Lately I have steered away from writing posts about a single beer because, lets face it, there are so many blogs out there which do that better than I. I did have to mention this one though, simply because it was so expensive (expensive at least by my rather fiscally limited standards).

The Little Mermaid - Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid – Copenhagen

A few months ago I saw Roger Protz write this article about Jacobsen (a Carlsberg brand) brewing a one off batch of Mermaid Porter to celebrate the centenary of Carl Jacobsen presenting the city of Copenhagen with a statue of a mermaid. There is a whole history of Carl Jacobsen and Carlsberg and everything which goes with this story, I’m not going into it here. If you want to know more, why not try the internet?

I had mentioned this beer to a few friends while we were all sitting at the club. My mate Darren (who by the way makes excellent cakes for all occasions) was the only one who would stump up the cash to buy a bottle. I say a bottle, buying online, the only way I could find it was on the Carlsberg online shop, where it is sold as a gift pack for €18 containing two bottles, each containing 750 ml of porter. After postage and my bank fee for buying in a foreign currency and all the other charges and crap that comes with buying online it worked out at £19.20 per litre or if you prefer, as I do, £10.89 per pint. At that price I’m hoping it will be exquisite.

For a while the gift box sat in my larder gathering dust while Darren and myself tried to think of a good enough reason to drink it. We can’t just crack it open, it needs to be a special occasion. Well, that was the plan. The other day we surcomed to curiousity.

Bottle #3093

Bottle #3093

We opened bottle number 3093 with care and poured it out, sharing one bottle. It poured the darkest colour. Saying it was jet black would be silly but it was really dark, just the merest hint of dee deep brown. It was very effervescent, producing a mocha coloured head which disappeared quickly. The whole thing looked like pouring a bottle of cola.

Darren's Hand

Darren’s Hand

There wasn’t much of an aroma and the taste was at first a bit overdone. To my mind it was perhaps just too bitter and a bit too carbonated. As the drink went down, these things mellowed out a bit and we got used to it.

It had a leathery taste to it, mixed in with a bitter dark chocolate. In the mouth it was very thick and luscious, especially after the carbonation had died down a bit. It’s aftertaste was dry and slightly bland, although there was a lingering spiciness, the sort of aftertaste you would expect from red wine. We got no sense of the oysters or the samphire that were supposedly put into the mix.

The "Salesman shot" of the whole product. From packaging to glass in one image.

The “Salesman shot” of the whole product. From packaging to glass in one image.

If you had given me half a pint of this at a beer festival I would have said “mmm, yes very good” and that would have been it. At a beer festival it would have been shipped with enough other beer to make the postage more economical. I know the reasons why it is so expensive and I know that it is a good beer, but I can’t quite justify it being quite worth that much. It was said in the blurb that this is a beer which was designed to be aged, and that is what we are going to do. We have both agreed to leave it at least a year or two before we try the other bottle and see what differences there are. Hopefully it will mature into a more rounded drink with more pronounced flavours.

As it stands I can’t in all honesty give Jacobsen Mermaid Porter any more than 3 ½ pints. Hopefully the second bottle, given time, will improve with age.

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Jacobsen Mermaid Porter (Limited Edition 2013) is still available for €18 at http://www.thirstforgreat.com/