God Jul | Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

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Brewed by:
Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
In the US this is called "Winter Ale".

A dark ale brewed specially for the Christmas season, with a rich, complex taste of caramel. This is a strong, dark and rather sweet Christmas Beer – just the way we think a Christmas beer should be.

19°P, 30 IBU.

Ingredients: Lager, Munich, caramel, black, and chocolate malt; Chinook, Columbus, and Centennial hops; English ale yeast, and our local Grimstad water.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 214 | Ratings: 335
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The pour has a dark black color and leaves the same colored body with a nice ringy lacing clinging very nicely to the pint glass in rings - nice show. The smell is very coca cola-like initially, but as it warms, some light cherry/raisin comes forth. The taste has some sweet malty Coca-Cola like qualities with some roasted malty notes and the cherry/raisin like qualities coming back. It has a smooth Coca-Cola like aftertaste with a long sweet somewhat watery finish. On the palate, it sits about a medium, comes across somewhat sessionable. Carbonation seems a bit smooth for the style and for me, interesting creaminess coats the mouth and tongue. Overall, this is not a bad winter warmer, pretty interesting with that coca cola aroma and flavoring.

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Photo of AlarmClock314
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle, no date. Pours hazy brownish black with a huge, overflowing khaki head. Smells of sour fruit, bready/roasted malt, caramel, spice, cocoa, and earthy hops. The taste follows with sour fruit, roasted malt, caramel, spice, and hops. Lots of tartness and medium bitterness. Very high carbonation and average body.

Unfortunately, this must have been the beginnings of a bad bottle. Very disappointing because it was hard to find on the shelf and I love Winter Warmers. Will revisit this again soon.

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Photo of stevoj
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Whole Foods labelled as Winter Ale. Nothing exciting on the pour, flat dark brown pour, non-existent head. Malty, woody aroma, dark roast, burnt toast, peat. Some alcohol heat evident in aroma, very warming on taste. medium weight, slightly slick and oily. Hints of savory spice finish the whole thing.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Really dark brown color with medium brown, creamy head. Aroma has really nice malts, caramel, a bit smokey, chocolate and some faint dark fruits. Taste is slightly sweet at first with dark chocolate, cacao, butterscotch and roasted malts. Finish is slightly hoppy, roasty and bitter. Really heavy body with smooth carbonation. A very good example of a winter beer, heavy bodied, balanced, smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of RockinRob925
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Norway has created a very good brew and this one is easy folks. Strong deep color that pours with a lasting dark amber head, strong sweet aroma of caramel, strong flavor of caramel and nut, strong abv of 8.5 that is dangerous if you let it.... the Vikings did this beer very well.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Labeled simply "Winter Ale" for us Americans. 500ml poured into creepy realistic human-esque Satan glass.

Monster foam pour. Dark brown beer, thick+creamy tan head which eventually falls to about a finger. Great retention and some lace left.

Big scent of dark fruits (dates, plums, cherries), molasses, some chocolate and light spices. Kind of a bold dessert/fruitcake vibe.

Taste follows the scent but also delivers a good dosage of roasted malts, borderline charred, as well as some big piny hops with maybe some citrus in there too. Still lots of molasses, chocolate cake, bread, licorice and dark fruits; it's all balanced surprisingly well.

Very hefty mouthfeel similar to a big ol stout, ample carbonation and hop bitterness. Some light alcohol warmth. Moreso than the big+bold flavors, the mouthfeel definitely makes this one a sipper. Extra roasty and dry finish.

Definitely leaning towards the imperial porter/stout side of things, but hits unique areas for a great winter warmer as well. Hoppiness is unexpected but meshes nicely. Seems a bit heavy for 8.5% (the whole 500ml is a bit much solo) but quite enjoyable.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown/almost black body with two finger, voluminous head, with a roasted, chocolatey smell with minor breadiness and just a touch of hoppy graininess. Medium to thick bodied, has a strong and warming booziness as well as a roasted chocolate malt base with breadiness that brings a chewiness (and syrupy mind you) as well as a roasted sweetness to the beer and a dry finish (java/coffee-esque). The alcohol isn't overpowering but makes it's presence known and there's a touch of figs or raisins (dark fruits). This is a great warming winter beer and I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

A: dark brown, virtually black; rich medium brown head; gothic webbed, and occasionally sheeted lacing
S: chocolate, roast
T: chocolate, coffee, raspberry, roast, a tinge of metal, bile, something medicinal, light apples
M: medium to full-bodied
O: There are some impressive parts, but they don't measure up to an enjoyable whole. The rich smell and appearance can't make the medicine/bile/metal enjoyable.
12oz / Snifter / VGP

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Photo of ISmith87
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nogne Winter Ale 2013! Poured from a 1 pint .9 fluid oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - 4 - Really dark brown color, but not quite black. Lots of tan head that leaves nice lacing. I like the bomber bottle, more of it to love!
S - 4.25 - Roasty, smokey malts. Little bit of a red wine hint.
T - 4.25 - Roasty, smokey malts. Some hints of dark fruits/red wine too. Coffee/espresso type flavors are present. No real chocolate, vanilla, or creamy flavors that I can pick up, but thats okay.
M - 4.0 - Medium-heavy mouth feel. Smokey bitterness aftertaste, almost like a really nice cigar. Alc completely covered.
O - 4.25 - Good porter. I like to have a porter every once in while between the imperial stouts.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby to almost black this ale had a frothy but solid off white head.

The aromas are so interesting year so weird. There's a lot of smokey malts, like a Rauschbier, but it subsides into a dried fruit. The fruit is rather dull in the nose but that means it's not overly sweet.

The flavors almost follow suit as the dried fruit is not sweet, per se, but more in line with a cake or a malt. There is a barley grain and pecan flavor but it drifts off into a smoke or burnt malt flavor. Funny as it may be, I detected a burnt rubber smoking tire like flavor but found it was not off putting but enjoyable...I do love Rauschbiers though.

The feel is very easy, has a moderate carbonation but still a nice thickness and balance.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle poured into tulip. Red brown color with lots of off white lacing. Huge cherry and dried fruit aroma...some caramel and almost Belgian style note. Taste is chocolate cherry and dried fruit...some nice spice character. Really fantastic balance or sweet malt and spice/hops. wow..probably one of my favorite warmers. only wish this came in 6-packs.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Cola almost pitch black body wit a dark tan head, fine soft carbonation speckled lacing is left behind. Aroma has dark roasted malts a bit of toffee and cocoa dusted in the air, with an interesting spruce, pine, and light anise character. Flavor has herbal notes more spices with an astringent dark chocolate, herbal tea acidity. Actually quite enjoyable lighter than it sounds medium bodied natural soft carbonation a complex and satisfying winter ale that has aged well.

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Photo of silverking
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Very dark cloudy mahogany. It has a big tan creamy head with excellent retention. The lacing forms an incosistent sheet down the sides of the glass.

S- Ripe cherries, smoke, roasted malts, figs. It's wonderfully inviting.

T- Dark fruit initially, followed immediately by rich notes of smoke, dark roasted coffee, and burnt malts. The finish has a nice cocao bitterness in the back of the palate.

M- Rich, with moderate/light carbonation. feels a bit creamy. A little warmth from the alcohol is detectable.

O- Delicious.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nøgne Ø Winter Ale
16.9 oz bottle, no apparent freshness dating.

As it is the month of May as I sit down to review this beer (labeled "Winter Ale") I highly doubt that this bottle is even close to being fresh. I'd guess it's about 8 to 10 months old. Surprisingly, it shows no signs of oxidation. Of course it does appear to be bottle-conditioned, which would help. As for the hops or anything else, I'm not sure. Keep that in mind...

It's a very dark mahogany brown in the glass, but not black. Initially it was clear, but once I roused the yeast it became cloudy. Of course that's fine for such a dark beer. The head is an orange-tinted dark tan, and although it drops, it does maintain a silky surface covering; and it does leaves nice spots of tiny lace around the glass.

The aroma displays dark fruit (cherries, raisin), light chocolate, some lightly smoky/roasty notes, and a bit of peppery and piney character. It's interesting and welcoming.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a distinctly dextrinous edge. The carbonation is median, and it's delicately bristling before warming to become creamy smooth.

Flavor... ? The flavor is exactly as the aroma suggests it will be, but fuller. I get more fruit, including plums, figs, and some juicy apple; and I get more chocolate, fudge and toffee/dark caramel. What I don't find is a lot of dark roastiness, which I appreciate. If this is an English-style porter then we can leave that behind. There's a bit of coffee-like roastiness, yes, but it's more like a sweet and creamy coffee than espresso. It's not harsh or acidic, but as it warms it really opens up, and a much more smokey note appears. It becomes much rounder, and softer as well, with the sharper notes of the fruitiness fading into the cushion of the milk-chocolate and caramel drizzled malt. Ahh, and there are hops! It's fairly well balanced by a bitterness that keeps to the lower end but pushes at the malt, but there are also some pine and spruce-like and leafy hop flavors that appear in the finish. Quite nice. I'm thinking East Kent Goldings for the leafiness, but I'm not sure where the spruce and pine is coming from (Chinook? Actual spruce tips?). Surprising! Who would have thought it could be so complex at the start of the glass?

Overall, it's quite an impressive ale. It's surprisingly complex, and it takes the taster on a journey through several different types of flavors (fruitiness, maltiness, and hoppiness) while always displaying a varied 'listing' in each category, and never going overboard on any one of them. Nicely balanced. Superb!

Note: The recommended serving temperature for this beer is "12˚C/53˚F", and I would totally agree with that. However, I started this beer cooler, and without doing so I highly doubt you'd find such a variation of flavors.

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Photo of mxchap
4.66/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(served in a 15cL sample glass)

Appearance: Very dark brown, hint of red. Rich creamy head
Aroma: Dark chocolate, coffee, and smoked malt.
Taste: Caramel, chocolate throughout, candied fruit, and toffee. A smokiness is also present.
Mouthfeel: Perfect! I wish most dark strong ales could match this. Dry finish but enough residual sugar to balance it.
Overall: Excellent winter ale!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thick foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, char, spices, and soy sauce aromas. Taste is much the same with smoke and slight band-aid flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of smoke and roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is fairly heavy on soy sauce and smoke aspects in the aromas and flavors.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. A slow gusher upon opening. Pours fairly pitch black color with a nice fairly dense and fluffy tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of raisin, apple, chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, cocoa, toast, toffee, molasses, clove, pine, floral, light smoke, dark bread, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark malt and fruity notes. Taste of raisin, apple, chocolate, toast, cocoa, caramel, roasted malt, toffee, dark bread, molasses, floral, light pine, light smoke, and roasted earthiness. Lingering notes of dark fruit, chocolate, caramel, toast, roasted malt, floral, light pine, light smoke, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of dark malt flavors with moderate fruitiness; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent English porter! Great balance and complexity of robust dark malt and dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of pkalix
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

my first norwegian beer. i think. still special. had a heck of a time trying to locate it on BA, though.... a small grammar/language/typo barrier...
an 'english porter', it's the typical super dark with small tan head on top. 2nd pour was of a thicker head.... and thick lacing down the sides.
smells fig-gy and fruity sweet. interesting. kind of a cross of a super malt and a stout.
taste is also very interesting. earthy, dark-fruity, malty and thick. at 8.5% abv, this is quite a product. the website doesnt list a description for this one particular brew but i am intrigued with learning about this brew and company. it's a smooth drink, a little bitter, a little thick, a slight spice and a lot of sweet malt taste.
at 8.5%, they did a great job on the flavor. i honestly wasnt expecting much; i was thinking it would be more along the lines of those pathetic russian Baltika beers that really just suck (see? capitalism IS a good thing!). but it serves a definite and distinct purpose and i like it! not to be unoriginal, but 4.25 straight across the board.

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Photo of BrownNut
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 4.75 - Black unless you hold it right up by a light bulb, then it's deep ruby red around the edges. Thick, creamy, textured, beautiful, cream-colored head with a shiny moist look like pudding. Endures for quite a while. Now that's a head. A beautiful beer.

S - 3.5 - Wet malt, faint coffee, a little chocolate, fruity in a way that's hard to put your finger on, almost a candied yam element. But fairly faint. Would score higher in aroma if not so faint.

T - 4.0 - Mild malt sweetness, a little tangy, with that same vaguely yam thing going on. Reminds me of the liquid in a can of candied yams. Faint bitterness from black malt, hint of milk chocolate. A mature bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

M - 4.0 - Medium body, slightly sticky, yet very easy drinking. Feels good in the mouth.

O - 4.0 - Very enjoyable. Mild yet flavorful and interesting. I had a fresher one a couple years ago and I think it's better fresher. The difference was significant. I think some of the char fades and the sweetness comes forward. It's still very good at that point but somewhat less complex. I've since found that you definitely want to pour the sediment rather than leave it in the bottle - it adds some of that complexity you want.

Original review from Thanksgiving 2011:
Wow. This is one of those beers that makes you realize beer is an art. I haven’t had a beer this well crafted in a long time. It's hard to put this taste into words. The aroma is something like leather - reminiscent of Ardmore scotch in that way. That’s not something I expected or wanted, but it makes for an additional interesting facet.

When I poured it, I thought that the marvelous head could be eaten with a spoon. So I ate a mouthful. The flavor I got was moderate hop bitterness, that’s all.

But when I drank that thick, black, viscous stuff, I got something so smooth, with something almost fruity in there. Somewhere in here too is the taste of ash or char, a bitterness that's not a hop bitterness, which adds a nice layer of complexity. So rich and thick and smooth and complex and balanced. Aftertaste on the exhale is ash with a hint of dark chocolate.

It’s gone now and I’m sad. These Nogne O people know what they’re doing. Everything of theirs I’ve tried so far has been excellent. Norway, what other treasures are you hiding?

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Labeled as "Winter Ale" - Product of Norway

LOOK: Pours a pitch blackish brown. Light whipped cream like head tops a solid two inches and has staying power. Leaves plentiful lace down the pint glass.

SMELL: Roasted malt, cocoa and dark chocolate aromas. Alcoholic esters are in full force with hints of fruit and anise. Dark breads and more than a whiff of hops.

TASTE: Chocolate and molasses flavors are well defined from the malts used. There is also a considerable hop presence chiming in with pine, resin, peppery spice and earth tones. Very light acidity but noticeable. Astringent roast adds a drying note in the finish. As it warms, coffee, wood and slight heat come through more or less in balance.

FEEL: Medium bodied, smooth creamy consistency with adequate carbonation level for the style. Does finish ashy, roasted and dry.

OVERALL: The kind of beer that grows on you, by the time the bottle was finished I really enjoyed it immensely. A homage to a once again relevant export trade, this is a fine porter. I would recommend this beer to any dark beer drinker.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at When Pigs Fly. This was one of the best beers, if not the best, that I've had in 2012.

In a snifter the beer was a very dark brown with a hint of red. A small tan head left a smatttering of lace.

Roasted malt aroma. Strong coffee, chocolate, cocoa.

Amazing taste. Espresso, dark chocolate, a hint of sweet cocoa. A little bit of charcoal.

Dry mouthfeel. Great depth.

If you ever have a chance to drink this beer, grab it!

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 500 ml bottle. No freshness date. The bottle cap was quite dusty so I assume it has been sitting around for a while. Hopefully not too long.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The color is very cloudy black; it turned to a murky, deep amber brown when I held it to a lamp. There is quite a bit of sedimentation. Three fingers of dense, cappuccino-colored head dissipated slowly.

Smell: Brandy and a forest along the NorCal coast. Very sappy and evergreenish. The aroma is very intense and boozy, but it also has a very enticing and festive spiciness. Very herbal and woody (as oppose to tinny). Others have pegged it as juniper and I will refer to them. Underneath is a solid malt base of caramel and chocolate, but the spice and booze dominate.

Taste: The booze is completely masked by the herbal, woody spice. (Juniper? Perhaps. It tastes a little like pine, too.) Unlike the smell, though, the malts are much more pronounced and effective; caramel, toffee, and chocolate. The herbal spice and hops leave a subtle bitterness after each sip.

Drinkability: In essence, it tastes like a spiced Christmas wreath. And I have no problem with that because it is tasty as hell.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ultra dark copper/amber, looks brown obviously but lots of colorful highlights. billowing off white head that slowly fades away. Dried cocoa, vanilla, little bit of paint thinner, herbal noble hop.

Lots of sweet chocolate up front. Minty oddly, herbal. Nice crisp clean mouthfeel. Good balance. Touches of dark fruit beneath it all. Lots of different flavors going on with a very strange minty alcohol heat like presence. Full bodied lots of complex flavors and hidden layers but some off flavors though too. Letting the beer warm and air out, it comes together a bit more. Flavors are strange but work together a bit. Kind of like a malty mint chocolate herbal cookie. Pretty nice. The boosted alcohol is probably what gives this english porter its unique flavor profile.

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Photo of Ghenna
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval Chalice. Inky black. Froofy coffee colored head that lingered on top of the beer until it was finished.

Heavy spice on the nose, reminds me a lot of the general profile of the Anchor Steam Xmas ale. General malt sweetness, a bit of alcohol on the back end.

Again, pretty similar to to AS Xmas ale. bit of roast, bit of sweet, a bit of chocolate/roast, plenty of spice. I'm not sure if it is mental conditioning or what, but along with the chocolate flavor I'm getting a bit of andes chocolate mint. Weird.

Does what the Anchor Steam tries to, and accomplishes it without the inclusion of Worcestershire sauceiness.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber served in a SA "perfect pint" glass.

pours an opaque dark brown/borderline black with a creamy, two-finger mocha-toned head. impressive retention, doesn't seem like this thing has designs on receding anytime soon; middling lace.

in the nose i get chocolate, roasted malts. a touch of coffee. not getting the hoppiness others have noted. good smell though not spectacular. flavor follows the aroma but with added complexity. here i get more of the hoppy characters and some caramel. this is a really tasty, very well made porter. smooth, medium-plus bodied mouthfeel.

originally reviewed: 12-29-2010

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God Jul from Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 335 ratings