Decided last night to only have one beer, A REALLY BIG BEER! I cracked the top on a bottle of Mikkeller Red/White Christmas I found at Total Wine for $15. The 1500 ml bottle was a monster. I’d love to be able to link to a descriptions on either the Mikkeller website or one by Shelton Bros., but it doesn’t exist. Most sites link to a review site. This beer, like many of the Mikkeller brews, was crafted at De Proef in Belgium. Since I didn’t read the bottle and there was no description I opened and poured and was almost floored when the aroma showed a strong presence of hops. For some reason I was expecting a Dubbel and this has little to nothing in common with that. Had I taken the time to scour the interwebs prior to opening I would have found out this is a sort of mashup of red ale and Belgian wit.
The citrusy notes of orange peel were estery and pleasant. The hops were strong and the beer was quite bitter. I’m not exactly sure what hops they used, but they featured a long-lasting grassy and piney flavor. For an 8% ABV beer the alcohol was well hidden behind the citrus and hops and the malt presence was strong enough to keep everything in check. I’ve long been a De Proef fanboy and beers from that brewer hit more often than not. Mikkeller tends to push the envelope with whatever they put out and this was no exception.
My only gripe was the green bottle. As I opened the bottle a light bit of mercaptan hit my nose and luckily the bottle was only starting to become lightstruck. Skunking is thought to be an instantaneous reaction, but I think that has more to do with our perception than being a flip of a light switch. I should probably post my thoughts on it some other time, but when I was over the neck of the bottle the aroma was collected and directed to my nose, think of it as concentrated. When I poured into the chalice the aroma was released across the surface and not concentrated. So I do believe this beer was becoming lightstruck and if I had put into a tulip or other glass which directs the aroma into your nose I would have sensed it, but since the wide top on the chalice releases across the surface it was dispersed and at a level too low for my perception.
If you do run into this, at $15 it is a steal and makes for a very pleasant evening. Merry Christmas! 😉