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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 cypressbob
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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

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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 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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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 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 feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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

Orange color. A lot of unidentified floating objects. Good foam, brownish, abundant and persistent. Very creamy.
At the nose ripe fruit (melon, citrus fruit, orange, citron). And white flowers, light. Lightly spiced too (pink pepper?).
Fruity taste, citrus, with citrus fruit, and citron, Very smooth and velveted. Sweet and spiced. Soft.
Spiced (pepper). At the same time, delicate and full.
The mouthfeel sensation is very creamy, velveted, textured. Medium-high body.
Aftertaste on the same line, but more spiced (pepper).

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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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 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 anders36
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drink this beer 7 months after best before date. It pours a golden orange colour into the glass. The beer is a bit cloudy too with rests of yeasts. Pours a large white head that disappears quickly. The smell is fruity and a sweet smell of the belgian yeast too. It has a little sweet taste and malty. Hints of fruit in the taste too.
The aftertaste is rich and abit thick. So this is not an easy drinking beer. The aftertaste is good and warming from the alcohol and has a nice bitterness. This is a good beer, but i think 9 % is a bit to high in alcohole. Atleast for me.

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

The beer poured deep golden with an amber hue and a slight haze and a few chunks. The head was white and tall at first and then fell like a rock leaving wisps at the edge of the surface and lace on the chalice.

The aroma was spicy and fruity with a belgian yeast character. The fruitiness was comprised of a floral hoppiness and an earthy aroma in the background.

The flavor was crisp and spicy with a dark fruit flavor of raisins that is well done but not what you generally find in a belgian pale ale, more of a belgian dark ale or a strong dark ale without the deep color. The flavor was complex with enough hop presence in the bittering to keep the malty raisin and caramel flavors in check.

The finish was dry with raisins and caramel lasting and then alcohol warming follow. The body was medium and well done.

50 cl bottle. Notches at 5 and 02.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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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 Bierman9
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was round 2 at 't IJ.... Columbus has a rich, medium copper/mahogany tinge, is a smidge opaque, and a creamy (!) tan head with top-shelf lace. Mild nose with some sweetness like caramel. Verrry nice feel on the tongue, plus medium body (almost more-so...). Very caramelly and toffee-ish flavor that dominates and really sticks to the palate! Didn't get any discernible hop notes, though. I asked the 'tender what style this was... he said it had no real style, just an ale that the brewers decided to "wing it" on. I wouldn't put into the Belgian Pale bin, but.... Regardless, it went down verry well (had 2 more after trying a 3rd bier, Zatte). Yummy!

overall: 4.05
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a flakey, hazy, copper color with a thick light tan head. Aromas of pear and spices waft from my glass. I pick up odoriferous notes of clove, cinnamon, wet hay, and a really weird funky-musty-earthy aroma. The taste is lightly fruity up front and finishes with an earthy-spicy note. This is an interesting beer, quite malty with notes of caramel, biscuits, toasted malt, and malt extract. A good balance of competing flavors.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy light orange/amber color with lots of yeasties and a big sticky off white head. Lots of carbonation.
Aroma is sweet and tart ripe fruits with some spices in the backround.
Flavor is sweet with some tart fruit and malt notes.
Mouthfeel becomes very tart, almost puckering as it finishes. Light sweetness makes tart flavors bearable and yeast cuts further.
Drinkability is pretty hgh, I've gained alot of respect for this brewery as I've cycled through majority of their beers.

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Photo of moulefrite
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nothing like I've ever had, this is a very different animal. It pours a deep, hazy, speckled, orange/amber color. A soft layer of creamy foam sits atop this thick brew, and leaves a good deal of lace that does not move. Aromas are at once very hop driven. some herbal elements come through as well. A soft, perfumed malt fruitiness hides way back on the nose. This is a very strong, strong pale ale, and one to be respected, especially as it hides its alcohol well. The mouthfeel is very rich, round and assertive offering hop lovers a sweetly bitter, green bud tasting beer, that also features a fairly large malt profile, that kind of sends it over the top as far as drinkability is concerned. Make this one of your last brews of your session.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
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!

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Photo of nathi
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale orange and cloudy, very thick white head.

Mild, spicy, and piney aroma with good complex malt. Not real strong, but pleasant. Good esters, but not real dominante, more spicy.

Thick malt flavor, kinda syrupy. Very spicy, with a stong pine character. Good hop bitterness helps balance the thick raw malt flavor. High carbonaton also helps. A very interesting beer, maybe not a favorite, but good. The interesting spice character and the hop balance make it pretty enjoyable...but one is enough.

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Photo of marc77
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of John
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

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