Quick Take: This is the KFC bowl of beers. A mish mash of flavors and aromas, one has to wonder if this was brewed from the runoff from other beers along with a pot of day old coffee and the leavings of a tossed salad. Glad to try it, but a beer for the adventurous only as the cost vs risk is far too financially weighted for what you get.
Brew Facts: I will simply list the ingredients/brew process of this Russian Imperial Stout as that is interesting enough: coffee, rhubarb, saffron, cinchona (shrub/tree with medicinal bark), gentian (another medicinal plant also know as bitter root), and spices, aged in oak barrels for 12 months that also has a sour element. Oh those Italians…
Appearance: Pours out a quickly aggressive and stubbornly thin head that hangs on the surface and swirls slowly as it bubbles down. The bubble cloud that floats on this one looks like a warped boot of Italy, the land from which this beer hails. Otherwise, it’s the usual dark beer with brown highlights on the upper edges that is typical to a Russian Imperial.
Aroma: I take the smell into my nose and immediately wish that I didn’t. Used coffee grounds, spice, soy sauce, and decaying vegetables fill out this brutal aroma. Maybe some malt and sugar, but I’m hard pressed to power through the vegetal funk to find it. What did I get myself into?
Taste/Mouth Feel: I’m one to embrace the new and strange, so I suck it up and let this have at my insides, mouth first. The mouth feel isn’t thin, but on the lighter side. The small bubbled carbonation gives this a peppery effervescence. The flavors seep into my tongue and my brow furrows involuntarily. The burnt malt and coffee combine with the tangy, vinous raisin/plum of a merlot, and the metallic sour elements of a Gueuze to melt part of my brain. The finish is where you get some spices on the way to a vegetable, garbagey flavor that isn’t entirely awful if you can imagine. I’m guessing the vegetal layer is due to the rhubarb, but this beer is a little more than rough around the edges. Definitely a sour, coffee RIS, something that De Molen does on occasion, and I’m still not sure the human tongue is ready for this combination. Although probably no one will understand this reference, but it reminds me of Pizza Boy’s Angel of Death, however that added a bourbon barrel and huge 18% ABV.
Final Thoughts: This is the KFC bowl of beers. A mish mash of flavors and aromas, one has to wonder if this was brewed from the runoff from other beers along with a pot of day old coffee and the leavings of a tossed salad. Whatever they scraped together turned into one of the stranger beers I’ve had. If you are bored with the same old beers that try the same old things, well here you go. A beer for the adventurous only as the cost vs risk is far too financially weighted for what you get. Glad to try it, but I don’t see a reason to revisit it other than to scramble the minds of other beer drinkers.