Nissefar - HaandBryggeriet
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Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by beardtongue:
4/5 rDev +2.8%
I bought the Nissefar on a whim for Christmas festivities. My family is hosting for the first time ever this year, and I have been running around making everything perfect - a huge tree, decorations, real garlands, candles, yard lights, stockings, fires in the fireplace, eggnog, everything. Who gets to host xmas is a little bit of a contentious point in my family, so I felt a lot of pressure to make things perfect. I made sure to point out the origin of this beer to my Norwegian family, too much probably, but in the end they were busy making gingerbread houses and playing with my son and shopping, and Nissefar ended up turning from one of my holiday touches into my little personal moment of appreciation, and for this purpose it served admirably and lets face it, mouthfeel etc was not even a consideration.
12-30-2010 22:09:10 | More by beardtongue
More User Reviews:
4.7/5 rDev +20.8%
This beer from Drammen, Norway is also known as "Father Christmas" (a very loose translation of "Nissefar").
Appearance: A rich dark reddish brown. It pours with no head at all, worrisome in a foreign beer (has it gone flat?), but in this case, of no consequence with respect to taste.
Smell: Big malt aroma, quite toasty, with some alcohol wafting off the top. A most inviting aroma.
Taste: A top-flight deep, malty taste that persists on the palate. The Haandbryggeriet web site terms it "very complex, packed with the tastes and smells of Christmas, like chocolate, caramel and raisins." The caramel character is certainly there, the chocolate less so. A case could be made that the fruitiness is raisiny, but it's more intense than just raisins.
Mouthfeel: This is a high gravity beer with strong malt character and tastes as dense as it is.
Drinkability: Lovely to quaff, but a bit expensive to drink a lot of.
01-18-2009 23:32:32 | More by mrquartetman
4.55/5 rDev +17%
Nissefar (a word apparently meaning "Father Christmas" in Norwegian) is a holiday ale, and the batch from which my bottle sprung was brewed over two years ago--so there's no telling what time has done to the drink. Still, the nose is delicious and Christmassy, filled with huge dollops of figs, raisins, caramelized brown sugars, and even not-so-subtle jolts of port and brandy, with just a shovelful or two of chocolate malt thrown in for good measure.
On the tongue, the beer is just as strong as the nose hinted at, though the flavor profile is far different, for here the deeper fig and raisin notes are initially subsumed under a strong brandy river which carries hints of Flemish sourness (which I suspect might not be quite as present in a fresher bottle). A goodly smattering of hops is also present, providing a strange, though tasty bitter grapefruit counterpoint to the brandy. Late in the mouthful, after the sugars have died off a bit, the chocolate malts and fig flavors are allowed to shine through, fading to pure chocolate malt at the end--though still accompanied by the grapefruit hops. Aftertaste is mainly chocolate malt and hops, and lingers for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium-light, which is strange considering the power of the flavors, and carbonation is medium-light.
Overall, even though my bottle's "Best before" date was three months ago, this is fantastic beer: carefully, lovingly crafted by people who obviously put their hearts and souls into their work. I look forward to my next encounter with this brew--hopefully with a fresher bottle, and on a cold Christmas morning.
07-31-2011 04:03:05 | More by jondeelee
3.95/5 rDev +1.5%
On-tap at the Brick Store.
Pours black with a 1.5-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving thick lacing.
Smells of muted roasted malts with good amounts of dark chocolate aromas. Also present are hints of licorice.
Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth roasted malt flavors with good amounts of dark chocolate kick things off. Midway through the sip very mild amounts of anise flavors work their way into things before fading out into a mildly bitter ending.
Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft carbonation.
Drinkability is good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another.
Overall this beer didn't blow me away but I found it to be very smooth and easy to drink. Worth a shot.
08-08-2010 03:14:06 | More by glid02
3.75/5 rDev -3.6%
Batch 169. Bewed August 08th, Best before August 10th.
16.9 oz. bottle into a 12. Samuel Smith nonic.
Appearance: Very much appearing like a Guinness: seemingly opaque but really dark, dark amber. A frothy, concentrated-looking head sits a top and leaves some big raindrops of lacing.
Smell: Interesting notes between roasted, sour, and chocolate. Seems more like a Belgian Porter to me here. This is certainly much thinner and less dark than many American Porters, so the roasted and charred are present, but balanced, and fairly minimum. Sour cherries and farmhouse yeast mix with the lighter yet charred chocolate.
Taste: Initially huge sourness, then mellowing into the Porter-like charred nature, coming into some fruit esters, more sourness, and finishes slightly and interestingly sour and bitter, with the chocolate, sourness, and mild fruit overtones, more like cherries or sour apples.
Mouthfeel: For an American Porter, this would be on the thinner side, though it's certainly a complex brew. A little more watery than I'd have liked, with carbonation nearly coming at the very end, oddly enough, and that's it. However, the lack of carbonation does enhance the ability to get more flavor at that point, so it's not lose-lose.
Drinkability: Solid and interesting, and though I would try it again, the price and limited availability make me want to go after some more of their other beers instead.
05-27-2010 17:51:57 | More by asabreed
3.53/5 rDev -9.3%
500 ml, a crazy gusher, beige-brown head and blackish liquid.Keeps on gushing 20 minutes later. Leaves behind enormous foam, that is at once a tasty malt, and also a weak body of licorice and spice. Aroma of licorice porter. OK drinkability, a pint is too much. July 2010 bottling.
04-01-2012 22:23:11 | More by Sammy
3.68/5 rDev -5.4%
Batch 307, 07.09.10
Uncontrollable full hand of dark tan head. Creamy on top, but sudsy in the middle. Deep brown body.
Kinda metallic smelling with some orange, maybe spice. Not good.
Taste, on the other hand, is a different story. The orange tang, but riding on something that's between an RIS and a dunkel lager. Which you would think would just be a stout, but it's not. Alt is not actually the first thing that comes to mind. There's coffee and some spice, cinnamon maybe, and orange (rindy) and a bit of chocolate. Much nicer than the smell.
Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth, not too foamy in spite of the massive frothing on the pour.
If it weren't for the smell, this would be great. As it is, it's still pretty good.
01-02-2012 23:37:49 | More by zaphodchak
3.85/5 rDev -1%
bottle - served up at recent scandanavian tasting at brasserie v
appearance: generous pour in a belgian tulip - creamy dark mocha body, light chocolate froth
smell: rich chocolate, sour cherry, woody, caramel, brown sugar, raisin
taste: Interesting porter - rich chocolate is met immediately with a tart cherry presence, oak, caramel, raisin. not nearly as extreme as the NG old english porter, but heading in that direction
mouthfeel: medium-thin body, light to moderate
04-08-2010 23:50:24 | More by dirtylou
4.33/5 rDev +11.3%
It's awfully black with just the slightest bits of brown mixed in. While it might be a shade lighter around the edges, the light gets stuck and can't make it through. The head is light tan and fleeting. It's got a creamy look, but it's gone quickly with a light lace left behind.
The smell just explodes. It's a concoction of dark malts, chocolate, coffee and licorice. The scent is nothing exactly I'd associate with the holidays, it's an exception smelling beer.
The taste is like the smell only muted a bit. It's still a malt bomb, but all the ingredients are on their best collective behavior. Very malty with a slight tag-team fight of chocolate and coffee. Some hop presence in the finish, deep in the finish, provides some balance.
There's a lot of complexity and layers in this beer. It starts off sweet and thick. As it works its way back, the bitterness builds from the chocolate and coffee before finishing strong from the hops. It's viscous and sweet, it's bitter and full-bodied. The alcohol sends only a subtle message, just to show you it's there. The tongue is left slightly coated so you feel and taste the beer long after it's left your mouth.
While I have no idea how this is a holiday beer, I really liked it. It's got a stout or strong porter taste and feel. It's certainly not cheap, but it was very good.
02-02-2013 03:56:35 | More by RickS95
4.14/5 rDev +6.4%
Poured a deep dark brown with a thick and creamy head.
The smell is loaded with rich dark chocolate and smokey roasted malts.
The flavor is very rich and malty. Loads of milk chocolate with hints of vanilla and caramel. A bit of dark smokey bitterness balances out the sweetness nicely.
The mouthfeel is creamy and rich.
Very nice. Almosy desert like in richness.
02-28-2013 20:54:54 | More by bashiba
3.43/5 rDev -11.8%
Pours a very dark brown color with a small loose bubble head that settles into a weak ring around the glass. Almost looks flat.
The aroma is of a light milk chocolate with a sprucey spice, almost a mint character.
The flavor is of a chocolatey malt with a some sour berries and spruce. Some caramel sweetness.
The feel is moderate, semi-chewy with very soft carbonation. Sweet on the palate and finishes slighty sour and a tad sticky.
A rather one dimensional porter. I was hoping for more of a spice/herbal flavor. The beer needs some life to it.
12-25-2010 03:35:17 | More by Gmann
4.1/5 rDev +5.4%
500ml bottle from 8/08. Pours opaque, very dark brown with a small beige head. Strong chocolaty, dark malt on the nose, along with some dark fruit. Slightly tangy. Dark roasty taste, again with plenty of cocoa. Slight sourness that works really well here, surprisingly. Dry finish. Medium, creamy body. Really pleasant-drinking, if unconventional, porter.
10-02-2009 01:40:52 | More by philipquarles
3.68/5 rDev -5.4%
Picked up at Greens in Columbia.
Poured deep brown with a huge light tan head. Head dissappated quick enough though to a layer.
Toasted malt, chocolate, then some raisin and cherries. Some slightly strange fruitiness going on. Finishes a tad dry and some lactose like qualities. Not quite sure what to make of that.
A bit thin, flows down easy, but there just isn't enough body to hold this one together. $8 for the 500ml? will probably pass on this again.
Probably my least favorite that I've had from HaandBryggeriet, which is all right since the rest have been outstanding.
12-07-2010 00:03:01 | More by Bung
3.43/5 rDev -11.8%
Batch 163. Brewed June 08. Best before June 2011. Consumed March 2010.
A: Poured a charcoal black with an initial head that occupied a greater portion of the glass. The head was foamy, corkboard brown in color, and slowly lapsed leaving a towering center piece in the middle. Only a few speckled patches remained for a lacing. The bottom of the glass finds an accumulation of bran colored yeast cake covering a good portion of the glass.
S: Cough medicine is apparent on the nose. Boozy raisins and plums along with wet cardboard and pancake batter combine to give odd results. Not really intriguing or what I think of when I think of a Christmas ale. There is a faint scent of chocolate and a yeasty tartness that accompanies dried black cherries on the close.
T: The flavor was burnt coffee at first with a bit of yeasty sourness and stale chocolate. Dark fruit of prunes and dates are evident along with dried vegetative matter. The yeastiness comes through midway through the drink and particularly on the finish with strong notes of wet grains and musky barnyard suggestions. Yeasty, against a softy roasty malting. It takes some time to warm up to this but you soon will come to appreciate its flavor.
M: Slight carbonation factor, creamy, but a bit light overall substance wise. A nice yeasty and dry chocolately fade comes upon the swallow.
D: Drinkability was decent. Yeasty, slightly sour though a bomber is plenty for me at any given setting. Good for a serving but comes off rather expensive $7.
03-22-2010 23:21:06 | More by beerthulhu
4/5 rDev +2.8%
How does a Norwegian Christmas beer qualify as an American Porter? Huh...well, this pours black into a Duvel tulip black with a mocha foam. Spotty network of lacing, looks nice. Cocoa, anise, pumpernickel bread in the nose. Rich and roasty taste, blackened malts, chocolate or carob, sassafras, molasses, with a mild amount of residual spice that lingers in the aftertaste. Low carbonation, sort of a smooth lactic feel. Kind of average yet well crafted, for the money i'd much rather have a sixer of Anchor OSA.
11-30-2008 05:24:00 | More by emerge077
4.03/5 rDev +3.6%
500 ml bottle, Batch 498 (2160 total bottles). Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. It smells like dark fruit (raisins, plums, cherries), chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some berries and spice. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. I think this is a good overall brew, I might have to pick up another bottle soon! At $8.99 a bottle, I think it's worth trying.
12-20-2012 00:03:56 | More by bluejacket74
Nissefar from HaandBryggeriet
87 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.