Brouwerij Maenhout (w/ Boom Island Brewing Co.) - Kollusion
Serving Temperature:50–57° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Small Nonic, or Tulip
Brouwerij Maenhout’s Kollusion brings together a Belgian brewery and an American one, with no small bit of influence from Russia. Clearly, evidence of collusion. This Russian-style imperial stout uses wheat and barley malt, as well as special additions of roasted coffee beans and Belgian chocolate. To balance, this stout further includes coriander along with Cascade and East Kent Goldings hops. Up until recently this beer was only available stateside in kegs in a limited number of Florida markets. We managed to get Kollusion packaged into 750mL bottles exclusively for our club members as a Rare Beer Club exclusive.
Kollusion pours a very dark, jet-black color with medium-tan foam. Well-formed despite the high ABV, and this shows fantastic lacing around the sides of the glass. Beautifully packed aromatics showcase the roasted coffee character particularly well here. Deeper dark malts, touches of caramel and burnt sugar, dense elements of chocolate and licorice. A lot of deep, serious maltiness here—black licorice, cocoa, dark berries…—but the aromatics stay super engaging and soft to land in, with hints of vanilla and marshmallow throughout.
Full, beautifully rounded mouthfeel that leads with generous dark chocolates, immense levels of roasted coffee, and a smooth underpinning of caramelization. This is a very well-balanced imperial stout overall, with tons of dark maltiness and chocolate character balanced by some firm mineral and herbal hops, plus some bitterness from the dark specialty malts. The coffee character really takes this imperial stout to a whole other level, with those Belgian-chocolate elements bringing everything together seamlessly. Flawless execution across the board, from the impact of special additions to how well that base imperial stout supports everything else going on here. Delicious stout showcasing specialty ingredients without ever overdoing it.
Kollusion should continue to age gracefully in the bottle if you choose to cellar some. That 11% ABV and tight construction suggest this should do nicely with a bit more caramel and sherry-like oxidative qualities. For food pairings: the brewery suggests chocolate brownies, or a Crème Malakoff (an almond cream trifle from Austria that sounds absolutely delicious).
Brouwerij Maenhout is an artisanal brewery located in the municipality of Pittem in the West Flanders province of Belgium. The brewery got its start towards the end of 2009, founded by Thijs Maenhout and Birgit De Rammelaere, who took over the former company buildings of the Gerdox bouillon factory in Meulebeke. Brouwerij Maenhout began with a 5-hectoliter brewery (which equates to around eight full kegs per batch), and initially all of their bottling and labeling was done by hand. They’d spend the next five years developing recipes and building an audience.
As demand outpaced their ability to produce beers on the small system in Meulebeke, they decided to relocate to a larger building in Pittem located along the Brugsesteenweg, the main road connecting the port city of Ghent and West Flanders’ capital city of Bruges. The effort to expand the brewery’s operations began in 2014, and the new system at their new location started production in early 2015. Unlike their earlier facility, Brouwerij Maenhout’s new digs have a capacity of 1,200 hectoliters per year and include a counter-pressure bottling line that both automates and improves the bottling process. The current facility also accommodates a 60-liter test brewery where they’re able to develop new recipes, including one-off seasonals.
Brouwerii Maenhout’s core releases are generally focused on Belgian style staples, including a 6.5%-ABV blonde ale called Blinde Mol (originally created for the Graszoden David Lannoo company in Pittem, and named after the subterranean mammal common in the area) as well as an 8.5% tripel called Koeketiene. The brewery’s one-off releases have included renditions of traditional Belgian styles like saisons, witbiers, dubbels, and Belgian pale ales.
This month we’re excited to be able to offer our favorite of Maenhout’s releases to date: an incredibly detailed imperial stout done in collaboration with Boom Island Brewing Co. based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Kollusion is the result of a Belgian brewery collaborating with an American one, all while being influenced by the Russians. This Russian-style imperial stout is further detailed with the addition of roasted coffee beans plus Belgian chocolate, while East Kent Goldings and Cascade hops provide some balancing bitterness for the overall package. We’re getting this one packaged into 750mL bottles exclusively for the Rare Beer Club.
Brouwerij Maenhout’s brewing facility includes a tasting room that’s currently open on most weekends (check their website or Facebook page for the latest hours of operation). Brewery tours need to be scheduled in advance, and consist of an approximately one-hour tour of the facility followed by sampling the Maenhout beers in their tasting room. Brewery tours can be booked just about any day of the week, by appointment only, and you can find the latest info over on their website at www.brouwerijmaenhout.be (we found Google Translate helpful).
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