Tag Archives: Netherlands

De Molen Vuur & Vlam

  • Brewery: Brouwerij de Molen
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.2 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: De Bierkoning, ~3 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


Today I’ll be tasting an American IPA, brewed by De Molen, that I brought home from Amsterdam. Everything I’ve tasted by De Molen has been great, so am really looking forward to trying their IPA. My bottle is quite fresh, with the beer being bottled 28.11.2011 (2.5 months old), so there should hopefully be plenty of hop aroma and flavors left in this one. As a little curiosity, I can mention that De Molen’s Winterhop, a generously hopped amber ale, that I also brought home from Amsterdam, tasted almost exactly like my Christmas Amber Ale. Now back to Vuur & Vlam. According to the bottle, the beer has been brewed with Pils and Caramalts, hopped with Galena, Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Amarillo to an IBU of 63, and fermented with both a lager and an ale yeast, interesting. Really looking forward to this one, so let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”De Molen Vuur & Vlam” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours a slightly hazy golden-amber color, and a fluffy white-colored head is formed, that collapses quickly, leaving drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is really hoppy, with tropical fruits and resin dominating the palate. Tones of mango, pineapple, orange and grapefruits are present, mixed with slightly resiny and floral tones. Behind all this there is some caramel and maltiness. The aroma reminds me a bit of Evil Twin’s Yang.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is not as hop-dominated as the aroma, as it begins with a bready and caramelly maltiness, that is joined by a floral and resiny hop flavor, featuring similar fruity tones of as in the aroma (though not as strong). The aftertaste is quite dry, with a nice bitterness. The beer feels quite well balanced, but based on the aroma, I was hoping for a bit more hop flavors. No flavors really jump out, and they go together quite well.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is medium-full and the carbonation level is moderate, making it easy to drink. As mentioned, the bitterness is well balanced against the maltiness, meaning it gives a pleasant bite.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a great beer, that unfortunately, after having such a promising aroma, lacked a bit in the flavor department. If the hop flavors would have been more prominent, this would have been a jackpot for me, but still, this is a really nice beer. De Molen still haven’t disappointed me, and I’m starting to respect them more and more, since they brew such a large lineup of beers. Luckily I have 6 different De Molen Imperial Stouts and one of their Barleywines still waiting for the right time to open.”]

Trip to Amsterdam

I’m just back home from a great and relaxing trip in Amsterdam with my girlfriend. Had some great beers during the trip, and even managed to bring back home 10 bottles. I really fell in love with De Bierkoning, a small beer shop featuring some very nice brews from around the world (they even recently got some 1 month old bottles of Pliny The Elder, which I didn’t buy since I’ve tried it before and didn’t want to pay the 15€ for the bottle). The prices were mostly nice, but the American beers were predictably quite pricey. They had a large selection of Dutch microbrews, which was really nice.

The first beer of the trip was ‘t IJ Zatte, an Abbey Tripel by Amsterdam-based craft brewers ‘t IJ.

Zatte poured with a hazy orange color and a small off-white head. It featured some caramel and some nice spicy and fruity yeast tones in the aroma. Flavor is similar with tones of yeast, citrus and coriander. The finish was quite dry, with a slight bitterness. A nice attempt on a Tripel. I had the beer while we were at blue°, a cafeteria/bar at the top of a shopping center in the middle of the town.

Next, I tried a couple of bottles I bought from Bierkoning at the hotel. First up was Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA.

This IPA was bottled 23.06.2011, so it was around 7 months old. It poured with a slightly hazy golden-orange color and a fluffy white head, which collapsed leaving some nice lacing along the glass. The aroma featured tones of caramel, resin, grass, citrus, and flowers, and was mostly hop-dominated. The flavor begins with slightly sweet caramel tones, that were joined by piney, resiny, and grapefruit tones from the hops. The beer ended with a quite dry and biting bitter finish. The beer features lots of hop flavor. This was a really crisp and smooth IPA. Overall a very nice American IPA, with some huge resiny hop flavors with a bitter finish. Would really like to try this one fresh. Score: 4/5

Next up in the hotel was The Kernel’s India Pale Ale Simcoe Centennial. The Kernel are a London-based microbrewery, that I’ve been hearing some great things about.

This IPA had a BBE of 27.07.2013, so guessing it was bottled 27.07.2011, making it about 6 months old. The beer poured with a slightly hazy golden-orange color (very similar to Jai Alai) and a slight white-colored head, that collapsed leaving minimal lacing along the glass. The aroma was very hoppy, with fruity, resiny and citrusy tones. Really liked the aroma. The flavor begins with a minimally sweet and caramelly maltiness, that is overtaken by hop tones of grapefruit, tangerine, resin and grass. The flavor ends quite dry and a nice bitterness. I thought the flavors were nicely balanced, and the hop flavors were especially nice. The beer had a smooth and medium-full body, making it easy to drink. A great American IPA, that in my opinion was slightly better than Jai Alai. Great hop flavors in a better balanced package. Simcoe and Centennial are amongst my favorites hops as well. Score 4-4.5/5


Next, it was time to head to Beer Temple, a quite small and cozy bar focusing on American craft brews, located right next to De Bierkoning. They had 30 beers on tap, with the majority being from the US (e.g. Great Divide Titan IPA, Rogue OREgasmic Ale, and Flying Dog Kujo Coffee Stout), the rest being from different European craft breweries (E.g. Mikkeller and Brewdog). They had an awesome list of bottled beer as well, and the first beer I ordered was Founders Breakfast Stout (since I brewed something similar a couple of weeks ago):

The Breakfast Stout was fantastic, and poured thick and black, with tones of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts in the aroma and flavor. Hopefully my latest homebrew inspired by this tastes at least half as good. After the stout, it was time for both an Imperial IPA and an Imperial Red Ale: Weyerbacher’s Double Simcoe IPA and Rogue’s Imperial Red Ale (from tap):

Unfortunately I only took a picture of the Weyerbacher brew. Both beers were very nice, with the Double Simcoe IPA being my favorite of the whole trip, and probably one of my favorite IPAs ever. Fantastically balanced Imperial IPA, with truckloads of resinous and tropical fruity hop flavor and aroma, and a pleasant bitter bite. The Imperial Red offered a nice combination of caramelly maltiness and citrusy hoppiness. Great beers and a great bar. Definitely worth the visit if you are after tasty beers in Amsterdam. The place got quite crowded when we visited it again on a Saturday, so come early. On the second visit I had some Brewdog/Mikkeller I Hardcore You from tap, which tasted very similar to what I remembered, but with even more hop aroma. After our first Beer Temple visit, we headed to ‘t Arendsnest, a bar serving only Dutch (craft) beer. They had tons of De Molen and Emelisse beer, and of course other beers from other nice breweries such as SNAB, ‘t IJ, and La Trappe. I played it safe and ordered a bottle of De Molen’s Tsarina Esra (Imperial Porter) and some Emelisse Triple IPA from the tap (note the fantastic drapes of lacing along the glasses):

The Tsarina Esra was a very Imperial Porter, with sweet roasted malt tones, chocolate, licorice and hops in the aroma and flavor. Really nice beer to sip on. The Triple IPA had a sweet caramelly maltiness, combined with grapefruit and resin tones. A nice Imperial IPA, but there are better beers in the style available. ‘t Arendsnest was also a cozy bar, with a great selection, and definitely worth a visit if you’re after some great local brews.


The beer selection in the largest (?) supermarket chain in Netherlands, Albert Heijn, was quite bad, but at least they had something else than bulk lagers. La Trappe Dubbel and Tripel 6-packs were available for 6 euros (which is fantastically cheap for Trappist beer), as well as Duvel, La Chouffe and Mc Chouffe for around 1.40€. I had a La Trappe Dubbel, La Trappe Tripel (sorry no picture) and La Chouffe in the hotel:


I liked the La Chouffe best of the trio, with it’s spicy and lightly hoppy finish, and really disliked the Dubbel, which in my opinion had too much alcohol presence, and an unpleasant estery fruitiness with tones of banana and raisins. The La Chouffe has recently become available at Alko as well, so you can try it out at home.


I managed to bring home some really nice beer I bought at De Bierkoning to Finland. A nice blend of Pilsner, IPA, Imperial IPA, Imperial Stouts and of course a bottle of the famed Westvletern 12:

Back row, left to right: Alesmith Yulesmith (Summer), Port Brewing 3rd Anniversary Ale, Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Hoppin Frog DORIS the Destroyer, and De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis 666
Front row, left to right: De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis, De Molen Vuur & Vlam, De Molen Winterhop, ‘t IJ Plzen, and Westvleteren 12


Overall, it was a nice and relaxing trip. One week was a bit too long for a small city as Amsterdam, as we ran out of things to see and do after a couple of days (we were not interested in the coffee shops), but my travel companion was great, so we were never bored. For a shorter weekend trip, I would definitely recommend the city though, especially if you want to see canals, crooked houses, windmills, or want to try some nice beers.

Below are some random photos taken during the trip:

De Molen Amarillo

  • Brewery: De Molen
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 9.2 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Bierzwerg, ~3 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


After a hard week of exams, I finally have some (well deserved?) winter holidays. To celebrate I decided to try De Molen’s Imperial IPA: Amarillo. The beer has been brewed with Pale and Crystal malts, and hopped with Sladek (bittering), Saaz (flavor) and Amarillo (dryhopping) to a bitterness of 60 IBU and a color of 31 EBC. I have never tasted any beer (at least that I know of) brewed with Sladek hops, so this should be interesting. They are apparently a hybrid of Saaz hops, and should be similar in taste. I like De Molen’s plain, but informative, labels, listing the ingredients used, bitterness, color, bottling date, etc. My bottle was bottled on 05.09.2011, so it should be quite fresh. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”De Molen Amarillo” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a bright orange color, and the beer is surprisingly crystal-clear. I mention this, since it is evident from the bottom of the bottle that this beer is bottle-conditioned because of the layer of yeast, and I must of managed to get a great pour. An almost non-existing white head is formed during pour, but it collapses as quickly as it is formed. Could have used a better head, but otherwise looks tasty.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is typical of American west-coast hops, and the beer features a resiny and fruity aroma, lending tones of grapefruit, pine and a slight mango. There is a slight carameliness and alcohol note, but these are just barely detectable.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly sweetness, almost with tones of brown sugar, that is then joined by a huge hop flavor, featuring tones of mango, orange, grapefruit and resin. The hop tones and the malt backbone combine well together, offering a great flavor combination. The flavor ends with a sweet finish and a slight bitter bite. I really liked the taste of this beer, but I understand that people might find it a bit too sweet and caramelly for an Imperial IPA. The maltiness does well to hide and balance the bitterness.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth, almost soapy, medium-full body and medium-low carbonation, giving the beer a quite thick and syrupy mouthfeel. The beer is balanced towards the malty side of the spectrum, but there is still a huge presence of hops.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”A great Imperial IPA, that definitely is sweeter than most other beers in the style. I liked the huge hop flavors of fruit and pine, combined with the caramel from the malt. The bitterness of this beer was also a bit low for the Imperial IPA style, so it could probably be classified as an IPA or American Strong Ale instead. I will be heading to Amsterdam with my girlfriend in the middle of January, and am really looking forward to trying out some more De Molens.”]

Pilsener Duel: De Molen Donder & Bliksem vs Victory Prima Pils

This evening I will be comparing two (quite highly ranked) Pilseners I just received in an order from Bierzwerg.

  • Brewery: De Molen
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: Bohemian Pilsener
  • ABV: 6.2%
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Bierzwerg, ~3€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


Our first contender of the night is ‘Donder & Bliksem’, a Bohemian Pilsener, brewed by the Dutch craft brewery De Molen. This beer has been brewed with Pils and Cara malt, and hopped with Permiant and Saaz hops to an IBU of 36. According to the bottle, this beer was bottled on 18.07.2011, so it’s about 5 months old now. De Molen have a reputation of brewing some tasty beers, so am looking forward to this one.

[easyreview title=”De Molen Donder & Bliksem” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a pale golden-yellow color and a fluffy white-colored head. The beer is just slightly hazy. The head collapses leaving some drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly malty, featuring some tones of grain and light honey, with a slight touch of floral grassiness from the hops.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a light maltiness, but the grassy and slightly citrusy hop tones soon dominate. The flavor ends with a dry and quite bitter finish, while the quite high alcohol level (for the style) lends some warmness.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-light body and a moderate-high carbonation level. The beer is crisp, quite refreshing and relatively easy to drink.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a good beer, and a really good Pilsener, but felt it lacked something to make it stand out. On the other hand, Pilseners should not be complex, and this was a crisp, tasty and refreshing beer, so it definitely does what it should. Unfortunately this one isn’t available from shops in Finland, but if you are lucky, you can find it some well-stocked pubs (e.g. Pikkulintu & Beer Hunter’s). Let’s see how it compares with the American.”]

  • Brewery: Victory
  • Country: USA
  • Style: German Pilsener
  • ABV: 5.3%
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Bierzwerg, ~3€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer


The second contender of the evening is ‘Prima Pils’, a German Pilsener, brewed by the American craft brewery Victory. I’ve had Victory’s IPA, Imperial IPA and Imperial Stout before, and they were all very good, so expectations are high for this one. It also ranks number 4 on RateBeer’s Pilsener list, so it can’t be awful right? The beer has been brewed with German Pils malt, and hopped with Northern Brewer and Saaz hops. I found no information on the IBU, but rumors say it’s quite bitter. My bottle has a best before date in March 2012, so the bottle should be around 9 months old. Let’s see how it does against the Dutch!

[easyreview title=”Victory Prima Pils” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The appearance is very similar to ‘Donder & Bliksem’, with the beer pouring with a pale golden-yellow color and a slight white-colored head. The beer is also slightly hazy, and the head collapses leaving drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is stronger in this one, and the floral hops are dominating this time. There are some fruity (peach-like), grainy and honey-like tones as well.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor also begins with a light maltiness, lending some sweet tones, and is quickly joined by a floral hoppiness, featuring some grassy and grapefruity tones. The hop flavor was a bit stronger in this beer, compared to ‘Donder & Bliksem’. The flavor ends dry and quite bitter again.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”This one also has a medium-light body and a quite high carbonation level, giving the beer a crisp and refreshing feel. Quite easy to drink, a would be perfect a warm summer day.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”This was a really good beer, and in my opinion, slightly better than the Pilsener from De Molen. I really liked the stronger hop flavor, and combined with the dry and bitter finish, this was a very refreshing beer to drink. Wouldn’t mind trying this beer at least 6 months fresher, but this still packed a lot of punch in it. Unfortunately this isn’t available from Finland either.”]

The winner of this duel is Victory’s Prima Pils! It was a close one, but I really liked the stronger hop flavors in the American brew!

Around the World in 1 day

Last Saturday my girlfriend had organized an ‘Around the World’-themed date for me. The day included trips to a lot of bars, and I was to have a ‘local’ beer in each one. The day began with some breakfast in France at home, and after that the first stop was Belge, a Belgian-styled bar. Here I had a Poperings Hommelbier (from tap; Beer Advocate; Ratebeer), while my girlfriend had a Lindemans Cassis (bottle; Beer Advocate; Ratebeer). The Hommelbier was OK, with both fruity hop tones and spicy Belgian yeast tones, but it is not amongst my favorites. Belge is a cozy place, but a little on the expensive side. They have a (average) selection of Belgian beers on bottle and tap. We also had a waffle there that was tasty, though service was a little slow (we were one of the only customers in the bar, and it took them almost 30 minutes to prepare the waffle).


Lindemans Cassis to the left and Poperings Hommelbier to the right


After Belge, we travelled to (Bierhuis) Rotterdam, where I had a Dutch beer: Tilburg’s Dutch Brown Ale (bottle; Beer Advocate; Ratebeer). I was thinking about having a La Trappe, but since I knew it would be a long day and many beers I opted for the lower ABV beers in the first bars. My girlfriend a Magners Pear Cider, since she didn’t really find any beers she liked. The brown ale was also OK, with a taste that was malty, caramelly and slightly chocolately and roasty. Some Belgian yeast tones were detectable as well. It didn’t fit so well with the warm weather though. The label on the bottle featured a painting from “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch. Rotterdam has a nice selection, a cozy interior, and great location, which makes it worth a visit (if you can fit in).


Tilburg’s Dutch Brown Ale in the front, Magners Pear Cider in the back.


After Holland it was time to travel to Italy. This time it wasn’t a bar, but we went to Cafe Java to have an espresso and ice latte. With some caffeine in the body we traveled to Africa, and went to Kiasma, where they had an African art exhibition. After some interesting art, we had lunch in Japan (Daruma Sushi in Kamppi). They had some tasty and reasonably priced sushi, so I can recommend the place! It is a little hidden in Kamppi, but worth the search. After Japan we traveled to China and with Nomads, when we visited Kulttuurien museo in Tennispalatsi. They had two exhibitions Värimatka Kiinaan (Colorful Travels in China) and Liikkuva Koti (Movable Home). The visit was free, and certainly interesting. After China it was time for another beer, so we traveled to nearby Australia, which meant a visit to Aussie Bar of course. Here I had a Coopers Sparkling Ale (bottle; Beer Advocate; Ratebeer). This is an Australian Pale/Golden Ale, featuring some honey and fruit tones in the aroma and flavour. Unfortunately I don’t recall anymore details on the beer (this was not because I was drunk, just because this beer wasn’t anything special). It was a good thirst quencher in the heat though.


Coopers Sparkling Ale


After Australia, it was time for a trip over the Pacific Ocean to the United States. It was a long visit in this country, as we first went to Chico’s, where we had some snacks and I had a Sierra Nevada Torpedo (you can read a review here). After this we went to William K Tennispalatsi, where I had a Victory HopDevil (taste notes here) and we played Kimble while waiting for our US comedy (Bad Teacher) to start at Finnkino Tennispalatsi.


Sierra Nevada Torpedo

Victory HopDevil


After the movie, we headed towards Spain and Bar Celona to have some Tapas, Cava and San Miguel. The beer was unfortunately, as I remembered, a quite typical and tasteless bulk-lager. Then it was time for the final destination of the journey: Siberia/North Pole/Some goddamn cold place. We ended the day with a visit to Arctic Icebar, a bar made out of ice and with an interior temperature of -5 degrees C. They had a very limited cocktail range, and it was expensive, but it certainly was a fantastic experience and a perfect end to a great ‘trip around the world’ here in Helsinki. I had a Screwdriver and a shot of Minttu Black (they had no beer, and only Absolut products), which helped warm the body up in the cold bar.





Thanks to Pia for arranging this fantastic day!