Bar Review: Kulminator Antwerp, Belgium

My first impression upon walking into this place was wow! It was old and cluttered but yet still very inviting. We arrived on a Wednesday in early July and it was fairly busy but, not nearly as crowded as one might expect from such a famous bar. We found an open table up a couple of steps and sat down. We were handed a beer book larger than any I'd ever seen and quite possibly the most extensive of any I would see on my trip through Belgium. We were contemplating what to get when a couple beside us suggest we do their beer tasting which was all nine of their drafts for 19 euro. We were ready to brave this unprecedented quest into the belly of high gravity beer.



The beers were Mikkeller - Black, Dubuisson - Bush de Noel, Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV -Malheur 12, Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal - Barrel-Aged Project Brew No. 8 Sauternes, De Koningshoeven - La Trappe Quadrupel Quercus Eikenvat gelagerd Batch #2 , Brasserie Dupont sprl - Avec Les Bon Voeux, Brouwerij Van den Bossche - Buffalo Stout, Brouwerij Bosteels -Tripel Karmeliet, De Struise Brouwers Ypres.



Mikkeller - Black, Dubuisson - Bush de Noel


Dubuisson - Bush de Noel, Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV -Malheur 12, Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal - Barrel-Aged Project Brew No. 8 Sauternes,  De Koningshoeven - La Trappe Quadrupel Quercus Eikenvat gelagerd Batch #2


Brasserie Dupont sprl - Avec Les Bon Voeux, Brouwerij Van den Bossche - Buffalo Stout, Brouwerij Bosteels -Tripel Karmeliet, De Struise Brouwers - Ypres.


Mikkeller - Black - The main flavor and smell I picked up on was espresso. There was also plenty of roasted malt and bitter chocolate. I was impressed  that I could barely taste the alcohol considering this beer comes in at a devastating 18% !!! The most imperial of imperial stouts!!!

Dubuisson - Bush de Noel - The flavor from this beer was lots of herbs and earthy hops mixed with alcohol (12%). This Belgian strong ale had way to prominent of an alcohol flavor for me to enjoy it.

Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV -Malheur 12- A quadrupel with 12% alcohol which had lots of dark fruity flavors. I tasted raisins and figs. This beer suffered a bit from the same sweetness problem virtually everyone of these beers had.

Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal - Barrel-Aged Project Brew No. 8 Sauternes - A 12% Belgian strong pale ale with lots of flavors. I tasted dark fruit, caramel, roast malts, oak, and alcohol. It got a bit confusing after awhile with all of the high alcohol beers but I don't remember liking this one all that much.

De Koningshoeven - La Trappe Quadrupel Quercus Eikenvat gelagerd Batch #2 - According to the commercial description, "Mix of oak-lagered beer (including white wine barrels) and non-oak lagered Quadrupel". This was definitely the first time I've ever had a beer aged in white wine barrels that I know of! The 12% beer had tastes of cherries and licorice all while being brown and kind of scary.

Brasserie Dupont sprl - Avec Les Bon Voeux - There was some sweet, some tart, and some bitter in this 9.5% Saison. This was an interesting and drinkable beer.

Brouwerij Van den Bossche - Buffalo Stout - Despite the name this 9% beer is not a stout but a Belgian strong dark ale. I tasted coffee, toffee, and some fruit. This isn't exactly what I think of when it comes to a stout flavor but it was a decent beer.

Brouwerij Bosteels -Tripel Karmeliet - The 8.4% tripel is smooth and hoppy and is the essence of a superbly drinkable high alcohol Belgian beer. I brought a couple of these back from De Hopduvel so I will do a longer review on this beer soon.

De Struise Brouwers - Ypres - I'd never even heard of the beer style known as a Flanders Oud Bruin until I had this 7% beer. This beer was sour with hints of molasses and red wine. I didn't like this beer but it came with some laminated information!




If you ever find yourself in Antwerp or Belgium I highly recommend trying to visit the legendary Kulminator. It is cluttered and slightly chaotic inside but it is an unique atmosphere to try some rare beers. There are a couple of cats running around which help to add to this chaotic ambience. It is kind of like visiting a beer hoarder's apartment. I believe the owner recently had knee surgery and isn't able to spend much time in the beer cellar looking for some of the rarer bottles but there is still plenty of beer to sample. I will remember this place fondly.

Overall: 10/10












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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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