Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ölmönger Tales: Orval the Unholy


Prologue


"Boring." The ruler of Belgium, King Orval, was sour and out of shape. He yawned at the Joker, moved his right thumb horizontally under his chin and looked away as the guards took the funmaker to meet the Executioner. While the blade of Executioner's axe flew through the air and bit the head off one's shoulders once again, the King's thoughts were elsewhere. He was bored with the similarity and orderliness in Belgian court. He was bored with the Queen, the Queen's sister, the Countess of Chimay and the maid of honours, who all looked, smelled and tasted the same.


He knew that messing around with another countries and cultures was a strictly forbidden form of infidelity in his country. Even as the King, he wouldn't have immunity in the supreme court. He could face the Executioner or - even worse - be condemned to spend eternity in the tower of his palace without ever having a chance to change. Despite the risks, King Orval decided to conquer some hearts outside his kingdom's borders...

"Bored! B-O-R-E-D! You dumb illiterate f**ks!"

Stepping out of the storyteller mode, it's time for the New Year's Eve joint posting of Finnish beer bloggers. Wouldn't call the 2nd time a tradition yet, but we're getting there. Last year the selected beer was Sinebrychoff Porter, which I was lucky to enjoy for the first time then. This year Orval received the honour to be the subject of the posts. If you want to get past the bullshit, feel free to scroll to the end of the post where you can find the links to other blogs in the pack.

I wrote an Ölbeat post about Orval last spring, so I felt obliged the do something different this time. Since Stevie Wonder's Superstition still works perfectly with the brew, it would have been just too easy to write a re-review and choose the same song again. Just changing the artist and the song would've looked like I have some kind of bipolar personality disorder which would have been the correct impr... err, let's leave that subject. It was simply just time for something different.

The idea of mixing Orval with some other beers popped into my head when I remembered a recent discussion with my old man about mixing porter and lager in "half and half" manner in the 60's-70's. The idea haunted me, so I decided to do it. Firstly, because it's probably unexpected to mix one of the most legendary Belgian ales with any other beer. Secondly, it felt completely unorthodox, unforgivable and wrong to do so. That is: a perfect job for one beer-culture-disrespecting asshole like Ölmönger.

To get rid of the one-time accident label and to make the experiment look completely arrogant and intentional, with the help of Twitter audience I selected four different-style and in my opinion good beers to be mixed with Orval:
  • Ayinger Celebrator, Brauerei Aying, Doppelbock, 6,7 %, Germany (Ölbeat)
  • Pilsner Urquell, Plzensky Prazdroj, Czech Pilsner, 4,4 %, Czech
  • Sinebrychoff Porter, Sinebrychoff, Baltic Porter, 7,2 %, Finland (Ölbeat)
  • Stone (Berlin) IPA, Stone Brewing, India Pale Ale, 6,9 %, Germany/United States
I expected something that tastes the way that Frankenstein's monster looks like. But let's cut the crap and get a glimpse, sniff and taste of "Orval's Bastards".

Orval Pilsner (Orval vs. Pilsner Urquell) - Pavel the Wrathful

Colour is golden yellow with a small white head. Aroma has yeast, sour fruits and malts. Taste begins with malty and sour citrus bite. Sour, slightly yeasty lemon and firm malts take over with soft bitterness and some banana flavour. Towards the end the sour and dry fruits get on top. Aftertaste has citrus sourness and malty dryness.

Even though the malts and soft bitterness of Czech Pilsner are present, Orval's sour fruits dominate. The funky Belgian yeast, however, is almost unrecognisable. Malty Czech and fruity sour Belgian make a nice union.

Orval IPA (Orval vs. Stone IPA) - Gregorius the Wicked

Colour is fuzzy golden orange with a two-finger thick white head. Aroma has funky yeast, orange and sweet apple. Taste bites first with yeasty sour-bitter citrus. Yeast, pine and grapefruit fight discreetly over the domination. Near the finish dry pine and yeasty sour lemon get on top. Aftertaste has yeasty dryness and gentle lemon-grapefruit sour-bitterness.

Expected to have some kind of Belgian IPA but got an IPA-Saisonish beer cocktail. Actually getting the funky yeasty sour touch of Orval and a bit softened and fruitier side of a straight-forward India Pale Ale. Not in any means easy-drinking but fresh, different and tasty fusion.

Orval Bock (Orval vs. Ayinger Celebrator) - Günther the Nasty

Colour is reddish dark brown with a tiny natural white head. Aroma has yeast, sweet malts and plums. Taste starts with sweet fruity and malty sour bite. Sweet caramel malts and yeasty sour lemon take over with gentle bitterness. Towards the end sweet, sour and bitter fruity and malty flavours get combined beautifully. Aftertaste has fruity sweet malts and yeasty dry bitterness.

Damn. I really thought I would mess things up by combining a legendary Belgian and a superb Doppelbock. But somehow the sour-sweet fruity and sweet-bitter malty flavours make a beautiful match. Handsome bastard, ain't he?

Orval Porter (Orval vs. Sinebrychoff Porter) - Nicholas the Ruthless

Colour is black with a large beige head. Aroma has yeast, sour fruits, roasted malts and a hint of coffee. Taste starts with yeasty and roasted sour bite. Yeasty lemon sourness dominates with light roast. Towards the end dry roast, coffee and bitter dark chocolate join the flavours. Aftertaste has fruity sourness and bitter-roasty dryness.

The aromas and the start of the taste is strongly Orval-dominated - yeasty and sour - but the Porter gets through near the finish with roasty, bitter and coffee-chocolate flavours. In the finish the elements are beautifully combined. Fine mix, all in all.

Ölbeat

For people who don't belong to any kind of purity of Belgian beer support organisations, I strongly recommend the IPA and the Doppelbock mixes and "just" recommend the others. At least I'm going to have new mixing experiences with Belgians, Germans and hopped ales in the future. As most of the mixing results were good, the unholy effort is rewarded with something completely different. Or not.

Dio: Holy Diver (YouTube)

From the 1983 album Holy Diver, the song was written by Ronnie James Dio.

As a comforting option for the biggest Orval fans who are yelling their objections to completely deaf ears and have too tight screws in their headbands, I'm offering a trip inside their deepest feelings.

Rammstein: Mein Herz Brennt (YouTube)

From the 2001 album Mutter, the song was written by Rammstein.

Other participants of the joint blogpost on Orval on 31 Dec 2016


Epilogue


Upon returning to the Belgian court after his adventures in Europe, King Orval was met by the most strict guards of purity and cleanliness of his country: Baron of Westvleteren, Cardinal Rochefort, Count of Chimay - who seemed to know the past whereabouts of the Countess - and  Ab(bo)t of St. Bernardus. Observing that the party knowed about his sins and wrongdoings, Orval bowed his head and mumbled quietly something about giving up the crown and the awaiting execution. His whispers were met by arrogant hee-haw and yelling.


"No, no, no. No easy way out. Sir, you're just grounded for life in your palace. Without a possibility to parole or any other kind of change", the Cardinal announced with an evil smile. "Long live the King!" So he does. Drowning his sorrow and unhappiness in an occasional insane laughter that erupts out of the perception that the world changes and Belgium never does.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ölbeat 161: Pyynikin Black IPA

Brewery: Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo
Country: Finland
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 8,5 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a lasting fluffy finger-thick beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, sugary coffee and sweet chocolate. Taste begins with roasted bittersweet malts. Roasted-charred malts and slightly sweet coffee takes over with some dark chocolate in the background. Towards the end dry bitterness and dark fruit flavours get mixed to the taste. Aftertaste has roasted dryness and alcoholic citrus bitterness.

Black IPA is actually misleading in the name - this is closer to Porter or Stout. But a rather tasty one anyway. Roast, coffee and dark chocolate create a gloomy brew with rich and uncompromised flavours. There is some India Pale Ale style citrus in the aftertaste bitterness, though.

Ölbeat

Black, gloomy-themed brews seem to be the brews that make the brewers at Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo hit my soft spot. In autumn 2016, they released a limited edition Imperial Stout called Post Mortem, which was superb, too. With Black IPA we're not in the 'already dead' state, but thematically very near. As is the main character of this song.

My Chemical Romance: Welcome to the Black Parade (YouTube)

From the 2006 album The Black Parade, the song was written by Gerard Way, Ray Toro, Frank Iero, Mikey Way and Bob Bryar.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ölbeat 160: Pôhjala Jôuluöö

Brewery: Pôhjala
Country: Estonia
Style: Imperial Porter
Abv: 8 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a small beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, sweet chocolate and vanilla. Taste starts with sweet and bitter black coffee. Deliciously soft amd sweet coffee with chocolate, vanilla and bitter roast takes over. Near the finish chocolate sweetness, vanilla spice and oaky flavour rise above other flavours. Aftertaste has sweet mocca, dark chocolate and bitter roast.

Couldn't be happier about the fact that the actual Christmas spices are not present in this great seasonal brew. Vanilla, cocoa and oak really spice the Imperial Porter up amazingly. Real treat that'll be on my glass during the winter again.

Ölbeat

Even though it's hard for me to accept that this is an actual seasonal brew, I'll have to respect the beer's name. Of course it's a choice between Silent Night (in Finnish: Jouluyö, juhlayö) and O Holy Night (in Finnish: Oi Jouluyö). In the end, it's the timeless, soft voice of the performer that makes the latter the preferable one.  

By the way: Merry Christmas, everyone! Ölmönger's off to the holidays for a while. Will be back after the Boxing Day. 

Nat King Cole: O Holy Night (YouTube)

From the 1960 album The Magic of Christmas, the song was composed by Adolphe Adam and the English lyrics were written by John Sullivan Dwight.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ölbeat 159: Midtfyns Barley Wine

Brewery: Midtfyns Bryghus
Country: Denmark
Style: Barley Wine
Abv: 10 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is bright copper orange with a minimal vanishing white head. Aroma has sweet caramel toffee, cream liquor and vanilla. Taste starts with strong caramel and malt flavour. Creamy caramel melted into bourbon whiskey with vanilla bars fills the mouth. Towards the end sweet bitterness gets slowly added to the flavour. Aftertaste has sweet caramel, gentle bitterness and tasty liquor.

Deliciously tough and complex strongly bourbon-vanilla flavoured Barley Wine. This is a perfect brew for cold winter nights by the fireplace. After the two previous sessions with Midtfyns beers it has become my other favorite Danish brewery.

Ölbeat

The Danes brewed an awesome, symphonically complex and delicious strong beer. The Englishmen recorded an awesome symphonical and beautiful progressive rock song. The two ought to be paired with each other. 

Led Zeppelin: Kashmir (YouTube)

From the 1975 album Physical Graffitti, the song was written by John Bonham, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ölbeat 158: Jopen Doubting Thomas

Brewery: Jopen B.V.
Country: Netherlands
Style: American Strong Ale
Abv: 10 %
@RateBeer

What about the beer?
Colour is dark brown with a finger-thick diminishing natural white head. Aroma has sweet malts, syrup and dark fruits. Taste bites strongly with sweet alcoholic bitterness. Fruity caramel malts and sweet berries take over with a bitter alcohol twist. Towards the end a distinct sweet and bitter berry liquor flavour comes through. Aftertaste is fruity bitter and alcoholic dry.

American Barley Wine meets Belgian Quadrupel creating a disturbingly delicious mix. Barley wine comes out stronger - sweet bitterness and berry flavours play the starring role. Quad-like fruit flavours are present too but yeast is mostly missing. Tastes strong and would perform well as a dessert to end a fine dinner.

Ölbeat

Combination of two strong beer styles calls for symphonic metal - a combination of orchestral and heavy rock elements. Doubting Thomas refers to the apostle who wouldn't believe Jesus had risen from the dead without seeing it with his own eyes. Sometimes there's a story behind doubtfulness - being deceived and lied to before. That's what Sharon den Adel sings about here.

Within Temptation: Angels (YouTube)

From the 2005 album The Silent Force, the song was written by Robert Westerholt, Martijn Spierenburg and Sharon den Adel.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ölbeat 157: Humalove/Wasosz Puola/Polska

Brewery: Humalove / Browar Wasosz
Country: Poland (Finland)
Style: Foreign Stout
Abv: 8,5 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is thick black with no visible head. Aroma has black coffee, liquorice, berries and alcohol. Taste begins with strongly roasted black coffee. Charred  bitter malts and strong dark-roasted coffee take over with a hint of sour berries. Near the finish dry bitterness and liquor warmth joins the flavours. Aftertaste has roasted dryness and lasting malty bitterness.

Delicious Strong Stout with solid base with spicy surprises. Heavy roasted coffee, lingonberries and liquor flavour fit the taste palette nicely. Successful collaboration between Finnish "gypsies" and a Polish brewery.

Ölbeat

This is pure irony. The day before this brew was like: "It's your last cup of sorrow. / What can you say? Finish it today." And today: "With a new face you might surprise yourself." Some dark depth in the song that actually encourages people to get over their demons.

Faith No More: Last Cup of Sorrow (YouTube)

From the 1997 album Album of the Year, the song was written by Billy Gould and Mike Patton.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Skitbit Dec 2016: Tanker Külmale Maale and Sori Brewing Dark Humor Club Hot Chocolate

Exceptionally, I didn't have or at least I didn't make notes of any mentionably bad Finnish beers from the end of November until now. So instead, expectably, I picked a couple of Estonian brews that might be nice from someone's point of view but from mine weren't. First is from the sadly-not-lost archives of October, and second is from the beginning of December.

***

Brewery: Tanker
Country: Estonia
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8,5 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick beige head. Aroma has strong fresh mint with some malts and dark chocolate. Taste begins with a medicine-like strong mint or even menthol bite. Mint-covered slightly roasted malts take over. Sweet fresh mint even covers the bitterness near the finish. Aftertaste has mint all over with some medicine-like cleaned freshness.

So I got the Yellow Belly effect: just Kahlua replaced with mint liquor. No, no, no! People should keep herbs out of the kettle. This isn't beer, this is cough syrup. Didn't work at all.

Ölbeat

Spice, even in a beer, can be nice. When it's there in tolerable amount. When you get run over with an army of mint leaves, it's not. When it reminds you of a short but yucky youth experience with mint flavoured liquor, you get some other pretty annoying things picked from your youth memories. Like this so-called song.

Spice Girls: Spice Up Your Life (YouTube)

From the 1997 album Spiceworld, the song was written by Spice Girls, Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard.

***

Brewery: Sori Brewing
Country: Estonia
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10,2 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a tiny beige crown. Aroma has roasted malts, dark chocolate and espresso. Taste starts with roasted boozy bitterness. Bitter strong espresso with faint dark chocolate hints takes over. Towards the end growing bitterness with alcohol dryness drowns the other flavours. Aftertaste has bitter dark chocolate and dry roast.

Aroma promises something a lot better than the taste delivers. Boozy bitter domination until the end is too much. The chocolate flavours don't come out as expected. After all, this is named Hot Chocolate. Or is that some kind of dark humor, too?

Ölbeat

The name of the brewery comes from a quarter in Tampere city centre, where e.g. the city police station is situated, and not so much from the Finnish diminutive of anteeksi (sorry). So it's probably polite to respect the city where the Sori guys Pyry and Heikki learned the basics of brewing. And what could be better way to show respect than a song about the singer's and his friends adventures with other Tampere ice hockey club, by a Tampere-based oldie rock band. It's dark humor, at least. Sori, everyone.

Popeda: Mää ja Tapparan mies (YouTube)

From the 1992 album Svoboda, the song was written by Alex Harvey, Hugh McKenna and David Batchelor (Tomahawk Kid) - the Finnish lyrics were written by Juice Leskinen.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ölmönger Special: 1st Anniversary

One year ago, on the 18th of December 2015, I posted the first Ölbeat about Mikkeller Black Hole. Since then there have been some other Ölbeats, a couple of interviews and festival reports, one brewery visit and some miscellaneous stuff. Won't go into details or picking too many highlights now, since one year is a relatively short period for making a long list of the achievements. There won't be any summary on the year, either, because I prefer you reading all the previous posts. Only that way you'll be able to get the big picture on my blog and understand how messed up the writer must be.
Picking the candle for the birthday cake...
But if you insist on getting some recommended readings so far, I'll give you a couple:
  • Interview with Brouwerij de Molen with the following Ölbeat posts
    Since this was the first "something different" thing of the blog and the series was fun to make.
  • Buxton Rain Shadow
    So far the only Ölbeat to be written during and finished right after sipping the bottle. Unbelievably delicious beer and a couple of great songs to match. Had this again couple of days ago and was still blown away.
  • Visit at the Fat Lizard brewery
    Meeting the guys in action was actually much more interesting than writing the story but as the first brewery visit it was something special.
  • Interview with The Flying Dutchman with the preceding Ölbeat posts
    The project started out with having fun in Twitter - and has been great fun all the way after that. Meeting Ronald in person and chatting about beer, people and life while having a couple of pints was really joyful and interesting. The story is far from over.
More important than what has been in the blog during its short existence is the question: "What will the future bring?" Well, it will be more or less the same it has already been. I think there is no point in asking
What would You, Dear Reader, like to read about on the blog?
since the vast majority would answer "The announcement on quitting". Most of the leftovers would be like "Kill this sh*t. Just f**king kill it. No questions asked." Someone would probably say "Try to be less mean towards the beer fanatics/raters/tickers/bloggers/events etc. And consider retiring the blog, of course." 

The only thing I'm sure about is that none of these wishes will be granted. The blog is far from it's last post. And I'm far from being able to accept the presuppositions about the right way to think about beer. There will be for sure one post or more about the common dictation and misuse of concepts like 'beer culture', 'beer community' and 'craftbeer movement' and some different, stupid and allegedly humoristic points of view on the phenomena around beer, to mention a few ideas. Hopefully, there will also be some brewery visits and interviews. And some still unexpected crap, too.

Ölbeat

Since this anniversary post is mostly crap, so must the music be. Of course, this song would be just perfect soundtrack for beer festivals, alone and played in a loop, while the beer geeks in their tables would be confused: "I think I already had this one. Or did I? Or is it something else... No, I must have had this. By the way, this one's a great song." Besides the festivals, the song also matches with the moment you get the first taste of Yellow Belly or Goliat - and love it.  

DJ BoBo: There Is a Party (YouTube)

From the 1994 album There Is a Party, the song was written by René Baumann and Axel Breitung.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ölbeat 156: Left Hand Fade to Black Vol. 1: Foreign Stout

Brewery: Left Hand Brewing Company
Country: United States
Style: Foreign Stout
Abv: 8,5 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a small diminishing beige head. Aroma has burned wood, gentle campfire smoke and dark-roasted coffee. Taste spikes with smoke and charcoal at first. Heavily smoked and roasted malts take over with some liquorice sweetness and espresso in the background. Towards the end charred malts and bitter liquorice step in front. Aftertaste has lasting charcoal bitterness, roasted dryness and salty liquorice.

Powerful and exceptional Foreign/Imperial Stout. Smoke gives this one the edge, and liquorice smoothens it with roundness. The basics - intense roast and late strong bitterness - are present in full flavour. Superb brew.

People's Choice

This brew and song were nicely suggested to be paired in the blog when I asked for wishes in Twitter some time ago. Back then I didn't think that I would have the chance to get the beer in my hands. Surprisingly in November the chance turned up and am I glad it did. Thanks for the recommendation, Suvi - this was just perfect.

Sonata Arctica: Fade to Black (YouTube)

From the 2003 EP Takatalvi, the song was written by people who are mentioned below.

Ölbeat

Since I know that Suvi doesn't mind pairing the brew with the original version, let's put it here, too. Despite Sonata Arctica's different but recognizable cover I prefer the original, which was listened numerous times in the 90's when the young Ölmönger found heavy metal. Very dark classic.

Metallica: Fade to Black (YouTube)

From the 1984 album Ride the Lightning, the song was written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ölbeat 155: Victory Golden Monkey

Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
Country: United States
Style: Abbey Tripel
Abv: 9,5 %
@RateBeer

What about the beer?
Colour is light orange with a small white head. Aroma has funky sour apple, white wine like spicy aroma and some yeast - very luring scent. Taste lifts off with hoppy yeasty fruits. Delicious sweet-sour lemon-banana flavoured, fruity spicy yeasty and smoothly tickling bitter liquid fills the mouth. Yeasty sweet bitterness rises on top towards the end. Aftertaste has nice fruity bitterness and alcohol warmth.

Perfect complex Tripel. It doesn't get better than this even if it's actually Belgian. Delicious fruity, yeasty and bitter flavours which are possible only when the malt base is right. The coriander fits this brew beautifully. Excellent stuff.

Ölbeat

A modern spicy, yeasty and fruity classic set me to search something light and classic pop. The name of the brew led me to The Monkees who got just the right song to match the magically beautiful Belgian-style beer.

The Monkees: Daydream Believer (YouTube)

From the 1968 album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, the song was written by John Stewart.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ölbeat 154: Thornbridge Wild Raven

Brewery: Thornbridge Brewery
Country: England
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 6,6 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is dark blackish brown with a medium-sized natural white head. Aroma has pineapple, strawberries and fresh forest. Taste begins with roasted and fruity gentle bitterness. Sweet orange and bitter grapefruit take over with charcoaly roast on the side. Near the finish citrus turns completely to grapefruit with grassy and piny notes. Aftertaste has bitter-roasted grapefruit and a slice of dry pine.

Incredibly fresh-bitter India Black Ale with pure and sharp flavours. Citrus dominates the party with sweet orange in the start and grapefruit all over. Roasted flavour gives its stamp to the brew but doesn't rush in. Very delicious treat.

Ölbeat

Chose the music partly because of the bird theme and partly because the brew needed to be matched with a rock classic. This song is an "evergreen" from the band whose success was cut short too early in 1977, when singer Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members died in a plane crash.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Free Bird (YouTube)

From the 1973 album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd), the song was written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ölbeat 153: Mufloni Cascade Black Ale

Brewery: Beer Hunter's
Country: Finland
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 6 %
@RateBeer

What about the beer?
Colour is black with a small tan head. Aroma has grapefruit, orange and mild roast. Taste starts with roasted malts and dry bitterness. Bitter grapefruit with roast takes over - a tiny bit of salty liquorice and some malts in the background. Towards the end herbal piny bitter flavour comes in. When the brew warms up a bit the roast comes out a little stronger. Aftertaste has piny dryness and roasted fruity bitterness.

Excellent India Black Ale. The elements of a fine IPA are present: bitter grapefruit and dry pine with a malty base to build the hop flavours on. Delicate roast gives the "black" touch. The Pori masterbrewer has done it again.

Ölbeat

So I went back to where it started with the artist. And the colour theme of the song. Well, the brew is black, too, so stop whining. Grunge born near the Cascades in the state of Oregon like Cascade hops once was. I don't know where the hop trends go but Soundgarden stays in my earphones.

Soundgarden: Black Rain (YouTube)

From the 2010 album Telephantasm, the song was written by Chris Cornell, Ben Shepherd and Kim Thayil.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ölbeat 152: Buxton Nth Cloud

Brewery: Buxton Brewery
Country: England
Style: Imperial IPA
Abv: 8,2 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is clear golden orange with a bubbly medium-sized white head. Aroma has rich mango, pineapple and citrus. Taste begins with rough piny and  fruity bitterness. Piny bitter grapefruit juice takes over with some sweet citrus on the background. Orange and alcohol flavours join the taste near the finish. Aftertaste has piny dryness and grapefruit bitterness.

Rough pine in the start makes the entry of incoming fruits easy. Strong citrus and pine powered Double or Imperial IPA. Very savoury and rich. No disappointments from the favourite brewery.

Ölbeat

Heavy brew - heavy flight to the sky and beyond. Nuff said.

Avenged Sevenfold: Higher (YouTube)

From the 2016 album The Stage, the song was written by Avenged Sevenfold.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ölbeat 151: Ruosniemen Vahtimestari

Brewery: Ruosniemen Panimo
Country: Finland
Style: Porter
Abv: 6,1 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a small tan head. Aroma has roasted malts, sweet black coffee and spices. Taste begins with sweet roast. Sweet charcoal-roasted malts take over with coffee and vanilla notes. Gentle bitterness grows towards the end with some dark fruits showing up. Aftertaste has sweet malts, charred roast and some bitter dryness.

Tasty Porter with a hint of vanilla. Roasted malts and gentle bitterness dominate smoothly, while coffee, vanilla and dark fruits stay in the backgorund. Would match nicely with good dark chocolate. More character could probably be available with a higher abv and a larger bunch of vanilla, but this was nicely tender.

Ölbeat

Even though the brewery is playing with names here (one translation for 'vahtimestari' is 'porter'), couldn't match the beer with any of the doorkeeper-themed songs. The door was left open for the soft and calm side of the brew. So this ballad with Amy Lee's beautiful vocals turned up.

Evanescence: Good Enough (YouTube)

From the 2006 album The Open Door, the song was written by Amy Lee.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ölbeat 150: Lervig/Way 3 Bean Stout

Brewery: Lervig Aktiebryggeri / Cervejaria Way Beer
Country: Norway (Brazil)
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 13 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a thin beige crown. Aroma has roast, chocolate, alcohol and vanilla. Taste spikes with sharply boozy and spicy coffee. Vanilla-flavoured chocolate-mocca takes over with sweet boozy bitterness. Near the finish vanilla, tonka and cardamom spices come through with chocolate and alcohol. Aftertaste has sweet roasty bitterness and warming cocoa liquor. And it lasts.

Damn great spicy and sweet Imperial Stout. Vanilla, chocolate and spices really dominate - booze, roast and coffee play the second violin. If there comes a chance, I'll surely get back in business with this Norwegian brewery.

Ölbeat

Complex spicy and orchestrally magnificent brew deserves an equal counterpart. We'll find it in this bittersweet track: "Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life / Try to make ends meet / You're a slave to money then you die." Someone might wisecrack something like "it's too early to reserve this great song for a beer". But that's life.

The Verve: Bitter Sweet Symphony (YouTube)

From the 1997 album Urban Hymns, the song was written by Richard Ashcroft (and also credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for samples of an orchestral version of Rolling Stones' The Last Time).

Friday, December 9, 2016

Ölbeat 149: Anarchy Sublime Chaos

Brewery: Anarchy Brew Co.
Country: England 
Style: Stout

Abv: 7 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a thin beige crown. Aroma has charred-roasted malts, black coffee and chocolate. Taste bites first with charred roast. Charred malts and strong dark-roasted coffee dominate the taste with a twist of cocoa. Some chocolate and malty sweetness come slowly through. Towards the end sweet spicy bitterness and warming alcohol show up. Aftertaste has bitter chocolate and alcohol.

They call this Breakfast Stout - this would really be an awakener. Where the hell do beer styles get named? And who the hell gives names to beers? No chaos present here, just smooth, harmonic and delicious taste. Charcoal in the beginning, followed by coffee, chocolate and bitterness. Damn beautiful this is.

Ölbeat

Sorry. Sex Pistols answered: "No. It's not anarchy in the UK when it's Anarchy from the UK." The chaos was so well hidden in the brew that we'll select a "nice" punk song here. I think that in the brewery they already know that their enemy is tasteless and uninspiring beer. At least they brew the other kind.

Green Day: Know Your Enemy (YouTube)

From the 2009 album 21st Century Breakdown, the song was written by Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ölbeat 148: Malmgård American Pale Ale

Brewery: Malmgård
Country: Finland
Style: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5,5 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is dark orange with a medium-sized natural white head. Aroma has mango, orange and grapefruit with some malts and pine. Taste begins with fruits and gentle piny bitterness. Piny spiciness and bitter grapefruit take over with some malty, sweet and herbal flavours. Pine and a menthol-like herb take the upper hand near the finish. Aftertaste has piny dryness, bitter grapefruit and a menthol note.

Tasty and surprising American Pale Ale. Strongly piny and herbal bitterness in the end left me wondering whether I like it or not. Probably not very APA'ish but it gives the beer more character, and the taste turns more pleasant the nearer finishing the bottle is. Quality brewing once again by Malmgård.

Ölbeat

Malmgård Brewery is in many ways a special Finnish brewery. They have chosen their own path which includes using their own spring water and grain (spelt and emmer wheat) in brewing and avoiding releasing anything else than high quality products. This APA has the great uniqueness that can be expected from them always.

Stratovarius: I Walk to My Own Song (YouTube)

From the 2003 album Elements Pt. 2, the song was written by Timo Tolkki.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ölbeat 147: Plevnan Siperia Imperial Stout 2016 vs. 2015

Brewery: Koskipanimo
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8,0 %
@RateBeer
The 2015 senior on the left, the 2016 junior on the right
Out of curiosity and thinking about the nearing Finland's Independence Day, I tried a fresh and a one year old bottle of Plevnan Siperia. This Imperial Stout from Koskipanimo brewery in Tampere has been selected as the best beer in Finland several times and it tops the Finnish beers at Ratebeer as of now (= 6 December 2016). People seem to have different opinions on if you get the best out of Siperia straight from the tap, from a fresh bottle or after some time in the cellar. Well, I don't care about other people's opinions on this kind of things - I had to test it myself.    
First up goes the freshman...
What about the beer (2016)?
Colour is black with a large beige head. Aroma has orange, mild roast and chocolate. Taste starts with dry roasty bitterness. Roasted malts and bitter grapefruit take over. Near the finish powerful citrus flavours step in front. Aftertaste has lasting grapefruit bitterness and roasty dryness.

Citrus-grapefruit-aroma packed, strongly bitter Imperial Stout. The roast comes truly out only in the beginning and in the finish. There are no signs of coffee or chocolate flavours one expects from "an Impy". If this was a Black IPA, it would be great. As an Imperial Stout it falls behind some Finnish Imps. Very tasty brew in any case.
...followed by the sophomore.
What about the beer (2015)?
Colour is black with small beige head. Aroma has sweet citrus (mostly orange), chocolate, coffee and roasted malts - truly delicious scent. Taste lifts off with dark chocolate and soft citrus bitterness. Sweet soft roast and gently sweet bitter grapefruit-orange juice linger around the mouth. Black coffee and dark chocolate rise slowly. Near the finish roasted malts and bitter grapefruit step in front. Aftertaste has fruity bitterness, roasty dryness and alcohol warmth.

What happens when you don't expect much? You get blown away. For me, Siperia straight from the tap is "just a bitter stout". Fresh from bottle it's a decent Imp with a Black-IPAish strong citrus bite. Cellared for one year? Man, the flavours: bitter and sweet citrus, gentle & striking roast, coffee & chocolate. One year turns this one to a specially delicious world class brew. 

Ölbeat

At first we'll have to get something aggressive to match the heavy citrus and roast flavours of the 2016 Siperia. In Finnish, there's a saying: "Siperia opettaa." (roughly translated "Siberia educates"). The saying goes back to the time from the start of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, when criminals and contrarians were sentenced to labour camps in Siberia. The idea was to break the human.

Mokoma: Nujerra ihminen (YouTube)

From the 2007 album Luihin ja ytimiin, the song was written by Marko Annala and Kuisma Aalto.

Then there's the richer older version. The illusion of just simply crushing the human with pure force has vanished. Instead they offer you a dream of something or someone beautiful that seems so close in the dream. But you wake up in the real world where there's no sign of the dream. And that crushes you more than... The glass is empty. Damn. 

Nightwish: Ever Dream (YouTube)

From the 2002 album Century Child, the song was written by Tuomas Holopainen.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ölbeat 146: Midtfyns Bryghus/De Molen X Porter

Brewery: Midtfyns Bryghus (Brouwerij de Molen)
Country: Denmark 
Style: Imperial Porter
Abv: 8 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a small beige head. Aroma has sweet roasted malts, liquorice, black coffee and chocolate. Taste bites sharply with sweet roasted malts. Sweet ashy-roasted malts and dark chocolate take over with moderate alcoholic bitterness and a mild slice of coffee in the background. Towards the end sweet liquorice comes in front and alcohol bites gently. Aftertaste has the combination of all flavours: sweet roast and bitterness, chocolate, liquorice and alcohol.

Unbelievably rich, thick, complex and delicious Imperial Porter. The combination of flavours is overwhelming: roast, liquorice, chocolate and a nice boozy kick in the end. This collab truly shows the brewing skills in both breweries. Masterpiece. Perfect.

Ölbeat

It's the third time committing the same sin: pairing a Danish beer with a Volbeat song. Well, it's the first for Midtfyns brew and truly deserved. Tough Porter that shares immortality with the song's lyrics.

Volbeat (ft. Johan Olsen): For Evigt (YouTube)

From the 2016 album Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie, the song was written by Michael Poulsen.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ölbeat 145: Schneider-Weisse TAP 5 Meine Hopfenweisse

Brewery: Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (in German)
Country: Germany
Style: Weizenbock
Abv: 8,2 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is hazy golden yellow with a huge white head. Aroma has fresh citrus - lemon and orange -, wheat malts and floral notes. Taste starts with fresh semisweet citrus bite. Sweet and a bit sour mix of citrus fruits joins wheat malty body. Towards the end yeasty sour dryness comes through. Aftertaste has gently bitter dryness and sour lemon.

Fresh citrus of a fruity IPA mixed with wheaty and yeasty flavours of German wheats. Enriching experience but doesn't tickle as nicely as Aventinus from the same brewery. Doesn't get in the fruity heights of the tastiest IPA's, either. Good, tasty and faultless brew in any case.

Ölbeat

Classic fruity brew demands to be partnered with a classic rock ballad. Smooth bluesy guitar melodies, calming lyrics and the tingle of a glockenspiel make this song, by one of the greatest, a nice match.

Jimi Hendrix: Little Wing (Vimeo)

From the 1967 album Axis: Bold as Love, the song was written by Jimi Hendrix.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ölmönger Special: Destroying beer advent calendars

To make it clear from the start: I don't hate Christmas or December. Christmas is a rare season of peace and solitude. Something that the Modern Man doesn't value the way he should. And December is a month. December is. I find it hard to actually hate things that just are and don't do anything: weather, time, distances and the mayors of Finnish cities.

But I hate Xmas. The commercial shit that runs over us from the end of September and starts a week-long preparation three months too early. People start the yearly (Russian?) gift roulette, overcrowd every shop, mall and supermarket and empty even the web shops from crap you don't know that even exists. In the Xmas rush people actually show more hate towards each other than during the rest of the year altogether, fighting over the last piece of whatever is the G.I. Joe action figure, PS4 game, must-have knick-knack in cooking or other completely useless hit item this Xmas. And it's peace we're celebrating, right?

But, in the morning of the 1st of December kids get to open the long anticipated first door of their advent calendar. In the simple and smart versions of calendars there are only season-related drawings and possibly short texts i.e. verses of poems or songs - no crappy toys, no cheap chocolate, no stupid lotteries. The idea of the calendar is to make kids prepare and get anticipated for the highlight of the season, maybe even the year. Calendars aren't supposed to be symbols of commercialization or simple-minded people's craving of material like they usually are.

It's exciting to wait for Christmas...
Anyway, whatever the advent calendars are like, they're fun for the children. But alas, some stupid motherfuckers have ruined the innocence probably with this kind of chain of anti-Heurekas: "Hey, the kids have fun with their calendars. We, adults, don't. But we don't care about toys or chocolate. Hey, there are seasonal beers. Yeah, we could smash the bottles on our heads... (Until this things were fine, but:) Or we could put 24 beers in a box. And have them randomly. Or in any order we like. Hey, but that would be... a beer advent calendar!" And so, as useless invention as life consults, mindfulness and virtual democracy was born once again.

Roughly divided, there are two kinds of beer calendars, do-it-yourself and commercial versions. The idea of a DIY calendar is simple: you have different beer bottles or cans, 24 altogether, you put them in order from 1 to 24 and then you pick one from the 1st of December until the Christmas Eve. If you select the 24 beers and put them in order by yourself, as they usually do, well... The element of surprise - you know what you get each day -  is kinda ruined, isn't it? You could get more surprised by going and picking a random bottle from the store each day. Just a thought about personal excitement, but never mind.

Of course you could have someone else select the beers or just put them in order for you. But then again, in the first case the beers could be nothing you actually wanted to have (as warm-up for the wife's or/and girlfriend's actual christmas gift, eh?) and in the second case at least the cinnamon-cardamom-spiced plum-pudding-flavoured sherry-barreled barley wine would come out the first Monday - not the last Saturday - and your Christmas would be ruined. Tricky, isn't it? You either know what you get or you get what you don't want. Well, it was you who chose to make an advent calendar, so life sucks and then you die, as they say.

The second type are the commercial beer advent calendars. Let's say from a web shop or a single brewery. For the web store a beer calendar is a handy way to get rid of the beers that are getting old in new year or represent the seasonal spiced shit that only sells for poor stupid bastards once a year. "But you get 24 beers in the price of 36. If you check the prices in January. But hey, only once a year we can charge idiotic prices for anything. They call it the Xmas industry, ya know?" The other option is that you buy a calendar from that dumb Swede... sorry, the Dane that walks around his flat naked or in underwear writing recipes for the monkeys who do all the brewing labour. That friend of yours, that Mikkel-whatever.

Anyway, you buy this calendar and savour one of that so-called-brewery's brews every day for 24 days in December. Every day until Christmas Eve you get a new one from Horse's Ass Sweat Brewery. Every frigging day. After a week you'd crave for something good. After two weeks you'd get happy for a can of Bud Light or Koff III behind the next door. If you wouldn't... Have you ever thought about watching the grass grow in summer? Or listening to alarm clock or your phone ringtone as the only noice you hear for a week? Damn, that would be life. I honestly envy the excitement you probably face every day. "But, hey, every beer is great if the label says Mikk..." And bollocks.

...especially when there would be a much cheaper 24-pack available.
The saddest thing is - once again - that there are beer bloggers who ruthlessly try to bring our holiday spirit down and turn the light of Christmas off in the middle of the darkest winter. They start their yearly series of Mr./Mrs. Pig Vomit's Blog Advent Calendar on the 1st of December and torture their readers with daily "I got this behind.../ With anxious excitement I opened.../ Oh, boy! Look what was in... the Nth door." Most of the brews presented are either crap or seasonal crap but every bottle or can gets a shitload of undeserved praise. The long shock therapy ends with mental crucifixion - "That's an Easter thing, not Christmas, you ignorant bastard!" - on Christmas eve: a vanilla-cocoa flavoured Imperial Stout, a German smoked ale or a seasonally cinnamon-spiced Belgian. Goddamn, even Waldo couldn't hide behind that surprise.

All the time the readers are thinking: "What have we done to deserve this nonsense: a grown-up traveling back to his or her childhood excitement - which, by the way, is absolutely alright and sometimes even good for you - but by playing the childish calendar game with alcoholic beverages?" I bet you won't be able to combine a pure childhood experience and drinking beer in any kind of point. Nope, sorry, don't waste your time trying.

So, if you're thinking about making or buying a beer advent calendar or - in the worst case - publishing daily blog entries about one, make the right choice: forget it. Now. If you have already bought one, be a smart dickhead: open every door at once tomorrow and let the world know what you found. And let yourself and us have a merry three-and-a-half-week period before Christmas!

Ölbeat

Now, this is a good question for all people who are enthusiastically, hands shaking waiting to get to cork their calendar. Well, do you? In fact, the song reminds us about the idea of Christmas. Even though, like every charity song before and after, the music has the certain mandatory artificiality and the lyrics are somewhat corny and unimaginative. Not a great song but made to serve a great purpose.

Band Aid: Do They Know It's Christmas? (YouTube)

Published in a single in 1984, the song was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Skitbit Nov 2016: Olvi Black IPA

Brewery: Olvi
Country: Finland
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 4,7 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a large natural white head. Aroma has ash, coal and burned wood. Taste begins with ashy and coaly harsh bitterness. Salty ashy bitterness dominates with heavy roast. Dry charcoal flavour is added to the mix near the finish. Aftertaste is harshly bitter and roasty dry.

No, no. There's no trace of fresh bitter citrus flavours. The roast is actually unclean and harsh ashy charcoal. Total disgrace for India Black Ales and total waste of money. Don't try to do it if you can't do it.

Ölbeat

This brew took the style to the extremity. Of how bad Black IPA you can get if you really try. One Finnish so-called rap artist takes things to many extremities in the same way in the music business. That's what I learned from this anyway.

Cheek: Äärirajoille (YouTube)

Published as a single in 2014, the song was written by Cheek.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ölbeat 144: Ôllenaut Must Eksport

Brewery: Õllenaut
Country: Estonia
Style: Baltic Porter
Abv: 8,3 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with just visible thin beige crown. Aroma has sweet roasted malts, luring coffee and vanillaish chocolate note. Taste bites first with sweet alcohol. Roasted malts and sweet coffee with a dark chocolate twist take over. Sweet bitterness with dark fruit and chocolate notes rises near the finish. Aftertaste has roasted malts, sweet coffee and alcoholic bitterness - and it lasts long.

Magnificently tasty Baltic Porter. Delicate sweetness is dominant but flavours under it vary from roast and coffee to chocolate, fruits and bitterness. Definitely more complex than classic Finnish Koff Porter. Even slightly more delicious?

Ölbeat

The beer feels smooth and silky, though the flavours are strong. This time I connect the brew's colour with a smooth English singer. The mellow mood of the song matches the dark and bitter liquid. Sadly, Colin "Black" Vearncombe passed away in January 2016 after being in a traffic accident.

Black: Wonderful Life (YouTube)

From the 1987 album Wonderful Life, the song was written by Colin Vearncombe.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ölbeat 143: Vaat Jailhouse Brew

Brewery: Vaat
Country: Estonia (brewed in Belgium)
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 9,1 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick dense beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, black coffee and brown sugar. Taste starts with strongly bittersweet roasted coffee. Charcoal roast takes over with sharply bitter coffee and dark chocolate notes. Towards the end heavy bitterness and gentle dryness rise. Aftertaste has malty bitterness and roasty dryness.

Damn delicious Imperial Stout with nothing but simply strong flavours. Heavy roast, thick malts, black coffee and untamed bitterness. Great brew that catches and incarcerates you with its grip.

Ölbeat

Don't think that Mr. Cash had this brew in his mind when he wrote this legendary jailhouse song. However this has the similar firm and strong grip as the beer does.

Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues (YouTube)

This version from the 1968 live album At Folsom Prison (originally recorded in 1955), the song was written by Johnny Cash.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ölbeat 142: Tanker Masinaôli

Brewery: Tanker
Country: Estonia
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 6,6 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with an overwhelming light beige bubbly head. Aroma has lemon-grapefruit, roasted malts and rye. Taste hits first with heavily roasted bitterness. Charred bitter and strong grapefruit takes over. Near the finish the taste turns roasty, a bit piny and extra-dry. Aftertaste has roasty dryness with bitter grapefruit.

Super-hardcore India Black Ale. Untamed roast and grapefruit flavours crash together with huge force. The result is more than just the sum of separate flavours. Delicious beer.

Ölbeat

Heavy machine-themed black brew has to be paired with industrial dark-themed rock. No apologies, no explanations, just waiting for the mercy. Perfect.

Linkin Park: What I've Done (YouTube)

From the 2007 album Minutes to Midnight, the song was written by Linkin Park.