Shangrila | Birrificio Troll

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Brewed by:
Birrificio Troll

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 40
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store Pub. Pours amber with very little head but good clarity. Smells of apricot, mango, and spice. The taste is similar, with tropical fruit, especially mango and passion fruit, and some more spice. A bit overcarbonated, but overall a pleasant enough quaff. I wouldn't pay what they charge for a bottle, but finding it on tap was nice.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Suds
2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is deep, dark amber beer. It has a nice head immediately after the pour, thick and dense, but it doesn't last and produces little lace. Lots of floaties in the brew as well. The aroma is interesting. Huge spice (a bit hot), alcohol, and buiscuity malts. The smell also has a curry, pepper, and ginger note in the's a lot like the smells in an Asian or Indian meal (maybe that's the point?). However, it seems a little misplaced in the beer, and the divergent aromas don't really meld well. The taste is sweet and spicy, with plenty of Belgian yeast character. Alcohol warmth is abundant. Full, although a bit rough, in mouthfeel. This one is not particularly drinkable, and although interesting, really didn't do much for me.

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Photo of stcules
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber, ruby edges. A beige foam, beautiful. Good appearance.
In the smell a lot of spices, and a bit of alcohol.
In the taste malt, tending to caramel, and a bit too much alcohol again. Again spices, yes, but more subdued.
Having had this beer in other occasion, we can remember a more smoothness in the mouth, less alcohol, and a lot of good spiciness, very pleasant and characterized.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A moderate pour produces an almost four finger thick, pale tan colored head that leaves some delicate lacing on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is a full amber color, when held up to the light the beer shows a hazy, red tinged, orangish, light amber color. The aroma has a light sweetness to it, smells sort of rich and has an intriguing mix of aromatics that are not easily placed, but seem to be produced by a confluence of malt and spice aromatics. A deeper inspection yields aromas that make me think of pears, sweet melons, fresh baked bread, fenugreek, sour apples, perhaps a hint of woodiness and some definite anise there towards the end. The spicing is quite subtle in this beer, it is really hard to pick out and if I didn't know about it I would definitely attribute the complexity of the nose to the yeast driven fermentation character. This has a really nice aroma to it, with soft, subtle notes that are fun to chase.

Sweet tasting up front, but the spices definitely kick in towards the finish. The spices are still not so noticeable as to be easily picked out; in fact after my first sip I can say it is spicy, but not what exactly it is that I am tasting. The up front sweetness accentuates flavors of sweet plums, cantaloupe, a touch of apple and some Anjou pear. The fruit / sweetness also seem to be accented by some of the spice components of this beer, though I would be hard pressed to say which ones. The spices add a sharpness / light astringency to the finish that mimics the effect of hop bitterness, but is certainly uniquely different. The beer has a certain heft to it that helps to carry the flavors, it is not heavy, nor is it light, but is about in line with a somewhat well attenuated Belgian beer of this strength; it has enough heft to it to keep it from being perfectly quaffable, but is still fairly drinkable. This was a fairly well carbonated brew as well, though not so much that I noticed it being excessive.

I am so unused to these spices being used in beer that I am having a hard time pulling out the specific spice flavors here, some of this is because the brewer used a restrained spicing here (at least at the age that this beer is now). A very tasty, interesting beer that I am quite enjoying a 750ml bottle of.

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Photo of akorsak
4.09/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pin at Farmers' Cabinet. Shangrila aged in sherry barrels that held JW Lees Harvest Ale.

A: The ale pours with a thick and pulpy look, ample sediment hazing over the ale and giving it a reddish-brown color. No head.

S: Vanilla, sherry strength and wood. Mild sourness follows. The base Shangrila beer has a very unique spice profile that, unfortunately, doesn't come through very well. Instead, it is swallowed up by the sherry barrel notes.

T: On the initial serve, the vanilla and wood are strong, fortified by the sherry. A very mild sourness follows but hardly enough to look at the ale as a sour. Instead, the wood dominates. As in the nose, the underlying ale tends to disappear, lost behind the sweet sherry notes. Easily the most complex of the offerings, not to mention a very rare find.

M: The mouthfeel picks up thick barleywine, sweet vanilla and fortified sherry. The complexity is admirable, a true sipping beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bonfire reddish orange with a ton of suspended yeast. This is a beer that looks much better when backlit than it does on the coaster. The head (which is more pastel orange than ecru) has a rumpled, micropitting texture that matches the 'dirty', unfiltered look of the beer very well. The lace display is underwhelming, but things look great without it.

Leave it to the Italians to add wacky ingredients to beer; ingredients that I don't recall drinking before. The label says that anise, pepper, tandori and curry are used. We've all had those first two, but the last two? As far as I know, both tandori and curry are spice mixtures, not actual spices, so maybe Birrificio Troll doesn't want us to know their secrets.

Unfortunately, the aroma is too laid back for any of those to be identified with certainty. Only general impressions are possible. I'll go with sweet and spicy and exotic. I think I might like the flavor, but it's hard to know for sure until taste bud submersion is underway.

Like most beer from this country, the flavor is on the subtle side. I don't get it. The brewers had 8.5% to play with, and one of the most unusual 'spice rack' set of ingredients that I've ever seen, and they can't brew an ass kickin' BSDA? Sure, it's pleasant enough beer, but maybe these Trolls need to spend a few years in Belgium learning how world-class beer is created. Can you imagine what Dany Prignon would do with this recipe?

Warming brings a bit more boldness, although bold is giving Shangrila too much credit. I might have been able to identify anise and pepper, but then again, maybe not. As far as the rest, not a chance. At least there's a modest amount of dark candi sugar present. It this stuff was bitter rather than sweet, drinkability would take a big hit.

The mouthfeel, along with the appearance, is the highlight. A shortage of malt keeps it light, while the candi sugar gives it a steath viscosity and a lip sticky feel that I'm enjoying quite a bit. More bubbles might have added needed volume, but it's hard to quarrel with the amount and feel of the carbonation that has been provided.

Shangrila (or Shangri-La, as it's more commonly known) implies paradise, the land of milk and honey. I had hoped that this Birrificio Troll offering would break out of the mold and would give me an Italian beer to applaud. Unfortunately, I didn't find paradise in this bottle. Is this where I quote John Milton for irony's sake?

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA. in May, 2008, from the back cellar, price not recorded. 750 ml bottle with a new label; the same basic feel of the label shown, but less dramatic.

Pours a moderate amber-brown, fairly clear until the sediment hits the glass. A thin head quickly turns to a thin film, although there is some decent carbonation.

Aroma is a light caramel roast, semi-sweet, maybe a hint of carob. Pleasant but not overwhelming.

Flavor is fairly typical of a very light version of the style. There is the roasty malts, the spiciness, the molassas and brown sugar, but in a very light, thin version of what I am used to. As I read that is is supposed to have curry and tandoori spices in it, I honestly don't get that at all. I recently had a Unibroue brew of the same style, and it was so much heavier and richer and fuller, this one seems like a "lite" version in comparison. Not that this is all bad, it tastes good, it just isn't as bold as I would expect.

Mouthfeel is actually relatively thin as noted above. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Overall, good and enjoyable, but light and thin.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.97/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Local Taphouse for their Italian SpecTapular.

Pours a pale amber hue, quite clear with a very light and rather insipid body. Head forms a thin ring of off-white. No lace. Overall, it looks pretty damn disappointing.

Nose is similarly disappointing. Instead of the heady array of Himalayan spices I was promised, we get weakly fermented apple cider with a touch of cinnamon as almost a throw-away afterthought. Very light on, as well, giving very little up at all.

Spicy characters on the front of the palate at least, again focussing mainly on a slightly sweet cinnamon character, that builds to a pasty cinnamon-sugar dosage on the finish. Some phenols come in mid palate to do something I don't know what. There's not a lot here for them to meld with or clash against.

Feel is light, but with a tingle from the spice.

Overall, no, it's not a bad beer, per se, but it sure is pretty dull given when it promises.

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Photo of brentk56
2.15/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with lots of yeast in suspension; a hard pour was necessary to get any head at all, and what arrived faded quickly without leaving any lace; I do notice a ring around the neck of the bottle that marks the liquid line; infection, perhaps?

Smell: Herbacious, medicinal aroma; I pick up some licorice, perhaps, but am finding the curry and tandoori (I thought that was a style of cooking, not a spice) hard to identify; very boozy, too

Taste: Opens with a cidery flavor with a medicinally herbacious flavor developing by mid-palate; these flavors linger in the aftertaste, and not in a good way

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and flat

Drinkability: Really disappointed in this one; something clearly not right here so I will have to try this one again, but not any time soon, I expect

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Photo of geexploitation
4.32/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear on the first pour, then cloudy as the lees is kicked up. Big, flat head that fades quickly on top of a ruby-tinged, light amber body. The smell is quite intriguing -- the Tandoori spices they use in this beer come across as a warming dryness that reminds me of chestnuts, along with some sweet candi sugar notes and some oxidation. On the palate, nutty sweetness followed by a gradually drying, warm spiciness. There's also a strange pear/diacetyl element that crops up in the second half, but somehow it works. Unlike anything else I've had, and very tasty. Mouthfeel is full of carbonation, with a medium body and slight alcohol hotness, especially as the beer warms. Overall, this is really cool. Very unusual, and it doesn't sound like a concept that should work, but it somehow does. This paired very well with some whole wheat pita and hummus. Very good.

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Photo of wl0307
4.42/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer at the BSF bar, GBBF 06. According to the BSF programme: "Great lovers of unusual spices, brewers Daniele Meinero and Andrea Bertola use six kinds of malts, British hops and Himalayan spices for this great beer". Coming in a 750ml brown bottle, bottle-conditioned, capped and covered with grey plastic wrap on the top. BB 12/2007, served lightly-chilled in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.

A: pours a translucent dark ruby hue, the beige beer head comes creamy but dissipates fast, on top of super fine and gentle carbonation... looking really elegant.
S: top class!... a mixed malty theme (melted brown sugar, caramel, a drop of wild honey) is backed with ever-so-complex yet smooth aromatic spices, reminiscent of a certain type of aromatic yet sharp-scented incense wood, cinnamon, cardamom, dried floral elements... and many more hardly discernible. A touch of dried tangerine peel maybe from hops and malts is at the fringe, too. Overall, a nice balance on the nose: aromatic spices balanced with malts and skirted with a touch of healthy fruity sourness.
T: lightly spritzy-textured amber malts upfront are ensued closely by liquid spices, mainly bitter incense wood, dried lemon+tangerine peels, cinnamon, hemp-extract, licorice... very mixed and complex; hop bitterness and a bitter edge of dark malts gradually emerge, intertwining with the spices just smoothly and skilfully, leaving an understated aftertaste with residual aromas of spices and herbs behind, as well as just a touch of warming alc. down the throat.
M&D: spritzy at first, but the bubbles seem to dissolve quickly on the tongue and give way to the complex flavour. This beer is very well-crafted and shows harmony b/w subtle spices and mixed malts. The end result is not so much bold and "in yer face" as some traditional European X'mas beers; this one is rather subtle and complex, leaving a lingering and complex bitterness to carry the enjoyment up a level. Whether one likes spices or not, this is a fine beer all the same.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep orange, mahagony with not a whole lot of bubbling or lacing as I would expect with a Belgian style brew. just love the color of this beer though. Lots of warm, caramelized fruits like figs, peaches, and apricots. The taste is fruity, but also mixes some other good malt notes. Plenty of mild, syrupy fruits and hints of caramel, and toasty malts. The finish is definetly mixed fruit cup from elementary school. Can't underscore the fruitiness of this beer. But the warmth fom this beer is also very pleasant and slow to build up.

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Photo of matjack85
2.5/5  rDev -28.2%

Photo of SFLpunk
3.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Quick notes from Tigris Beverage/g.housen Tasting earlier today. Bottle looks different than picture with a crimson red label with Sharngila in script diagonally across it.

Hazy tawny with off-white head. Nose is of tired caramel (some oxidation?) and Christmas baking spices. Reminds me of a (good) fruitcake. or spice cookie. Palate is wide and sweet like apple cider - nice spices but nothing is overpowering nor taking the limelight. Curry comes out in a subtle way. Tastes like Christmas cookies in an amber ale.

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Photo of biegaman
3.99/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A truly spiced beer, evident from every aspect of its exotic and curious nature.
A flat pour, ruby red with orange glow. Aroma is both malty and full of spices. Very perfumy, strong seasoned. Maybe even a little spicy. I get more frangrance in the taste, which is really quite ambrosial! An icredibly impressive job of mixing so many spices together. The brewer claims to use: a blend of coriander, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, ginger, cardamom, saffron, curry, pepper, anise. I couldn't really pick out many of these, none stood on their own. But all blended conjointly into a very herbaceous mouthfeel.
Very smooth other than a little bitterness from the English hops. I taste alot of fruity notes as well - grapefruit especially. Good caramel malt. The way these spices were combined so agreeably is very impressive.

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Photo of laituegonflable
1.94/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a reddish amber hue, clear body with white head, nothing particularly special. Looks fluid, and very pale for the style. Not great.

Smells very phenolic, with a herbal hop aroma but an overwhelming whiff of booze as well. Slight diacetyl-ish character coming through midway, maybe just a touch too much sweetness there. Bit metallic on the back. I'm afraid it's actually unpleasant.

Malty sweet all over the palate, with some slight fruity notes upfront, raisiny sweetness. From the midpoint on it's all big booze notes though, which also dries up the potentially pleasant opening notes. Just too big. Needs so much more body here to combat the strength in the flavour. Basically all the flavour and complexity of flavour is swallowed up and sapped out by the booze.

No real texture at all either. A shame.

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Photo of dherling
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured outa dark brown color with a slight reddish hue. There's a nice big white head that runs away quickly. The nose is mostly malt sweetness, defined mostly by butterscotch/caramel. There's good spice also, and finally a little oak. The taste again is mostly malt sweetness, but with nice spice backing it up, apricot, citrus, cinnamon, and anise. There's alcohol in the finish, which is pretty long.

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Photo of cpanossian
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was expecting a sour beer after my first smell - reminded me of Flanders sours. But first tastes were a big surprise - not sour at all. Rich savory ale, with hints of apricot and curry, like Southern Comfort with carbonation and some head. After mellowing in my glass for a short while, further smells reminded me of a nice sherry from souther Spain. This is a fine sipping ale to go along with a meal or nice cheeses.

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Photo of papat444
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Flashback #366

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Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of dsa7783
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Gingerman...
Great, exotic, authentic stuff...
Pretty pricy in the stores, but on tap a lot cheaper...
Dark-brown hue, thick head and apparent lacing...
Smell: Rich malts, dark, candied sugars, raisins...
Taste: Dark, dehydrated fruits, slight mocha, raisins, purple grapes... Medicinal flavor...

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Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lighter body than expected for a dark ale and has a two-finger head that dies slow. Really hoppy and bitter aroma with a load of spices; corriander, pepper, clove...not too great w/ spices but there are some in this beer. A light-to-medium body that can even be described as slightly creamy. Tastes seem to vary from tart and citric fruits with some dryness from yeast and bread malt as well as some sweetness from caramel and hint of tropical fruit and/or grape and cherry. Beer is OK balanced but it seems to get caught up on the malts and the fruit flavors are a little bit bland and then the ABV kinda bleeds into the finish. An OK beer but just slightly misses the mark.

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Photo of glid02
3.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a turbid red-orange color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of light malts with hints of Belgian candi sugar - there's not a whole lot going on here. If I really stick my nose in there I can get light hints of pears.

Tastes more robust than it smells. Sugar-coated pears meet green apples up front, with a very light amount of spices coming in right at the end. I wouldn't have guessed the ABV was 8.5%.

Mouthfeel is very nice. It's got a smooth thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This certainly wasn't hard to finish, but I don't know if I'd want another one.

Overall this was a tasty beer, but nothing to write home about. Worth a shot if for nothing else than the mish-mash of ingredients used.

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Photo of daftafne
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Found a bottle of this at a Whole Foods in Chicago (I was excited for the good find!)

Poured into a tulip it was an orange/red with a yeast suspended and two fingers of tan head. The smell was really quite powerful. Smells mostly of sweet dark fruits, spice. Taste is sweet but not cloying, finishes with spices. Yes, there is curry in it and it was a tad spicy but just barely. The blend of spices was such that it was difficult to pick them out individually (except for the anise). really well-balanced, especially considering the interesting ingredients. Unique flavor profile. Reminds me of theobroma (for the spice). Creamy mouthfeel, some alcohol warmth. Worth trying though it cost 15 dollars for a 750 ml bottle....

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Shangrila from Birrificio Troll
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 40 ratings