Beer of the Week – Black Metal Gates of Valhalla

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Beer of the Week | No Comments

Another week in the books and it’s time for a beer. Just one, mind, as the attention turns to this week’s recommendation in my continuing series of the most under-rated beers being produced by Scottish breweries at the moment. There are so many emanating from north of the border from the 150+ beermakers we have now – tracking each and every one down is nigh on impossible. The best way to approach it is one at a time.

So every Friday this year I’ll be doing just that. Shining a spotlight on a great beer I believe deserves to be in your drinking cupboard and letting you know where you can get hold of it online. For this edition – the 35th – I am looking at a beer produced in exactly the same building as the one last week (Top Out’s amazing Altbier), as this brewery operates in the same premises. But they are very, very different. In fact, Jaan Ratsep and his Black Metal Brewery are about as different as any other brewery you can think of. And that also holds true for his beer. Like the inestimable Gates of Valhalla.

35. Gates of Valhalla (7.9%)
Black Metal Brewery, Loanhead
Style: Pale Ale
500ml bottle

Pick it up here:
At Alesela online shop (as individual 500ml bottles)

First up, the beer is anything unlike a pale ale I’ve had for a while. With added oatmeal you get creaminess and body – and then the fact that it comes in at almost 8% means that it looks, smells and tastes very much like a barley wine. So much so, that if you handed it to me and told me it was a pale ale I wouldn’t believe you. I also wouldn’t really care. Gates of Valhalla – where Jaan told me he wanted to end up when his time comes, back when I interviewed him is one mighty beast.

Firstly that alcohol – it’s barely there, just a lingering presence at the end, which is a surprise given the intensity of the aged-like character the rest of the flavours give you. There’s a big woodsy, earthiness to the beer – as well as a sweeter toffee and stewed fruits element to it. And then, just when you can’t really hit on the bracket you want to put it into, the alcohol eventually arrives and hits you with its warmth. I’ve no idea really what Gates of Valhalla is, but I know I like it.

Beer of the Week Series:
1. Fyne Ales Highlander
2. Swannay Old Norway
3. Broughton Old Jock
4. Traquair House Ale
5. Tempest Easy Livin Pils
6. Cromarty Brewed Awakening
7. Fallen Chew Chew
8. Black Isle Hibernator
9. Isle of Skye Red
10. Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve
11. Orkney Skull Splitter
12. Windswept Wolf
13. Kelburn Dark Moor
14. Alechemy 5ive Sisters
15. Loch Ness Light Ness
16. St Andrews Eighty Bob
17. Harviestoun The Ridge
18. Orkney Dark Island
19. Williams Bros Seven Giraffes
20. Cairngorm Black Gold
21. Strathaven Craigmill Mild
22. Black Isle Red Kite
23. Spey Valley Spey Stout
24. Top Out Schmankerl
25. Cross Borders Braw
26. Williams Bros Midnight Sun
27. BrewDog Kingpin
28. Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack
29. Deeside MacBeth
30. Drygate Ax Man Red Rye IPA
31. Swannay Orkney Session
32. Fallen Platform C
33. Black Isle Porter
34. Top Out Altbier

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