If you have not yet had the chance to try any beer from Mikkeller, then I strongly suggest you run to your nearest craft beer locale as soon as you finish reading this review. The story of Mikkeller is a tale of two home brewers, Mikkel and Keller, from Copenhagen who began doing “physics experiments” while brewing with extreme amounts of hops while trying to imitate a local IPA. They first reached international acclaim and appeared on the American Craft Beer radar when they brewed an oatmeal stout with french coffee named “Beer Geek Breakfast,” which Ryan has previously reviewed. Since then Mikkeller has become a rock star in craft beer and they have done collaborations with some of the most reputable breweries in the world including Stone, BrewDog, Nogne, and Three Floyds. You can read more about the story of Mikkeller here.
I have had many beers from Mikkeller, but to be honest, I have been putting off shelling out the cash for the Mikkeller black. You know, that small dark green bottle filled with liquid midnight and Chinese characters on the label? Mikkeller beers are expensive for a good reason, but with the wide ever-changing selection of the brewery, I find myself usually opting for the more moderately priced bottles.
After having my ears warmed by French electropop from the band M83, I was already in a European mood when I got to the Bayou in Salt Lake City, Utah with my cousin. The Bayou basically has the beer selection in Utah with around 300 different beers available at any one time. If you ever find yourself happily/unhappily in Salt Lake City, I highly recommend The Beerhive on main st and The Bayou on state street to get your craft beer fix, but I digress. We got to the bar with about thirty minutes before last call and I must admit that it had already been a long night of drinking. In fact the night started with Ardbeg Uigeadail and Firestone Double Jack (both of which were fantastic) plus whatever micturated fizz was served at the venue.
Why am I telling you this? Well, if you have read this blog before, I like to spend lots of money on expensive drinks when I’m craft beer-ed out of my mind. Knowing that time was of the essence, we quickly found the newest beers to arrive and ordered some mega expensive IPA form De Molen in the Nederlands that ended up tasting like a hoppy sour ale. I wish I would have taken a picture of the bottle, but I’ll search for that beer on the inter-web on a different day.
It was at this point that the ivory Chinese characters against the darkness seemed to challenge me with their perceived gaze. I stared right back brazenly. Seventeen and a half percent alcohol by volume? Challenge accepted.
Appearance: Pours a beautiful sexy midnight black with dark mahogany highlights. There is about a two to three finger head of creamy brown that ever so slowly settles.
Nose: Rich cocoa, vanilla sugar cane. It does not smell strongly alcoholic.
Palate: Dark chocolate, Tiramisu on steroids that has been iced with extremely burnt creme brulee. It’s roasted, richly sweet and excessively delicious. You can taste the alcohol but it is balanced by the sweetness.
Body: Heavy, thick chocolate syrup. Chewy and feels like it sticks to your mouth after you swallow the sweet nectar.
Finish: Bitterness of strong french roast coffee with sweet and burning of alcohol and dessert and a slight dryness from the champagne yeast this beer was finished with.
I don’t even know what it ended up costing, but everyone must try this beer at least once. Hell, nice restaurants should have this as an option on their dessert menu.