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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: 135
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 16.58%
Wants: 8
Gots: 12 | 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: 135
Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bottle brought back from Amsterdam. Pours a hazy orange-amber with a white head and lacing.

Clearly, at 9% this is a strong pale ale, but whatever. I also get a strong funky/sour lemon flavor that not all reviews mention. I wonder if this beer is like Orval and becomes a lambic with time. The woody, herbal yeast character and citrus really dominate with a slight earthy, peppery bitterness at the end followed by a long aftertaste and return to the citrus. For 9% and being a sour beer, it's very drinkable. I, however, hope someone resolves what kind of beer this is.

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Photo of baggio
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


A: Hazy red/brown with a thick white head. Some bits of yeast flowing around.

S: Lots of fruit, Yeast, Spices, Wee hint of alcohol.

T: Spices (among them pepper and coriander), Apricot, Citric notes, Caramel, Figs.

M: Sweet and fullbodied with lots of carbonation. Nice sweetness and some faint bitterness at the end to make it a more balanced brew.

This beer was recommended to me by the owner of the Cracked kettle beershop in amsterdam. Very belgian in character and a good one at that. A solid effort!

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Photo of mhewes
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A : Pours a nice hazy golden color with a good white head that leaves some nice lacing behind. Some floaties also.

S : Lots of fruit aromas, couldn't really pick out any specific ones. Some yeast notes also

T : Sweet malt flavors along with fruit notes. Some good spice flavor like coriander, cinnamon.

M : Medium-bodied, good carbonation

D : This one was really easy to drink. I didn't really think of it as a Belgian Pale Ale though.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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

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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 Onslow
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

outta ye ole bottle...if you like golden ales that make you float, float with Columbus. looks nice but tastes better. honey and all that greet the taste buds. i'm all for it!

pours a light golden yellow..

..foam is all that and a bag of chips...

..one of the t'IJ's hidden secrets..

..save this for the end of the night...

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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 sfreshnock
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at "Cafe Golem" Amsterdam out of a 33cl Bottle.

Pours a hazy burnt orange with ample head that slowly drops to about an inch. Aroma of baked apples and caramel. The initial taste of bitter hops on the tip of your tongue and then washed over by a fruity sweetness the rest of the way. Tastes of plums and baked apples. Heavy carbonation lingers in your mouth like sparkling water or sprite. The 9% alcohol is well masked, combined with the heavy carbonation makes me want to drink this faster than I should. Of all the Amsterdam brewed ales I tried this one is tops. Too bad I could not find this one in any of the bottle shops.

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Photo of taez555
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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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 albern
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a huge frothy head that does linger. It doesn't just lace, it leaves billows on the side of the glass. It pours an orange, cloudy color with some yeasty bits floating around. There is plenty of unfiltered dark yeast as you pour out the bottom of the bottle. The smell is apricot and yeast, with some noticeable alcohol as well. The taste is very good. This is a medium to full bodied, citrus, tangy, ale with quite substantial yeast flavorings. This is also a strong beer at 9 ABV, and you will taste the warming alcohol, but the flowery flavors do a nice job of masking the alcohol to a point. You can taste the alcohol more on the back end and in the after taste as well. This is a well carbonated beer, quite substantial, very fruity as it warms a bit. This is listed as a Belgian Pale ... maybe. It has more the characteristics of a full bodied trippel, than it does an Abbey style pale or blond ale. Certainly the alcohol content puts it in league with the Trippels. You can't go wrong here. L'Chaim

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Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

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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 DarrellK
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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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 Shovelbum
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a massive rocky cream colored head that rises up out of tulip, but maintains its structural integrity until it slowly recedes back into its amber tinted amber body. Huge amount of honeycomb-like lace left clinging to the glass. Fairly hazy. Aromas of apricot and straw rise from my glass before it’s even been raised. Upon closer olfactory inspection there’s a big lemony tart aroma along with more mild level of pepper spice. The taste is similarly tart up front and toward the finish, but in the middle a nice biscuit character comes through. A bit of a mineral/ saltine cracker character comes through as it warms and a the tartness becomes more hay-like than citric. A nice spicy bitterness is present throughout. Well-carbonated and as a result it has a very light mouthfeel and the 9% ABV seems like a gross exaggeration.

The tartness walks up to the edge of excess, but exercises restraint at the last second. This ale definitely improves and mellows out as it warms. The tartness complements the other flavors rather than overpowers them and you can begin to pick up more of the malt character. Still this ale has some serious Belgian funk going on!

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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 patto1ro
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of beersabound
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of stouty1
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My sample was undeniably sour and possibly infected, because after looking at other ratings, I am convinced something was wrong with mine. But notice the score. I liked it, a lot. Orange color with a monstrous rocky head. Orval-like nose, with fresh fruits and flowers, along with an enormous funky horseblanket whiff. Oily and slick texture, with an alcoholic edge. Leathery yeast about, with horseblanket and light fruits galore. While Orval is bone dry, this is very sweet, but, at least my sample, was very Orval-like. And since I love Orval, I thought this was quite nice.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.17/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
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.

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Photo of putnam
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Papery brown colored with an orange tint. Off white, resilient foam. The aromas are of spicy, clove-studded oranges, pine and sour grass. The flavors are boozy and sharp with a dizzying array of fruit and vegetable salad. Powdered resin bitterness, radish flavors and saccharine sweetness negotiate the mid-palate. Not exactly easy to drink, but fascinating.

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