A Yeasty Lesson From Mikkeller
A Review of Yeast Series: American-style by Mikkeller
Posted on 5/4/2012 by Chops
                   
Great
In the world of beer advertising, sometimes less is more. Clean, well thought out and visually appealing labels are crucial to the success of a good beer. Mikkeller in particular is well known for presentation. There is a Tim Burton like quality exhibited on these brews that you can't help but gravitate to. And of course, the beers themselves have a whimsical quality to match. This is why I was immediately drawn to Mikkeller's Yeast Series: American-style Ale. Not because it was fanciful, but because it strangely wasn't. The label is so clean, so simple and so atypical that you can't help but wonder if it's a purely experimental brew. This is why it ended up in my shopping basket.

After a little research, I discovered that the Yeast Series is part of Mikkeller's self-proclaimed ''educational'' series of beers. As Mikkel himself describes it, ''The Yeast Series will be similar (to the Single Hop Series). Identical beers - only difference is the yeast. It will be a ‘strong pale ale' - 8%, pretty well hopped but not over the top. Malt, hops, water are identical. Only difference is the yeast. I am sure it will be even more educational than the Single Hop Series. They will turn into very different beers. Planned are a lager, regular US ale, Belgian Ale/Trappist, Weiss and Brettanomyces.''

In the glass, this beer has a cloudy dark amber coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has decent retention. You will also notice plenty of yeasty floaters swirling around. This beer looks really thick, possibly foreshadowing a hefty mouthfeel. The aroma consisted of a pungent bready note that resembled sourdough bread crust. I also found several nondescript spicy notes dancing around. This was a very strange introduction. Going into that first sip, I honestly had no idea what to expect.

That first taste is really hard to put into words. It's certainly unique, but initially difficult to figure out why. The best way I can describe it is to imagine candied bread, like brown sugared bread crust. I know that doesn't make too much sense, but that's what my brain was telling my hand to write down. There is also a sweet malty caramel character that balances well with the sweet crusty character. The spicy notes also rear their heads again, but never assert themselves as anything specific. There is also an underlying boozy layer and a thickness to the mouthfeel that makes this beer drink like a Belgian. It's definitely an obligate sipper that you are forced to take your time with. The hop profile doesn't appear until the finish, providing a bittering agent to the exit. Consequently, this beer has a bitter boozy finish, almost like an Old Ale or an aggressive Barleywine.

Overall, Mikkeller's Yeast Series: American-style Ale is a strange yet tasty brew. My only piece of advice would be to go into it like you would a Belgian Quad or Barleywine. Otherwise, it's liable to smack your taste buds around a bit. I definitely enjoyed the experience and look forward to trying the other brews in the series. While this beer is part of an ''educational'' series, I wouldn't recommend it to novices. This is more for seasoned fans who wish to study the nuances of various yeasts. That being said, I will refrain from forming any solid opinion before I try some of the other versions. I have the American version under my belt, and so the hunt begins.

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Yeast Series: American-style by Mikkeller
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