Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 Advent Beer 14: Imperial Schwarze Gams

So, this beer started and ended as a bit of a puzzler. First, I wasn't sure if the prominent "Loncium" on the bottle was the brewery, a brand name, or something else. Then the name "Imperial Schwarze Gams"; 'imperial' generally refers to an overstrength beer, such as the infamous yet well-regarded Imperial Russian Stout, and I knew schwarze to mean black or dark, but gams left me grasping, as I know that word only as a period slang reference to a woman's legs, and that seemed terribly out of place. The figure on the label could be a goat, but something about the face gave the impression of, I dunno, an armless satyr, maybe?

Rather than dive in completely unprepared, a couple of quick Google searches revealed that Loncium is an Austrian privatbrauerei which sounds terribly intriguing, and that the beer is meant to be a dunkel bock or doppelbock style. (Bock means 'goat' in German, which demystifies the label figure, at least a bit.)

It pours a deep rich brown with hints of red in the places where light can get through it. A sniff provides hints of bread and sweetness, with somewhat of a musty overtone. About a finger worth of espresso coloured foam, which leaves a bit of lacing well into the beer.


In terms of taste, the grains come through prominently, giving a bready, biscuity flavour, which is followed up by a bit of caramel and some of the mustiness from the nose, though not too offputting. At 7%, some sweetness is to be expected, but the graininess seems to keep it in place. I think this beer might have benefited from some additional carbonation or some other kind of sharpness, as it is not at all unpleasant, but falls well short of other doppelbocks I've had, such as Ayinger's Celebrator or Tree Brewing's excellent Captivator.




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