Tsarina Esra Reserva | Brouwerij De Molen

Tsarina Esra ReservaTsarina Esra Reserva
36 Ratings
Tsarina Esra ReservaTsarina Esra Reserva

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Molen

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by wl0307:
Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of ricke
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.

Dark brown with a medium-sized beige and fizzy head quickly fading away. Not really any lacings.

The smell is nice and deep. Lots of round mature fruit aromas, some edgy spices, toffee and caramel. Bog woody notes. Not very roasty. Hints if minerals as well. A very vinous smell that really grows on you.

The taste is dominated by rich vinous fruit notes coupled with earth, spices, minerals and a hint of plastic. Salt licorice and wood. Smooth and sweet malts struggle to break through, together with aromas of chocolate, toffee and caramel. Hints of grape skin. The finish is spot on with a perfectly integrated note of warming alcohol, dry semi-tart fruit notes and grass. The taste is really aromatic from start to finish.

Full bodied and smooth with a dry finish.

All in all, very good and very impressive. The crude description "tastes like a musty red wine blended with porter" would actually be quite fitting. The wine barrel character is really intense, very close to overpowering. I really enjoyed this one.

 1,039 characters

Photo of farundrpar
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Marius
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
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 -4%
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 nickhiller
2.95/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Coke brown, not very dark for a RIS.

S: strong grains and pungent cheese, smells like a brewery, rose.

T: super cheesy, chalky and charcoaly, butterscotch or burnt buttered popcorn. Aftertaste suggests pear.

M: on the watery side, too thin to support the strong flavors.

O: There was nothing to really glom on to here, underwhelming.

 341 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to beeruser for sharing this one! Bottle #907 of 1216! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured pitch black with a half finger brown head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, wood, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, wood, sweet alcohol, and dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a great brew. The flavor and aroma on this one were nothing short of excellent to say the least. For 11% the alcohol was not very intense as the dark chocolate notes helped to cover it up almost completely and gave it more of a sweet taste rather than a burning aftertaste. My only gripe with this brew is that it was a little high on the carbonation level, but still quite good as the carbonation helped to break up the heavy feel on the palate and made it feel like more of a creamy texture. A well done brew for sure.

 1,045 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light rounded notes of scotch with light roasted malt with well balanced sweet undertones. Taste is a great mix between light roasted malt with sweetness notes and some subtle notes of scotch. Body has a nice creamy texture with well rounded body with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed with nice level of complexity and no apparent alcohol.

 487 characters

Photo of tln13
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of Abio
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Anatole
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of vhmf1978
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Andrea_Netherlands
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sigmund
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from the oak cask in which it had been aged, at the GBBF 2008. Room temperature, gravity dispense. Pitch black colour, minimal head. Intense aroma of tar, woodwork, coffee, liquorice and alcohol. Intensely roasty flavour with coffee, alcohol, tar, liquorice and dark bitter chocolate. Pretty impressive, but certainly not easy drinking.

 343 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of tyler_mn
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of mulder1010
1.65/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

180 ML nip bottle poured into a snifter

A-- NO piff, no sound when opening. Ah, no carbonation. Wonderful. Poured dark cola color. A few bubbles here and there and a small circle of lacing for film. Brings back bad memories of a flat Black Damnation I got from them.

S-- Still has a nose so we press on. Lots of sweet malts. Kind of a root beer smell. Also get touches of oak as well. Soft nose and no ABV smell.

T-- Candied char, ash and burnt rubber. For the love of Mikkeller. Quite thin. But it lacks carbonation you say. I am totally not impressed.

M-- Thin, obviously lacking carbonation, sweet and has a finish of the usual char, ash and tires. At least Mikkeller gets carbonation right.

O-- Drinkable for not carbonated. I keep telling me I am drinking a sherry from the Netherlands. Might be a decent port. Paid $11 for a 180 ML not carbonated RIS. Next time label this as a port. Brutal.

 906 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.24/5  rDev -19.2%
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 spycow
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Travlr
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #806 poured by Glenn at Alvinne - thanks Glen!
A: Very dark maroon color with an edge head and some lacing.
S: Aroma of chocolate and bitter cocoa.
T: Flavor starts with milk chocolate then progresses to roasted espresso beans and vanilla, well-balanced and dry.
M: Very good body.
D: Nice De Molen brew.

 316 characters

Photo of gford217
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Another gem provided by Jan, poured into a snifter. 18cl Bottle #434, bottled October 2009.

Pours dark, dark brown, not quite black, with a frothy beige head that recedes to a small cap and leaves some delicate lacing.

The aroma is sweet with chocolate malts and dark fruits. There is a slightly smoked malt presence and some light coffee and a faint oak character. A fairly light aroma for a RIS.

The taste really mirrors the aroma with a dominant caramel, vanilla and chocolate sweetness.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied for an RIS with good carbonation. It's a bit light on the feel overall though.

This is an excellent beer but it's certainly on the lighter side of things for an RIS. Extremely drinkable but not overly complex.

 746 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.11/5  rDev -22.4%
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 Sean9689
3.77/5  rDev -6%
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 baybum
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

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Tsarina Esra Reserva from Brouwerij De Molen
Beer rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 36 ratings
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