The old man figure on the bottle depicts Santa which gives the beer its name. It could however depict father time to ring out the old year. The depiction of an old man signifies the end of another year and is normally accompanied by a tiny baby to signify the new year. Samichlaus is brewed by the Hürlimann Brewery. Through sale and consolidation the brand eventually became part of Carlsberg. It is traditionally only brewed one day of the year on 6 December. The beer is then aged for ten months and for a good reason. At 14% it needs that time to mellow and not be as harsh.
Bavarian Doppelbock 55º – 60 F (13º – 16º C)
Caramel malt aroma with scents of alcohol and no perceived hop aroma. Definitely a malt forward flavor beer. As the glass warms toasted malt aromas become more perceived. Red color with off white head that quickly dissipates almost as soon as the glass is poured. No lingering head. Very malty flavor with no discernible hop flavor. Carbonation on the mouth and a full body mouthfeel. Sweet finish that a mild bitterness finishes the sip. Slight heat of alcohol on the flavor. After two sips I can definitely feel the alcohol level.
I am going to go against the norm here and advocate instead of pairing this beer with anything it should be just enjoyed by itself. Each year a high school friend of mine, after wrapping all the gifts and putting the family to bed, sits down to watch the pope deliver Christmas Mass at the Vatican. He takes this time to reflect on what all that transpired the past twelve months and what might come in the year ahead. So consider taking the alternative to the New Years celebrations everyone else is doing and bundle up by a fire while slowly sipping this beer. Instead of flavor senses of food consider pairing this with thoughts and memories of the past year and aspirations for the upcoming one. For me this past year was a period of immense change and the upcoming year has a great deal of uncertainty. As I close out one year and open the next I am going to take my time with the moment and enjoy this beer by itself.