De Molen Ball & Chain

Reviewed by on April 6, 2016 in Spring Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brouwerij De Molen

  • Origin: Bodegraven, Netherlands

  • Rated On: April 6, 2016

  • Best Before: February 26, 2017

  • ABV: 7.1%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Smoked Doppelbock

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Ball & Chain is a brew made in Holland by De Molen, in collaboration with Washington State’s Sound Brewery, and self-described as ‘smoked dubbelbock-ish’.

This 330ml bottle pours a clear, dark orange-brick amber hue, with two chubby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some stringy coral atoll lace around the glass as it gently sinks away.

It smells of smoked, meaty caramel malt, brown sugar, further dried fishy bits, and weak earthy, leafy hop bitters. The taste is more rather sweaty, dry-roasted porcine flesh, grainy caramel malt, demarara sugar, a touch of singed black orchard fruit, some subtle salted and smoked salmon, and a still tame earthy, burnt leafy hoppiness. The carbonation is fairly light in its pleasantly lilting frothiness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and actually quite smooth, that smoked meatiness apparently coming from one prime-ass cut. It finishes on the sweet side, the caramel/toffee maltiness starting to really take advantage of the waning smokiness.

Well, I gotta say that De Molen has aped the Bamberg greats more than a little bit here – start with smoked pork all over the place, introduce the big malt, and let it take over until almost near the end, then repeat. Very, very good, yet I’m not certain exactly where the Sound Brewery contribution comes in – perhaps someone can enlighten me!

Brady White

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