El Mole Ocho | New Holland Brewing Company

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El Mole OchoEl Mole Ocho
419 Ratings
El Mole OchoEl Mole Ocho

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Herb and Spice Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our exploration into the flavors of mole, the legendary sauce of central Mexico. Malty aroma and rich, cocoa-laden body laced with an invigorating tinge of dries chilies and coffee.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 419 |  Reviews: 156
Reviews by Lauthaha:
Photo of Lauthaha
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Beer is an iced-tea color, with a creamy tan head. About 80% opaque. After the beer settles a little bit, there's an intriguing geyser of carbonation in the center of the glass...it forms an eye (a la hurricanes) in the center of the head...pretty sweet!

Smell: Heavily toasted woody malt character, rich dark chocolate. It's a touch on the sour side, which detracts from the overall feeling, but it's not all bad...just not all good.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very woody at first, some heavy bitterness follows up with dark chocolate and muddy coffee notes. Heavy carbonation carries flavors across the palate. Around the edges, there is a spicy chile flavor, and this follows into the aftertaste. Beer finishes relatively dry.

Overall: A good beer. A little on the sour side, and I'm not really a spiced-beer person (I prefer spiced wine to spiced beer), but I would certainly recommend it to those who were.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.81/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a .5 liter stein a brilliant garnet with a fluffy one finger off white head that settles into a creamy mass atop.The aromas are a mix of earth,bitter chocolate,and ripe chili's,not much sweetness is present.I have to say the flavors grew on me,at first I thought it to be a bit one sided in its roasty,drier tones, but after awhile the roasted chili flavor mixed with the bitter chocolate seemed to meld together better,the chili flavor really comes thru in the finish.Its different and thats a good thing here,it takes some adjusting to but its pretty good.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes on 5/3/10.

A: Pours a very pretty reddish brown. There is no head at all except for a cream ring around the edge of my glass. What lacing there is fades quickly. El Mole looks pretty clear and a little on the thin side.

S: A mix of burrito sauce, sweet cherries, and slight milk chocolate are the aromas my nose identifies right away. I will probably never write that sentence again. The smell is lacking substance; that is, it smells a bit watery. Additionally, I smell some coffee notes as it warms, and furthermore, some off aromas emerge as it sits in my glass longer: sour skim milk, rubber band, and circus peanuts.

T: A good dose of chocolate upfront with a little sweet cherry is my initial experience. As it warms, it disintegrates into a montage of unappealing flavors. I taste salt and rubber with a very earthy soil aftertaste. I liken the aftertaste of this beer as it warms to the taste in one's mouth after waking up from smoking too many cigarettes and drinking too many cheap beers the previous night.

M: Thin and relatively unsatisfying to most parts of my palate.

D: Well, the thought that crossed my mind is that as I drink more of this beer, I want to drink less. The brew kind of turned on me halfway through my tasting and became something pretty undrinkable.

I am usually not this negative in my reviews, so I will end with a positive. I am happy that New Holland is doing some interesting experimental beers and I am glad to have tried this particular beer to see how it turned out.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.35/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A medium brown with excellent clarity and a half inch of a rocky, light tan head that leave lacing on the glass.

The coffee, cocoa and chilies peppers are the first thing you smell. The chile aroma isn't smoke how dried ones usually smell, there is the kind of green chilies impression but it's defiantly not like a fresh pepper. There a malt richness with almost no yeast character. There is a very low melanoidin in the background.

Malty and sweet with a touch of chile pepper flavor along with the heat that builds slightly and continues long into the finish. The heat is very mild. The coffee and cocoa flavors come into focus mid-palate. The flavor elements of cocoa, chile pepper, coffee and malt are all in balance until the the finish where the chilies and alcohol warm dominate.

It has a medium-full body with the low carbonation increasing the perception of weight on the palate. The alcohol give it some warmth and a slight solvent character towards the finish.

This enjoyable beer does a great job of reminding me of the flavors I taste in the first couple of bites of a mole sauces. This is a rich complex beer with that strikes a balance between the ingredients of cocoa, chile pepper, coffee and malt characteristics bringing those flavors together and makes them play nice.

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Photo of heddar33
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Magister_Beav
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jason
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber with a foiled top, vintage date on the label.

LOOK: Red and clear, decent lacing

SMELL: Fresh chilies, toasted cocoa nibs, dired plums, toasted biscuits, yeast, mild esters

TASTE: Silky smooth, medium body, creamy, dark chocolate, mild chili peppers, faint pepper heat, caramel, mild tartness, dried grass, fruity alcohol, dry cocoa nib finish

Clearly a sipper here, one to savor. I'd suggest to cook and pair food obviously, even on its own it will garner some conversation. Long live extreme beer!!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a clear red-amber color with an off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the peppers with some earth, dirt and caramel malts. The flavor is fresh green peppers (jalapenos or serranos) with some coffee, chocolate, caramel and earthy hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. The overall flavor of this beer is kind of a mess, but I liked it. Definitely an interesting idea from the brewers at New Holland.

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Photo of mjtiernan
3/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +27.8%

Popping the cap reveals a tart nose scented with a little ripe fruit just on the verge of getting too ripe and some reconstituted dried dark chilis. The beer pours ruby chestnut under a 1” white foam cap that dissipates to a quick film. The palate starts tart and fruity and then the Mexican chocolate flavors come forward and a dried chili flavor, possibly ancho, slight smoke, a green chili vegetal taste, a hint of coffee, a very light tartness suggesting vinegar and pickled green chili to finish with a touch of chili heat. Although the idea of the beer sounds outrageous, everything is restrained and very well balanced here, exquisitely layered and deliciously complex without getting too muddied. The beer contains a wide variety of flavors but allows each to speak for itself. The beer is very creamy with a medium full body and medium carbonation. The carbonation is smooth and not harsh.

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Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz 2013 bottle of this "Mexican Spiced Ale" (New Holland) served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours clear dark ruby-brown with a bubbly weak head. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: wow, very peppery! Also a bit vegetal with hints of cocoa and brown bread. Alcohol i less obvious than expected for 10% ABV. Smells spicy and hot but ...

Flavor: the flavor is peppery but only mildly hot and moderately spicy. It tastes like a mix of dried and roasted peppers. A bit more sweet than bitter.

Feel: some heat and prickliness: hard to say how much is from the peppers and spices and what's from the high ABV.

O: a distinct beer that is worth trying as long as you don't completely object to chilies in your ale. Allowed to warm for about 15 minutes out of the refridgerator, it still improved with further warming.

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Photo of glid02
3.92/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Dan - thanks!

Pours a dark brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of dark caramel and lightly roasted malts with good amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Also present are mild amounts of indistinct dark fruits and some chilli heat.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors with hints of roastiness kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are strong dark chocolate flavors that carry through to a solidly bitter finish. A light amount of heat comes in after the ending to linger on the palate but it's relatively light.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's a bit on the light side with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Overall this is an interesting concept but unfortunately I didn't think the flavors were quite crisp enough to completely pull it off. Still, it's worth a shot to see for yourself.

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Photo of dsauter
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of JIMTRK16
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(served in a nonic) A- This deep walnut brown body is dense with an amber glow and a lumpy tan head that last for a good bit. There are strands of tiny bubbles gliding up the sides of the glass.
S- The brown nougat aroma is full with a soft tootsie roll hint and a faint hint of cinnamon and a bright but dark earthiness in the finish.
T- The brown nougat melanoidin flavor has a soft chili hint and a toffee note that comes through as the beer opens up. The finish has a slight tartness with more of a slightly sweet caramel flavor.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a very soft carbonation.
D- The nougaty flavors really overpower everything with they become more offensive when it warms. It started out as an interesting beer but by the second glass I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. Novel concept but I just don't think it translated from paper to bottle.

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Photo of Brenden
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Plenty clear with a translucency owing only to the darkness, it's a lovely mahogany or cherry wood brown-red, brilliant and fiery in its depths. The head, light brown, is compact, tight and solid. It manages close to one finger and shows good retention while depositing moderate spotting as it recedes.
Peppers come out in the nose, lots of flesh and skin with some heat. There's a certain fruity sweetness as well complemented by a dryer sort of cocoa. It goes drier with a not-quite-doughy malt to set against the sweetness while a strong note of yeast plays a hand underneath it all.
The taste follows suit, but the heat of the peppers really backs down and just sort of tickles a little. Cocoa also backs down against a sweetness that makes me think more of prunes than plums and maybe something like apricot. It's a little tangy as well. It gets fairly boozy, too, but doesn't build up and just sort of plays with everything else. It may have been 9.79%, but my bottle says 10.5%.
There's lots of smoothness with only a little crispness, but unvarying. It leans on the light side in the medium body. It's semi-sweet the whole way through, almost breaking toward semi-dry in the finish.

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Photo of cynical1027
3/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Messy10
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of Metalmonk
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gusher alert! Would have never guessed a beer like this would explode, and no reason that it should have (I didn't open it right after a 7.2 earthquake or anything), but it did. So be careful.

Not sure if the poor head stamina is a result of or linked to said gushing, but it fizzles and crackles quickly away. It's a dirty tanned white while it lasts, and the liquid is a rust-inflected brown, glowing and jewel-like. And looks like it'll be a thin beer, texturally. Looks like a danged root beer.

Nice aroma, a bit mellow, but then you don't want chilies setting your nose on fire, not in a beer anyway. They're there, but apparently excellently balanced by the cocoa, as both of those elements play out perfectly with, and against, one another. A lightly metallic/mineral smell, but in a clean way, not a bad way as is more often the case.

Taste-wise this is a remarkably balanced beer. It doesn't have great depth or complexity, but for what is happening here, it does the trick nicely. And let's cut right to the chase: hardly any beers made using chili (and of course, mole is a mixture of cocoa and chili) are that great. This one, if not great, is very very good. The chili is certainly present, but somewhere between subtle and well-behaved, while the cocoa side of the equation offers a sweet balance, but not too sweet. Always found mole to have a kind of comfort-food mellowness to it, despite a flash of heat, and that's exactly what is achieved here. Malt provides a perfectly soothing, semi-rich accompaniment to the main mole flavor, a bit of vanilla shows up, some fig and plum too, but that's really all there is to this beer. And that's not to say it's not good, because it is totally good, it's just uncomplicated while offering a strong personality.

The bubble texture/factor is great here; carbonation is certainly present but only in a softer, smoother way. Beer has a thinner texture, but in saying that I mean it feels positively buoyant, not hopelessly thin. Just a bit of stick and we have here a subtly sensational mouthfeel that went from a "meh" first impression to probably my favorite aspect of this beer after several more sips. I dunno, it just works perfectly for the flavors its carrying. Sue me.

I like that the 8.4% (that's what is says on this bottle, 2011 vintage) props up the chili heat, with neither facet overdoing it. This is a different and enjoyable beer that is more subtle than you might expect, and exhibits way more balance than most beers made with chili. Unique and enjoyable all the way.

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Photo of cokes
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark ruby-brown with a moderate beige dome which lasts a but and lays down some lace.
Caramel-chocolate confection nose, with a dash of earthy chili pepper within a sweeter vanilla latte sense of cream and coffee. Some rum-like, molasses-y booze as well. In other words, despite the peppers, this is very sweet and malty.
The mouth is glazed first with vanilla-tinged caramel. Some dark fruits venture in...date, fig, raisin... These are evaporated but the mocha java notion that comes next. Peppers begin around midway, and are sporadic. Light beams of fleshy, earthy, spiciness. It tails off towards brown sugar, molasses and anise, with lingering dark cocoa. Hopping is low, but brings a light grassy bitterness. Alcohol is not low, but not overinflated. Some Brandy or Rum notions appear just prior to the swallow.
Fullish bodied with a steady, minor carbonation. This should be cloying, but it's not, as the small amount of bubbles allow things to gather a bit, but ultimately wash them away.
I've had the bottle and tap versions, and I'd say the tap was a subtly but notable better. If your ready for a malt bomb, this is quite drinkable.
It's a bit refreshing to sampler a beer that is "flavor-oriented" and have it still taste like beer, with beer traits encompassing the intended flavor profile, and leaving the spices and adjuncts as auxiliary. This isn't marinade, it's still beer. And delicious beer. Maybe New Holland can send a rep to Southern Tier to show them how something like this can be pulled off deftly.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.37/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the CBC Chicago 2010 Rare Beer Tour at Small Bar Division Street.

A deep, ruby-colored brew with minimal head. Aroma of molasses and yeast, like a dark Belgian, with hints of cocoa and pepper.

Taste is deliciously balanced - rum raisins and molasses with cocoa, chile pepper, and sticky toffee. Sweet and sticky, this is a really enjoyable quaff alongside Small Bar's terrific chili.

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Photo of Sammy
3.66/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Mondiale 2010. Cloudy brown, with a little beige head, lacey. Some sourness, big mocha taste more than coffee. Good taste, would have liked even bolder chile flavour. Lots of lace drops. Above average mouthfeel. Not much aroma. Hidden a.b.v. Decent drinkability.

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Photo of whatname
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Beezee
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Holland El Mole Ocho

So where does the name come from? Not the mole, I get that, but the ocho part... ? Ahh, OK, I see it's 8% abv. Hmm, it doesn't taste it. I guess the sweetness throws you off, but if you look for it, sure enough, it's there.

The appearance is interesting. It's got a cloudy russet brown body with golden-orange highlights beneath a short lived head of tan foam. I'd have thought the head would have lasted in a beer that's so rich (22˚Plato/barley wine sized), but OK, perhaps the oils from the cocoa have cut it down.

On to the cloudiness... how do you rate a beer like this? It's a mole beer, so it's OK by me... it's got to be cloudy right? If it wasn't it might look odd. The haze looks a bit like how I think of mole sauce, and I guess I like that.

What about the aroma? Well, it's got some cocoa and some light notes of pepper as well. That's nice. I get some fruit, caramel, and a distant note of creamy coffee as well. The chocolate makes it inviting, and the pepper leaves it interesting.

In the flavor the caramel/cocoa/nuttiness wins out but there's still a bit of fruit and a nice hint of pepper flavor, as well as a nice flicker of spicy heat (I'm not sure how much of that might be coming from alcohol). There's a definite kind of raisin, soft clove, and perhaps cinnamon flavor to it but I'm not sure if that's coming from the yeast, actual spices added to the boil, or just my imagination. It doesn't mention any spice on the label so I wonder if they're using Belgian yeast. I get some coffee in the finish, and that mild roastiness along with the spiciness (be it alcohol or pepper) helps to balance the sweetness of the malt.

In the mouth it's full-medium in body; and moderately zesty on the tongue (at least partially due to alcohol and/or spice).

Interesting... it's a nice "warmer", and it certainly qualifies as a sipper along with a good book, but I really do feel they're correct in stating that this would go well with food - not too much, mind you, but enough to pair and/or contrast the flavors. Or you can enjoy it on its own. Nicely done. Worth trying.

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El Mole Ocho from New Holland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 419 ratings