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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 emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean pour in to a Duvel tulip, it was bright golden orange save for a few random suspended bits. Giant sticky head, ala Orval or Duvel. A little gunsmoke once the cap came off, and the odd smell of warm corn tortillas. Very yeasty now, a candy-like shortbread cookie dominates the aroma. Brett is present, some wet hay and vegetal flavors in the aftertaste. Soapy, sticky foam that lasts for a good 20 minutes. Fruity, medicinal flavors, this bottle obviously cellared long enough for the Brett to come out. Some dried currant and apricot notes, clover, grass, and honey/maple syrup.

Seems almost like an aged Tripel at this point. A little odd, I remember it being sweeter and richer than this. Oh well that's what I get for cellaring it for a year+

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Photo of tbeckett
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Cafe Belgique in Amsterdam. From notes on the street.

A - Poured a hazy dark copper with no visible carbonation. Crazy ice cream scoop head was white. Good lacing and retention with that ice cream scoop.

S - Really nice fruity hop notes and fruity yeasty esters with a hint of booze and sweet spice.

T - Great juicy hops. Yeast esters to compliment. Strong juicy hops come like grapefruit. Not malty enough to balance but it's still nice and refreshing.

M - Strong carbonation and a medium to light body with a strong bitter finish.

O/D - This may as well be a Double IPA. The malt character is more akin to a Belgian Ale but the hop character of this is quite strong and would hold it's own with some of the better IIPAs. Good beer.

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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 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 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 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 wl0307
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BB 20/06/09, served lightly-chilled in Tripel Karmeliet's branded long-stemmed, tulip-shaped goblet.

A: a lightly cloudy, bright dark orangey amber hue comes with semi-lively fine fizz and a very tight and frothy off-white head that lasts really well throughout the drink.
S: the major theme of sweet orangey fruits, old grapefruit peels, old leather and brown-sugary malts is backed by an assertive but not OTT musty&rusty yeastiness along with its spicy edge reminiscent of cloves, cardamom, and a wee bit of white pepper. Pleasant indeed!
T: medium-bodied, spicy yeasty, sour-sweet fruity and bready malty from the beginning, consisting of a zesty edge of hops, dried spiced-olives, dried hawthorn fruits, sweet fat pale prunes, a relatively light input of candy-ish malts and overripe banana-esters; smoothly, giving way to an enticing aftertaste full of spicy-yeasty and musty notes, chewy, leather-ish, and quite pleasantly so. The finish is pretty dry (due to the yeastiness!), partly elevating the weight of this 9%abv. For this style of beer, the mustiness might have come slightly over the average, but, by 't IJ's standard, the yeastiness here is not too messy at all.
M&D: lightly spritzy but not overly carbonated for the flavour, which is moderate in complexity and yet still very tasty. By the level of mustiness, this ale at times tastes even like the farmhouse ale such as a Saison; regardless of the style, however, it proves a lovely drinkable one that outshines many other 't IJ's bottled beers which simply are "polluted" by overwhelming yeast notes and taste, the same elements working miraculously well in this bottle!

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

this bottle was brought from amsterdam and poured into a duvel tulip.
pours a hazy orange/copper/amber with a big white head and ample lacing. the smell is loaded with citrus, coconut, and malt..odd but it works. spices and malt dominate up front with apricot and lemon bringing up the rear. it's funky but balanced with a slightly sour mouthfeel. best of all, it's incredibly delicious without a trace of its 9% abv. where they hid it, i have no idea. so good to see some fine ale being brewed in holland.

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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 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 thepeter
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can't find a BB date on the bottle but it was on a discount rack at a beer store and the cap had some rust on the top and yeast on the inside. I am guessing that this one has been around at least a couple of years

A- Pours a hazy brown to orange with a very fluffy cloud like head. The Lacing it leaves is more like puffs of foam on the side of the glass.

S- Citrus, Yeast, Brett (a bit of an Orval scent), sugar and a whiff of booze.

T -Bitter hops, citrus peels with the white part adding to the bitterness, yeast, spices some pepper and maybe coriander, again I get a bit of brett that I relate to an Orval, which is not a bad thing.

M&D- Very light on the tongue, almost fluffy. Carbonation was moderate but body was a bit light. Almost floated in my mouth and down to my belly.

I loved this one fresh when I had it at the brewery in Amsterdam, but for the £1 I paid, it was certainly worth it.

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Photo of metter98
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Brouwerij 't Ij, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A: The beer is hazy amber yellow in color. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of pale malts are present in the nose along with some hints of spices and floral hops.
T: The taste has flavors of pale malts and some hints of malty sweetness along with a light amount of bitterness. Some hints of alcohol are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems a little heavier mouthfeel compared to other beers in the style and is definitely a sipper given its alcohol content.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At The Old Nickel, Amsterdam.

Pours murky amber gold with lacy solid white cap of froth. Sour cherry jam and deep hops on the nose. Gooseberry jam malts, green apple esters, then bright lime and nettle tea stewed hops. Crisp, light to medium, some chew, no heat.

Interesting hops but low IBUs. Taste does not follow nose. Solid, but not as hoppy as the name might suggest.

2nd tasting on draft at the brewery, 30.VII.13 - Puffy lacey head over dark amber, a soapy nose that makes we wonder about the house yeast, caramel and a big lemon sorbet C hop hit, with a medium, smooth, very chewy body.
Solid malt backbone, with smooth even bitterness. Not the hoppiest beer from a hoppy brewery, I've had European-made barleywines with less presence.

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