Jopen Bier BV Haarlem

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Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #8
Ranked #11,870
3.97 | pDev: 11.34%
Jopen Bier BV Haarlem
Very Good
Notes: Jopen Koyt is a gruitbeer (herb beer) that is brewed according to the bierkeur (city recipe) from 1407. The beer is brewed with malted barley, malted wheat and oats and has a malty taste with a smooth herbal finish. The aroma has a hint of herbs and spices mixed with dark malt. Jopen Koyt is the only gruitbeer from the Netherlands. Gold medal winner at the European Beerstar competition in 2009 and a silver medal at the European Beerstar Competition in 2011.
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 138 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L- Deep chestnut brown, crystal clear despite there apparently being a layer of sediment firmly accreted onto the bottle's bottom. Pours with 2mm pale tan head, clears to part-cover - unsuprising at 8.5%ABV,
S- Certainly something different though still quite mild; herbs of some kind.
T- That 'different'^ smell follows through clearly in the taste. Hard to divine as I drink little Herb/Gruit beer. It also has a moderate dry lick on the palate into the finish, I'll be interested to see if that's hops or herbs alone.
F- It has a pretty solid feel, as one might hope for from an 8.5% The dry aspect does a good job at balancing the feel+abv%.
O- For a Herb/Gruit beer this IME is a pretty easy-to-enjoy example, a good entry point for those new to the style. If it weren't so $$ I'd buy this again as something really quite different. Meanwhile I'm enjoying this one and glad I'm getting to experience it.
330ml bottle BB: Aug-2022 £4.95 Bought from BeautifulBeers/BurySt.Edmunds as part of a large pick-your own consignment to London.

Feb 10, 2021
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

dark body with two plus fingers of cream head lace clings to the glass
the smell is dark caramel and woody with juniper berry type fruity and floral aroma
the feel is spiced sweet and smooth with gentle alcohol in middle with modetately low carbonation and semi dry finish
the taste has a mild dry spicy and nutty quality with a light fruitty yeast and caramel malt support with an almost peppery accent yet slight ripe banana in yeast with hint of astringency in spice
this is a tasty gruit it has more malt than spice but is stronger thanbany other gruit I have tried which makes it seem milder and more drinkable even considering the abv

Jun 05, 2020
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Humanusfermentum from Virginia

4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tea-colored pour; foamy head reduced to a thin, persistent, creamy one. It helped in retaining some of the more subtle notes in the flavor. Nice, complex flavor profile. Dark and earthy, like a pint out of a medieval tavern. I've discovered an affinity for these ancient ales.

Mar 03, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This gruit brought the spices on the front, middle and end of the taste. Clove, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and herbal spices. Body has texture to suit these spices. There are some boozy fruits, but the spices rule all. Would love some more balance, but otherwise pretty nice.

Sep 11, 2018
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish, deep mahogany coloration with a medium, creamy head. Smell is very sweet and malty, with some herbal notes coming through as well. Taste follows the nose, being dominated by caramel, bready malt, some dark fruit: fig, raisin and strong herbal notes that are difficult to define exactly. There are sweet aniseed notes reminiscent of liquorice, some light notes of alpine herbs, specifically eucalyptus, and also almost spicy notes remiscent of cumin. Finishes sweet and herbal with some licorice lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium/rich body and low carbonation.

This kinda reminds me of a Ricola cough drop, but in a good way. It's quite sweet, but not cloyingly so, with the herbs lending a good balance and providing some really unique notes. Incredibly impressive for being brewed traditionally, without any hops.

Aug 31, 2018
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dcotom from Iowa

4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an 11.2-ounce bottle into a straight-sided mug. Hazy light brown color with tan highlights and a thick light tan head that left some stringy lacing as it settled to a thin ring. (There was also some particulate matter suspended in the beer, which may be off-putting to some.) Aromas of caramel and dark fruit (prune, raisin) smack you in the face. Stay with it long enough and some floral and spicy notes begin to come through. Tons of malty sweetness on the tongue, with - again - big flavors of caramel, dark fruit, and herbal spiciness. There is a little tart fruit and quite a bit of astringence coming through on the finish. Mouthfeel is substantial, no doubt attributable to the oats in the grain bill. Surprisingly little alcohol warmth, considering the relatively high ABV (8.5%). Very tasty, if a little out of the ordinary. Highly recommended.

Nov 06, 2017
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(750 ml corked/caged bottle, bottle - best by: 24 Nov 2017, bottled: 24K15... poured into a large wine glass)

L: dark garnet liquid, appearing opaque though toward the bottom trough of the glass, it lightens and shows clear... some foam builds on the pour, but it's immediately apparent that it won't retain, which it doesn't, but a think blanket cap remains; lacing minimal

S: very much like a Belgian brown ale, or dark trappist, with dark gingerbread, raisin, and perhaps prune aromas... anticipates dark, deep malts and possibly a touch of caramel sweetness... plum or vinous-like esters slowly emerge, alcohol maintains a low profile

T: as the smell implies, rich dried fruit and dark bready malt, with a hint of licorice and subtle sweetness in the finish... I'm not very familiar with the flavor of sweet gale, but nothing out of the ordinary herbal-wise stands out - a mellow bitterness lingers, but it could be a combo of phenols and roasted malts causing it... I feel like this is on par with (if not marginally tastier than) a Corsendonk brown, or something similar

F: light-medium bodied with a soft heat thinning it slightly; clean, but with a little hip fat... carbonation is at a mellow, ideal level, and (to repeat) the soft heat is lovely... overall: sloppy, soft, lazy, comfy

O: I'd kept an eye out for this since learning of it around 2010 - glad I finally stumbled across it and would definitely buy it again, despite the fact that it's not terribly 'herbal'

Aug 23, 2017
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schavuytje from Netherlands

3.54/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A traditional scotch ale de dutch way @ 1407; red-brown body with a bitter herbs aroma, flavors of many malted barley, wheat and oats; biscuit, sweet and creamy solid in alcohol

Jun 05, 2017
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.24/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

$ 4.23 (Including tax)/11.2 oz bottle ($ 0.378/oz) at the Lager Mill, Frankenmuth, MI.
Bottle dated 26 Nov 2017 stored at 42 degrees. Served at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Aroma – herbal and somewhat medicine-ish. Fades away.
Head large (Maximum five cm, aggressive pour), tan, medium density with precipitate floating on the surface, average retention. Diminishing to an irregular seven to fifteen frothy ring and a rocky partial layer.
Lacing – good. Towering wide columns of tiny to small bubbles.
Body – dark brown, muddy with precipitate, some effervescence.
Flavor – slightly sweet herbal tea. Allowing it to warm in my mouth only accentuates the herbal medicine aspects of the nose. No malt, no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate – medium, lightly syrupy, soft carbonation.

Typical of gruits and atypical for a beer. Not bad for what it is but certainly not a good substitute for a Dutch beer. I can see this with a meal in the Netherlands as a novelty but not as a regular libation. But since the brewer is calling it a “Gruitbier”, I’ll score it as a beer.

Appearance 3.25, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 3, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.25.

May 15, 2017
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janubio from Spain

4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber colour, reddish tones when held to the light. Medium head with long retention, good lace. Aroma is earthy, herbs, nuts, caramel. Sticky palate, medium to full body, strong carbonation. Taste of honey, caramel, chocolate, nuts.

Apr 30, 2017
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Colonial Spirits.
Hazy deep brown color with a decent sized tightly bubbled tan head that slowly recedes. Lightly herbal on the nose with plenty of brown sugary maltiness to counter. Light pine in the flavor with a bit of bitterness and sweet bready caramel and brown sugar maltiness to counter. Light earthy spicy notes round this out nicely. I'm not usually a fan of gruit but this one I kind of liked.

Mar 26, 2017
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11.2 ounce bottle, best before 26 NOV 2017 stamped on the back label. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a hazy reddish/brown color with about an inch and a half tan head that stuck around for a bit. There's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like stone fruit, sweet spices, herbs and earthiness. It tastes like stone and dark fruit, caramel, herbs, earthiness, sweet spices, licorice and molasses. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and easy to drink with a good amount of carbonation. I liked this brew, glad I tried this one! $3.99 a bottle.

Jan 15, 2017
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Stevem68 from Ohio

3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color almost like a light Amber molasses. Aroma is malty sweet with a lift herbal quality. Flavor is caramel malts with a aromatic vegetable flavor. Almost like a wild leafy green. Body is smooth and nice to drink. Overall a very solid brew, nothing I would drink a lot of but still solid.

Sep 29, 2016
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josanguapo from Spain

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. After dinner. Profile of a good Dubbel with hops replaced with odd (for me) yet pleasant mix of herbs that integrates vey well. 6 months after BB date.

Jul 09, 2016
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mwilbur from Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip. Best by 24 Nov 2017.
A: Pours a very dark but very clear reddish amber hue with 1/2 inch dark tan head with good retention (very tight bubble formation) and mild amount of lasting lacing.
S: Heavy and sweet caramel malt, herbal notes (mint and clove), and earthy minerals.
T: Moderately heavy sweet caramel malt, red berries, mint, clove, cedar wood, very soft pine, and a hint of juniper berries and earthy minerals. There also seem to be more herbal notes that I am not identifying. A surprising amount of complexity here given the absence of hops!
M: Soft (wheat and oats), full, and velvety. Moderately heavy body. Softly sweet (mostly caramel with some fruit notes) with mild herbal bitterness throughout. Nice lingering on the palate.
D: This one was a very nice surprise! It's amazing what can result from an herbal blend standing in for the hops. If you are a hop head, stay away. If you are up for something different, definitely seek it out!

May 29, 2016
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KatyBeerGuy from Texas

3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip glass. Initial 1 finger head, disappeared almost immediately. Bready, almost sourdough on the nose. pleasant taste with hints of chocolate, maple syrup, raisins. Nice, pleasant finish. One glass is enough. Could not finish second.

May 08, 2016
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best by 11/26/17.

Pours a murky copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment sink to the bottom of the glass after the pour. Smell is of toasted malt, earth, spice, and herb aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, earth, spice, and herb flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an interesting mix of herb and spice characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

May 07, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After I Had this in Amsterdam in 2015, I thought it was too different to seek it out again. But, I saw it on the shelves at Binny's three years later. And I'm glad I Had it again. Jopen Koyt is more than different. It is interesting and well-made. And to explain the high OA points given, I like the informative story on the label.

Since gruits are not particularly attractive, I think the dark malts used here help the cause of making the style seem normal.
Smells? I like them a lot because these are mostly malts moving in to serve my sweet-tooth; but the balance comes from herbs instead of hops... which I also like. Tastes come in the same and the 8.5% stays concealed. Tastes have a stimulating finish from the herbs.

But take a review from a better source....
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave Koyt 3 of 4 stars "made with oats, is iron-ish, aromatic and arousing to the senses."
or also.....
Open Koyt also is reviewed at length in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

Apr 27, 2016
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leroybrown10 from Missouri

3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a caramel brown with some cloudiness. 2+ finger head is tan and creamy. Fades semi quick and leaves moderate lacing behind.

Aroma of spice and malt. Cinnamon, chai, and caramel. Bread dough.

Tastes much like the aroma. Spice and malt. Maybe a bit of earthiness. Some fruit. Apple, pear, raisin, and dates.

Medium body with rather sharp carbonation. Spice lingers.

Easy drinking beer with excellent spice notes. Wish the carbonation was toned down.

Mar 26, 2016
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Zet from Netherlands

3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very interesting beer to try. Poured in its glass, it looks like murky brown water with flakes of dandruff floating around. Not very appealing, but then again, I'm not an experienced gruit drinker, so this is probably normal. Smell is nice, with herbs and notes of apple syrup. Herbs are also going wild in the taste. A very smooth beer with a nice alcohol warmth. Due to this it is probably better suited for the winter season, but I still enjoyed it mid-July.

Jul 12, 2015
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boddhitree from Germany

4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank this at Braukunstlive 2014 in Munich, Germany.
I didn't take enough notes, but I did write this: "WOW! Very Chocolatey!" It was very sublime. This is traditionally a spiced beer, and I was expecting more spices, but then again, chocolate is a spice, I guess.

I'd love to brew this beer.

Mar 18, 2014
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thierrynantes from France

3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from Le Souffleur de Bières, and tasted in 2013.

Appearance : dark brown color, with tan foamy head.
Smell : yeasty and spicy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : herbal notes, leading to bitter finish.
Overall : a good beer in the style traditional ale (old gruit).

Mar 01, 2014
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metter98 from New York

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Jopenkerk, Haarlem, Netherlands

A: The beer is very dark brownish red in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a half a finger high beige head that died down a bit but hardly faded away.
S: Moderate aromas of herbs are present in the nose - rosemary seems to stand out in particular along with some hints of juniper.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the flavors are much stronger and rosemary really seems to stand out in particular.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a very flavorful and easy to drink gruit beer that is also a little more fuller bodied compared to other beers in the style.

Apr 18, 2013
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ThePorterSorter from Oregon

3.44/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Best before 03/2009...got a bit of age on it.
The beer pours a clear dark brown with no head and a touch of sediment. The nose is tame with a caramel sweetness and no distinct herbal characteristics. The taste is a mellow brown ale, sweet raisins upfront, with a nondistinct lingering herbal finish. The herbal flavors are slightly tomato-y with a slowly building, lingering, tangy, metallic finish. The beer is light-medium bodied characterized as being sweet, weakly herbal, drinkable, and completely uncarbonated. There is very little bitterness. This is a drinkable gruit, but I would have liked to try it fresh as the carbonation and herbal pop were both missing.

Jan 26, 2013
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safaricook from Netherlands

4.46/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this at the Marqt on Overtoom close to the Leidsplein in Amsterdam. Poured it into the original Jopen Stemglass.

Two finger of beige head reduces slowly to a thin layer, nice lacing; clear bright ruby to amber body with lots of carbonation visible

strong smell dark malt, yeast and dark fruits, some distant coffee, vanilla, really pleasant!

taste is a reluctant maltiness and a bit more towards the coffee, some sour ting on the tongue as well; aftertaste is first a bit metallic but soon moves towards a smooth bitterness that origins probably from Myrica gale a herb that was added to the beer.

head is velvety almost creamy; carbonation tickles on tongue and throat; aside the carbonation the beer is rather oily, very smooth on the tongue.

I had this beer before and remembered it to be good, but in fact it is really good, excellent. I usually criticize the Jopen brewery for having too many different types that are all somehow special but not really balanced and just not great. However, with this recipe from 1407 they are doing everything right

Jan 09, 2013
Koyt from Jopen Bier BV Haarlem
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 138 ratings