A crazy-high ABV imperial stout brewed by Kjetil “the bearded giant” Jikiun at Nøgne Ø in Norway? Fine, I’ll take a flyer on that. Oh, who am I kidding? This was packaged in a triangular prism! With, like, Viking markings and shit! How could I not?
Inspired by Avery Mephistopheles’s Stout, this is “a pain in the neck” for Nøgne Ø to brew, owing to the lengthy and unpredictable fermentation needed to reach that high target ABV. They change up the recipe every year and they brew some variants, including Red Horizon, which uses a variety of sake yeasts (Nøgne Ø apparently loves them some sake and makes their own as well). This particular edition of Dark Horizon (their fourth) uses Muscovado sugar and some sort of wacky green coffee beans treated with alfa-amylase (basically an enzyme that helps bread down the coffee). It’s clocking in at a healthy 16% ABV, but they’ve packaged it in an adorable little 8.5 ounce bottle, so let’s take on some null sets:
Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 4th Edition – Pours a deep black color with a finger of light brown head. Smells of roasted malt, a little of that coffee, maybe a hint of smoke, lots of vanilla, some chocolate and caramel too. Taste features lots of that roasted malt, plenty of booze right up front, with tons of vanilla and a little caramel too. That booze returns in the finish, which also has a slight bitterness to balance all those malts. As it warms, some fruity, almost port-like notes emerge. Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, and reasonably well carbonated. Lots of heat from the booze, and a little stickiness too. A nice sipper though. Overall, this is pretty damn good. Perhaps not the best evar or anything that hyperbolic, but certainly a worthy beer. B+
Beer Nerd Details: 16% ABV bottled (8.5 ounce capped). Drank out of a snifter on 9/6/13.
I’ve definitely seen earlier editions around, even somewhat recently, so maybe I’ll have to check that out sometime…