Home > Imperial Stout, Stout > Hel & Verdoemenis Bourbon B.A.

Hel & Verdoemenis Bourbon B.A.

Rating: 3.45

My eleventh beer from the De Molen brewery, this one hot on the heels of their Hemel & Aarde offering from the 1001 beers list that I reviewed recently and another that I bought at the end of 2013. This particular beer is a bourbon barrel aged edition of the brewery’s Hel & Verdoemenis imperial stout and was initially released in 2013, although the original Hel & Verdoemenis dated back to 2008. The bottle that I’ll be reviewing here was bottled in November 2013 and has been aged since then since they brewery mentions on the bottle that the beer should safely keep for twenty-five years. Aged in bourbon barrels, this is one of a number of variants of Hel & Verdoemenis available and it’s one that I cracked open just after New Year when visiting Ireland; it’s also the last De Molen beer I had of those I’d been ageing but hopefully I’ll pick up another few in the near future.


Appearance (4/5): Obviously quite a dark beer one but not overly thick as it was poured, it’s a very dark mahogany that is almost black. There wasn’t much of a head to the beer, even after an aggressive pour with only a tiny bit of foam lacing around the circumference and nothing in the middle of the beer; I guess that’s to be expected for an 11%, 3-year-old beer though.
Aroma (7/10): This one kicked off with quite a strong nose initially, lots of oak and smoky notes come through in the early going alongside a dominant bourbon aroma. There’s a definite alcohol presence from the start with touches roasted malt and to a lesser extent some chocolate with most of the sweetness coming from the darker malts & sugars but some vanilla sneaks in as well around the middle. Towards the end there is some toasted bitterness and a few darker fruits but the bourbon definitely comes thru strongest.
Taste (7/10): Plenty of bourbon opens things up but it’s a touch lighter than with the nose, probably thanks to the darker malts and chocolate being slightly more pronounced here. There was a lot of roasted malts around the middle that impart an earthy bitterness on the taste. Following this, I got some peat and the odd vanilla flavours that added to the strength of this one. Towards the end some alcohol grains appear but it was at least a touch lighter than the nose with dark fruits, mainly cherries and a touch of spice seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): A very strong, full-bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a lot of alcohol showing thanks to the bourbon barrel ageing process. There is a light sweetness running through the beer that helps with the balance some with some sugar, darker fruits and vanilla but it was still difficult to drink at times. Nearer the end things start to subdue a little and become more mellow once the beer opened up more but I’d definitely have enjoyed it more had it been lighter.

Overall (13/20): Definitely a strong one from De Molen, overly so in my opinion and quite a hard one to get through as a result of the overpowering alcohol taste from the bourbon. There was a lot of peat and dark malts featuring through with the odd grain thrown in for good measure but the balance definitely wasn’t as good as I’d have liked. Some dark fruits featured at times but I found them more subdued than expected and there was no sign of any hops, although the fact that the beer was three years old wouldn’t have helped that any. The aftertaste was a lingering one with some coffee and an earthy bitterness rounding things off and while it was an okay beer, it’s not one that I’ll find myself going back to again; perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more if I was into whisky but sadly this wasn’t a beer for me.

Brewed In: Bodegraven, South Holland, Netherlands
Brewery: Brouwerij de Molen
English Name: De Molen Hell & Damnation Bourbon Barrel Aged
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £7.50

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