Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ringnes: Julebokk 9% - There, I've said it!

Finally! By the middle of January, 2012, I am finally getting around to writing a review on what I consider to be a very tasty 9 percent julebokk (Christmas Bock) brewed by Ringnes – the largest brewery operating in Norway. So there, I’ve said it! I am quite fond of a beer that is produced by a macro-brewery – one owned by Carlsberg no less. I know that might be taboo for some, but reviewing beer is just that: trying to, as objectively as possible, write a few words on how the beer lives up to its style aspirations and, as subjectively as possible, write a few words about how the beer suited one’s particular tastes. I’ll leave the politics of macro- versus micro-breweries and craft versus industrial brewing to other blog posts.

Let me start with a bit of background. Ringnes brewery is located in Oslo, Norway’s capital and largest city. Bought out by the Carlsberg Group starting in 1997, Ringnes manufactures and bottles products like beer, soda, and bottled water, including well-known names like Solo, Farris, Pepsi, and 7Up, along with a variety of different beer consisting of a wide range of quality levels. Ringnes also partially or fully owns a number of other breweries, including Arendals in Arendal and Dahls in Trondheim, and produces beer under the Frydenlund label.

Now let me say a few words about Ringnes Julebokk 9 percent. For starters, Julebokk’s appearance is very impressive: The light-brown head is robust and resilient, the lacing is reasonably dense and sticky, and the body is a super-dark brown surrounded by medium-brown edges. As for the nose, a slightly burned coffee aroma is definitely prominent, but it leaves space for caramel, raisins, and a hint of booze. On a slightly negative note, the burned aromatics are unsuitable for what is essentially a doppelbock.

The mouthfeel is pleasant and pretty faithful to this particular style – smooth, medium, and only moderately carbonated. Taking a generous mouthful reveals a wonderful array of flavors, including, raisins, caramel, and malt. Once again, burned coffee is prominent, making it very tasty, but a bit off the mark for a doppelbock. The finish is slightly bitter and delivers a reasonably strong alcohol punch, especially at higher temperatures.

All-in-all, I find Ringnes Julebokk to be a wonderful tasting beer with some very noble qualities. I look forward to buying up a few of these brews next year. That said, it’s burned aromatics and flavor is a bit off the mark for this particular style, although it is a Christmas beer, so considerable latitude should be given. On a similar note, there’s nothing truly Christmassy about this julebokk. While the label lays claim to some spices, none were detectable in the aroma or the taste. But Ringnes Julebokk is still great treat during the holiday season.


Ringnes Julebokk 9% on

Ringnes Julebokk 9% StoreMys Lille Øl-Blogg (Norwegian only)

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