Christmas in July: 25 Dodici

Christmas in July Week25 Dodici is another beer I’d featured on last year’s Advent Calendar: a strong Winter Warmer from Birra del Borgo in Italy, which I speculated had not been actually brewed since 2008. I must have been wrong about that, because imagine my surprise when this beer popped up at Whole Foods this past winter! Yes, I snapped one up, because with a description like this, how could you not:

Dark amber with a beige-colored foam. The nose is dominated by fruity notes such as berries, plums and orange as well as spicy notes such as pepper and coriander. Chestnut honey and definite hints of chocolate enrich the aroma. On the palate, 25 Dodici is rich and full bodied. The fruity notes are well balanced with the maltiness.

The beer is 9.5% alcohol by volume, but comes in reasonably-sized 12.7-ounce bottles.

Birra del Borgo 25 DodiciAppearance: Amber-brown with chunks of what looks to be orange peel floating around in it. Slow-building off-white head doesn’t stay long.

Smell: Musty, bitter, a bit of funk and a touch ascetic. A bit of caramel and for all that it’s enticing.

Taste: Bitter and spicy in a bitter orange peel way; for a malt profile I’d call it a brown (if I had a gun to my head) but it’s got a nice sweet backing and a bit of funk. Nutty, maybe. No sense of its alcohol strength. Woody. Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, semi-full-bodied and finishes dry with just a hint of tart.

Overall: I like it, it’s got what I’m coming to think of as the “Italian funk”—similar to a good Belgian in that sense. Nice sipping beer.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores an overall grade of B. On RateBeer, it scores 3.36 out of 5 and is in their 80th overall percentile.