Beer description: This beer, a collaboration between Australia’s Bridge Road Brewers and Norway’s Nøgne ø, has a great story behind it. This beer was brewed in Norway and shipped to Australia in unrefrigerated French Cognac barrels. Going the other way, the Aurora Australis II was brewed in Australia and shipped to Norway in Australian Port barrels. As mentioned, as the Aurora Borealis, this is the version that was made in Norway and shipped to Australia.
The beer presents a tan colour with a hint of orange/red in it. It’s a browny, rusty orange/red, and may be coming from the cognac barrels. It pours with pretty good head that dies down quickly, leaving about a millimetre on the top.
The aroma is smooth and malty, with a very small hint of hop spiciness. This beer is designed to be on the maltier side, but it’s nice to see some hops coming through in the aroma just to add a little interest. Breathing in deeply, there is the definite smell of alcohol; at 9.2%, this is far from a surprise! Amongst this is a fair amount of sweetness and a general floral quality is very pleasing up against the harshness of the alcohol.
The body of this brew is amazing, simply due to the fact of everything in there. While the high amount of malt thickens things up a fair deal, the large amount alcohol thins things out on the other end.
The beer is sweet and zesty up the front, then the cognac aging really starts to shine through. The taste builds with the distinct flavour of the barrel aging. Not just the cognac itself, but of the oak as well, giving a beautiful vanilla flavour throughout the beer. The ending is great but confusing. The beer ends pretty dry, and, due to the cognac tastes, your mind is thinking this is from the spirit. However, the alcohol is probably causing this. Or maybe a combination. It’s a very cognac-y beer. After the dryness, a nice relieving sweetness comes through, and finally, just the smallest amount of bitterness to remind the drinker they’re actually having a beer rather than a strangely formed spirit.
This is simply a great beer that’s a whole lot of fun to drink. Barrel aged beers do that as they add such a twist to the beer due to the flavours imparted from whatever was in the barrel beforehand. If only it wasn’t 9.2%, it would be easy to do a six pack of these.
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