Refsvindinge Private Stock

by: BeerAdvocate on 03-10-2007
John Rasmussen bottling Refsvindinge Private Stock at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VermontDoes your job sponsor a yearly beer culture trip as a thank-you for all its employees who are celebrating five years of service? Well, the Harpoon Brewery does—how cool is that? A few years back the group’s destination was Denmark, where they bonded with the folk over at the Refsvindinge Brewery—a small fourth-generation brewery run by John Rasmussen and family.

Refsvindinge Private Stock—a Danish farmhouse ale—is the 18th release of Harpoon’s limited 100 Barrel Series. Harpoon’s brewmaster Al Marzi worked with Rasmussen to recreate a style they enjoyed during their Denmark trip. Rasmussen doesn’t speak any English, so the collaboration was translated via email by Rasmussen’s daughter Lene, and the resulting recipe was brewed by Brett Simmons at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT. Last month, Rasmussen and family flew to Boston to bottle the beer and celebrate with the Harpoon crew.

The Taste
Smells spicy and fruity, with faint white peppercorns and dried apricots, fruity esters and a sweet caramel-cake-like maltiness in the back of the nose. Full-bodied, with a slow creamy smoothness and crispness that rolls over the palate. At first, it seems like a malt bomb with a quick tidal wave of sugary malt flavor, but then a thick hop oil flavor and a gentle bitterness start to break apart the malt. Herbal bite in the middle. Waves of more fruity esters; spicy herbal hop; and an underlying nutty, biscuity malt. Phenols and lingering esters finish this beer out with a semi-sweet end.

Final Thoughts
John Rasmussen and Al Marzi celebrating their collaborationCertainly the most exotic beer Harpoon has ever brewed, and perhaps one of the most complex. Rich in character with boisterous complexities—more than enough to appease any beer geek out there. Pair it up with a plate of Biksemad (beef hash with a fried egg), or, on the high end, go with stuffed roast duck with au gratin potatoes.

Refsvindinge Private Stock weighs in at a hearty 7.8 percent alcohol by volume, and is available now on draught or in 22-ounce bombers.

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