Brouwerij De Molen ‘Hemel & Aarde’ Imperial stout


image“Made with the most heavily peated malt in the world from the Bruichladdich distillery. Almost pitch black and opaque, small head. Furiously peated aroma, hiding the malt, licorice and dark chocolate somewhat. Very full bodied, thick mouthfeel, like fluid bread. Dark chocolate, loads of peat, lapsang souchong tea, chocolate cake, culminating in an almost endless aftertaste that also has licorice.
Alcohol varies by batch.”

Hemel & Aarde meaning heaven & earth, is an interesting concept which we can’t find any reference or meaning to. Served in a tulip glass the opaque black pour produced a tight 1 cm brown head that slowly reduces down to a ring of foam around the side of the glass. Average lace. Aroma is big and roasted with a strong presence of sweetness. So complex, but in all the right ways. Big roasted notes of smoke, coffee, chocolate and peated malts pair up beautifully with rich wafts of licorice, molasses, booze and charcoal. Undertones of oil and vegemite add a certain sweetness rarely experienced with stouts. In the mouth it feels quite oily with mild-medium carbonation. Upfront an astringent presence of booze invades the taste buds. Bitter roasted notes of coffee, charred wood and hops are also detected. While the mid-palate mellowed out the bitter notes of espresso, hops and burned chocolate return to finish off an impressive palate. Good length. 9.5% ABV is evident in aroma and flavour, but only adds to the complexity and body of this quality stout. A very good offering.