Christmas is now officially over, as I have to go back to work tomorrow. So if you could all cease having fun and enjoying yourselves until 5pm it would be much appreciated. However, it doesn’t mean the boozing will stop, and tonight’s Beer is the straight-up booziest of all 12 boozes. Booze.
Northern Monk have had a busy year, canning aplenty, releasing some really nice Limited Edition bombers, and generally coming all with all sorts of quality, unique creations. I’ve selected a recent release, XXXXX, which is a blend of Beers that they have barrel-aged this year. Normally I would try to keep this for at least 6 months prior to opening, but I couldn’t resist including something ultra-local on my #12BeersofXmas.
I don’t know the details as to how many, or which, Beers have been blended to create XXXXX, but immediately I can tell that Peated Soul, a Scotch Ale collaboration between Northern Monk and Soul Rebel Brew Co is definitely one of them. The smoky, peaty aroma and finish couldn’t be from anywhere else. As for other possible ingredients, there’s some chocolate and coffee which bring Strannik to mind, and also a very minor note of tart fruit, so maybe a bit of Lust, a Strawberry and Hibiscus Saison, was added too.
Hoppiness is harder to detect, due to the smokiness, but there is a pronounced bitterness, so maybe some of the 822 Double IPA made it in, or more likely a touch of the recent City of Industry Black IPA.
Regardless of my amateur sleuthing, the resulting Blend is certainly powerful. Whilst the Peated Soul is centre stage, there’s more than enough complexity to warrant this being billed as a ‘Special Reserve’. I’m not a huge Rauch fan, but I’m finding it hard to put this down, and every sip reveals a different dimension and keeps you guessing as to the contents. Becky was less enamoured.
“Well this for me is a one sip wonder!! I’m assuming the XXXXX is in place of a big swear from the person who took the first sip. It smells like a log fire burnt out and tastes like a smoked pork sausage. Not for me!”
I didn’t really expect this one to be a winner for Becky, as even amongst hardcore Beer geeks smoky flavours divide opinion, but she’s been as game as ever and is always willing to approach every beer with an open mind. I certainly have enjoyed it though, and I’ll be scraping together the post-chrimbo pennies to get another one to squirrel away.