The original Samichlaus (black label) has been a Christmas tradition with me for the last decade. Usually drank amongst a few close friends. Always followed by festive exclamations like, “Jesus, this is strong.”
At 14% ABV, Samichlaus was in Guinness’ Book of World Records for being the world’s strongest beer. Now, with the 32% ABV likes of Tactical Nuclear Penguin, it’s been relegated to simply a really strong-ass beer. Fine by me.
So how does Helles compare?
Like the original this version is brewed only once a year, on December 6th in Belgium, and aged 10 months before bottling. But with its red label and “Helles” name, I was expecting something a little more, well, hellish. Instead it proved to be an even more drinkable version of the holiday classic I know and love.
This 2007 bottle (the first Helles bottled since 1986) poured golden caramel with a sweet, malty aroma. The taste was silky smooth. Surprisingly so. And the maple/tawny flavors aren’t as heavy as in the OG Sami. Instead you taste more fruit; orange, raisins, and white grapes. All wrapped up with a cozy ‘n warm, boozy finish. Very Merry indeed.
Track down some and share it with friends (and shelve one for next year, they age well).
Then join the elite Facebook page, I Drank Samichlaus.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
DRINK UP WITH THE UMLAUT:
Christmas Beer: Delirium Noël
Found: Vintage Beer Cans In Wall of SF Apartment
Video of Tactical Nuclear Pengun (32%!!!)
Beer In A Can: Vintage Billy Beer … Unopened!
Beer In A Can: Hell Or High Watermelon Wheat from 21st Amendment
Beer Can: Burgermeister Uncut Tin Shee