Bestefar | HaandBryggeriet

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145 Ratings

Brewed by:

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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Added by khiasmus on 11-26-2010

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Ratings: 145 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of TMoney2591
3.01/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Apparently "grandfather" in Norwegian. Yeah, you can see an animated comet above your head now, eh? Anyway, it pours a bleakly murky black-brown topped by a healthy sienna foam. The nose comprises mint, iceberg lettuce, and parsley, all covered in a healthy layer of chocolate powder. The taste doesn't really differ too far from this recipe, though the greens come off a bit spicier than before, as though some black pepper and clove had been added. This just doesn't seem all that right to me. The body is a staunch medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a nearly chewy feel. Overall, I did not care for this beer. The flavor and scent combinations did not come off as good to me, and a lingering dark green flavor literally leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The worst thing I've yet had from the Hand.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really don't see how anyone's getting all these complex, dynamic dark fruit flavors out of this. I really dig this beer. I'm all about the random brews I cross paths with that burst at the seams with sharp, dark-green-leafed dominance to them. I can count them on one hand, but they were all quite memorable.

Never will I forget this smell of this - SAGE. Before this has time to warm and reveal its dark-roasty, bitter-chocolate malty goodness....Goodness!, do we smell the pungent, peppery sting of hairy leaves of sage. I certainly get feelings of juniper (knowing its mark having had bottles of juniper liqueur from Italy), especially in the late aftertaste (paired with that bitter chocolate). Okay - so the aromas consist of sage, juniper, and bitter roasted barley - congratulations!

It's a very rough look. Caramel-reddish highlights to its otherwise dark murky brown hue. Spritzy, moderately sudsy dense foamy head wells up on pour and sinks back down.

The sage sears the tongue, enabled by the alcohol (though you don't taste ethyl - cheers!). This is most of what you'll get from the get-go. The bitterness from the roasted malt further accentuates the cold-fresh vibrancy of its herb content. An English cocoa porter foundation resides below. Sage and juniper, juniper and sage cavort on top. Further below, I'd add some lingering toffee-coffee hard candy flavors as well. Super-late warming feeling.

My friend, whom I shared this bottle with, could not get past the sage (redundant) screaming throughout. Have patience, my friends. Accept what this is for what this is and you'll find a quite unique, albeit seasonally-pigeon-holed, dark roasty (but happily not all that bitter) ale with dynamic pine-tar wondrous-ness. Shit, I would drink this each winter.

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Photo of bruachan
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a very frothy beginning, with the stormy-looking liquid comprising a minority of my glass. minimal lacing

airy hop aroma with dry roast.

roasty roasty but plenty of sweetness. blackcurrant, resiny hops. dry and astringent roasting, which stands apart from the beer's body, which diminishes its porter-ness. some soy sauce at the finish. pumpernickel crust, almonds

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good lookin out drew for sharing this bottle

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights that had a thin khaki head and left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: huge sage aroma pops out on the first whiff but was able to detect some chocolate, caramel, and roastiness.

T: the chocolate and sage flavora did blend good on the palate but had spice caramel accents and a touch of roastiness.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a spice, herbal, roasty, and sweet finish.

D: drank decent but was super sagey and did kinda overpower the rest of the brew.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kevin for sending me this one.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of tan head forming.

S: There's a huge herbal aroma coming from this. Seems like a ton of sage. Quite a lot of pine and spruce to the nose, as well. Some definite roast and maybe a bit of chocolate.

T: A weird combination of floral and herbal flavors. The same intense sage flavor is there along with spruce and some tart berries. Dark chocolate and roasted malt character is present too.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: A little too funky for me. I wanted this to be good, but I couldn't really get into it.

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Photo of samie85
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a deep black with a two fingers of medium brown head.

S-Smells like fresh cut spruce needles with some chocolate and roasted notes

T-Big hit of bitter spruce and roast upfront with some chocolate and finishes dry, spicy, and bitter

M-Medium bodied with a slick feel and light to medium carbonation.

D-The roast/woody bitterness upfront never really subsides and is a little distracting to my palate.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a brown, three-finger head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Oak, chocolate nose, flavor is oak and sweet baked chocolate, higher ABV is hidden. Really good winter ale. Expensive at $11.50 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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

Body is very dark brown, almost black, with a foamy head that quickly dissipates to a thin cap with a thicker ring around the glass.

Aromas of smoky burnt wood logs, juniper, brown sugar, prunes, dark chocolate.

Dominant taste is charred malt, with some bitter chocolate upfront. The charred malt and chocolate flavor continues into the mid-palate where there is an addition of prune/dark fruit. The carbonation is very effervescent in the mid-palate, but the carbonation diminishes with more time in the glass. Finishes very clean with lingering char notes and a bit of mint (probably from the juniper or other botanical oils).

Body is full and the tight carbonation provides a creamy, if not mousse-like mouthfeel. Very nice evolution of flavors on the palate with the creamy texture of this beer.

This is a very delicious, rich, and drinkable winter ale. I am so dying for a chocolate yule log cake to go with this right now.

Overall, this is a very rich and delicious spicy winter ale. The botanicals (juniper berries or tips) are very well balanced with a strong charred malt/chocolate depth, and it is very smooth. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of Gmann
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near pitch black color with a moderate sized tight creamy tan colored head that settles into a solid cap.

The aroma is of a rich brown bread with plenty of herbal spice. Some dark chocolate, cocoa, and juniper. A bit of a band-aid aroma. Not super strong but pleasant.

The taste is of a dark bready malt with some chocolate notes and a hint of smoke. This is followed by some ripe cherry, juniper, and tobacco. Very interesting blend of sweet, sour, herbal, and bitter. I love the earthy quality to this beer, my vision of a winter brew.

Solid moderate body with soft carbonation which leads to a soft and silky feel. Primarily sweet on the palate but has sour and some bitter notes. ABV well hidden.

This is basically my perfect winter warmer. Nice malt body with juniper and other earthy spices. Tastes like a nordic christmas.

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

Thanks to Kristina for sharing this after a long day of work. Served in a wine glass.

A - Pours with a big light mocha foam that settles to a thin cap and thicker collar. Near-black body, and not much in the way of lace.

S - Smells both smoked and spiced. Notes of juniper, dark fruits, cherries, and chocolate. Very suggestive of Christmas, but thankfully not over-spiced like many winter warmers.

T - Plenty of baker's chocolate, juniper, floral spices, and mild roast bitterness and char in the finish.

M - Medium-low carbonation, smooth medium body, minimal alcohol heat, and a clean slightly dry finish.

D - It's among the better spiced Christmas beers I've had, but isn't something I'd purchase again. If you dig spiced, smoked, porters give this one a chance.

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Photo of JohnnyP3
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

50cl bottle, batch 312. Brygget 17 Sep 10, best before 17 Sep 12. Bestefar is the Norwegian word for Grandfather. In this case, it refers to the father of father Christmas, or Nissefar as he is known in Norway. Label states that this beer is the perfect companion for a cold winter night spent contemplatively in front of a fire, or for those festive fireside moments.

Poured into a C&B Belgian beer glass. Pretty much an opaque jet black pour with a substantial amount of carbonation. Something that, to me, has almost become a Haandbryggeriet trademark appearance and mouthfeel. So much so that the initial pour produces a half glass of beer and half glass of head. 4 fingers worth, in fact. Obviously a very active beer. The excessive head is somewhat slow to recede. That's ok, probably needed to warm up a bit.

As far as the nose goes, somewhat of a muted smell. I'm picking up some dark and winter fruits, I think. Plum and/or pear. Also getting a little cocoa and dark chocolate aroma. I'm thinking there is a bit of a burnt quality to the smell as well.

Upon tasting this beer, there is an explosion of flavors cascading over each other. Not at all expected after the somewhat muted nose. But, wow, I'm getting definite dark chocolate bitterness with some dark fruit to match. Raisons dipped in dark chocolate anyone? Somewhat of a dry/burnt/roasted finish. Black licorice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is quite lively and somewhat rough. Highly carbonated. Somewhat on the thinner side and not as viscous as was expecting. But, there is still good substance to the body of the beer as it swirls in the mouth. Regarding drinkability, very drinkable. The 9% ABV is almost an afterthought as far as drinkability goes. This one might improve with a little age on it. Great sipper for savoring by the fire and considering your life's course and your place in the grander scheme of things.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle,

A: Pours pitch black, with a medium brown head, solid lace, average head retention.

S: Fairly herbal nose - juniper, cedar wood, wintergreen, spruce, notes of cola.

T: Strong dark malt, chocolate, with pine needles, a hoppy woodsy finish.

M: Very full-bodied, frothy, medium aftertaste.

D: Interesting beer, really a mix of an imperial porter and a winter warmer, worked well.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottled 8/3/10.
jet black with a huge mocha head thay really takes its time going down. it looks like an awfully comfortable pillow of bubbles both big and small.
smells like big thick spices, and i almost think of fezziwig initially. i get alot of the thick pungent spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. it brings me back to september october and some of the nice spiced pumpkin beers that i enjoyed.
there seems to be some chocolate malts and some other roasty apsects that blend well with the spice, it really is brewed perfectly.
the moderate carbonation really makes the spices pop and just attack my tongue, and im left tasting this beer well after ive taken my sip. the abv is well hidden, which really lets the flavors shine. has to be one of my top winter warmers, hands down.

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

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into my trusty Loterbol tulip.

Bottled on 03 Aug 2010
Total Bottles 2160

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a thin layer of chocolate brown at the edges. An enormous tan head that reached about four creamy fingers hung around for quite a while and left some subtle whisps of lace stuck to the glass. Carbonation was obvious but not at all excessive.

S: Awesome aromas of campfire, peat, spices, dark chocolate, blackened malt, fudge drizzled cherries, and smoky dark fruit.

T: Exactly as above with even more emphasis on the smokiness. Frigging excellent.

M: Thick and sticky with a hint of pepper (from the spices? alcohol?). The finish is full and sweet with a tantilizing prickle.

D: This was incredible! These guys can brew some amazing stuff and this actually made me felt like I was sitting in front of a Nordic fireplace with friends and family. Killer beer!

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Really nice, thick, creamy looking mocha head on top of a very dark brown body.

Decent aroma of sweet malt and a bit of hop mintyness.

The taste starts out typical of imperial stouts. It is nice and dry with an emphasis on bitterness and a hint of chocolatey flavor on the way. The finish has an interesting herbal character to it, that aids in drying out the finish. Only in the middle and aided by the chocolate character do I get a hint of sweetness.

The mouthfeel is relatively light, but not too much so for the style. The mouthfeel is almost velvety, but has a little bit more sharpness.

This is a wonderful beer, reminds me of a more herbal Darkness.

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

Bottle from New Beer Distributors:

A: Jet Black, totally opaque with a tan/brown head. Great head retention and lacing. Beautiful in the the glass.

S: Woody and spicy, herbal. Spruce, gingerbread, chocolate, nutmeg, and some spruce shows up as it warms.

T: This beer is truly the winter season in a "blanket", unbelievable. Sage, ginger, spruce, and chocolate blast through. It finishes dry clean.

M: Smooth and creamy. It coats the mouth smoothly and fades with effortlessly, a velvet pillow.

D: This beer is so wonderfully spiced and unique that I could struggle to drink more than one....if I was weak. I also highly recommend drinking this brew close to room temperature for the best results.

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Photo of Bung
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz. Sturdy brown pour, finger or so of frothy layered dark tan head. Very good retention.

Aroma, malty and some chocolates, more earthy spiciness or woodiness, juniper?.

Layers of maltiness, chocolates and earthy spice. Coriander and lighter nutmeg. Finishes with the cocoa and nutshell woodiness. This was really nice and the flavors continue to unfold as it warms.

Extreamly smooth and creamy. Nearly full bodied I'd say. Warming, but no presence of alcohol. Goes down very easy for 9%.

Would definetely seek this out again, but I wish their brews were a bit cheaper. Up their with the Odins Tipple as their best brew.

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Photo of avalon07
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish color with ruby tints and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A great aroma of spices, malt, and a slight herbal quality.

T: Tasted of malt, spices (nutmeg), a little chocolate, and the advertised juniper. An interesting and complex take on the Winter Warmer flavor.

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

D: A well made, tasty, drinkable beer.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this after the jolly pumpkin/stone/nogne collaboration and it was just as well placed but more savory.

pour is on the dark side. actually similar in nose to the collaboration but the palate is somewhat smokier than most winter warmers i've had. nose is brisk and christmasy. clove, pine tree, this is all there in the palate with a noted juniper berry and sage. the juniper comes out more as it settles. not brisk but rather dry. not as creamy as some but sort of in the realm of a well spice dry stout... with 9% abv. velvet bone dry and the abv well place. palate is a bit of coffee and chocolate but predominant smoke that fades and maintains a dryness with a mild sweet herbal. hints of licorice, raisin as well. great beer. great label.

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

A flip dark chill winter bastard, of course. Muddy snow settles atop the dark brown earth, small clouds, as it were being tossed aside as we trudge through the winter haze and slush. Thick dark brown muck on the paths, with as thick light tan muck atop it, and we look forward to the warmth that awaits us at Grandma's house.
We crest the hill and can already smell the gingerbread wafting towards us, the notes of nutmeg and cider and egg nog and the Christmas tree that's sure to be next to the roaring fire in the cozy old bungalow.
We tramp up to the porch and knock the ancient brass lion on the door, and there's the old familiar shuffle coming towards us as we blow into our hands and stamp on the porch, trying to restore feeling in our bemittened hands and booted feet.
Hugs all around and "I've got a smattering or two of some cakes and such, would you like some cider? cocoa? Coffee?"
And out comes the drink, the aromas of the place wafting all about us, the Christmas tree and pumpkin spice and port wine, and now we take sips.
It's a blend, of course. A spicy, warm, Christmas blend of the highest order. We snuggle into the couch and kick off our boots before the fire as the snow falls outside and the fire crackles before us. Nutmeg and egg-nog, gingerbread and robust roasted coffee, sweet and spice and roasted grain and a little warmth in the finish.
Thick, this one. Like a Baltic porter with tremendous holiday spices and a clean, nutmeg-filled warm roast on the finish. A winter warmer of the highest order, perfect for nights such as this, perfect for relaxing before the fire in the Christmas-tree excitement that only comes for a few weeks of the year, but constitutes some of life's best moments.
Cheers. And Merry Christmas.

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Bestefar from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 145 ratings