Samichlaus Classic Bier | Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

very good
2,043 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,043 |  Reviews: 1,095
Photo of homebrew311
2.66/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: appears a deep clear red with absolutely no head and no lacing. Didn't really expect this with a 14% beer.

S: sugary sweet up front, dark fruits, molasses,, maple, all malt and all sweet.

T: again, sweet and sugary from beginning to finish. Notes of fruit and molasses, zero bitterness or hop character.

MF: syrupy, low carbonation, thick body

D: this is not something I could see myself drinking again. I had enough trouble just sharing one bottle of it. It is far too sweet. I've had beers of this abv that are much better balanced. This could use some refinement.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to womencantsail for sharing this one at the Bruery RS Post-Post-Party. 1996 Vintage!!! Served from bottle into a Bruery sampler imperial pint. Poured dark brown with a very very minimal off-white head that subside to no head at all upon sitting for a bit. There was no lacing evident throughout on this one. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, and slight alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, and peanuts. It had a light feel on the palate with very low carbonation. Overall this one was decent but not great. This brew was pretty old to say the least. However, it seems like it has held up decently after all this time. Definitely grateful that I got to try this one.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage thanks to bmanning. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours a faint caramel color with a few bubbles here and there, but not too much of anything going on. Pretty color, though, I suppose. A few legs on one side of the glass. The nose is pretty strong with a really nice amount of super-sweet malt, caramel, and dark fruits. The taste is more toward the sweet end of the spectrum and adds in a bit of light alcohol, though not too much. Feel is nice with the sweetness and alcohol combining well. Not cloying. Really tasty and a nice sipper. Glad my first taste of this brew was a vintage version and not something fresh, which I've heard can be quite hot.

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Photo of kwjd
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Burp Castle in New York City. This was banned in Ontario because the picture looks too like much Santa Claus, so we wouldn't want kids to want to buy this expensive beer, even they aren't allowed in the government liquor store in the first place. Ridiculous! Anyway, so the government made me want to try this. Pours a dark copper-brown colour with thin white head. Even though the head is thin, head remained for the whole time, leaving traces of lacing on the glass. It smells pretty much like a spicy barleywine, winter spices with a big caramel malt. Flavour is quite strong on alcohol, though the caramel sweetness is left as an aftertaste. Fairly big carbonation. I didn't realize this was 14% abv when I wrote the review in my phone, but it makes sense given how boozy it was.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter. Bottled in 2007.

Pours a clear amber/brown color with little to no head.

Cinnamon, chocolate, caramelized sugar, and crisp alcohol all in the nose. There is a huge cherry aroma, almost like cherry cough syrup...very medicinal.

The flavor is rich. There are hints of vanilla and wet wood, almost similar to a scotch ale. A cherry cough syrup flavor overwhelms the palate the beer over to a super sweetness and spicy alcohol.

This beer is good for the first few is very sweet, making it not incredibly drinkable. It was an interesting beer to try, and one that will warm you up due to the high ABV. But the cherry sweetness is overwhelming, making the beer hard to enjoy.

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Photo of searsclone
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay glass in Janury 2011, bottled in 2008.

The color is similar to maple syrup. Zero head.

Smells like alcohol, caramel and raisins.

Honey, caramel, vanilla, spices, hops and smoke. Alohol warms the throat and stomach.

Very little carbonation, mouthfeel is thin and sticky.

Drinkability is high under the right circumstances, I would like to try this with food since I think that would make it even better.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel. 2009.

A - Deep ruby red with just a bit of head that receded fairly quickly. Tiny bit of lacing.

S - Alcohol smell comes right through. Has a bit of a sweet smell almost syrupy.

T - First thing to hit is the alcohol taste. It receded very quickly and turns a brilliant sweet. Syrupy taste, almost like a maple syrup rum. Has some of the warming ABV in the back end but not nearly as much as I expected. Remarkably odd and good.

M - Creamy and well carbonated. Leaves a sweet taste all through the mouth.

D - The ABV says no but heck the taste says yes. This is a hell of a good drink on a cold night. Warms your insides like a fire.

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Photo of dcook11
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper color with no visible head. Looks almost brown. This is a 2008 vintage. The large amount of alcohol contributes to the lack of head. No visible carbonation. Tastes very similiar to brown shugga. Cloying sweetness and mollasses and brown sugar. No hop bitterness but generous malt sweetness. Mouthfeel is very light for the abv and the drinkability is very high for its strength.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark red/amber color. Poured a 1 finger tan head that fell quickly to a skim on around the edge. Very little lacing.

S: Big malts; sweet burnt caramel. Also sweet dark fruits; figs, dates and raisins.

T: Big malts like the nose. Strong and syrupy; the alcohol builds as the beer warms. Date and raisin flavor lingers through the finish.

M: Medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Syrupy and smooth despite the ample abv - which is warming but disguised fairly well (for 14%).

D: Flavorful and smooth. Daunting ABV limits drinkability a bit.

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Photo of RedBeerchetta
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Armsby Abbey this Christmastime 2010. Just ~90 minutes before Phish takes the stage for their holiday, pre-MSG New Years show.

Poured jnto its own brande glass, nice thick head that lasts a while and dissipates, after which you'd think it to be a cognac; shimmering copper color, entirely translucent, viscosity clinging it to the glass.

Nose alone is worth the price. Warm alcohol, caramel, pear, holiday spice.

First taste impression on the tongue is "sweet". Not "sweet!", but "sugary". But immediately afterward the complexities arrive. So many it's hard to know where to begin. So hard that I won't, and I'll simply say that this beer is top 10 in the world. Give yourself a Christmas present and try it.

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Photo of basica
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark translucent amber color into my snifter, revealing a thin layer of tan head that quick reduces to a steady ring around the glass; light to moderate carbonation is visible (4)

S - Intense nose of malts with notes of soy sauce and strong caramel sweetness; dark fruits with hints of dates and raisins (4.5)

T - Strong syrupy, caramel sweetness upfront on the palate with a huge malt background; tonnes of dark fruity phenols with notes of dates and raisins in the middle, lasting towards a raisiny, malty finish with just a light dash of alcohol despite its 14% ABV strength (4.5)

M - Medium to full-bodied with moderate carbonation and a syrupy texture; goes down creamy smooth and slightly dry with a pleasant alcohol warming (4.5)

D - At 14%, it amazes me that the alcohol hardly shows through, except for some warming as it goes down; strong, delectable flavors as well as a smooth mouthfeel makes this beer a perfect night cap. In my opinion, this leans closer towards a strong Eisbock more so than a Doppelbock (4.5)

Bottled in 2008; consumed on December 26, 2010.This is, by far, the highest ABV beer I've ever had. In my cellar, is another bottle from 2003.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2008

Purchased @ Julio's Liquors, Westborough, Mass.

Price - $5.99

Appearance: A beautiful shade of deep amber with an unmatched clarity for the style and so clean looking. Virtually no carbonation or head to speak of. A thin ring around the glass is all the proof you have that indicates you are in fact drinking a beer.

Smell: Brings me back to my child hood and reminds me of hard candy my cousin and I would buy at the penny store at the lake. Caramel, vanilla and dark fruits (raisins, dates & figs).

Taste: Super sweet, a definite malt bomb for sure. A flavor of candy smacks the taste buds head on. trademark dopplebock smokiness in the finish. Alcohol is superbly hidden for 14%.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body, smooth with a little alcohol in the finish. Pleasent overall.

Drinkability: A definite sipper. Another fine example of a sherry type beer. After having Christmas dinner I chose this as my Christmas desert beer. Served @ cellar temperature to unleash the flavors, I'm not disappointed. Merry Christmas!!

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Photo of keithmurray
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

XMas Day treat poured into a chalice, 2009 bottle

Appearance - pours a translucent dark copper colour with very little white head

Smell - Plums, raisins, figs, lots of dark fruit, almost smells like a dark rum, a little booze is present, butterscotch

Taste - toffee, malt, maple syrup, raisins, figs, currants, plums, like the way this is complex and dances on the tongue

mouthfeel - medium carbonation, medium to full bodied, on the sweet side, booze comes through on the afterfinish, warming effect on the way down and also as it warms

drinkability - This is a great beverage to celebrate special occasions, ABV makes this a sipper for sure, price makes it not feasible to drink often but this is a really good beer that I will revisit in the future

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Photo of biegaman
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage - enjoyed Christmas Day 2010.

You'd have to agree Santa Claus looks pretty good for his old age and, likewise, you'd have to agree that this Samichlaus (2 years old) looks surprisingly fit for its age as well. Its colour, although quite deep, still maintains a brassy shine and its clarity is yet unimpeded by coagulated proteins or yeasts and its head (almost miraculously) still stands tall.

To the average drinker a 14% beer wouldn't still be considered beer and, although they'd technically be wrong, on the matter of aroma they definitely have a point. This would strike many as a liquor. And understandably so: there's a smorgasbord of esters and alcohol vapors that hover over what is a sweet (and admittedly rich) maltiness.

Keep this holiday seasonal away from your Christmas trees - it is a fire hazard! Let's face facts: any 14% beer is going to taste strong. There's no avoiding that. The question is whether that alcoholic strength contributes or distracts overall. In this case, it does a little of both but I find, in the end, it adds rich complexity and formidable character.

Not the least for its great aging potential and uniqueness, Samichlaus makes a great gift for any beer drinker. There's also enough spicy esters, macerated fruitiness, scorched toffee and a light peat-y undertone that would suggest it'd be appreciated by whiskey drinkers even more. Indeed, I'm starting to think a rock glass would have been more suitable.

It can be difficult to reflect on a beer that seems to scorch your palate with every sip. But like the cough medicine that burns your throat on the way down, there is instant gratification that comes with it: the fruity esters flourish like shrubs in a vacated garden of rich honey, festering fruits, alpine herbs and a lingering gooey butterscotch sweetness.

It's probably for the better that Samichlaus is brewed only one day a year. That, and the fact that it's brewed in a castle and virtually everything else about the beer, is entirely enchanting. It is indeed a special beer for a special time of year. And, like St. Nikolaus himself, it's sure to have you saying: "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

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Photo of SteveO1231
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12 oz. bottle to enjoy during the holidays. 330ml brown bottle with an updated label featuring an image of Samichlaus himself. The date flanking his face lets me know that this batch was bottled in 2009.

I was expecting a dark opaque liquid but to my surprise it pours a dark copper with bright amber highlights with a light white ring foam on tip with some spotty lacing.

Total malt bomb aroma, sweet brown sugar, maple syrup, some husk, booze and airplane glue.

Super thick and full-bodied beer, It feels like I'm drinking maple syrup. "I am all that is man!" Super Trooper style! Super slick.

This brew is syrupy sweet. So sweet it hurts my teeth! Big sugary sweetness like belgian candy, caramel, dark fruits, dried pineapple, and booze. ABV tingles the palate.

This beer is very sweet, almost too sweet. ABV makes this one definitely a sipper. Not a beer I could drink regularly but happy to have experienced it.


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Photo of harrymel
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Review from notes on 07/07/10
33cl for $7 @ Jim's Homebrew in Spokane, WA

Vintage 2007

Poured from bottle to snifter.

A: Low to no head, bubbling or lacing. Nice burnt orange color.

S: Beautiful caramel, toffee nose. Alcohol content makes sniff a touch warm, but not overwhelming.

T: Sweet grain, toffee, brown sugar with a mix of alcohol in there. Delicious. Finish allows a sweetness up front, which transitions and mixes with a warmth from the alcohol level. Makes me want to take another sip.

M: Low carbonation, medium-high body with creamy feel on the tongue.

D: Great beer! As advertised, does age well, and presents the flavors one would expect. Have had fresh and this beer is too much fresh, but if allowed to sit, you get to enjoy the fruits of the wait.

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Photo of beergod1
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, dark copper/red, almost brown, very small head and no lacing. Sharp alcohol smell accompanies sweet syrupy malts over a dark fruit base. Alcohol is a little less dominant in the taste, which features the sweet dark fruits and Caramel malt and toffee. Texture is amazing - creamy smooth, even with all that alcohol, thick, rich and chewy. Sweet finish without being cloying, and oh yeah, the slight alcohol burn. This was a 2009, I will let my other one sit at least a year.

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Photo of boisehack
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This exceptional brew was served to me in an 8oz goblet at the Front Door in Boise, Idaho, and was touted as the world's strongest lager by the server. Vintage 2008 (2 years old).

The lighting in a taphouse usually precludes an accurate description of color, but my impression was of a crystal clear reddish-brown.

The head consisted of a thin layer of very fine bubbles that quickly retreated to the miniscus, leaving a few small atoills floating in the middle, all of this slowly dissipating as the tasting progressed, leaving a very scanty lacing, if you could use the word in this case.

The smell reminded me of cherry and cigar, and a sweetness, made very penetrating by the alcohol vapor of this high octane offering.

Banana, spice, toffee sweetness and vanilla are what came to mind as I slowly sipped this delightful dopplebock, and any malt taste was seemingly overpowered to the point that I felt like I was drinking a brandy instead of a beer.

This beer produced a bit of sharpness in the mouth, not unpleasant, and had a palpable body to it, but I needed to take small sips, and I savored each one gratefully.

It was evident as the tasting went slowly on that I was drinking something very special. The flavors and aroma were intensified by the high alcohol content. This libation was not brewed to slake one's thirst on a hot summer day or wash down a spicy meal, but is a worthy showcase for the art of a brewery that has been around for over 400 years. At 1 U.S. Dollar an ounce I did not at all mind taking my time with this unique creation.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the Belgian Cafe, Philly, PA

A: Dark brown / mahogany with reddish highlights.

S: Light and sugary sweet.

T: Fruitcake sweetness, with a bit of spice.

M: Medium body, a tad syrupy, but still clean enough. A little tartness and alcohol bite.

D: Moderately drinkable. Very tasty, but not worthy of an entire drinking session.

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Photo of tubacharlie
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured down the side at first, then down the middle when no foam appeared. A very slight head forms a thin carpet on the surface, then rapidly dissipates to just a thin ring around the edge, with a few wayward trails in the center. The body is a very clear, intense and deep red-brown color, with scattered lines of bubbles rising slowly along the sides from the depths of the tulip glass.

The scent of strong molasses and honey with a generous dose of alcohol esters greets the nose.

A rush of flavor hits the tongue on first sip; smoky, slightly sweet dark roast malts dance with hazel nut, toffee and caramel notes as the brew froths up in the mouth and turns to vapors from the high alcohol content. Rich and succulent, this 2008 bottling should cellar nicely for several years (wish I had a case for that purpose!).

This annual holiday brew can be a nice after-dinner aperitif, with some warm plum pudding or berry-stuffed cinnamon baked apples dressed in ginger cream.

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Photo of Meerkey
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amazed by its clarity. It's beautiful. A few bubbles. Rich mahogany and burgundy. Especially lovely when held up to the light.

S: A little spicy. Sugar, malt, and fruits.

T: Damn. Molasses, extremely sweet. A little spicy. Candy. A little fruity, but the sweetness almost takes over everything. And actually, a little like freshly plucked honeysuckle.

M: Some carbonation. Can taste the alcohol a bit. Syrupy, but smooth and clean.

D: Very drinkable. Don't even notice the alcohol.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage...

Pours the color and clarity of a shiny new penny, thinnest cap of off white head, gone quickly. Scent is a huge whiff of sweet caramel and bready malts, followed by a mingling of dark fruit (prune, plum) and booze. Taste has the fruit slightly more forward on the pallate, the sweetness comes quickly and eases into a slow boozy burn. fuller side of medium bodied, slick and somewhat syrupy, lingering sweetness and booze on the palate. A definite sipper, some age would do this brew well.

This was one of the first craft beers i ever had the pleasure of trying. Luckily for me it was an aged draft and it was great enough then to get me started down the path to craft beer.

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Photo of industrialswill
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh my.... this is good !!!
It's a dark beer with minimal head or carbonation.
"Dark fruit" describes the flavor very well. This is a very rich, sweet, somewhat syrupy drink. Similar to drinking a fortified wine as far as alcohol presence and mouthfeel is concerned.
I love this stuff and am sorry that I came home from my beer buying trek with only one of these.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

A: This legendary beer is a light copper color and appears slightly hazy. The head stands in at about a quarter inch tall and leaves a few traces of lacing in its wake.

S: Malt, alcohol, dark fruit, raisins, candy. Samichlaus smells strong!

T: A tasty brew, even if it's not my favorite style or type of beer, per se. It's incredibly sweet with a very prominent alcohol presence. The beer doesn't lack flavor, though. It's very forward, with cotton candy and raisins soaked in alcohol, along with a nice malty flavor.

M: Thin to medium bodied with a large and in charge alcohol presence.

D: Best in small quantities. Half a bottle is more than enough. Two or three ounces would have been sufficient.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a wine glass

This beer pours a copper color with little to no head to speak of, but at this ABV it's understandable. The smell is strong. There are lots of caramel notes perhaps some butterscotch thrown in with all of the booze fumes that are creeping up my nostrils. There is caramel and toffee in the flavor as well but mostly this is just a sugary butterscotch candy. Though due to the high powered booze that exists you could say there is a bit more scotch than butter. However it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a pretty good beer, it's really sugary for any style. And as for a doppelbock I'm not really sure if it qualifies in that realm either. But no matter the style please be sure to sip this beer, it's a doozie.

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Samichlaus Classic Bier from Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg
3.99 out of 5 based on 2,043 ratings.
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