Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Nissefar - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

97 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 97
Hads: 164
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 7
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet visit their website

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sigmund on 06-17-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (37) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 97 | Hads: 164
Photo of MsRif
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA. Poured a dark brown color with a minimal tan head that retained well, leaving spotty lacing. Had an aroma of dark chocolate, sweet malts, dark fruits and spices. Very enticing. Tasted primarily of dark chocolate, dark fruits and spices. Slightly yeasty and boozy.

Between medium and full bodied with low carbonation. Very drinkable...best saved for the end of a session due to the fullness in body.

 447 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  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.

 552 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy brown colored ale with next to no head.

Smells sweet and spicy with caramel and figs with some allspice and spruce. Chocolate and cherry brandy complete the scent.

Starts out mildly sweet with a strong charred barley flavor. Toasted bread and chocolate. Some spruce appears from behind the hefty patent malt flavor and that is about it for taste.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall an OK beer but not one I will drink again.

 425 characters

Photo of sweetLew
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Father Christmas has brewed up his winter blessings and sent it straight from his dedicated little elves in Norway. Everything the brewers from HaandBryggeriet concoct seems to recall a rich, hearty adventure into Viking territory - Nissefar is no exception.

The beer pours a deep reddish brown with a thin but robust tan head. Scents of an earthy and woody malts are subtle, but it's the brew's taste and mouthfeel that bring the Christmas cheer. The first sensation is one of a sharp sweetness, that fades and washes away as the rich maltiness spreads over the palate. Faint alcohol and hop character are detectable within the complexity, along with some fig and date fruitiness, all well balanced for a dynamic drinking experience. My chestnuts are roasting on this open fire.

At just over 7% alcohol, Nissefar is well drinkable and would pair well with a hearty winter meal; skip the milk and leave some Nissefar out for Santa this year!

Sample was fresh, brewed Sep. '11. Procured at ØL.

 996 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

 439 characters

Photo of jondeelee
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

 1,611 characters

Photo of Gehrig
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the magnificent Crane Alley in Champaign, IL.

Two lush fingers of mocha froth top a deep, dark brown body, with some lacing on the pint glass; nice looking beer. Good, roasted malt nose with plenty of fruity, berry aromas. The chocolate smell is most welcome.

Good taste, subtly complex, with this being malt forward, as it should be. Chocolate, caramel, a small bit of coffee bean (wish it were more) are present, nicely so and particularly prominent in the first half, with a good, fruity second half especially in the finish. The sweet fruit and rich, roasted malt interact very well, and the creamy mouthfeel works wonders here.

I found this to be a really good porter, very accessible and enjoyable, and the fruit was a welcome surprise and element. Very well done, and I'd love to have more of this and other wares from HaandBryggeriet in the future.

 877 characters

Photo of DaveHS
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Full disclosure: This one is marked "Best by August 2010." So we'll see.

A-Dark ruby with a small, bubbly mocha head and almost no lacing.

S-Milk chocolate, light roasty malts, the slightest hint of sharpness (oxidized?)

T/M-Almost no carbonation. Milk chocolate sweetness, rye bread, moderate acidity in the finish suggests oxidization.

D-This was past its prime, but hinted at a really solid beer. Will try fresh and re-review.

 433 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter.
Batch 191. Brewed 10. 2008 and best before 10. 2010. Old red label.

APPEARANCE: Brown pour makes a one finger, medium looking, tan head what quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Black body and next to zero carbonation evident. Transparent around the edges. Ring remains and leaves a couple dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted malts and some roasted coffee beans. A touch of caramel and some cocoa poser as well. Quite mild, but what's there is nice.

TASTE: Some roasted malts, but a good dose of dark fruit, grapes, raisins and dates, and a touch of spices. Some bitter chocolate and roasted coffee notes on the swallow. Aftertaste is bold and lingering with dark fruits, grapes, some bitter chocolate and a touch of sourness. Pretty nice. Kind of a cross between a porter and a Belgian double.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. Somewhat creamy and smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Fine here.

OVERALL: Quite enjoyed this Christmas porter. The nose could be a little bigger, but it had plenty of nice flavor and drank away quite easily. I've never had a fresh bottle, but if my previous experience with Haand is any indication, the ageing has mellowed out the carbonation and made it much more drinkable. Worth checking out if you get the chance.

 1,387 characters

Photo of rtepiak
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i shouldn't have read this originally. this was much better than given off to be.

this was a winter warmer style porter quality beer with a sweetness of a aged hop quality. afterall. the hop was about a year and some old at this pine... but hopping resembled something of a tangerine citrus. nice and sweet chocolate covered citrus. palate was that but not as syrupy as expected. rather lean and quick finish of something some bright. note of tangerine, chocolate, clove, and fruit cake sugar. dessert... and simple fruit character.

 534 characters

Photo of beardtongue
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 816 characters

Photo of ToasterChef
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big chocolately head with filmy bubbles. Opaque brown liquid. Nice chocolate aroma. Some winter spices and pine in the nose as well. Chocolate sweetness, some alcohol and a finish that reminds me of prune juice. This is a slick, full bodied beer that has low carbonation and an oily coat. It drinks very well. This bottle is about two years old; I imagine that a fresh one would be very impressive.

 398 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

 551 characters

Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got the Off! Four 7" box set and am raging to Keith Morris!! Hell Yeah!

The tale behind this beer is hilarious. Look up the Nisse online and read about it. Great idea.

Pours a dense, dark opaque, deep brown. Very much like a thick Porter. A thin wisp of head comes up, and it's dark tan in color. Holy mackerel, the nose on this beer = awesome. Huge and robust and complex and - just incredibly rich smelling. I get lots of malt - some chocolate and some caramel. More of the former. There are many other things going on, though. A certain sweetness in there. Can't right place it. Also some kind of fruit - like molasses covered raisins. Maybe even concentrated cherry juice. Just unique and beautiful. Some allspice, too. Too much going on at once - it's hella rad!!

Yum, omfg...It's tangy, like a strong porter or stout. Lots of spice up front, some of the allspice but also something herbal, like juniper. This has alot of the same qualities that the '10 Anchor X-mas does. This is more "earthy", however. There's also a roastiness that the Anchor lacks. The finish is long and hoppy-malty - more malt than hops. Delicious and this beer screams X-mas to me. Perfect for Winter. 7% ABV. Here's the kicker - $8.99/half-liter so this is wicked expensive.

What I like most: The incredible aroma profile and "earthy" flavors.

What I like least: The price and the lack of head.

Verdict: ALMOST worth the insane price, and definitelt worth trying.

 1,450 characters

Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at The Publick House 12/21
Served in a tulip

A: This beer pours and opaque black with a 1/2 inch of brown head. Head recedes quickly leaving no lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla and smoke.

T: Taste starts with a bitter dark chocolate and vanilla flavoring before moving in to a nice rich caramel and toffee flavoring. Finish has a hint of licorice and a nice smokiness that carries through.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, somewhat crisp body with a thicker feel to the finish.

D: Goes down easily, very tasty not too filling, nice kick, nice representation of style. For me, this is a beer to sit with for a few rounds.

 673 characters

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours black as hell with a mocha colored two finger head that actually takes a few minutes to go subside in my long hammer ipa glass.
big roasty chocolate with tons of black fruit anywhere from rasin and fig to black cherry and perhaps just a slight bit of booze hidden in there.
most of the fruit stays in the nose and just gives way to chocolate and its probably some of the smoothest most delicious chocolate ever. theres a little bit of sweetness initially bit it quickly disappears after each sip. just a light touch of carbonation is perfect for this beer, and although is listed as an american porter, i feel its just a little bit bolder than most other of the same style, that ive experienced anyways.
drinkability is fantastic. i could enjoy it any day, night, or for friggin breakfast. total yum.

 807 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Durty Nellies, one of the 12 Beers of Christmas.

A: appears pitch black with a short cocoa colored head. Not very good head retention, however, when this beer is swirled a nice frothy head appears. Decent lacing of dense white bubbles.

S: notes of deep chocolate and roasted barley notes up front among some oat character. This brew turns into a hop monster by the end with some big piny notes that complement the chocolate well.

T: not as much chocolate on the palate as the nose suggests (bummer) leaning much more towards the hop profile of the brew. The roast starts on the front but is quickly dominated by bitterness from black patent and hops.

MF: the body is a tad thinner that I would like for the flavor, silky texture, sharp finish.

D: this is a unique take on an American Porter. My first brew from Haanbryggeriet, and certainly not my last. The flavor profile begs for a bigger body and a bigger beer, but as it is, it is quite tasty.

 969 characters

Photo of corby112
4.2/5  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.

 877 characters

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drinking batch 169 with an expiration of August, 2010, if that means anything at all.

Pours very dark translucent brown with a slight head that dissipates completely.

Smells malty, wet hay, a little funk.

Taste is slightly sour, lots of charred malt, a little lemon or lemon peel.

Mouthfeel is light and flat. No carbonation.

I could drink this once but would not seek it out again. I don't see what is so Xmassy about this compared to the more interesting Xmas beers out there. This is a bit one-themed.

 514 characters

Photo of Bung
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

 579 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

 821 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

 2,006 characters

Photo of metter98
3.73/5  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

 993 characters

Photo of domtronzero
3.17/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 169. Brewed Aug. 2008, best before Aug 2010 (perfect timing).

A - Pours a deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights at the edges. Tightly formed thin short lived head dissipates almost immediately into the glass.

S - A light chocolaty dark malt character mixes with a slightly acidic, acrid, almost sour black malt aroma. Very light bodied as far as the smell goes; very thin and simple. Yeast character comes through as a nice dark fruit basket. Plums and prunes, raisins, etc. A little bit of perfumey alcohol is also detectable.

F/M - Chocolaty and bready dark malts. The sour/acrid black malt character is more detectable in the flavor than in the aroma. Bitterness is balanced and allows a clean finish, the flavors don't linger around in the aftertaste for too long. Medium light bodied. Too light of a body for a "holiday" ale. Maybe they like thin, watered-down beers during the winter months? Probably not.

D - Easy drinking, but only due to the lower-than-average body and thin mouthfeel. Flavors are balanced well but they are just muted and should be allowed to be more prevalent. I prefer bigger holiday ales and this just wouldn't suffice when I am in the mood for a big winter warmer.

 1,208 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 815 characters

Nissefar from HaandBryggeriet
87 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.