Beery Christmas Day 15: De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis
De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis Imperial Stout
Like most Craft Breweries, Netherlanders De Molen are never happy unless they're creating. Over the last 15-some years, as well as brewing a sensational core range of regular brews, they've created literally thousands of small-batch recipes. Some are good, others are AMAAAAAAAZING!!!, but there’s never a bad or boring beer at De Molen! In fact, many of their core beers started life as experimental brews that were just too good to leave in the recipe book! It's this kind of dedication to quality and innovation that earned De Molen their place as another member of RateBeer's exclusive Top 100 club.
Hellfire & Damnation
Hel & Verdoemenis – hell and damnation, in case you were wondering – is something of a misnomer. In fact, this Imperial Stout(ish) beer is heaven in a glass.
An Imperial Stout par excellence, Hel & Verdoemenis is a thick, slick blend of 4 malts – caramel, chocolate, roasted and brown ale – and a mix of classic herbal Saaz and bitter, citrusy Columbus hops that shine through the sweet mocha character.
Pouring out thick and black like used engine oil, the body has a delicious umami soy sauce savoury side to compliment the sweet caramel malts and rich chocolate that coat the tongue so beautifully. Add to this a more-than-generous 10% alcohol note to really warm your heart on a cold winter night and it's not so much Hell & Damnation as a little bit of Craft Beer heaven right here on earth
While Imperial Stouts can trace their origins to the 19th Century and the Imperial Russian court, modern gourmet Imperial Stouts are now officially a THING. The style fell out of fashion in the late 19th and 20th Century, but like many styles popular with Craft Breweries and their followers, they have experienced a major revival. Thankfully, today's Imperial Stouts have seen the same care and attention lavished on their development, with new innovations all the time.
Imperial Stouts now come infused with coconut, or piquant Mexican-style chilli and cinnamon, while others, like Kees's Crème Brulée - brewed exclusively for Beery Christmas 2015 - are the perfect dessert. One thing's for sure, after you try a Gourmet Imperial Stout you'll never look at them the same way!
The world’s coolest Craft Brewery?
Think of the Netherlands and you probably think of tulips, clogs and windmills. Anyway, you can’t brew beer with clogs or tulips (believe me, I tried. It was horrible), but you can brew in a windmill, and that’s exactly what De Molen did. After many years of garage-brewing, to keep up with demand Brewmaster Menno Olivier moved into the old windmill at Bodegraven. It’s been such a success they now have a taproom, bottleshop and, of course an awesome Craft Brewery in really cool location!
In the world of brewing, the word Imperial generally means extra-strength. Imperial IPA, Imperial Porter, Imperial Stout – they’re all supersize versions of the original beer style with more hops, more malt, more alcohol, more body, more OOMPH!
But why ‘Imperial’? Well, there’s two theories – firstly during the 19th Century, back when the British Empire ruled the world, to promote the best of British produce, manufacturers would add the word Imperial to show it was their best stuff!
The second – and much more romantic - theory, again dating back to the 1800s, it that English beers, in particular Stouts and Porters gained a big - I mean massive - following at the Russian Imperial court. They went crazy-ape-bonkers for British beer, especially the strong stuff, and so the ‘Imperial-‘ tag was born…
So, which of these two shaggy-dog stories is true? Well, they both are, but which one you want to believe is up to you…"