Review: Heaven & Hell

This big, bad 10.2% ABV Imperial Stout comes from the Brouwerij De Molen, a very small brewery from the Netherlands known for turning out intense, balls-to-the-wall beers. My bottle was #348 out of 2077, so this came from a pretty small batch.

I poured the beer into a large snifter. It was foamy for a beer this size; swirling the glass easily roused the mocha-colored foam. As you can see, this was an extremely dark, opaque beer….when I held it to a lamp, even the edges swallowed up light.

Heaven & Hell

Aroma was of a generic “freshly-cut wood,” and a fair bit of cherry-flavored ethanol. Chocolate, molasses and dark-roast coffee entered into the equation a little as the beer warms, but even so, it wasn’t the most amazing aroma I’ve pulled off a big stout by any stretch – it skewed too much toward alcohol. I knew there was nothing wrong with the beer, but I couldn’t say I was too excited about it based on the nose.

The taste was like over-steeped dregs from a French press, spiked with wood alcohol. Not that I would know what wood alcohol tastes like, but I imagine it would taste something like this. Bitter and alcoholic, unpleasantly so. Some malty sweetness tried to develop mid-palate, but quickly subsided to an austere volcanic-ashy, bitter, dry finish for a big stout. Feel was somewhat viscous, as expected, yet with some lively carbonation relative to a benchmark stout of this strength.

This beer may have real aging potential, but as of now I have to call it as I see it and say it’s not quite undrinkable, but close to it. Right now, it’s a brash beer, which isn’t necessarily bad, but for the fact that this brash beer knocked me over the head with flavors that I don’t find to be all that pleasant. I plan on checking in with this one again in a few years in the hopes that the muscular alcohol taste will have died down, allowing for more complexities to come through.

My rating:
Appearance 4.5
Aroma 2.5
Taste 2.0
Mouthfeel 3.5
Impression 2.5
Overall 2.48

Beer Advocate 3.95/B+
Ratebeer 3.94/91/100

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4 Responses to Review: Heaven & Hell

  1. WineGoddess1 says:

    Very nice first blog. Funny how beer is so similar to wine with the agability. I guess from the yeast. Very nice, I am going to learn so much about beer now. Yay! So proud of you 🙂

  2. Gins says:

    “Balls-to-the-wall-beers” . Now THAT’s a great description. Congrats on a great first piece.

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