Tag Archive: Netherlands


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!

Oersoep: Madame Funky 2018 (Netherlands: Sour Ale: 7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy peach skin colour. Thin white rim of a head. Some small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Tart. Cider. Soft peach. Wet oak. Peach Melba yogurt. Lemon squirt.

Body: Soft peach. Tart apples. Cider and perry notes. Acidic to slight vinegar. Charred touch. Some yeast funk. Vanilla.

Finish: Acidic apples. Vanilla. Slight sulphur. Slight charred oak. Sour grapes. Yeast funk. Puff crisps. Peach syrup.

Conclusion: This is a tasty mix of a fresher, tart lambic style sour with gentle peach sweetness, with neither getting lost in the mix. That ain’t an easy balance to pull off.

Initially it is pretty cider and tart apple led, tart, with even a slight vinegar like touch at times. ( though don’t worry it is generally smoother than that, this isn’t a Rodenbach Grand Cru harsh tart and sour notes bomb) The peach notes are there at this point but subtle. Time lets the peach build up, getting a just slightly more syrupy touch against the dry main body, along with a hint of vanilla sweetness that soothes everything nicely.

So a sour, very gueuze like thing, using an odd fruit in a way that balances the tartness, yet also accentuates the contrast which means all the positive elements stand out so much better while hiding the usual negative qualities that can come from a sour.

As time goes on even more a slight yeast funk is added to the previously dry and clean sour. Oddly for a beer called “Madame Funky” that element is fairly restrained and only really prevalent in the end third of the beer. That element brings out a slight puff crisp (sans cheese dust coating) kind of fluffy feel, adding a bit more thickness to the mouthfeel and more grip for the flavour.

This is really good, smooth and dry for the main part, with hints of harsher and more solid notes. Well used but not dominating fruit that brings the sweeter notes when needed.

Highly recommended.

Background: Ok, another new brewery on me – Oersoep are one I had not heard of before, but this intriguing little sour ale caught my eye. Made with white peach – which is another thing I had not heard of before. White peaches. So many new things I am learning today. Anyway, a new brewery, a new sour made with a new fruit. Lots of new experiences to try so of course I grabbed it from Independent Spirit. Went with B.Dolan, Kill the Wolf for music while drinking. Feeling a lot of the more politically active tunes recently for some reason. I wonder why…

Kompaan: No 45 Vrij Buiter (Netherlands: Porter: 7.1% ABV)

Visual: Very dark red to black. Thin browned head that leaves suds.

Nose: Creamy. Roasted. Liquorice. Coffee.

Body: Creamy. Liquorice. Creamy chocolate to bitter chocolate cake. Smooth. Brown bread. Black cherry delivered slightly tart.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Liquorice. Creamy chocolate. Bitter chocolate. Slight black cherry. Sarsaparilla. Pepper. Peanut butter.

Conclusion: This is a pretty smooth porter, but still with a bit of a bite. The smoothness is shown from the start, with an initial aroma that is smooth but simple. The oddest tell of more to come is a decent amount of liquorice that manages to show itself here. For some reason liquorice seems to be a popular thing in the Netherlands, with even liquorice ice cream, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

The body follows through but with more complexity. The liquorice is heavy, backed by bitter cocoa and this is the main two strings that play throughout the beer – bitter cocoa, savoury liquorice. There are some rounding notes, most notably a creamy smoothness that helps deliver the whole thing in a manageable package, but also a light tart black cherry note that refreshes just slightly. After a discussion, my friend Emerald suggested that sarsaparilla notes were there as well, and I just had to steal that as it perfectly describes the slightly spicy soft drink feel that comes out in the finish.

So a few notes. First, you need to like liquorice to like this as it is very liquorice heavy. Second, it can get a tad wearing at the end of the beer as the smoothness gives way to more of the spicy notes. However, generally this is smooth, very smooth and with good depth of flavour. A lot of the notes are those Marmite like love it or hate it notes but they are very solidly delivered.

So, with that said, look at the notes, if the flavours sound good to you then this is smooth, creamy and well brewed around those notes. If not, ah well, look elsewhere.

Background: Second, and unfortunately last of the tasting notes from my Netherlands trip. It wasn’t really a beery trip but I had to get at least a few in. This was from when, walking through the high street, I spotted a wall of beers inside a shop so stuck my head in. This is a local beer from The Hague, where I was at the time, so decided to grab it and give it a go. It is listed as a double porter, which confused me as the abv didn’t seem in that range – a quick google seems to indicate it intended as a dubbel/porter mix, which is interesting. Again it was very warm while doing the notes, but not as bad as before.

Two Chef’s: Tropical Ralphie Weizen (Netherlands: Hefeweizen: 5% ABV)

Visual: Lightly hazy clear lemon juice. Massive white mounded head.

Nose: Passion fruit. Wheat. Light hops. Apricot skin. Cane sugar dusting. White grapes. Dry lemon.

Body: Pineapple. Vanilla. Dry lemon. Grapes. Wheaty. Slight dry liquorice.

Finish: Moderate hop character and light bitterness. Vanilla. Pineapple. Slight dry liquorice. Light tart grapes. Flour.

Conclusion: This is listed as a weizen, but I have to say it doesn’t have much of the banana, cloves or wheaty notes I often associate with the traditional takes on that style. Instead this feels like a traditional Belgian wit that has been punched up with a touch of tropical hop usage.

It isn’t the sweeter more Hoegaarden like take on a wit, and as mentioned it isn’t much like the German take on a weizen, instead it feels closer to a drier more traditional Belgian wit, with that familiar dry lemon character. It has a slight vanilla sweetness, but is well attenuated and generally not too heavy.

Over that dry lemon base is a dash of brighter hops – tart pineapple and a touch of grapes that brings it in line with a more craft beer take on the style. It is refreshing in a way that is perfect for the heat right now – though with a slight flour thickness that works against that. There is similarly a hop feel that gives slight fluffiness, but low hop bitterness. Generally it is a trade off, the extra grip makes it less easy to drink but gives some weight of flavour.

On the downside, there are some slight off notes, that being a dry liquorice touch. Not a heavy note, just a subtle dry savoury note that doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the beer. Similarly that slight flour feel I mentioned can get a bit sticky by the end.

So, decent dry base, nice hop use, a few off notes that don’t quite work, but a decent wit beer that tries to be a weizen.

Background: I was over in the Netherlands recently, only a short trip and didn’t do many notes while I was out there, but it would have been rude of me to not do any at all. So here we go, first notes of two. Not much backstory to this one – saw it in a supermarket, like the bottle imagery – looked a bit Guile from Street Fighter 2 which was nice. I like a good weizen. You may have noticed despite me saying it reminds me of a Belgian Wit in a lot of ways I have listed this as a hefeweizen. In general I go with the brewers description – unless it is seriously and obviously wrong – they listed this as a weizen so I listed it as such. It was stupidly hot in the Netherlands, with up to 40 degrees at times, so I kept this as chilled as I could before drinking.

Kievit: Zundert 10 (Netherlands: Quadrupel: 10% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown with an inch of crisp and mounded browned head that leaves a rim around the glass.

Nose: Raisins and fruitcake. Cinnamon sticks. Brown bread. Liquorice touch. Vinous notes. Touch of strawberry.

Body: Fizzy, sherbety feel. Fruitcake. Bitter almonds. Brown bread. Earthy backing. Vinous undertones. Port soaked raisins. Glacier cherries. Turmeric. Tart grapes. Chocolate dust. Liquorice. Dry toffee. Caramel late on.

Finish: Earthy. Cinnamon. Brown bread. Dried sultanas. Chocolate dust. Dates and figs.

Conclusion: Hmm, chewy and yet sherbety up front. Yep we are in heavy duty quad time again!

Let’s break from tradition and start by examining it mid body for once. As indicated it is sherbety and fizzy on first sip before settling down into a mix of sweet caramel and toffee malt body, an earthy rustic spice weighing heavily over that and deep vinous and dark fruit notes washing around underneath. So, as you may have guessed it has got that quad style down pat for its base.

This definitely leans into the rougher edged Belgian take on the quad rather than the super smooth USA abbey style. It uses it to emphasise darker savoury and liquorice notes – along with giving the earthy spice notes much more roam than is usual for the style. So while it definitely has the base style down pat, it isn’t afraid to push its own take. It moves away from over heavy sweetness , and even to a degree away from the more evident vinous notes to make the core of it the more heavy, earthy notes.

It is a good beer, leaning sweet and vinous in the aroma, spicier and earthier in the finish. Main body it feels like a heavy quad that has been filled with mulled wine spices and let loose into the world. It get sweeter over time, with a few caramel notes coming out, but the contrasting spice rises similarly.

It is recognisable as being fairly close to the Belgian take on a quad, but has its own style. A good heavy duty, earthy, spicy, grounded quad. I am impressed. Must try their Tripel if I get the chance,

Background: Kievit, the other Netherlands Trappist brewery! Yep, got my hands on it. After so many years with only 7 Trappist breweries, of which I had tried the vast majority of their awesome output, the nigh doubling to 12 (or actual doubling to 14 if we include the two that have not got the Authentic Trappist Produce Label) recognised breweries means I have to put more leg work in to see if these newcomers can live up to the high quality of their predecessors. Go on tell me there have been more since and make me cry. I did a quick google, but not an in depth check to make sure things haven’t changed since I last looked. Anyway, found at Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Iron Maiden’s more prog influenced album – The Final Frontier. Pretty cool, not their best, but different enough that it makes them sound fresh again.

De Molen: Бакунин: терпение и труд (Patience & Labour) (Netherlands: Barley Wine: 10.6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy dried apricot with a cloudy centre. Thin off white head.

Nose: Buttery shortbread. Cake sponge. Dry sultanas. Oily, peppery hop character. Sake. Bready. Dried apricot.

Body: Dried apricot to standard apricot. Golden syrup. Peppery hop oils. Dry cake sponge. Sake. Cherry pocked biscuits. Oily bitterness. Vanilla.

Finish: Peppery hop oils. Dry sultanas. Dry cake sponge. Oily bitterness. Nutty oily character. Oak.

Conclusion: This is a oily, peppery barley wine. Not what I expected considering that part of this beer’s gimmick is it being made with apricots. Now the fruit is there, but in a dry, relatively restrained fashion. The sultana and apricot character are dry, clinging on through a similarly dry, and highly attenuated base. There is very little residual sugar for such a high abv beer.

There’s subtle vanilla woven through the beer, a fragile lace mesh of flavour, easily permeable by the dry oily base, oily peppery character and dry fruit. It only puts up the impression of a fight against the heavier flavours but that is enough to keep the drier character manageable.

It gives a subtle nutty backing over time, again a dry character but with hints of sweeter nut notes. Overall the beer is a heavy, slow drinker. The peppery, dry character last far beyond the end of the last sip in a long lasting finish. It is never unwelcome, but it does last beyond what I would call its best moments.

It is more dry than my preferred barley wine style, but I can appreciate its more savoury styling with only slight sweetness for a more peppery and restrained barley wine than usual.

Not the best, but a very well made and a tad different barley wine. A very polished beer that isn’t 100% aimed at me, but I can still appreciate.

Background: For people wondering, apparently the romanisation of the brewer Бакунин is Bakunin. Had to do a bit of searching for the right characters for терпение и труд as well – I was nearly ready to just give up and put the English in there. Бакунин is a Russian based brewery I have not encountered before – De Molen is an old favourite of mine, simple labels but utterly solid in the quality they turn out. This one, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit, is a barley wine made with dried apricot and raisins. De Molen seem to be generally spot on with barley wines, which I currently have a bit of a hankering for, so was looking forwards to this. Had grabbed Crossfaith – Ex_Machina recently so I put that on and it as banging mix of Prodigy like electronics and metal as you would expect from them. Great tunes.

De Molen: Het Uiltje: Light The Darkness (Netherlands: Imperial Stout: 19.3% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Very viscous pour. Thin brown rim of a head.

Nose: Chocolate liqueur. Thick fudge. Boozy vanilla. Bourbon and rye mix. Buttered crumpets. Burnt marshmallow. Cocoa dust. Light smoke and moss. Treacle.

Body: Thick. Oily chocolate. Vanilla toffee. Chocolate liqueur. Mild choc limes and choco strawberry. Heather. Slight alcohol air. Crumpets. Salt.

Finish: Chocolate cake and chocolate liqueur. Alcohol air. Hazelnut chocolate. Coffee cake. Cocoa dust. Brown bread. Salt.

Conclusion: This is stupidly smooth for an over 19% ABV beer. I mean, it has alcohol weight – there is no way to completely hide it, but it feels at most a kind of 10% ABV warm, boozy, tingling kind of thing – but not rough in any way. Considering it has been ice fortified that is even more impressive, that method is one that tends to bring out the harsher alcohol edges in my experience.

It is thick, oily, chocolate liqueur like with soft choc-fruit notes underneath like choc lime and choc strawberry. Though I will admit those notes could be just weird mental images coming out from impressions of the higher alcohol.

As you might expect of a thick Imperial Stout like this, the oak influence is huge. Lots of vanilla toffee from the oak, extra oily, slightly fruity notes from the Speyside whisky, there are even heavier notes that feel like Islay influence, even if there is no actual Islay ageing to attribute that to. Those last set of notes could be the high abv, showing themselves as slight medicinal and salt notes rather than harsh evident booze.

It’s basically the big barrel aged stout pushed about as thick and heavy as it can get without sacrificing itself to the alcohol. It isn’t a revolution of a beer, but it is big, fun and well made. Lots of chocolate, a solid bready to crumpet core to give a chewy weight, odd subtle notes and crammed to the gills with barrel ageing influence.

I’m loving it – boozy but not harsh. The boozy character may still put off some, but if you are up for the idea of an ice fortified beer, then you should already expect the booze. This is polished, smooth complex and rich – all good by me.

Background: Ok, I mainly grabbed this as I feel it may be sued into oblivion if they ever try to do another batch. Star wars themed images, name and box. Disney are not known for being understanding. Apart from that this also looked like a decent beer – an ice fortified Imperial Stout aged in Speyside whisky casks with American oak chips. Nice. Also a collab between two awesome Netherlands based breweries, so I had confidence it would not just be some harsh high booze waste. I’ve seen this listed as an Eisbock online a lot – which is odd, as to my knowledge an Eisbock is an ice fortified dopplebock, while the base of this is an Imperial Stout. I could be wrong and the term has expended to be any ice fortified beer, but for now I am listing it as an Imperial Stout. This is one bought at Independent Spirit, I drank it after getting back from watching Captain Marvel – it seemed appropriate. Great fun film – especially for a 90s kid like me. Gogol Bordello came up on random on my music player, so shoved some of them on while drinking. For what I hope are understandable reasons, I was a tad drunk while doing notes on this – I’ve tried to make them somewhat readable here but I had less to work with than usual. Hope they are ok.

De Molen: Hair Of The Dog: Binkie Claws: Almond Bourbon Barrel Aged (Netherlands: Barley Wine: 11.2% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Opaque. Thin caramel dash of a head.

Nose: Bakewell slices. Cherry liqueur. Marzipan and almonds. Raisins and Christmas cake. Cherry bakewell pies. Fig rolls. Vanilla and caramel.

Body: Plums. Creamy and smooth. Vanilla. Peppermint cream. Marzipan. Fig rolls. Almonds.

Finish: Almond liqueur. Toffee Liqueur. Liquorice touch. Blueberry. Charring. Mild coffee. Almonds. Raisins.

Conclusion: This is such a smooth beer, creamy, using the high abv but not beholden to it-and the aroma, oh my! Like many a barrel aged big beer, the aroma that leads into this is just so rich, complex and amazing. It is like mashed up desserts, almond liqueur and dark fruit.

Also, this seems significantly different to the also soooooo good Woodford reserve barrel aged version. While they share the same base notes, the cherry notes here come through even more dessert like and the almond character seems to add both savoury low notes and marzipan like high notes. Oh also, for people confused, yes this is a different beer – I’m not just doing notes on the same one twice (this time…) because I enjoy it that much. Darn similar looking labels.

Anyway, the aroma opens up like cherry bakewells meets marzipan meets a dark fruit barley wine. It is immense. The body behind that is more subtle – still using the dark fruit notes but with a bitter almond character behind it, which then leads into a charred but still dark fruit and savoury almond filled finish.

For the first half of the beer it is freaking amazing – mixing bourbon sweetness, dark fruit backing and sweet marzipan notes – it shows all the barrel ageing and still the smoothed out barley wine comes out to match it.

Over time the almond becomes more prevalent, pushing out that awesome balance between the styles. It is still bloody good – a very marzipan heavy barley wine – but for the first third of the beer this was on the knife edge of perfection for use of barrel ageing.

So, about a third of a beer of nigh perfection, two thirds strongly almond influenced barley wine that is still good. Not perfect, does not have quite as many notes as the aroma promises, still grab it.

Background: Ok, so I adored the Woodford Reserve aged version of this beer. I adore Hair of The Dog beers. This is a collaboration between them and De Molen, this time aged in Almond liqueur bourbon barrels. Seriously I was going to buy this. In fact I also have a second bottle ageing to see what happens to it. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. I was fairly certain I ws going to like this, so put on some IDLES while drinking. Freaking love IDLES new album – so intense yet so emotionally open. So good.

Het Uiltje: Wingman (Netherlands: Witbier: 6% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark lemon juice. Thin white head.

Nose: Lemon juice. Fresh watermelon. Paprika dusting. Fresh dough. Fresh strawberry. Thick and just slightly oily. Flour.

Body: Light front. Very light strawberry. Doughnuts. Watermelon. Light pepper. Wheaty. Bready bitterness. Lemon juice. Vanilla.

Finish: Watermelon. Clean. Slight hop oil sheen. Soft lemon sponge. Slightly bready. Slight pepper. Lemon juice.

Conclusion: This is a very easy going beer for 6%. There is a viscous middle to it that does say “beware – alcohol involved” but generally it feels easy going in a session style. So,ya know, be warned.

The flavours come in with soft vanilla, lemon juice and yes, a distinct watermelon character. Though I will admit that , since I know it is made with watermelon, I may be slightly influenced on that last one. While it is pitched as a Wit, this feels closer in flavour to a gentle Hefewiezen for me, though the mouthfeel is closer to the Belgian wit. There is a light pepper character to it, but not as much spice as I would usually associate with a wit. I think that they are deliberately leaving room for the lighter, fresher watermelon flavours to roam.

Without that extra character it feels a tad simple – enjoyable, but simple and as that it doesn’t seem to grab me. The watermelon is a nice touch, but it feels like the rest of the beer had to be moved back to make room for enough.

Nice enough lemon and watermelon tasting wit, but not a must have.

Background: Uiltje! The happy Netherlands owl beers! Always fun, with silly cartoon style antics on the cans and bottles, which is whimsically charming. Tend to be a tad experimental, like in this case, a wit beer, a style I really want to drink more of, but with added watermelon, odd but enough to make me grab a can and see how it goes. Another one found at Independent Spirit. Music choice was .. odd .. for this one. I had recently had a debate with a mate. I held that, despite liking them as a kid, that Limp Bizkit are unmitigated shit. He held that they actually were not that bad. So I put on some Limp Bizkit while drinking to refresh my memory. It is shit. Like, really shit. Songs where they use other peoples music like Faith and the Mission Impossible one are passable. Everything else. Shit. That may have affected my tasting notes. I mean really shit, like tortured orangutan farting into a mic about how hard it is being rich, level bad. Young me had terrible taste. Seriously bad. The Tesco value lager of music.

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