Faxe Bryggeri A/S is a Danish brewery located in the town of Fakse. It was founded in 1901 under the name Fakse Dampbryggeri by Nikoline and Conrad Nielsen. After Conrad Nielsen's death in 1914, his young widow continued to run the company. In 1989, Faxe merged with Jyske Bryggerier to form Denmark's second largest brewing company, now known as Royal Unibrew.
On this occasion, we sampled Faxe's Quality Extra Strong Beer. The beer came in a good looking 500 ml can with a picture of a Viking on the front and back, and production and best before dates of February 26, 2013, and May 27, 2014 respectively printed on the bottom. Faxe was a whopping 10% alcohol by volume.
Faxe poured an attractive, clear golden colour with about 1" of off-white head that completely disappeared after 3 minutes, leaving some very minor spotting down the glass. A strong alcohol smell overpowered any other aromas that may have been present. In terms of taste, Faxe was REALLY sweet up front with sweet light malts and glucose syrup, followed by an alcohol burn and mildly bitter finish which lingered for quite some time as an aftertaste. I would describe the beer as medium bodied with a fairly subdued carbonation and non-descript mouthfeel. While not a drain pour, Faxe's overwhelming alcohol presence ruins the experience for me.
The moral of this story...before you buy a beer, take a look at the list of ingredients. I should have been tipped off by the 'glucose syrup' and 'maize' as to the quality of this beer. Faxe sells for $3.35 per 500 ml...a premium price for non-premium quality.
Imported from the Kingdom of Denmark, Bucky bought a 500 ml bottle of Rye Porter brewed by Amager Bryghus of Kastrup. This particular bottle had a best before date of June 2016 printed on the label and was a healthy 8.5% alcohol by volume.
Rye Porter was certainly a beautiful looking beer. Pouring produced about 2” of cream coloured head which seemed to last forever, leaving some attractive lacing all down the glass. The beer itself was an opaque black with hints of a very dark chestnut brown. Its aroma was unusual for a porter...primarily hops with just a touch of dark roast coffee. The beer's taste began with an all too short-lived milk chocolate, which was quickly taken away by a spicy bitterness with notes of dark chocolate and burnt coffee. The spicy bitterness dominated and lingered as an almost continuous aftertaste. Rye Porter's mouth feel was creamy, no doubt from the ever present head, and I would describe the beer as medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Though a beautiful beer to look at, I'm afraid the lingering bitter and spicy aftertaste just isn't for me. Rye Porter retails for a rather pricey $6.25 per 500 ml bottle.
Having recently sampled and enjoyed the Imperial Stout of this Danish brewer, Bucky decided to go to the well one more time and try their Hr. Frederiksen Imperial Stout (“HFIS”). 10.5% alcohol with an expiry date of July 2019 printed on the label, apparently this beer can last for a good 5 years if properly stored.
HFIS poured a near-black colour with about 2” of creamy tan coloured head with good retention that left some respectable lacing in its wake. Its aroma was a combination of dark chocolate, coffee, and a touch of black licorice. Sadly the taste did not live up to the promise of the beer's appearance and aroma. While the dark chocolate and dark roast coffee flavours were enjoyable, and the black licorice subdued enough not to spoil the experience, the finish of this beer is just way too bitter for Bucky's personal taste. I struggled through this beer because of the ever-present bitterness and did not enjoy it. The beer was full bodied, however, and had a suitably modest level of carbonation. On balance, unless very bitter brews are your thing, steer clear. Selling for $5.95 per 500 ml bottle at the time of writing.
Midtfyns Bryghus Imperial Stout (“MBIS”) made its way from Denmark to Bucky's local liquor store, and from there to his cold cellar. 9.5% alcohol by volume with a best before date of May 28, 2016, MBIS came in a brown 500 ml bottle.
MBIS poured a deep brown/black colour completely impervious to light, with a huge crema coloured head with good staying power. The head gradually receded, leaving some attractive lacing down the far side of the glass. A promising aroma…dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee, with notes of oak and vanilla becoming dominant as the beer warmed. Its taste began with the same dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee notes as in the aroma, with a mild bitterness in the finish. As the beer warmed this bitterness was relegated to the background and the oak flavour came to the fore, accompanied by subtle hints of vanilla. Apparently the beer is aged with oak wood and the end result is impressive. Medium to full bodied with a carbonation more active than a typical stout, MBIS had a relatively soft, almost creamy mouthfeel. Selling for $6.50 per 500 ml bottle at the time of writing.