Spanning & Sensatie
Brouwerij De Molen

Spanning & SensatieSpanning & Sensatie
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #371
Ranked #6,121
4.09 | pDev: 8.56%
Brouwerij De Molen
Spanning & SensatieSpanning & Sensatie
Notes: Brewed with cacao, chili peppers and sea salt.
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 115 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 9/1/15; drank 4/24/16 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small dark tan head; nice lace.

Dark chocolate, smoke & cherry notes in the nose.

Thick mouthfeel.

Fresh earth & smoke flavors up front; sweet chocolate & dry sea salt notes on the finish.

Interesting, but the sweetness clashed with the salt & smoke notes; the purported chili peppers are long gone. Not one I'll seek out.

Oct 07, 2019
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HopsAreDaMan from Missouri

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle I bought for $5. I had it this spring in Florida. I think it had roughly 2.5 years age.

(written about two months after having had it)

My first beer from De Molen. I remember that it was a great Imperial stout with plenty of complexity, yet I wouldn't say it was worth $5.

May 13, 2018
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Bluecrow from New York

3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

-dark (jet) tap pour with a 2 cm foam cap. This is brewed with toasted chilis, which perhaps are contributing to the bacon and smoke aroma. The flavor includes smoke and salt and toasted malt. The mouthfeel is very creamy. This is a unique brew.

Apr 16, 2018
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Stooven from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Bottle dated September 2015, opened January 2018.

Beautiful, dark stout pour. Minimal head, and light carbonation. Smells like a barrel-aged beer; the alcohol tantalizingly present in the nose. Taste is complex: rich, dark chocolate, malt, maybe some anise, some smoke and roast. Pairing with some slow-cooked red beans and rice on a snowy January night.

Jan 15, 2018
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Dzu from Russian Federation

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 03/01/14
Poured from 0.33l bottle into chalice.
L: Nontransparent dark brown color with a weak white foam head.
S: Cocoa beans, lacrice, spices.
T: Strong coffee, dark bitter chocalate, spices, sweetness in aftertaste.
F: Tight body and low carbonation. Very good balanced.
O: Greit RIS! Must taste!

Apr 22, 2017
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a goblet from the bottle here at Cerverceria Esparte in Conil, Spain.

Appearance: Thin brown tinted black body with medium to heavy bubbles creating a tan head rising just about one fingers length. Drops slowly after a few sips with sticky lacing.

Smell: Hint of mocha and coffee with milk.

Taste: Like the scent think of coffee and Malts, little warm brown sugar and has a cream taste which reminds me a bit of a milk taste.

Mouth: Medium carbonation and heavy stickiness. Light sweet finish which becomes addicting.

Overall: Actually my favorite Imperial Stout from De Molen, the smoothness is a huge attraction. Worth sharing but then again not everyone would appreciate the quality this brew carries. Salud!

Apr 16, 2017
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dcotom from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 11.2-ounce bottle into a snifter. Pours the color of dark corn syrup. Aggressive pour yielded a thin tan head that dissipated quickly, leaving minimal lacing. Big aromas and flavors of dark cocoa, burnt coffee, and roasted malt. At cellar temp, some hints of chili pepper begin to come through on the nose. There is a little back-of-the-throat chili heat that is quite pleasant. Quite a bit of sweetness, with some burnt-coffee bitterness on the finish. This is a little pricey, but well worth the occasional splurge.

Mar 08, 2017
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bowzer4birdie from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

At Hopcat Chicago from a bottle dated November 2015 poured into a tulip glass. Still a strong cacao presence but only a faint hint of chil heat and sea salt. Still a very enjoyable experience.

Feb 27, 2017
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StartedwithSAM from Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle, dated 09/01/15.

Look is Black in color with a thin off-white in color head.

Smell of raisins or dates, cocoa and a subtle spice that slightly tingles the nasal passage.

The mouthfeel is full-bodied, viscous.

Taste of dark cocoa up front, slight raisin taste follows, finishing dry and earthy.

Overall I enjoyed this solid Russian Imperial Stout, though I couldn’t pick up the chili peppers. Brouwerij De Molen brew some very good beers but I was expecting something a little more interesting with this one.

Jan 09, 2017
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amano_h from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft poured into a snifter at Brouwcafe de Molen.

S: Milk chocolate. Ovaltine. Cacao nibs. Brown sugar. Spent grains. Rich rich caramel. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
T: Hershey's syrup (the kind you mix into milk). Brown sugar. Caramel. Roasted barley kernels. Baker's chocolate. Ovaltine. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
M: Thick and chewy. Full-bodied-ish. Negligible carbonation. Sticky on the lips. Dry, vanilla bean-like finish. No booze burn. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
O: Excitement and Sensation indeed. This drink is extremely dangerous. Like DEFCON-1 dangerous. It's super thick, sweet, and bursting with all sorts of decadent chocolate-y flavors, but goes down super smooth with absolutely no booze burn whatsoever. The finish on this brew is just... wow. I can't believe a stout can be so sweet and decadent at the onset, but leave no traces of it whatsover toward the end.

Oct 17, 2016
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superspak from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/1/2015. Pours cloudy opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, chili pepper, light dark fruit(raisin/plum/fig), light char, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, chili pepper, and light fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, chili pepper, light dark fruit(raisin/plum/fig), light char, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness. Light-moderate roast/char bitterness and pepper spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, chili pepper, char, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, chili pepper, and light fruity yeast flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and chili spiciness balance, with zero astringency after the finish. Light dryness from bitter/spiciness, that lightly increases through the glass. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and fairly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish; with minimal pepper heat as well. Overall this is an excellent chili spiced imperial stout. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, chili pepper, and light fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Jun 02, 2016
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mothman from Minnesota

4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tan head. Black color.

Lots of chocolate and cocoa powder. Roasted malts and peat. Nice chili pepper flavor. Mini huna flavor.

Full bodied. Roasted malts. Dry.

Enjoyable European stout. Well done.

Feb 07, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

man, some of these crazy de molen beers that sit around on shelves really are worth picking up. this one is just excellent, several years old now, and definitely about done on the chili aspect, i got literally none of it, not sure how this was stored or anything, but that ingredient is nearly invisible. i dont mind though, because i dont love chili beer. what i do love, is chocolate in huge stouts, and this is about as chocolate forward as any i have had. really tremendous in that regard, like an under baked chocolate fudge brownie, dense and gooey, like batter almost, i bet this would be good warm. i get such a high level of dark earthy chocolate its not like anything else. not totally sure what the salt does here, maybe some body, maybe just a sprinkle to highlight the chocolate, its clever and awesome, and i dont miss hot peppers one bit. lots of body, i feel it going all the way down, and i definitely get a lot of booze from this. de molen rules the world with dark beers, and this is yet another one to put on your must try list from them. insanely chocolate forward and pleasingly yeasty too. yum.

Aug 18, 2015
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drmeto from Germany

3.81/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

-pours a very dark brown with faint light coming through,floating particles and a small,foamy,beige head (rigorous pour)
-pepper heat,chocolate,salt,tart vinegar,cardboard
-salt,coffee,chocolate,toast,mocha,pepper,slight heat
-low carbonation
-medium to full body
-slight alcohol warmth
Not as complex as i thought with the ingredients and the body is a little light.
Still very good

Aug 16, 2015
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Saviour from Russian Federation

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - pours the darkest and opaque black with almost no head.
S - chocolate, malt, cacao. Complex and great aroma which is quite common for De Molen RIS's.
T - sweet and spicy, but not too much. Cacao and roasty malts prevails but chili peppers are here as well.
F - almost no carbonization, medium bodied. Seasalt shows strong in the aftertaste which is kinda not great.
O - not usual and quite interesting RIS from Netherland's De Molen. Again. Well done!

Aug 13, 2015
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CrazyDavros from Australia

3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours almost black with copper-tinged highlights.
Nose shows chocolate fudge, red chilli, roasted malt, soft coffee notes. The cocoa character is awesome.
Flavours include lots of roasted malt, booze, dry cocoa, soft chilli heat and a slight salty aspect. Finishes very dry with an assault from the roast and booze.

Aug 05, 2015
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BucBasil from Rwanda

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A; Poured into a tall tulip from the tap at Pulapka Bar, Gdansk Poland. The beer is black all the way through, with no light coming through even when held to sunlight. Head is 2 finger thick, frothy and tan.
S: A big boozy roasty note shines through immediately, along with some bittersweet chocolate and tobacco.
T: Huge taste consisting mainly of smoked meats and roasted malt. Big time smoky charcoal flavor and some burnt wood. Chocolate slides its way in there, along with a beautiful roasted pork or sausage flavor. Leather is also present and some tobacco notes.
Overall: This is a big dark beer with a big dark taste, not for the faint of heart. I loved it but one is enough.

Jul 02, 2015
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dcmchew from Romania

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown, close to black, small poor tan head, oily.
Rich salted roasted grain, caramel, baking chocolate, faint smoked wood, some raisin, dried fig, faint vanilla and cinnamon, faint veggie (chilli) note. Emphasis on the roasted, smokey malts.
Raw dark chocolate up front, stale dark fruit (dark grape, plum, fig) and roasted mixed grains, really flavorful with that pinch of sea salt. It also nicely contrasts the caramel notes, making up some salted toffee too. Dusty, smokey soft woody notes (tho it's not barrel aged), dark spices, some alcohol in the finish, bit of coffee bean and a spicy warmth, tho chilli peppers weren't the first to come to mind, but rather peppercorn.
Medium body, low carbonation, a nice smooth sipper. Aftertaste has "hot" peppers (finally, a clear veggie note), lots of rich cocoa, sweet lingering raisin and nice roasted malts (coffee hints still).
I'm pretty sure this is somewhat close to 16-17th century cocoa drinks, with raw cocoa beans and lots of spices. Sure, this has alcohol (that's nice and stealthy), but i think that's the flavor profile. Awesome.

Jan 16, 2015
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Beaver13 from Colorado

3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, dated 12/11/2012. Pours brown with a small light tan head that goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet bakers chocolate with a little chili and vanilla with some cardboard and dark fruit.

The flavor is surprisingly subdued. Some sweet chocolate, anise and some fruit with a little chili spice and alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a velvety feel.

Overall, an interesting chili imperial stout, a bit reserved. My wife bought this a couple of months ago. I wonder if it was bolder fresh.

Jan 13, 2015
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Reuben's Brew small snifter. A properly cellared year old bottle. Pours pitch black with a thin brown head that dissipates to patches with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, mocha coffee, slightly spicy. Flavor is dark toasted malt, charred coffee, slight dark fruit, mild smokiness; a nice light chili pepper bite in the finish. Medium bodied. A nicely balanced rich flavored imperial stout with complex flavor and deftly handled pepper finish. Aged well, although it may have thinned out a bit in body. A welcome stout from a brewery only sporadically available in the Northwest.

Nov 25, 2014
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avalon07 from South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch of off white, foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A big aroma of chocolate, malt, and dark fruit.

T: Like the aroma, the taste was very big and aggressive: Chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit, chili peppers, coffee, and a hint of hops. Quite a complex brew with some disparate elements that seem to work well together.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a silky finish. Full-bodied.

O: Spanning & Sensatie is a well made, flavorful, and powerful beer - basically everything an RIS should be.

Aug 22, 2014
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Mikeluzzjr from Massachusetts

3.34/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 12/11/12. First thing I smelled when I opened the bottle was lots of grape. I'm now noticing a fair amount of dark chocolate, and some smoke and wood. A good amount of nice dark chocolate flavor. Not really getting any heat from the chilis (maybe its faded due to the aging?), but maybe a hint of flavor. Not really noticing the salt either. Fair amount of grape and a little raisin flavor. Very roasty/ashy aftertaste, with a bit of bitterness.

Mar 11, 2014
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mrfrancis from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black with a thick, creamy khaki head that leaves very little lacing as it recedes.

S: Aromas of woodsmoke, spiced pear, dark chocolate, roasted grain, sea salt, black cherry, Medjool dates, caramel, dried blueberry, and chile pepper fill the nose.

T: Notes of woodsmoke, roasted grain, dark chocolate, coffee, chile pepper, sea salt, spiced pear, apple skin, dried blueberries, blackberries, black currants, figs, Medjool dates, and dried black cherries fill the mouth. The finish is smoky, roasty, and intensely fruity with pronounced pepper, sea salt, blueberry, fig, and black cherry flavors.

M: Very full-bodied, dryish for the style, and somewhat silky. Carbonation is firm. Alcohol is pronounced, but mellow.

O: An interesting and immediately appealing experimental stout. The combination of flavors is a bit out of the ordinary for the style, but it works. To me, this is just further proof that Brouwerij de Molen may be the best and most consistent maker of big, flavorful stouts on the planet right now.

Dec 30, 2013
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. 'Voltage & Sensation'. Why to I get the feeling they're running out of good ideas for this particular marketing meme?

This beer pours a solid black, with prominent basal cola highlights, and four fingers of puffy, densely foamy beige head, which leaves some pleasantly spectral webbed lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of thin coffee, black licorice, relatively weak bready caramel malt, saltwater taffy, charred cocoa, an ashy nuttiness, and earthy, weedy hops. The taste is bittersweet chocolate malt, a touch of caramel/toffee candy, simmering chili flakes, fading anise, milky coffee, an independent saltwater acridity, mild fleshy black fruit, herbal hops, and a burgeoning suggestion of metallic alcohol.

The carbonation is generally unobtrusive, the body a sturdy medium weight, yet somewhat wanting in its thinning smoothness. It finishes on the sweet and smoky side - chocolate, anise, coffee, and a murmuring chili heat tempering things a wee bit.

A slightly strange offering at the outset, but in the end, it winds up a just another well-made RIS, with a bit of tingling, due in mostly equal parts to the guest spice and salt ingredients. Worthy of a try, if you lust after such flavours, in the Mexican cocoa ideal, but that has never been my thing, so this will be a one and done, thank you ma'am experience for me.

Nov 16, 2013
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Spanning & Sensatie is like looking down into the middle of the ocean at midnight - you won't see anything but blackness and yet staring off into this nothingness can be strangely entrancing. The beer pours with an absolutely huge, mocha-tinted head that is also well worth gazing at.

There's nothing strange about noting espresso, black licorice, and dark fruits in the aroma of a Russian Imperial Stout... except when said RIS is brewed with cocoa and chilli peppers (and sea salt, though I doubt you'd be able to smell much of that, at least you shouldn't be able to).

Of the latter, only the cocoa is appreciable. Lots of dark chocolate comes through in both smell and taste, the intensity of which varies depending on the size of the sip and the temperature of the beer (more is noted as it warms). Even more prominent, however, is the flavour of strongly-brewed coffee. No heat, no salt. Everything is pretty normal and uneventful so far...

I would have anticipated issues involving too much chilli spice. But it turns out that my biggest complaint is the bitter astringency of the espresso/pure cocoa notes. While I found it to become gradually obnoxious, it was easy enough to shake given the beer's heavy sootiness and smoke elements. At more than a year old, this bottle is still holding itself together well.

For me, just the sound of a stout brewed with cocoa, chilli peppers and sea salt is enough to induce cravings, but Spanning & Sensatie ("Voltage & Sensation") surprisingly provides little of either. A nice enough beer, but disappointingly ordinary given the unusual cast of ingredients.

Aug 08, 2013
Spanning & Sensatie from Brouwerij De Molen
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 115 ratings