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Samichlaus Classic Bier | Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

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1,081 Reviews
Samichlaus Classic BierSamichlaus Classic Bier

Brewed by:
Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The once strongest beer in the world is back! Brewed only once a year on December 6. Samichlaus is aged for 10 months before bottling. This beer is perhaps the rarest in the world. Samichlaus may be aged for many years to come. Older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish. Serve with hardy robust dishes and desserts, particulary with chocolates, or as an after dinner drink by itself. Brewed under the exclusive licence of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann-Holding, Switzerland.

Added by UncleJimbo on 02-25-2001

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Reviews: 1,081 | Ratings: 1,998
Photo of theo692
2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle, things look promising. But the thin foam quickly disperses, leaving a very warm and carmel-colored beer looking almost naked. I have to admit that I didn't notice the alcohol content when I was in the store, but the almost cloying aroma hints that potency is the name of the game.

Taste was disappointing -- too sweet for me, which is saying something (I have drank my share of Lindemans and the venerable Pater Witkap). It is a heavy sweetness, too, like drinking syrup straight from the bottle (or, perhaps, the tree itself). Samichlaus drinks more like a port than a beer, which is all well and good if you want to drink port.

I tasted again with food (sausages, to get in the German spirit), but no help. I don' doubt the craft of the brewer, and I suspect that this taste was precisely what he/she had in mind, but it attacks my tastebuds like too much treacle.

I let the beer warm a bit, hoping that doing so would soften the flavor, but I didn't detect any difference.

Samichlaus reminds me of the Bush (Belgian, not from St. Louis) Xmas beer, which had a similar starting point. But where Bush Xmas immediately backed off the sweet and instead morphed into spice and walnut (as I recall), Samichlaus runs headlong at you. If sweet, high-alcohol beer is your thing, then you will find few in its league.

I must admit I was drawn in by the marketing on the bottle/4-pack ("brewed only once each year"), which was foolish of me. Shame on me for thinking higher-priced beers would be better than old standbys like Corsendonk or Chimay.

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Photo of allergictomacros
2.7/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle says 14% abv. This might just knock me out for the night... Deep ruby red, clear, with a smallish head - doesn't look particularly formidable. Aroma is rich fruitiness which pretty much obliterates anything else that might be here. First sip is very sweet, with a surprisingly well hidden alcohol. Lots of fruit with almost no carbonation and a syrupy body. Bitterness is extremely low, or perhaps more accurately balanced out by the intense sugary sweetness. Flavour is red berries and a hint of cherry and maybe some medium-dark sugars. Had enough balance to keep one bottle from being cloying, but the second may be undrinkable. Far too sweet to have as anything but a dessert/digestif. FWIW, it's quite a good big, sweet beer. OTOH, it's awfully big and sweet... Matches well with chocolate...

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Photo of TheRealBigC
2.73/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was looking forward to this one. I bought it about 6 months ago and I've been waiting for the right time to crack it open. I can only say I'm awfull disappointed. It is ridiculously sweet and the flavors are an array of things I don't like. Rum & raisin notes abound and something feels totally unbalanced about it. It was just too much, too sweet. Maybe it was a bad vintage?

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Photo of wingedeel
2.76/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vintage 2005 bottle

I can only hope this one will improve with some more ( a lot? ) aging.

While Samichlaus does have some subtle, complex flavors, the beer is not balanced at all in my opinion. The subtle flavors are all but overpowered by a strong alcohol aftertaste, and a sickly sweetness.

The fact that almost every review states that you would not want to drink more than one in a sitting really ought to tell you something. I like strong beers, and have tried this several times, both in a bottle, and on tap. I must say this is one beer I just don't understand the love for.

I will say, I would like to try one with 10+ years on it to see if time balances things out.

Edit 2011- Had a 2007 vintage an tap at The Trion in New Haven, IN, and it had mellowed some.Still not very balanced ,but I upped my score a bit.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.76/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased from Slowbeer. I decided to crack this one open of all the beer in my fridge because I wanted to test out the equation that allows you to determine ABV from Brix and FG. It told me this beer was 12.5% alcohol. Interesting.

Pours a flat toasted amber colour, quite deep and tending to brown. Remarkably clear body, with a very fine ring of insubstantial film forming the head. Definitely weight to the body, giving it a hefty fluidity. Minimal carbonation. It looks very heavy, I'll give it that.

Nose is sweet but brusque with alcohol, lending it an almost phenolic intensity. Sharpness on the back, that smells like a cross between hops and kerosene. Booze has been taken to too high a level, and there isn't enough else to compensate.

Taste is a little better, as there's a big sweetness that sticks throughout, lending an intense toffee character to the slight boozy solvent-like astringency. Still that brandy burn on the back really doesn't allow you to forget how strong it is. Feel is surprisingly liquid and light. And, let's face it, flat.

Nope, this doesn't do it for me. In some senses I respect it for what it is. This was, at one point, the strongest beer in the world, but I've had beers that exceed it in both alcohol and balance. This feels like an outlier, an anomaly, and a beer brewed for the wrong reasons.

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Photo of aforbes10
2.76/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 bottling. pours extrememly clear and clean, brown. not dark or cloudy in the least. very strange-looking. Nose is just a ton of alcohol with maybe some grape and other vague fruit odors. Taste is also ton of alcohol which totally dominate the flavor. I really didn't find it all that complex...some fruitiness as in the nose, but not much. Very thick and syrupy, kind of like drinking whisky mixed with beer. a sipper if i had to drink it again.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
2.77/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a clear orange/amber color with a finger of very short lasting white head.

S: Very mild - mostly plum and apple cider.

T: Quite sweet and very boozy. Mostly one note caramel.

M: Quite thick with low, prickly carbonation.

O: Pretty boring and very boozy. No major taste flaws, though.

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Photo of tgbljb
2.8/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

poured a mudium reddish color with sparse head. Smell is very strong on malt with dark fruit(figs, prunes) also evident. Almost a whiskey-like smell. Taste is very strong on malt, with the alcohol showing its massive presence. Strong alcohol bite. Finish is also very strong on alcohol. Not my type of beer.

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Photo of mtstatebeer
2.82/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle, 2006. Pours an orange-amber color with an immediately dissipating head. Aroma is fairly complex, sweet malts, caramel, candi, and alcohol. Flavor is a kick in the ass. Very, very sweet malts, toffee, brown sugar, and ALCOHOL. Thick and creamy mouthfeel, but just WAY too much sweetness.

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Photo of havoc1
2.82/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Apologies, I lack the vocabulary to adequately review as the others I've read, but here's what I took away.

A: Thick amber/red, limited head
S: Sweet
T: Finish was a clinging, lingering combo of raisins and maybe licorice. Very unpleasant to my palette.
M: Thick and impressive

Overall: Definitely heated up my gut. Mouthfeel was full and pleasant, but I could not get past the cloyingly sweet finish, with a lingering aftertaste that I found highly unpleasant. To each his own, but I'm not impressed.

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Photo of cyrenaica
2.82/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle

14% ABV

I tried this beer on September 25, 2007 at 'Smokeless Joe's' in Toronto. The beer poured a reddish copper colour with a thin white head. The aroma was very sugary, almost maple. The mouthfeel was thick, creamy, and very little hint of carbonation. The taste was very sweet, almost cognacy, with a hint of bitterness.

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Photo of DIM
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottled in 2005

a: Light ruby color, clear, no haze whatsoever. Minimal head and champagne like bubbles floating to the top.

s: Over-ripe fruit with some brandy notes. Very boozy. Malts smelled a bit like an English barleywine.

t: Well balanced earthy sweet malt up front blanketed by a nice alcoholic warmth. The finish, however, has a medicinal note that is unpleasant. Reminds me a bit of cough medicine.

m: Syrupy and sticky, not bad.

d: This one was a chore to get through. Once and done for me with this one.

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Photo of KyleVick4
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz 2004 bottled date.

A: Very little lacing, just looks thick when I swirl it... Much lighter than I imagined a light copper/dark golden color.

S: Brandy/white wine. Overwhelming alcohol esters follwed by a more delicate burnt malty orange smell? Very unique. Smell the sweetness of the malt for sure. A little to overpowering for a beer, needs to age or mellow out for sure.

T: Palate cleansing high alcohol. First impression is "wow this is gonna be a long bottle" kinda numbs the tounge when it hits it. After I get over the extreme alcoholic taste I do find pleasant oranges and maybe toffee/nutty undertones. Not a bad taste but the high alcohol content throws it waaaay out of skew. Will drink a water or two for sure to clean this taste out.

M: This is not its finest quality. The alcohol is so much all at once that it seems to raise the carbination. Wow, thick and syrupy all the way down. This is an extreme of an extreme for a beer. Maybe served in one of those little port glasses this would work fine, but 12 oz in a belgian tulip is just too much.

D: Not very drinkable, although the taste is strangly addicitive. The ultra heavy mouthfeel and crazy syrupyness of this beer really take off major points. Very small sips as if I was sampling a brandy or cognac, again this should not be presented in a 12oz bottle.

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Photo of Cavery
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottle purchased for the sake of disciplining myself to put away some beers. I figured I'd sample one of them to gauge where it's at and what I think of it.

A: Really light looking, thin brown cheap maple syrup with perhaps even some lighter cranberry juice character to the body. This really could pass for a plum iced tea with the complete lack of head. Literally no head formation, no lacing.

S: Smell isn't bad at all with some sugar coated raisins, fermented sugar cane (rum) whiffs, and some slightly sweet dessert wine character. Alcohol is apparent in the end with a modest suggestion of sugary rum booze.

T: Really very sweet raisin and rum flavor. The alcohol is fairly tame in the flavor, but it really spreads its warmth in the mouth as you sip. A slightly bitter finish that is suggestive of sweet porridge. Even with the sweetness, it feels juxtaposed with even more sweetness. It's like throwing packets of white sugar mixed with splenda on lucky charms. Just too sweet for me, but some people might like it.

M: It's just so light in the mouth, and when soft carbonation bubbles pop I can't help but think I'm just crunching on sugar crystals. It's like a mixed drink where you take 5 packets of sugar, splashes of old dessert wine, garnish with a few raisins, and then add a tablespoon of Perrier. At least it's not flat I guess.

O: Just way off my idea of good flavor. This beer is so not my style, and I can't help but feel I don't think time is going to change this beer enough for me. Simply too sweet, and too light in the body. If you like fresh 120 Minute IPA, then this is your doppelbock. Layers of sweetness, where low carbonation and popping sugar crystals collide in a dissonant juxtaposition of sweetness. Excuse me while I inject myself with insulin.

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Photo of beeroclock
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I didn't realize that this was a malt beverage of 14% ABV. This was brought out w/ the bottle and a mug. I poured it into the mug and it had absolutely no head at all. Quite a bit of carbonation, a brown color w/ bubbles. Smell is of sugar cane and mollasses. The taste is simply ok, but the alcohol bite is extreme. You can taste every bit of the alcohol in this one. It goes down warm like a bourbon and has a similar taste w/ more of a sweetness to it. It is cold outside, so it warms you quick. Hard to drink many of these though.

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Photo of ypsifly
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Vintage 2004 11.2oz poured into a flute.

Bright amber with a small white head that falls to a thin ring in a few minutes.

Alcohol dominates the nose. There's something sweet underneath, but by this point my nostrils burn. Alcohol and candy. Unpleasant but above average because its different.

There's a quick note of malt when tasted, but it turns sweet, almost cloying, then its all alcohol. Boozy.

Light mouthfeel that is subdued by the burn. Not drinkable this fresh, but I'd like to try one with five years on it.

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Photo of Floydster
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottled purchased from Beverage Warehouse for five dollars, split with two different friends last night and only had about four ounces

Poured into my small Ballast Point glass with an pinkish amber color with barely any head, this left no lacing at all

Smell was boozy, brandy, cognac, and bourbon we are all in there along with tons of malt and sugar

Taste was too much, so sweet with no real hops, tasted more like syrup and hard alcohol than beer, this needs a lot more age in the cellar, does not taste like a dopplebock to me, almost an extremely fresh barleywine, needs some bitterness which means it needs more hops, honestly a struggle to get this one down it was so strong, this was a pretty disappointing bottle of beer

Barely any carbonation, thick almost like molasses, sweet and aggressive mouthfeel

At fourteen percent, it is already hard enough to drink, but add the strong taste and it makes it even worse, heavy stuff that could only have a few sips of when it is fresh

I do not agree that this is the finest beer in the world like it says on the back of the bottle, but I will see how it evolves in a few years and maybe add another review then

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Photo of Derek
2.87/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottled in 2004.

By definition, the dopplebock only goes to 9%, and this is nothing like other Dopplebocks. Closer to an Eisbock... but obviously brewed differently. More of a high-end malt liqour! Also, it's Austrian... the Germans haven't occupied them for quite some time.

I think this should definitely be a "Euro Strong Lager".
Difficult to compare within style.

A: Copper in colour, very clear. Poors with a little head, but it quickly dissipates, without leaving any lace.

S: Malty, sherry-like, sweet candy. Unlike anything else.

T: Alcohol is quite assertive. Some sweet, caramel-like flavour. It's like candy (like artificial, strawberry cotton-candy), with LOTS of alcohol. Truly unique, but it'd be a little more pleasurable if it was a little less harsh.

<Ralph Wiggum Voice> It tastes like burning! </Ralph Wiggum Voice>

M: Moderate body, light carbonation, dry finish.

D: Approachable, but its strength is inhibitive.

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Photo of PanicUnited
2.87/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ok this beer caught my eye while perusing my local bottle shop, and its slogan "the best beverage in the world".

The taste was just awful. I would say its closest to a barley wine gone bad, but without that tiny hint of spice that comes at the end of a traditional Barley Wine. Honestly, its just not very good.

I couldn't give it away after several people tried it, and ended up tossing it out.

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Photo of WetCoaster
2.89/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

*2005 edition

One of those beer store aisle scans, where the bottle you've looked past 100 times suddenly catches your eye. Huh. Eh, why not?

So here at last, my shot at the infamous Santy Claus.

Appearance: Hmmm. Well, I expected this to look -- and pour -- like maple syrup. In fact, it looks like a standard American amber ale; a bell-clear golden-tinged amber. The off-white head comes... and goes. Very poor retention.

Smell: Ah, now we're getting somewhere. Super saturated bock aroma, fusels, brown sugar, surprisingly sharp citrus notes. As it opens up, cherry and vanilla become more assertive.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Whoa. Sugary. Fusels out the wazoo. Burnt caramel. It's an OK d-bock, but the mouthfeel tilts the scale into negativeland. The mouthfeel is, in a word, awful. Flabby, sticky and damn near dead flat. Yuk.

Drinkability: Not for me. I appreciate the fact that the good brewers found a way to coax this brew to 14 percent, but I found it to be a sugary, sticky, lifeless bore, and the monster alcohol makes it a rough go. One and done.

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Photo of KennethBlomqvist
2.89/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

My GF was hunting for something nice in Systembolaget and found this on the limited edition shelf. She bought 4 bottles and hid it. On New Years Eve she brought it up and told me she got something rare and we shared one. Was a bit overwhelmed by its taste and the musty aroma of bit everything. This is a beer that I wont taste again this year and after spoken to a guy about it he almost got tears in his eye and asked If I got more. Told him that I got 3 bottles left and he told me to wait a least couple of years before I open another one. Apparently its gets better after some years. Maybe this review will change then.

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Photo of stephens101
2.91/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Beer goggles for beer.

A short, tan, bubbly head tops off this reddish-brown brew. The froth fades quickly, leaving very little evidence of its existence behind.

Prolific caramel malts, ripe cherries and milk chocolate to the nose. A little allspice and sweet bread linger.

Tastes of caramel, cups full of brown sugar, maraschino cherries, and licorice. Has a spicy aftertaste. Bitterness is negligible. Finishes off with a sloppy syrupy kiss.

Hot and heavy with the kind of body that slams you down and rides you ragged. There's no accounting for taste, so choose your pleasure.

This one is ia bit too sweet for me, although the prominent alcohol heat warmed me up quickly and helped me forget some of it's less appealing aspects. Always up for trying huge beers, but find many times there are too many trade-offs in the balance department.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
2.92/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Clear chestnut brown. Not much head, just a light cap.

Malty sweet nose; boozy, fruity quality with caramel.

Flavor is crazy sweet like candy. Residual sugars are almost overpowering. I've never tasted a beer this sweet. Tons of brown sugar. Warming and boozy, but 14% ABV is not apparent. Nothing harsh, just lots of sugar saturated fruitiness.

Definitely unique; a sipper for sure, meant to be enjoyed at length.

I would suggest pairing with something to complement the sweetness; not sure what though.

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Photo of wcudwight
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Enola for sharing.
I was planning on putting this up for awhile, but decided to pull it out to celebrate Easter. In hindsite I should have waited.
Syrupy, mahogany, chesnut colored. No head or lacing. Carbonation is slightly above nil.
Some sweetness, but mostly alcohol in the aroma.
Same for the taste. If you can get through the alcohol burn and flavor, you find some whisky flavors. Maybe a hint of dark fruit. Raisins. It's also pretty sweet. All this is well hidden by the alcohol though.
Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Alcohol gives a mild burn to the throat and you can feel it in your belly.
I bet this would be a heck of a beer a few years down the road. I may try it again but never this green.

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Photo of DaveUK
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance - a deep reddish brown, clear, with very little remnant lacing - just a small halo of white bubbles on the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Earthy and bitter noble hops, sweet malt and caramel/burnt sugar.

Taste - Syrupy sweet, some roasted malt, very sugary with cloying candyfloss and caramel along with lashings of burnt sugar. A vaguely bitter finish fights a losing battle with prominent alcoholic warming.

Mouthfeel - Cloying sweetness dominates, very heavy and sweet. Alcohol is fairly well complimented by sweetness, but I've had beers that better conceal/balance alcohol of this level.

Overall - A powerful and sweet bock. It has a barely noticeable lagery base which is drowned by layers of caramel, candyfloss and alcohol. Very unbalanced and as a result, I could only have one at a time. That said - a powerful and sweet doppelbock with an interesting history and name!. Not for me, but I see why others take to it.

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Samichlaus Classic Bier from Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,998 ratings.
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