Established in 2015
Pours a medium dark amber-brown, surprisingly clear. Small, stable white head. Scent is mildly showing it's age ( this beer was originally brewed for one of my 10k beers, which was an Icebock of this one. However, I never tried this one fresh, and decided for whatever reason to age all my bottles of Ymir basebeer) , but dried fruits are very recognizable, whiff of caramel, fairly complex dark breadyness as well. very vineous, I could be tricked to think this was aged on red wine barrels for sure. Taste is showing a surprising amount of bitterness, over a fairly thin body - both are surprising elements compared to my expectations. High to very high carbo, still very vineous, as it's got some acidity just like a wine does - it's not at all a sour beer though. Shame for the overcarbonation, otherwise a more than fair basebeer - yet so very different to what I expected. These could take a few more years, I reccon !
Knowing Totem as a cutting edge craft brewery with deep affiliations with the American craft beer culture, it should come as no surprise that - among the first in Belgium - Klaas and Liesbeth tackle the 'cold IPA' style, a new addition to the meanwhile vast world of IPA variants, pioneered by Oregon-based Wayfinder a mere five years ago, with the intention of showcasing the hops in a clean, crisp way undisturbed by esters or other side products of warm fermentation. I have not yet had many cold IPAs so far - I definitely need to find the original Wayfinder version to have an 'archetype' of it - but from the very few I did have and from all the things I read about it, I hope to be able to evaluate this creation judiciously enough. Moussy, frothy, egg-white, even-bubbled and densely structured, very stable and very regular 'textbook' head on a clear, deep 'old gold' coloured beer with 'metallic' orangey tinge and fine strings of sparkling, turning only very lightly hazy in the end. Aroma of blood orange juice, ripe Cantaloupe, mango, guava, sweet onions, biscuit, hints of spice cookies, honeydew, cherimoya, marijuana and Betterfood. Crisp onset indeed, sweet and citrusy, reminiscent of mandarin, mango, ripe pepino and rambutan, refinedly but vividly carbonated with very slick, smooth-edged, oily mouthfeel; a blood-like aspect lingers along the edges of an essentially mildly biscuity (Imperial malt!), pale malt sweetish but sleek and 'full' maltiness, giving way to a very expressive, colourful, radiant but focused aromatic hoppiness, soaking everything in colours of mango, blood orange, melon and guava in a remarkably well-structured manner. Something oniony creeps up behind all this vibrant 'hop fruit', adding depth and a certain West Coast feel - which seems to have been the original intention of the creators as well. Lastly, the hops also deposit a spicy, drying but altogether accessible and elegant bitterness too, never losing contact with the sweet biscuitiness of the Imperial malt. Very sleek and clean indeed, conveying a West Coast-ish feel without actually delivering a full-fledged West Coast IPA experience - combine this with the absence of yeasty elements and a complete and utter focus on cleanness and purity of the hops, and I think Totem has indeed managed to offer a complete, unadulterated cold IPA the way this new style was intended by Wayfinder and others. I read an American article about cold IPA just prior to tasting this, just to refresh my memory, and everything the inventor of the style had to say about it in this article, is vividly and colourfully conveyed in this beer. This profound understanding of American craft beer trends is what typifies Totem, but this particular one truly astonishes me in its authenticity and purity - Klaas and Liesbeth completely and thoroughly understand the cold IPA concept, nothing more, nothing less. I am impressed by this - even if I have been following this fantastic brewing project ever since they released their firstborn (Zipacna) and they have impressed me on many occasions, this one is especially memorable for capturing the essence of a brand new style so accurately. So, to those wanting to understand the cold IPA principle and in search of American examples reaching the old continent, search no more: Totem has it all figured out and there is no doubt in my mind that this beer is equally capable of explaining cold IPA as any American example. Whether or not cold IPA is my personal cup of tea, is of no importance here.
Pours a darker orangeblonde, small white head. Scent is white sugar, bready, orange, vanilla, cinnamon. Sweet bread (like milkbread, not the meat 'sweetbread') Taste is full, mandarine (orange), bit zesty, natural, sweet impressions but with a tart back, mild peach-like qualities. Lovely, refreshing summer beer.
Draft sample @ BXL BeerFest 2022. Merci Vincent qui m'aura fait boire ma 2ième IPA du festival.
Couleur jaunâtre-purée de mangue, voile marqué, col blanc-cassé.
Le caractère être fortement axé sur un côté 'haze' et une épaisseur de bouche venant de l'ajout d'avoine où vient s'entremêler le côté purée de mangue qui me parait surfait.
Le tout complété par une fine amertume du houblon qui rajoute une couche supplémentaire à l'apport tropical avec une petite touche épicée et résineuse en retrait.
Le tout me semble 'over the top'. Trop de mangue et de purée.
Taster at BXLBeerfest. Orange murky color, small white head. smells fudgy, lactose, carrots, parfumy. Ok smell. Medium body, soft carbonation. tastes of lactose, vanilla, pastryish, peppery, fruit puree. Finishes lightly sour with notes of vanilla, lactose and pastry notes. Ok
6, 5, 5, 4, 5
20 August 2022. At 12de Gents Bierfestival. Cheers to Anke, Pieter & the whole crew!
Clear amber to brown, thin, tan head. Aroma of smoked tea, 'lacquered bacon', dying bonfire, toasted chestnut, rubber, band-aid, smoked fig. Taste has sweetish pear, apple, fig in a nutty, slightly toasty malt body with herbal & umami-smoky notes. Herbal, bit peppery hoppy finish, balanced interplay between dried fruits, smoked wood and tobacco. Medium body, oily texture, soft carbonation. Very solid brew.
The newest Totem creation to date, a smoked Bock, an idea already explored by a few Dutch microbreweries within the context of their yearly Bock tradition, but - at least to my knowledge - not yet in Belgium. Cheers to Klaas and Liesbeth! Moussy, pale yellowish beige, creamy, stable head, hazy bronze to caramel brown with ruby red glow. Aroma of caramel sauce and toffee, ketjap manis, smoky barbecue sauce, vanilla (oddly, but in a volatile way), fig compote, cranberry jam, tomato concentrate, croissant dough. Sweet onset, fruity in a cleanish way with notes of candied fig, cherry jam and medlar, softishly carbonated with very slick, smooth but full mouthfeel; rounded caramelly and slightly peanutty malt sweet core with a growing barbecue sauce-like, mild smokiness and that vanilla touch retronasally; the sweetness remains while the smokiness slowly builds, but the latter never overtakes the first. Ends with a dash of herbal hops (tea) providing mild bitterishness, as well as warming, port-like alcohol; the smokiness lingers, but the sweetness keeps dominating till the end. I guess the caramelly sweet, smooth and clean character of this beer justify the 'Bock' part of its name, but for me personally the 'Rauch' part could have been more outspoken too as I love smoked beers - but this is just a personal note, because as usual, Totem delivers a very solid, delicious and creative beer here, tasty enough to chug down a few of them at the Ghent Beer Fest last weekend...
New Totem beer, a session strength sour generously fruited with mandarin and green lemon; at Ghent Beer Fest, cheers Klaas and Liesbeth! Snow white, fine-bubbled, slowly breaking head over a cloudy yolk-yellow blonde beer with apricot hue. Intense aroma of indeed ripe mandarin, vanilla, lemon zest, raw cucumber, dough, yoghurt, orange juice, candied pineapple, even Piña Colada. Crisp onset, sour in a mellowish, yoghurty way but accentuated by lots of 'citrusiness' from the added fruit, mandarin certainly present but also hints of starfruit and pineapple, lively carbonated with refreshing effect; slick doughy and cereally malt core steeped in yoghurty lactic tartness and a huge dosis of citrusiness with yellow fruit dominating (even a whiff of mango somewhere), vanilla coming up retronasally and adding to a general 'fruit cocktail' effect. The gentle sourness dries the finish but softly so, while a wealth of exotic fruitiness, citrus on top, remains the main player. Another Totem 'hipster cocktail' in beery form, very well done in its respective style and reminiscent of earlier fruit beers created by these genius brewers. Update: one week after Ghent Beer Fest, at BXL Beer Fest, Totem had apparently added a third fruit to this cocktail, namely blood orange; this version was arguably a bit sweeter and juicier than the original one containing only mandarin and lemon, but since the brewer does not apparently intend to name it differently or put it on the market as a different version in any kind of way, I guess it is this second blood orange batch which should be regarded as the 'final' one. My rating here is to be interpreted as an average for both batches.