Nevel Artisan Ales – Sintel & Jubel

Sintel – Barrel Aged Bière de Garde with willow bark

Brewery: Nevel
Bottling date: August 30, 2018
Drinking date: December 15, 2018 
ABV: 5,5%
Beer style: Bière de Garde
Package: Bottle 375 ml
Bottle nr: Batch #1, bottles not numbered

Tasting notes 

  • Visual: golden orange 
  • Aroma: lovely funky brett aroma
  • Flavor: The woody and resinous bitter notes are the first flavors to hit the palate. There is subtle hint of tartness in the beer, but it’s definitely not sour. As the beer warms up more flavors surface, such as subtle caramel tones and a light herbal character.
  • Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation

A perfect beer for the cold and gusty season. It has a lot of character and the willow bark gives it a nice bite without being overly bitter. The different flavors subtly come out and evolve while drinking it, so it’s definitely one to sip slowly and enjoy!

The beer was released right before the Sinterklaas celebrations in The Netherlands, so no doubt the name has something to do with those festivities. Sintel has several other meanings in Dutch though too, like snail, vulcanic rock and the burned remains of coal. I am curious if those have anything to do with the beer. I’ll have to ask the brewers when I meet them!

Brewer’s description of the beer

“After an autumn forest walk through swirling leaves and drops of rain, nothing feels better than throwing off your shoes and nestling in front of the fireplace with a glass of Sintel! This barrel-aged bière de garde was brewed with toasted willow bark for soft notes of brown sugar and clove that gently complement its smooth caramel-like maltiness. It was aged on oak for 8 months, creating a hint of vanilla from the wood. We fermented it with Mud King, a blend of wild yeasts from all over the world that composed extraordinarily fruity aromas in this beer. Sintel has a tinge of sourness and a mild bitterness that reflects the tannins of the willow bark. Its silky finish makes for a truly memorable experience.”

About the brewery

Nevel Artisan Ales are based in Nijmegen and are specialized in wild ales, especially barrel-aged mixed fermentation ales. They are passionate about nature and use only natural (and where possible organic) resources in their beers. This means using unprocessed and sometimes even foraged ingredients, like hand-picked flowers, fruits and herbs. Their goal is to move the brewing facilities to a more agricultural setting in a few years, enabling them to grow and repurpose their own ingredients, besides hosting a small farmhouse pub on the premises. 

Jubel – Barrel Aged dark sour with Sherry Flor

Brewery: Nevel collaboration with Hedonis
Bottling date: September 25, 2018
Drinking date: December 15, 2018 
ABV: 6,2%
Beer style: Dark sour 
Package: Bottle 375 ml
Bottle nr: Batch #1, bottles not numbered

Tasting notes 

  • Visual: dark purple
  • Aroma: at first an extremely bretty aroma (farmhouse) followed by a red grapes / wine scent
  • Flavor: Sherry flor is the veil or thin layer of indigenous yeast cells that forms on top of sherry wines. That must be the reason why this beer has such a wine-like flavor, which is also notable in the sherryesque tart aftertaste. There is so much going on here you really have to concentrate to distinguish all the flavors. A bit of tannins, tartness and some spicy notes from the wood. The friend I was tasting this with found a hint of roasted flavors as well. I would call this a medium sour – less sour than wine, but more sour than some of their other wild ales.
  • Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation

Where Sintel is a celebration of autumn flavors, this beer definitely suits the winter season. A wine-like sour with lots of complex and wonderful flavors, you just want to curl up with the bottle and stay indoors.

Brewer’s description of the beer

“A luxurious, festive beer to celebrate an extraordinary event in your life! Jubel is a vinous dark sour with a light tinge of sherry or port, like an aged barleywine or a quadrupel. It was aged for 8 months on oak barrels that we gave a little extra head space to allow the oxygen in the barrels to interact with the sherry flor for a handsome oxidative character. Jubel tastes of darkly roasted nuts, chestnut honey, dried fruit and a smidge of cacao, on top of bitter tannic notes from the roasted malt. Its creamy mouthfeel and mild acidity make it a gentle, amiable beer that feels like a small jubilee on your tongue!”

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