HaandBryggeriet - Dark Force
- ABV: 9%
- Serving Temperature: 47–55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter or Cabernet Glass
The name’s right on the nose: this one’s dark, no question, and surely a force to be reckoned with. But—and this brings us back around to why we’re so intrigued by the HaandBryggeriet special-offer beers in the first place—this is still eminently drinkable despite all the things it’s got going on. Inky, smoky, heavily roasted, and chocolate-bitter: but with a pitch-perfect feel as zesty carbonation, sweet darker fruits, and a lean line of vinous alcohol steer this properly.
The pour here, you will be shocked to learn, is dark—darker than Odin’s Tipple, for sure—while the edges show caramel-brown lightening into gold and honey. A persistent draping of light-brown foam caps things, leaving some lacing around the edges. The aroma? The aroma is so not messing around: lots of dried dark fruits, smokiness suggesting peat (pleasantly so), and inky and dark-chocolate notes contributing to what feels like a pretty enormous space.
Dark Force manages to do some pretty great things as far as we’re concerned, specifically the generosity of bitter roasted malts, dark fruit, and almost-inky smokiness—all without feeling anything like other, less-awesome attempts that do one or more of those things too much. It likely has a lot to do with the wheat additions that this beer feels the way it does: toasty, even crispy around the edges, and with a fluffy lightness that serves to temper any coarser aspects of the above. HaandBryggeriet’s Dark Force pretty much disappeared from our glasses, in a way remiscent of, say, North Coast Old Rasputin: imperial stout that stays hugely drinkable.
This seems hearty enough to cellar for a while, though we would encourage Rare Beer Club members to at least sample a bottle near arrival to get a firmer sense of where Dark Force is at right now. We really dug the balance of this beer relatively early on in its presumably long lifespan. For pairing options, trying similarly smoky profiles to help those other notes pop.
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