Samichlaus Classic Bier | Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

Samichlaus Classic BierSamichlaus Classic Bier
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4.02 w/ 2,056 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: 2,056 |  Reviews: 1,101
Photo of keithmurray
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
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 -2.7%
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 -0.5%
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 -3.7%
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 +5.7%
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%
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 -9.2%
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 +11.9%
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 +5.5%
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 -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 +12.4%
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 -1.7%
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 -3.5%
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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Photo of cnjohn19
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to the guys at carrboro beverage company for sharing a bottle with all of us who made purchases yesterday...

A - poured a light-color which was very clear, sharp, and exact...

S - very sweet and burning...tough to get anything particular...

T & M - extremely surprised by how delicious this beer is...and damn it burns, definitely for the sipping type...kind of has a malt liquor meets bourbon thing going on which is actually damn good...extremely crisp but much less carbonation than i expected...

D - all depends on the drinker...a small sample was good for me, but given its the strongest lager in the world it actually presents an opportunity have large samples...

as noted, i enjoyed this beer while shopping for 2 seasonals from terrapin brewery...

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Photo of bylerteck
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Medium copper sort of colour with medium carbonation and no head. Bright.

S - Smells alot like Grandpa's aftershave or something. That's sort of the booziness coming out which compliments the rich fruits that come out afterwards.

T - Huge dark fruit flavours there. Sweet but not cloyingly so. Very nice.

M - Medium carbonation. Very smooth. Full bodied. Refreshing.

D - For a 14% beer this is dangerously drinkable. Very enjoyable. It's so rich and flavourful and yet has those refreshing lager characteristics.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage. Missed the December 6th brewing date by one day.
appearance: A fine clear deep copper, burgundy. Very slight head but at 14%, no worries.
smell: Oh my. This flirts with perfection. Complex and intense. Buttery and spicy. Some combination of a fine barleywine, a strong ale, and a doppel.
taste: That's the stuff. Even better than the nose. The start spreads in the mouth and reveals toffee, light spice. Admittedly I lean to the strong ones but this is way smooth for a 14%, even smooth for half that. I see some reviews that describe this gentle giant as too boozy. Not this bottle.
mouthfeel: silky with a very light carbonation profile.
drinkability: A hesitate to give a 5 but this guy is just too smooth for such a monster.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.89/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle, bottled in 2007. so it was brewed in december 2006, 4 years ago. poured into goblet

a rusty orange-brown color with red highlights. very little head, disapates into just a tiny ring of bubbles around the edge. but they do stick to the sides of the glass and slowly slide down.

aroma is very pleasant mix of sweetness and herbal spice. maybe similar to spiced rum. taste is complex - caramel, vanilla, cherry, oak flavors all in there.

typical of a doppelbock, low carbonation. not as syrupy as expected, so more of a clean mouthfeel. very easy to drink.

the aging has done this wonders. absolutely no trace of the huge 14% abv, and the flavors are meddled nicely.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich copper color, one finger of head that dissipates imediately and completely, no lacing.

S - Lots of layers! Burt caramel/toffee, molasses, fermented cherries, wood, and vanilla with mild alcohol notes.

T - Very sweet, tons and caramel/toffee up front, followed by molasses and vanilla spice, fermented cherries, alcohol is definitely present and somewhat warming.

M - Pretty heavy in body, smooth, creamy, and sticky.

D - This is an obvious sipper at 14%, alcohol is rather present, nice and complex, worth trying.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Whoa, my first Samichlaus... what a treat.

750ml bomber into tulip glass at just-below cellar temp (50?).

Aggressive pour yields a 2F head over a deep golden to orange colored body. Very faint lacing.

Aromas are flaming ... initially comes through as rich banana bread, cinnamon, and fusel alcohol. As it warmed, it turned more toward apple juice, followed by raisin bread, a healthy dose of cognac, and white raisins.

Alchohol heat fills the mouth, and flavors of thick honey, caramel, toffee, and white raisin all come through. Remarkably creamy and smooth mouthfeel, considering the style & alcohol content.

Drinkability suffers a bit from the boozy qualities, but it is VERY good overall. However, this was quite different in flavor from any doppelbock I've had before.

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Photo of allengarvin
2.03/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Finally available in Texas, probably the last place to get this beer I first read about in MJ 20 years ago. 2009 edition. Very hard to open top... took several tries with a bottle opener. It's a dark mahogany color, clear, with a small head on top. Very malty aroma, but also quite alcoholic in the nose. Oh my, an initial sweetness gives way quickly to a very hot alcoholic character... there's little else here... almost undrinkable. Reinforces my opinion that there are very few beers over 12% that are palatable. Bleagh.

This should have come in an 8-oz bottle, not a 750ml. I can't imagine anyone being able to finish this. It's like very very bad cough syrup.

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Photo of roblowther
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is the 75cl "Limited Edition" bottled 2009. Pours with more fizz than I expected and is a clear burnished copper with very minimal head retention. The smell hits me before I'm anywhere near the glass, with a noticable alcohol whiff followed by cherries, caramel and fruit that makes my mouth water. The taste is intensely sweet and just gets sweeter towards the finish. Pronounced caramel and toffee tastes underpinned by a raisin-like taste that tries to dry things out a bit. It will take a lot more sun after a downpour like that. The finish is where the alcohol becomes VERY apparent, it is a bit warm going down. Mouthfeel is again more carbonated than I thought for such a huge beer, slick and syrupy all at once. It coats your tongue long after it has left your mouth. Drinkability is not bad but you have to expect to be so challenged by the sweetness and the ABV that you just can't really call this very "drinkable". But good? Great, even? Oh yes, you can call it that!

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Photo of ElGallo
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle poured into a snifter. "Samichlaus Classic" on the label. A gift from Canada. Not much head despite a vigorous pour. Deep amber in color. Nose is very nice but heavy on the caramel malt sweetness, with very subtle spice notes, a little clove, etc.

This is a very sweet and sticky dopplebock upon first sip, but it mellows out nicely, and while the 14% ABV is noticeable, if you just sip it on a quiet winter's night, it's smooth and warming all over. A good beer to share, but if curiosity gets the better of you (like it does me), give it a shot, but enjoy it slowly.

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Photo of Rmason104
4.97/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice clear brown.
The nose is sweet & syrupy.
Mouthfeel is smooth.
Very sweet, very tasty. The alcohol is almost undetectable, especially for the ABV.
Definitely now one of my faves in the category. I'll be coming back to this. Love the taste. Only thing preventing more than one is the high ABV.

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Photo of mwcullnane
4.92/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 on tap at Trion Tavern New Haven, IN

10 oz poured into a tulip glass

I've had this before at the Trion during the winter of 2008. I don't remember what vintage that barrel was but it wasn't nearly as awesome as this...

color of port with hint more mahogany. low carbonation and thin rocky head that disappeared at some point.

reviewing this from memory so... i believe it smelled like figs and toffee, but whatever it was exactly it was spectacular

taste of figs, port, caramel, no alcohol, absolutely delicious

mouthfeel nice and clean like a doppelbock should. resembled water goin down

eminently drinkable, but being 14% i only had one


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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear garnet with a puff of white head that leaves a scale model of Antarctica in the center of the glass.

S: Toffee, pan fried sugar, grassy hops and a bunch o' dat sweetness. ABV seems hidden.

T: Ooh, malt liquor. Booze, rock candy, aged toffee, and residual simple syrup. Sugar bomb!

M: Tastes delicate, low carbonation (though the taste belies it)

D: In a 2 oz. sample, this would be interesting. At 11.2, this is way too much for a single sitting.

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Samichlaus Classic Bier from Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg
Beer rating: 78.5% out of 100 with 2,056 ratings
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