Style: Winter Warmer
Brewery: Birra del Borgo (Lazio, Italy)
Back across the pond today for the big beer of the day only this time I am giving the Belgians a break and heading to Italy for Birra del Borgo’s 25 Dodici. I first became aware of Birra del Borgo through their collaboration with Dogfish Head on the My Antonia. Leonardo DiVencenzo, head brewer at Birra del Borgo, is often compared to Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione for his adventurous brewing techniques and use of non-traditional adjuncts. And while there spirit is the same, their equally-spectacular results are really quite different.
Appearance: Pours a deep brown with a rich reddish hue. There’s no head at all from the poor but it does leave a bit of residue on the glass as you drink. No lacing.
Smell: The nose is really tart here, almost like orange Starburst candies mixed with lots of fresh berries. There’s a good amount of chocolate and roasted notes as well with really subtle hints of honey and grass. Quite a bit going on once you get into it.
Taste: The flavor is very light but there are a lot of complex elements too it. The bitter orange peel comes forward as well along with some pepper, coriander and burnt caramel. Beneath the initial flavors are some pine and oak notes which make this taste like a cross between a saison and and a pale ale. The orange flavor lingers nicely in the finish.
Mouthfeel: 25 Dodici is dangerously light bodied for a 9.5% alcohol beer. It comes across slightly watery with almost no carbonation and finishes slightly sweet on the tongue.
Drinkability: This is highly, highly drinkable for a big beer. It is light, dry and refreshing. The only off-putting element is the lack of carbonation but it could have just been my bottle. Otherwise, I could easily put back a few of these with dinner (dangerous).
Overall: 25 Dodici is really unique. At first I thought it was way flat but then the lack of carbonation grew on me. It’s a nice introduction into the world of Italian craft beer and the high level of drinkability makes it worth hunting down for a try.
Brewing Notes: Malt: Pilsner malt, munich malt, vienna malt, cara munich malt, cara
weizen, chocolate malt. Hops: Hallertau Northern brewer, Hallertau hersbrucker, styrian golding, simcoe.
Spice: Bitter orange peel