Five from Sankt Gallen

Five from Sankt Gallen

As I’ve mentioned before, Sankt Gallen has a bit of a reputation amongst homebrewers for being inconsistent in their beers, so when I was in Shinanoya in June and saw a bunch of Sankt Gallen beers on sale – including limited edition Fathers Day beers – I decided to get them.

Last night I finally opened them – mostly because I wanted to see whether the Amber Ale really does taste like Tokyo Ale. Tokyo Ale is rumoured to be a rebadged Sankt Gallen Amber Ale.

From left to right: Fathers Day limited edition (white label), Brown Porter, Kokutou Sweet Stout, Amber Ale, Fathers Day limited edition (black label).

Starting from the left, the Fathers Day limited edition (white label) was awful – it had a Duvel type yeasty taste which I’m sure shouldn’t be there. Either there is something seriously funky with the yeast going on here or the beer is oxidised. I’ve kept all the beers in the fridge since buying them, so they’ve been stored in perfect condition.

The Brown Porter and Kokutou Sweet Stout were less offensive but I still wouldn’t buy them again.

The Amber Ale was not bad. Definitely different from the Tokyo Ale I tried at Fuji Rock – whether that’s a difference between bottle and kegged beers or a recipe difference, it’s hard to tell though. The Amber Ale was definitely heavier, less crispy, more malty bitter. Update: September 2009 – I’ve since tasted Tokyo Ale in bottles at Kimono Wine Bar and it tastes identical as far as I can tell to Sankt Gallen Amber Ale in bottles.

The star of the five was the Fathers Day limited edition (black label) – a dark stout like beer, it had a lovely complex vanilla like flavour (but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t actually vanilla in it). I could drink a few of those.

So one beer out of five that was excellent, one that was good, two that I wouldn’t give the time of day to, and one that I’d expect to be used as a weapon of torture. If you include my favourite Yokohama XPA that’s 3 good/excellent beers and three not to my taste – I think most breweries would have a similar ratio.

I’m really confused about that white label beer – was it really supposed to taste like that? I wish I had a second bottle that I could keep and take with me on a brewery trip sometime.

Axis of Evil IPA update

I pitched the yeast on Monday – a little high at around 22 degrees, but much better than the 30s I was pitching at before. The high temperatures in Tokyo seem to be challenging the fermentation chamber though, temperature wandering between 19 and 21 rather than a constant 19 degrees. Poor fridge can’t seem to handle the heat. We’ve also had two more earthquakes this week – which makes three big earthquakes since starting this beer.