February 10, 2022

Three barrel-aged brews from Malka, Negev, Herzl

The Malka Brewery in the Tefen Industrial Area, in the north of Israel, is home to three brands: Malka, Negev and Herzl.  The brewery just marked the 100th anniversary of        Hacarem Spirits Ltd. by issuing three different barrel-aged beers, each bearing the name of one of those brands.   

(Hacarem is a major importer and marketer of beer, wine, spirits and food, as well as holding interests in Malka.  During the past year, Hacarem's centenary was also marked by two collaboration beers: Negev with Denmark's Mikkeller, and Malka with Belgium's Achouffe.)        

The three beers aged for five months
in barrels that once held
Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky: 
Imperial Porter by Negev,
Strong Scotch Ale by Malka,
and American Barley Wine by Herzl. 

(Photo: Brew Shop Israel) 

All three of the beers were aged in oak barrels that previously held Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  The beers were aged in the barrels for five months and were bottled by hand in numbered 750 ml bottles, before packaging in specially designed cartons.  Only 2,200 bottles of each beer were produced.  All three are powerful beers, both in taste and in alcohol by volume, which is 10%.  The strength and the style of each one make them suitable for aging.

I tasted these three beautiful beers with Manny and Mike, members of the IBAV Tasting Team and upholders of popular tastes.

The beer from Malka is a Strong Scotch Ale, a style where the malt aromas and flavors far outweigh the hops.

The color is a clear dark amber with crimson highlites; the head is thin and the bubbles are fine.  We smelled the whisky and strong chocolate and caramel from the malts.  "An inviting scent; it's certainly been in the barrel" said Mike.  Manny detected not only the Scotch, but also an aroma of Port wine.  

Another 100th birthday surprise from 
Hacarem Spirits Ltd.: 
IBAV Tasters Mike, Doug and Manny
enjoyed the three barrel-aged beers from
Malka, Negev and Herzl in a shady clearing
'neath the waterfall.

(Photo: Mike Horton) 
The malts also controlled the sweetness in the taste, alongside flavors of whisky, caramel and raisins.  Manny also tasted chocolate.  The barrel aging was evident from the oak taste.  A full body completed the picture.

"A very drinkable beer," Mike concluded.  "Even Whoopi Goldberg would enjoy it."

The Negev beer is an Imperial Porter, also among the strongest beer styles, with high bitterness and flavors of roasted malt.

The beer is the blackest opaque black topped with a thin brown head.  I let the aromas and the flavors blend into a rich symphony.  Alcohol was conspicuous, of course, but also some oak, dark chocolate, caramel, roasty malt and molasses.  It is full-bodied with a long and bitter aftertaste.    

Manny appreciated the beer's "freshness," but found it too boozy for his taste.  Mike had only praise for this Porter, a beer style born in and associated with his native London.  "I must have had some Porter in my baby bottle," he laughed.  "It's a shame I don't have enough British friends here to drink it with."               

Herzl Beers' contribution to the trio is an American Barley Wine, hoppier and more bitter than the original English version, combined with sweetness from the malt.   

This Barley Wine is an attractive hazy copper color, also with a skimpy head and bubbles slowly rising.  You get aromas of malt, dried fruits, whisky and sugar/caramel.  Like most Barley Wines, the initial taste is sweet (in this case, with flavors of caramel, raisins and alcohol), before ending in a bitter, whisky finish.

"This would be great with a hearty cholent," said Manny.  We all agreed that this was our favorite of the three -- at least during this tasting!         

1 comment:

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