Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11: Karl and the Tale of the Beer Here Kremlin Crude

In the 1700's Catherine the Great felt the need to import stouts to Russia. In the late 80's, Soviets felt the need to import 80's Joel.
Privet, dear reader! For my theme-ending stout we head towards to the Motherland, but land in Koge, Denmark where the fantastically named brewery Beer Here produces its ode to the Iron Curtain, the Kremlin Crude. Quick history lesson on the Russian Imperial Stout: Catherine the Great, one of history’s great eccentrics, loved the stout beers she had on her diplomatic trips to England. Shipping being what is was back in those days (boats), the fairly weak ales were not able to hold up to the large distances traveled. To avoid flat(er), stale, terrible beer, the traditional ales had to be brewed bigger, badder and stronger to reach their destinations tasting anything like the beers back home. Because of this we not only have the Russian Imperial Stout, but also the India Pale Ale style as peoples in far-away lands desired to imbibe British pub ales. The record representing this day’s beverage is none other than Billy Joel’s Warsaw Pact-shattering Koheupt album, recorded live on Billy Joel’s 1987 tour of the Soviet Union. Thank God for 80's Joel, America's gold export of the era.

"Start the Fire!" "We strictly do 80's Joel music, sir."- some NSFW language here, my apologies

This beer would make Catherine proud. It is a classic imperial stout in appearance: dark as Stalin’s soul, crowned with a half-finger light brown head.  On the nose you get some oak, some hops and, in a rare treat for my Scotch-tinged nostrils, the smell of peat. The peat continues as you taste and is what makes this beer stick out in comparison to many of its comrades. Burnt sugar and black tea are present with the hops and roasted malts, but it’s the peat flavor that sticks with you. The carbonation is a little heavier than I prefer, but it settles down as the beer warms and the flavors, including some prune and other dark fruits, open up. There is a medium, oily mouthfeel and I have no problems finishing off a half liter of this. The alcohol, at 10%, sticks it to you like you were a serf in the Crimean War, yet the peat keeps it pleasantly interesting. A solid beer.

Rating: B+

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