"A beer with fame, but the smoky influence does not particularly please my taste buds"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
De Molen (translated as “The Mill”) originates from 2004 when Menno Olivier started the brewery after years of small-scale experience. It was one of the first craft beer breweries in the Netherlands and a leader in the transfer of re-discovered beer styles from the USA to the lowlands. In addition, they started organising the Borefts Beer Festival with brewers from all over the world showcasing their beers. The success of the brewery has attracted money from the big breweries and since 2019 De Molen is fully owned by the Swinkels family who also owns Bavaria. Will it affect the quality of their craft beers? We have to see, but so far their course does not seem to change. Rasputin, obviously named after the controversial Russian healer, is one of their (Russian) imperial stouts. Moreover, this edition was aged in whisky barrels from one of the famous Islay distilleries. Bowmore. Peat and beer is a combination I have not experienced so far, but since I like both, it could be a very interesting one.
Although the appearance is black colour with a purple haze gives something intriguing to its appearance, there is not that much going with regard to the scent it provides. I get sour vegetables (not that pleasant), sour fruits, smoked beef and lots of ham. There is a hint of sour blue berries, a hint of cassis, red berries and sour dough. The scent all seem to move towards the sour side, which might be driven by the barrel influence. The meaty side is much more interesting, at least for my taste.
Fresh and sour in the mouth with hints of sour beer, ham on the barbecue and a hint of coal dust. There is a development into juicy sour cherries, a hint of red berry juice, a hint of rye bread, a smoky variant, and cassis. It slows down fairly easy. The smoke becomes less evident after a while and provides some room for beer-like notes. The aftertaste is dry and consist of smoked ham and dark malts.
I think Bowmore casks are among the most popular to age crafts beers. I guess that must have to do with their price, but also with the fame of the distillery. Many a whisky aficionado has partially (or completely, if they ever can) to craft beer, either because of the price, the hype and/or the range of different styles. Man, I am one of them, so what can I say. However, beer and peat does not always match, like this one does do it for me. The smoky cask influence turn the beer into sour territories, while the complexity from both cask and brew do not convince me. That does not do lower the respect I have for this brewer. It simply isn’t one of their best (for me).