"The added ingredients provide heavy, but balanced, flavours that are supported by the stout beer"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Although not an official beer-style, pastry stouts have gained a considerable status among beer aficionados during the last couple of years. By adding ingredients that normally are associated with confectionary (coffee, vanilla, sirup among others) the sweet site of stouts is taken to another level. And indeed, you need to crave sweetness or this beer style will better be lost on you. Like other modern beer styles, pastry stouts were (re)developed this millennium in the USA. Beer blogger Alex Kidd thought of this term in 2017 to gather all beers pretending to be deserts, cookies, cakes and candy bars. Mikkeller designates itself as a “world of beer” to showcase as much different styles of beers as possible. Originating from the kitchen of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø the company expanded its fame by releasing many remarkable quality beers that are brewed in guest breweries all over the world. The subject of this review was prepared at the Norwegian Lervig brewery as a an imperial stout supplemented with considerable amounts of coffee, vanilla and vanilla. It is part of the Beer Geek series that include other members with similar additives. Funny fact: Mikkel Borg’s identical-twin brother Jeppe Jarnit has also risen to fame int the world of beer as a gypsy brewer under the name of Evil Twin.
Instant pleasure of fresh coffee, a boost of vanilla and tons of sweetness. The vanilla is particularly beautiful, as it can be, and combined with the coffee it might have been one of the new Nespresso offerings. The beer follows, probably on a second plan, but it mixes good with the added ingredients. The maple sirup becomes stronger and sweetens the nose, bringing even on the verge of over-sweet. Chocolate and caramel pudding enters the mix, some caffe chocolate and a hint of cherries.
Prickling start with a whole bucket of maple sirup in which vanilla pods have been incubating for days. Then fresh coffee, which for me is something new to find in a beer, but interesting and in balance. The mouthfeel is thick and sticky. Cherries, a slightly bitterish like chocolates with grapefruit filling. There is a fresh, vibrant side to it, despite the sticky thickness. A deep milky chocolateness that becomes slightly more bitter in the development, although the balance is just kept by the maple sirup. Long aftertaste with more typical stout notes of liquorice and dry malts supplemented by maple sirup, vanilla and coffee.
A heavy flavoured stout that is mainly carried by a well-found balance between the added ingredients, while the beer is primarily the vehicle. First I was surprised to find out that coffee can be added to beer, but apparently it fits and it fits well. Particularly when this much of maple sirup has been added to balance the extra bitterness. Not something for every evening though, meaning that you need to be in the mood (or at least your stomach needs to be). This is the first beer I experienced from Mikkeller, but I think it will be followed up by one of their other creations.