juniper flavor is subdued, just one component of a pleasant, slightly hoppy back palate. Delicate barley and rye malt sweetness. A touch of banana bread.

M: Medium-bodied. Soft at first, with a slightly dry finish.

D: Very drinkable. If it weren't $11 a bottle, it would be part of my regular rotation.

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Photo of berserker256
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown color and a massive dense light tan head that lasts. Light does not pass through this beer. Sweet and peppery smell. Carmel, molasses, rye, and spicey pepper (I would bet from the Juniper) are the most notable scents that I detect. Very smooth texture and nice low carbonation. Great blend of bitter spice to counteract the sweetness. Taste very much reflects the aroma. I've had these types of beers before when they were too sweet and syrupy and this beer does an excellent job of avoiding those characteristics. A little alcohol warmth is present after it goes down the throat. Very good beer. Significantly better than the last Suomi beer I had.

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Photo of crossovert
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle with white plastic.

It pours a lot nicer than the other Finnish sahti, Kataja, that I have had. It is a deep reddish brown with a big off-white head. The head sticks around for a bit and it recedes with some nice lacing.

The smell is a lot like a Munich dunkel, different form other sahti's I have had. It has a nice chocolatey dark malt presence. The juniper is there as well.

The taste is a little bit similar to the other sahti's, but again it reminds me a ton of a Munich dunkel. It ahs that immense drinkability to it, though it is 7.3%. There is an underlying bitterness, perhaps form the juniper twigs that is welcome. There is so much chocolate and caramel in there that just tastes really great, like a northwoods imperial Munich dunkel.

If you can find this try it, it is awesome.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been hunting for this one for a few months now - glad to see one during Winter (even if it is nearly 80F here in Los Angeles). Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Body is a hazy sienna topped by three fingers of unstable rocky buff foam which recdes to a half finger with decent lacing and a faint sheen of legs.

The juniper is up-front initially when you open the bottle. After the beer settles a bit in the glass subsequent whiffs bring on more nuance with a delicate presence of hops. A light malt scent merges with a weak tea aroma to round out the nose. No spices, yeast, or alcohol is noted.

Very woodsy palate entry - herbaceous and earthy, like a pine heavy IPA except this is a Juniper forest. Some caramel and toasted malt. Mellow fruit with a dab of honey blends with the malt which leads into a very mild bitterness, cleaning up the finish. The aftertaste is surprisingly roasty. The water seems notably pure, when combined with the juniper, it brings to mind a clear mountain stream.

Medium-light bodied, with excellent carbonation.

All in all a unique concoction that has elements of some American Amber ales as well as some components of an English Bitter - all filtered through a Finnish prism. Subtle but worth seeking out.

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Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is cloudy reddish brown in color and poured with a finger high dense off white head that slowly died down and never completely faded away. A slight amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are aromas of caramel, malty sweetness and toffee in the nose along with notes of juniper.
T: The juniper stands out but these are well incorporated into the overall taste, which also seems to have a bit of spicy and woody flavors in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very drinkable for the style because the juniper flavors do not overwhelm the palate.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Brewery flute glass. Pours a medium to dark ruddy orange amber, a half finger off-white head the slowly dissipates into a thick ring around the glass, leaving lacing. Nice aroma of caramel malt and dark fruit, reminiscent of a barleywine. Interesting mellow flavor of caramel malt, a light sharp sourness from the rye and a earthy, piney flavor from the juniper. Finishes with resiny juniper bitterness and residual caramel malt. Somewhat subdued flavor, but very pleasant and interesting. Medium to full bodied. A very nice sahti and one I hope to try again.

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Photo of popery
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet, malty and spicy with a tinge of juniper. I really like juniper and Sahti, so I just wish that there was a stronger juniper character if anything. The beer pours a purplish brown, translucent but quite dark, with a creamy off-white head. The aroma is spicy and malty with notes of hops and juniper. It's more along the lines of an English Strong Ale with a bit of holiday spice. The malt has a really nice flavor, like a good barleywine. There are fruit notes, raspberries and plums, mixed with brown sugar and rum. The juniper is light and woody. The hops (or maybe it's just bitterness from the juniper twigs) are relatively strong. There's a fair bite in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is full and round. A very enjoyable little nightcap.

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Photo of peabody
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out dark brown with two fingers of slightly tanned suds. Some lacing.
Grass and hops with an alcohol raisin and caramel finish.
Taste is kinda coffee like. I get a fig and sweet caramel with some bitterness/blackness at the very end. The alcohol does come through a little after the flavors leave the palate.
Mouthfeel is very good. You get this bitterness then the boozey feel then it all goes away in an instant. This is a cool beer.
Drinkability is good here too. Even though this is a 7.3%er, it has a great finish and makes you want more right away.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost appearing to have a bit of a garnet glow. Head is creamy, light tan, and full of bubbles... the beer itself had a nice little shimmering of bubbles on first pour, as well.

S: Sugary sweet, caramel aromas. Quite rich malts, and a touch of a chocolate scent - it's modest and almost a passing thought, really.

T: A little more of a toffee flavour than caramel, somewhat bready... dark breads, which would suggest the rye malts coming through. The juniper twigs don't offer a lot of 'juniper taste,' but rather give it a slightly woody taste.

M + D: A nice, full body... it's even a bit chewy. It has a bit of a thick feel going down, which is slightly exaggerated by a soft warming of alcohol. An interesting brew, though I can't quite place it into a specific style category.

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Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The head is a very thin head when I first poured but when i emptied the rest of the bottle into the glass I got a nice rich and thick head that was light yellowish brown in color. The head lingers for quite a bit which is nice. The body of the beer is kind of hard to describe but it has a dark opaque rosy brown color to it.

Smell: Plum and raisin are the major characters I smell at first with hints of lingering earthiness and a little bit of heat.

Taste: The juniper twigs are very pronounced on the palette with earthiness and bitterness up front and a nice lingering malty sweetness with a hint of juniper. A well balanced flavor profile for the ingredients.

Mouthfeel: A very smooth mouthfeel with hardly any palpable carbonation except for a last minute bite to the tip of the tongue.

This is my first Sahti style ale but it was quite enjoyable. The flavor profiles described in the style guidelines seem to be all present in this ale. I would have like the juniper to come out a little more but other than that this beer was really good.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Suddenly builds a big, light-beige, frothy head that drops to a creamy half inch. The ale is a dark maroon with light cloudiness and a dense, almost syrupy film. Modest lacing.

Interesting range of aromas from gin to mint. There is a slight maltiness which is difficult to describe, but appealing.

Overly sweet with malts displaying molasses and some earthiness. Pine or spruce is light and there is barely any distinguishable finish. Fig flavors come out as this one warms.

Arctic Circle has a full to medium body with a smooth, almost velvety texture, light alcohol and light carbonation.

Easy to consume from a pint glass. This worked well as a sipper and equally well with a steak.

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Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, poured into tulip glass:

Pours dark brown with a fluffy/bubbly tan head that holds up well and leaves a thin sheet of lacing.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with woody, minty notes. Quite robust and wintery!

The taste is of sweet mollases, caramel/toffee and brown sugar. Sweetness balanced by a woody, minty character that give it a dryness in the long finish.

It's creamy and hits full-bodied.

Unique and delicious, it's a malty winter warmer with a Sahti spicing influence. A great "sipper" to have on hand in the winter. Abv shows just enough to give it a warming touch that is welcomed. Look for this one for a winter treat!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at West Lakeview Liquors. Served in a Surly pint glass. No freshness date, but without hops this doesn't worry me.

A - Small tan foam settles to a near-complete cap and thin collar of bubbles. Negligible lacing. Body is a hazy cola brown color with some ruby highlights.

S - Smells very sweet - plenty of caramel, lightly burnt sugars, and berry flavors. There's some dough and cake character present too, as well as a hint of chocolate and rye malt. Medicinal notes are quite understated, with juniper well in the periphery. Quite barleywine-esque.

T - Taste is less sweet, with more burnt malt and wood character. Also loses much of the depth found in the aroma. I don't get a ton of juniper - this mostly tastes like a barleywine with rye. The bitterness in the finish is a bit more medicinal than hoppy, so I guess that's what makes this a Sahti.

M - Some alcohol warmth that seems a bit excessive for only 7.3% - is this a "winter warmer"? Chewy and viscous full body. Active but soft carbonation. Sticky and lightly tannic in the finish. Drinks like a much bigger beer.

D - It seems like every "Sahti" I have is quite different, and this one is no exception. Quite enjoyable, although the 500ml bottle would probably be best split between two people. If you like rye-wines give this one a shot. I appreciate the delicate touch with the juniper too.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a jet brown body that is very dense with some sticky light tan foam and some microbubble in slow motion trailing up the sides of the glass.
S- The dark dry toffee smell has some gentle roasted malt notes and a spicy peppery cola note in the finish.
T- The soft caramel dark flavors have a slight roasted quality to them with a soft spun sugar note in the background. There is a nice pepper note in the finish with a soft pine flavor that is not hoppy.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- The nice caramel flavor taste like the wort had a long boil with some nice spice finish that is not hoppy but balances the sweetness nicely.

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Photo of 100floods
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a creamy brown with a tan head that turns into lace. Rich yeast, herbal aroma. Very close to a Belgian brown ale, sweet, a little gummy. The juniper twigs come through nicely as well. Very pleasant aroma. Pretty full body, very smooth. The juniper twigs really come through in the flavor, but it's definitely not a bad thing. It's almost a nice replacement of the hops, which you can hardly taste. There's a noticeable sour taste, but it comes second to the juniper as if to compliment it, very nice. It almost create its own herbal bitterness. This beer is nice because it's not a Belgian beer, but has elements of one. I definitely like this brew a lot. The Scandinavians definitely have a way with herbal drinks. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of BGDrock
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

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

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

50 cL bottle,

A: Pours burnt sienna with a creamy, rocky soft white head, leaves abundant lace.

S: Juniper is in the background, the beer smells very malty and is a bit boozy which scares me a little, but it seems to be in a good balance with the malt here. Fragrant.

T: The rye malt is prominent adding a spicy bready component (reminds me a bit of Old Jubilation) that works well with the juniper. There is a good hop counterbalance to this beer which keeps it from being over the top. Woody, oaky undercurrent throughout, the juniper is most prominent in the finish.

M: Full-bodied, creamy, lightens up a bit in the finish which is nice, it's not overbearing, quite smooth.

D: A bit of a change of pace for me, I haven't had a winter warmer for a while. This one was almost like an imaginary blend of Anchor OSA and the aforementioned Avery Old Jubilation, quite an interesting brew, even in the heat of late September.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Russet red trimmed with bright tangerine. It didn't seem as though much foam was being created on the increasingly elevated pour, but I'm now looking at four fingers of brown sugar colored creaminess that is loaded with character. Honeycomb-like lace sticks like... well... like honeycomb.

This brew's defining feature is the use of juniper twigs. It also contains dark rye malts to give it that winter warmer vibe. Both are noted in the nose, but they're far from obvious and I never would have been able to identify them on my own. Nevertheless, ACA smells pleasantly dark malty, spicy and earthy.

Panimoravintola Huvila brews good craft beer, it's as simple as that. Where Artic Circle Ale is concerned, they decided to do something Finnish without going overboard. Juniper is much more noticeable on the palate, as is rye. This is delicious beer that should be even more so as it gains a few degrees.

A rye porter with juniper gets things about right. Or a sahti with English hops. Speaking of which, there's a surprising amount of herbal-earthy-spicy hoppiness present, which ends up being a perfect foil for the malt sugars. Generous ingredients, wonderful sweet-bitter balance and a highish ABV... sounds like a winter warmer that I can sink my teeth into.

Flavors include rye toast, dark caramel, a little dark chocolate, orange rind and a solid shot of juniper. I would have said gin, but the alcohol is masked extremely well. Any beer that is this interesting deserves a high drinkability score. Besides, it's highly drinkable.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between American porter and Baltic porter... probably closer to the former. It's smooth as silk and is properly bubbled, but a bit more viscosity would have earned it the next highest score with ease.

Arctic Circle Ale is damn good beer and has a Finnish sahti vibe that is irresistible. It's a sad shame that this brewery's lineup isn't more widely available (and less expensive) since they clearly know their way around a mash tun. Recommended.

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Photo of mick303
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep earthy red colour, dark brown but with cuprous tinge around the edge. Head is ochre and consists of large bubbles, thin crown retaining. Lace is disappointing, but notwithstanding, looks like a nice sweet, heavy beer.

Smell is sweet and quite boozey. Very like a fortified wine, with dark raisins and cherry hints. Lots of molasses and just that smell of toasted sugar. Yes, very pleasant indeed; the right amount of sweetness for a strong, sweet beer without going overboard.

Taste is also quite sweet. Strong and syrupy with molasses, brown sugar and caramel, and a strong hit of vanilla beans. Yeah, very sweet but with a good cocoa hit towards the back as well, and overall a very dry palate and feel. Syrupy on the front, but almost grainy and dessicated on the back. Good flavours though, sweet and nutty and a nice boozey hit as well. Good vibe to it.

Yeah, heavy, but it has all the right flavours and in good proportions. An interesting style to which I have no comparison point, but it's a nice beer anyway.

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Arctic Circle Ale from Malmgårdin Panimo
88 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.