New Holland Brewing Co – El Mole Ocho

I have multiple reasons for picking up this beer to review.  First of all, I feel like New Holland deserved another tasting.  I had their Dragon’s Milk during stout month, and I really enjoyed it.  The week after I had it, I figured I needed to try another one from their line-up.  So, during my weekly visit to the store, I decided that I need to pick up something from them for future reviewing.  The second reason I decided to review this beer is because New Holland unknowingly, perhaps, really took care of me with that last review.  Dragon’s Milk is currently responsible for being the biggest viewed post during the life of my blog.  They found my review, and they posted it to their facebook and twitter.  The day it was reposted, I went from 20 views to 80 views over my half hour lunch break.  It only kept going up throughout the day, and it was definitely a big view getter the next day as well.  So, I was more than happy picking up another beer after they took care of me.

I had a couple options for beers from New Holland when I arrived at the store that particular Saturday.  I was still in the midst of stout month, and therefore, I wasn’t really looking for any stouts.  I knew I would be tasting this after February, so I really wanted something a little different.  Although the back of this bottle talks about some of the similar flavors to a stout, (chocolate, malt, and coffee,) it also sounded like a little bit of a different beer.  Getting home and looking it up, I found out this was a Mexican spiced ale.  I probably should have assumed this had Mexican roots, but you can just call me slow.  Their site states this beer is, “Our exploration into the flavors of mole, the legendary sauce of central Mexico”.  Looking into the exact definition of mole, I found that it is pretty much a generic term for a Mexican sauce.  Evidentially it has many different interpretations.   Regardless, I was really excited for how they took a style of beer I’m not a huge fan of (Mexican) and turn it into an interpretation of a spicy sauce.

Although this beer’s picture appears rather stout like, it really has more of a dark brown color with a little reddish tinge to it as well.  The head build up was really light, and the lacing had a similar result as well.  The sticky residue was really ample on the side of the glass.  The beer’s color was a little too dark to really get a sense of the clarity.  I held it pretty close to the light to see if I could tell the clarity at all, and I would have to say it’s fairly clear.  There is some very very light visible carbonation in the glass as well.

The biggest aroma to have prominence in the smell is chocolate.  It is more of a sweet chocolate taste and less of a bitter dark chocolate taste.  A lot of the sweet malts come out of the brew as well.  I get a very little bit of the light coffee aroma.  You can tell it is more dominated by chocolate than it is by a coffee flavor.  I have a feeling this also helps to keep it away from a stout composition.  The chili aromas are really light on the nose, but they are definitely still there.  I like this because I’ve had a few beers where the chili flavoring is too dominant.  This, for me, tends to make it really hard to drink.  All in all, I would say this has a rather clean and crisp aroma even with the chocolate and coffee.

The taste here is really well balanced throughout.  Like I said earlier, I get a little nervous when chilies are involved.  If they aren’t done right, I have found they can really hurt your enjoyment of an overall good beer.  This one intros with a sweet malt introduction.  The really sweet chocolate flavors follow that up, and they mostly dominate the front half of the flavor profile.  The kick of the chillies come in right in the middle of the taste.  These flavors are just enough to give you the burn without overwhelming your taste buds.  The coffee flavors follow the initial kick of the chillies, and there is some roasted flavors that pick up in the ending and aftertaste.  The aftertaste also has a nice lingering light burn of the chillies involved as well.

There is a good use of carbonation from the start to about the middle of the beer.  The syrupy nature of the beer kicks up a little on the end of the beer, but it helps create a really nice well-balanced beer overall.  The chili blend is really well done for a light lingering burn that doesn’t overwhelm, and it helps to break-up a little bit of that sweet malt and chocolate flavors that dominate the start of the beer.  The aftertaste is really pleasant with the mixture of chili burn and coffee roasts.

I kind of want to give this beer an A overall, but according to my newish beer rating system, I have to stick more around a B.  If I could create a subcategory for beers that use chili, this beer would definitely receive an A.  I tend to stay away from beers that rely on chili flavors; however, I think this one may be the exception to the rule.  If you’re interested in finding a beer that does a great job incorporating a little bit of a burn, then you’re really going to want to check this one out.

Teacher Grade: B+



  1. This sounds like a fun brew. I like a little heat occasionally. Glad that your earlier review was so well received.

    In Mexico they often put cinnamon in chocolate. Did you get any hint of that in this brew?

    David Ivey
    Black Bucket Brew Inbox Magazine Editor

    • Hmm I don’t recall getting too much cinnamon; however, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that aspect was covered up by the chili burn. I may have to go back to this one at a later date and see if I can pull any of that out. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. I usually hate chilies in beer, but I really liked this beer.

    • I agree. I tried some with some really big chili pepper taste, and I thought it was overdone. I liked that this one only hinted at the chili

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