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Columbus - Brouwerij 't IJ

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

74 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 136
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 16.58%
Wants: 8
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij 't IJ visit their website

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: 136
Photo of paterlodie
1.93/5  rDev -50%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

BB 8-05. Good presentation with lasting head and coppercolored beer. Negative is the meatbals floating in the beer witch was resting in my fridge for over a week and had a carefull poorout. Nose is not clean having remains in flavour of lots of different species of wildyeasts giving it an unfresh bretty nose. This just stinks. Taste is very tard, rough and unbalanced.Quiet some sourness and a hanging bitterness makes this one to a poorout after couple of sips.

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Photo of schuim
2.09/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The beer has an orange colour and a big flow of co2 that couses a big head. The aroma is orangepeel,yeast and sour.

In taste the yeast and sourness is strong together with a warming effect of the alcohol. It turns slight bitter toward the end.

In my opinion the beer is brewed with unhappy yeast, it dominates the flavour in an unpleasant way.
to bad this used to be a great beer. Will try again later.

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Photo of BarryNL
2.7/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Nice amber orange colour with lacy white head. Unfortunately the beer is full of floating crap - it looks at lot like they hopped this one with pellets and didn't even try to get the junk out afterwards. Not really appropriate to a commercial beer.

S: It's difficult to detect much except the overpowering lambic sourness. There's some earthy yeastiness in there but otherwise it's just sour.

T: Some hops, but mostly just sourness.

M: Good, mouthfeel, appropriate to the gravity - perhaps a little too carbonated.

D: Nah. Next.

This bottle had six months to go on the best before date so I'm guessing it's about 18 months old. Maybe a newer one would have a lower level of sourness and be more drinkable but this one is too one dimensional. I've tried four beers now from this brewery and they all have pretty much the same distinctive overpowering sour flavour - in a blind tasting I'm not even sure I could tell one from the other. Only the Struis was a winner - maybe it was fresher. If I come across a recent bottle of this I might give it another chance, but otherwise I don't think I'll bother with any more beers from 't IJ.

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Photo of Sammy
2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It was skunked. I received it in July , I think from Malto, and did not consume it until September. But a bottle condition smelling like late day barn? Hold your nose, and everything else is a bit above average. If there are lingonberries there, that sure assisted the smell. Orange color and orange-citrus fruit, foaming and decent yeast, malty and strong carbonation.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The liquid is an opaque dark amber/brown with visible carbonation. The pour kicks up a huge off-white head that fades fairly quickly to a nice cap and leaves beautiful lace.

Aroma is insane dark fruit - mega plums and raisins. It also smells almost jarringly meaty... There are a bunch of other little smells going on underneath that I can't totally identify... there's a kind of earthiness, a hint of mustiness, and maybe just a bit of citrus too, among other things...

Flavor is very similar - lots of plums and raisins backed by an intense earthiness... tasting like beets or even mushrooms. Very strange - this is a flavor I've never gotten from a beer before. The slight mustiness is also present on the palate. The finish is mildly bitter, and a hint of citrusy hops flares up right on the swallow. The aftertaste is fruity and earthy... like beet juice.

Mouthfeel is amazingly pillowy-soft. The body is medium-to-heavy and there's a high amount of incredibly soft carbonation. Super silky, thick, and wonderful.

Overall, I'm not really sure what to think of it... the fruit flavors are really nice, but the beet flavors are pretty odd... Still, it's a very unique beer, and I think it's well pulled-off. I'm just not sure if it's something I'll necessarily want to seek out again. For what it's worth, I'm really not a big fan of beets.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is yet another 't IJ beer that is disappointing. On tap this beer is wonderful and gets higher rankings. Like all their beers this one seems to be infected.

Appearance is a murky brown color with a 1 inch creamy head that stays on the beer for the rest of the glass.

Smell is sour, like lactic acid. A little less than the Struis I recently had, but still quite obvious. The beer is also fruity, they ferment at higher temperatures and this typical for 't IJ. Together with the fruit and the sourness it smells like melon and pine-apple.

Taste is sour with the lactic acid again. Less acidic and less bitter than the Struis. There is some caramel hidden behind the acidity. Mouthfeel is medium, it is kind of sticky and somewhat sweet.

The tap version is much better, but although the acidity is non-intentional, it sort of fits the beer, but does not get the best of ratings.

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Photo of benfons
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: hazy amber colour, dense thick head, a lot of lacing

S: yeast, grassy malts, hints of raspberry and lime

T: loads of malts and yeast, bitter finish, not much there

M: medium body, not dry for a beer with this bitterness

O: not an impressive beer, not bad, but just not much there

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Photo of RedBaron
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well, I'm not sure what to make of this beer. Interesting, yes. Odd, too. The bottle has a 'drink best by' March, 2005.

Appearance: Cloudy, hazy copper. Small yeast run-off particles settled on the bottom. Head off-white and sustaining.
Smell: Phenolic, fruity (apples, berries); not much by way of aromatic hops.
Taste: Complex, yet...Kind of homebrew-ish, extract-y, band aid-y. However, good yeast culture is evident by the residual sugars left of the palette, and I'm thinking that certain fruits (apricot?) may have been used, too. Bubbelgummy finish. Do I detect a slight gin component in this beer?
Mouthfeel: No real bitterness upfront; sweet and phenolic; slight bitter finish, with an appreciative dry quality.
Drinkability: This beer may actually have a slight infection to it. I'm sure the brewer took care with this, but sometimes trans-Atlantic travel isn't so good for certain brews. Still, considering the complexity of this beer, the shortcomings I felt overall are outweighed by the creativeness and work that must've went in to producing this beer. I'd like to try one of these on their home turf in Holland.

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Photo of yen157
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber body topped with lasting off white head. Sweet, dusty nose with notes of apricot and old coriander. Actually, this is not too dissimilar to the Heavyweight Lunacy Grand Cru. Beer is sweet in the mouth as the aroma would suggest, but this is quickly put into check by a quick tartness and lingering spice and bitterness one two punch. The malt is a little tired and moderately oxidized; truthfully, this is where my comparison to the Heavyweight beer and the came from. Body is fairly light given the sweetness, and carbonation is fine, yet relentless. The prickly carbonation seems to enhance the bitterness.

My bottle is notched “01” , so it’s probably pretty old. I’d like to get my hands on a fresh one and give it a spin.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours warm amber with a really tall white compact head that takes some time to dissipate into rather nice lacings.

S: Kind of artificial, dry bitter hops. Spices and some sour malt. Green apples.

T: Sour and a bit bitter. Malt is dry. Spicy, peppers. Yeast. Green apples and bitter orange sezt.

M: Sour long aftertaste. Body is smooth and medium, but very creamy, almost buttery. Low carbonation.

O: Very uneven. In some parts - great, in others - not so much. The good parts make me think of a Biere de Garde, rather than an Belgian Pale Ale.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from a trade with absumaster, thanks again for the chance to try these varied dutch beers.

pours dirty-orange (cloudly, some sediment got in) with a decent light-tan head.

Nose is notably sour, verging on unpleasant. not sure what the deal is there. actually reminds me of some types of sour bread.

Oddly sour, bitter front end on the taste, I am not sure but there feels to have a notable malt presence as well. Harsh, but not unpleasant overall. Definitely unusual.

finishes mildly bitter, still hints of the sourness in the mouth.

odd but pleasant beer, the alcohol is not visible in the taste.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling this bottle with Stopper. the beer is at cellar temp and poured into a snifter. Pours a slightly cloudy mahogany with a fizzy thin surface layer of beige head that hangs out throughout the sampling. Popping the cap releases heavy fruit aromas immediately. Aroma is pretty strong with heavy banana and green apple, lots of general funk and a little bit of boozy alcohol, and some phenolic scents too (yuk) on the last part. First sip is average to lite body with fine tingly carb. Flavor is surprisingly mild with some fruit (grapes and pears) a bit of tartness comes through but overall the flavor is disappointing for its lack of punch that the nose promised. The beer doesnt linger at all and is almost forgettable after each sip. Pretty solid up until my tastebuds started judging.

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Photo of dherling
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured skillfully into my chalice, looking cloudy with an orange brown hue. Crowned with a thick foamy off white ehad that never died. Seriously, I nursed this beer for 30 minutes, and there was still head there. I think the ehad interfered with taking proper notes on the nose, all I could get was a feint apricot. When I tasted this, I got malt, yeast, strawberry, apricot, and some hop bitterness on the end. This had a big lingering finish with a prickly mouthfeel. Even straight tot he end, this beer foamed up in my mouth. the taste was big, but balanced, and you didn't get alcohol notice the alcohol at all.

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Photo of sfprint
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

exp 4/12
A: amber/red, suspended bits of sediment, even 3 finger head, little rising carbonation.
S: phenols blended well with the rest, very nostril dilating, plum/apricot jam.
T: Alcohol is more promenant than the phenols in the taste, but the alcohol sits pretty well for the percentage, but the alcohol/phenol action give it a somewhat tart quality. Otherwise difficult to describe. Nice. Neutral but nice flavor. Unsweet apricot. Smoke.
M: Fairly creamy, tinge astringent.
O: Decent, with some nice characteristics.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a cloudy orangish color with a thick, rocky off-white head. The aroma is yeasty, a bit herbal, spicy, and musty with a light fruitiness as well. The flavor is a bit tart and sweet, with a spicy yeast taste as well. A light fruitiness is present in the flavor too. It is a bit warming and finishes a bit bitter and very dry. An interesting brew.

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Photo of ccrida
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle in the brewery flute (ironic that a Dutch brewery wouldn't use a tulip glass!) at Aran Pub in Amsterdam. Hazy burnt gold with a white head that leaves scattered, sticky lace.

Smell is fruity esters, marzipan.

Taste is similar, pretty standard BSDA taste with Amber malt sugars and banana esters.

Mouthful is sticky, medium bodied.

Drinkability is fine, a robust beer, smooth for the size, some complexity.

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Photo of janubio
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 ml. bottle. Hazy brown colour, with a big head and a lace that seems to last forever. Smell of chocolate, vanilla, raisins, spice. Medium body, smooth palate, the beer slicks from the tongue to the throat gently. Taste of chocolate, caramel, fruits. Great.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy golden orange in color, with a thinnish, off-white creamy head. Notes of tropical fruits, spice, and hops in the nose. Flavor is quite tart, and bitter right from the start. Really, really spicy, and a bit musty. Acidic in its finish, with mild fruit flavors and not-at-all subtle alcohol flavors. Overall this is quite a strong beer, though the even carbonation yields a tingly mouthfeel that helps to lighten things a bit, and the flavors seem to blend and mellow better with warmth. Still, it's a bit much.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)

A-This beer pours a nice golden orange color with a slightly cloudy body and a strong carbonation. Even with a very gentle pour there is lot of chunks stirred up. A nice creamy off-white head. good Belguan lace the whole way through the glass.

S-This beer has a nice sweet flower aroma with hints of roses and apricots. It also has a faint tartness at the finish.

T-This beer has a very bitter intro with a sour finish. It taste almost like a lot of hop bitterness at the beginning, even though I highly doubt that flavor would be from hops. There are also some faint fruit notes and pale malt flavors at the finish. There are some strong grapefruit flavors that come through as the beer warms.

M- This beer has a full creamy mouthfeel and fizz to it.

D- This is not one of the BPA that I have tasted and it is missing a lot of the intricacies of this style. I would really like to try a bottle from a different batch to make sure this wasn't just a bum bottle.

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Photo of jlindros
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from In De Wildeman in Amsterdam.

Nice fluffy pillow 2 finger head fades slowly with tons of lacing, hazy super murky layers of sediment pond water dark orange brown color. Unfiltered.

Nose is interesting, little fruity almost citrus like, coriander and light spices, sweet candy malts, a big Belgian yeast like fruitiness, and wit like aromas.

Taste wow that's unique, a big malt profile, toasty, toasted wheat, light sweet brownish malts, caramel and Munich like malts without the toasty red malt character, maybe lots of Maris otter or something special, roasted oats?, light citrus and coriander, Belgian yeast ester profile. Semi sweet with a light booze warmth. Finish brings more booze, esters, more citrus and coriander and write sweet.
Mouth is med to fuller bodied, plenty of fluffy carb, light warming booze.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Beer bootle (33 cl.) purchased from Le Souffleur de Bières, and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : red brown color, with tan foamy head.
Smell : malty and caramel aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : malty and yeasty flavors, with a bitter finish.
Overall : a good beer in the style strong dark ale.

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Photo of jneiswender
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this beer at the brewery in Amsterdam. Served on tap, cool in small taster snifters.

A-old gold, murky topaz body and an off white head.

S-strong grain, some smoke and yeast.

T-spicy, orange/tangerine finish from the hops.

M-medium and medium carbonation

D-Very nice. Good to see something like this in Amsterdam given what is commonly found. I would drink this again.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Starts off by pouring a cloudy peach / orange color, with a sticky / rocky off- white head, with yeast particles floating around and sitting on top of the head. Tart aroma, not to crazy about it. Mouth feel is fairly smooth.
On the palate there are tart / sweet flavors, light fruitiness, slight spiciness but not much. Pretty tame brew for the high 9.1% alcohol, but very enjoyable at the same time.

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Photo of ATPete
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served at Brouwerij 't IJ in April 2008

A- Pours a cloudy orange amber color, very frothy white head.

S- Yeasty, a little bit of booze, herbs, malt

T- Strong malt character, some sweet caramel, coffee and candi sugar. A touch of bitterness closes out the sip and balances this beer.

M- Medium/heavy feel, not thick

D- Very good for a 9%'er

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Photo of Andreji
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a rather interesting beer from 't IJ and worth a second try.

Pour is a deep caramel tone with an undefined white-to-tan head. no carbonation, slightly translucid but mostly opaque.

The smell is also strong in caramel, a bit roasted at it.

The taste is what's the impressive bit really. At first, you can just define the flamboyant malt sweetness (meant in a good way), that is swiftly followed by a double transition: at first, a strong bitterness to balance the glycemic index, and thereon a subtle but delicious finale of wheat making it a 'turron' like combination. how very pleasant.

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