70 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas, shared with Chris and Andrew.
Pours a dark brown colour. Head is foamy, a bit thin but some impressive lacing. Really lovely sticky sheets. Good.
Smells smokey and savoury. Salty even, with deeply cured ham, really meaty with a touch of cocoa-rich sweetness underneath. Smells enjoyable but not sure it's that phenomenal/complex.
Tastes roasty and boozey. Good smokey character but a raw edge late-mid, that's also where the chilli comes through that doesn't flavour the palate but just provides heat. Heat doesn't really have place here. Some chipotle might be better to intensify the smoke, which is quite downplayed flavour-wise. It's still a good stout; sweet upfront with rich complex booziness midway. Bit sour, weak maybe at the back. But pleasant.
Thick, quite dry and a bit boozey with that dry chilli heat midway. Not that great.
Drinks pretty nicely, with some good flavour. Not that coherently put together, but certainly pleasant.
80 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas, enjoyed one Friday night by myself.
Pours a dark brown, really rather black but some mahogany glints at the edges. Head is quite pale beige, decent when poured but webs out into sparse bubbling around the edge; some nice lacing trails around the edge. Looks standard, not bad.
Smells boozey; maybe a bit old as it's getting a spicy, yeast-extracty character with some woody and peppery notes. Some darker caramelised notes; short of chocolatey roast or smooth, just faintly sweet and dark. Not bad, I'll hold out for the flavour though.
Taste is better; at least it's far more potent so it doesn't have any aged or yeasty character on it. Instead it starts out pretty chocolatey, but bitter, and builds in roastiness towards the back where it's mildly boozey but mostly just a lovely roasty sweetness. It's really not syrupy or anything as there's a really nice robust dark malt base that balances the sweetness really nicely. Finishes a little spicy and has a nice licorice kind of character lingering on the back. That's nothing like I thought; it's really very well constructed and balanced. And probably aged, too; but really smooth as a result.
Yeah just a lick of boozey heat towards the back, but otherwise a really good body and texture. Smooth and rich.
That started slowly but got significantly better as it went along. It's not got a twist to it either, so it's treading a dangerous path. It's just a well made, balanced and tasty stout. It's been a really long time since I've drunk anything from De Molen, and I'd kind of been dismissive of them as just a big-ass stout brewer. But this reminds me of the reason for that reputation - they do them really bloody well.
73 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some work colleagues. Bottling date of December 2016, so it has a bit over a year of age on it.
Pours a pleasant oily black-brown colour, quite light, but with a slickness behind it. Head forms a very pleasant fine crest of pale brown the leaves thin, slippery sheets. Carbonation is fine and swift. Looks good.
Nose is toasted and roasty, definitely more driven towards the dark malt characters than to the barrel notes. It has plenty of coffee, a hint of ash and some grassy tones that do probably partially come from the oak. Nice enough,but about the baseline for what you'd expect from the style.
Taste is also good, with a mixture of creamy sweetness, sharp, aromatic coffee, and a true bitter ash character in the finish. That, at least, it a bit of punch in the mouth—and the bourbon barrel aging hasn't done much to smooth it out. It has complexity and aggression though, and it's quite good to see the lack of compromise. But it's also more challenging than many beers of its ilk.
Feel is slick, with a bit of a bite on the back.
Overall: it's a good beer. It's unapologetic and it has some raw power to it that you have to respect. It's not though one of my favourite imperial stouts. It's too aggressive, too brash, and with too much that's unrestrained. But I like it for all of that.
79 / 100
33cl wax-sealed brown bottle purchased as part of a bulk order at work.
Pours a very thick brown colour, like very dark mud. Head only really forms when coerced, forming a fine, insubstantial film to begin with, and settling out to large-bubbles of honeycombed foam. Carbonation is minimal, but has a fine bead when forced. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is great, but confusing. There's obvious darkness, and some sweet notes like vanilla and milk chocolate—but they're only the base notes, which are overwhelmed by the barrel conditioning. Here, we get smokiness from the whisky, pungent smouldering booze, and unexpected fragrant notes of banana and marzipan. It's a heady, off-kilter and surprising mix. And I really like it.
Taste is probably even better. It has a thin central character of ashy malt and tobacco smoke, which is like a skeleton to hang the rest of the flavours from. Around it, there's aromatic sweetness, giving carob and dark chocolate. Towards the back the Brett makes its presence felt with a kind of mulchy, organic earthiness. It works nicely with the dark characters in the beer—perhaps better than most dark bretted beers—but you still can't help but feel that it's an unwelcome guest. Finish is pleasingly dry, with a lingering bittersweet chocolate note.
Feel is quite thin, but coatingly slick.
Overall, it's an interesting and very complex beer. It has a lot to unpack, so it feels like something of an academic exercise. But like a third-year calculus assignment, I'm not convinced that I want to experience it for pure pleasure.
57 / 100
330ml brown bottle, with a bottling date of December 2015, so about 9 months old.
Pours a pleasantly clear golden colour, with very little carbonation but a small cap of off-white, settling out to some large-bubbled islands through the top of the glass. Lacing forms in thin lines as it goes down. Looks decent enough.
Nose is pretty pleasant. There's a nice bright but sweet citrus character that connects to a very light toffee/boiled sweet note. It makes it seem fresh but comforting. As it warms, there's also a noticeable check of booze, that lends it a slightly green, biting edge. It's nice.
Taste is less well-integrated. There's an emptiness on the front of the palate, which means that it launches prematurely into hop bitterness and big biting booziness. There's a slimmed down toffee malt character around the edges of the palate, but it doesn't have the body or sweetness to provide balance. Despite this, the finish drops away, leaving not even a linger of bitterness. It's very underwhelming.
It's not bad, but... I don't really have a qualifier for that. It's not bad. But it's actually been a long time since I've had a big IPA like this—from a very respected brewer no less—that has ended up so middling, underwhelming and dull.
76 / 100
330ml brown bottle with a bottling date of May 2015, about 15 months old.
Pours a deep amber colour, with a slow-forming but ultimately fairly fine yellow-white head that leaves tiny speckly spots of lace. Body is thick and slick: like a chewy syrup. The carbonation is almost static when tilted, eventually pulling itself off the couch to trundle slowly towards the top of the glass. Looks good.
Nose smells like an old DIPA. The malt has taken over the aroma, with the hops only lingering as a faint point of pine needle. There's a very faint oxidation character lending a little cardboard and crushed concrete, but it's actually much less than a beer of this age would often exhibit. Very faint edge of butteriness as well, but nothing that suggests an actual fault: more likely it's an element from the malt that would usually be covered by hops.
Taste is still pretty good. It's chewy and thick, with malt providing most of the interest, but with enough hop bite and booze to provide a sharp balance towards the back. Rounded malt notes give lots of caramel, which morphs into sticky eucalyptus towards the back, with overtones of tobacco. Finish is very long, with a slight lemon drop character mingling with the residual toffee.
Feel is smooth and slick, while maintaining its weight and chewiness. Perfectly appropriate.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. It's old, but it has developed in the way a good DIPA should. I can imagine that 12 months ago this was hot, sharp and unbalanced. The balance is here now, and it makes for a sippable and enjoyable beer. If the lack of dry hop aroma is what I pay for that, so be it.
77 / 100
330ml brown bottle, bottled in May 2015, so about 15 months old.
Pours a really quite thick amber colour, looking very still and uncarbonated until the turbulence starts to displace some very fine, tiny bubbles, which make their way lethargically to the top of the glass, forming a loose lace of yellow-white bubbles. Tiny specks of lace. Once it has its time, it's pretty impressive-looking.
Nose is pretty stylistically accurate. There's a wortiness to the sweetness, giving it a savoury grain character and almost a barrel-like or slight yeasty funk. Some dark fruit undertones accentuate this, even though it's still all about the malt. It's nice stuff.
Taste is also good, with a firm malt presence on the front laying down a slick, sticky basis for everything else. It's all malt through the centre, but the back picks up a slight metallic brassiness, which actually works pretty well, and provides some balance. As it warms, there are unusual, but not unpleasant aromatics through the front and middle of the palate: giving hints of stonefruit, cherry candy and fairy floss. It's very interesting.
Feel is rich and chewy, which is perfectly appropriate.
Overall, this is a really nice beer. It's brewed with a real recognition of the underlying style, and with an expertise that allows the complexities to come out nicely. I'm really very happy with it.
75 / 100
330ml brown bottle with a bottling date of January 2016, so around 7 months old. Best before is Jan 2018. A saison, dry-hopped with Amarillo and Cascade.
Pours a rather bright yellow-gold colour, with clarity in the first pour due to leaving behind the sediment. Head is fairly substantial, forming a frothy crest of white. Body is fairly light, and the head lacks some stickiness that would cause good lace to form. Looks good though.
Nose is very nice, and fulfills what I was expecting from the dry-hopping. Pleasant bright citrus characters from the hops accentuate the vague tartness from the yeast (or is it the other way around?). The yeast, however, also gives off pleasant aromatics like green peppercorns and grains of paradise. As it warms, there are more organic flavours that come out, turning a little meaty with bodily funk. But these are all trussed up with the American hop aromatics, and the whole thing comes out smelling really great.
Taste is good, but it's a bit tamer than it might have been. There's a lightness to the body, which aids the drinkability, but stops some of the intrinsic complexity from flourishing. This is still here, somewhat truncated. There's a pleasant spicy aromatic layer, giving more crushed pepper and cardamom, while the hops provide a more direct path to bitterness on the back. There is even an odd malt note, which is slightly biscuity and provides an oddly appropriate counterpoint—they mention Munich malt on the label, which could be its source. Overall, it's good.
Overall, though, this is a very nice beer. The aromatics on the nose really elevate it to something else, although the base beer is not an exemplar of a saison. It's very enjoyable overall, and light enough to drink for its refreshment value.
79 / 100
Smoked/Spiced Stout according to the label. 330ml brown bottle, bottled in July 2015. Best before of July 2019, so it has a way to go yet.
Pours a surprisingly light prune-brown colour, only fully deep when it's at the thickest points of the glass. Head is a fine milky cocoa mesh that leaves nice intricate lace. Body is decent, with some fine-bubbled carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose is riproaring and smoky, with a pronounced peaty character atop a rather rich sweetness, that gives the fatty aroma of milk chocolate and vegetable shortening. There's a slight savoury, or meaty character, but this lends itself to interpretation as a grainy, wholesome note. All up, it's very tasty.
The flavour on the palate is also very good. There's a tight, striking smoke on the front, which develops into a richness of roast as some sweetness comes through the centre to support it. It continues to the back, where it picks up some spicy heat; piquant and delightful. It's really well-constructed, and with a lot of interest.
Feel is also smooth: it helps with that sweetness and richness which cements everything together.
Overall, cracking brew. The smoke is intense but purposeful, and it works with the spice very nicely. All up, I'm very happy.
69 / 100
330ml brown bottle. Bottling date of July 2015, stated to last until 2018.
Pours a hazy orange colour, quite thick in the body but with surprisingly coarse-bubbled carbonation. This feeds into the head as well, which is large, but formed of loose bubbles that collapse fairly swiftly. Some mild sheeting lace. Looks decent.
Nose is a little odd, but not unpleasant. There's a smoothness to it, giving aromas of vanilla and even some coconut, above some dry, slightly spicy Belgian yeast notes. There's a leafy sweetness to it, like fruit offcuts perhaps. And there's some oddly rich malt, giving it a broad base that's not typical for a tripel. All up, pretty decent though.
The palate is nicely put together. There's some spice on the front, which develops into a slightly medicinal heat from the booze towards the back. This is well supported though, with smooth sweetness: not the vanilla and coconut suggested on the nose, but a firm, slightly toffeed malt that works with some mild yeast notes to develop a fruitiness. The balance is good, although you can still feel the heat and tingle from the alcohol.
Overall, it's pretty decent. It doesn't reach the upper echelons of the style, but it's a fair crack at it. At the very least it maintains balance and keeps itself drinkable, which can be difficult in a style with this combination of strength and subtlety.
47 / 100
330ml brown bottle with a style of "IPA-ish". Bottling date is 30/04/2015, so it's more than a year old. Best before claims it'll last two years, but I have my doubts. Purchased as part of a bulk order with some folks from work.
Pours a bright golden colour, with good intrinsic clarity to the body, but filled with tiny chunks of floating sediment. These don't haze up the body at all, but stay in suspension in clumps. Head froths up with large, persistent bubbles, causing a rocky, turbulent head. Chunky lace. Looks decent.
Nose definitely smells old. Musty, slightly oxidised characters give a hint of copper and heated aluminium foil. There's some hop character, but it's a kind of musty vegetal character. The good part is the malt, which is firm, savoury, slightly grainy and (just a little) grassy. It provides enough basis, but most of the other characters are past their prime.
Taste survives mostly due to the malt again. Here, it's genuinely pleasantly nutty and rounded, despite a relatively light body. It provides a semi-savoury basis, and the dulled metallic hops are muted as a result. There is some suggestion of their former glory, with a slight bitter orange note towards the back, but there's not really enough of them left.
Overall, don't believe the best before date. I don't know what this was like when it was fresh (although I'd certainly be keen to try it), but this is certainly tasting oxidised and past its prime. Despite the fact this reckons it's got another 10 or so months in it, this is only true if you ignore the style (-ish notwithstanding), or if you're expecting that very aged style. To me, it just tastes geriatric.
78 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a pleasant deep mahogany brown, ruby in the depths. Head forms excessively slowly: looking flat at the start, but with tiny persistent carbonation that promotes a creamy fine head of beige. Lacing forms as tiny leopard spots. Body is full, thick and rich, holding that aforementioned powdery carbonation. Looks a picture.
Nose is big and rich, but with semi-tart Belgian notes of dried or stewed fruits: prunes, dates, currants and cranberries. There's a suggestion of spice as well, perhaps a little cinnamon bark and five-spice. It develops significantly as it warms, as well, allowing vanilla and toffee sweetness to come out more. The cedar is certainly not prominent, but it's possible that it adds to some of those spicy notes, and the resiny note you get from cedar possibly is the source of some of that tartness.
Taste is also very good. Smooth entry, cushioned by a big toffee and melted caramel sweetness. The centre, however, is surprisingly empty—it feels like there's a hole, perhaps only filled by a slight overtone of dark fruit. However, the sweetness has dropped away. The back is quite interesting, and it's here that the cedar comes into play. It's rather spicy, with a linger of menthol-like burn or bitterness. It lengthens the palate, but also adds a slight harshness. However, the longer it warms up, and the more you drink, the less this becomes a problem.
Feel is slick and smooth throughout. It's a really very pleasant aspect.
Overall—it's a suitably fine beer from De Molen, and it lives up to the expectations, its pedigree and the interest its concept engenders. It's a beer to sip and consider. My guess is that like me, you'll find a lot to discover and enjoy in it.
71 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer for me by Sam.
Pours a pleasant dark golden-amber colour, with a very full, persistent and frothy head that looks like overcooked meringue. Body is very light and fluid and the carbonation is minimal. Lacing is superb, forming as intricate manifestations, almost chunky. Looks good.
Nose is excellent. Pleasant bergamot fragrance gives it a very perfume-forward aroma. This lends other notes of musk, fairy-floss and rosewater. There is the suggestion of hops, but only in the sense that the bergamot orange note gives it some of those citrus tones you get with various hop varieties. It's just unusual enough that it seems wrong while fitting nicely within the structures of the style. I really like it.
Taste is much more unusual. Here, the perfume characters become slightly cloying, particularly sweet and overwhelming in a way you don't usually get with hops. Counteracting it is a weird quinine-like bitterness on the back which doesn't meld all that well with the malt and perfume sweetness. It ends up tasting a little bit like the medicinal experience of accidentally getting some cologne on your tongue.
Feel is full and rich. It works well, even though it's part of the reason the perfume characters seem cloying.
Overall: it's not bad, but it feels a bit like an experiment that's interesting without being entirely successful. For a brewery like De Molen though, which tends to be based around having a huge range of different things, that's probably what you want.
71 / 100
Bottle gifted to me by Jez for Christmas. Shared with Steve during brewday, 18 March 2016.
Pours dark brown, clear with fairly lacklustre head, off-white/beige. Yeast floaties throughout. Looks a bit meh generally, especially those yeast chunks which may be my fault more than the beer's. Still.
Smells decent and oaky. Caramel and chocolate notes dominate with a big bourbony vanilla aroma late. Bit of booze, cherry and spearmint. Pleasant; just a hint of tartness that balances a big sweet boozey fragrance.
Taste is sweet; big chocolate and caramel toffee, peanut brittle upfront. Hugely sweet, burnt sugar character that gets deeper, richer with choc notes. Bit of nuttiness late too, with some booze and a mellow oxidised character which works well with the strength. Mild yeasty note but mostly just soft, caramelly sweetness and rich roast. Good tasty porter.
Oozey, goopey stickiness. Not much texture though, could use a bit of cut through.
Nice big porter, well aged and it handles its age with good grace. Like Lawrence Tierney.
84 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, CA.
Pours a definite brown colour, with a head that only forms with some persuasion. When it forms it's a fine but impersistent ring of yellowish-beige, but that's not unexpected from a beer of its strength. It ends up sitting still, dormant and oily in the glass, but pretty good overall.
Nose is deep and strong, with a pronounced oak character conflicted with a noticeable mineral note that leaves it pinging with metallic, almost salty overtones. There's a dusty, peppery tone to it as well, that's really quite pleasant. It does feel likely it's going to be very dry, but for some reason, even before I've tasted it, I know it won't be. That's an interesting conundrum.
Taste is, indeed, much richer and sweeter than the dryness on the nose anticipated. There's a chewy chocolate and plum-pudding sweetness here that gives depth and breadth to the body. Oak is also present, but it just provides an unassuming cap over the richness inherent in the beer itself. Slight booziness is noticeable towards the back—but the fact that this is 10% ABV, and I only notice a "slight" booziness is quality in itself. Finish has a moderated touch of cherry kirsch.
Feel is thick and oily, and very, very slick. It's good stuff.
Overall, yes indeed: this is a very fine beer, and possibly one of the best I've had from De Molen. There's aromatics that you may not get in another beer of this strength, but the aging and conditioning on it helps it maintain that silky richness. I liked it a whole damn lot.
86 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Classic, dull de Molen black-and-white label. I love how iconic and yet how boring these are.
Pours a deep, fine black, turning to weak coffee coloured at the very edges. Head is solid—surprising, given how little it vzzted on opening—a good, decently thick and fine mocha brown. Some spotty lace. Carbonation is persistent and very fine. Looks very good indeed.
Nose is toasty and dark, with a fiery character to it: not quite smoky, but almost sulphury or like match phosphorous. Certainly a sharp, volatile hint of booze to it, but it's really tied nicely to the darkness and the intensity—one of those beers that really uses the extra alcohol content as leverage for flavour. Lovely. It does a bunch of stuff that is rare or special, even in a big RIS.
Taste matches this: big roasty characters, and lovely boozy notes integrated into the body and structure of the beer. Roast, coffee, charred pork belly, minimal, but sticky sweetness on the back. This beer is based on a dark roast character, and it sticks by it beautifully, embellishing it here and there with beautiful accents that make it complex and interesting.
Feel is smooth but a little thin: certainly good enough, but perhaps not pulling its weight as far as the beer goes on the whole.
Overall though, this is very, very good stuff. Complex and rich, tasty and drinkable, and yet laced with slightly unusual characters which make it stand out on its own—that's enough to push this beer from "good" to "superb".
72 / 100
Pours a very dark colour with flashes of red up to the light. Head is pale beige, nice and dense with mocha appearance. Lacing is lovely and sticky. Looks damn nice.
Smells dark and nutty. Lots of cocoa with toffeed pecans, almonds and some fig notes as well. Hint of dark, ominous booze at the back. Nice, but a bit too sweet. For a RIS some more burnt ashy bitterness wouldn't go astray.
Taste is quite dark and roasty, but with a similar nuttiness. Lots of rich cocoa - heavy chocolate with caramel sweetness, pecans, walnuts and almonds. Touch of black tea, cardamom and port booziness on the back, giving a sweetness that is nice, because it's grounded in dark and spicey notes. Blackcurrants, figs and star anise round out the palate. Nice flavours, still maybe a bit sweeter than I'd like and dries up quite a lot late.
Full body but still feels a bit thin because the booze heat is so noticeable.
Nice stout, lots of pleasant sweetness and roastiness. Not mind-blowing but very good.
58 / 100
Excessively carbonated, almost obscenely so, this beer forms a head in the bottle as soon as it's opened. Fortunately, it doesn't gush, but it seems that it's a close thing.
Pours a bright golden-copper colour, slightly hazed from a bit of disturbed yeast sediment, with a huge head, fully four fingers deep, of crackling white bubbles that leave sudsy residue as they collapse their way down under their own aerated anarchy. Way, way too carbonated, but the colour looks good at least.
Nose is extremely hoppy and fresh, giving resinous pine characters mixed with green coconut, pineapple, mild citrus and a medicinal hint of ozone. The released COâ confuses this all and makes it more effervescent and anarchic, but the base aroma is so good it doesn't matter. Lovely blend of hops.
Taste is very mild by comparison, giving only a slight organic bite on the end to signify any hops. Otherwise, rather thin and light, with just a slight wheaty grain character, thin but round. No bitterness. I guess all hops were extremely late additions, it's all aroma, with very little flavour and no alpha release.
Feel is thwarted by the bloating carbonation after a while, and even then, it's a thin basis on which to build a beer.
I've had much better from De Molen. While this has good things going for it, it ends up a relatively insipid beer overall. Drinkable in its way, and it has its place in the extensive De Molen range, but it has a hard job to stand up on its own.
75 / 100
Drunk to toast the nuptials of Prince Willy. And toasted they were.
Pours a pale straw colour with a cloudy haze. Generous snowy head, good retention with a lovely cradle of sticky lace left behind. Pretty damn fine keller.
Smells very sweet, with lots of grainy notes, sweet barley and slight tart wheat, with a very decent cold funk underlying; rubbery and slightly metallic. Slight cakey malt note underlies, to produce a nice balance between the sweet and funky notes. Pleasant.
Taste doesn't have much of that sweetness, it's mostly funkadelic. Lots of that rubber with touches of corn, caramel, a slight buttery flavour and a drying touch of chilled champagne. Nice and dry, mildly metallic overall but with a rich, sweet airy note overlying it. It's complex but refreshing as well. Very drinkable.
Quite dry on the feel, lots of sizzle. Doesn't reach harsh levels though, it's crisp and lagery overall. Good.
Enjoyable drinking beer. I'm a fan.
76 / 100
A Weizenbock collaboration between De Molen and Mikkeller? Sign me up! Purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.
Being a Weizenbock, I swirled the sediment into the glass at the end of the pour, but prior to that it was a rather splendid clear burnished red colour. With the sediment, it turns murky and darker, with light straining to escape from the hazy brown depths. Head is fine but relatively small--stays in a creamy layer on the top as it settles though. Looks good, with or without the yeast.
Smells of barley sugar and lemon sherbet dominate the nose. Very sweet, but sharp with citric characters. Slight dustiness to it, perhaps a touch of oxidation--this one was bottled in 2009, but I'm quite impressed the hop character has stayed so vibrant during that time. (They do say on the bottle that it will keep for 5 years). An odd nose. Almost as though it's an IPA brewed primarily with wheat.
Taste is also good, and fortunately, the bitterness is tempered a little bit to let the slightly acidic wheat characters come through a little more, along with that hint of nutty subdued vegetative bitterness I always associate with Mikkeller. It leaves an odd mixture in the mouth; an unusual but not unpleasant one. It makes me wonder if I felt this way the first time I tasted a nicely balanced IPA.
Feel is very smooth, with the extra body and booze, and probably the wheat lending a slick richness to the palate.
Yep. This was a good brew, and an interesting one. A hybrid Mikkeller/De Molen beer had a good chance of being wildly experimental--we would have forgiven that, and probably embraced it, but I'm pleased nonetheless that this is such a smooth a drinkable drop instead.
71 / 100
Purchased from the Adelaide Bier Shop. Listed under this name on the De Molen website; my bottle just says "Pilz", but it's certainly the Kellerbier of the description on the website.
Pours a cloudy, bright yellow colour, with a large-bubbled and frothy head of white, that leaves soapy suds down the side of the glass as it froths itself out. Some sediment from the pour. Colour and body look nice, and the unfiltered turbidity makes for a pleasant looking beer.
Nose is crisp and slightly buttery, giving mild, slightly fruity hop aromas and a twinge of keller-like phenols. The fruitiness really doesn't suit it, and the buttery sweetness is too much. Only when you breathe very deeply do you get the sharper, leafy hop characters I expect in a pilsener, or especially a keller.
Taste is a little better, perhaps because here the grain notes take prominence. The crisp German grain characters give a dryness to the palate which is pleasant and suitable for the genre, while a light peppery bite on the back adds more stylstic credence. Still only wavering hints of those classic unfiltered keller phenols you get in the best examples. Feel is smooth, but with bubbling and reasonably aggressive carbonation.
A good beer, but not an outstanding one. A diminutive example of the genre compared with some others, and probably below the standard of De Molen generally.
72 / 100
Pours a very dark brown; just a glimmer of colour through an otherwise black body. Head is beige and quite foamy. Soft and sinky on the top, sparse bubbles around the side. Thick, and retaining beautifully. If lace were a touch stickier it would be perfect.
Smells quite roasty. Lots of slightly sour espresso notes, with a generous dash of soy sauce giving a slight salty edge. Mild spice to it with licorice and some chocolate sweetness hanging at the back. Decent, but I'd like it to head either in the more roasty or the sweeter direction; the saltiness ultimately wins out.
Taste is quite a decent duck indeed. Roasty from the get-go, with spicy roasted malt giving licorice, espresso coffee and slight charcoal flavour. Mellows to a quite sweet mid-palate with caramel and a touch of raisin, then spice immediately takes over for the finish, with a dollop of alcohol heat, some darker notes of cocoa and coffee, and a slight floral hint at the end giving a very pleasant, clean finish to a potent palate.
Good body, bit rough around the edges though where the alcomohol hits.
Drinkable? Yeah, as a sipper. That clean finish is a winner, and there's not too much going on to put you off throughout the palate.
80 / 100
Cheers to @LaitueGonflable for the beer. Cracked open with him after a day of terribly hard work.
Pours with an immense and almost comically voluminous head, so much so that I almost can't fit one 330ml bottle into two glasses. Body is thick and black-brown, heavily opaque. Head is light brown, and although it's amazingly frothy to begin with, it collapses leaving clumps of lace and a pillowed centre. Looks very good.
Ooh, nose is delicious with dark roastiness and slight aged dark characters, giving off very slight vinous characters of oak. Slight seltzer acidity to it, as though it's bubbling off all its carbon dioxide. Sweet boozy notes to it as well, giving some lovely port and bourbon characters. Lovely. Not as strong as some other examples, but nicely constructed.
Taste is very nice in the flavour department, but the feel is really quite surprisingly thin, leaving the palate open to a real sting from booze. In terms of flavour, the palate is dominated by a strong vinous, slightly astringent heat that gives off oaky spirits and liqueur filled chocolates. On the back, we get more of a grainy black note, which releases a nutty character and a very pleasantly smooth finish. Despite the heat, the beer has rounded you up and cuddles you back to sensibility.
Surprisingly drinkable for its profile, ABV and strength. A bold but well made Imperial Stout, that ticks many of the boxes for an exemplar of the style.
59 / 100
Pours a deeply burnished amber colour. Head is very disappointing, can hardly even call it a 'film' - more a ring, of small bubbles. Lace also non-existent. Body is very cloudy, which is the only indicator this is a beer made with, like, ingredients. Looks like it was just too heavy to handle.
Smell is quite funkadelic. Massive weirdness coming off that with a huge rubbery aroma, like massive. Corporeal edge to it as well, like sweaty socks. Lots of spice as well though - tobacco and nutmeg and even sumac. Yeah, chilli as well, plus cinnamon. Fascinating and complex, points for that. But you know, weird, as well.
Taste is very sweet and heavy. Lots of caramel and vanilla malt flavours on the front and the flavour continues onto the finish. Large tart flavour comes through midway, a hint of rubber on it but largely fruity with concentrated berry notes, some cumquat and brandy booziness on the back. A hint of cinnamon and more sumac definitely on the finish, works well with that booziness to create a rich, full palate. Fruity and heavy, really. An interesting drop, but I'd reach for other beers before this one. I feel like I could get most of the same flavours from a liqueur.
Extremely syrupy mouthfeel, with the kiss of alcohol-related death on the back. Could definitely use more texture as it just seems thick and soupy. Carbonation would help here as well.
Yeah, a very heavy drop, but it is quite pleasant for the most part. A good sipper - could see it being served as an after-dinner beer.
Pours a hazed but bright orange-red, almost brown, with absolutely no head whatsoever. It doesn't even fizz as I uncap it. It looks still and heavy and dormant in the glass. Looks very heavy, however; full and thick in the body, with some very small suspended sediment flecks that somehow escaped my ostensibly careful pour. Very interesting, at least.
Nose is big, portly and boozy. Big, rich and sweet, slightly spiritous aromas, that don't particularly rip at my nostrils with their intensity, but which certainly suggest big flavours to come. Lots of brown sugar syrup, dusted coconut ice, and sweet pastry. It's all very round and rich.
Taste is extremely sweet, almost to the extremities of decency. Huge sugary sweetness of roasted toffee, strawberry tart, and straight down the line candy. There's nothing else to it, except the mild acidity through the centre which just evokes different types of lightly fruity and massively heavy sweetness. Feel is smooth and thick as anything.
No, this is too much, as far as I'm concerned. This is a beer that has gone way too far one way and has become unbalanced and difficult to drink. Maybe you're not meant to drink it - maybe you're meant to pour it over ice cream as some sort of sickly delicious sugar syrup, but as a beer, even to sip, it's beyond redemption.
71 / 100
Pours a murky bronze-orange colour. Head is modest but retaining very well; nice tightly-packed bubbles on top and some pretty special, sticky lace around. Fair haze in the body and a steady bead that's invisible except when tilted. Pretty good.
Smell is odd, quite smokey. Lots of charred meat and wood character with a slight brandy snap sweetness at the back. Slightly sour overall and frankly a bit weak. Could use more aroma, or more complexity to it. But nice for what's there.
Taste is quite roasty actually. A large caramel malt flavour on the front then develops into strong smokiness, with hints of bacon and wood smoke, some pine bark flavour on there. Mid-palate gets quite dark and roasty and that's what you're left with at the end. Some espresso notes and maybe a slight licorice spice with a slight bite of alcohol at the end. Really quite pleasant - the curious flavour of a smoked beer, but subtly melded into an enjoyable dark beer palate.
Fair body but feels slightly lighter than I would want. Leaves smooth, though.
Yeah, quite an enjoyable beer. Curious flavours done well, finely crafted into a pleasant beer.
80 / 100
Pours a deep true brown colour with a few accidental floaties of sediment. Looks pretty damn heavy and opaque. Head is full and frothy and extremely rocky, a big beige bubble of lace-giving divinity. Looks very rich and robust.
Odd smoked notes on the nose -- certainly smoked characters in general, but it's a green smokiness, with big rippling vegetation characters mingled with the smokiness. Smells like a wood fire in the heart of the jungle. Pretty nice.
Certain smokiness on the front of the palate, which fluctuates in and out of view for a while as a roasted, chocolate malt note dives into the mix. At the very end of the palate, when the sweetness dies away, you're left with the crackling embers of pure smokiness, which dances on the tongue with its dry, parched finish. Really unique and lovely.
This is a really damn good smoked beer. Probably one of my favourites. It has this lovely sweetness to connect everything, but the delicate smokiness takes the lead. Really interesting and very drinkable.
62 / 100
Pours a murky cola hue with very frothy, foamy head that looks like whipped egg-whites, bubbly around the sides and some fairly fierce bead up the glass. Lace is not very existent. Pretty damn special though, in the good sense.
Nose is quite smokey - a lot of carbon character with a meaty, plummy robustness to it. Quite roasty with a slight musty note as well. Hints of chocolate and sultanas hiding at the back, pretty nice.
Taste is quite meaty as well, fairly sour for the most part with a dark, robust, smokey flavour, hint of peat smoke and some barbecue sauce on it as well. Yeah, quite strongly flavoured, plum and espresso joining the mix on the mid. Trying to enjoy it, but the flavours really are quite challenging; a lot of sour roasty notes producing some really organic overtones that seem almost rotting at times. Decent structure, just takes some getting used to.
Quite tingly on the feel, not thick enough to absorb the carbonation. Lots of texture, I think too much actually.
Enjoyable enough beer, but very strongly flavoured. I've had far more alcoholic beers that are easier to handle and quaff than this boldness. I don't hate it, but I couldn't drink a whole lot of it.
Very, very dark brown, with a slightly ruby-hued tinge to it when held to the light. Good clarity is evident. Head is a huge billowy puff of light brown candy floss, which leaves globs of foamy lacing as it collapses. Looks pretty impressive.
Big roasted, slightly tart chocolate characters on the nose, with a decent whiff of slightly acerbic booze. It has slightly too much vinous acidity to it, I'd prefer a lot more roasted and chocolate. But it's still pretty tasty.
Thin palate, with a definite hint of acidity, possibly cherries, something kirschy and slightly crisp. Mostly filled out with lots of roasted grain and a bit of dark boozy notes. There's something too thin to it though, and again that tartness is very odd.
Not quite sure what to make of this. It's not a big, roasty beer, and it definitely has some funky characters to it that seem a little off. Certainly not one of my favourite dark ales, but it's interesting enough to look at.
75 / 100
Pours a pleasant black, slight brown colour. Head is pretty special, beige colour with beautiful small bubbles and wonderful retention. Lace is disappointing but noticeable. Yeah, nice dark ale.
Smell is very smokey! Huge smoke with charred meat, lots of roasty aroma with bacon notes and some espresso as well. Yeah, very savoury, salty really. Pretty decent, but yeah, it's a curious one for sure.
Taste is interesting as well. Very roasty, but without that meaty note. Lots of char character, very burnt and bitter. Nicely so. Lots of dark chocolate with some licorice notes, toffee and black pepper coming through on the back. Hints of meat suggest themselves late, and some nice rich, sweet characters. Pleasantly spicy and roasty for the most part.
Pretty sticky on the feel, thick but definitely suits the rich flavour.
Quite an enjoyable and drinkable dark beer. Not exactly quaffable but excellent for a sip.
79 / 100
Pours a really pleasant opaque black, with a frothy pancake-bubbled light brown. Good lacing. Head is surprisingly thick and robust. Very pleasant looking.
Nose is incredibly dark and roasted - it almost slides towards a smokiness. Quite sweet for all the darkness. Indeed, there's some real classic and abysmally black stout characters to it. Extremely powerful. Lovely.
Taste is very black and roasted. Very pleasant deep roasted stout characters. It's black, dark and roasted to the extreme. Alcohol comes forward on the back, but the mouthfeel is extremely smooth and slick, which really gives a soothing effect. This is a really lovely brew. Dark, devilish and delicious.
This is a very good RIS - extremely dark and roasted and extremely robust. It ticks all the boxes for me stylistically - this is a really good beer.