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Nissefar | HaandBryggeriet

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NissefarNissefar
BA SCORE
3.88/5
Very Good
167 Ratings
NissefarNissefar
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet
Norway
haandbryggeriet.net

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#10,086
Reviews:
99
Ratings:
167
pDev:
10.82%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
8
Trade:
0
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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 99
Photo of jondeelee
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
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 Gehrig
4.15/5  rDev +7%
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 DaveHS
3.57/5  rDev -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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Photo of Jeffo
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter.
Batch 191. Brewed 10. 2008 and best before 10. 2010. Old red label.

APPEARANCE: Brown pour makes a one finger, medium looking, tan head what quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Black body and next to zero carbonation evident. Transparent around the edges. Ring remains and leaves a couple dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted malts and some roasted coffee beans. A touch of caramel and some cocoa poser as well. Quite mild, but what's there is nice.

TASTE: Some roasted malts, but a good dose of dark fruit, grapes, raisins and dates, and a touch of spices. Some bitter chocolate and roasted coffee notes on the swallow. Aftertaste is bold and lingering with dark fruits, grapes, some bitter chocolate and a touch of sourness. Pretty nice. Kind of a cross between a porter and a Belgian double.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. Somewhat creamy and smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Fine here.

OVERALL: Quite enjoyed this Christmas porter. The nose could be a little bigger, but it had plenty of nice flavor and drank away quite easily. I've never had a fresh bottle, but if my previous experience with Haand is any indication, the ageing has mellowed out the carbonation and made it much more drinkable. Worth checking out if you get the chance.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
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 beardtongue
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought the Nissefar on a whim for Christmas festivities. My family is hosting for the first time ever this year, and I have been running around making everything perfect - a huge tree, decorations, real garlands, candles, yard lights, stockings, fires in the fireplace, eggnog, everything. Who gets to host xmas is a little bit of a contentious point in my family, so I felt a lot of pressure to make things perfect. I made sure to point out the origin of this beer to my Norwegian family, too much probably, but in the end they were busy making gingerbread houses and playing with my son and shopping, and Nissefar ended up turning from one of my holiday touches into my little personal moment of appreciation, and for this purpose it served admirably and lets face it, mouthfeel etc was not even a consideration.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
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 Gmann
3.42/5  rDev -11.9%
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 SolomonGrundy
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got the Off! Four 7" box set and am raging to Keith Morris!! Hell Yeah!

The tale behind this beer is hilarious. Look up the Nisse online and read about it. Great idea.

Pours a dense, dark opaque, deep brown. Very much like a thick Porter. A thin wisp of head comes up, and it's dark tan in color. Holy mackerel, the nose on this beer = awesome. Huge and robust and complex and - just incredibly rich smelling. I get lots of malt - some chocolate and some caramel. More of the former. There are many other things going on, though. A certain sweetness in there. Can't right place it. Also some kind of fruit - like molasses covered raisins. Maybe even concentrated cherry juice. Just unique and beautiful. Some allspice, too. Too much going on at once - it's hella rad!!

Yum, omfg...It's tangy, like a strong porter or stout. Lots of spice up front, some of the allspice but also something herbal, like juniper. This has alot of the same qualities that the '10 Anchor X-mas does. This is more "earthy", however. There's also a roastiness that the Anchor lacks. The finish is long and hoppy-malty - more malt than hops. Delicious and this beer screams X-mas to me. Perfect for Winter. 7% ABV. Here's the kicker - $8.99/half-liter so this is wicked expensive.

What I like most: The incredible aroma profile and "earthy" flavors.

What I like least: The price and the lack of head.

Verdict: ALMOST worth the insane price, and definitelt worth trying.

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

Had on tap at The Publick House 12/21
Served in a tulip

A: This beer pours and opaque black with a 1/2 inch of brown head. Head recedes quickly leaving no lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla and smoke.

T: Taste starts with a bitter dark chocolate and vanilla flavoring before moving in to a nice rich caramel and toffee flavoring. Finish has a hint of licorice and a nice smokiness that carries through.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, somewhat crisp body with a thicker feel to the finish.

D: Goes down easily, very tasty not too filling, nice kick, nice representation of style. For me, this is a beer to sit with for a few rounds.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours black as hell with a mocha colored two finger head that actually takes a few minutes to go subside in my long hammer ipa glass.
big roasty chocolate with tons of black fruit anywhere from rasin and fig to black cherry and perhaps just a slight bit of booze hidden in there.
most of the fruit stays in the nose and just gives way to chocolate and its probably some of the smoothest most delicious chocolate ever. theres a little bit of sweetness initially bit it quickly disappears after each sip. just a light touch of carbonation is perfect for this beer, and although is listed as an american porter, i feel its just a little bit bolder than most other of the same style, that ive experienced anyways.
drinkability is fantastic. i could enjoy it any day, night, or for friggin breakfast. total yum.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Durty Nellies, one of the 12 Beers of Christmas.

A: appears pitch black with a short cocoa colored head. Not very good head retention, however, when this beer is swirled a nice frothy head appears. Decent lacing of dense white bubbles.

S: notes of deep chocolate and roasted barley notes up front among some oat character. This brew turns into a hop monster by the end with some big piny notes that complement the chocolate well.

T: not as much chocolate on the palate as the nose suggests (bummer) leaning much more towards the hop profile of the brew. The roast starts on the front but is quickly dominated by bitterness from black patent and hops.

MF: the body is a tad thinner that I would like for the flavor, silky texture, sharp finish.

D: this is a unique take on an American Porter. My first brew from Haanbryggeriet, and certainly not my last. The flavor profile begs for a bigger body and a bigger beer, but as it is, it is quite tasty.

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Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with a thin half finger tan head that quickly dissipates leaving only minimal spots of lacing. Visible carbonation bubbling up.

Roasted malt aroma with a prominent dark fruit presence. Hints of cherry, plum, raisin date and fig. There's also some nice peppery spice, especially cinnamon and peppermint, in the nose.

Medium bodied and very quaffable with a nice balance of roasty malt, sweet dark fruit notes and peppery spiciness. The dark fruit notes are prominent with hints of sour cherry, plum, raisin and fig. This is countered by the sightly roasted chocolate/caramel malt flavor resulting in a slight sweet creamy feel mid palate. There's also a good amount of peppery spice with hints of cinnamon and peppermint. I'm also picking up a slight medicinal syrup flavor before a dry and slightly tart finish. Very nice.

 877 characters

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

 514 characters

Photo of Bung
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up at Greens in Columbia.
Poured deep brown with a huge light tan head. Head dissappated quick enough though to a layer.

Toasted malt, chocolate, then some raisin and cherries. Some slightly strange fruitiness going on. Finishes a tad dry and some lactose like qualities. Not quite sure what to make of that.

A bit thin, flows down easy, but there just isn't enough body to hold this one together. $8 for the 500ml? will probably pass on this again.

Probably my least favorite that I've had from HaandBryggeriet, which is all right since the rest have been outstanding.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

HaandBryggeriet Nissefar. Batch 169. Brewed Aug 08, Best Bef. Aug 10. Whuh, oh,

Dark brown body, or is it black? Slim dark brown head.

Aroma: bourbon, vanilla, maple. Whatever this is, it's whiskey barrel-aged, for sure. Nothing is really given away on the label, except "Norwegian holiday beer" and lots of stuff about gnomes.

Taste: Whiskey flavor is huge initially in the mouthfeel, sweet, slick, ...but lacking in body, could use a ton more malt in here. I'm still struggling to figure out exactly what the base beer is, or if there's any other flavoring involved.

Hmmm, is the oldness of the ale giving way, has it lost so much in the 3 months that have passed since it's expiration. But, it's still got plenty of flavor, just has me wondering what else was going on. It's still tasty and spicy, and delicious.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
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 metter98
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured jet black in color with a tan head so massive that it filled half the height of the mug, which took a long time to settle down. It has very good head retention properties.
S: There are aromas of earthy hops, lightly roasted dark malts and spices in the nose along with some hints of chocolate.
T: The taste is rather complex and has flavors of bittersweet chocolate, chicory, coffee beans, dark fruits and spices. The hops contribute a slight amount of bitterness to the overall taste.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate with a minimal amount of carbonation. There's a moderate amount of dryness, which becomes more prominent in the finish. The alcohol also contributes a slight amount of warming sensations.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink, except that the head was so large that it took several pours into a large mug to empty the bottle. The amount of spices in this beer definitely makes it one that needs to be sipped.

Note: Batch 163, Bottled June 2008

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Photo of domtronzero
3.17/5  rDev -18.3%
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 TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 8/4/10 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, black coffee and what smells like Belgian yeast.

T: The taste is very malty up front and very smoky with a very hearty malt character and what seems like a Belgian yeast backbone. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly smoky and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a nice dark beer with a Belgian twist on it making it worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of glid02
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours black with a 1.5-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of muted roasted malts with good amounts of dark chocolate aromas. Also present are hints of licorice.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth roasted malt flavors with good amounts of dark chocolate kick things off. Midway through the sip very mild amounts of anise flavors work their way into things before fading out into a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another.

Overall this beer didn't blow me away but I found it to be very smooth and easy to drink. Worth a shot.

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Photo of avalon07
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick texture. There was an inch of tan-colored, foamy/fizzy, somewhat long-lasting head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: A subdued aroma of dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee.

T: Tasted of chocolate, coffee, raisins, and perhaps a little bit of licorice. A nicely done flavor.

M: An OK amount of carbonation with a slightly slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly made, drinkable porter.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.
Original tasting: 12/31/2009

500cl. bottle into glass pint.
55°F

$7.99 / ea.

S: Ripe red fruit, raisins, and a dark roasted aroma. Smells like a Belgian Dark Ale.

A: Opaque dark brown body with a creamy tan medium head of moderate retention. Some minor lacing and a thin broken cover. Legs.

T: Slightly sour, but balanced taste. Bitter chocolate and coffee notes. Dark roasted malt backbone. No hop character to speak of. Bit of a sour aftertaste.

M: Light body, light carbonation. Smooth and somewhat creamy.

D: Light beer and deceptively high in alcohol. This brew has a unique taste that, while interesting, is not something I would drink in large amounts.

O: Respectable brew with an interesting taste that makes for good conversation, but not "my thing".

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Photo of asabreed
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

 1,417 characters

Photo of sprucetip
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
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."

 1,160 characters

Nissefar from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 167 ratings
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