Tsarina Esra Imperial Porter Cognac - Brouwerij De Molen
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Ratings: 10 | Reviews: 4 | Display Reviews Only:
3.53/5 rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
33 cl, bottled 8th November 2011.
I've had the base beer for this one, and distinctly remember not liking it very much. It was too sweet, boozy and one-dimensional overall. Let's see how this version aged on oak chips fairs. The process did wonders to Hel & Verdoemenis, so I was stoked to crack this.
A: Oh yep, this is the business. I'm going to go out on a limb and give this a solid 5/5 for appearance. It's dark as night with a good two fingers of head that retains beautifully. As handsome a porter as I've ever seen one. Or should I say pretty? She was named after an empress after all!
S: Roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits, raisins, liquorice, black strap, candy sugar, wood, booze. Surprisingly a very subtle blend of these elements. Nothing really comes out to either slap you in the face or give you a great big kiss. People looking for well-judged balance and harmony will probably fancy it, but I like to be wowed by one or two different sensations at times and then be lulled by the undertones.
T: Coffee, honey, sultana raisins, biscuits, candy sugar, fairly boozy finish with a woody, chalky sweetness. Except for the warmth of the booze, again nothing leaps out here. In a beer like BCBS 2009, all the different flavors live in perfect harmony, but here they seem to be in conflict against each other. Pick me father, pick me!
M: Tongue-numbing booze mostly. A fair degree of stickiness as is to be found in almost every single strong stout/porter at De Molen.
O: A good beer, but somewhat misconcepted I feel. This base beer didn't stand up to the wood chip aging as well as H&V did, probably because the latter was much roastier, maltier, hoppier and just had a bigger set of balls in almost every conceivable way. The result here is considerably more mellow than the overpoweringly sweet and boozy base beer, but it's a classic case of "jack of all trades, master of nothing".
Serving type: bottle
12-29-2012 22:48:10 | More by Dennoman
3/5 rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
Thanks to Jeffo for hooking me up with this one. Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip.
A - Tan foam settles to a thick collar and partial cap, but minimal lacework. Very dark brown body, as is typical of De Molen's stous and porters.
S - The oak chips are overwhelming, and unfortunately they don't bring a ton of cognac with them. There's a mild vinous character, but it's fairly understated. Some roast, dark chocolate, and licorice in the periphery.
T - The taste is similar, with lots of oak and not much cognac. The base beer contributes a bit of dark bread and chocolate, but this drinks a lot like someone left the oak chips in for too long. Thankfully there's minimal alcohol presence, but all the things I like about the base version and the Reserva are gone.
M - Surprisingly high carbonation, and shockingly thin medium body for a 12% beer. Very dry and oaky, which isn't much of a surprise. Alcohol is well-disguised, but this is a bit wimpy an undersized.
D - Definitely my least favorite take on this beer, although I (luckily?) missed the brett bourbon one. Fairly easy to drink for 12%, but there's not much to enjoy here and far too much oak, with the zesty bubbles only aggravating matters.
Serving type: bottle
10-15-2012 02:50:25 | More by MasterSki
3.93/5 rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
330ml bottle 12% ABV
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
Bottled on: 08/11/2011
Reviewed from notes.
Appearance: This version looks pretty much identical to the standard Tsarina Esra. The body appears to be pitch black in the glass, however a strong back light reveals deep red along the edges of the glass. A rough pour yields a massive, creamy, dark tan coloured head that lasts pretty well and leaves some patchy lacing. A light swirl coats the glass in light alcohol legs.
Smell: The initial nose is quite weak, but warming yields a big improvement. The nose is sweeter than the standard version and the cognac is certainly noted. The notes include: Sweet dark chocolate, roasted malt, dark caramel, dark fruits, light cognac, oak, light vanilla and hints of cooked apples and spice.
Taste: As with the nose, the flavour is sweeter than the original and seems to be a little less bitter. Notes include: Roasted malt, a little char, dark chocolate, burned raisins, dark cherries, oak, dark caramel, a little liquorice and some light cognac. The alcohol is certainly more present than in the base beer, but not bothersome in any way.
Mouthfeel: I think the carbonation in this bottle is of a little lower level (medium-low) than the standard beer, but is not quite as smooth. The body is medium.
Overall: I think I prefer the base beer, but they are pretty close. I think using a cognac barrel as opposed to just oak chips would make a huge difference!
Serving type: bottle
07-15-2012 18:21:53 | More by Thehuntmaster
2.35/5 rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5
Just released at De Molen in Bodegraven a little while ago. Excited to try it, as it's one of my favorite base beers aged the same way as H&V 666. Good stuff!
From a bottle into a snifter
Brewed 8 November 2011
Aged on wood chips soaked in 40 yr. old cognac.
Drunk right after the base beer.
APPEARANCE: Pours out brown and transparent, yielding a one finger, thicker looking, tan head with great retention. Black body and zero carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good cap and totally coats the sides of the glass. A ring and splotchy wisp remain leaving some nice lacing down the glass. Much the same as the base beer, but a smaller head and no carbonation to the eye.
SMELL: Milder nose for sure. The cognac is there with some caramel and dark malts. A touch of oak and licorice as well, but it is generally mild and the complex base beer is nowhere to be found.
TASTE: Dark malts, dark fruits as well, then some oak and cognac through the middle into the finish. Hints of sweet caramel, oak and light cognac flavors linger in the mild and unimpressive aftertaste. Very little to this one, and the complex and bold flavor profile of the base beer is non-existent. Boring and uninteresting.
PALATE: Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes with a little burn at the swallow. A slightly sticky finish and some heat lingers on the palate. Much the same as the base beer, but perhaps not quite as full.
OVERALL: When my college students get a C-, which they often do, they sometimes ask me what they did wrong. To this, I always explain that it’s not that they did anything wrong per se, but that they didn’t do anything right. Enter Tsarina Esra Cognac. It’s not off-putting or nasty at all, but there’s just not much to it. Mild, simple, unimpressive and generally boring. Such a letdown, as the Hel & Verdoemenis 666, which is aged using the same process, is such an impressive beer. While De Molen occasionally puts out a flop because of carbonation issues, this one is actually a flop because of a lack of character. We can’t win them all I guess, so I’ll gladly forget this one and drink their other world class stuff. Pass.
Serving type: bottle
12-14-2011 12:47:41 | More by Jeffo
Tsarina Esra Imperial Porter Cognac from Brouwerij De Molen
79 out of 100 based on 10 ratings.