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Ølfabrikken Kloster Jul | Ølfabrikken

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Ølfabrikken Kloster JulØlfabrikken Kloster Jul
41 Ratings
Ølfabrikken Kloster JulØlfabrikken Kloster Jul

Brewed by:

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John_M on 11-12-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 41 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of aerozeppl
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured with a massive explosion of 4 fingers of foam. Nice deep brown color with some ruby highlights.

S: Nice big Belgian yeast smell right up front. Gets more complex as it warms. Some spices with a big blast of malt with it. Some hints of funk especially at the end of the glass.

T: Wonderfully complex. Spices then into a nice wallop of dark fruit. Finishes with a root like taste. Bottle says it is licorice root. Ok that makes sense. The sour cherry taste goes throughout and gets more pronounced as it wamrs.

M: If I had to pick on something it would be that it is a tad over carbonated. Very creamy though.

D: Wow. Totally surprised by this one. One of the best holiday beers I have ever had. Totally different and totally complex. A real gem.

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

Debut release at Max's today. I gather they're having an Olfabrikken release party today.

The beer pours a dark brown color with red hilights. Head retention and lacing is sensational. The retention lasts and lasts, and there is sticky lacing all around. This beer looks very impressive.

On the nose, this is all I could want or hope for in a holiday beer. There is a boatload of milk chocolate and maraschino cherry, with a hint of licorise underneath. On the palate... damn this beer is delicious. The flavors replicate the nose, and the beer has a long, smooth, creamy finish. There is also a slight woodsy flavor to this beer, which adds to its complexity. This beer is not heavy at all, and you could really get into a lot of trouble drinking this. Maybe it would wear me out after a glass or two, but after the first couple of sips, all I could think was.... hmmmm... I wonder if I should have another one of these. Sigh. Probably not; the beer is pretty rich, but in any event, this beer is absolutely delicious. Yumm....

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

The nose presents warm dark cherry, licorice, caramel, and fig. The flavor was a bit heavy on the spice. Reminds me of Chimay blue when it first hits the palate, sweet caramel and soft chocolate with a vigorous carbonation. Finishes by drying out into a potent licorice spiced flavor amongst the boozy warmth. This is a good by-the-fire winter brew, warming with lots of spice, as it warms a rum raisin cake note finishes it off, lingering fig flavors with a subtle alcohol heat. I grew to like this more as kept at it.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown moving towards mahogany as the yeast settles. The head is lightly tanned, quite tall, and quite sticky. It really is a beautiful looking beer, and doesn't lose any grace as it warms.

Fruity, spicy nose that features the cherry juice along with a nod towards anise that grows stronger with warmth. Dark fruit is also a major player so far, with fig and date dusted with brown sugar as the prime movers.

Flavors are similar, with the cherries on spotlight as the licorice plays backup. Pretty spicy, but also warming and full of flavor. Well balanced. The malted barley shows evidence of chocolate (roast) character as well as caramel (sweet) notes. The hops are last on the ingredient list, and show up only as a mildly herbal inclusion.

The mouthfeel definitely shows the effects of the wheat malt, as the last sip is as light and sippable as the first. There is a drying component that leaves the drinkability in tact even as the flavors grow more pronounced with the warming temperature.

I am very impressed with this "Ale brewed with spices". Olfabrikken has hit another nail on the head; this brew could be mistaken for a fine Belgian ale - if not a Trappist - and the kicker is that it grows more drinkable as it approaches room temperature. To me, that is the litmus test for pretenders to the throne, and Kloster Jul (this is how it is spelled on my bottle) is a superb effort.

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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 tmoneyba
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Champane Wine, Warren, MI.

Pours a dark hazy brown color with an average to large frothy brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate to heavy roasted nut malt and alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration.

This is a standout beer.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two red wine glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a muddy, dark, caramel-y brown color. Capping this is a creamy, light-khaki colored head that slowly recedes into a swirly skim and thick ring. Droopy ropes of lace left behind.

S: Subtle aromas of caramel, spices, cherry, chocolate, and very subtle aromas of anise and yeast.

T: Flavors of toasted malt, caramel, chocolate, spicy yeast, candi sugar, slightly tart cherry, toasted nuts, and raisin. Heather says that the cherry flavor seems more like dark fruit; raisins and plums, and that the cherry is more apparent in the nose than the taste.

M: Big and sweet with a great spicy dryness that does a nice balancing job. Slightly tart in the middle with a nice and dry hop finish.

D: Alcohol is so well hidden yet by the end of the bottle, our cheeks were a little warm. Very enjoyable.

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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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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 OWSLEY069
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to brown-ish color, with a big off white to light tan head. In the aroma, licorice, anise, and a small hint of cherry. In the taste, licorice, anise, and a small tart cherry in the end. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, and a semi dry licorice aftertaste. Big flavor, dry spices, and hints of tart cherries, quite nice.

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

A: pours a deep dark brown with ruby edges and a thick three fingerd foamy mocha tinged head that leaves lots of lacing

S: smells of very rich sweet caramel, dark fruits, dried cherries, figs, spicy yeast

T: very complex... upfront flavors are of tart cherries and sweet black licorice. Supported by dark candy sugar some bitter chocolate, roasted, and caramel malt, some clove and bubblegum yeast and some solvent alcohol, pretty dry finish

M: medium-light bodied with lots of prickly carbonation, as it warms and opens up it becomes incrdibly smooth and creamy

D: the flavors are very complex and each sip entices the palate and begs for another taste of this delicious winter warmer

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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 seanthornton152
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 AKBelgianBeast
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with big ruby highlights, very red and glows when held to the light. A nice off white/light tan head grows quickly and retains quite well, turning from fizzy to a nice ice cream lump leaving good lace.

Nose is kind of weak. There is some dark fruit, a fair amount of spices and some honey like sweetness. Almost a sharp borderline citrus smell.

Taste is much more complex than the smell iindicates. Starts off on a fizzy slim kick, but quickly gets much richer. Alot of different dark fruit character going on in here. Some sweet yet astringent fruitiness, plums, dates. The caramel character is also pretty strong. There is quite a bit of spice going on in here as well. very nice. A certain licorice candy action in here as well. I dont know if they put any anise in this, but it could use a little lick of it. The finish is alot more dry than one would guess for the style, or for the pre finish taste. A good dry fruit flavor lingers on the aftertaste along with sugar and some grassy, fruit rhindish flavors.

Mouthfeel is a bit odd. Starts off fizzy and a touch thin, but as the richness flexes its muscle during the middle of the flavor, it is almost like it thickens up. Carbonation could be toned down just a bit. The dryness at the end is odd, but I kind of like it.

Drinkability is pretty good. The abv is hidden extremely well, but the complexity and richness in this one calls for a slow sipping session.

Overall a very interesting beer. Im glad I picked up a couple of these to put some age on. The complexity is very impressive. There are bretter BSDAs out there to be sure, but this one is very unique and very enjoyable as well. Defenitely an experience. Enjoy this one slowly. Good beer.

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Photo of baggio
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[email protected]

This was the final beer i reviewed during a tasting of christmasbeers before i decided that i was too drunk to review any more beers so notes are a little off.

A: Murky brownish with a beige head that vanishes quickly.

S: Caramel, Fruit, Malts, Belgian Yeast.

T: Dark Caramel, Spices, Belgian Yeast, Ripe Fruit.

M: A very sweet beer with little or no bitterness. Very belgian in style.

We tried a 2007 vintage of this and it was great. Up there with the very best belgians and then just a wee touch of christmas with the extra spices added. Recommended!

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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 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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Ølfabrikken Kloster Jul from Ølfabrikken
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 41 ratings
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