Nissefar | HaandBryggeriet

very good
167 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Sigmund on 06-17-2007

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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 99
Photo of dansmcd
1.75/5  rDev -54.8%

Photo of jwinship83
2.19/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

500ml bottle with a best by date of october 2010.

A- this one pours out a very dark brown colored body with ruby red highlights when held up to the light. there is a very small off white head that is composed of very large bubbles.

S- dark roasted malts and wet cardboard. uh oh.

T- dark roasted malts upfront. there are also notes of chocolate. unfortunately i also detect wet cardboard, but not too much. oxidized before the best by date? damn. any sort of coffee or hops had fallen off by this point. no bitterness at all.

M- light bodied and very lowly carbonated.

D- im not sure if this is a bad bottle or what. it was a couple years old (sat on store shelf), but still well before the best by date. id be wary of getting this one again, and if i did it would be the freshest bottle i can find. it seemed like it would be a good beer without the oxidation.

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Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of DrBier
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of budgood1
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours out of the half litre bottle an opaque cola brown colour with some auburn highlights. fair sized light tan head rises and recedes leaving some clinging lace. aroma of chocolae and toffee with some lactic whiffs mixing in with some other ripe red fruit notes. so far so good. the taste follws suit with some cocoa and sour cherries...plums...prunes...all wrapped up nicely by some moderate yeasty notes and floral hop nuances. smoky, burnt, sweet, sour and salty all at the same time...weird. medium bodied with a slightly oily and flat, slick mouthfeel. drinkability is just ok...although for me this is a one and done.

certainly brewed with the holiday spirit in mind. not sure what it might pair with food wise...maybe some chocolate covered pretzels?

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured like rusty stagnant black rain water from an old pipe. Absolutely no head whatsoever even after a rather assertive pour in hopes of getting some kind of foamy cap...nothing. Immediately, I think something is amiss and suspect that there is something wrong with this bottle, until I read that many other people have said the same thing. Oh well, moving along. The smell is terrific, which really surprised me after that truly lackluster performance in the pour. Very malty with loads of sweet, toasted grains, toffee, and perhaps a pinch of spent coffee grounds. All of these are reflected in the flavour, but not with the intensity one gets in the aroma. Mouthfeel is about what you'd expect from a holiday beer boasting 7% as far as weight, however, there is ZERO carbonation. Overall, I found this rather strange. Why would a Norwegian brewey choose to replicate an American Porter for their Christmas offering? How can their other offerings be so well crafted, yet this pours into your pint glass like cold coffee with a little bit of black mushroom soil dissolved into it? Oh well... I'm still glad I got o try this one, and it isn't *terrible*, it just looks odd when you pour it. These guys can do much, much better, though!!

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An aggressive pour yields negligible collar and spotty lacing patterns from this dark brown beverage. The smell from the bottle neck was chocolaty but from the pour a highly roasted malt and coffee aroma. The mouth is bright and tangy from a sour character. The first bit of taste flags the burnt and smokey flavor that becomes monolithic. Its equally as tart as the feel. Not my favorite.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
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 JohnQVegas
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into red wine glass. Batch 169, brewed 08/08 according to rear label.

Pours black with a one-finger, bubbly tan head that settles in pretty quickly. Stickage is iffy.

Nose is pretty crazy. Very nutty, walnuts and pecans with some dry cocoa and a bit of smoke mixed in. Definitely some interesting spices mixed in that I'm just unable to pull out fully. Some wet cardboard comes through as well, so I'm assuming this bottle is a bit oxidized. Still, bottle states good through 8/10 so I'm pressing on.

Taste is chalky, dry, hints of nuts, cocoa and spices, wet cardboard blandness. Yeah, this one's gone I think. Which is odd, considering it's well within the best before date.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, medium-full body. Dry.

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Photo of TLove
3.19/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting, fruity, lambic-porter blend with a sour, smoked malts in the body. A bit off for an American porter, but this beer is structurally adept and overall, pretty damn good.

The body is a deep, dark brown with a very think glass-clinger of a head that disappears very quickly. A sour, fermented fig and tones of chocolate and some smoky spices. It is a very rich malty body with a nutty, raisiny, caramely cherry flavor from front to back. Alcohol is present, but not particularly strong. Carbonation is limited, a creamy mouthfeel. Has a taint of vanilla and a tingly, soda-like tingle on the tongue.

Starts to come to its own as it warms. Matures as a winter warmer, but finishes like a spiced ale or smoked lambic.

 732 characters

Photo of JakerLou
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.27/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chocolate chestnut with slim slices of burnt orange along the edges and a thick chunk of oatmeal colored foam up top. Opacity is a positive. Head descent is slow, but almost no lace is appearing on the sides of the glass.

Even though Nissefar is brewed to be a dark malty holiday ale, it smells like a porter. A pretty good one too. Aromas of high cocoa dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans see to that. According to the label, no spices are in use. Good, because I don't appreciate any.

It isn't often that a beer tastes significantly worse than it smells. Nissefar is way too sour for the style and doesn't have enough malty guts to make up for it. I might have thought this bottle was old, but the 'best by' date isn't until August 2010. Then again, that may be too optimistic for a 7.0% ale brewed in August 2008.

If this is what the original English porters tasted like back in the day, I'm glad to be living in this day and age. Actually, the beer tastes like a milk porter (lactic acid added), although I don't think the brewery went that route. Specifics: watery carob, tangy raisins and a wee splash of sour milk. Absolutely nothing about this brew says 'Christmas'.

The mouthfeel is thin, although not quite aqueous, and doesn't have enough carbonation. Perfect bubbles might have allowed it to eke out an above averge score. More malt sugars would have helped fill things out.

Nissefar (Father Christmas) is my least favorite of the handful of HaandBryggeriet beers that I've had so far. Sour is desirable in some styles, but it doesn't work at all in this one. Bottom line: barely better than a lump of coal as a stocking stuffer.

 1,651 characters

Photo of Brent
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is either something other than an American porter or it is a bad bottle. Pour was a nice, dark brown. Massive tan head. Up front a wine going on vinegar lactic sourness, follwed by some raisin and prune dark fruit flavors. Finish was dry. Kind of hard to get a handle on - blindfolded I would have guessed a Flanders oud bruin or some other aged Belgian sour style.

 370 characters

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 163. Brewed June 08. Best before June 2011. Consumed March 2010.

A: Poured a charcoal black with an initial head that occupied a greater portion of the glass. The head was foamy, corkboard brown in color, and slowly lapsed leaving a towering center piece in the middle. Only a few speckled patches remained for a lacing. The bottom of the glass finds an accumulation of bran colored yeast cake covering a good portion of the glass.

S: Cough medicine is apparent on the nose. Boozy raisins and plums along with wet cardboard and pancake batter combine to give odd results. Not really intriguing or what I think of when I think of a Christmas ale. There is a faint scent of chocolate and a yeasty tartness that accompanies dried black cherries on the close.

T: The flavor was burnt coffee at first with a bit of yeasty sourness and stale chocolate. Dark fruit of prunes and dates are evident along with dried vegetative matter. The yeastiness comes through midway through the drink and particularly on the finish with strong notes of wet grains and musky barnyard suggestions. Yeasty, against a softy roasty malting. It takes some time to warm up to this but you soon will come to appreciate its flavor.

M: Slight carbonation factor, creamy, but a bit light overall substance wise. A nice yeasty and dry chocolately fade comes upon the swallow.

D: Drinkability was decent. Yeasty, slightly sour though a bomber is plenty for me at any given setting. Good for a serving but comes off rather expensive $7.

 1,515 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried at a Julio's Monday tasting. Incorrectly billed as somethign that wasnt an old ale. Should have guessed...

A - Poured a deep, dark brown nearly black with a small offwhite head that faded to leave nice side lacing.

S - Smell is somewhat of a let down. Very faint notes of belgian esters, chocolate, and light fruits (cherries).

T - Taste is slightly better. The spices are slightly more prominant of maybe some allspice,with a bit more chocolate and light fruits. Theres a bit of a charred malt flavour too.

M - Mouthfeel is alright, though a bit thin for something thats 7% and an old ale. Would like it to be more full bodied.

O - Overall this beer was just alright. There are MUCH better old ales out there, and much better offerings from HaandBryggeriet.

 769 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ever have those moments when you are conflicted between a robust porter and an Belgian-style oude bruin? Yea, me neither. But the craftsmen at the Hand Brewery has brewed a beer just for the occasion if during the holiday season you crave such a thing.

And it's with that porter-ish theme that the kicks off. Medium-dark brown in color, the pour is moderately viscous but still delivers the exuberant carbonation to offer a somewhat Belgiany exercise. A controlled billow of foam rises to the rim and carries a mocha-stained whipped cream cap that retains and laces with bold confidence.

Aromas of chocolate, nutty coffee, starchy malt, and freshly roasted coffee beans leap out at first. However, a quick counterpart of twangy under ripened berries come closely behind for a lightly vinous scent of red grape, green apple, and plumb skin scent.

Robust flavors of chocolate, smooth toffee, coffee, and walnuts all strike the front of the tongue with an early promise of sweetness, succulent, and masculine quality. But the agreement is compromised with a sharp and piercing tartness of dark fruit flavor- black cherry, blackcurrant, plumb, red grape, and blackberry slice right into the sweeter and roastier taste of porter for a decidedly "mature" and "seasoned" flavor that creates as much interest as it does distraction.

Medium-full in body, the beer's early fullness is predictably thinned out by the fruit-inspired tartness. What's left is a tawny middle palate of conflicting coffee-ish astringency, fruity tartness and lingering powdery sherry character.

Nissefar is a challenged taste that circulates around porter-like roots but with a seemingly forced "aged" or "cellar-like" character. The result is a stale and uneven Belgian-tasting "Oude Bruin" type of beer. No one aspect of the beer seems genuine, but it seems to be an invention unto itself and offers a charming rusticity that's part of the problem and part of the charm.

 1,945 characters

Photo of nick76
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma is sweet and toasty with fruit, hops, and coffee. It reminds me of a porter. Three is also a hint of soap. The appearance is dark brown with a smooth tan head that is very persistent. The flavor is just like the aroma. The palate is thick. Overall a nice beer. I just dont like the acidic finish.

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Photo of Lanstrum
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of oso
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of aasher
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of atone315
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought for $6.95 on sale after Christmas. 500 ml bottle.

Appears opaque dark brown.

Smells of dark bready malt, floral ginger, maybe spruce, and some harder to define herbal spice. Swirling does not produce much additional aroma.

Taste initially is of darker roasted malts, akin to a porter without as much coffee bean acrid flavors. There is a bit of spice in the middle, but it is not easy to pick out. Bitterness is moderate to low. I was expecting some dark fruit or burnt sugar flavors for whatever reason, there none to be found. Mostly roasted malts in the flavor.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and neither sweet nor dry. Lower carbonation.

Conclusion: Not all that inspired, but not bad either. I just drank the bestefar last night and it was a bit odd, but much more complex and intriguing. This is a fine beer, and I wouldn't be disappointed if I brewed it, but I was expecting something a little bit stranger and interesting.

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Nissefar from HaandBryggeriet
3.87 out of 5 based on 167 ratings.
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