Hornbeer
from Denmark (Zealand)
Highest RatedHappy Hoppy Viking (84 / 100) Average score80 / 100 (Excellent)
Lowest RatedBlack Magic Woman (77 / 100) Number Tried2
Black Magic Woman
Reviewed by Jez on 16.04.16 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a beautiful silky ebony colour, with a very fine and full head of milk chocolate. Very fine carbonation snakes its way through a slim, marbled body. It really looks great.

Nose is also very pleasant. There's a subtlety to the smoke here which stops the peat from getting too obscene or medicinal. It's helped a little by the birchwood-smoked malt as well, which turns the smokiness in a more comforting direction. There's a good solid, dark malt backing though: high cacao chocolate, carbonised bread and milk coffee all come through. It's a very nice aroma.

Taste is very robust. Here comes the flip side to that smoke, because on the palate, it adds a pronounced burnt bitterness to the back, without a good deal to balance it. It's sharp with dark malts through the centre of the palate, with some dark-fruit boozy bite. It has plenty of body, but minimal sweetness or softness to balance it. You can imagine a little oak, or a little extra residual mid-malts creating a much fuller palate, which would cushion it a little.

Feel is good though—there is body and chewiness here, and a slickness provided by some subtle fine carbonation.

Overall, though, it's a good beer. The smoke is well integrated into the aroma, and does provide a quirk to the palate. Its construction suffers a little bit from imbalance, which does harm the drinkability a bit, but it's still a beer I'm very happy to sip on.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Happy Hoppy Viking
Reviewed by Jez on 17.08.15 in bottle
Overall:
84 / 100
(Exceptional)
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a deep amber, genuinely tending towards a red-hued ruby, with a wonderfully full and boisterous head of beige that stays fairly rocky and full throughout and leaves superb lacing. Body has some lovely weight to it, and holds nice fine carbonation. It looks the business.

Nose is great. Big rich malt presence, but overlaid by a fresh and full bouquet of big hops. These tend towards the citric, with lashings of mild aromatic herbs. But the malt is always firm and stolid in the background, providing richness and fullness, and reminding you what this beer is all about.

Taste is also extremely good. Here, there's a significant, firm bitterness that courses through the centre of the palate, but still it's all about the malt when you look beyond the surface. This gives a firm caramel base, with lashings of more aromatic notes like soft liquorice and Turkish delight. When mated with the lively hop presence it really sets it off nicely. It's beautifully balanced, and surprisingly clean on the back, just leaving a tingle of hop bitterness in the tail, and no residual heat from the booze.

Feel is smooth and slick, with a lovely cleanness through the centre of the palate.

Supremely drinkable for a beer of this weight. Indeed, there's something almost sadistic about how easy this 9.3% ABV beer goes down—as though it wants you to get drunk so it can leap out of your glass and rob you of your possessions. But when a beer is this tasty, and this supple, you're almost tempted to allow it.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.75