Total Score: 9.1/10
Nøgne Ø, which apparently means “naked island” in Norwegian… if I was in Norway I wouldn’t be spending any time naked on any islands lest frostbite become my new bestie, but hey I’m a pragmatic man when it comes to endangering my own life. So I’ve had a few Nøgne Ø brews now: Imperial Stout, Sunturnbrew, and their red wine barrel Quadrupel… all of them dark and heavy, in fact at 7.5% ABV this is the lightest Nøgne Ø brew I’ve imbibed yet! The main reason I even picked this up was on a recommendation, and if it’s as good as their other brews I’ll have to grab some more from my local Black Sheep Bottle Shop (Newmarket that is). Until then – bring on the naked island!
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Nice murky Russet brown body with a fulsome 1.5 centimetre beige head that slowly recedes leaving some lace on the side of the glass – love shack baby! [I’ve decided for shits ‘n giggles to randomly inject B-52’s lyrics into my reviews – yep that happened since you were away]. 9/10.
S: Dark fruits and brown sugar with a side of molasses – this is going to be one sweet mother of a brew. Hint of nuttiness in there as well, so maybe it will having a dry character as well… you never know until you try hey? 8/10.
T: Top. Shelf. This is such a well-balanced IBA: Macerated figs, burnt sugar, pecan nut, caramel, touch of earthy espresso bitterness in the finish; well played Nøgne Ø, well played. The thing that really wins me over is how well managed the sweetness is – I was expecting a sugar bomb from the aroma, however this is not the case. It’s so very nearly a 10/10 for flavour, but then the aftertaste cuts in with just a little too much bitterness… so close Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale! 9/10.
M: Silky mid to heavy bodied with a dense but flat carbonation – near perfect here too but, ahhh, what the hell Nøgne Ø: 10/10.
D: Exceptional Imperial Brown Ale, up there with the best of them… well Embargo is my current favourite – however I appear to be one of its few champions (though I have no idea why, it’s a fantastic drop). Nøgne Ø have glimpsed at the heavens and said “what the f__k, we can do it!” and they very nearly cracked that ceiling with this IBA. Great work Nøgne Ø! PSA: This review has the most frequent applications of the ‘Ø’ character in any review I have ever written – yet I am still unaware of how to actually pronounce this character. Carry on. 10/10.
Food match: Flavourful cheeses and grilled meats: I must agree with that label.