Svaneke Den Udødelige Hest: The Immortal Horse

Den Udødelige Hest

If Syd-Øst for Paradis is the yin in Svaneke’s portfolio, then its yang is surely Den Udødelige Hest. From Svaneke’s website:

Based on a Swedish folk song about stonemason Kalle Wahlgren who has to get drunk in order to kill his horse to put it out of its misery. But he doesn’t succeed: the next morning the horse is still there – alive and well. In a similar manner, our Vintage Porter is hard to put down. Well-hopped, a high alcohol content and unpasteurised, it will keep till well beyond the beyond. It’s got “whinny”. Bottom-fermented. 7.2% by volume.

I am reminded of North Coast’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, named for another legendary figure who was extraordinarily difficult to kill. Incidentally, that was my gateway beer and my first-ever beer review: rich, chocolatey, and very strong, it opened my eyes to what beer could be.

In fact, the Immortal Horse resembles Old Rasputin not only in name – though technically it is a Baltic Porter and not a Russian Imperial Stout. This is an intense and surprising beer, one that is likely to divide non-beer drinkers. Some will wrinkle their noses at its pungent bitterness and oily mouthfeel, while others will raise their eyebrows, marveling at its complex mocha flavor, its looooong finish, and its compatibility with very rich foods. Coal-black and capped with a thick, sandy-brown head, it even looks kinda dangerous, a beer not to be trifled with. Smoky and fruity in the nose with currents of coffee, cocoa, port, burnt sugar, and dates, this will harmonize nicely with desserts and strong blue cheeses.

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