Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther started the To Øl (translated as “Two Beers”) Brewery in the same fashion as another Danish gypsy brewer named Mikkeller and for good reason. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, was literally their teacher at the Det Frie high school in Copenhagen. After years of the three brewing beers in the high school kitchen during off-hours1 and Mikkeller was already established, To Øl’s first commercial beers were released in 2010.
The first beer was a collaboration with none-other than Mikkeller named Overall IIPA. Since then they have gained some notoriety as a serious player in the beer business putting out big complex beers focus on using only the absolute finest ingredients available.
Today’s beer: Mine Is Bigger Than Yours.
A barleywine of cockstaggering proportions; 12.5 percent ABV utilizing Pale, Pilsner, Special B, Brown, Cara Crystal malts, Flaked Oats, and rock candy for the fermentables and Citra, Columbus and Simcoe for hops. The To Øl guys seem to liken this beer to a Churchill quote, “When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.”
The pour reveals a murky almost ominous burnt red crimson color with a large tan head not often seen on high alcohol barleywines. Look-wise I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. The aroma is absolutely massive malt sweetness with a toffee, caramel, burnt sugar backbone. The Special B is noticeable and comes through as raisins. Booze is barely noticeable and quite the feat considering the monstrous alcohol level.
The taste is familiar with a good bit of sweetness kept in check by a surprising dose of clean hop bitterness. There is a whole grain bread note as well as a toasted pine nut flavor that really fills out the profile. Mouthfeel is appropriately sticky as expected with enough carbonation to lighten the body to a medium weight.