De Molen: Hel en Verdoemenis 666 (Netherlands: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Sud like bubbles around the edge but not really a head.

Nose:  Roasted. Bitter chocolate. Cherry liquore. Combined they seem like Belgium chocolates. Marzipan. Sherry trifle. Chocolate cake. Smooth. Gin spirit air.

Body: Treacle. Chocolate liquore. Cherry liquore. Toffee. Gin undertone. Port.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Cherry liquore. Roasted. Mint touch and gin. Spiced cherry. Rum. Slight hop bitterness. Almonds. Rye bourbon.

Conclusion: Holy hell this is like a Belgium chocolate filled with liquore. No really. Despite being an Imperial Stout the closest thing it reminds me of is the barley wine “Old Numbskull”. There is the same feeling of dragging cherry sweetness over Belgium style bitter chocolate in a luxurious way. Despite being aged with cognac wood chips the finish ends with spiced rum and port like touches, and a dry but flavoursome element that makes it heavier and richer.

The style feels like a black barley wine, with a spiced and sweet element. The Imperial Stout is there, but there is so much spirit like elements added in and sweetness that it doesn’t seem to naturally fit the expectations of that style.  In fact it feels like the inverse of AB08. That was a so called blond Imperial Stout that felt like a barely wine with stout dropped in. This feels like a black barley wine with stout dropped in.

So Belgium chocolate, barley wine, imperial stout. That is pretty high concept. Smooth, you can feel the spirit in it but without any burn. Gin, rum, port or just very strong beer rolling within, the only thing you don’t really get is the aforementioned cognac. It is mighty and delicious. Maybe a touch too heavy in alcohol feel over the smoothness of the liquore texture but not very much so.

If we are going by flavour, Old Numbskull does it better. If we are going by style there are much closer takes on the style. This is very different and vibrant and gives you a lot of spicy and bitter flavor mixing above the Imperial Stout base.  Feels like it should be shared like the spirits that so influence it.  Shared in a late night drink amongst friends. Warning though, this is no nightcap beer. The flavours and spice snap you awake.

Delicious and refined.

Background:  Hell and Damnation, or so this beer’s name translates as, very nice. Aged with 40 year old cognac soaked wood chips this sounded pretty nice. I have been putting off having this one for a while. I have had a ton of stouts and Imperial Stouts recently so have been trying to mix things up a bit. However the stock at Brewdog Bristol has been going pretty fast so I thought Id best grab one while they last.  Had a nice conversation with some people I’d just met at the pub while I was reviewing this which put me in quite the cheery mood.