Friday, December 5, 2014

2014 Advent Beer 5: Krampus

Knowing nothing about the beer itself, the Krampus theme made me eager to try today's offering. The Krampus is an alpine legend of a furry, goat-legged, horned devil armed with birch switches, who roams villages on the eve of (appropriately enough) Dec. 5th. He shakes his chains to frighten children, and in some legends, takes the naughtiest away in a washtub or sack on his back.

The Krampus beer, on the other hand, comes from Lombard in Northern Italy, where the Krampus (at least in Southern Tyrol), is still a part of local folklore, despite his Germanic origins. Liquid Krampus pours a rusty amber colour, with only a small head that quickly transforms into the barest of a ring of pearls around the edge of the glass.

The aroma carries sweetness, maltiness, a hit of spice, and some traces of fruit. Seeing candy sugar on the list of ingredients, I'm not surprised at the sweet smell, but I have no idea what to expect in terms of taste.

Sure enough, there is some initial sweetness, some from the sugar, some from the 7% ABV, but it is very swiftly followed up by a serious tartness. Wow! It is not entirely unpleasant, but certainly surprising. The overall effect is similar to other sour beers I have had, suggesting sour cherries or perhaps Christmas mincemeat or the like.

Not a beer I would want more than one of, but powerful, complex, and a wonderful winter warmer, or a beer to have, as the label suggests, "to wait for the dawn besides the hearth, away from the incursions of demons."

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