Friday, 26 December 2014
12 Beers Of Xmas - Day 2
The Twelve Beers Of Christmas
Birrificio Toccalmatto - Noel du Sanglier 2009 9.0%
After having a beer that I've kept safely hidden for just over twelve months yesterday, and seeing as it's still Christmas, I though I'd push the boat out a bit further for my second post today and open a bottle that I've had for a little longer.
Birrificio Toccalmatto's Noel du Sanglier, which translates from Italian as 'Christmas Boar', is an Italian take on a Belgian Strong ale, and used to be the brewery's Christmas offering but hasn't been brewed since 2011. I fact it was only brewed for four consecutive years 2008 to 2011, and the bottle I have is the 2009 vintage, making it five years old, and as five years is considered optimal ageing for beers of this style I'd better not keep it, or me, waiting much longer.
It pours a hazy amber tinged dark brown with a thin beige head and an aroma that isn't heavy but rather subtly spiced nutmeg and cinnamon raisins and a box of freshly opened dates. Smooth over the tongue with a gentle fizz around edges this could possibly be the most delicious Christmas pudding beer I've ever had. Some pudding maltiness soaked liberally in brandy heralds more of that raisin flavour, it certainly has overtones of mince pie mince meat, and then in comes the spicing, nutmeg and cinnamon again but not overstated or overpowering in any way. The finish is long and has all the honeyed fruity hallmarks of a fine Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry, it's wonderfully satisfying and a perfect ending to a wonderful beer.
This beer has mellowed beautifully with age. I imagine that the spiciness may have been too intense masking it's fruitiness or obscuring those puddingy malts, but it's all come together superbly now. Some things are definitely worth the wait.