Billed by Schloss Eggenberg as “The World’s Most Extraordinary Beer”, I spied this lone bottle of Samichlaus lurking behind a bevy of fine ales at Top Foods in Bellevue, and intrigued by the label picked it up for a closer look. Drawn in by the blurb on the back
Brewed only once a year on December 6, Samichlaus is aged for 10 months before bottling. This specialty is perhaps the rarest in the world. Samichlaus may be aged for many years to come. Older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish.
I really couldn’t wait the recommended “many years”, and decided to crack into the very same day I bought it. Bad form, I’m sure… but by gum, worth every moment – poured a beautiful dark amber, almost port-like in it’s appearance with little head and a minimal amount of carbonation. Sweet and reasonably gentle on the nose, it’s when you take the first sip that things start to get really interesting: very, very sweet with a good dose of ripe fruits and the crazy alcohol level to the fore, this beer’s got depth and contemplation written all over it. Clearly you’re not going to be knocking back more than a couple of these in an evening (if that) and the time you spend swirling the glass and sipping by your fireside will pay dividends, for as it warms the beer opens up and reveals more of it’s fruity depths for you to enjoy.
Brewed only once a year by the Castle Brewery on December 6th, the feast day of Saint Nicholas, this is truly a unique beer. My 2007-bottled vintage was sweet, malty, and – according to the Guinness Book of Records – the strongest lager in the world. That, and the phenomenal complexity of flavour, texture, colour and mouthfeel make me certain this is worthy of a “Hall of Fame” designation, but until Doug can give it a try, we’ll stick with…
JBB6 Rating: For the Win