For our first Classical Beer Review of 2017, team BCS returns with a joint review! To this purpose, we picked a Dutch brew brought all the way to the US so we could review it together: Walhalla Brewing’s Daemon #1 Mephistopheles. Hup Holland Hup!
Walhalla Brewing recently released the first of their Daemon series. They describe it as “[a] series of limited edition dark, strong & evil beers.” A Black Double IPA hitting 9.0% ABV, Mephistopheles indeed meets the first two requirements. But is it evil? We at team BCS think it definitely is, because Daemon #1 is rather deceiving. There are no indications of the hoppiness still to come in the brew’s smell, only sheer malt. Upon drinking, though, unmistakable citrus and grapefruit aroma with a slight hint of pineapple that gets lost in the malt. The mouthfeel is a little thick, but Mephistopheles still finishes dry. The beer is also not as bitter as the 100 IBU suggests, which at least one half of team BCS thinks is a good thing (you guys can guess which half). At the end, there are hints of chocolate and roast. Overall, a devilish delight!
Daemon is the Latinized form of the ancient Greek daimon (plural: daimones). In Greek mythology, daimones were a type of supernatural being or spirit that could influence the fate of individuals for better or worse. Unlike modern demons, therefore, ancient Greek daimones were not necessarily evil. In fact, in Plato’s “Apology,” Socrates talks about having a ‘daimonion’ or ‘daimon,’ a voice that warned him against acting in certain ways. Socrates’ ‘inner demon’ is usually interpreted by modern scholars as something that we would now call ‘self-consciousness.’
Mephistopheles, while seemingly Greek, is a name that does not appear in the ancient Greek tradition. In fact, this demon first makes his appearance in the German legend of Faust, dating back to the 16th century AD. In various versions of the legend, the bored, suicidal scholar Faust calls upon the Devil to give him unlimited knowledge and pleasure. Upon this request, the Devil sends Faust his demon, Mephistopheles, to make a pact: Mephistopheles will serve Faust and give him everything he wants for a certain number of years. In return, the Devil will take Faust’s soul after Mephistopheles’ service expires. Although a servant of the Devil, some scholars believe that Mephistopheles was not as ‘nasty’ as Walhalla Brewing makes him out to be. In fact, he, at first, warns Faust against selling his soul, knowing all too well what serving the Devil actually entails…
Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops & yeast, dryhop simcoe
Brewed: Walhalla Brewing Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands