Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Mikkeller In May
1: To Ol/Mikkeller Overall IIPA 10.5%

May. I wanted to do something different this year. Traditionally it's when the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) champions Mild - predominantly low-gravity dark and malty, in fact quite unlike the beer you see in the picture above. The reason for this change of tack is that last year I had a revelation. I discovered Mikkeller beers. These wonderfully different and flavoursome beers created, no, crafted by itinerant maths and physics teacher turned brewer Mikkel Bjorg Bergso, were a bit of an epiphany for me. I couldn't get enough and none disappointed. It is for this reason that I decided to devote some of May to revisting some old favourites and trying new Mikkeller beers.
This is one of the new ones for me,  Overall, an Imperial/Double IPA brewed in collaboration with Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, former pupils of Mikkel Bjorg Bergso, who formed the To Ol brewery after a shared conversation lamenting nauseous Danish lager. Lots of Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial hops, big on bitterness and citrus character were used in this beer, and this is immediately noticable as you open the bottle with a big whiff of grapefruit and orange marmalade hitting you right between the eyes. It pours a cloudy golden orange with a highly carbonated, rocky off-white head. As the head dissipates the aroma is a more settled lemony-orange with some white pepper hovering in the background. On drinking, a big and I mean BIG herbal bite attacks your palate with intense orange and lemon peel flavours. In sweeps a silky smooth orange marmalade before a really rough dry citrus tartness engulfs everything. This is incredibly intense and lingers a while.
This beer feels like it's tearing the skin from your tastebuds, painting them with an orange varnish before using an industrial sander on them. It's a bitter-sweet assault that brings out a little masochism in me by keeping me coming back for sip after sip to experience the pain and the pleasure.
It's so good it hurts.

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