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Samichlaus is brewed only once a year, on Dec. 6, and aged for 10 months before bottling. This somewhat lighter, helles version, bottled in 2007, was apparently made especially for the American market. At 14 percent alcohol by volume, it's one of the strongest beers you'll find right now. But it's dangerously drinkable, with a lovely pale amber color, a toasty malt aroma and an exquisitely concentrated, liqueur-like sweetness that some may find cloying. A beer this big is an ideal candidate for cellaring, and it will be interesting to see how further aging may dry it out and reveal some of the vanilla and spice notes lurking beneath the sugar.
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