Advent Beer: Northern Monk The Trilogy MMXVI: YEAST

Northern Monk’s Trilogy series is an annual series paying homage to the three pillars of beer: Hops, Malt, and Yeast. This is the last of the three and the one I was least looking forward too.

I was torn over this beer. It’s not a style I particularly like, I have to be in the right mood. That mood appears to happen once every five years or so. I’m not quite sure why this is, I’ve drunk loads of them in the past and enjoyed them.

Either way, I wasn’t in the mood.

It poured an every so slightly hazy, dark apricot jam, light marmalade colour. The tight white head looked solid, but dropped fairly quickly. The nose was quite fresh, with all the spicy ester aromas that you expect for this style off beer.

It was massive in the mouth, with an initial waft of carbonation, that parted to allow all the yeasty ester flavours to swamp everything. Sweetness reined. The yeast ester flavours lingering, like the last guest at a party, drunk and refusing to leave.

There may have been a tickle of bitterness in there, it was hard to tell. What was telling, was my reaction to drinking it. Gurning, is probably the most descriptive I can be.

After leaving it for an hour or so, it wasn’t quite so bad. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if my palate had adjusted, or the beer had mellowed. It was still sweet and estery, but now also had a slight juicy hop quality at the death.

Yes, it’s well made. Yes, it does what is says on the tin. Yes, loads of people are probably going to love it.

No, I wont be having another any time soon. The clue is in the name of the blog…

Advent Beer: Northern Monk The Trilogy MMXVI: HOPS

Northern Monk’s Trilogy series is an annual series paying homage to the three pillars of beer: Hops, Malt, and Yeast. This is the one I was most looking forward too.

The smell when the can was broached, was awesome. It poured a slightly hazy, apricot jam colour, with a compact head. The head was relatively hard to form and droped quickly back to pretty much nothing.

The nose was immense, thick with piney, resinous, citric hops. An undertone of prickliness, gave hints of a potentially aggressive mouth feel. This didn’t materialise, as it was actually quite soft in the mouth, with just a tickle of carbonation.

This beer is all about the hops, and boy did it deliver. The bitterness built, and built, then like a big wave breaking, the mouth was flooded with thick, bitter, citric flavours and bitterness. The cheeks prickling, the tongue and base of the mouth, throbbing with the thick bitter tang.

It wasn’t quite one of those hefty Olde English marmalade aftertastes, it was a touch too sweet and juicy for that. Although it did last and the more you drank, the longer it lasted and the heftier the flavours became. I could still taste it an age after finishing; I love it when that happens.

It didn’t feel like it drank to its strength, it felt like you could neck it quite easily. Then you’d have another mouthful and it felt huge and thick and sticky and all of its strength.

Each mouthful was a pleasure. You could argue that it was a touch sweet, but that would be nitpicking; I’d buy another in a heartbeat. Very, very tasty and dangerously drinkable. Phwoah…

Advent Beer: Northern Monk The Trilogy MMXVI: MALT

Northern Monk’s Trilogy series is an annual series paying homage to the three pillars of beer: Hops, Malt, and Yeast. I have all three and decided to start with MALT, an Imperial Porter, brewed in collaboration with De Molen.

It poured an almost impenetrable black in the glass, with hints of brown at the edges when held up to a light. A thick, rich, light brown head, formed slowly and dissipated relatively quickly. A quick swirl of the glass brought it back though.

For a beer that’s sole purpose is to showcase malt, it completely, unexpectedly, smelt of malt. Thick, rich, chocolate, coffee, stewed fruits, the whole gamut of hefty malt flavours. None of your lightweight biscuity, cerealy aromas here.

Massive in the mouth, the kind of beer that requires swishing around the mouth for a bit, before swallowing. Soft, smooth and subtle, with no one flavour jumping around. Everything just blending together, the result, unequivocally better than the sum of it’s parts.

That was my initial impression. Once it warmed up, the finish started to become sweet, very sweet. Lots of vanilla flavours as well, which added to the sweetness. With no real bitterness, it did get a bit sickly towards the end.

It’s the kind of beer that requires contemplation, demands it even. The kind of beer that requires a big sofa, a cold winters day and a roaring fire; I had to make do with one out of three. Other than finishing a bit sweet, it was pretty good. Looking forward to trying HOPS next.