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Beer – #806 – Mikkeller – Nelson Sauvignon

Undoubtedly the most expensive beer I’ve brought. I’ve been saving it for a special or auspicious occasion, and well, this afternoon  is that time where I give in to the urge and indulge myself a bit. This then the 2011 version of the beer. Get in!

the man says It’s hard to name a favourite among your children.

But if I have to choose one it has to be Nelson Sauvignon. It’s a light Belgian ale brewed with brettanomyces and enzymes for the driest possible beer. We used Nelson Sauvin hops, which have grape characteristics and it is aged on white wine barrels. This is done to imitate Champagne – and I actually think we succeeded.
… But my favorites much depend on the mood. Maybe I prefer wine?

Champagne sized 750 ml bottle of beer, 9%ABV, so 270 calories a serve size, and this would be 5.33 standard drinks in NZ.

Of course by Mikkeller this one brewed at De Proefbrouwerij in the style most likely to be Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut, or at a pinch  Belgian Strong Ale and they’re in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Nelson Sauvignon is a New Year beer it is fermented with ale yeast, brettanomyces and enzymes. Then it has been aged three months in Austrian white wine casks. Very dry, very vinous and very delicious.

Could have shaved for the event, didn't

Could have shaved for the event, didn’t

Brewed of base malt and during mashing and fermentation enzymes added to achieve a high fermentability as possible.

For both bitterness , flavor and aroma hops are used the New Zealand hop variety ‘ Nelson Sauvin ‘ named after its grape characters that recalls to the New Zealand white wine grape Sauvignon Blanc.

By yeast is used both champagnegær and brettanomyces and due . Enzymes , the beer is fermented very far down and thus the end result is a very dry beer.

After fermentation the beer has been five months in white wine casks from Austrian Weingut Kollwentz and achieved additional character.

So, what could possibly go wrong?

It is a cork and cage beer, but the cork is some plastic thing that was disappointing, nothing like a proper cork, or one of those reconstituted ones, plastic might be as good but it’s not as fancy.

Brett sour aroma on opening, to be expected and t’s lovely enough for  it to froth over.

Darker than it looks, this pours cloudy with a firm white head that seems to want to sit and stay, There is more sweetness in the aroma now it’s in the glass, some of the Belgium bubble gum thing you sometimes get.

Despite it having a sourness about it this is surprisingly an pleasantly mellow and mild bit of drinking, there is an underlying and understated sweetness in there too.

Mikkeller Nelson SauvignonIt isn’t though endowed with fullness in the mouth, it is a very light beer. Strongly though it isn’t quaffing beer and I find myself slowly drinking and enjoying it, savouring it almost.

That might be that on some level I disagree with the sourness that this has, or that there is quite a lot of flavour that develops as you imbibe. I’ve noticed that the alcohol tang has become more pronounced, and that the yeasty parts are warming to the task.

I poured more, I’m liking the cider like taste, loving the looks and enjoying the aroma of this. I am searching for the Nelson Sauvignon hints that I’m sure to be familiar with, it is one of the nicest hops in my opinion, which is unreliable at best.

It’s nice but.

Then it was gone, something about it then that made all the things you could think were works with it a bit of a sideshow. A beer that I really did enjoy, even if I can’t exactly remember why or how I did. I’ll remember I had the beer though.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as difficult 9 of its things from the thing. It is a strange beer that I’d have thought less of, except that this is really consistent drinking from Go to Whoa, really consistent. Nothing gets up unexpected like and gives you a nudge, the dry sourness is level, the sweetness is level, the taste is level. Now I’m no expert in beers, but that seems to be a bit of a good trick and either there is something wrong in the beer or that it’s very good beer. It’s probably a very good beer.

The double dip review

  • Where did I get it? Liquorland in Newmarket, seems like a lifetime ago.
  • Am I enjoying it? I am, even if it’s because it cost an arm and a bit of a leg.
  • Would I have another? I wish I had enough disposal cash to have other years, it’s be interesting.
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? OF course, a no brainer really, I can imagine the conversation though would be about substance over bulk, or form over function or brand premium.

Music for this : ” Hugo Race Fatalists” the album ” We Never Had Control” on Spotify 

Hugo Race (formerly of The Wreckery and the Bad Seeds) delivers intense sonic soundscapes that merge folk, experimentalism, electronica and rock

I though this was a bit like Leonard Cohen in some ways, mostly good.



Belgian Strong Ales can vary from pale to dark brown in color, darker ales may be colored with dark candy sugar. Hop flavor can range from low to high, while hop aroma is low. The beers are medium to full-bodied and have a high alcoholic character. Types of beers included here include tripels, dubbels and ultra-strong abbey ales.

Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut

Bière de Champagne (or Bière Brut) is a hybrid beer style, generally made in Belgium and France. The “brewing” process for this style can more resemble the process used in sparkling wine (AKA Champagne). In general, these beers are lighter in body, higher in alcohol and quite carbonated. Color can range from almost clear to medium/dark gold. ABV can range from 9% to 14% or more.


A rare specialty beer style with few examples available worldwide, Bière de Champagne embodies the fruity, estery, spicy phenolic character of many Belgian Ales, with the body and fine bubbly texture and mouth-feel of Champagnes and other sparkling wines. With the time and care involved in its production, it gives the term “specialty beer” new meaning. DEUS Brut des Flandres, for example, goes through a months-long process of three separate fermentations, including a bottle fermentation (bottle conditioning), after which the bottles travel from Belgium to France where they go through the remuage process (collecting the yeast in the bottle necks by inverting the bottles) and riddling them (slightly turning the bottles over a period of weeks). The yeast is then removed from the bottles by dégorgement, where the yeast is frozen in the bottle neck and the frozen bung of yeast is driven out by pressure. Refreshing, yet subtle and refined, these are ideal as an aperitif and for celebrations.


2 comments on “Beer – #806 – Mikkeller – Nelson Sauvignon

  1. John Sexton
    July 9, 2016

    How much did it cost in 2011 ? Has it gone up in value in proportion to house prices in Auckland. Or, was it really not that expensive !!


    • Philip Walter
      July 9, 2016

      It was something like $45 when I brought it. Back when I had that devil may care abandon when buying thing, I think it might have been the last extravagant beers in an act of defiance and denial.


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