Author Topic: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot  (Read 1227 times)

Offline erockrph

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Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« on: October 23, 2015, 02:52:35 AM »
I've had quite a few of Mikkeller's spontaneous fermentation beers in the past year or two. All of them have been at least decent, and the Spontangooseberry is one of the best fruited sours I've ever had. When I saw the beet lambic, I was torn. On the one hand, all of the others have been good so far. On the other hand, this could just be like drinking pickled beets (of which I am not a fan). Curiosity got the better of me, and here I am.

The beer pours a murky orange-red in appearance, with a persistent ring of white foam. It looks strikingly similar to my mother-in-law's borscht. The nose has lactic and citrus tang, with a solid cherry-pie Brett note. I think I'm getting some boiled root vegetable aroma, but it's faint and fleeting.

On the palate, the cherry pie takes the lead, followed by tangy lactic notes. There are some low horsy/barnyard funk notes, and some earthy beet character as well. I get a bit of that boiled root veggies character as well. I think it read more carrot/parsnip than beet, possibly due to the funk/spice/bitter character from the Brett coming along for the ride. That character seems to be at a low enough level where it melds in without sticking out like a sore thumb. But it still seems a bit brothy to me, pushing things over to the savory side a tad. Acidity is quite tart, but not bracingly so. The finish has some lingering low bitterness, with some lactic and sweet vegetable notes.

My verdict? This is about as good as you could possibly do with a beet lambic, but I don't know if that is saying much. It is a solid B- beer. I definitely get the synergy between the beets and Brett. There aren't any acetic notes to speak of, and that is very important here or else the beer would taste like you're drinking ketchup. But that vegetable character just doesn't seem like a good fit to me. It was low enough here not to detract too much from the beer, but I don't feel like it added much, either. Having said that, I think parsnips, or a spicy carrot cultivar would be interesting in a lambic given my experience with this, possibly paired with ginger.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2015, 07:18:17 AM »
Thanks for the review!

I'm not sure about the beers in this Spontan-series.
Supermarkets in Belgium are selling Spontanbasil at steep prices (south of 20$) which, frankly put, I'm unwilling to shell out at this point. Mikkeller has some splendid beers in his range, and his sense of adventurous brewing is seemingly boundless, but overall, quite a few of his more out-there beers are a bit hit-n-miss.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2015, 11:52:57 AM »
Mikkeller has some splendid beers in his range, and his sense of adventurous brewing is seemingly boundless, but overall, quite a few of his more out-there beers are a bit hit-n-miss.

I've always felt the same about his beers. He gets an A for fearlessness and ambition, but the execution is spotty.
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Offline toby

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2015, 02:05:09 PM »
Execution is going to be spotty by nature since Mikkeller isn't a real brewery per se (at least until that old Alesmith brewery gets up and running).  It's Mikkel coming up with recipes and finding a brewery willing to brew them for him.  A lot of his beers are done at De Proef, but he spreads things around pretty well and tries to pick breweries that make a particular style well when picking a place to brew that beer.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 02:21:03 PM »
Execution is going to be spotty by nature since Mikkeller isn't a real brewery per se (at least until that old Alesmith brewery gets up and running).  It's Mikkel coming up with recipes and finding a brewery willing to brew them for him.  A lot of his beers are done at De Proef, but he spreads things around pretty well and tries to pick breweries that make a particular style well when picking a place to brew that beer.

Yeah, I've read that too. I assume he still gives the thumbs up or down to the final products, though. Regardless, I've liked several of his beers.
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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 02:38:57 PM »
Yeah, I've read that too. I assume he still gives the thumbs up or down to the final products, though. Regardless, I've liked several of his beers.

I would assume so.  I have generally really liked the stouts from both him and his brother.  Some of the other stuff has been hit and miss.  Generally well made, in my opinion, but some of his ideas are just not my thing.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2015, 03:04:27 AM »
Thanks for the review!

I'm not sure about the beers in this Spontan-series.
Supermarkets in Belgium are selling Spontanbasil at steep prices (south of 20$) which, frankly put, I'm unwilling to shell out at this point. Mikkeller has some splendid beers in his range, and his sense of adventurous brewing is seemingly boundless, but overall, quite a few of his more out-there beers are a bit hit-n-miss.
I haven't seen the Spontanbasil over here yet, but I might stay away from that one. I just can't see that one being enjoyable unless the basil character is really mild, but then what's the point? That's sort of what I thought about the beetroot, but to a lesser degree. The beet character was pretty mild, and the beer was better for it. If the less you use of an ingredient the better, then what's the point of using it?
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2015, 09:10:37 AM »
If the less you use of an ingredient the better, then what's the point of using it?

I can't believe I'm the one saying this, but sometimes, less is more.

Look at it this way: you just made that special cream sauce to accompany a meal and the first thing everyone says upon tasting it is "Wow, I love brandy in cream sauce!".
Probably means you used too much brandy.
When they say "Hey, what's your secret ingredient, mine never tastes quite the same when I make it?", that means you hit the sweet spot :)

Basil in beer does work: I had a wonderful Basil Berliner Weisse at Borefts this year.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2015, 01:57:25 PM »
I'm in the camp that says it is worthwhile to use an ingredient that needs to be used sparingly. It happens in cooking all the time, things like saffron, cardamom, cloves etc. you sometimes want to be that ingredient that many people will love but not quite put their finger on. In brewing kaffir lime leaves is one of those. Just a little gives a real bright fresh citrus aroma and flavor but just a little too much turns to it into dish liquid. In general, when brewing with spices and some fruits I prefer the "what is that" to "wow, saffron, that's interesting". My girlfriend is definitely more in the wanting a flavor to be bold camp.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2015, 04:30:39 PM »
If the less you use of an ingredient the better, then what's the point of using it?

I can't believe I'm the one saying this, but sometimes, less is more.

Look at it this way: you just made that special cream sauce to accompany a meal and the first thing everyone says upon tasting it is "Wow, I love brandy in cream sauce!".
Probably means you used too much brandy.
When they say "Hey, what's your secret ingredient, mine never tastes quite the same when I make it?", that means you hit the sweet spot :)

Basil in beer does work: I had a wonderful Basil Berliner Weisse at Borefts this year.
Agreed on the subtlety point, but I was thinking more of ingredients where the less you use the better because the "sweet spot" is actually zero.

You have convinced me to try the basil one, though. I haven't seen it yet, but I did pick up a bottle of the SeaBuckthorn, and I'm looking forward to trying that one out.
Eric B.

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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 08:57:32 AM »
Agreed on the subtlety point, but I was thinking more of ingredients where the less you use the better because the "sweet spot" is actually zero.
You're not talking about peated malt again are you? ;)

Quote
You have convinced me to try the basil one, though. I haven't seen it yet, but I did pick up a bottle of the SeaBuckthorn, and I'm looking forward to trying that one out.
Just out of curiosty: how much are these Spontanmikkellers over at your end of the globe? That Spontanbasil was 15€ for a 750ml bottle, but I reckon it's actually a blend with Lindemans lambic, and hence not just any Mikkeller Spontan.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2015, 12:30:13 PM »
Quote
You have convinced me to try the basil one, though. I haven't seen it yet, but I did pick up a bottle of the SeaBuckthorn, and I'm looking forward to trying that one out.
Just out of curiosty: how much are these Spontanmikkellers over at your end of the globe? That Spontanbasil was 15€ for a 750ml bottle, but I reckon it's actually a blend with Lindemans lambic, and hence not just any Mikkeller Spontan.
They're in the ballpark of $15 for a 375mL bottle. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2015, 04:03:48 AM »
Just out of curiosty: how much are these Spontanmikkellers over at your end of the globe? That Spontanbasil was 15€ for a 750ml bottle, but I reckon it's actually a blend with Lindemans lambic, and hence not just any Mikkeller Spontan.
I thought I had read somewhere that he uses Girardin as his base lambic. I definitely get that funky Girardin Brett note on the nose with some of the beers in this series, but not all of them.

The SpontanSeaBuckthorn is an interesting one. There isn't much of a berry or fruit flavor/aroma on top of the usual lambic notes. But there is a sharp malic acid sourness on the middle of the tongue and some lingering tannic astringency. The lactic acidity seems towards the low side. The end result is tartness up front that drops off quickly and is balanced on the finish by the tannins. The acidity is more like Sour Patch Kids or Warheads (but not as strong as the latter), rather than lactic.

I think there were two ways to go with the Sea Buckthorn. The first is what Mikkeler has done here - back off on the lactic to keep the combo of malic and lactic from overpowering the palate. That leads to a better balance, but the acidity is dropping off a bit too quick. It's a little too tart up front and not tart enough on the back end.

The second way would be to go full throttle on the acidity, in the range of something like La Folie. I think the acidity would be a bit bracing at first, but the tannins would cut through and give some balance through the finish. At least that's my armchair quarterback take on it.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2015, 08:24:57 AM »
I thought I had read somewhere that he uses Girardin as his base lambic. I definitely get that funky Girardin Brett note on the nose with some of the beers in this series, but not all of them.

Not saying that he doesn't but...



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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2015, 04:26:29 PM »
I thought I had read somewhere that he uses Girardin as his base lambic. I definitely get that funky Girardin Brett note on the nose with some of the beers in this series, but not all of them.

Not saying that he doesn't but...


Interesting that he did that one as a collab beer instead of selling it under the Mikkeller brand. If you're a gypsy brewer, isn't every beer a collaboration brew?
Eric B.

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