Total Score: 7.85/10
Been awhile since I’ve reviewed a Nøgne Ø beer (July 11th 2017 to be exact), so I’ve been saving this Gammel Jo, which sounds like another name for “Grandma Jo” but is probably something else entirely in Norwegian, for some time. That time is now – only 2 beers away from the Everest that is #1,000. I’m a big fan of Old Ales too. Last one that really won me over to the style was Bacchus King of Denmark, which was amazing and I still have a bottle of it in my cellar – that will be an interesting bottle to open in a couple years indeed! Back to Nøgne Ø, I’ve always been a fan of their stuff, they rate as my second favourite Norwegian brewer after Haandbryggeriet, and their Imperial Brown Ale is hands down the best I’ve had of theirs – they’re definitely a dark beer brewer (brewing IMO better dark than light beers).
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Rich chocolate brown with a hint of cola hazed body, thin khaki head that immediately dissipates leaving a lace ring. Dense bubbles on the surface. Not really expecting much of a head but the way it disappeared so quickly, hmmm. 7/10.
S: Interesting lactic (think yoghurt) note upfront, mingles with toffee and caramel, decomposing red grapes with dark fruit character (date, fig and plum). Overall the aroma reminds me of Medieval banquet [yes I have a time-machine, not made out of a DeLorean, I went with a Mazda 6 – my flex capacitor only needs 60kph to activate the time circuits – true story, don’t try to independently verify it]. 8/10.
T: A rich tapestry of malts! Like the Bayeux Tapestry… only with malt (which I imagine would be rather sticky, and instead of “no photos” signs around it, it would have “no licking” signs). Flavours include the above: toffee, caramel, hint of red grape botrytis, date, fig and plum. Finishes a with a sticky date pudding sweetness and a slight hint of burnt bitter caramel. 8/10.
M: Mouthfeel is rich, medium/heavy, a bit cloying because of the sweetness, with a creamy/dense carbonation. It’s a bit of a rich beer all round it seems. 7/10.
D: Ouch! I think I just felt a stabbing pain in my pancreas, oh well – better keep drinking. Gammel Jo is a rich, luxuriant feather in Nøgne Ø’s hat. The only thing really holding it back from greatness is the sweetness – it’s sliiiightly overboard on the sugar content, and the East Kent Golding hops are barely enough to keep it in check (noble hops?! You need some mid-alpha range hops to balance out that sugar). Otherwise it’s game on Medieval-banquet Kong. 8/10.
Food match: I’ve said it like 8 times in the review: Medieval banquet!