Struis | Brouwerij 't IJ

very good
79 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brouwerij 't IJ

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A barley wine brewed in the English style. Struis is a full-bodied beer with a deep, dark colour and a soft, long-lasting head. The aroma is dark and sweet, with clear tones of chocolate and dried fruit. The aftertaste is dry and long-lasting, and leaves you yearning for more. A delicious accompaniment to food and ideal with skeapsrond cheese. Struis is only available as a bottled beer.

Added by Bierman9 on 12-26-2001

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 123
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very decent yeasty. Yes candi, pineapple, apples. Though overall not too complex. Creamy medium-thin mouthfeel. Could use food for mouth puckering finish. A fine one to have once.There are better in the brewery's lineup. At the Brick Store Pub, with the Atlanta B.A. crew.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Brouwerij 't Ij, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A: The beer is very hazy dark amber brown in color. It poured with a half finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits-prunes seem to stand out in particular-are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and is a little sweet with flavors of dark fruits and very slight hints of toffee and caramel.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very pleasant and easy to drink. Any traces of alcohol are completely hidden from the taste.

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Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cool cellar temperature, around 50º.
Bottle has a distinct clear red tint when held to the light.

Once opened, the bottle foams a little, so have a glass ready. It pours a deep brown with a red glint. Foam is an offwhite eggnog color. Some small amounts of lacing result.

After 5 minutes of sitting, the aroma has a sweetness of spiced cake with a little caramel. There's a bit of mustiness at first, but it seems to fade into the background.

Bready flavors with sweet oatmeal raisin cookie overlaying a musty herbal aftertaste. Some cola, licorice, or sassafras character. Grape and some subtle red wine woodiness. Sweet but with a slightly drying finish. Drinks pretty easy, but one is enough in a sitting.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky orange caramel that just barely allows bright sunlight to pass through to the other side of the glass. A slight blush of coral red adds a beautiful sunset glow and bright orange edges provide a nice contrast. I don't even mind that the golden beige cap is relatively small and doesn't provide much lace. This is one nice looking Dutch ale.

Brouwerij 't IJ calls Struis a barleywine rather than a BSDA. I'm not so sure about that. The nose is much more akin to a Belgian strong dark ale due to its musty, fruity, spicy nature. It's amazingly complex and carries a spice load that almost puts it into the (Fantome-like) saison category. Whatever one calls it, this is an aromatic, exotic, wonderful smelling beer.

I had no idea what to expect from Struis before cracking the crown today. As in the nose, a complex, musty, earthy, spicy fruitiness dominates. Bruised apples, fig paste, grapes and dark rum-soaked golden raisins melt into the taste buds with each mouthful. Caramel malt does its best to hold down the opposite side of the scales. Actually, an aggressive Belgian yeastiness overpowers even the fruit and might put more than a few people off.

It's too bad the flavor profile doesn't have more of a spark. I'm drinking a nicely aged bottle, but I can't help thinking that some amount of youthful brashness would have served Struis well. One benefit of several years in the bottle is that alcohol is nowhere to found on the palate. It is delivering a gentle, spreading warmth however.

Simply put, the mouthfeel isn't big enough. A beer that tastes like this one does deserves some amount of sticky chewiness. It reminds me of some of the so-called 'big' beer from the U.K. in that it's much less viscous than most American big beer and is less mouth pleasing as a result. I guess it all comes down to what one is used to.

Struis is an authentic BSDA brewed in Holland. I liked it better during ounces one, two and three than during ounces ten, eleven and twelve. Having said that, it's still a well-brewed, interesting, enjoyable sipper that I might consider buying again if it wasn't for the $4.99 price tag. Proost!

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle at the brewery.

LOOK: Murky brown, massive head.

SMELL: Crackers, dry maltiness, marmalade, grape skin, dried grass, wild herbs

TASTE: Dried hay, toasted bread, very dry, mild hopping, alcohol, dried dark fruit.

This is a big beer but deceiving in the way of dryness & drinkability. Big enough to go up against the stinkyest of cheeses.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy ruby with some off white head. Nose is musty in a way that reminds me of a traditional lambic. If I hadn't opened it myself, I'd swear this had come from a bottle with a cork. Flavor is extremely unusual and unique. Man. Very faint sweet tone. I can say right away that it ends with a noticeable perfume characteristic. Caramel is there too. Alcohol is noticeable a bit too. This is one extremely complex BSDA. And add that it is Dutch too. Who would've thought. Feel is good. Smooth with a nice bubble edge to it. Drinkable? Hell yes; but more for the experience. More of a sipper, but the unique qualities should keep a lover of the style coming back for another. You would never be able to tell what this might be from seeing it on the shelves. I mean a diamond label with an ostrich on it? Come on. Regardless. If you see it, buy it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass, Struis is a solid ruddybrown color, with cocoa-tinged tannish foam resting neatly atop. Looks alright by me.

Nose: yeast and spice hit a two-pronged attack, and fruit takes up the rear, dark ones, plums, and dates, and grapes, and raisins, and more. Drink it in deeper and the spices have taken over, peppers and clove and more. Definitely dubbel-ish, this. Rich and lovely.

Taste it: wonderful! A big explosion on the palate, a delirious blend of dark fruits, spices, and hefty malt, uplifted by Belgian yeast that adds a wicked funk to the proceedings. Berries become bigger in the flavor profile, grape stands tall, as well. And then up comes plum!

This is a fun beer, to be sure. Full-bodied, long finish, impeccable flavors, evident, but untroubling alcohol. A great Belgian beer from the Netherlands, and why the hell not?

I will return to this one, that I can guarantee!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

04/26/07- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a smudged freshness date or code on the top of the bottle cap. Poured into my Anderson Valley tulip.

Appearance- Murky deep caramel brown in color. Caramel covered apple color to be exact. Full one inch plus large bubbled foamy head. Reduces down to a nice 1/4 inch creamy film. Leaves behind very sticky and chunky looking lace. The only drawback is it's large murky yeast looking atribute.

Smell- Sweet and fruity with hints of fuesel alcohol. Dates, plums and rasins plus a concord grape scent as well. Maybe some sweet fresh baked cookie scent also.

Taste- The first few sips had some noticeable metallic tinges to them. This levels out once you get into the meat of the brew. Had this at room temp to start. Definite cookie dough sweetness with some fig newton like flavors followed with some rasins and of course the grapes I noticed in the nose.

Mouthfeel- Gets more and more creamy as you get into the beer. Smooth and silky with a medium carbonation level.

Drinkability- Good all around strong dark. I can sort of see why it's listed as a barleywine from the website. Has a few characteristics that fit. Without the metallic taste in the beginning, this beer would be really good.

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle flown back from Amsterdam. Poured a murky red and brown with an off-white head and a big of lacing. And like my bottle of Columbus, this is a sour, juicy Belgian. I don't knowifthis is supposed to be sour, but it kind of works. The aroma is strong with what you might call horseblanket, that rich, pungent, tangy hay and barn aroma, some of us (myself included) manage to enjoy. There's also a hint of cherry and apple juice that become stronger in the flavor. There's a bit of peppery spice and black licorice and the beer finishes with a lemony bitterness. This beer reminds me of De Proef's primitive ales as it blend both lambic and more tradition dark Belgian flavor. I'd definitely give this a try if you like funky beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Found a single bottle at the Wine Exchange. The label is in Dutch and the numbers "1" and "2005" are punched on the side of it. In other words, I have a 3½ year old bottle. On to the beer:

The head fades away fast on top this murky caramel brownish brew with red hues. The aroma is extremely malty, almost like a doppelbock. Very sweet with raisins, graps, dark bread, dough. Has a similar flavor too, but the lack of zip in the mouthfeel hides the potential. There's a spicy alcohol note breaking through the flavor, and the aftertaste lasts long with an almost overwhelming maltiness.

I love a malty beer, but the balance in this brew could have been improved upon. The beer could have been passed its peak based on the age of the bottle. I would like to re-try this fresh.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy, 1 finger thick, light brown head that sits atop a hazy, deeply amber colored brew. The aroma is malty and rich with notes of concentrated, sweet malt extract, a sweet dough like breadiness, along with notes of prunes and figs. To balance the sweet notes there is a baking spice type spiciness here with notes of clove, a hint of nutmeg, perhaps a touch of cinnamon, and even a note of spicy cardamom. The aroma is concentrated and sweet, like a dark holiday sweet bread or even a cake. It is quite the way to end the evening.

The taste has an upfront fruity sweetness that is not too heavy and reminds me of figs, and raisins. There is also a nice backdrop of maltiness here that has notes of caramel, brown sugar, a hint of molasses and a certain fresh, bready quality that reminds me of a sweet spice cake. This beer really has a rich quality to it that is quite satisfying and satiating, though it certainly is not sticky at all, or even too full on the palate. It has just the heft to it to remain drinkable, in fact it is the flavors of this beer, not the thick body, that make this such a savory experience.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a four finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Slight malty nose. Flavor is sweet almost candy like but enough tartness keeps it balanced. Sweet piney finish. High ABV is not noticeable. Pricey at $6.20 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy deep burnished brown colour, with some upsettingly disturbed sediment chunks. Head is a voluminous mass of pocked cocoa-dust foam, which leaves some nice rings of lacing around the edge of the glass. Overall, a very decent looking beer.

Strong sweet characters on the nose, toffee, molasses, a little wood and a serving of Belgian yeast character to boot. It's the way the characters merge together that is particularly impressive, however - a really nice conglomeration of disparate notes to give a truly classic Belgian style ale nose. Delicious.

Taste is a little off for me - starts out with a pleasant round Belgian ale character, with some honey and molasses sweetness, then a little dry possibly oaky character, before there's quite a welling of rank yeast on the back palate that makes me flinch a little. This mellows the more I drink of it, but the first sip was quite offputting. Mouthfeel is slick and creamy. I'm just so disappointed about the afterpalate.

It's a very nice Belgian ale if you ignore the last five seconds or so on the palate - it's a shame that it has something so clearly out of place, because otherwise it's extremely well constructed, and very well integrated.

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Photo of wl0307
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The cap says "No. 29", BB 20/04/2009; served mildly chilled to cool in Westmalle's long-stemmed chalice.

A: the carbonation of this bottle is just like all other 4 beers by 't IJ that I've had recently, very hyper, resulting in a super cloudy, dark russet-red colour topped with a dirty beige foamy head that manages to last very well.
S: astringently sour, rusty and musty as a result of loads of yeast sediments being thrown into the glass, which are so overpowering that hardly any other pleasant elements could pierce through the layer; a very deep sniff helps to reveal some caramely malts and estery bits (like prune juice + dried hawthorn-fruits + ground licorice), but overall the musty-sour oxidised pears and old, dried grapefruits peels come at the expense of nearly everything else. I really don't know what happens to the bottling process of 't IJ's beers?! - or is it actually the transportation and storage process that has gone wrong?
T: the flavour, surprisingly, is much more pleasant, suggesting a good input of herbal-sweet and spicy elements to pair with the muddy-bready malts and musty-rusty sour elements in the middle; the texture remains chewy with semi spiced-olives' elements to underline a vertical structure, while the lingering undertones of exotic "Chinese red-bean paste", dried hawthorn-fruits and powdery yeastiness help to make one forget any excessive sour hints from the "uncontrolled" yeastiness.
M&D: very lively on the carbonation at first but, in good time, sip by sip, the palate turns smoother with only a necessary amount of microscopic fizz to buttress the flavour, while, surprisingly, the alc. is absolutely nowhere to be found in this 9%abv. high-octave ale. Despite an immensely messy appearance and an astringent smell, the flavour and texture managed to persuade me that the goodies are truly worth waiting for - in the end. Not bad at all, this beer. I suppose a filtered version might be able to better bring out the pleasant elements without considerably compromising the complexity, as the cloudy version (as this bottle) simply is quite challenging on the nose!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A-This beer pours a deep walnut brown hazy body with a nice light tan head. It has a nice Belgian lace through the beer.

S- This beer has a nice brown sugar, dried fruit with a slight alcohol warmth.

T- This beer has a nice roasted malt flavor with a slight sweet dark sugar flavor. It has a faint roasted coffee note that has a faint sourness.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a bit of some fizz.

D-This is a good solid beer with nice complexity but not huge complexity.

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Photo of maximum12
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single someplace not far from our Amsterdam the hardest transit system in the world two understand? 12 oz. bottle.

Pour is iron rust red with a 10,000 foot head. Nose is very sweet, malts layered with bananas. About it, though.

Struis is a sugary bomb. Enough cavity causing material to make me wish I'd have put off my Friday dentist appt. for a bit to help with the damage done here. Sweet, sweet malts overwhelm. Bit of banana. sweet raisin, honey. Nice in the mouth, and despite the ABV, this is going down like Glass Joe...remember him?

Overall a decent if underwhelming beer. If you don't love sugar, cavities, and dentists, look elsewhere. Pretty good beer.

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Photo of Suds
3.27/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

So, this beer was a horrible gusher....almost one foot of foam as soon as the crown was lifted (a huge pet peeve of mine). However, after I poured what was left, the resulting liquid was pretty drinkable. It's a ruddy, muddy, cloudy brownish earth color. the head is tan and respectable. The aroma has a lot of malt quality...toasted, biscuit, fresh baked brown bread. Belgian yeast is very notable in the smell. The taste is sweet and very malty. Toasted and slightly roasted....melanoidin. Some yeast as well. Not outstanding, but pretty good. The mouthfeel is smooth, but suffers from the gush. It lost a lot of carbonation. Overall, the beer is a middle-of-the-road Belgian-style dark.

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Photo of stcules
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Monk's habit colour, with ruby reflexes. Thin foam, beige.
Smell of ripe strawberry, and no more.. (after moving the beer, ripe fruits again, sour cherry). A hint of alcohol too, but this beer has an ABV of 9..
At the taste the alcohol is more evident, less the strawberry, more bitter and woody and winy (marsala).
Medium body, bitter long aftertaste, with the alcohol notes well evident.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

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

Smells of syrupy caramel malts with good amounts of toffee and booze-soaked raisins. Also present are other dark fruits, mostly dates and dried plums.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Heavy caramel malt flavors up front are joined shortly by good amounts of dark fruit flavors dusted with brown sugar. Midway through the sip an indistinct spiciness comes into play, carrying through to a sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was an easy-drinking BSDA with a sneaky high ABV. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Gusler
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep and dark on the pour, head and lace are modest, light beige in color. The nose is ripe fruit, spicy, sweet, bubble gummy. Start malt and slightly sweet, middle thin, finish sparingly hopped, desert dry, astringent. Hearty overall, and is quite appealing, and well worth a sample.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle consumed at the brewpub in Amsterdam


appearance: cool label art, poured into a chalice - muddy brown body, light tan ring

smell: brown sugar, caramel malts, lots of dark fruit, spiced cake

taste: bartender described it as being similar to some belgian offerings (i believe he mentioned the words trappist and rochefort)...i enjoyed this beer, as i've enjoyed almost everything i've sampled from 't IJ over the years - nice sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, spice, nutmeg, light sticky hops

mouthfeel: nice smooth medium body

drinkability: good

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.02/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours murky brown with a huge head.
Nose shows musty chocolate, raisins and golden syrup. A bit rough.
Same story with the flavours; chocolate, golden syrup, not all that complex Very high carbonation, pretty ridiculous.
Not all that impressive really.

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Photo of Marius
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

33cl bottle from the liquor store. Dark copper/caramel pour, with a fine tan head that gives way to a thin lacing. Smells a bit funky, with notes of caramel and a bit of coffee but mostly saison-style barnyard funkiness, pickles, black olives, stuff like that. The taste is bittersweet and has a metallic feel, alongiside notes of dried fruit, caramel and spices. An interesting beer, but a bit all over the place.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Plummy brown and darkly toned with a medium cap of light tan firmly smoothed froth on top. Settles to a thin collar and the lace is strewn about in minimal glaring dots and a few straggly strings.

Aroma is quite nice with a pleasant bouquet of berries and dark fruity things. Dates and raisins with twists of lemon skins make up a good portion as it gains a alcoholic soaked berry and date mixing with some black licorice and root beer.

Taste is mostly dark and fruity, steady and even in the front and middle with a dark fruity maltyness thats a scad yeasty and spiced. Tends to finish better with a gradual brigade of hefty complexity in the dark fruits, adding some pits, skins, and baked raisin, dates, and spicy breadyness. Also hits a wonderful drying sense of dried dark fruits of the raisin and dates, perhaps a bit of fig too. Quite nice and much, much better as it warms. It really gains some nice subtle complexity as it goes.

Feel is about medium, with a lighter side to its body then you'd think with all of its dark-sided malt and fruityness. Not a bad thing really, it actually suits the character quite well; especially as it warms. This one grows on you. The pleasing finish with its long wondering dried dark fruity draw is a fine treat to the palate as it leans into some soft breadyness.

A damn fine brew. Drinkable as all get out with its moderate carbonation and long drawn out finish. 'Struis' is a nice brew to share; or to hoard, take your pick. Good stuff.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.31/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very pleasant burnt red colour, the colour of scorched earth. Head is a healthy beige and leaves some stunningly beautiful sheets of lace behind. Little bit of cloud in there, not much bead. Shit I dig that lace though.

Nose is not quite what I expected. A green, sour kind of character with some spice as well - cinnamon and nutmeg. A kind of fresh pineapple character is very distinct, in its tart glory. Not bad, and unique, but ultimately smells a bit raw and simple.

Taste is a fairly, or reasonably, interesting affair. Quite tart in flavour but with no real acid sensation. Elements of that pineapple character blend with some gravelly funk at the back, and a distinct brandy booze sensation as well. Alcohol not very well hidden, really. Oddly sweet overall with a dried fruit character, but a very strong funk on the back. Not quite sure what to make of this.

Mouthfeel nicely textured around the mouth, quite thick and quite boozey, but slick enough to go down. Pretty good.

I'm a bit unnerved by this, don't find it exceptionally drinkable, but it's not bad in any strict sense of the word.

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Struis from Brouwerij 't IJ
3.9 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
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