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It's Alive! | Mikkeller ApS

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It's Alive!It's Alive!

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium.

Ingredients: Water, malt (pale and cara), light candy, hops (hallertauer and styrian goldings), yeast and brettanomyces.

Added by DarkerTheBetter on 06-06-2008

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Reviews: 193 | Ratings: 408
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Best By Date March 2012; Sampled July 2008
A soft pour easily produces over three-fingers of foamed that is a dirty, light tan color. The beer is a full amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, orange-tinged, light amber color when held up to the light. The aroma is very fruity smelling; aromas of berries, aromatic apples, sauvignon Blanc, some light zinfandel grape notes and some Asian pear are each noticeable. Funky, though not overwhelmingly so; it is more spicy than funky with ample notes of woody black pepper, cedar, ginger and clove. A backdrop of bready malt notes round out the complexity in the nose. Really it is the woody, peppery notes that make this such an interesting beer to smell.

Despite resting for almost ten minutes it is still incredibly well carbonated and it fizzes up as soon as it hits my tongue. The beer tastes fairly sweet which really accentuates fruit flavors up front. It then starts to get funky towards the middle and into the finish. The fruit notes remind me of currants, some generic berry notes, a touch of apple and some light pear. As to the funk, well this is dominated by huge phenolic notes that are a mix of some band-aide notes, lightly rotting vegetal notes and a curing plastic / acetone note that lingers on in the mouth after each sip. Underneath the strong phenolics is a solid, if not piquant, spiciness that provides flavors of pepper, fruity young ginger and lingering clove. At times the phenolics seem to contribute more of a spicy, wood-like character that is almost like cedar, but does seem to pick up a turpentine edge.

As the beer warms up it loses the harshest of the plastic phenolic notes, or perhaps it is just that my palate has become saturated. It almost becomes enjoyable from the beginning to ending of each sip, though the harsh, plastic phenolics never entirely dissipate. This is light and quaffable, especially for an 8% abv beer.

This almost has a Jekyll and Hyde flavor personality (thankfully the aroma is all nice, funky, goodness); up front it is quite fruity, smooth and tasty, but towards the finish it starts to get wild, harsh and phenolic. In the end I would balance this a bit more towards the pleasant notes; even in the finish there are solid, good tasting, flavor contributions, all of which ultimately save this from being un-enjoyable.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is curiously lackluster. Not bad in any particular way, but it really doesn't have any spark or zing to it. Pours a hazy orange amber with a nice head that sticks around. Smells very earthy and with a fairly big hit of dry malt. Tastes earthy as well, but fairly plain. Nice bitter finish, but no hoppy zing or Belgian yeast fruit and spice or candi sugar sweetness. Just sort of dry and bready with some earthy hops and fairly flat in flavor. Some spicy hops at the end that carry through in the mouthfeel, which is a bit rough around the edges. Not bad, but not memorable.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.94/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at The Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like honey, stale hops, very mild spicy Brett, and some lightly sweet caramel.

If this was supposed to mimic Orval, it failed in that regard. It's too malty sweet. Neither the hops nor the Brett really shine here, it's just kind of muddled with a sweet malt backbone, and a stale hop character. The Brett is slightly peppery, but I have to emphasize that it's barely there. Possibly a few years in the cellar would help this aspect be more prominent, but who knows.

This is medium bodied, with a somewhat crisp mouthfeel, and a higher level of carbonation.

This was a disservice to the greatness of Orval. It did not work.

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Photo of corby112
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark golden amber/chestnut brown with a tick one finger foamy yellowish beige head. Decent retention, slowly fades into a lasting ring. Not much lacing.

Bready/yeasty aroma with subtle light fruit notes and earthy tartness. Hints of apple and pear as well as a grassy straw character compliment the earthy brett.

Very yeast medium body with slight roasted malt, peppery spiciness and a sour/tart earthy dry finish. There is some slight crisp light fruit character but this is overpowered by the funky tart brett flavor.

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Photo of wl0307
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Coming in a 750ml green bottle, BB 31/07/2018, served chilled in Hapkin’s short-stemmed tulip-shaped sniffer.

A: pours a semi-murky, dark reddish amber hue, coming with a thin layer of beige foamy head and lively carbonation.
S: lightly caramely sweet, assertively tangy woody, citrus-peel-ish, spice-estery, overripe-pear-ish and lightly funky-yeasty, but the sweet malty edge seems to be constantly on the top; given a good swirl, the creamy perfume of esters intensify.
T: lightly sour-sweet malty and pleasantly grapefruit-zesty on the entry, with a pretty dry palate immediately ensuing along with richly spicy esters, leaving deepening hop bitterness, lightly funky elements and Styrian Golding’s aroma to go with the tangy tannins developing towards the end of each sip; obviously warming at the rear of the palate. Not terribly complex, but the flavour is quite lovely.
M&O: throughout the drink the mouthfeel remains softly refreshing with rather decent and subtle carbonation, against a medium-plus body of Orval-like flavour profile. The attenuation level is not quite as high as the original, nor is the funky Brett’s performance, but all in all this is a highly drinkable Belgian ale with layers of flavours and aroma to offer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dull rustic-orange with a 3 finger, foamy ivory colored head that was well lasting.Visible carbonation was a mixture of slow steady rising micro bubbles with spontaneous rapidly rising macro bubbles. The lacing left a random spotty spongey patching down the sides of the glass.

S: The nose yielded sour oranges and pale grains along with musky scents of lemon. A mildewy floral hopping closes things out. The nose was subtle from the brettamyoces, pale and soft, and somehow was expecting more here.

T: sharp and acidic with funky sour oranges that blast the tastebuds from the start thanks in part to the lively carbonation. Things settle down after the initial sip with soft mildew lemons and sour citrus. Alcohol is well detected here with a tart yeasty nature delivering hints of sour fruit (pears), bananas, warm pineapple and warm grapefruit. the overall flavor was musky and tart wit a warming sour alcohol presence just before the finish of lingering sour citrus.

M: light bodied, very smooth, and despite the visible nature fairly soft carbonation wise. A sour funky citrus laces the tongue.

D: Wild and funky but overall well done and toned. A sour citrusy, Belgian pale, good for a single serving (bomber) but not intriquing enough to warrant repeatability or future purchase. One try is suffice and only moderate when compared to their other fantastic beers they brew.

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A corked and caged 750 mL bottle picked up at Capone's just under a year ago.

A: The bottle was a gusher after the cork popped, requiring fast action to get it into a glass as opposed to the floor. The ale has a visible red hue, darkening what starts out as a copper colored brew. Despite the high carbonation, the head is practically nonexistent.

S: A dry horseblanket aroma lies just behind a rather fruity body, both the work of tireless yeast.

T: The taste s very dry, all the sweetness having been sucked out of it. Grainy malts fight with, and lose to, the brettanomyces with its funk. The ale is very reminiscent of Orval, although I suppose that that was the intent. A vegetal flavor, the remnants of some hops, leaves an odd finish that is barely noticeable against the brett.

M: The mouthfeel is light, despite the funkiness. The sharpness of the finish makes me want another sip.

D: The heft of the 8% alcohol never gets in the way, allowing the funk to shine through. Another Danish standout.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into tulip 15/3/12

A slight haze in a golden amber body, about as many tiny bubbles as you could fit in the glass make it hard to well fit in the glass, even the gentle pour ends up with half a glass of soapy foam that ends up as an eraser top island after leaving spider web lacing well down the glass

S smells like some mildly funky brown sugar with a little fruit and dark bread

T some more hops then I could smell but not by much, some thistle and earthy notes maybe even a little tea bag, the Brett is mild and although a decent brew I was hoping for more

M a little foamy from all the bubbles with just a little heat from the booze but its pretty mild, a fruity funky aftertaste is faint but lingers

O maybe I'm missing the point with this one but I wasn't all that impressed, its decent beer but considering the price tag I wont be buying a second

not worth 15$ but there was only one way to find that out, looks great but perhaps it needs some age or something, I remember loving USAlive this ones not as impressive

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in snifter, the beer pours a hazy copper/brown color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both average. Aroma is mostly fruity (but also a bit light), it smells like tart apples, vinegar, funk, peppery spice, and some pears. Unfortunately, a lot of that doesn't come out in the taste. It tastes like some bready malt, yeast, peppery spice, and a little bit of tart fruit. There's also a bitter finish, but something just seems a little bit "off" about the taste. Mouthfeel is medium, it has moderate and soft carbonation. Drinkability is decent, it's smooth and not hard to drink at all. I'll have to revisit this one in the future.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep, translucent copper amber hue. What an awesome, thick, dense, sticky head. Spongey and very light tan in color. But very small and slow lacing. The aroma makes me think of the produce aisle at my local grocery store, Dominicks. More specifically, like when you bury your nose in th apple display. Particularly, green apples. Very yeasty, fruity taste. Unsweetend apple sauce and caramel malts. The apples and caramel slowly move to a smokey toasted malt. Hints of Tandy leather give an earthy hop finish. Not as funky as expected, but pretty hoppy and earthy. Saddle leather palate earthy. Pretty easy to drink considering the 8% abv. You would never guess the abv. without looking at the bottle.

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Photo of avalon07
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a bright amber color and a clear consistency. There was a massive, fluffy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A combination sweet/musty aroma, with traces of fruit and yeast.

T: Tasted of Belgian yeast, esters, light fruit, malt, and a hint of a woody element. An interesting and lively flavor with a good personality. Well done.

M: A super-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly made, tasty and drinkable beer.

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Photo of DrJay
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grub cracked this one on Day 1 of the 2008 Biergotter Tasting. Thanks!
This one had a gigantic, frothy beige head that produced big, chunky clumps of lacing. Semi-clear and a red/amber colour. The aroma was full of hops of the floral/soapy variety and there was a bit of fruity tartness, some sweetness, and faint earthy funk, perfume and jasmine. Bitterness was a bit assertive, but still nicely balanced. The flavour was very floral and perfumy, with many of the same characters that were in the aroma. Medium bodied with lowish carbonation, decent texture. Pretty good overall, but outclassed by the other beers we enjoyed this evening.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mikkeller Bar in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Essentially, hazy lighter orange body. Smells of sweet pale malt, a bit of graininess, a light white vinous-like character. Not much acidity or hoppiness though. Flavour is similar, a bit bland even. Mouthfeel is thinner, refreshing, a bit astringent on the backend. Not my glass of beer, but not bad.

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Photo of Brad007
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I just couldn't say no to Mikkeller and I'm glad that I didn't.

Pours a luscious amber with a thick head that quickly fades. I absolutely love the presentation here.

Funky fresh with grape, pear and apple notes from the funk. Aging this in wine barrels is a brilliant tactic. It accentuates the grape.

A cooling rush of funk coats my tongue, leaving behind a plethora of grape and apple notes. Not very heavy on flavor but it gets the job done.

The mouth warms up due to the 8% level. Personally, a bit of aging would only strengthen the appeal of this ale. The carbonation is overwhelming at this stage.

Well worth a try if you're a Mikkeller fanboy like I.

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Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to grub for opening up this one! Last beer of day 1 of insane DrJay visit epic tasting.

Pours a hazy copper orange, huge off white head forms, tons of lace on the glass, great retention, forms a solid layer. Smell is neat, sweet and spicy, fruits, musty grapes, grapefruit and orange peel, wood, very fragrant and perfumy, some jasmine, bit of funk, neat. Taste is similar, perfumy, floral, very spicy, jasmine tea bitterness, bit of funky woodiness, light fruits, interesting stuff, a bit astringent and drying in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodieed with medium carbonation, not too bad. From the name I was expecting more of a wild ale, but for a Belgian pale this had some pretty cool character to it. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of drpimento
4.59/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! What a brew! Poured with a nice small (in a small sample glass) off white head and a little lace. Aroma is an incredible floral with yeast, malt and some hop. Flavor's about the same with massive malt and a little earthiness. Great, chewy body and carbonation. Color is a copper amber. Finish is like flavor. Deliscious. Brett. adds a lot to the the beer with the flavor and edge. Could even be a session for slow drinking.

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Photo of jrallen34
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Mikkeller. This is an Orval clone.

This pours a super dark orange with an off white head, very flimsy head that falls quickly, light lacing...Aroma is super light, sweet apricots mostly with a touch of sourness on the end...The taste is ok, a little sweet and sour, lots of herbal notes. This is actually a pretty good clone of Orval, really close, this is just a little sweeter.

If you like Orval give this a shot to just compare the two, if you don't know Orval, skip it.

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Photo of dgilks
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This had just run out at The Pumphouse in Sydney but the bartender offered me a glass from his growler of the beer. Thanks mate!

Hazy, dark amber colour with a smooth, foamy head. Poor head retention.

Lots of barnyard funk on the nose with a touch of tropical fruit. Slightly earthy. Really nice Brettanomyces character.

More funk with only the lightest of acidic touches. This is what a Brett beer is all about. Plenty of fruit as in the aroma and some malt.

Medium-full body with low carbonation. Smooth.

A nice beer with lots and lots of funk. I feel like it lacks a bit of depth and is a little one dimensional in terms of the funk but that is what you get from Brett.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy orange-copper color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth pale malts with candied light fruits - apricots and pears - with a mild tartness. Also present are moderate amounts of funk and hints of herbal hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Mildly grainy pale malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by soft and lightly tart medium fruit flavors. Midway through the sip hints of funk work their way into things before fading out into a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was a solid beer but no one thing stood out as exceptional. Still, it's worth a shot.

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Photo of champ103
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/orange color. A two finger off-white head forms, and gently recedes to a ring. Some sticky lace is left down the glass.
S: This has an odd aroma. It is not bad, I just can't tell what it is. Some fruity and malty sweetness up front. An odd soapy and perfume like aroma as well.
T: Follows the nose. Malty sweet with some fruity flavors. Though that odd soapy and perfume character again.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A little thin and watered down though. Not hard to drink, but the alcohol is noticeable just enough to make this a slow sipper.

I am kind of at odds with this beer. Not bad at all, but nothing really special. All in all, I have had better Brett beers. It is worth a try though.

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Photo of ccrida
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, It's Alive! is copper with a large, off-white head, fairly slow settling and some what rocky, with pretty heavy, sugary looking lace. Darker then I was expecting, or prefer, but nice head, which is really the main thing I'm looking for here.

Smell is good and funky, with traces of caramel and hops that I wasn't expecting, as well as wafts of alcohol. It gets sweeter as it warms, tropical fruits, although I served it at cellar temp. An 'interruption' let it warm to room temp.

Taste is pretty acrid, very peppery, with a musty note from the brett that is a bit moldy. Not to exciting, the bitterness of the hops is amplified by the bugs, although the (unusual for the style IMHO) richness of the malt helps temper that. I wish I had aged this for another year at least to let the bugs do their thing and develop some complexity, I expect they'd soften the sharpness of the yeast and hops. Still, it grew on me as I worked though the bottle and let it warm up, but that also made the ABV more apparent.

Mouthfeel is actually on the thinner side, well a bit watery but medium bodied, with a drier finish, a bit sharp.

Drinkablity is not to stellar at this point, just not too exciting or tasty, a bit thick, very bitter and lacking depth. For the price, you'd be better served to sit on these for a while. The cork had a nice pop, but the beer barely moved. I'd hope with some time under it's belt, it would overflow a bit!

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty, slightly dark, slightly hazy golden amber with a VERY thick buttery off-white head. The bottle I got fizzed like nobody’s business, so have a towel handy! Aroma is average strength, fruity, yeasty and somewhat sweet with a malty hint. Flavor is mainly fruity, sweet but not too sweet, and has malt and yeast hints plus just a bit of butterscotch. Texture is fairly fizzy, leaving a rather persistent tingle on the tongue and lips.

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Photo of Pencible
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy dark copper with fluffy white head.
S: It smelled spicy and wild and funky and tart, with a bit of floral hops and wheat and other subtleties.
T: It tasted like tart and funky yeast with sweet tropical fruits and honey malt, and a bit of white grape and other subtleties. It had a smooth and tart aftertaste.
M: It was watery with lots of carbonation.
D: This was a great wild ale that was delicate and complex and very clean. It wasn't too funky, as the brett was well integrated and balanced. Body was decent, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was incredibly easy to drink. Great brew fresh that may improve with age.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 25.4oz bottle into a unibroue tulip.

A - Poured a brownish rubyish amber with a spurt of carbonation upon pour that raced to the top of the glass at first and then trickled sporadically from the bottom to the top. Had a really nice frothy yeasty head with extremely sticky lacing.

S - In a word...candy. Cloves, spices, hops, citrus-like sweetness. Tropical fruit candy.

T - Tangy flavor. Not overwhelming. Kind of an even blend of all the flavors from the nose without any one dominating the flavor. Has a bit of the funky sour flavor from the brett, but subdued.

M - Kind of lively, but extremely smooth. Feels like beer, but so subtly. Leaves a touch of a bitter aftertaste, but not dry at all.

D - Very easy drinker. Glad I tried it.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy, ruddy amber wih a puffy, thick khaki head.

S: Lots of brettanomyces funk on the nose with some spiced pear, green apple, talc, caramel, and candy sugar scents beneath it.

T: Notes of caramel, candy sugar, grass, lemon, spiced pear, green apple, chalk, talc, and tart, lactic brettanomyces assault the palate. The finish is sharp and lactic with huge brettanomyces funk underscored by subtle notes of orchard fruits, caramel, and candy sugar.

M: Medium-bodied and syrupy. Carbonation is very, very firm. Alcohol is subdued.

O: This is an interesting strong ale. With its overpowering wild yeast character, it should please fans of lambics, American wild ales, and the funkier, yeastier saisons. A very solid offering.

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It's Alive! from Mikkeller ApS
3.74 out of 5 based on 408 ratings.
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