Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Mikkeller In May
9. Mikkeller It's Alive! Hvidvinsfadlagret 9.0%
It's Alive. A baby born to a human couple turns out to be a mutant monster with an appetite to kill when scared, according to IMDb.com, is the story to a horror film released in 2008. This beer however is a completely different animal.
Brewed at the De Proef Brewery in Belgium, an experimental brewery specialising in beers by third parties, It's Alive ! is described on the Mikkeller website as their answer and tribute to the Trappist beer Orval. It has masses of hops and the addition of the Brettanomyces culture means that it will continue to develop in the bottle.
I picked this up in early October 2011 on my first visit to Craft Beer Co, in London. I don't know when it was brewed but I'm guessing that even though it's at least 9 months I could have waited a while before opening this.
It poors a dark amber with a big hint of red and an unsurprisingly lively off-white head due to the yeast. There's a sour white wine and cork aroma. I don't particularly like the term 'barnyard' but I understand why it's used with Brettanomyces yeast because it does have a definite straw and manure edge which isn't as unpleasant as it sounds as the sourness and a hint of honeysuckle balance it out. So far, so complex, and I haven't tasted it yet. Smooth and briefly biting on the tongue, sour, tart, wet wood, oxidised white wine flavours fill the mouth. There's a fruitiness with the merest hint of blackberry and a dark cherry sourness, not as remotely pronounced as that of a kriek, but definitely there. I can immediately taste the similarity to Orval, a beer I like to keep a few bottles of, and especially as these flavours turn into the tart drying aftertaste.
This is a remarkable beer, and while it's influence is obvious it stands alongside Orval in it's own right. All the elements it was aiming for are clearly present. I'm really enjoying this beer, it is incredibly drinkable, and I am seriously regretting not picking up a second as I would be intrigued to see how it develops. If you have a bottle of this at home (lucky you) my advice would be to keep it cool and dark for a year or so longer.