Tag Archive: 10-13% ABV


Deya: Boxcar: Crocodile King Barley Wine (England: Barley Wine: 11% ABV)

Visual: Hazy peach skin to gold. Moderate yellow white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation to the body. Some streaks of sediment visible from the pour.

Nose: Honey to mead. Golden syrup. Blueberry touch. Light earthy hop prickle. Golden Grahams cereal. Nettles. Light chalk touch. Peach. Cake sponge. Apricot.

Body: Vanilla. Peach syrup. Honey. Hop prickle. Very syrupy. Custard. Apples. Blueberry. Vanilla cake sponge. Thick alcohol tingle. Treacle. A mix of brown and crusty white bread. Apricot. Orange juice.

Finish: Toffee liqueur. Boozy alcohol air. Cake sponge. Licorice touch. Blueberry. Crusty white bread.

Conclusion: This is made with lots of English hops, and for once that doesn’t mean “tastes like soil”. There are flavours I recognise from single English hop beers, but also this shows a lot of influence from flavours I would normally attribute to older school USA hops, but more on that later.

Anyway, with the hop talk pushed to later – this is big! I know, shocking for an 11% abv barley wine, they are notoriously so subtle normally. This is straight up honey and golden syrup style early on into vaguely more restrained vanilla and toffee liqueur mixed with custard as you get into it. It is thick and syrupy from the aroma through to the mid body. It is very sweet but shy of becoming actually sickly. Now, mid body is where the weakest element of the beer hits – a dry, slightly rough alcohol character. In an 11% abv beer some alcohol tells are expected, and in fact sometimes welcome, but this shows itself in a quite raw way that doesn’t really work well.

To look on the bright side this does mean that the later end of the beer expresses the sweet notes in a more dry way which helps ground the beer – but even with this taken into account it isn’t the best element for a beer.

Now if it stopped here it would be a decent, if slightly rough in the middle barley wine.

So, those hops, huh?

There is a low level hop prickle, and a touch of earthiness which may be what came to mind when you heard this was made with English hops, but after that is a layer of blueberry, touches of apple and the like. I don’t know what exactly was used to make this but the blueberry reminds me of what you can get from Bramling Cross when it is used right. Then, there is a layer of apricot and peach hops, stuff that I would normally attribute to USA based hops, from the wealth of those notes that used to exist in mid 2000s USA IPAs. So, since this is made with British hops I’m guessing that it comes from the big malt sweetness interacting with the hops, but however it is made it is a nice note.

The hops add a nice extra touch, not something that dominates, not ignored, just adding some layers to that super sweet malt body.

So, it has some issues handling the alcohol, but has a lot to offer to offset that which I appreciate. A pretty darn nice barley wine that has just a few issues.

Background: Boxcar, Boxcar, Boxcar, I know that brewery name. Why do I know that brewery name? **Searches this site** Ah that Best Bitter they did that was pretty good. I swear sometimes I only do this site as it makes up for my memory being shit. Anyway a Deya Boxcar collaboration – a Barley Wine emphasising English hops. Fair enough, that bitter I mentioned used the hops well while keeping a call to traditional styles. This should be interesting. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went back to teen years for the music – with Republica’s Live At The Astoria album. Still got a soft spot for that band. As is to be expected, teen years tend to leave an impression.

Ingenious: Birthday Three (USA: Imperial Stout: 12.5% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black. The head fizzes up but doesn’t last long. Slightly fizzy in general.

Nose: Chocolate cake. Coffee cake. Walnut. Alcohol tingle. Flat cola. Icing sugar. Lactose. Chocolate liqueur.

Body: Thick. Chocolate cake and chocolate cream. Bitter cocoa. An even thicker twist to the feel in the middle. Sweet licorice. Black cherry. Sticky toffee pudding. Light chalk. Gunpowder tea. Fizzy cola bottles.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Bitter chocolate cake. Chalk like touch. Coconut. Treacle sponge. Flat cola. Cinder toffee.

Conclusion: From the clean feeling aroma and the smooth pour I was expecting this to be a tad light in its texture despite the 12.5% ABV. I have seen quite a few imperial stouts from the USA that feel a lot lighter than the abv would suggest.

Well anyway that was stupid of me. This is sticky as heck, gripping like treacle. Odd as the beer doesn’t leave an obvious dark sheen on the glasss as you swirl it, but despite that it clings to your tongue like its life depends on it.

(Maybe it does? Maybe this beer is alive and it realised beyond the throat is a giant pit of acid. Maybe it was sapient and trying to survive. Unlikely though)

Anyway, this starts very much like the chocolate birthday cake and icing style that it deliberately evokes. However over time this gets stickier and stickier, into first treacle sponge and then sticky toffee pudding like character, all drenched in flat cola notes.

Ok, I know that sounds horrible, but it is actually ok. Not great admittedly, but ok. Still, best part of a tenner buys a lot of better than ok stouts, and this costs best part of a tenner is all I am saying.

Still, early on it is a lovely, chocolate cake tasting, slightly bitter cocoa tasting beer. That cocoa especially really helps it not get sickly early on. However as the beer grows that cocoa just can’t compete and this soon becomes sickly, and I mean really sickly.

So, yes this does manage its aim of Birthday Cake the beer at the start, and ends up sticky toffee pudding the stout. Which may be for some people. Apart from that there are slight chalky and gunpowder tea style notes that seem to be trying to rein in the beer and failing, and some intresting cinder toffee at the end.

Even at its stickiest there is still a slightly drier, more standard cake set of notes underneath, but it doesn’t manage to make that the main expression.

So, it is ok, but too sticky by far. That may be making you think “darn this is for me!” and if so, more power to you, but personally I will not be returning to this one

Background: It is surprisingly hard to find information on this beer online, so I’m going to just go with the information on the Beer Bruvs website where I bought it. A blend of imperial stout aged in Blanton Barrels, and imperial milk stout conditioned on birthday cake, frosting, vanilla beans and possibly dynamite?

I presume that last one is a joke.

I presume.

Anyway odd as hell, but sounded like it could be fun and my last encounter with Ingenious was for a similarly odd sounded beer and that was great, so decided to give it a go. From the name I guess they brewed this for their third anniversary of starting? Again very little information I could find online.

Went with a mix of tracks from Run The Jewels :RTJ2 and RTJ4 while drinking. Gave a nice bit of energy to the session.

Pilot: Barrel Aged Double Mochaccino Stout (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 12.3% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still and opaque. Brown rim of bubbles around the glass and a grey dash over the centre.

Nose: Full bitter coffee to coffee cake with walnuts. Vanilla. Rye whisky undertones. Peppery. Carrot cake. Some low level rum notes. Whisky air.

Body: Smooth. Cherries. Palma violets. Black cherries. Milky chocolate to chocolate liqueur. Very light liquorice. Rum. Fruity whisky notes. Orange jelly sweets. Peppery. Coffee cake.

Finish: Milky chocolate. Milky coffee. Coffee cake. Light liquorice. Apple clean spirity notes. Cocoa. Seville orange. Pear drops.

Conclusion: You know, if they haven’t had stated that this was Speyside whisky barrel aged I would have sworn that it had spent some time in rum wood as it has some light rum spiciness in under there.

Anyway, there is a noticeable alcohol character to this, which is to be expected given the high abv and barrel ageing, but despite that it isn’t a “boozy” feeling drink. Instead it is very smooth, and dangerously easy to drink from that. In a way it is a good thing that it is in a tiny 250 ml bottle at this abv or a could quaff a lot of it, with bad results for my health.

It starts off very cake driven, with coffee cake, carrot cake, a whole cake kind of thing going on giving a very thick and often coffee led aroma. Which is part of what makes that smoothness of body such a surprise.

The body therefore starts smooth and sweet with a lot of cherries and black cherries giving a very fruity front. It is easy drinking and delicious here. As time goes on the rum like spiciness and more rye like spicy character rises to make it a slightly more savoury and complex beast that the fruity burst at the front.

The whisky ageing shows itself more late on as a subtly fruity whisky character that floats in the background. It is a clean, slightly spirity and fruity sheen that clings to everything but never dominates.

So this is a beer with a great start, lovely progress and is smooth as silk but with so much progression.

I would say, if you see it, grab it, but I don’t want more competition for getting hold of the remaining bottles!

Background: I’ve had this a few times and kept meaning to do notes, so finally I have. In a tiny 25 cl bottle, this is taken from four speyside whisky casks that were filed with Double Mochaccino Stout. So pretty much exactly what it says in the name. Grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went with IDLES: Brutalism again as drinking music. Still listening to them a lot, and looking forwards to when I finally get to see them live again.

Seven Islands: Dulce De Banana (Greece: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Dash of a brown head.

Nose: Banana syrup. Caramel. Licorice. Crumpets.

Body: Toffee. Chocolate liqueur. Banana syrup. Honey. Boozy core. Cream. Chocolate cake sponge. Toffee liqueur. Tiramisu.

Finish: Cream. Banana syrup. Chocolate liqueur. Chocolate cake sponge. Toffee liqueur. Sweet danish pastry. Hundreds and thousands. Blended whisky. Alcohol soaked sponge.

Conclusion: Ok, even more so that their PBJ dessert stout, this is a stupidly sweet, syrupy, mess. So, any which way, I couldn’t wait to get my lips around it.

Also the can image looks rude.

By far the banana is the stand out element – it just booms cheap banana syrup character. Probably not something that sounds appealing to most people, but I will admit I am enjoying its silly, sweet character.

Like their similar pastry stout PBJ this shows its alcohol in a boozy, kind of whisky like set of notes. Here it shows as a reasonable, if not special, quality blended whisky kind of style. An obvious alcohol character, but not a bad one – just very noticeably boozy. Again, it hasn’t been whisky aged, so is a very odd set of notes to find.

Apart from that there is a lot of toffee, and spirit soaked tiramisu style in a cream meets toffee meets alcohol meets everything else kind of mash of …. stuff.

I mean, you saw the can, maybe read the ingredients list, you kind of already knew what this offers, what you probably want to know is it actually any good? Well it is a sickly sweet, thick blended whisky touched .. thing. It could probably give sugar shock just by looking at it.

But that doesn’t answer the question does it?

So, erm yeah. Well it is chewy, and yet still fairly smooth – a decent mix for a mouthfeel. The alcohol, though whisky styled is not rough. For something that plays as cheaply sweet as this done, it is as polished as you will get for that kind of dessert beer trip.

So, cheap thrills, but well made for that. I enjoyed it. If you don’t automatically hate the dessert beer style, then you may have fun with it too.

Background: Soo, I had this a while back and did not do notes on it back then. I will admit, 90% of the reason I bought another was to do notes so I could share the can image with you. Back when Indie Spirit first got it in they put up photos of this and Boi Juice side by side. Which just goes to show they know how to sell beers to me. Another of the silly dessert stouts, made to try and duplicate an existing dessert. To try and do that this is made with … deep breath .. oats, lactose, banana, condensed milk, vanilla and chocolate. With all that I am surprised there is still room for the beer in there. Have been playing the Guitar Hero games again recently so went with Slayer: Reign In Blood for music. Incidentally – Fuck Raining Blood in Guitar Hero 3. Fuck it to hell.

Seven Islands: PJB Concoction (Greece: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Caramel brown rim of a head.

Nose: Massive amounts of peanut-butter. Chocolate. Oats. Strawberry. Touch of liquorice.

Body: Strawberry crème to strawberry jam. Thick, milky chocolate to chocolate liqueur. Boozy alcohol. Toffee liqueur. Blended whisky. Peanut butter.

Finish: Liquorice. Danish pastries. Strawberry crème filled bitter black chocolate sweets. Bourbon whiskey. Boozy alcohol. Toffee liqueur. Alcohol air. Bourbon biscuits. Peanut butter.

Conclusion: Holy fuck this really smells of peanut-butter. Also chocolate. It is like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of beers. And yes despite being British I have eaten Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They get everywhere.

There is also definitely the strawberry notes, not as heavy but definitely enough that this Is matching its core conceit well. Now it isn’t 100% on, being sometimes more strawberry crème than strawberry jam. Also you tend to get either the Reese’s chocolate peanut butter, or the strawberry crème filled quality chocolate sweets, rarely both at once, for most of the beer. It is only in the latter half that they really merge together, and truly match the idea of the beer, but that is nit picking.

Now, much as it does get the conceit, it isn’t all good news. The alcohol is very boozy – at its best it is like lower end bourbon, at its worst it has some of the rougher end of blended whisky feel and taste. Not 100% terrible, but it really doesn’t suit the feel of the beer.

Still, as a pastry stout it even has sweet pastry notes. Then again does PBJ have pastry? I always thought it was just peanut butter and jam in a sandwich. Is there a genuine pastry dessert PBJ? Is this I thing I never encountered?

Anyway, as an imperial stout it has some rough edges. As a PBJ beer it is fun despite the roughness. It isn’t going to win awards for brewing or style, but ya know what?

I had a laugh with it.

Background: Pastry/Dessert stouts seem to be getting a lot of shit at the moment. I guess I can kind of see why, the market is flipping flooded with them. It is kind of the NEIPA of stouts. However I kind of dig them, as long as it is an occasional treat. I think they have the advantage that they are easy to spot, unlike NEIPAs where often the first clue you get is when you pour from the can. Anyway, this is a Peanut Butter and Jelly/Jam inspired beer. By which I mean it is made with peanut butter, strawberry, Tahitian vanilla (which a quick google tells me is more fancy than normal vanilla apparently) and chocolate. Soo, yeah can see how they are hoping to get the PBJ flavours then. Seven Islands is a new brewery for me, and it is only when I googled that I found out it is from Greece, and not Canada as I first guessed. Interesting – not had much of an examine of their beer scene before. Anyway, another new beer from Independent Spirit. I went with Gogol Bordello: Trans Continental Hustle for background music while drinking. Anti immigration feeling is rinsing in the UK again, so a burst of punk energy against that was welcome.

Pipeworks: Imperial Cherry Jones Dog (USA: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black and still. Thin grey brown dash of a head.

Nose: Brown sugar. Warming booze. Chocolate smelling alcohol. Walnuts. Cashews. Liquorice. Chocolate cake. Liquorice all sorts.

Body: Black cherry. Toffee yogurt. Liquorice. Walnut cake. Vanilla fudge. Cherry pocked biscuits. Cocoa backing. Glacier cherries touch. Light chalk touch.

Finish: Coffee cake. Walnuts. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Cherry picked biscuits. Cocoa. Vanilla sweetness. Alcohol air.

Conclusion: You know, for an over 10% abv imperial stout stacked with special ingredients, this is fairly restrained. Which as always, I should point out, does mean it would be considered restrained by any normal beers standards, natch, just for one this big.

The special ingredients show differing amounts of influence. There’s a creamy character, but against that a more solid chocolate cake feel and taste. It has a vanilla sweetness matched to the creaminess as one of the bigger elements, but the cherries come out as a subtle character laced throughout – sometimes even coming through more as black cherry.

These all build up over time to an impressive weight of flavour by the end. This is one of the few 10% abv and up beers where the full pint is worthwhile for appreciating the beer, rather than being better suited to a half of even third.

It is slow to build and subtle up front, with a touch of the alcohol noticeable but it is far from boozy. It doesn’t have any one element that pushes it to a classic, but has a lot that works well together – a great cocoa backing, some sweet bursts, subtle cherry and an initially high liquorice that slips out of the way to give the other elements time in the limelight.

By the end are a bit more obvious – more noticeable alcohol, bigger flavour – it isn’t as good in itself, but shows a progression that keeps the beer interesting, which offsets that. It has a good use of the lactose for sweetness and mouthfeel, nice subtle use of the cherry and so much cocoa.

A very complex and solid imperial stout, not a must have but well worth a look.

Background: Pipeworks, a new new brewery on me, but this one sounded fairly epic, so I decided to give it a try. Also, new beers and breweries from the USA are less common than they used to be – for many reasons, one of which I would guess would be the plummeting pound over the years. Anyway, this is made with cherries, cocoa nibs, lactose and vanilla. Of course. Went with Le Tigre’s self titled album for music while drinking. This was another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Kees: Multi Beer: Pohjala: 4 Wheel Drive (Netherlands: Quadrupel: 10.2% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Opaque main body. A grey dash of a head.

Nose: Dry roasted nuts. Malt chocolate drinks. Brown sugar. Figs. Dried banana.

Body: Smooth, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Light cream flavour. Raisins. Plums. Brown bread. Dried banana. Hints of cloves. Malt loaf. Lightly chalky. Light strawberry touch. Milky coffee.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Brown sugar. Yeastie feel. Banoffee. Milky coffee. Malt loaf. Big chocolate late on.

Conclusion: Ohhh myyyy, this is a complex one. Smooth, despite its high abv, with hints of alcohol at its core, but clean, lightly creamy and very smooth of body. It just slips down the throat and there are no rough edges to hide the many subtleties of this beer.

Now the smoothness is a mixed blessing in my mind. Long time readers may remember I kind of like the rough edges of a big Belgian and miss them when they are gone. The big thing that makes the difference here is that it gives you a lot in return for their absence – the level of depth to this beer is amazing and a lot would be lost to those rough edges.

At its base it is all that quad goodness – malt chocolate and brown sugar – just delivered very smooth. Dark fruit come out to play from time to time, though in an odd quirk it leans into a milky coffee set of notes more heavily than expected in an almost porter way. Though it doesn’t dent the quad character.

The coffee notes aren’t the most unusual thing though – there are lots of dried banana notes under that and a touch of cloves that give a hint of a call to a weizenbock within this quad and that is very nice. It manages to mix a very Rochfort inspired quad with subtle touches from other dark beers, while still staying super smooth, all creating an epic experience.

Different that the standard quad experience, but still faithful enough and every change from expectations gives you a range of subtle extra notes that makes for a super rewarding beer.

As long as you are happy with the smoother quad than the usual Belgian take then this is a must have.

Background: Kees have been pretty epic so far, so I Was interested in a big quad from them. Then I hear it is inspired by Rochefort’s epic quad, and my interest increased. Don’t know much about the collaborators, Multi Beer and Pohjala. Multi Beer in particular is hard to google for more info, for obvious reasons. Anyway, been a while since I put on some Praxis, so feeling for some odd jazz funk electronic guitar mix I put Transmutation on for a play. This was another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit‘s online shop. I actually did these notes about a week ago, will try to get actual notes uploaded more often!

Kees: Wander Beyond: Where the Wild Blackberries Grow (Netherlands: Barley Wine: 12.2% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black cherry red that appears almost black. Thin grey brown dash of a head.

Nose: Boozy. Liquorice. Brandy cream. Brambles – blackberries. Burnt brown sugar. Chocolate bourbons and bourbon whiskey.

Body: Boozy. Red cherries. Treacle. Blackberries. Cake sponge. Brown sugar. Brown bread. Earthy bitterness. Liquorice. Burnt caramel.

Finish: Golden syrup. Earthy bitterness. Brown bread. Brambles. Charred bitter notes. Blueberries.

Conclusion: This is a boozy one, and a big, dark barley wine with it. Thankfully not shunning the beer side to show only the fruit. I approve.

Initial impressions on the nose lead with almost Belgian dubbel like character – lots of burnt brown sugar and liquorice – and even well used liquorice at that, which for people who know me will know I consider a rarity. The liquorice is quite present which usually puts me off, but here worked very well as a savoury offset to the big, boozy sweet main work of the beer.

Boozy seems to be a term used many different ways, so just to clarify. For me boozy is when a beer had that thick, full of spirity but viscous alcohol style in the air and body, but generally without much if any burn. In this case the beer hints at alcohol throughout. The alcohol feels present all around the edges, in the dry middle and the general air around the beer, but never feels raw or rough.

A good showing, but thought I would detail as that boozy character can put off some people. Me, I like it – as long as it isn’t rough I like the reminder that I am drinking something heavy and should take my time with it.

So dark and boozy with a distinct dubbel influence. However it shows some more traditional bright barley wine notes with golden syrup and the like. Very sweet notes, but that dry alcohol note helps keep in check. Pretty smooth as well considering the over 12% abv – but still distinctly boozy and needs that earthy character underneath to match with the liquorice savoury character and bring it down a touch.

A very good beer, but some of you may have noticed that I’ve not mentioned the fruit much yet. Don’t worry. The fruit is very present, it is just not as much in the limelight as the beer itself – a beer that I feel deserves respect in itself.

There is a present sweet and lightly tart fruit character – oddly slightly red fruit touched with cherry notes somehow showing around the brambles and blueberry notes. It adds to the beer, becoming a definite fresh presence which mixes with the beer’s dark weight of flavour and gives it a brighter and fresher note that makes it slip down nicely.

It takes a good beer and makes it great, bringing extra notes throughout without compromising the base beer. I love it. Utterly fantastic.

Background: This is not the first time I have had this beer. It, along with Kees 05 Anniversary Stout are beers I kept buying and then drinking before I get around to doing notes on them. I must grab another Anniversary Stout and finally do notes on that. It is gert lush. Anyway a barley wine from Kees, who work well with the big beers, and this one is made with blackberries. You may have already guessed that from the name. Only had one or two beers from Wander Beyond, not made any huge impact on me yet, good or bad, will have to give them another look some time. Went back to Nine Inch Nails new albums while drinking this (Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts). I do miss the vocals, but as atmospheric backing music they are great.

Kees: Caramel Fudge Stout: Pedro Ximenez Edition (Netherlands: Imperial Stout: 11.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thin brown rim instead of a head.

Nose: Creamy caramel. Spicy red berries. Strawberry. Dessert wine. Fudge. Cream chocolate.

Body: Creamy chocolate. Thai seven spice. Spicy rum. Sulphur. Peppery. Fudge. Milky chocolate. Fatty butter.

Finish: Thai spice. Cocoa dust. Bourbon biscuits. Peppery. Brown bread. Fatty butter. Rye crackers.

Conclusions: Wow, I always knew that PX barrels carried some weight to them, but the flavours from it utterly pound over the base beer here.

Now, the base beer still shows itself – creamy and thick with lots of weight to it – but the sweeter caramel notes shown by the aroma seem to be overwhelmed by the time you hit the body and only a little of the fudge shows through. So the name of the beer seems slightly misleading in that it has now become a PX delivery system.

It is slightly sulphurous, dry spice and peppery in a rye kind of way into solidly bitter character. Pretty much the opposite of the base beer, and with surprisingly bitter red wine character hanging throughout. I always thought of PX as a very sweet wine, and sweet in its influence. Here there is very recognisable wine influence but it is more savoury, spicy and sulphury in its influence. Nothing is going as I expected with this beer.

The sweetness tries to swell below, but it is always a second string to this bow, to mix my metaphors. I mean 1) This is still good. But 2) This is nothing like what the name “Caramel Fudge Stout” would make you think. Instead you get what is left of the sweetness used to deliver a slightly bitter, spicy red wine character into heavy spice.

So, very spicy, very intense. I prefer a more subtle spice usage, and barrel ageing, but I am still impressed by it.

People into spicy beers will definitely get more from this than I did, and it is perfect for them.

Background: Don’t think I ever did notes on the standard Caramel Fudge Stout, so jumping right in here with the Pedro Ximenez barrel aged version. Done a lot of the barrel aged beers from Kees and they tend to be impressive for the most part, so was hoping for good things from this. This was just before I went to see IDLES live so put on IDLES: Brutalism to get in the mood. Oh, in related news. Fuck the Tories. Fuck Boris Johnson the fucking piece of shit. Also, this beer was bought from Independent Spirit. Who are nice people.


De Molen: Decadent & Dutch (Netherlands: Barley Wine: 10.1% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown, with red hints at the edge. A thin off white head.

Nose: Treacle. Charring. Liquorice allsorts. Fresh waffles. Toffee. Salted caramel. Smooth chocolate.

Body: Very smooth. Thick mouthfeel. Creamy toffee. Liquorice. Chocolate liqueur. Salted caramel. Pancake.

Finish: Toffee liqueur. Salted caramel. Candyfloss. Liquorice touch. Thick American style pancakes. Sugary honey.

Conclusion: Ok, this manages to be super smooth on the tongue, yet present a decently weighty mouthfeel, while still allowing out a gentle showing of alcohol to warn of the danger of over 10% abv. A hard balance to get right, but done well here.

On things that are not balanced though – this is very sweet. Which admittedly is unsurprising considering the inspiration. Having now had freshly made warm stroopwafels in the Netherlands, I can say that it is not as stupidly sickly sweet as those are though. It is still very sweet.

It is a fairly simple mix of flavours – caramel, toffee, chocolate and thick pancakes. All sweet, all done kind of liqueur style, and all done in a salted variant fashion. That is a big sweet beer.

There is a bit of savoury liquorice in there, though that can tend to a sweeter liquorice allsorts style at times. Not my favourite note in beers in general but the savoury touch it brings is very much needed here.

I love it. Very one style – so concentrating on the sweetness that I cannot have it often, so it cannot be a favourite, but a smooth, sweet beer that just warns of the alcohol and is toffee heavy and makes for a wonderful occasional treat.

It is going to be a Marmite love or hate beer for people – but if you can manage a salted sugar shock assault of a beer then this is as well made as you will get of them. After all that is said, hopefully you will know if it will appeal to you.

I’m a simple soul. I love it.

Background: Stroopwafels! De Molen! Despite being bought up by Swinkels Family Brewers, De Molen seems to be still going strong. Then again looking at the other breweries Swinkels own, they mostly seem to have held up. Which is nice. Anyway, I don’t get to try as many Barely Wines as I would like, Stroopwafels beers always intrigue me, even if they don’t always work out and De Molen are reliably great. So of course I grabbed it. This is made with actual syrup waffles according to the ingredients. And sea salt. A shorter list of odd ingredients than I expected, but definitely an odd one. Bought from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to IDLES – Brutalism. Yes I finally grabbed their first album. Seeing them live soon!

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