Brewery: Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg
Beer: Samichlaus Bier Helles (Limited Edition)
Character: Aged for 18 months before bottling (8 months longer than most Hellas style beers)
Poured into my Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series tulip glass. This poured a nice, clear bronze color similar to that of Bourbon. This might as well be. I can definitely see myself pouring shots of this beer and giving them to the beer uneducated, and they will totally believe that they just took a shot of Bourbon. Wish I could find another bottle of this, so I can put that to the test, but with the rarity of this beer, I really don’t think I would play around with it! Sorry! There was a thin off white colored head that quickly vanished, but I have noticed that a lot with strong beers.
As with most strong ales, the presence of alcohol in the aroma is there, this time mixed with hints of raisins, caramel, and malt. This one is definitely showing off the malts in the smell. Again, I think I could fool some of my Bourbon/Whiskey drinkin’ Metal Head friends with this one.
Now to the taste of this beast. This beer is very sweet, and has a strong sugar flavor. It even leaves the sugary sweetness on your lips after a drink, well for me, on my mustache. No wonder bees and mosquitoes like me so much. If I drank this outside in the middle of a Texas summer, I know for a damn fact that I would be attacked even worse than ever. Flavor hints in this one are caramel, brown sugar, cherry, anise, maple syrup, raisins, and alcohol. This is almost liquor like. The body is medium-thick, sticky, and has that bourbon burn on the way down. Thirsty yet? You should be!
I’m going to end this review with some info I learned about this beer & brewery. Come to find out that Castle Eggenberg is one of Europe’s oldest breweries, dating back to 10th century a.d., and commercial activities since 1681. Only castle owners drank beer that was produced at this brewery, then was later served to surrounding restaurants and pubs, About two centuries ago the forefathers of the present owner purchased the brewery and it has been in the same family ever since, and been distributed worldwide. This particular beer is the Limited Release version of their Helles. The difference is that their normal Hellas is aged for 10 months before bottling, and this version is aged for 18 months, bringing out the flavors a bit more. Now I should have aged this beer a lot longer, but what can I do now, it’s been opened and drank. The longer you age this beer, the more complex the flavor will be as the flavors will pop over time. If I can find another bottle of this one, I will age it for years!!!! Now since this beer was aged for 18 months, I can only assume it was brewed in 2009 or 2010 as I purchased this one in 2012. This beer is only brewed once a year on December 6th (no idea why this date. No info on their site as to why this is.)
Do yourself a favor and visit your local craft beer market and see if this bottle is available. Buy it, age it for months, years, decades, whatever, just get it! One website I read said this version is no longer being made, but I couldn’t find anything if that meant no more for that “batch” or if that meant that this brewery will never do the limited edition 18 month aging. We shall see.