Beer Review: Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer

IN late 2010, a new category of lager started appearing in London. Sandwiched between the Premium Lagers and the Super Strength Lagers, the Very Strong category sought a new sweet spot. At around eight and a half percent alcoholic volume, could you enjoy the potency of a Super with the drinkability of a Premium? Here’s what I discovered.

If you like playing along at home, you’ll be wondering which products I’m describing. They are:

Kolson SuperKolson Super

Kolson Super 8.6% by Royal Unibrew from Poland. I bought this one from a convenience store on Old Street in Shoreditch, east London.

Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer front of can

Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer 8.5% by, Oranjeboom from the Netherlands. I bought this one from a convenience store on Bethnal Green Road, east London.

Good luck finding them. They both disappeared from shop shelves a matter of months after appearing, thus rendering this review useless. Nevertheless, I shall press on by telling you that of the two, Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer was the best. That’s why the rest of this post is about Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer and not it’s slightly stronger and less pleasant rival.

What can I say about the can? Well, it’s not as cool as the Kolson Super. The Kolson can is minimalist and elegant. The Oranjeboom effort looks like the designer couldn’t stop designing.

On the plus side, everything you need to know about it is right there in front of you. The strength, where it’s from and who manufactured it. The Oranjeboom logo is there, featuring an orange tree. Of course. Well it is from the Netherlands. And there’s the date that, presumably, the Oranjeboom brewery dates back to. 1671 was a very long time ago, even by continental beer standards.

Incidentally, I spent two minutes researching Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer, by which I mean I used Google. They do have a UK website at which is very interesting. Apart from the lack of explanation for the orange tree logo, and the mention of this particular Strong Beer. It’s almost as if they’re doing a Carlsberg and are embarrassed by it.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to know how their sausages are made, you can discover a few more facts about this beer. They describe it as being an “Original Dutch Recipe” that includes “Pure Natural: Choice Hops, Finest Malts and Grains, Clear Water”. Notice the absence of syrup. Carlsberg Special Brew this is not. On one of the sides crammed with multilingual text, there is an official ingredients list. Astoundingly, this is less informative than the list on the front I quoted from.

Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer ingredients side of can

Let’s see if the other side of the can is any less useful.

Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer barcode side of can

Nope, just a barcode and another impenetrable block of multilingual text. Nothing to see here. So there we have it. A can covered in text that only conveys the basic details. Now there’s no excuse for not pouring it into a glass, and trying to write words to describe it to you. This is why you can now see a photograph of this can, poured into a mismatched pint glass.

Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer poured into a glass

Pouring was a doddle. There was very little head, and what little there was, quickly dissipated. Right now, there’s a thing, white, patchy layer of foam. The lager colour is gold, and is bubby with carbonation.

What does Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer smell of? This is easier to describe if you’ve already smelt the generic malted barley of premium lager and the strong whiff of a super strength. That’s because Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer smells part way between the two. Not as off-putting as the 9% super-strengths, but getting there. Honestly, the smell lets it down. It’s too close to super smell for my liking.

What does Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer taste like? Coming straight from the fridge, the first gulp isn’t bad. Much better than the smell would suggest it is. The second gulp confirms it. At fridge cold temperature, Oranjeboom Strong tastes more like a normal, everyday premium lager, and only marginally like a super-strength monster. From the third, pleasantly painless gulp, I can start to make sense of the taste. First, as you’d expect from most lagers, there’s no flavour to speak of. Normal lagers give you a mild, bitter aftertaste. Supers give you an overpowering, synthetic aftertaste. Oranjeboom Strong gives you, guess what? Something half-way between the two. What you feel is a moderate bitterness, followed by a moderate wave of strong, thick super-style aftertaste. Not overpowering, mind you. Just a moderate wave of that sensation that, surprisingly, does not linger.

What do I like about Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer? As you can probably tell, I’m impressed by the combination of strength and drinkability. As long as you don’t breath in while sipping or gulping it down, you could convince yourself you’re drinking a regular premium lager. The short-lasting aftertaste even gives it a hint of refreshment. At least while cold. Also likeable is that it’s not over carbonated, so you don’t suddenly start burping. Another big plus is how well it warms up. Even at near room temperature, it is sill drinkable. Other lagers would have given up and become revolting by this point. From the outside, it looks like a normal lager, helping you hide your alcoholism. And, being somewhat hard to find, it earns you one hipster point for drinking it.

What don’t I like about Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer? The smell. It’s much too near to the odour of the ghastly super-strength lagers. We all know how smell triggers memory, so as soon as some people smell this, they’ll be put right off and not even try it. The aftertaste, until you get used to it, will be too much for some timid drinkers. And to nit-pick, the design of the can lets it down. If you just want a nice tasting beer however, then you can easily find ale much much more delicious than this.

All in all, Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer is a very easy way to get lamp-shaded quickly. It is barely less drinkable than most premium lagers, yet nearly as strong as the horrifying super strength lagers. If you like lagers, strong beer or Dutch brews, it is worth trying. If you can find it.

In fact, I was so impressed by Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer, I decided to up the stakes it put it to the biggest test of the year; celebrating the start of 2011 on the Embankment near Big Ben and the London Eye.

The night would involve many hours of standing in a humungous crowd of people, armed only with the food and drink you could carry and limited access to disgusting public porta-loos. New Year in London calls for drink that tastes good and is strong. That second point is very important. First because it’s bitterly cold outdoors at night in the middle of winter. Second, because you don’t want to lug around heavy bags of drink. And, most importantly, you want to get drunk without constantly needing to use the filthy porta-loos.

How did I and my Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer fare on the night? Outstandingly well.

To surmise, Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer is an affordable (if you can find it) lager that hits the right spot between drinkability and strength. Think of it as two ordinary Dutch lagers in one can.

Have you tried Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer? What did you think? What reputation does it have in the Netherlands? Where is this beer available to buy? Leave your comments, corrections, advice to others and other nonsense here in the comments section.

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29 Responses to “Beer Review: Oranjeboom Imported Strong Beer”

  1. Curmudgeon Says:

    Come 1 October, when High Strength Beer Duty kicks in, all these things will either be withdrawn or reduced to 7.5% ABV.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Kolson is bad. I don’t like anything produced by Royal Unibrew.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I got a 4 pack of oranjeboom 8.5 from my local and it is quality for a strong lager, got me well hammered aswell. nearly as good as some of the good quality premium beers.

  4. shplumbing Says:

    Nice beer, strong as bleach and a kick like old tramps underpants.
    This super strong beer helped me erect my shed one summers day, the downside being that having consumed eight cans the double doors were part of the roof and the windows were jammed tight up against the back fence. No idea what the concrete lintels were for so I his them under some bushes so the wife wouldn’t see them. The pools of blood and vomit enhanced the area two fold

  5. Anonymous Says:

    are you english? we should dance!

  6. Leeno Says:

    Boom and the beer is gone. I love this beer. Did you know the dutch have 3 more Strong Oranjebooms, a 12, 14 and 16%. I would so like to try these, so much i think a holiday among the windmills sounds a good idea.

  7. peejay Says:

    All i can say orangeboom is freaking good shit man 4 cans and i was singing away drunk as hell man 10/10 peace to all the boom heads out there 🙂

  8. Steve Says:

    B+ M bargains have Orangeboom in @ £3.00 for four (500ml cans ) ,not convinced bythe taste but no doubt about it’s strength

  9. Marlon Says:

    You can buy this in Londis (all over the UK) and Kasa (several stores in Leeds), four cans for £5 out of the fridge, beautiful. To be honest I prefer drinking it from the can, as you can smell it more in a glass (nothing like as bad as a drink from Belgium claiming to be the strongest beer in the world back in the 80s, which was best drunk using straws straight from the bottle, to avoid the smell of candyfloss married to disinfectant). Lovely blog.

  10. Dave Says:

    Where can I get some Oranjeboom 16% from? Me and my mates are looking to try some.

  11. Dominic Says:

    I saw a brazilian website a few months back that was selling all versions of Oranjeboom other than the 14%, but I haven’t been able to find it again. The 8.5 is more than enough though, and luckily Best One, on Ashley Rd, in Poole, sells 6 for £7

  12. krim Says:

    Here in Algeria we have to Oranjeboom 12% but not the other formats

  13. krim Says:

    Sorry, recently i saw that the 14 and 16% ones are also available !

    • WB Says:

      Here in Taiwan 40NT$ cold. I agree about the taste. Goes down easy and has a kick for your head. Compared to local beers highly drinkable and does the trick after a hard days work. Will I feel the same come morning? We will see.

  14. Simmy Says:

    My local corner shop has been stocking the 8.5% for the past month or so, the offer is 4 cans for £4.50!

  15. Anonymous Says:

    One the the best Beers I’ve tasted, been a favourite of mine for years now.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Top draw I have been drinking it for about five years now . I drank 6 one day more than enough. I have tried all the super lagers and this is definitely the best 5 star😁

  17. surj Says:

    Love this lager,i have a minimum of 4 cans every night,at £1 a can
    can’t go wrong,have had 8 cans 9 in a sitting,singing like a good’un.

  18. matt Says:

    Totally agree. Best of the strong uns, yum!

  19. deleted Says:

    I currently trying to track down the 12,14 and 16% but appears its impossible, just given the run around, so I did what a true oranjeboom fan would do, I emailed udbexports, just waiting on a response, if I fail there, then a flight to amsterdams called for!

  20. Howard Glass Says:

    Oranjeboom 8.5 I have been drinking it for 6 years now and I love it. I know it has now been reduced to 7.5 but it still tastes good and I’m still drinking it regularly. I also drink Skol super 8% and K cider.

  21. Howard Glass. Says:

    Howard Glass oranjeboom 7.5 is back on the shelves at 8.5 good news for boomheads I’m buying 6 for £6.50 at the moment top value.

  22. Tommy Charles Says:

    I’m a sucker for a blue oranjeboom (juts bought 8 for £7.20 the other day which I went out my way for via a bit of local knowledge!) and graduated to the 8.5 on account of it being available 4 for a fiver at a Londis back in my home town, which I subsequently tried a few times as a ‘nightcap’ – just the 1 or 2 – and it actually went down quite well, though definitely felt it the next day. However that may have had something to do with the 6 cans of standard abv lagers I had before it. Not sure that this speaks well of my relationship with alcohol. Anyway it’s an illusive one this beauty they only seem to sell it in random local convenience stores (always in single cans but usually on a bargain offer – and nice cans!) and not many mainstream shops. Have also been trying to source the 12, 14 and 16 versions of this tipple. It seems impossible so I’ve emailed the brewery in Holland. It’s a long shot but their website lists them. Boom!

    • Anonymous Says:

      I’ve emailed the brewery to no avail and come to the conclusion it is impossible to buy the 12, 14 and 16 versions in the UK .At least the blues and 8.5 are available in corner shops!

  23. Anonymous Says:

    After my extensive search for the holy grail of Oranjeboom 12,14 & 16 – I finally received a response from United Dutch Breweries. As expected it’s not good news, they aren’t marketed in the UK, we only get the 5 and 8.5 in selected independent retailers. I did ask but no suggestions of how to import them either.

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