Arctic Circle Ale | Malmgårdin Panimo

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very good
78 Reviews
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Arctic Circle AleArctic Circle Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Malmgårdin Panimo
Finland | website

Style: Sahti

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by feloniousmonk on 03-03-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
78
Ratings:
141
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
9.67%
 
 
Wants:
33
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 141
Photo of avalon07
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a rust color with a thick, cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A very sharp, herbal smell, with some hints of caramel.

T: Tasted of caramel, malt, that herbal quality (which I assume is the juniper), and a slight hoppy presence. An interesting take on the Sahti. It almost has some qualities of a barleywine.

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

D: This is a solidly made, drinkable beer.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one fizzled in my luggage on the way back from the US, seemingly losing a third of its volume into my suitcase. Looks like it was just pressure related, however, as I successfully uncapped it with a decent fizz, and there's plenty of carbonation still visible. Lucky save.

Pours a very rich and thick deep brown-mahogany colour, twinges of red to it. Head forms languidly through the dense body, a large-bubbled crown of speckled yellow-white. Minimal lacing, cloudy body. Looks very heavy, rich and sweet. I love it.

Nose is very deep and sweet, with hints of pepper and resiny bark. The juniper is noticeable here, giving a slight bite that almost resembles turpentine. Sweet, sugary caramels are dominant though, and the juniper merely cuts through them like hops would cut through a good double IPA. Lovely.

Taste is smooth and rather sweet, with a cleansing bite on the back, which is like hops, but completely unlike hops as well. The cleansing bitterness is reminiscent of it, but the flavour is very different. Sharper, more woody and resiny. For some reason, I think of describing it as "echoey" - the bites of bitterness seem to reverberate bit by bit. The sweetness is still here in abundance, but it's a deep dark malty bitterness, with the spice of pumpernickel rye bread coming through as well.

Feel is smooth and rich.

Very interesting brew. I've not had a dark sahti before, but I can see now that it works. Sahti seems like such an odd style to me, but every time I have one I get more and more enamoured with it.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Aug 2016. I purposely saved this one for a month or so - as both my first sahti and first Finnish-made beer in general, I figured it would make a great subject for my 800th review. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep, turbid copper-amber colour, topped with over an inch of foamy, light tan-coloured head. Retention is fairly good; it takes more than five minutes to seep away into a bubbly cap and frothy collar, depositing some strands of lace as it recedes. The aroma is malty and herbal, featuring strong notes of caramel, treacle, rye malt and juniper. Banana, prune and maybe even a touch of licorice also come through, with a hint of booziness.

This nifty little brew combines a lot of unique elements into a surprisingly coherent, well-balanced whole. Caramel and syrupy molasses sweetness are featured strongly, with bready, spicy rye malt present in a similar role. It becomes increasingly herbal from thereon in, with plummy dark fruit and banana leading into a hint of chocolate, and finally a leafy, herbal juniper astringency in the finish. Mild suggestions of anise and boozy warmth in the aftertaste, with a lingering juniper, pine-sappy bitterness that fades slowly. Medium-bodied, with low carbonation levels that impart a very smooth, soft feel on the palate. Surprisingly drinkable, given the high abv and strongly sweet/herbal flavour profile. I probably wouldn't want to drink this all night, unless perhaps the furnace breaks during an apocalyptic snowstorm.

Final Grade: 4.07, a solid A-. Huvila Arctic Circle Ale is a stellar herbed beer, though having had no other sahtis I cannot provide much perspective on how it compares to other examples of the style. This brew manages to maintain an ideal balance between syrupy, malty sweetness and the spicy, herbal features imparted by the juniper, English hops and rye malt. Great stuff; worth seeking out if you are at all a fan of traditional herbed beers, gruits, etc.

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Photo of Rayek
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Deep tarnished copper, with good clarity and active carbonation. A pillow like nougat head has decent retention and leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: The label says rye and juniper are in this beer, and they really come through. The rye's distinct caraway aroma and the juniper's minty effervescence are the dominant aromas. Behind them are a bit of lemon tea and light roasted grain.

T: The nose transitions nicely into the flavor. The rye is strong all the way, with its distinctive flavor lasting through the finish. Flavors of black tea, lemon and dried twigs round things out. Quite different, to be honest.

M: The medium-thick body starts out way too carbonated, but quickly settles down to become quite pleasant. Feels slightly sticky.

D: I was honestly a touch disappointed when I first started this. Too fizzy and too subdued in its flavor. As it warmed and breathed; however, it got much better. Overall, it comes across to me as a Sahti/Rye Beer hybrid that's quite unique. A fine winter pickup.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch tan head that sticks around a little while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is rich and malty, the brew smells like caramel malt, dark bread, herbs, and some dark fruit. The herbal and caramel flavors are strong in this brew. It also tastes like nuts, dark bread, and some dark fruit. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's syrupy and slick with low/moderate carbonation. I think this is a good brew, I liked it! $8.99 a bottle, I think it's worth trying at that price.

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Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly no head, but it does leave some streaky, but limited, lace. The beer is a solid brown color where light passes through easily. Very cloudy, looks muddy.

Plentiful sweet caramel. Smells like a rich duppelbock or a barley wine. No notable juniper berry aroma.

Drier than the smell lets on, but still very sweet. There's some nice balancing toastiness to the swallow. The aftertaste is surprisingly astringent like Gin with a mild kick of alcohol kicked in. Wonderfully different and remarkably drinkable. Full bodied with a low level of carbonation.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into nonic pint. "finnish ale brewed with juniper twigs" (to be honest i've never tasted juniper before). best before aug 6, 2016, which is printed at the very top of the bottle's neck. poured on november 16, 2014

a: an opaque, deep caramel colour. a very aggressive pour yields 2.5 fingers of head

s: full of caramel and earthy scents. some fruity aromas like slight grapefruit, figs, and raisins, and a pinch of alcohol

t: starts off with a huge and distinct spicy/herbal-y/earthy quality, which i'm guessing is the juniper flavour, along with strong malty caramel. mid-palate exhibits mild raisin/fig notes, along with a potent punch of a kind of smoky taste, which is quite interesting. the finish (heh) has lingering herbal bitterness, with touches of caramel and smoke

m: medium-ish body and medium-minus carbonation. feels quite thick in the mouth, really nice

o: an intriguing, flavourful beer. give it a shot

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Photo of ssmack
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky dark brown with copper highlights. Half inch of mixed beige head but I had to pour hard to get it. Fine carbonation at the surface. Some lacing but no retention.

I can smell the juniper. Brown sugar and roasted grain. Delicious.

Wow. Tons of taste. The juniper works very well with hops. Roasted grain forward with juniper at the edge of the palette which lingers withe the hop bitter aftertaste.

Medium feel with no carbonation. Warmth from alcohol.

A very pleasant surprise for me. I will search this one out again. Great winter ales.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up during a trip to Baton Rouge. Not my first Sahti, but my first Sahti that was brewed in Finland. Excited to try this one, as it is also my first beer from Finland.

The beer pours a dark brown-orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the caramel and toffee malt. I don't get the juniper in the aroma. That being said, the juniper is present in the flavor. I also get some smoked malt and and toffee, as well as a little bit of chocolate. All of the flavors meld well together and make an enjoyable beer. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a semi-opaque (because of the darkness of color) mahogany in color with a finger tall beige head. The head reduces to some extremely thin patches and a much thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of malty sweetness with hints of caramel and toffee in addition to juniper.

T: The flavor is dominated by the juniper with other woody hints and there is some definite malt sweetness as well (with more caramel than toffee).

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some dryness in the finish.

O: Very interesting flavor profile and aroma with so much of the juniper presence. The beer was easy to drink but not really something I would call sessionable.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid Sahti beer right here. Out of the bottle the pour is cola-like, but in the glass it's more of a dark caramel or leather. Murky with an off-white head that settles to a relatively thick collar.

Whaff of caramel and cocoa at first sniff. Some vanilla and oak. Deeper nose-ful detects herbal spice and juniper, of course. Subtle and not in yo face. The malt is more pronounced.

The caramel and cocoa shift a bit in the flavor with more of a sharpness from the juniper. Almost reaches and anise or licorice taste, but backs down. Dark bread and rye come and go.

Finish is a bit hot and pepperminty, but not really. Has that herbal spice to it. The juniper cannot be ignored

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a fan of juniper, and therefore of Sahti. Not a lot of examples around, so it's nice to find one I haven't tried. This one is billed as having been brewed with juniper branches. Pours a slightly murky brown with a medium head that fades to a thin cap. Smells malty, but with a delicate juniper note. The taste is nice. Very malty, and with a little bit of a vinous, fruity note- perhaps prunes, and a nice note of juniper. Clean and light in the mouth. Not the resinous explosion of juniper I'm looking for, but very pleasant nonetheless, and it is billed as an "Arctic Ale" rather than as a traditional Sahti.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I expected more white snow from the Arctic Circle! Once you're done rolling your eyes and I have your attention back, let me seriously point out that the beer does in fact pour with very little head. I should also clarify that what's in the glass is not butterscotch pudding, though it kind of looks it, but actually a traditional Finnish beverage known as Sahti. Unfamiliar with it? So I am.

Having only tried a few prior to this I've little basis for comparison. But this one has a distinct bitterness in the aroma that's not quite like anything else; its special ingredient - juniper twigs - likely has something to do with it. This boldly malty, semi-sweet, semi-smoky bouquet is similar (by no means identical!) to the coastal, 'beach barbecue' smells of a briny, earthy, peaty scotch.

Arctic Circle Ale consists of a nice tapestry of flavours: spicy rye grain, softly bready barley, hints of sooty peat and kettle caramelization, as well as a little bit of citrusy, gin-like character from the juniper. It tastes like raw almonds and fruitcake at its base though heavier, more serious malt and bruised banana flavours usher those notions out along with some help from the alcohol.

Indeed, befitting to its name, Arctic Circle will certainly warm you on a cold night - this 7.3% isn't impolite but does seem the size of a dump truck. On the finish, any previous notions of sweet dried fruits turn immediately stewed. Alcohol doesn't interrupt or deter drinkability - sitting fireside with a heavy blanket, this warmth in fact adds to the enjoyment - but this one is open about its strength.

If this beer sounds different from anything else on the market it's because it is. Arctic Circle Ale is bound to be a true discovery for most people. A real tough one to properly assess without much experience with Sahti, the only opinions I can really share are that I enjoyed it and found it a deeply interesting ale. This one is absolutely worth the adventure and exploration.

 1,984 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish body, some red tint, with voluminous head and lace and contains an aroma of some sweet malts, pick up a little rye in there, sweetness is caramel/toffee variety, along with touch of citric hops and that floral, spicy juniper smell is noticeable. Light, easy to drink body, as I get some of the rye which helps smooth it out and gives off a touch of bread and there is some sweet caramel and toffee as well. The juniper is noticeable and adds a snap to finish but the balance is there and nothing is overpowering. A very pleasant beer that warmed up ever so slightly as I "nursed" it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"... a winter-time specialty that has bee inspired by Finland's northern nature and ancient brewing traditions. Freshly cut juniper twigs and dark rye malts have been combined with Finnish barley malts and British hops to produce this malty dark-brown ale with woody, juniper notes and a long, complex after-taste."

Dark brown color, slim head.

Light hoppy nose, grassy, herbal, some sweetness. Rich malty character.

Taste: There's the wood and the bright berries... intriqueing character. Complex, yet smooth, compelling, yum...Quite a unique brew. props for that/

way to go, Finland!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

what a special and unique beer, tastes like some of the ones ive had done with birch syrup, but different from any beer on the market. its a deep ruby to caramel color, clearish until the yeast cake at the bottom of the bottle starts to break up and add some sediment to it, not muc light getting through it, viscous, and not much head even as i try to raise it up. where the lack of carbonation is less appealing in looks, it makes the beer in mouthfeel. love the density of it, carrying the pine notes of the juniper and the sweet malt as long as possible, and its heaviness makes it a perfect winter warmer. i really love the malt in this, its so deep and rich, caramel and toffee and butter cream (in a good way). the juniper is less intense than anticipated, especially in the nose, where it only adds a layer rather than dominating, but it does have a sappy element in the feel, which works. smells and tastes like a traditional english ale yeast, and therefore makes it seem just a little like an english barleywine in style. the aftertaste is amazing, and the more i drink this and let it warm up, the more i like it. my first beer from these guys, and one of my first from finland (if not the very first), i would love to travel here and see whats out there in terms of beer. this is so different from anything else, wonderful!

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Photo of tobelerone
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Sahti. Nearly clear mahogany body with a small head that dissipates quickly. Nice lacing remains. Big time juniper and gin aroma and taste; noticeably but nicely boozy, not too hot. Lots of caramel, toffee, spice, almost reminds of a dopplebock or weizenbock. Sweet and malty with brown sugar, oak, peppery spices, and gin flavors.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation but also very smooth. Lingering finish is a little bit sweet and boozy and also a little bitter. Nice beer, very complex, different, and interesting.

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured hard into a Duvel tulip.
Dirty purple brown in color. Cloudy, hazy.
Off white 3/4 inch head that disappeared fairly fast.

S- Whiff of juniper upon opening. Fruity.

T- Sweet malt and juniper.

M- Medium body. Smooth. Decent carbonation.

O- A very unique taste. Really cannot compare it to any other beer that I have tried. Might be able to drink two at one sitting.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

600 ml bottle served cold into a pint glass. Really excited to see a Sahti in the LCBO. Purchased for $5.60 CDN.

Appearance - hazy honey brown color, with an off tan head. A finger and a half of head with nice amounts of sticky lacing left behind eventually due to the great retention. A few visible bubbles, but hard to tell due to the cloudiness.

Smell - very herbal, with some low hanging berries, and a subtle inviting sweet aroma. Some flowery aspects as well. Something akin to molasses in there as well.

Taste - wow quite a it going on here. Starts off with and earthy fruitiness, the juniper shows up here, with some mild bitterness, before the bitterness turns more serious. Transitions into a bit of a smoky flavor, and there's little bits of molasses and toffee interspersed throughout. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - smoothly, lightly carbonated, body is a little heavier than average.

Overall - definitely a different experience than my first with a Sahti, but this is delicious, easy drinking and potent enough to warm you up a bit on a cold winters day.

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Photo of mactrail
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A unique and complex perfumey ale.

Nice dark amber in the glass with a small head but very good lacing as you sip and swirl. Clear, not turbid as the traditional style suggests. Some forest aromas, pine and dry grass. Malty with some definite sweetness and well-bodied. Rye is quite evident with the dry and grainy flavors. Some kind of odd fruit makes me think of dried jujubes. Or hibuscus tea. Drawback is the overly bitter and very long aftertaste of either the hops or unrelieved pitchy boughs.

If you like rye beers or odd flavors, this one is both intriguing and well made. I'm at a loss for words to describe how odd it is, but thoroughly drinkable. It would be worth comparing with other juniper flavored beers. I definitely want to try this again, and I'll be looking to see if there are any others in this style out there.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Translucent brown body, very little head, definite lacing.

S - Molasses, bready malts, and a very pungent alcohol note.

T - Following nose, with a big dark bread, a strong molasses line, and a tail of slight bitterness and alcohol.

M - Moderate body, warming on the close.

O - Not, perhaps, my thing, but very well structured, and flavorful.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured up a lovely dark, reddish bronze colour with a two finger thick cookie dough coloured head with a nice, thick, soapy froth on top. Very nice!

Smell is mostly sweet, toasted malts, a bit of a maple syrup smell, some cooked fruit, an earthy aroma, and perhaps a light touch of alcohol ( which seems strange coming from something that's only 7,3%).

The flavour almost seems to be sweet and bitter simultaneously with the maple syrup in the smell a bit more pronounced in the flavour followed by a noticeable shift toward bitter toward the finish, and a bit of the juniper noticeable a second or two after you swallow. This is a rather bizarre brew, for sure. Very good, but odd, nevertheless.

Mouthfeel is much heavier than I was prepared for, but I enjoy that. Especially on a chilly, rainy night such as this. I have seen this before and merely passed by it. I'm very glad I chose to try it out; while definitely strange, I really enjoyed this one!

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Photo of simont1
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very different bitterness on this one, very different ale in general, I guess it’s a Sahti. Rye is nice, very nice mouthfeel, a bit fruity feel to it, quite a bit bitterness, but nicely balanced, and the malt gives very interesting new flavors that I don’t really resemble with "beer" or classic malt, but soy, maybe butterscotch, and some leather feel to it, taste is really full...

 387 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Swiss wine snifter.

After a pour of average intensity, this beer forms a small 1/2 finger light tan head over a beautifully clear radiant ruby body. This one is a looker.

The nose isn't distinct. What is here is nice but isn't what I expected. Notes of rich medium-toast malt, caramel, and toffee are evident. The aroma has a very low hop profile. This smells to me like an English winter warmer or even a doppelbock.

The flavor is akin to a big beer, such as a low-hop English barleywine, doppelbock, or maybe a big winter warmer. There is almost no trace of hops in the flavor, but there is a resiny bitterness that lingers, and I imagine that this is from the juniper. There is a slightly tannic-feeling medicinal note in this beer, and I think it is the juniper. I do not taste juniper itself, but I think that this little element is its result. Almost as if one added a small dash of turpentine to the glass. I also taste a touch of rye.

The mouthfeel is heavy and almost syrupy, but not overly sweet or unmanageable.

Conclusion: This is a pretty awesome beer. Almost all the way through the first glass I wasn't that impressed, but then the unique qualities of it began to shine out. There are flavors and feels in this beer that are seldom found. I recommend this if you are the type that is always searching for new forms and manifestations of beer.

 1,377 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer looks good and smells great. Where is let me down was on the taste. While it is a decent beer, it does not taste like any traditional Sahti I have had, and I think that is what I was expecting. My wife is Finnish and every summer I wind up drinking Sahti homebrew. Arctic Circle seems harsh by comparison. Just my two cents worth, it might be a regional thing or local ingredients, but I have not had a Sahti that tastes this bitter.

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Arctic Circle Ale from Malmgårdin Panimo
3.93 out of 5 based on 141 ratings.
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