Nissefar | HaandBryggeriet

very good
99 Reviews
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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Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 167
Photo of bashiba
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep dark brown with a thick and creamy head.

The smell is loaded with rich dark chocolate and smokey roasted malts.

The flavor is very rich and malty. Loads of milk chocolate with hints of vanilla and caramel. A bit of dark smokey bitterness balances out the sweetness nicely.

The mouthfeel is creamy and rich.

Very nice. Almosy desert like in richness.

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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 Bouleboubier
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: jet black, opaque, cloudy, rose-tinted edges - creamy-foamy, tan-colored head with decent retention - is this unfiltered?...sloppy-looking - somewhat ample lace

S: coffee with cream, milk chocolate - prunes and mild ethanol emerge later

T: chocolate out the ass - roast coffee supporting well, mellow and smooth - granola-like malt flavors - definite black cherry and possibly rosemary

F: velvety-soft, fullish body - filling, yet it drops off wonderfully - could benefit from a little more viscosity, however, its current state certainly lends itself to better drinkability

O: another very enjoyable dark beer from HB - quite satisfying and arguably one of their best dark ales

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Photo of goblue3509
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a thick khaki colored head which leaves some nice lace on the glass. The aroma is of chocolate but then the aroma of sweet dark fruits, raisins, and plums. The taste follows suit, there is a chocolate backbone but then a belgian sweetness takes over before a big deep flavor of dark fruits takes place. There are raisins, plums, and red grapes that dance over the tongue. The mouthfeel is thick and moderately carbonated. Overall this is a very good beer, the taste is big and bold, it is a very complex solid beer.

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Photo of peabody
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a really dark black liquid with three to four fingers of very tan creamy suds.
Smell is fig and sour cherry/oak wood.
Taste is coffee and toasted malts with a fruity sourness for just one second before going back to slight sugar and burnt malt.
Mouthfeel is a little weak. Not much going on here.
Drinkability is pretty good but the watery feel of this brew makes it just so-so.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch 98
Brewed October 2007
Best before October 2010

A - Black with chestnut hues and a thin cocoa head with oily looking strings of lace.

S - Dark fruits, chocolate covered cherries, brown sugar, maple syrup, semi sweet chocolate and stale black coffee as it warms.

T - Leather and tobacco leaf mixed with red tea, dark fruits, nice sweet milk chocolate kick in the middle changing to bitter chocolate in the finish. Very complex.

M - Thin to medium with light carbonation. Very creamy.

D - This goes down way too easy. Seemed more like a Baltic porter to me but very nice and complex.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 163... Bottled on June 08, best by June 11..

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint...

This pours amazingly black with a very thick creamy foamy head of mocha... Extremely persistent head that never falls... Awesome lacing as well... A perfect porter....

Fairly pungent roasted chocolatey malts mixed with a damn surprising hoppiness that I can't believe is still present after almost 2 years in the bottle... There might be a little fruitiness here as well.. Pretty cool for a Christmas beer...

The hops don't come in as prevalent in the taste but they are still there.. The dark roasted maltiness and hints of fruit mix well together here... No real spice to speak of but that's fine with me in the world of often overspiced world of holiday ales... Its a little overcarbonated which isn't that big of a deal but a little more body would be nice...

Overall, an interesting take on a holiday ale... Went well on a cool late March evening accompanied by some smoked gruyere and wheat crackers...

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Photo of RickS95
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's awfully black with just the slightest bits of brown mixed in. While it might be a shade lighter around the edges, the light gets stuck and can't make it through. The head is light tan and fleeting. It's got a creamy look, but it's gone quickly with a light lace left behind.

The smell just explodes. It's a concoction of dark malts, chocolate, coffee and licorice. The scent is nothing exactly I'd associate with the holidays, it's an exception smelling beer.

The taste is like the smell only muted a bit. It's still a malt bomb, but all the ingredients are on their best collective behavior. Very malty with a slight tag-team fight of chocolate and coffee. Some hop presence in the finish, deep in the finish, provides some balance.

There's a lot of complexity and layers in this beer. It starts off sweet and thick. As it works its way back, the bitterness builds from the chocolate and coffee before finishing strong from the hops. It's viscous and sweet, it's bitter and full-bodied. The alcohol sends only a subtle message, just to show you it's there. The tongue is left slightly coated so you feel and taste the beer long after it's left your mouth.

While I have no idea how this is a holiday beer, I really liked it. It's got a stout or strong porter taste and feel. It's certainly not cheap, but it was very good.

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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 falloutsnow
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from John's Grocery in Iowa City, IA
Bottled 07.09.10
Poured into a standard US pint glass

Nissefar combines smoked and roasted malt to very satisfactory conclusions in this winter-themed beer. The overall impression is of a sweet-smoke-stout with well-defined flavors that stand out, alongside a truly smooth and enjoyable mouthfeel that has both the right heft and carbonation levels. A definite one to revisit for sure.

Pours a very nice, medium-intensity tan head of super-dense, small bubbles reaching about 2-3cm. Head has excellent retention, taking many minutes to sink to a thick cap atop the beer. Leaves excellent lacing in its wake. Body is a dark brown to black, with a slightly lighter amber-brown color around the edges when held to a light. Carbonation is still visible streaming along the sides of the glass.

Aroma is pleasantly of roasted and smoked malt, not as intense as Aecht Schlenkerla's brews, but still noticeable This is supported by malt sweetness, mostly caramel, and some sweet cream component as well. Slight metallic (iron) tinge to back of aroma.

Tastes opens with some dark malt sweetness that quickly transitions to roasted malts, cream, and a bit of chocolate on the front of the palate. Smoked malt appears most at mid-palate, which becomes the central character that the sweetness, roastedness, and chocolate revolve around. This smoked flavor induces a mild sourness that prevents the other, sweeter flavors from becoming cloying. Closes out with chocolate syrup, leading to creamy roasted malts. Aftertaste is of mildly bitter roasted malts, char, smoke and coffee with cream.

Beer is medium bodied with fairly light, though still noticeable, carbonation, which produces a very smooth and slightly creamy overall mouthfeel. Phenols and ethanol provide very slight spiciness, appropriate for this winter-themed beer. The finish is very dry, again, seemingly on target for a roasted, smoky stout-like ale.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i shouldn't have read this originally. this was much better than given off to be.

this was a winter warmer style porter quality beer with a sweetness of a aged hop quality. afterall. the hop was about a year and some old at this pine... but hopping resembled something of a tangerine citrus. nice and sweet chocolate covered citrus. palate was that but not as syrupy as expected. rather lean and quick finish of something some bright. note of tangerine, chocolate, clove, and fruit cake sugar. dessert... and simple fruit character.

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Photo of asabreed
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 169. Bewed August 08th, Best before August 10th.

16.9 oz. bottle into a 12. Samuel Smith nonic.

Appearance: Very much appearing like a Guinness: seemingly opaque but really dark, dark amber. A frothy, concentrated-looking head sits a top and leaves some big raindrops of lacing.

Smell: Interesting notes between roasted, sour, and chocolate. Seems more like a Belgian Porter to me here. This is certainly much thinner and less dark than many American Porters, so the roasted and charred are present, but balanced, and fairly minimum. Sour cherries and farmhouse yeast mix with the lighter yet charred chocolate.

Taste: Initially huge sourness, then mellowing into the Porter-like charred nature, coming into some fruit esters, more sourness, and finishes slightly and interestingly sour and bitter, with the chocolate, sourness, and mild fruit overtones, more like cherries or sour apples.

Mouthfeel: For an American Porter, this would be on the thinner side, though it's certainly a complex brew. A little more watery than I'd have liked, with carbonation nearly coming at the very end, oddly enough, and that's it. However, the lack of carbonation does enhance the ability to get more flavor at that point, so it's not lose-lose.

Drinkability: Solid and interesting, and though I would try it again, the price and limited availability make me want to go after some more of their other beers instead.

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Photo of froghop
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours black with a very large khaki head that stays around throughout, and some lacing.

smell is of dark fruit, cocoa, some spice, and a little wild yeast.

taste is of dark fruit, cocoa, spice, a little pepper, some smoke, malt, and a few hops, ends somewhat dry.

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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 SABERG
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 2010 bottle into a modified tulip glass, across the table from my beautiful brunette wife.

A - Huge, towering head, took time to settle down. Color deep mahoghony. Lacing forever.

S - Caramel, smoke, figs, some tobacco the good kind. Light booze and warm leather.

T - Smoked malts, hints of spice, snap near the end. Really pleasnt as it warms.

M - A little light, clearly balanced. finish is medium and happily not sickly sweet.

O - As a winter, holiday style the balance was spot on, not to spiced, oily etc. I applaud the group. Well done.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Batch 163, June 08. Poured murky dark brown, but with lots of activity on top. Fizzy tan head dissipates almost immediately. No lacing. Big yeast chunks in bottom of the glass when finished.

Roasty, burnt, and sour/tart influences blending uniquely with some malty sweetness. Floral hops struggle to be noticed.

Prominent but not overly dominant farmhouse type tart sourness leads. Some smoky roasty flavors underneath add a layer of complexity. Some fruitiness accompanies the sour tartness. Very mild bitterness and faintly noticeable hops.

Fizzy bite, medium body but with thinnish sensation. Light viscosity and gentle warming.

I was way stoked to find this in my remote town of 800 in SE Alaska, but had no idea what to expect, but this certainly wasn't it. I didn't know until I went to write this review that it was labeled an American Porter. I'm not exactly sure what category I would place it in, but not that one. I enjoyed it more and more as I nursed the sample, but wasn't thrilled upon first sip. I think the most defining feature of this is the moderate but undeniable tart sourness character that has me thinking "farmhouse."

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Photo of Gehrig
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the magnificent Crane Alley in Champaign, IL.

Two lush fingers of mocha froth top a deep, dark brown body, with some lacing on the pint glass; nice looking beer. Good, roasted malt nose with plenty of fruity, berry aromas. The chocolate smell is most welcome.

Good taste, subtly complex, with this being malt forward, as it should be. Chocolate, caramel, a small bit of coffee bean (wish it were more) are present, nicely so and particularly prominent in the first half, with a good, fruity second half especially in the finish. The sweet fruit and rich, roasted malt interact very well, and the creamy mouthfeel works wonders here.

I found this to be a really good porter, very accessible and enjoyable, and the fruit was a welcome surprise and element. Very well done, and I'd love to have more of this and other wares from HaandBryggeriet in the future.

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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 Sigmund
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned, 500 ml. Very dark colour, nearly black. Large brown head. Delightful aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, prunes, caramel and oak. Flavour is not quite as complex but still good, bitter roasty and coffee notes combined with bittering hops dominate, on a background of dark bitter sweet chocolate, hints of English liquorice. Roasty bitter aftertaste. Anyway, this is a very fine effort from Haandbryggeriet. Not a beer for the traditional Scandinavian Christmas dinner, but try it if you have chocolate pudding for dessert - or simply enjoy it on its own!

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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 kmo1030
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark oily black with a creamy tan head that proves to be pretty durable.
a chocolatey molasses hits you first when you take a sniff. dark malts come next, with a few touches of anise. with warmth the chocolate turns into a more milk chocolatey aroma, and significant dark fruit comes out.
the taste begins in much the same way with a large dark roasted chocolate component. following that is a rich dark molasses flavor, with osme subtle dark fruitiness containing raisin mostly. the is some tobbacco leaf sweetness coupled with some smokiness towards the finish. the is a moderate bitterness cleaning things up at the back with some floral and herbal hop flavors. just a bit of that porter tang towards the back and finish. very nice. reminds one of a baltic porter, with a certain crispness to it.
the mothfeel is full but seems deceptively lighter partially from the way the taste acts upon it, and partially from the delicate but active carbonation.
the drinkability is quite good. it's one of those beers you keep in your hand until it's finished, which is undoubtedly fairly quickly. i wish i had picked up another bottle. this isn't even i style i'm that fond of, but this is a must try.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big chocolately head with filmy bubbles. Opaque brown liquid. Nice chocolate aroma. Some winter spices and pine in the nose as well. Chocolate sweetness, some alcohol and a finish that reminds me of prune juice. This is a slick, full bodied beer that has low carbonation and an oily coat. It drinks very well. This bottle is about two years old; I imagine that a fresh one would be very impressive.

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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 jondeelee
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nissefar (a word apparently meaning "Father Christmas" in Norwegian) is a holiday ale, and the batch from which my bottle sprung was brewed over two years ago--so there's no telling what time has done to the drink. Still, the nose is delicious and Christmassy, filled with huge dollops of figs, raisins, caramelized brown sugars, and even not-so-subtle jolts of port and brandy, with just a shovelful or two of chocolate malt thrown in for good measure.

On the tongue, the beer is just as strong as the nose hinted at, though the flavor profile is far different, for here the deeper fig and raisin notes are initially subsumed under a strong brandy river which carries hints of Flemish sourness (which I suspect might not be quite as present in a fresher bottle). A goodly smattering of hops is also present, providing a strange, though tasty bitter grapefruit counterpoint to the brandy. Late in the mouthful, after the sugars have died off a bit, the chocolate malts and fig flavors are allowed to shine through, fading to pure chocolate malt at the end--though still accompanied by the grapefruit hops. Aftertaste is mainly chocolate malt and hops, and lingers for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium-light, which is strange considering the power of the flavors, and carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, even though my bottle's "Best before" date was three months ago, this is fantastic beer: carefully, lovingly crafted by people who obviously put their hearts and souls into their work. I look forward to my next encounter with this brew--hopefully with a fresher bottle, and on a cold Christmas morning.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.57/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Full disclosure: This one is marked "Best by August 2010." So we'll see.

A-Dark ruby with a small, bubbly mocha head and almost no lacing.

S-Milk chocolate, light roasty malts, the slightest hint of sharpness (oxidized?)

T/M-Almost no carbonation. Milk chocolate sweetness, rye bread, moderate acidity in the finish suggests oxidization.

D-This was past its prime, but hinted at a really solid beer. Will try fresh and re-review.

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