Ølfabrikken Kloster Jul

Ølfabrikken Kloster JulØlfabrikken Kloster Jul
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
4.18 | pDev: 6.7%
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Ølfabrikken Kloster JulØlfabrikken Kloster Jul
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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 41
Photo of wisrarebeer
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer has been in my cellar for a few years.

A: great head retention, deep copper color, clear
S: deep malt, roasted, licorice
T: full-bodied, great malt, licorice provides a bit of edge to malt, EtOH lurking
M: warm and rounded, very drinkable for EtOH
O: very nice beer, well-made

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Photo of TheSarge
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this bad boy into an old PBR chalice. With a semi quick pour, this brew makes a two finger thick light tan head, that sticks around well, the body is bronze on the outside, then turns to a tawny dull brown that is nearly opaque when held up to natural light.

The aroma is of cola, booze, chocolate, and maybe vanilla with some cherry mixed together.

In the taste I get a whirlwind of flavors that bounce from dark dried fruits, to tobacco, to chocolate, some cherry and vanilla again, and has a warm boozy coziness in the end.

For a boozy beer this feels thin from beginning to middle, but then the warmth kicks in to let me know this brew is serious. It is lightly carbonated too, which makes me surprised that this isn't too syrupy.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another relic found for a fraction of its former price (was $12.79, now $3.99).

A-After nearly taking out my dog's eye with the violent cork launch, the beer is poured into my tulip glass. Pours dark brown. When held up to the light the color is closer to burnt ruby. There are thousands of miniscule particles of floating debris in the beer too. Small head faded and leaves spotty lacing.

S-Dark fruits and toasted brown sugar. Dried plum. Alcohol rears its head too. A bit woody as well. Lighter nose. A slight amount of roastiness.

T-Now I can really taste the cherries. Chocolate covered cherry. Slight amount of wood. Booze is there. Not sour, but definitely cherry-loaded. Aftertaste is pleasant. Warms the cheeks. Thankfully this is one of the chillier summer nights. Almost like cherry cough syrup. Displays an almost medicinal flavor.

M-Heavy bodied. Strong carbonation. Slightly dry. Cherry flavor morphs on the palate.

O/D-This one has held up well over time. Seems like the shelf stay has mellowed out the booze a bit. For less than 1/3 its original price, I would say that this is a bargain.

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Photo of ottovon
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured by whiterascal while watching 30 days of night. vintage '08.

A: pours out a orangish brown with a tan head that fell to leave a coating over the top of the beer.

S: i get cherry, raisins, and some other dark fruits. there is light roasted malt, chocolate, and candi sugar. there is a bit of alcohol in the nose, and some licorice as well. semi-sweet aroma. hints of cola.

T: definitely has some sweetness in it, but finishes a touch bitter and dry. there is roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, candi sugar. there is raisins, and some other dark fruits, as well as a bit of molasses. there is alcohol at the end. it also has some yeasty spice in it.

M: medium-thin body with good amounts of carb.

O: i really enjoy this beer. it is a good sipping beer.

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Photo of corby112
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes:

This c&g bottle opened with a loud pop and poured a very dark ruby/chestnut color with mahogany edges when held to a light source. Two finger frothy tan head with decent retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves sporadic hunks of lacing behind.

Spicy peppery aroma with hints of clove, cinnamon and dark fruit. Hints of grape, dark berry, raisin and fog and well as a slightly medical cough syrup character.

Tight carbonation up front with a surprisingly full medium body, sweet and spicy flavor and slightly bitter dry finish. Lots of spicy notes, especially pepper, cinnamon and clove balanced by a nice malt backbone and sweet dark fruit presence. Hints of dark cherry, raisin, fig and plum. Well balanced and that medical flavor that I find so unpleasant in Xmas beers is kept to a minimum.

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Photo of garbercury
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2nd bottle of this I have had, this one is aged for about 18 months....Poured into snifter.

A--Deep reddish amber. Lacing sticks a bit to the glass.

S--Medicinal, has some cherry notes in the nose.

T--Cherry, spice, good flavor.

M--Good smooth mouthfeel.

D--As this beer warms, the more it reminds of me of why I got a second bottle to age. This is an excellent BSDA and a great choice on a cold early winter night. Excellent brewery, great beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

2008 vintage. The beer pours a brown color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is alcohol, tobacco, brown sugar, dark fruit and a lot of licorice. The flavor is a similar, with a few additional notes. In addition to the tobacco, roasted malt, brown sugar and nutmeg, I also get some cayenne pepper and alcohol. A very complex flavor profile that is very enjoyable. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes in December 09

Poured a murky brown/hazelnut with a light tan head that left decent lace. From the getgo, I am hit by a huge waft of licorice and a tiny twang of cherries. A caramel and toffee body then carries me over a field of anise, and finally to a vat of rum soaked raisins. The taste is equally satisfying. This is a rare form of licorice... it's licorice I actually enjoy! Quite amazing, though the body could be boosted slightly. Booze is apparent throughout.

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Photo of drpimento
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yummmm. Very nice beer. Poured with a fine foamy frothy light tan head that lasts & good lace. Aroma is malty, yeasty, a hint of sour cherry. Flavor's about the same but set off very well with the body and carbonation which are excellent. Don't pick up much of the licorice. Finish is a very good bittersweet with a little alcohol.

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Photo of Travlr
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

80 deibel cork pop, but fortunately no gusher.
A: Very dark maroon color, medium tan fine bubble head that lasts forever; delicate lacing.
S: Aroma of dark fruits and caramel,and evident alcohol.
T: Flavor begins with ripe cherries and dates, and a bit of nutmeg. Lots of malt. Nicely complex and interesting.
M: Excellent body.
D: Delicious winter brew.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My Hoegaarden snifter contains a dark, rutty, brown ale with red highlights and a gargantuan, creamy, tan head that becomes rocky while it slowly deposits a dense lacing.

Sweet malt and a light, pine resin give way to sour apple Jolly Rancher above alcohol fumes. Strong spices followed by cherry and lots of layers and complexity make this comparable to a sweet red wine.

Clearly off balance, however, Kloster Jule closely follows the nose with some cherry cough drops thrown in. The tartness is a bit puckering with a touch of bitterness in a sharp, lingering finish. This one warms well and is highly acidic.

An interesting combination of lively carbonation and a full-bodied syrupy ale. This one has a touch of astringency and more than a little warming alcohol.

Given the alcohol content, and the tremendous amount of character, this dark ale is surprisingly easy to drink. Surprisingly easy to have two in a row. One before dinner and one after, perhaps with a cigar and a book.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, set aside in their temporary "Christmas Beer" section. Around $11.

A: Very dark brown in color with an enormous light tan head, a good 2 inches worth or creamy, dense bubbles, lots of clumps of sticky lacing, for the most part opaque, tons of red accents. Very nice looking beer.

S: Spicy yeasts, banana, sour cherries, there's a definite licorice note and a few other spices, smells somewhat piney or spruce even. Has a lot of doughy, bready notes that mixed with the pine/spices/cherry really make this smell like the holidays. Decent smelling beer.

T: Very interesting notes of sour cherries are there, as well as a substantial hop profile and lots of spices, hop profile is slightly skunky but pairs nicely and balances out the sweet malt notes. Very nice flavors here, nothing was skimped on here. Spices add another layer of complexity, but don't overwhelm the beer. Pretty substantial booze note, but it works. Nicely done.

M: A fair amount more body than I had expected, medium carbonation, warm alcohol, fairly dry. Nice.

D: Easy to drink and great for a cold January night. It is not hard at all to split this one with someone else. Excellent beer, and I may have to snag another one to let it cellar for a while. Highly recommended.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into Chimay goblet.

Pours with a dominating 3f of creamy, tan head which fades to an impressive perma-film, and leaves tons of lacing. Body is a deep brown with mahogany edges

Aroma is powerful. Spruce needle up front giving it some major 'holiday points', followed by Belgian yeasty spice, and some sweet caramel maltiness.

Flavor is a bit boozy - whiskey sour. Got some lime, black licorice, cocoa nibs, and mincemeat. Interesting, and somehow definitely reminiscent of Christmas.

Great carbonation for the alcohol level - it cuts everything nicely and keeps it from getting heavy. Definitely some aftertaste from the additives.

Ok on the drinkability - great aroma and taste, combined with a nice mouthfeel make this a really nice sipping beer for the holidays. If you can find it, get it!

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Merry Christmas!! This one is a perfect Christmas Ale. Pours a hazy dark caramel amber with reddish hues and a huge billowing three finger light tan head that's stiff and dense. It fades slowly, decomposing in 3D leaving sheets of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is wonderful and at first spicy, then sweet. Coriander nutmeg and cinnamon and fruity cherry with an underlying caramel sweetness. The mouth feel is medium-full bodied and smooth with the effervescence of tiny bubbles and very creamy. The mouth and nose complimenting the complexity of the fruity sweetness and caramel nicely; it finishes pretty quickly but the spices lunge the flavors past a drier finish. The 9.5% ABV isn't subtle but it's not distracting either. I dragged this one back from my recent trip to Chicago and am really glad that I did. Highly recommended, I will definitely snag more if this if I see it again.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark red-orange-bronze with brighter orange borders. Chestnut brown would have been more appealing given the style. The golden beige colored crown is wonderfully whipped creamy and filled most of the chalice on the initial pour. The foam is smooth and almost featureless, lasts forever and deposits an acceptable amount of sudsy lace.

A sticker on the side of the bottle reads 'Ale Brewed With Spices'. The website states that cherries and licorice root are used, but don't mention anything else. The first of those is subtle and the second is a major part of the aroma, along with a brown bread maltiness and touch of yeasty spice. The nose is both different and interesting. Warming brings everything into sharper focus and makes the next highest score an easy call.

Kloster Jul is fantastic beer, as is pretty much everything that Olfabrikken brews (with the exception of the 'merely okay' 100 Gram India Pale Ale). These guys excel in delivering an explosive amount of deep, rich flavor in their big beer, which will always score major points with me.

This Christmas seasonal is as much Belgian-style quadrupel as BSDA. The fruit and spices were inspired additions and add just the right amount of additional flavor and complexity. Especially if you're a fan of black licorice/anise, because the beer is chock full of it. There are no half measures with Olfabrikken. Hop bitterness easily keep malt sweetness in check.

The multiple and varied facets of this glittering jewel of Belgian-style ale include toasted brown bread, fig jam, a Sambuca-like licorice vibe, a modest amount of tangy black cherry and a pinch of ground clove. Perhaps a little cinnamon as well. Licorice becomes even more bold with warming, which is a very good thing. This is outstanding beer that I'm damn glad comes in 750 ml bottles.

My initial fears about mouthfeel were unfounded. It's a trifle light for the ABV, but it's as whipped creamy smooth as the foam that is instantly regenerated with each pour. Even though these guys aren't Belgian, they've nailed Belgian ale mouthfeel with authority.

Olfabrikken states that Kloster Jul was inspired by Trappist beer. I'm happy to report that they've succeeded in recreating the excellence that is found in some of the world's (read: Belgium's) best. This is a remarkably complex offering that I plan to sip and savor over the next several hours. Then it'll be time to figure out how to get more.

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Photo of Seantronz3030
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from Belmont Station - 750 ml bottle - glassware:
Duchesse De Bourgogne wine glass

Dark brown with tint of red body, 1 thumb head - very thin head but retains well.

Aroma consists of Molasses, dark cherry, brown sugar, and hint of sourness

Slight sweetness intially, many fruit flavors start to develop - rasins, dark cherry, fig...finishes with a taste of roasted malts.

Thin mouthfeel, active carbonation

Very enjoyable, complex flavors

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Photo of Beaver13
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours a murky brown with a huge pillowy off white head that retains well and laces the glass some.

The aroma is molasses, dark fruits (fig) and some fruitcake spices with some alcohol and hops in the background.

The flavor is sweet sugary malts with some fruit (cherries?). In the finish it has a bit of alcohol and some bittering hops to balance. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a good carbonation level.

Overall, a nice brew. It's an interesting blend that comes out well balanced. The alcohol is slightly too much up front for my tastes.

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Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From Premiere Gourmet. Amberish red cherry coloured body with lasting white foam. Aroma is root beer and cherry and yeast. Very full mouthfeel, this is a sipper. Taste is incredibly complex with licorice, cheery that builds. Other spices in the background.

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Photo of Damian
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 1 pt 9.4 fl oz bottle purchased at Liquor World, Cambridge, MA
Served in a chalice

The beer poured a murky, muddy, mahogany color with crimson highlights. There was no real head but merely a thin, light tan cap that faded to a wispy film.

The aroma was rather intriguing. Rich, smooth and fruity with a discernible sweet/sour quality. Somewhat caramel-like. Spicy and a touch herbal. Dark fruits (including cherries) were noticeable. As much as I enjoyed the complexity and subtle nuances of the aroma, I wish it was more intense.

Like the aroma, the flavor was an interesting mix of sweet and sour. Fruity and boozy right away with a noticeable Belgian yeast quality. Dark Belgian candi sugar was discernible. Some brown sugar as well. Spicy in the center. Woody and dry. Metallic notes were apparent in the slightly hoppy, sour and boozy finish. As the beer warmed, licorice notes came out in both the flavor and the aroma.

The mouthfeel was the saving grace of this beer. The liquid was medium bodied and creamy with a fine, crisp and lively carbonation. Light and airy yet supple, the beer enveloped my tongue like a cloud.

Drinkability was okay. I would have liked the alcohol presence to be less noticeable.

I enjoyed this beer but thought it fell short in both intensity and complexity. As with most of the Olfabrikken beers, this one was not cheap (I paid $16 for my bottle). It is unlikely that I will be visiting it again.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Did you just say Yule with a J? Pours a darker chestnut brown color with some lighter brownish hues throughout. Mostly clear with a thick and bubbly off white head. Ok retention and limited lacing throughout.

The nose is a bit sweet with noticeable yeast notes. To start there is a light malt note with some hints of melanodian, but this is quickly over ridden by a brown sugary aroma that blends odd with they yeast. They yeast comes out with a slight Belgian character with a hint of funk. Noticeable fusel notes with a light fruity tart cherry aroma.

The taste is better than the nose. The malt is a bit more distinct with a light kettle caramel flavor. Still a sweetness and a sugar taste/feel in to the end, which is a bit much. A bit of fruity notes with a nice ester backing. Some cherry, figs and dates. A hint of vanilla that comes out as it warms. A bit of astringency from a spicy characteristic, pepper mostly but some licorice and a light herbal thing. Noticeable alcohol burn but not over whelming.

The body is moderate but leaves a dry finish. Carbonation is a bit high with some carbonic bite. Overall there are some nice characteristics but would like the sugar to back off and a bit more yeast notes to shine.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fairly clear dark and amber brown. Thick crème head. Nose is sugary and sweet. Minor yeasty alcohol edge. Flavor is thick with malts and smoothly sweet. Almost seems to be a touch of vanilla. Cherries are there, sure. Mild though. Wood tones seem a bit more prominent. Overall though there are touches of fruit and a really mature and beautifully mature sweet tone. Feel is smooth on liquid and the carbonation is very appropriate. This is a very nice beer. Very nice. Try it if you have the chance.

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Photo of nick76
3.28/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is sweet but not super sweet. Its got fruit, licorice, yeast, and grassy hops. The appearance is hazy brown with a large foamy head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is smooth but thin. Overall its OK but I am a little disappointed.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


Poured into a Goblet glass a deep amber/brown color, very nice carbonation, awesome huge three-finger creamy head, that settled down to a one-finger thick/creamy sticky lacing. The nose is malty, slight yeast, nice dark fruit notes, with some spicyness. The taste is very nice, malty, with a slight yeast note, sweet, nice fig/raisin/plum notes, slight spicy. Full body, with a slight dry finish. ABV hidden very well. Very drinkable, this is one freakn' awesome brew, highly recommend.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a lovely tan, two finger head that very slowly recedes to a thick, doughy film. Sticky lacing too. Murky tobacco and cherry wood brown hue so dark, its almost impossible to see any bubbles. Awesome looking beer makes it hard to not take a sip, or finish a bottle of his beer.

Leathery toasted cherries. Then some sugared bananas with just a touch licorice. The yeast an malt even gives a little hint of bubblegum that mixes well with some herbal hops.

Pillowy soft fruits, thanks to the lovely carbonation,starts the taste and palate off first. The fruit develops into just a softly tart cherry. Then some bready fruit cake with just a little banana liquer. A little plummy too. The hops add even more herbal flavors to tghis beer.

Make sure you let this beer warm up a little. When its colder, it has a metallic taste to it.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 corked and caged into Duvel tulip...

Full, 3-finger buttery-colored (slightly burned butter, like when you make popcorn on the stove) head with a good chunky seam and heavy, bready weight. Body is still with a deep mahogany/cherrywood color. Quite impressive - staying power, lacing and all.

Oooh...smells like a spicy Quad - creamy dark malt with nice, subtle yeast electricity, hop pine, brown sugar and slight clove. A little coriander and molasses in there too.

Whoooa, camel...after a thankfully brief tinny front with a cold bicarb feel, this burns off to reveal a huge Quad/BSDA with insane, bountiful malt, mild, creamy spice of clove, cinnamon, ginger and a whole lot of brown sugar and molasses. Sweet, syrupy and huge - perhaps dark dried fruits on deep background too - a little raisin maybe? Hop pine shows up in a cameo. This is big.

One word...velvety. The spice is tempered by the molasses and brown sugar nicely. Huge malt and electric yeast work in Beautiful Chemistry. This pacgage is put together.

Definitely one to sip but this is brutally well done. Excellent.

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Ølfabrikken Kloster Jul from Ølfabrikken
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 41 ratings