Feb 18, 2011

Nøgne Ø Red Horizon

Nøgne Ø Red Horizon label

I first spied this canister of Red Horizon at my local shop the day I purchased a bottle of Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I mustered up the will to spend that sort of money again. In the end, I’m glad I ended up splurging — this was a tastier brew than the highly touted stout.

Red Horizon is an intriguing creature. It’s brewed with a sake yeast from Masumi Sake of Nagano, Japan, making this the first beer I’ve had that was made with something other than your traditional beer or champagne yeast. The unique recipe definitely comes out in the end as Red Horizon is a boozy, yet smooth sipping American Strong Ale.


Red Horizon pours a bright, reddish orange with rapidly fading heads. The legs on this beer as you swirl it gently in the glass are impressive.


At 17% ABV, you’d expect a pretty decent bit of alcohol in the nose. And you’re right. It’s there, but not in an over-the-top fashion. The boozy alcohol mixes nicely with a sweet malt base as hints of tropical fruits, tea, yeast and a spicy character all come into play.


Man, the high alcohol content on this beer let’s you know immediately that this isn’t a product you’ll be beer bonging any time soon. Bit malt sweetness, light fruits and spicy alcohol are carried along on a smooth, slick mouthfeel as a latent hop bitterness rises in the lingering, warming finish. The sake yeast imparts a unique presence within the beer that compliments the malt, sweetness and higher ABV nicely. This is a beer to be enjoyed slowly.


As unique as Dark Horizon (3rd edition) was, this take on an American Strong Ale is even more so, and ultimately, the better beer of the two. It was exactly what my wife and I were in the mood for when we sat down after dinner — warming, sweet and flavorful. She enjoyed it so much, I might even be able to convince her to let me get another bottle. We’ll see.

Rating: 4.5/5

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