Ah, December! The final month of the year, where decreasing sunlight goes hand in hand with increasing festivity, but most importantly, when one can finally open the first compartment of this year's Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
I did so, dutifully, this morning, and in all honesty, was a little disappointed that it appeared to be a smaller bottle. It was, but any feelings of being short changed were quickly replaced with gratitude upon spying the distinctive logo of Norwegian brewery Nøgne Ø, and further mitigated by the discovery that their selection, God Advent, clocks in at an impressive 10% abv.
That level of potency is actually taking one on the way out of beer country and into barleywine territory, although one of my favourite styles, the Imperial Russian Stout, also haunts the double digits, and to excellent effect.
The beers pours a pleasing deep Amber, almost caramel in hue, with a decent amount of thick, bubbly foam as your can see in the picture. The alcohol is definitely detectable by the nose, but is neither overpowering nor unpleasant, and carries traces of oranges or grapefruit.
A lot of these big beers have a 'hot' flavour, presumably brought on by the high amount of phenol alcohols involved, but this is not the case with God Advent. Theirs is a fruity flavour, including hints of tangy citrus from the hops. There is also only a moderate amount of sweetness for such a high alcohol beer. The beer itself is very smooth, with a rich mouthfeel and a yeasty counterpart to the strong hop presence. It is also very lightly carbonated, which is surprising giving how much head it starts with. There's almost a hint of smokiness to it as well, but maybe I am confabulating it with one of their other beers;
Definitely not a beer I would want more than one of (well, okay, maybe one more...), but a great winter warmer, and a very palatable after-supper drink or nightcap. Most importantly, a very auspicious beginning to both the calendar and the Advent season!