Tsarina Esra Reserva | Brouwerij De Molen

BA SCORE
86
very good
36 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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Tsarina Esra ReservaTsarina Esra Reserva
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Molen
Netherlands
brouwerijdemolen.nl

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Travlr on 12-23-2009

BEER STATS
Ratings:
36
Reviews:
19
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
14.54%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
6
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 19
Photo of Andrea_Netherlands
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.24/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

"barrel aged Tsarina Esra Reserva." Imperial porter-ish.

23.4 plato. EBC 385. 93 EBU. Brewed with pils malt, caramalt, Munich malt, chocolate malt, wheat, premiant and sledek hops, and top fermenting yeast (i.e. this is in all probability an ale). 11% ABV.

BOTTLE: Unlike most De Molen beers, the label is not simple black and white; it's simple back and white plus orange. Note that "barrel aged" does appear above "Tsarina Esra Reserva" on my bottle, but my understanding is that this is merely a batch with new labeling as all Tsarina Esra Reserva is oak aged. 33cl format. Brown glass. Branded black pry-off crown cap. Bottle # 1051. Purchased at Plan B in Rotterdam for 6.50 euro. Bottled 01-04/2015. Best before: 01-04-2040 (boy, De Molen sure is optimistic).

HEAD: Pours a ~2cm cap of khaki-tan colour. Somewhat creamy. Nice consistency and complexion. Pretty robust. Retention is above average given the high ABV - ~2 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque black, but not the usual ink/jet black of De Molen's imperial stouts & porters. No yeast can be seen within.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a nice looking imperial porter, sure, but there are no unique or special characteristics here. Granted, this is a tough style to stand out in...

AROMA: Whisky, wood, Madeira port/wine, dessert-like malty sweetness, faint grape, maybe raisin, a hint of sherry wine, vinous notes, indistinct dark fruit (can't quite nail down what it is - dates?), a blip of possible sourness.

Aromatic intensity is quite subdued for an imperial porter, actually. I don't even pick up on any chocolate malt or overt dark malts. Wine (port, possible Madeira) easily dominates.

No hop presence, no yeast presence, no off-notes (to style). The barrel character does seem to lend it some aromatic alcohol presence, but it suggests a warm beer, not a boozy one.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The vinous and raisiny notes lend it some unfortunate unneeded coarseness and dryness, giving it a dragging, rough, parching prresence on the palate. Way to dry, in my opinion. Certainly unrefreshing, but that's to be expected. Unlike most De Molen beers, this seems overcarbonated. Full-bodied, of course, with plenty of thickness and heft giving it a heavy presence on the palate.

Wine does dominate, but it's not as sweet as I expected, coming in somewhere between a port and a sherry (if my extremely limited wine experience is at all to be trusted, and I don't think it is). Some kind of dark fruit (possibly dates, but this still bothers me) finds its way in, but can't ring distinct with wine drowning out everything else. Even the chocolate malts are barely noticeable, and the malt sweetness gets drowned out completely by the vinous character.

Somewhat tannic, but not quite astringent. Faint notes of char do emerge as it warms.

Wheat? I find none. Hops? Nope, but that's to style. No yeast presence either.

There's no harmony of texture and taste here. The dry mouthfeel really holds this back in my opinion. More wine-like acidity wouldn't be unwelcome.

Where's the oak presence? I haven't the slightest.

Average flavour duration and intensity for the style. Subpar depth of flavour. I don't care much for this build, and I find the barrel character overwhelms the base - or maybe the base just doesn't bring enough to the table?

Alcohol warmth is welcome here. It is an imperial porter, after all. But more intricacy would help give the alcohol warmth something to serve.

OVERALL: Mouthfeel is flat-out wrong for the style...an imperial porter should be smooth and wet, and this is more dry than the roastiest imperial stout out there. It's a sipper, sure, but the complexity and subtlety you'd expect in a world class imperial porter never emerges. It comes off rather simple for an imperial porter, and that's disappointing coming from a brewery as accomplished as De Molen. The vinous character needs to go, this needs an oak presence (with accompanying vanilla), and the malt backbone is quite weak.

I like that it puts the "port" in "porter," but the base beer really needs to offer more.

There are De Molen beers I adore, and I was prepared to adore this one. But the execution just isn't there. This emperor has clothes, sure - but only tidy whities and socks; put something more on, I beg you.

Not worth the 6.50 euro.

High C+ (3.24) / ABOVE AVERAGE

 4,387 characters

Photo of peensteen
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown body with a soapy, lasting, beige head. Smoke, char, burnt malt, bourbon, alcohol heat. Smoke and char with burned wood and rich bourbon. Mild sweetness with a light tannic note. While the char character is incredibly forward, I still really enjoy this quite a lot, in spite of the imbalance. Distinctly European in style. Nice.

 339 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.11/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this one at the De Molen beer shop in Bodegraven. Out of the first batch so was happy to see them do this it over again.

From a bottle into a snifter
Batch #2
Bottle # 649
EBC: 385
EBU: 93
Bottled 1 April 2015
Best before 1 April 20140

APPEARANCE: A dark brown pour yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, creamy tan head with great retention. Black body with no real carbonation evident. Head fades to a full swirly and bubbly wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains with only touches of lacing down the glass. Pretty good looking.

SMELL: Lots of oak, vanilla, wood, sweet cream, bourbon, and a bit of piercing alcohol. A bit solvent-like, unfortunately. Lots of good stuff going on, but that's a bit of a let down.

TASTE: Oak, tannins, lots of wood, cream and alcohol at the swallow. Milder but lingering finish of bourbon, oak, wood, some sweet cream and caramel sweetness. Tannins are there as well. Not overly bold or impressive but easy to drink.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little fizzy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a but mouth-coating. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: This is probably indicative of De Molen now. This is alright, but is not as impressive, forthcoming or interesting as the first batch. I hate to say it, but this seems to be rather common with a lot of their barrel aged brews now. I'm not sure if the base beer recipes just aren't translating over to the new system as easily, or if the available barrels aren't as rich as they were a few years ago. Or both. Whatever it is, I've always been impressed with what these guys do but have been somewhat underwhelmed recently.

 1,673 characters

Photo of Marius
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour, close to black, with a very thin lacing. Smells a bit like the base beer, dark fruit, roasted malts and sour cherries, with an addition of vanilla and hints of whiskey. Tastes like sour cherries, roasted malts, some vanilla, caramel and some kind of strong liquor, like apple brandy. The downside is that the mouthfeel feels much lighter than it should, and it also feels much carbonated than would feel nice.

 426 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Really dark brown pour with a thin layer of brown foam. You definitely get some barrel character in the aroma but also an astringent note. Taste starts with dark malts and some caramel and gets quite tart in the middle. It has a sour cheery note along the roasted malt. Lingers bitter in the aftertaste with the same astringent note. Body is medium-heavy with soft carbonation. Overall it's a good beer but not that well put together. Without the astringency it would have been much better.

 490 characters

Photo of Hayley_86
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of baybum
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of vhmf1978
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Anatole
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Abio
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Sean9689
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a tan head. Sweet chocolate, smooth booze, burnt sugars, oak, some char, and peat. Flavor is a nice mix of smooth booze, chocolate, and peat...really smooth for 11%. Full body, light carbonation, creamy finish.

A nice RIS that I would have again. The peat is not overpowering and the booze is very smooth with nice chocolate notes. Recommend.

 365 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kristina for sharing this rarity. Bottle #1016, but didn't jot down the batch info - guessing this from 2009 though. Served in a Glunz taster.

A - Tan foam settles to a thick colar, wisps on top, and minimal lacing. Black body with transparent ruby glints. The Tsarina is actually pretty sexy.

S - The wine barrel is pretty aggressive, lending a vinous and mildly sour grape flavor to the dark chocolate malts, and oaky vanilla.

T - Taste is also vinous, but not as aggressively so. More roast coffee, dark chocolate, and dark fruit malt flavors and less obvious barrel influence. Quite a different malt character than the H&V or BD series of beers, which is appreciated.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, chewy texture, lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol presence.

D - I liked this quite a bit, even though Jason insisted the bottle he had in Finland was vastly superior. Easy to drink, with a rich flavor profile, and nice wine barrel integration. Would happily drink this again if it weren't so hard to track down.

 1,032 characters

Photo of tln13
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of tyler_mn
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of martijnh
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of spdyfire83
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

64th Review
Bottle to snifter
Bottle #094

Shared with farundrpar on a recent visit to Amsterdam. Consumed side-by-side with Tsarina Esra Imperial Porter.

A: Dark brown. Barely half (smooth white) fingernail head on vigorous pour.

S: Distinct bourbon barrel nose. Charred and ash. Chocolate and caramel. Dark, roasted malt.

T: Deep, dark cocoa and molasses. Strong dark, roasted malt. Hint of dark chocolate reminds me of a molten lava cake, but not overly sweet. Bourbon comes thru at tail end of palate and warms the soul. Well done!

M: Full bodied with soft carbonation.

O: Compared to its Imperial Porter brother, this beer is off the charts! I thoroughly enjoyed the bourbon presence in this beer as well as the beautiful hint of sweet that is discussed above. Not overly robust or too complex, but just right. This is a beer that should be consumed on a cold winter night by the fire! Save your money and just buy this one; skip the Imperial Porter version.

 970 characters

Photo of farundrpar
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +2%

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Tsarina Esra Reserva from Brouwerij De Molen
3.92 out of 5 based on 36 ratings.
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