My last post saw some year-old Orval come out of the cupboard, and to continue the theme of slightly more matured beers I pulled a Rasputin from that very same cupboard of late. It is also appropriate that I would post a beer from De Molen on the day I travel once again to Amsterdam for much beering. Much beering.
Hopefully, such beering will involve plenty more De Molen of this calibre. An imperial stout of 10.7%, I was surprised to see this pour ruby red in the light, before settling to form a foamy cream head. Another pleasant surprise is the immediate lack of booze on the nose, allowing the complexity to shine through; savoury, slightly smokey malts, wood chips, toffee and maple syrup, chocolate and dark fruits are all part of the roll-call, the effect being pungent and intense with just a hint of alcohol heat.
This can be copied more or less word for word to the palate, with those same oily, raisiny, chocolatey malts coating the mouth. There isn't much in the way of hop character here, not even a sprig of herbal, green stuff, but that's not to say the beer is imbalanced; rather, the hops are doing all their good work behind closed doors, allowing that malted, honeyed biscuit base to drive the beer.
Fantastic stuff from De Molen, and one for the Return Leg Suitcase Shortlist.