12/18/23: Einstök Beer Company's Winter Ale

2:47 PM

Remember that illness I mentioned off-hand in my last post? It was the damn plague. It hit everyone in my household and now, well over a week later, it's finally letting up. I felt horrible in the depths of it and my sense of taste turned a little wonky for a minute. But, now that I'm only fatigued, I can finally get around to my next beer of the season.

A can of Einstök Winter Ale beside a Christmas countdown decoration.

Yeah, that's right: Christmas doesn't stop for COVID-19. Now, over two weeks out from the first Christmas beer '23 post, our Christmas lights are hung and our tree's nestled in our living room, trimmed to our satisfaction. Let's keep this holly and jolly going with Einstök's Winter Ale.

Einstök Ölgerd's from Iceland. Akureyri, to be more specific. They seem to make beer worth waiting for--it take take up to a year for them to explore and release a new style. Once these beers are ready for market, Einstök ships them to over 22 countries (with help from its production facilities around the world--my can's from Connecticut).

Winter Ale (my can's not "Icelandic Winter Ale" seemingly since it's not from Iceland) is an 8.0% ale that's brewed with "whisky-cured spruce" and smoked barley. Let's see if it'll put some jingle in my Kringle.

The spruce is first on the nose, good and wintry. There's also that smoked barley some light caramel and honey. Other notes I'm finding are coffee, chocolate, and some orange. The bouquet was pretty shallow at first but the more it sit with it the greater depth I find. There's a smokiness rounding out the aromatics that I can only attribute to the smoked barley. Lottie and I are in agreement: It's a pleasant bouquet (she gave my can 28 whiffs).

Lottie sniffing my open can of Winter Ale.

Unfortunately, the depth in the ale's nose doesn't carry through to the flavor profile, which is incredibly thin. Really, there's no noticeable flavors apart from what's in the finish, which are coffee, spruce, chocolate, caramel, and some smoky savoriness. That's it. It's all crammed in the finish and buried beneath the coffee (which is the core flavor). Nothing here smacks of "Christmas" or even "winter."

Winter Ale's mouthfeel's just as thin as the flavor. There's not bite, no sharpness. The carbonation's just foamy in my can.

The memory drinking this is dredging up isn't anything Christmassy. Instead, I'm being remind of going for runs in the summer and coming home to our apartment to enjoy a (much better) coffee beer on our balcony. I liked that post-run beer a lot. I can't quite say the same for Winter Ale.

Einstök should've let their Winter Ale percolate for another year. It's okay. I wouldn't not drink it again, but I wouldn't intentionally seek it out, especially during the Christmas season when some of my favorite beers are on store shelves. I'm giving it a 7.0/10. I guess you can try it and see if you like it more?

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