Origin: København, Hovedstaden, Denmark
Date: 23 October 2000
Another review from the archive written for the pioneering Oxford Bottled Beer Database (OBBD). I’ve left it uncorrected — so please read it in that historical spirit. Elephant Beer is still brewed, as it has been since 1959, though I haven’t seen it in the UK for years. I suspect the “rotting meat” I smelt was Dimethyl Sulphide (DMS).
Elephant beer is a strong, Bock-type lager named after the beasts depicted on the imposing columns of the Danish giant’s historic Copenhagen brewery. I’m not entirely convinced, however, that this example, purchased at Safeway supermarket in the UK, actually left through those gates, since although it claims to be imported, it also carries the legend ‘brewed and bottled *for* the Carlsberg breweries’.
It has a very intense, sharply herbal hop aroma with a very slightly unpleasant enzymic “rotting meat” note and a distinct whiff of alcohol. The head is only temporary, the colour mid-golden, and it has a full and slightly fruity taste with estery nail-varnish notes and considerable bitterness, almost like a bitter liqueur. The pronounced carbonation gives a creamy texture, and the beer dries rapidly, staying very dry to the mouth-filling herbal hop finish.
An intense beer where sweetness is well-counterbalanced by hoppy dryness but there are some unpleasant, artificial notes in there too, and at this strength it could do with a bit more character.