Columbus - Brouwerij 't IJ

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ColumbusColumbus

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BA SCORE
87
very good

74 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 131
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.89%
Wants: 6
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij 't IJ visit their website
Netherlands

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2002

An amber, craft beer with generous amounts of hops and alcohol. This copper-gold beer is a real heavyweight and a must for beer lovers. The liberal quantities of malt and bitter hops create a complex, full flavour. It starts as slightly sweet with malty aromas of chocolate, fruit and grain, while the bitter hops stand out nicely in the aftertaste. A feast for the connoisseur!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 131
Photo of TastyTaste
4.72/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had seen these in the store for a long time, and finally decided to get one on sale. Hazy gold bodied beer, lots of particles floating around. Head is very large, rising to many times the height of the first couple ounces of the beer. Sweet pineapple and belgian yeast smell, with some other sweet citrus. Taste is full and rich, sweet and woody, a little alcohol presence, wiht some citrus and slight grassy malts also there. There is a nice hop presence, also, even gives you hop flavored burps later. Very unique beer, a little aged in the liquor store, but a beer to try nonetheless. (589 characters)

Photo of schavuytje
4.69/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

amber colored Belgian Strong Ale with a yeast-colored foam
nice full taste of fresh sour fruit, malty,grain excelent
in the aftertaste a ferm light hop bitter,almost perfect
i liked more bitter hop added to my taste
overall a very good beer
donot skip for your palate (269 characters)

Photo of cadenwhitaker
4.59/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed on 12-13-2008
Bottle year 2006/02 - review year 2008/12 (almost 3 years old)

9% alcohol.... ok... where are they hiding the remaining 5%?! This is the smoothest 9% I think I've ever had.

Some citrus, no hops, lemon in the smell... this beer has LAYERS! On one hand it is very easy to session, on the other hand it is very easy to sit back and appreciate.

Fantastic.

Reviewed again on 04-11-2009

Bottle year 2006/02

I decided to revisit this beer, as it was my gateway into belgians. Now that I've had more of the same style I felt it was a good time to see how it compares.

Still, this is easily in my top 10 of beers. Again with this bottle I'm getting some citrus, lemon, honey, sugar and hardly any of the 9% of the alcohol.

I dropped the score because the bottles are chock full of floaties... I really couldn't care but I suppose that's not a very appealing thing.

Still, after sampling this I haven't been able to find a good alternative, none of the other belgians taste at all like this one. Much sweeter, sweeter then anything I've had at Unibroue, sweeter then any of the trappists. Lots and lots of honey, with some citrus. (1,154 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11/14/06- Purchased at Plumpjacks in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle. Bottled on date notched on label. Poured into my Maudite tulip.

Appearance- Pumpkin pie-rust colored pour. Head fills to the top my my glass. Almost a 1/2 inch remains for the endurance. Very chunky and beautiful webbed lacing.

Smell- Dark fruits and spices galore. Plums, raisins and figs. Throw in some corriander and even a dash of chocolate and caramel. I even notice some vinous scent. This beer is loaded!

Taste- Oaky bourbon like flavor. Some vanilla, but mostly butterscotch. Light caramel intermixed. I didn't get a whole lot of the fruit flavors noticed in the nose though. Mild sweetness in the malt.

Mouthfeel- Ultra smooth, super creamy. Low almost cask like carbonation. Very warming with a light sugary tongue coating.

Drinkability- A wonderful and interesting brew with lots of twists and turns. A winner in every catagory. One I will revisit for sure. One of the best beers I have had period. (1,013 characters)

Photo of John
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy, light brown appearance. Many yeasty chunks are afloat. Massive pillowy head. Brandied fruit, prune/raisin aroma with alcohol undertones. Semi-sweet fruity/spicey flavor. Very full bodied mouthfeel. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Cheers to Brouwerij 't IJ. 9.0% abv. (275 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Even carefully poured the deep peach body is quite cloudy and has particles in suspension. Its full and frothy white head holds quite well and keeps a thin surface covering throughout the glass. Additionally, it leaves some very nice lace although it doesn't stick from start to finish. The bouquet is quite complex and offers a combination of dried fruit (apricot, fig, prune), some light spice, a soft tartness, and a dull earthiness and mild mustiness that's really quite unique. The body is medium/full with a lightly zesty, almost cottony mouthfeel. The flavor is yeasty, fruity, sweetish, and softly spicy with a solid bitterness. The alcohol is well cloaked and only reveals itself towards the end of the glass. It finishes drying with a lingering combination of sticky sweet malt and bitterness. Well woth trying for its uniqueness alone! (846 characters)

Photo of DarrellK
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this at two tempertures and had different results. When served on the cooler side the result was better as the alcohol seemed more muted.

In either case, the pour results in a nice tight head that maintains through out. The spicey aroma is pronounced and is bit like a wheat beer. The color is a clear golden with some lingering carbonation.

The cooler try yielded a smoother, less tart mouth and like a wheat there in a breadiness.

The finish is slightly tart and very dry. The lack of alcohol bite could let one think it was lower gravity.

I enjoy this style very much but some may not care for the averall character. I agree that it would be special on draft. (682 characters)

Photo of ksimons
4.4/5  rDev +13.4%

Caramel color with about three fingers worth of light khaki head. Caramel malt sweetness, toffee, and light hop bitterness. Taste is also predominately sweet with caramel and toffee, lightly toasted malt, and finishes with light floral and earthy hops. Medium body, moderate carbonation. A fantastic Dutch beer! (315 characters)

Photo of nico_freespirit
4.39/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's a nice beer, really special when you're smelling it, at first it smells once open the cap like a bakery, recent bread is a strong smell but so nice. It's full of sediments, its high graduation doesn't seems once you drink it. I'm tasting it at room temperature and its flavour is much stronger than other belgian pale ales, it's sweet and doughy, for me is like eating bread recently out of the oven. Definetly I like this beer so much, I think that dutch beers have a huge potential that is not operating in Spain.. (521 characters)

Photo of patto1ro
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber colour with a dense head almost like whipped cream. Biscuit, hop, lemon, coriander, grass and perfume aroma; sweetish/bitterish taste with biscuit, caramel, cream, herbal and nut aromas; very long bitter finish with biscuit, hop, resin and mint aromas.

A good combination of biscuity malt and hop bitterness. Dangerously drinkable. An excellent candidate for long ageing. (380 characters)

Photo of eric5bellies
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale Drank from my St Bernardus chalice

A - Pours a cloudy honey colour and has a nice tight white head that stays the distance.

S - Plenty of sour, lambic aromas of passionfruit spice.

T - Plenty of spice and herbs up front and finishes with a nice creamy vanilla booze flavour.

M - Medium body and low carbonation.

D - This is a heavy hitter and right up there with the best Belgium Pale Ales. I can,t believe i'm giving this an A+, but it is fully deserved. (465 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich complex and long brew, quite the surprise.

Presentation: 33ml brown capped bottle. Romboid label with a burgundy and light cream design presided by the emblem of the ostrich with a boat in the horizon. Notes main characteristics, and 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Hazy amber pour, towering frothy head, great retention, rich creamy surface memory with strong lacing. A looker to remember...

S - Good nose with citric hoppy touches and caramel, hint of earthy funk...

T - Rich step up from the nose… Long and complex bitterness, grapefruit, touches of grass… tied to caramel and touches of toffee as it finishes. Hints of small earthy funk mid palate with a nice fruity touch.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation, rides nicely with the bitterness leading to a smooth and softy creamy finish.

O - Great experience, extraordinary range and appearance.

Notes: Took me by surprise, this one is complex and pleasing on all sides. A tad too pricey but not too much from this Dutch importer. Thank you Toño for the recommendation and treat. (Their dark BSA is good but another beast altogether. Right now this one is the winner with a difference.) (1,175 characters)

Photo of marc77
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy tangerine hue, topped by a tremendously thick, foamy and mountainous head that recedes too slowly considering my impatience. Sweet peachy aroma w/ fruity red licorice notes accompanied by a subdued tartness and yeast mustiness. Phenol is present at a trace. Complex and enticing aromawise. The flavor is a combination of tart green apple, candied fruit, honey sweetness and a hint of breadiness. Black pepper spice asserts itself as well and provides the dominant contrast to the sugary malt sweetness, since hop bitterness is kept to a minimum. Well carbonated and well attenuated, with a fairly dry mouthfeel. Finishes surprisingly abrupt, w/ both alcohol spice and warmth quickly fading. Columbus is quite a complex brew, with fruity flavors stronger than the norm for a Belgian Pale Strong. It's reminescent of Orval, albeit with less hop bitterness, a smoother overall flavor and stronger alcohol presence. I wish I had more than one bottle at hand. (968 characters)

Photo of cypressbob
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled, poured into a delirium tremens glass

Pours with a dark yellow body, some hints of orange peeking through, cloudy. Smooth and creamy off white head, really great retention

Smell, instantly theres a whiff of a fresh mash, bit of yeast, some fresh fruit, little bit of citrus on the nose

Taste, amazing sweet, crisp and bitter, all in one. There is a huge whack of spices, cumin especially, some clove too. very well balanced, buttery on the finish, exceptionally smooth. Dry lingering on the finish, some nice tart hoppy bitterness too

I didnt think a dutch brewery could produce a belgian style this well, great bottled but on tap at the brewery is where its at (681 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a bottle of this at the Cafe Wildeman in central Amsterdam. I've seen this back home periodically, always meaning to try it. What better place than in the city of its birth?

The appearance was great, murky brown color, very hazy, with a huge white head. I had to pour several times, the head just threatened to get out of hand. I saw some floaters in there, maybe yeasties but I'm not sure. I like floating particles of flavor in my Belgian beers (even my Dutch "Belgians"). The aroma was so good, I'm not sure how to get it across in description. There were many fruity smells competing, somewhat of a trailmix of dried fruits (maybe that's not accurate enough). It was very estery, extremely inviting if you like the esters of St Bernardus or Westvleteren or the like. The flavor was fruity but include a fresh-baked bread as well, so good. This was complex and tasty, and I'm definitely buying a few bottles next time I see it on the shelves at home. (963 characters)

Photo of pleasewearpants
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very hazy burnt orange color. Tight beige head that hangs around for the entire time. Some nice lacing down the sides.
Immediate first thought on aroma is martinelli's apple juice and light citrus. Awesome! Slight yeasty notes as the beer warms up.
Flavor is very complex. Sweet to bitter to light grain back to bitter. Not hot at all for being 9%. I'd really like to sit outside and drink this from a big goblet. Great carbonation too. (438 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage bottle (Best by 05/02) Purchased by my friend, a former employee of the foodery who sometimes gets chances at various vintage brews for a cheap price. This one was a real winner. Best by May 02' my arse! Poured into a wide-mouthed California crystal wine glass (I'm really beginning to love these glasses for almost all beer styles, and especially Belgians) Dark glowing orange, a bit muddy, but with nice thick off-white head, that leaves some nice lacing patterns as well. Carbonation is thick, with big bubbles getting caught in the sludgy sediment on their way up to the top of the glass. Aromas are funky, some carboard and definate signs of ocidation, but almost in a good way, this brew begins to assert some wild yeast character even though no wild yeasts were used. Very wet, hay-like and bretty in the aroma, almost like a 2 year old Orval. Sweet. So yeah some lambicy notes, and some lactic sour tart, but nothing over the top, sometimes oxidation improves a beers character, this is definately one of those cases. Taste is barnyard and funkiness. Wet hay, and some oats, as well as spicy/zesty Belgian yeast flares, and some soggy hops, also some herbal tea and spice hints as well. Mouthfeel is creamy, and coating, almost too much with all of the yeast floaties, but still doable, and fine. Not bad at all. Drinkability is good as well, but towards the end of the glass some bad over-aging notes begin to intrude on the orval funk fest this vintage bottle started out as. Overall a funky, past-its-prime-but-oh-so-good sample of one of my favorite Dutch beers. This 5-6 year old bottle is much better than fresh bottles, but I have to give a fresh draft sample procured in Amsterdam the nod as the best though. Good stuff. (1,744 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at the brewery - wasnt, sure of the style at the time but guessed correctly after tasting

appearance: bright golden body, sparkling in the sunlight, foamy white cap and an overall nice looking brew

smell: sweet peaches, passion fruit, fruity esters, belgian spices, white pepper, corriander

taste: Columbus is a nice strong belgian pale ale. The overall flavor profile is on the sweet end with an emphasis on peaches, passion fruit, white grape, and apricot. Spices play a secondary role but hints of corriander and white pepper are noted

mouthfeel: medium body, slightly boozy, spritzy feeling

drinkability: good (625 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Classic Brouwerij ’t IJ 33cl brown glass bottle with its understated diamond shaped label. Dark red background with a white border and the familiar Ostrich in the desert affront a silhouette of a Windmill. Listed at 9% Vol., Cat.S., with a nicked on label Best Before Date of 3-05. Bottle Conditioned.

Appearance: Huge massive and very impressive white head which screams Tripel-tastic. Hazy orange peach body that has a funky with some streamers and very small yeast floaties which do not detract at all. Supreme lacing as the brew drops in my Duvel Glass and leaves a thick spiderweb pattern all over the sides. Nice conditioning, smooth swirls reinstate the head and

Nose: Yet again another fantastic nose from the ‘t IJ family of Ales. This time it is of dried fruits, apricots, prunes and other fruits including apples and pears. Some alcohol in the nose but it is fruity.

Taste: Immensely fruity Tripel-like body, tart and sharp fruits punctuate the body of this masterful brew, hoppy and bitter in the back end. Spicy and zesty it has all the acidic charm of a young nectarine with a tangerine fruity middle. The alcohol is well hidden but its there supporting this brew.

Mouthfeel: Another bloody brilliant brew from the Ostrich pluckers. Can this really be 9%?? It doesn’t feel like it at all. Impressive feel from this Tangy Tasty Tripel.

Drinkability: A fruity Tripel that is bitter and yet complex to a certain extent which adds mystique and some intrigue, it reminded me of a few other Belgium brews that I have had, including a well known Trappiste.

Overall: A superb juicy brew that begs to be imbibed and another winner from the Amsterdam based Waterfront Windmill Proeflokaal. Highly Recommended. (1,750 characters)

Photo of beersabound
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy Head!! This did not gush but the head grew out of the bottle even after I poured a couple of ounces out. the head is moussy and ain't going anywhere. The aroma is rather cirtusy (esters and hops) with some slightly sour notes. The color is gold/orange and the carbonation is very high. With the hyper carbonation and sour notes I wonder if this is slightly infected. Even if it is it works and is lovely. The body is light/medium and I mostly get some head when I take a drink with a some sourness on the side of my tongue. (Hehe I wrote head.) Since i am a huge tripel and geueze fan this beer is right up my alley. The flavor is citrusy, with a little sweetness, some sourness and the hop flavor and bitterness comes out in the finish and swallow. I'd be interested to taste a fresh but this bottle was good for my tastes. This bottle does not well represent the belgian pale style though. (896 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a hazy orange/yellow body with a huge thick white head.

Nose was dominated by a fruity sour belgian yeast. Ripe golden fruits, apricots, pears, golden raisins, peaches, grapefruit and slight nips of spices.

Taste is medium bodied with a big level of carbonation. Lots of sour yeast taste, golden ripe fruits, rotting citrus peel and a surprisingly strong hop bitterness and big earthy hop taste. Alcohol is very apparent in this beer and really adds tons of warmth right up front and in to the finish. Very tart and dry with a strong lambic type sourness. Touches of clove and other spices sit against the hops. Ends with a long dry alcohol sour bitterness.

What an interesting beer. Classic belgian pale/triple with a little natural lambic note and some nice hops backbone. Very nice, makes me miss Amsterdam. (837 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murkiness commands the look of this brew, cast in an amber hue, nestled under a neat, creamy head.
Aroma: soft and lightly citric, spritz of spice. prodigious yeast.
Yum....big citric bite, lush yeast, nice huge hoppiness...pleasing on the palate, quite tasty...some of those Dutch can make a nice Belgian, can't they?
Creamy, tasty mouthfeel, wonderful tang on it, exceptionally smooth, rewarding and worth the drinking.
Worth the coin, however? I paid nearly $5 for this bottle..despite it's goodness, I probably won't again. (532 characters)

Photo of stouty1
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured very nice with a huge foamy head that left to give a nice thin lace around the glass. The nose was a fruity sense with a hint of green from a the plant. Yes, I could actually smell it, like fresh cut grass. The orangeness of the color leaves me to believe that this is going to taste very fruity.
A nice fizzy feeling in mouth leaves a tingling feeling that evolves into a nice dryness to savor. This beer has the hint of a citrus drink with a nice alcohol feeling. This will definitely be on my list to return to. (532 characters)

Photo of Fizzlybear
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - Pours a misty copper colour with lots of sediment and lacing. So much sediment it ruined the look slightly.

S - The main smells of this beer is of sweet honey and orange zest.

T - The initial taste it very herby and malty that turns into a sweet citrus flavour (mainly lemons and oranges)

M&D - The drink is a good consistency with slight smoothness and the right amount of carbonation. For 9% an easy drink.

Overall a good flavoured beer that pours a good colour but the amount of sediment lets it down in the looks department. (536 characters)

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Standard 11.2 oz bottle as described by others, the labelled is nicked with 5/02 (and this is 3/05 at review time, so I hope that means when the beer was created. So this beer is at least 3 years old, maybe much older if it is a best-by date (not sure which it is). Purchased at Lee's Discount Liquor in Las Vegas on my last road trip.

Pours into my Duvel glass dark orange/apricot, with a moderate head that quickly dies down, leaving no lace to speak of. Surprising. Left a bunch in the bottle with a fair amount of sediment included. Looks rich and syrupy.

I could barely look at this baby for the review because of the huge fruity aroma that slapped me upside the head while I was still pouring it. I had to stop what I was doing and "just breathe" (as they say in yoga class). It's a dirty job, but someone has to smell this wonderful, delicious, sweet, fruity aroma of Brach's Orange Slice candies (remember those from childhood?) at a distance, and rich, apricot and peaches when I stick my nose into the tulip. Marvelous!

But what does it taste like? I have to let it warm a minute. But here it is- very rich, very full (I know, that's more mouthfeel than taste), very alcoholic. Fruity, but not sweet as in the aroma- deeper, darker fruit, add some plums to the mix, but boy, the alcohol profile is the dominant note, and it really bring the rating down in my book. Maybe it should warm a little more. As it warms, the alcohol profile dies a little, but is still the dominant characteristic. Rich fruit, and a light-moderate peppery-spice profile sits behind. Reminds me in some ways of De Dolle Stille Nacht, if you've had that one. Not as spicy or syrupy, but in the same ballpark. After adding the yeast (very dark and cloudy), the spiciness level increased dramatically.

Overall a nice beer to enjoy, but is generally to strong and overpowering for me to want more than on rare occasion. (1,912 characters)

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Columbus from Brouwerij 't IJ
87 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.