Beer Review 0543: Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Natale Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top Imperial Stout

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Did you know that Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, mastermind behind Mikkeller, has a twin brother? His name is Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, and he also makes beer, under the Evil Twin name.

Like Mikkel, Jeppe is a gypsy brewer, roving around the world and using breweries to stage his creations, leading to plenty of collaborations. It all started in 1998, when Jeppe started a beer club in Denmark, tired of the same tried and true beer offerings available there. He and his friends would share new beers they found; this eventually led to home brewing. Opening up a bar of their own was an idea, but it never worked out — Mikkel continued to purse brewing, while Jeppe went in a different direction: he opened a bottle shop.

In 2010, Jeppe found himself a busy man — not only was he running a bottle shop, he was also teaching school. Why not have another job? After a chance meeting with a big-time distributor, Jeppe sent him 20 pallets of beer he’d made, and it sold out in less than 24 hours! Today, he and his family reside in New York City, and are leaving a mark in the beer world, making highly acclaimed beers that generally receive lots of praise. Guess it must run in the family.

Several weeks ago, we reviewed Evil Twin’s Imperial Biscotti Break, giving it 92 points. That beer is an Imperial Stout brewed with coffee beans; this variant of it, Imperial Biscotti Break Natale Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top, is the same beer dosed with sour cherries; however, the label says “natural flavors.” We’re not exactly sure what that means, but it is brewed at Westbrook Brewing Company in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It’s also apparently a seasonal, being aimed at folks who have a tough time during Christmas. The ABV (alcohol by volume) is a whopping 11.5%.

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Release from the bottle produced an average size, creamy head that was light tan in color and thick in texture. Color of the beer was ink black, with no light visible except for a small ruby red edge toward the bottom of the glass. As I poured, I noticed that the body appeared to be clear, and there weren’t any particles or sediment. There was a notable amount of yeast in the bottom of the bottle, but I was careful not to disturb it. Lacing was good, leaving solid sheets as I sipped, breaking up into thin coatings that had a slight red tint to them.

The nose is pretty much like regular Imperial Biscotti Break; heavily roasted, with lots of black coffee, dark chocolate, and sweet caramel. The dark fruits are dialed to high, with a big presence of grape and fig, and there’s a touch of herbal hoppiness to be had. Two things that are notably absent: no alcohol, despite being 11.5%, and there are no cherries here. The roast completely covers the cherries (or “natural flavors”).

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On the tongue, this beer starts with a heavy toasted bread that opens into dark chocolate and raisins. In rushes the black coffee, strong as if freshly brewed, but a cool thing happens when you swirl this around in your mouth: there be the cherries! They’re subtle and very mildly tart, but add a nice edge and combine well with the creamy layered dark chocolate. A cherry on top, indeed — this is very nice, finishing with layers of dark chocolate, heavy roast, and black coffee. It seems the tart cherries help to dry things out a bit, too. This brew is full-bodied, with a luxurious thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Well played on the cherries (or “natural flavors”), Mr. Bjergsø! We continue to marvel at this beer; just like its sibling, this variant is a big boy of a beer that hides the large alcohol and is simply packed full of heavy flavors that are delicious. It’s so flavorful that you might think about pairing this with a dessert or sharing the bottle amongst good friends. ’Tis the season for giving, after all.

Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Natale Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top Imperial Stout, 93 points. Price: $13.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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