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Nissefar - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
NissefarNissefar

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

157 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 157
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 6
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet visit their website
Norway

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Sigmund on 06-17-2007)
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Ratings: 157 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured jet black in color with a tan head so massive that it filled half the height of the mug, which took a long time to settle down. It has very good head retention properties.
S: There are aromas of earthy hops, lightly roasted dark malts and spices in the nose along with some hints of chocolate.
T: The taste is rather complex and has flavors of bittersweet chocolate, chicory, coffee beans, dark fruits and spices. The hops contribute a slight amount of bitterness to the overall taste.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate with a minimal amount of carbonation. There's a moderate amount of dryness, which becomes more prominent in the finish. The alcohol also contributes a slight amount of warming sensations.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink, except that the head was so large that it took several pours into a large mug to empty the bottle. The amount of spices in this beer definitely makes it one that needs to be sipped.

Note: Batch 163, Bottled June 2008

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a brown color with a modest head that leaves a few shards behind

Smell: Licorice, caramel, subtle smoke and dark fruit

Taste: The licorice adds depth to the caramel flavors, up front, with the dark fruit flavors rounding out the profile in the middle; after the swallow, the smoke adds another dimension but the finish adds a holiday fruitcake character

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A really interesting beer that shows a range of flavor

Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ever have those moments when you are conflicted between a robust porter and an Belgian-style oude bruin? Yea, me neither. But the craftsmen at the Hand Brewery has brewed a beer just for the occasion if during the holiday season you crave such a thing.

And it's with that porter-ish theme that the kicks off. Medium-dark brown in color, the pour is moderately viscous but still delivers the exuberant carbonation to offer a somewhat Belgiany exercise. A controlled billow of foam rises to the rim and carries a mocha-stained whipped cream cap that retains and laces with bold confidence.

Aromas of chocolate, nutty coffee, starchy malt, and freshly roasted coffee beans leap out at first. However, a quick counterpart of twangy under ripened berries come closely behind for a lightly vinous scent of red grape, green apple, and plumb skin scent.

Robust flavors of chocolate, smooth toffee, coffee, and walnuts all strike the front of the tongue with an early promise of sweetness, succulent, and masculine quality. But the agreement is compromised with a sharp and piercing tartness of dark fruit flavor- black cherry, blackcurrant, plumb, red grape, and blackberry slice right into the sweeter and roastier taste of porter for a decidedly "mature" and "seasoned" flavor that creates as much interest as it does distraction.

Medium-full in body, the beer's early fullness is predictably thinned out by the fruit-inspired tartness. What's left is a tawny middle palate of conflicting coffee-ish astringency, fruity tartness and lingering powdery sherry character.

Nissefar is a challenged taste that circulates around porter-like roots but with a seemingly forced "aged" or "cellar-like" character. The result is a stale and uneven Belgian-tasting "Oude Bruin" type of beer. No one aspect of the beer seems genuine, but it seems to be an invention unto itself and offers a charming rusticity that's part of the problem and part of the charm.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chocolate chestnut with slim slices of burnt orange along the edges and a thick chunk of oatmeal colored foam up top. Opacity is a positive. Head descent is slow, but almost no lace is appearing on the sides of the glass.

Even though Nissefar is brewed to be a dark malty holiday ale, it smells like a porter. A pretty good one too. Aromas of high cocoa dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans see to that. According to the label, no spices are in use. Good, because I don't appreciate any.

It isn't often that a beer tastes significantly worse than it smells. Nissefar is way too sour for the style and doesn't have enough malty guts to make up for it. I might have thought this bottle was old, but the 'best by' date isn't until August 2010. Then again, that may be too optimistic for a 7.0% ale brewed in August 2008.

If this is what the original English porters tasted like back in the day, I'm glad to be living in this day and age. Actually, the beer tastes like a milk porter (lactic acid added), although I don't think the brewery went that route. Specifics: watery carob, tangy raisins and a wee splash of sour milk. Absolutely nothing about this brew says 'Christmas'.

The mouthfeel is thin, although not quite aqueous, and doesn't have enough carbonation. Perfect bubbles might have allowed it to eke out an above averge score. More malt sugars would have helped fill things out.

Nissefar (Father Christmas) is my least favorite of the handful of HaandBryggeriet beers that I've had so far. Sour is desirable in some styles, but it doesn't work at all in this one. Bottom line: barely better than a lump of coal as a stocking stuffer.

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brewery is really quite special, everything they do is very unique. This beer pours out as a deerp brown color with a litter brown colored head. The smell of the beer has some chocolatey aromas blended with some dark fruits and stuff. The taste is a little malty, a little sweet and a little dry. The mouthfeel had a decent thickness to it which was nice. Overall this was a pretty good holiday ale. I'd enjoy having it again one day.

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

wow, what an interesting and delicious beer. one heck of a take on holiday beer. dark dark brown in color, hardly any head, but it doesn't need one to impress me. its rich and silky looking, more like a big porter than an American old ale, with minimal light moving through. the nose is oddly smoked, much like the bestefar they make, with some honey sweetness and a huge roasty body, dark and chalky. the taste is similar, with a short lived campfire vibe for a minute before bitter dark, and finally sweet dark malt flavors come in waves. the finish is dry for the looks and style, with a sharp fusel alcohol untidiness. I like the complexity, depth, and richness of this beer an awful lot. not something I could drink a whole lot of, but I surely appreciate its uniqueness. i don't get the tartness others did, this was smooth all the way for me. in what I can only imagine to be freezing cold Norwegian winters, this is a beer I would want to have on hand. I would strongly recommend it for the holiday season here in the usa. it changes what I thought old ale could be, excellent product.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 8/4/10 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, black coffee and what smells like Belgian yeast.

T: The taste is very malty up front and very smoky with a very hearty malt character and what seems like a Belgian yeast backbone. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly smoky and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a nice dark beer with a Belgian twist on it making it worth drinking for a while.

Photo of nickfl
4.7/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours with a nearly complete lack of head, just some loose, fisheye bubbles. The body is black and opaque.

S - A nice, dark aroma of chicory, smoke, and chocolate. Some light spice notes of cinnamon and allspice. Earthy, dark and chocolate-like the aroma is much more encouraging than the looks.

T - Dark malt and chocolate flavors with notes of caramel, chicory, and bittersweet chocolate. Some light acidic notes enhance the mild coffee essence in the middle and lighten the caramel sweetness. The beer bursts open in the finish with a lush complexity full of chocolate, dark fruit and subtle spices. Lingering chocolate and smoke flavors caress the tongue and lend the aftertaste great depth.

M - Smooth, medium-thick body, very low carbonation, and a semi-sweet finish.

D - Based on the apperance and the readily apparent lack of carbonation, I was expecting the worst form this beer. I was decidedly wrong. The aroma is quite nice with a well balanced collection of rich, velvety chocolate and spice character, but it only begins to hint at the flavor. The beginning is relatively light and slightly acidic with just some minor caramel flavors, but it comes to life in the finish with a wonderful depth of flavor. There is a dark, bittersweet and earthy cocoa flavor that compares in richness and intensity to only a few other beers that I have ever had. It speaks volumes about this brewery that they have created a beer that is able, at this relatively modest level of alcohol, to display flavors that I have only ever seen in over the top, extreme imperial stouts. What's more, these flavors take on a different sort of clarity and depth because of the light body and relative simplicity of this beer. I think this beer is quite an unusual achievement, or it would be for almost any other brewery, but I have come to expect nothing less than excellence from HaandBryggeriet.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

HaandBryggeriet Nissefar. Batch 169. Brewed Aug 08, Best Bef. Aug 10. Whuh, oh,

Dark brown body, or is it black? Slim dark brown head.

Aroma: bourbon, vanilla, maple. Whatever this is, it's whiskey barrel-aged, for sure. Nothing is really given away on the label, except "Norwegian holiday beer" and lots of stuff about gnomes.

Taste: Whiskey flavor is huge initially in the mouthfeel, sweet, slick, ...but lacking in body, could use a ton more malt in here. I'm still struggling to figure out exactly what the base beer is, or if there's any other flavoring involved.

Hmmm, is the oldness of the ale giving way, has it lost so much in the 3 months that have passed since it's expiration. But, it's still got plenty of flavor, just has me wondering what else was going on. It's still tasty and spicy, and delicious.

Photo of Rifugium
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

This is not a porter, but rather an old ale, and it was labelled as such on the beer menu at Teresa's.

Served in a tulip glass, this beer poured a dark brown with a small tan head. Sweet, malty aroma, hints of chocolate, dark fruit, and spice. Taste of dark malts, followed instantly by a huge licorice profile, chocolate chips, and notes of spice and a slightly syrupy booziness in the background. Interesting and tasty. On the heavier side of medium-bodied, and quite drinkable. Definitely worth revisiting.

Photo of WesWes
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick, rocky tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful black patent and chocolate malt scent that's dry and earthy with just a hint of sweetness. The taste is decent. It has a smooth, yet almost soda like feel. It's thick with loads of malt complexity. There is a weird tangy, bitterness to it. The mouthfeel is just above average. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I just can't get over the thick, almost flat beer aspect. This is an interesting beer. The malt bill seems right on and the appearance rocks, but the mouthfeel really ruins it for me.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass only produces a half-finger thick, deeply amber tinged, tan colored head that pretty quickly recedes. The beer is a dark, concentrated brown color that shows clearish, deep, concentrated ruby highlights when held up to the light. Up front the nose smells of spicy and toasted grain, but it quickly picks up a fruitiness and almost nutty quality (sort of like a very fruity nut, if there is such a thing). There is an underlying richness to the nose that is almost savory and at other times this seems to reminds me of coconut (though not in the same way some barrel aged beers achieve). Supporting notes that are subtly noticeable remind me of earthy, damp cellars some how. Some of the more pronounced aromatics smell of brown sugar, and caramelized sweet holiday breads. The aroma is quite interesting, and I can't quite figure it out.

My first sip is lightly sweet tasting with a medium rich body that helps this to lightly coat the tongue. There is a funkiness to the flavor here that makes me think there is something other than a standard yeast strain in this beer; it is not overly funky, but contributes a hint of tartness, a background mustiness and something that seems like rotting fruit. There is a thinning, toasted malt character here that seems like it should be richer than it is. Really this has a lot of fruitiness to it, likely the funkiness accentuates this, but it reminds me of candied fruit, or perhaps even more of a dense fruit cake, though this beer isn't overly sweet or rich. In the end I think I would describe this best as tasting like a fruit cake made with some rustic whole grains and that has been allowed to get moldy and funky, but only just a touch).

I am not sure about this beer, the aroma is down right interesting, and not even unpleasant, but the flavor is a little too weird. I could be convinced that this wasn't infected, and the weird notes are simply a product of interesting ingredient selection, but I don't think so.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I for Winterfest, 2010 Vintage,

A: Pours practically black with a light off-white head. Some thick lace.

S: Some notes of spice, dark chocolate and sugar, hint of gingerbread.

T: Lots of dark chocolate flavour, never real roasty, porter like. Light hints of spice and floral hops, but a malt dominated brew.

M: Medium-bodied, certainly thins out a bit in the finish, soft carbonation.

O: A lower alcohol old ale, but it works fine. Good flavours, quite the enjoyable effort.

Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown in color with a 2" head that lasts a while.

Smell: malt sweetness, hint of chocolate, some soft spiciness, and a mild earthy quality makes up an interesting aroma.

Taste: big malt presence, with some licorice, chocolate, and a moderate bitterness. There is a mild smokey quality to this beer and a hint of spice showing up late.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Crisp at the start, less so at the finish. Long aftertaste with this beer.

Drinkability: this beer has a nice flavor profile which keeps you interested for the entire bottle. Worth trying this one out.

Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with a thin half finger tan head that quickly dissipates leaving only minimal spots of lacing. Visible carbonation bubbling up.

Roasted malt aroma with a prominent dark fruit presence. Hints of cherry, plum, raisin date and fig. There's also some nice peppery spice, especially cinnamon and peppermint, in the nose.

Medium bodied and very quaffable with a nice balance of roasty malt, sweet dark fruit notes and peppery spiciness. The dark fruit notes are prominent with hints of sour cherry, plum, raisin and fig. This is countered by the sightly roasted chocolate/caramel malt flavor resulting in a slight sweet creamy feel mid palate. There's also a good amount of peppery spice with hints of cinnamon and peppermint. I'm also picking up a slight medicinal syrup flavor before a dry and slightly tart finish. Very nice.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.

Pours a pretty opaque and slightly reddish black (if you can have such a thing), with a pocked, large-bubbled faintly tan head. This dissipates quickly, only leaving a skeletal structure of big bubbles around the deep, black interior. Body looks somewhat heavy, somewhat fluid: it certainly doesn't have much stickiness to it, but it has some heft and hold very fine carbonation. It looks good.

Nose is rich, dark and roasted, but with plummy dark fruit undertones. Mild milk chocolate sweetness comes through, brushed with a liquorous, boozy brandy character. As often is the case with Haand's beers, there's a lick of smoke to go with it as well, giving a heartening, warming feel to the aroma overall. It's very good stuff indeed.

Taste is a lot lighter than I was expecting, with surprisingly little thickness or sweetness. Mild roasted characters come forward, with some cocoa-chocolate notes later on. Some faint cherry flavours round it out, but the back really just drifts away smoothly, and doesn't leave much of an impression on the back. Booze is well-hidden on the palate, though, without much prickle in the feel or heat in the flavour—the only hint is in the aroma.

Overall, I do like it a good deal. It's smooth and flavoursome, without being particularly heavy or bombastic. The faint Christmas overtones are there, but they're not overt, and it makes the beer feel more subtle and refined than it might have. Good stuff.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a hazy dark brown with some sediment in the bottom and absolutely no head and almost no carbonation. Smells strongly of European licorice, bitter chocolate, and deeply roasted grain as well as a touch of sweet malt. Interesting. The taste is quite deep and rich for an American Porter. Less licorice here, but it is still quite noticeable. There is a a fai bit of malty sweetness and some herbal bitterness and molasses. Still, the overall effect is dry, not overly sweet. Rich and delicious. The mouthfeel is smooth, but lacks carbonation and is the tiniest bit sticky as well. A little thick to drink too much of, still, quite interesting.

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Nissefar from HaandBryggeriet
87 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.