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Hell For Certain | Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

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Hell For CertainHell For Certain

Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Kentucky, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SheepNutz on 04-13-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 75
Photo of mikesgroove
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

nice dark brown color with this tin wispy head of off white that capped the top only for a slight time offering little in the way of side lacing. aroma of roasted malts, light smoke, and hints of chocolate, nice and warming, but lacked the punch i was looking for. flavor was more of the same, not bad at all, had all the right markers there with light peat, lots of chocolate, deep roasted profile, just too light for me to be honest. thin feel

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Photo of johncampbell
4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To Hell with this. This beer is madness in a bottle. It tastes so good and is so easy drinking that one quickly forgets the high abv. I did. I had several of these at the BBC Taproom on Clay and Main. Afterwards, I thought it would be a good idea to take my longboard down the block to the Louisville Skatepark. Brilliant. I think I broke my wrist right before I bounced my chin off the concrete. Hell For Certain. Delicious. Drink with caution.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.21/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle picked up on a recent trip to kentucky. drank from my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours out a murky looking reddish brown colored body with a small beige head on it. the head lasts for a while before receding, and leaves behind a few randomly placed spots of lacing.

S- belgian yeast is the first thing that i notice. after that comes a myriad of fruits. apples, pears, plums, cherries, and a little bit of orange. interesting. some bubblegum/banana in here also.

T- the taste isnt nearly as inviting as the smell, and is kind of a let down. the fruits are in here, but alot less pronounced. the yeast is the main contributor to the flavor, offering a bit of banana and bubble gum.

M- thin and watery. highly carbonated.

D- after the smell this one sort of fell apart on me. i dont think id seek it out again.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.46/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml.

A: deep, dark copper color
S: yeasty, gutsy, but not a ton of Belgian character, hints of candy sugar
T: not bad, astringent, yeasty, and hints of burnt candy sugar, but lacking a true Belgian focus
M: decent, easy drinking, great carbonation, much like trad Belgian beers with thick head that lasts
D: ok, but lacks overall traditional Belgian dubbel quality, getting there but not there yet

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Photo of eyncognito
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to my boss for picking a few of these up for me while touring through Bourbon country Kentucky.

Pours a dull crimson into my Duvel tulip with a thin collar. Orange and red highlights peek through. A rockier head would add to the already inviting color, but oh well. The aroma shines bright with some bigtime spices, allspice, nutmeg, and hints of mild cinnamon. Fruits emerge as this ale warms- mostly apple and pear, a bit odd for a belgian dark ale that there are no notes of dark or pitted fruit, but pleasing nonetheless. Mild chocolate notes also emerge as this ale warms up.

Taste follows up, building on the nose-the same spices again, only with mild clove (faint) and more fruits this time, again apple, pear, but hints at berries. Overall somewhat sweet, but had a mild metallic flavor, but the overall spice from the yeast? is enough to forgive the metallic character. Malt is sweet caramel, but doesn't really offer the toffee-ness. Too bad, but finishes with a clean hop dryness. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin for a dark ale and lacks the carbonation that many American Belgian offerings seem to miss, although the almost peppery spice notes work well with the tight bubbles in the carbonation.

Overall a well done ale. Compared to a Belgian Dark Ale, it is pedestrian. That said, I enjoyed drinking a few of this. Pleasurable and worth purchasing.

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

Thanks to bamadog for sharing this local brew with me. Poured from bottle into a pint.

Appearance: Pours an opaque plum-flesh, orangey-red color, almost rust, with a 1/2 finger cream-colored, smooth and thick head. The head fades and retains at a thick skim, holding well throughout the drink, leaving little spots of lacing here and there.

Smell: Really sweet and caramelly malts with chewy raisins, apricots, dates and prunes. Not much hop presence to speak of, but not so unusual for this style.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste is full of the chewy, syrupy fruit and malts along with a slight tartness and bitterness from the hops. Wheaty, dry grains are accompanied by a spiciness that I can't put my finger on but reminds me of cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg. The spice throws the taste a little off-balance. The feel is super-sticky, somewhat viscous, and slightly stale.

Drinkability: Moderate. The taste is fairly balanced and not too overwhelming, and the sticky feel is a little heavy.

Pretty solid offering from BBC who I'm not typically so impressed by. Not an incredible beer, but a really solid and drinkable intro to Belgians from a good local company.

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Photo of bamadog
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first time I had this on tap and it seemed like a much better drink. This time, from the bottle, it just didn't have some of the same flavors but overall it's not a bad offering from BBC, which typically seems kind of average to me. Poured from a bomber.

Appearance: A pretty dark and cloudy brown (almost like a thick instant iced tea?) with a thick 2+ finger head that is light tan (almost a cinammon color) with pretty solid retention; lots of sediment floating through the body and sitting on the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Caramel, raisins, some candied fruits and spices.

Taste: Strong caramel presence and a fair amount of maltiness; strong presence of raisins and the candied fruits and the spiciness really becomes much more presrent -- I would say coriander and nutmeg; it's sweet and tart all at the same time.

Mouthfeel: Relatively dry; moderate carbonation but still fairly smooth. Leaves a funny aftertaste in the mouth, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

Drinkability: Moderate. It's kind of a heavier beer in the body and the flavors weren't quite as balanced as I've had in some other Belgian darks. Not bad overall, but I feel like I was a little too excited about coming across this in the bottle. Oh well.

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Photo of endincolorado
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Deep, clear gold-amber-- light on head, ultra-low retention, thin lace

Smell- Sweet malty character, with some yeast and notes of baked bread

Taste- Slightly blander than I expected, pale malt, bread, light yeasty spice

Mouthfeel- fairly thin and flabby, low on carbonation

D- I expected a little more from this beer -not one I'll seek out for another round.

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Photo of bluesoul
4.24/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Shea's on Baxter in Louisville. Poured into snifter.

A - The beer arrived a dark amber, with almost no head to it. I didn't watch the pour so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. Lacing was decent at best.

S - The smell was a lot better than the looks. In my notes I described it as "luxurious", due to the rich profile of it. The nose was primarily malty with hints of nut. Slight funk when swirled, not much sweetness to the nose.

T - Very well balanced attack, barley opens up to a mild heart and finished with a very nice hop kick. Hops tend to build up towards the back of the tongue. I'm not quite far enough along to really pick anything out with this one but that didn't make it any less tasty.

M - Super smooth, light to medium bodied, carbonation was good. Finish was nice and clean, though increasingly hoppy. Hoppy aftertaste but not overpowering.

D - Eminently drinkable for any occasion, I foresee a session of these soon. It was gone all too soon.

As a bit of trivia, Hell For Certain is named after an area of the same name in Southeastern KY, just a bit south of "Hell Creek" and "Whynot?" You really can't make these things up.

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Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Some alcohol, yeast and malt in nose. Whitish foam. Very mild brownish body. Some yeast in taste, bown sugar and pepper and cloves and raisin.Not too drinkable, and a fairly mediocre Belg. Above average mouthfeel and appropriate carbonation.FOund at Warehouse Beverages.

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Photo of jkrich
3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a 10 oz. glass of this at a local eatery in Jeffersonville, IN.

Poured a deep, golden, almost bronze like color with a small foamy white head. It was very clear with multiple bubbles.

The only disappointing aspect of this beer was the aroma; I simply could not discern much. There was an indistinct sweet aroma, but not much else.

The taste was somewhat sweet (though never cloying even after it warmed) with a grainy, biscuit like flavor. The taste became a little more complex as the ale warmed. As I have had very little experience with this style, I don't know if it is a good representation of the style. I did expect more complexity.

Moderately carbonated and medium bodied; left some sweetness on the tongue.

For a 6.6 ABV this is extremely drinkable, but I don't think I could drink many of them because of the sweetness. I would definately order it again.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.94/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid around $1.79 for a single...

The beer pours a brown colored base with minimum head and no lacing. The aroma is a mixture of sweet aromatic malts with some fig and raisin characteristics.

The taste is similar to the aroma, low carbonation, with a sweet aftertaste. Feels pretty smooth in the mouth and at 6.6%abv very drinkable.

Final Thought: Solid Belgian Strong from one of the Midwest's finest breweries. A little sweeter than most of this style.

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Photo of tmitch75
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark orange (almost red) color. A half inch of off-white head drops to a thin swirl but leaves a ton of lacing.

Super-sweet smell, like fruit or candy. I like it.

Sweet fruity flavor with a nice earthy hop flavor. Sweetness is strong but not over the top. Quite good.

A bit thin in the mouth but not bad. Very tasty and drinkable. I am very glad I found this one (on a recent business trip to the Louisville area).

Tasted on 4/3/08 (bottled Oct '07).

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Photo of blackhammer
2.46/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up on a shopping trip in Indy, only my second Belgian Dark, so I thought I'd give it a go.

A: Poured a dark reddish brown oak color in the glass with some cloudiness. Poured a rocky head, about a half inch, with lingered on the glass for some time.

S: Strong smell of oats, rye, and cherries underneath both. No hop aroma to be found by my nose.

T: Very mild, roasted oats flavor. Much milder, than I would have expected given, the robustness of its appearance. It seems like all the work on this beer went into it's appearance and smell. Nothing was left for the flavor itself. None of the underlying aromas come through on the palate.

M: Very thin on the mouth and throat. Not a bad feeling, just not memorable. Just too light in body for a beer that appeared to be much more.

D: An easy drinker, certainly, but I expected a lot more when it poured. It just seems lacking in punch in flavor and feel for having such an intimidating moniker.

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Photo of Duster72
2.91/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark amber with an impressive off white head. Aroma is yeasty with some nuttiness and dark fruits. Taste is bready, toasty, slightly sour. Unmemorable and bland. Mouthfeel is on the light side. I drank half the bottle before getting bored with it and dumped the rest out. Moved on to something better.

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Photo of dren
2.14/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours a dark amber with a nice thick head that leaves lacing. This is the only good quality of this beer.

Smells malty and slightly nutty. A very small hint of dried fruit sweetness.

Tastes similar with the malts up front and hops afterwards. The flavors do not blend well at all. You have to swish this in your mouth to pick up some of them, very bland but bad tasting. It's like an IPA gone wrong with some Belgian yeast thrown in it. The worst attempt at this style I have had. As the beer warmed I caught a few hints of dried fruit but as soon as you pick them up they are gone. I didn't want to finish this beer which is extremely rare as I'll drink just about anything.

Mouthfeel was fairly thick but the flavor was flat. Enough carbonation. This was another high point of the beer. If I didn't have tastebuds I wouldn't mind drinking it.

Pass on this beer. Actually pass on just about everything the BBC has to offer. They have a few gems in there, but they are far and inbetween.

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Photo of danielharper
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Strong Bros. Liquor, Fayetteville, TN.

A: Pours into a snifter with a dark brown body and a thick luxurious head. Very pleasant. Head leaves serious lacing.

S: Fruity, slightly nutty, tart from the Belgian yeast strains. About what I'd expect a good-quality Belgian Dark to smell like.

T: A bit flat on flavor. Slightly tart, nutty, hints of dark cherries and maybe a touch of chocolate... but leaves the palate somehow unsatisfied. Leaves a drying aftertaste.

M: Thin, but also chewy due to the bottle fermentation.

D: Drinkable beer, and very nice for the level of alcohol... but there are a lot better Belgian Strong Dark Ales out there.

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Photo of emerge077
3.21/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into an Oerbier tulip a mahoghany tone, with two fingers of foam after an aggressive swirl and pour of the dregs. No actual yeast was visible in the bottle though. Moderate to low level of spotty lacing, an irregular skim of foam blankets the liquid.

Aroma is mild, sweet dark fruit, raisin, with a slight metallic edge. Sweetness becomes a little cloying over time.

Taste is of light toasted malt, raisin, and fairly ho-hum. Not really a stand-out, but ok. Burnt molasses and graham cracker. Too much diacetyl presence. Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, possibly due to the addition of yeast. Pretty ambiguous overall. I could finish a bottle, but didn't want another.

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Photo of flexabull
3.34/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown color, a bit cloudy, and with a decent head.

Aromas are sour, burnt, dusty, and tart. This doesn't really smell right...

Taste is pretty mild, but pleasant. A bit of an oaky biscuit like flavor from the malts, somewhat sweet as well. Finish is kind of tart and sour.

Mouthfeel is good. Beer has a nice full upfront feel to it.

Drinkability is pretty good. Not a great example of the style, but it's still a pretty decent beer. Easy to drink, and has some decent flavors.

Thanks for letting me try this nathan15.

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Photo of mcallister
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The liquid looks average but the head sets it apart. Deep copper/caramel color with a large whispy off white head with decent retention.

Different nose on this. Full of herbal spicey qualities. Very green. Coriander and asparagus rule, fennel, with some tropical fruit nuances. Much is going on in the nose but not in a delightful manner for my liking.

Well the beer is solid. Not nearly as green in the mouth although still herbacious. Menthol, fennel, starfruit, pineapple, tangerine, pomeganate, coriander, caramel belgian yeast, and mango. Complex but lacks body and depth. I'm not crazy about much of the yeast and spices in certain belgian and belgian style brews and this is one of them which hurts drinkability for me.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Equal parts burnished bronze and dark orange with bright orange peel trim. Not long after the pour, there's very little visible carbonation that, nevertheless, doesn't stop the formation of a huge, stiffly airy cap of pale gold foam that would look at home on a true Belgian ale if it was rockier and stickier. A second pour adds bubbles that rejuvenate the head with a controlled explosiveness.

I tend to judge American craft-brewed Belgian-style ales through a Belgian lens. In other words, I compare them to the world's best and let the chips fall where they may. No quarter is granted, no excuses are allowed. Hell For Certain is the real deal. It's brown malty with loads of pepper and clove-like spice. I have a feeling this is going to be tremendous beer.

Wow! I don't believe I've ever had a BDA this incredibly spicy before. In fact, it might be too much over the course of this 750 ml bottle. I often ask for more assertiveness in beer of this style, more full-frontal yeastiness. Bluegrass has either added a spice rack to the kettles or they've found the Godzilla of Belgian yeast strains.

The flavor profile consists of mega-toasted brown bread with a thick coating of ground clove, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. The last of those is especially noted on the finish of the finish. An ABV of 6.6% couldn't possibly be responsible for the warmth my mouth is feeling, so I have to believe that spices were added.

There's plenty of caramel and toffee-flavored malt (an early sweetness), and there's plenty of darkly fruity hops as well (an impressive finishing bitterness). Underneath the maelstrom of spiciness is a sneakily complex ale. This is a perfect example of American pedal-to-the-metalism. Whether it's too much or just right is strictly a matter of opinion.

There's nothing at all wrong with mouthfeel. It's nicely silky with a hint of stickiness. When compared to the best ales from the Continent, though, it doesn't quite reach the 'excellent' rung of the mouthfeel ladder. At least the brewers have seen fit to provide a peppy carbonation to go along with the peppy flavor profile.

I was amused to learn that Hell For Certain is a town in Kentucky that takes its name from a nearby creek. I've had four Bluegrass beers now and three of them have blown me away. I'm beginning to suspect that the brewers have sold their souls to the Devil. If so, I hope they take plenty of this bewitchingly spicy brew along to their final destination. I hear one can get a little parched down there.

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Photo of ndekke39
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a good 12 oz-er bottled in January 2006. Pours a hazy, bourbon color with a small, white good. Pretty good retention. Sweet aromas: toasted barley, caramel, molasses, wood, bourbon. Nice taste to it: the bourbon again, caramel, woody, like drinking a decent bourbon with a barley center. Slight fizz on the mouthfeel, but overall nice. A decently drinkable beer, nice and easy, although not exceptional.

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Photo of MDekker
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A "Devilishly Good Belgian Style Ale," bottled Jan 06. Consumed Jan 07. Pours out a hazy brown color with a finger of off-white head to begin. Smells of bread, yeast, with a biting malty note, almost like alcohol. Upon sipping, I find a fresh, somewhat lemony, piney, soapy flavor. A little weird, but not bad. I don't drink Belgians very often, but I'm reminded of the ones I've had before. Not much hoppiness to finish. Somewhat thin in the mouth, but it glides down OK. Soapy here, too. Very gentle carbonation. Overall, not bad, but I'm not aching for more, either.

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Photo of Onibubba
2.5/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not what I was expecting, and that may be part of the reason for the lower scores. I don't claim to be an expert on Belgians - just getting my feet wet as it were, but I am enjoying the exploration. This claims to be a Belgian Style beer. OK. Does not specifically mean Triple, Dubbel, Strong Dark, Strong Pale, but I was expecting something along those lines.

Pour is a light sort of root beer brown with a very small tight dark beige head. OK. I'm thinking Dubbel or Strong Dark now. Smell is not memorable. Some spice and alcohol, but very faint. Taste is a total let down. No spice, no sweet. This is bitter, and not in a hoppy way, more in a dissappointing-I-don't-want-to-finish-this way.

There is absolutely nothing about this beer that reminds me in any way of any Belgian Style beer I have had previous to this. Taken on its own merits, outside of a style description, you have a bitter uninteresting, thin, highly carbonated mess of a beer. This is my second beer from BBC. I'm fairly in love with their IPA/DIPA, Professor Gesser's Mind Numbing Ale. I'm having the opposite reaction to this mess.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.89/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 750ml bottle with gold foil wrapped around the top three inches of the bottle. Bought mainly for the artwork on the front of the bottle and the woman portrayed in the artwork. She reminded me a lot of my girlfriend. Go figure. Just Kidding ginger.

Appearance- An almost overwhelming head that just barely exploded oput of the glass upon the first pour. Great, and thick head retention. Great deep amber, almost rust related color. Awesome bubbling combined with what I would the slide fade lacing.

Smell- A little amaretto if you please wth a little hint of Frangelica maybe. Not because of the alcohol, just hints of aroma.

Taste- PLenty of Amaretto in the beginning with lots of spicey malts in the middle to even things out. The finish is still spicey with some hints of tart apples and black cherries. Tit bits of alcohol too.

Mouthfeel- A very warm and sensual feeling beer. Great to share with your special person.

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Hell For Certain from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
3.57 out of 5 based on 75 ratings.
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