Gotlandsdricka | Jester King Brewery

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303 Ratings

Brewed by:
Jester King Brewery
Texas, United States

Style: Smoke Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Gotlandsdricka, meaning “Drink of the Good Land”, is believed to have been the beer of the Vikings. Our rendition of this ancient style is inspired by the traditional farmhouse ales once brewed on the island of Gotland, off the coast of Sweden. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and naturally-conditioned.

Added by StaveHooks on 10-19-2012

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Ratings: 303 |  Reviews: 55
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that has very good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of smoked malts are present in the nose along with some hints of juniper berries.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has initial flavors of juniper followed by smoked malts towards the finish. No bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied and slightly chalky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and has a nice balance between the flavors of juniper and smoked malts.

 727 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of t0rin0
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of kojevergas
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

BOTTLE: 750ml format. Brown glass. Branded pry-off crown cap. Batch #2 - 12.08.2014.

IBU 18. FG 1.003. ABV 6.90%. Unfiltered. Unpasteurized. 100% bottle-conditioned. "Farmhouse ale." "Gotslandsricka."

Ingredients: Water, Beechwood smoked malted barley, Birchwood smoked malted barley, rye, oak smoked wheat, hops, juniper berries, sweet gale, farmhouse yeast, wild yeast, souring bacteria.

Served chilled into a tulip and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Frothy, soft, and white in my tulip. One of the more vibrant bright white hues I've seen, and when coupled with the vibrance of the body it's a gorgeous looking brew. Light lacing adheres to the sides of the tulip as the head slowly recedes. Head retention is quite good - ~8+ minutes.

BODY: Vibrant clear (i.e. translucent & transparent) yellow of excellent vibrance. Appears filtered in spite of being unfiltered, with superb clarity. No yeast/lees/berry muck is visible within. I'm pretty surprised this was unfiltered...I guess they employed secondary fermentation to excellent use.

Looks fantastic. Well-carbonated judging by the appearance, and lively across the board. I'm eager to sample it.

AROMA: Boasts a superb subtle smokiness that entices the drinker, hitting on nuanced woody subtleties and showcasing the various woods used excellently: beechwood and oak unite to great effect. I don't pretend to know what birchwood smells like, but there's more smokey complexity here than you'd find in your typical rauchbier aroma. Not too harsh or aggressive with the smoke; it's more mellow than a proper Bamberger rauchbier but more prominent than a liechtenhainer or grodziskie.

Wheat and fresh 2-row keep the malt backbone soft and sweet, lending some balance to the brew and taking the edge off all that smokiness. Some floral hop character lends additional complexity...or maybe that's the sweet gale lending actual floral aromatics?

I don't get any spiciness from the rye or any of that dry berry character from the juniper.

Any farmhouse aromatics are reticent if not non-existent, as are any bacterial aromatics. Just not finding them.

Aromatic intensity is average, but the subtlety evoked here is wonderful and this aroma suggests a balanced and drinkable smoked ale. Quite lively and inviting.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The softness of the mouthfeel bolsters this ale's easy drinking, but there's plenty of smoked malt character and woodsy flavour bouncing around, hitting on subtle white oak and beechwood without any concomitant harshness or smoked aggression.

Floral hops (and, I suppose, actual floral/subtle fruity character from the sweet gale) adorns this already intricate brew with flowery fruity nuances. There's a lot going on here, and the smoke is dominant, but it's shockingly well balanced for a smoked ale (regardless of style) and the pleasantness of the fresh malts (rye not included; it just isn't there) is surprising.

There are traces of farmhouse yeast funk and some bacterial tartness on the finish, but otherwise they're not noticeable against the backdrop of the prominent smoke.

Mouthfeel is...well, almost perfect. Strikes a perfect balance between smoothness and coarseness. Tends towards the wet side of the dry/wet spectrum, but the smoke does drag a bit on the palate (especially in the early second act), which has the effect of lengthening flavour duration and giving one more time to appreciate the beer's astounding complexity and balance. Well-carbonated (Bottle conditioning was, as usual, the right call) and even many smoked beers can you say that about? Light to medium-bodied. Mild thickness/heft on the palate. Stellar execution across the board.

There's impressive harmony of flavour here. Depth of flavour is moderate and could be improved. Flavour intensity is moderate (a nice change from the many overbearing smoked beers out there). As it warms, I clock some mild (~2/10 in terms of intensity) sourness.

OVERALL: I approached this fearing it would be merely a "dollar store Sahti" given the (ostensible) use of juniper berry, but it's anything but. Closer to a well-made grodziskie but with more intricacy and better balance, Gotlandsdricka is anything but a gimmick beer. Many breweries seem to be brewing obscure beer style resurrections as a marketing ploy (here's looking at you, Dogfish Head), but Jester King delivers with this subtle and teasing brew, showing restraint with respect to the smokey flavour and dipping into some lesser used ingredients to good effect.

I can't speak to what effect the ~2.5 years of aging I gave this had, but it's a remarkable brew I'd recommend to any discerning drinker and I count it amongst Jester King's best. I'll enjoy greedily polishing off this 750 solo.

A- (4.08) / EXCELLENT

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Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Didn't have a skull cup to drink out of, as the label recommends, so I used a tulip instead.

Lightly hazed straw gold, and a billowing head of white foam that settles quickly to a skim. No lace to speak of, looks fairly plain and simple, which makes perfect sense.

Aroma is lightly phenolic and yeasty, earthy spices take centerstage. As it warms some light smoke traces waft out also.

Moderate level of smoke, well integrated and not overbearing. The juniper and gale are subdued, and come off more as general spice than anything, with some light bitter phenolics as well. Aftertaste of honeyed malt and soft oak smokiness, a mellow wood-derived astringency cuts through the ample and frothy carbonation. As a historical recreation of an ancient simple smoked ale, it's definitely interesting (especially as a Swede myself) but a little one-note overall.

 861 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a cloudy golden color ale with a nice generous white head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of light salty rustic malt notes with some spices, juniper and light smoked notes also noticeable. Taste is a unique mix of juniper, smoked notes with some salty rustic malt notes clearly identifiable. Body is about average with good carbonation. Very interesting beers for sure but I am not sure I would feel the need to drink this on a regular basis.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of mothman
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 5.

White head. Golden sunset orange.

Very sour. Lemon acidity. Some fruits and tannins. Peated and smoked malts. Oaky.

This is a very odd beer. The first sip is rough, but then it gets better. I'd like it if it wasn't so sour.

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Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this at Hunger Mountain Coop in Vermont, somehow they got a few Jester King beers.

Big quickly rising fizzy head rises instead of fading, light lacing, hazy golden straw color, tons of bubbles rising

Nose interesting, the sweet gale and juniper are nice, good smoked malt aromas, beach wood smoke, light toasty pilsner malt, light maple smoked bacon.

Taste more smoked malts, beach wood smoke, light toasty smoke pilsner, little sweet sticky malt but semi crisp, floral effervescent, then nice sweet gale, light hint if juniper and bitterness. Light maple smoked bacon again. Finish is little sticky but drier, more smoked malt and bacon, sticky sweet malts syrupy like and bacon again, more light sweet gale.

Mouth is med to lighter bodied but sticky, effervescent lots of carb.

Overall very interesting and unique, pretty well done but a bit too much residual sugar somehow even with all that carbonation it brings. The smoked malts are nice, as well as sweet gale, juniper is barely detectable mostly and it could have used a bit more bitterness I think. but still a very unique and tasty beer to try.

 1,116 characters

Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of nickfl
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev +10.5%

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Gotlandsdricka from Jester King Brewery
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 303 ratings