Ottos Nimweegse Mol Beer

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Full Recipe Name
Nimweegse Mol
Recipe Source
First referred to geremol in 1519, Rudolf Nunes Ferro rediscovered a 17th century recipe by ‘den Witten Anker' (The White Anchor) brewer, Adriaen Mels, in 1994. The beer originates in Nijmegen, Gelderland, in the Netherlands (on the Waal River, downstream of the Rhine River, between Dussedorf and Amsterdam) and became an export good through the 16th century.
Otto Gottlieb
Panel Information
Panel Location: Brew U
Panel Date: April 2018
Score: 92
Beverage Information
Period: Late Middle Ages
Division: Division 1: Ales, Beer, Braggot, Lambic, Stout
Origin: Dutch

Original Recipe

In Old Dutch

Wert van blanck gerste mout, sonder ietwes anders, gebrouwen. Tot ijder ton mol, neemt 50 lb gerstenmout, oock welmaar 39 and 40 lb. Hoppert kookt ¾ uurs of 1 uur. Onder den hoppert neemt men so veel hop als ontrent in een agtendeel, daer men kooren mede meet gaet. Het mout daer men mol van brouwt moet hart gedroogt weesen.

Van de mol werden maar 2 roersels gedaen. Het eerste roersel wert op de backen gepompt totdat het 2de heet is. Dan laat men het eerste roersel in de ketel pompen, tot op 15 a 16 ton naar die men op den back moet houden totdat het 1ste en 2de roersel cort is. Het eerste roersel, of hoppert, moet 1 uur of ¾ uurs koocken, daeronder 1 agtendeel hop. Kort sijnde moet men het in de klaarkuijp lossen, gelost sijnde, soo pompt het nabier of 2de roersel in de ketel, Laat dat maar even koocken ofte deurbreecken. (Nota. Onder ‘t nabier doet men geen hop.) Lost het dan onder den hoppert in de klaarkuijp en laat dat heel rins omgaan, ‘t moet wel 1 uur of 10 staen, dog des soomers soo rins niet als des winters. (Nota. Des swinters laat met ‘t soo rins werden als met het can crijgen.) Rijns sijnde, soo pompt het op de backen, laat het daerop heel koudt werden. Set dat het gijl daermede. (Nota. Het gijl wert op de manier van soet bier geset.) Het 2de roersel ofte nabier uijt de ketel gelost sijnde, soo pompt de 15 a 16 ton die gij van den hoppert op de backen gehouden hebt in de ketel, doet daer geen hop in en laat dat tot op 5 ton heel langhsaam verkoocken, totdat het soo dick als stroop is, en bewaart dit tot ½ uur tevoren eer gij aen ‘t vaten gaat. Laat dan het dicke bier als stroop bijschieten en vaat ½ uur daernaer.

Nota. Het dicke stroopachtige bier koockt somtijts wel 2 dagen. Hoe sagter en lancksamer het koockt, hoe beter. Den derden dagh wert de mot gevaet. Voor 1 ton mol wert 5 gl. Betaalt. Het eerste roersel moet 2/3 van het nat dat met van doen heeft groot wesen en het 2de 1/3.

Nota. Men moet hoppert en nabier in de klaarkuijp lossen. En moet in de klaarkuijp staan een uur of 10, totdat het wat omgegaan is en geoordeelt wert blanck genoech te sijn. Wert die op de backen gepompt, en het gijl mede geset, het moet een sterk gijl wesen, er men vaat.

Nota. Men moet het op de backen heel coudt laten worden.

English language translation by Susan Verberg (Mistress Elska á Fjárfelli) (2018)

Is brewed of light barley malt, without anything else. For each ton Mol take 50 lb barley malt, also 39 and 40 lb. Hoppert [first run wort with hops] cooks for 3/4 hour or 1 hour. With the hoppert, take as much hops as fits in an achtendeel (eight part), of which one measures grain. The malt used to make mol has to be hard dried.

Of the mol only two runs are made. The first run is pumped in the backen until the second is hot. Then pump the first run in the kettle, except of 15 or 16 ton which one should keep in the vat, until the first and second run are cooked: the first run, or hoppert, should cook 1 hour or 3/4 hour, with the eight parts of hops. When it is cooked, it should be dumped in the klaarkuip; emptied, then pump the nabier or second run in the kettle and let it cook a little, or break apart (Note, in nabier one does not add hops). Dump with the hoppert in the klaarkuip, and let it sour well, it should stand 1 hour or 10, but in the summer not as sour as in winter (Note in winter, let it become as sour as one can get it). Being sour pump it in the backen and let it get very cold, then add the yeast to it (Note the yeast is added in the way of sweet beer). The second run or nabier being emptied from the kettle, pump in 15 ton one had kept separate from the hoppert in the vat, into the kettle, and let that very slowly evaporate until 5 ton, until it is thick as syrup, and store this until 1/2 hour before one goes barreling up, then add the thick beer as a syrup and barrel up 1/2 an hour after this.

Note. The thick syrupy beer sometimes cooks for 2 days. The softer and slower it cooks, the better. The third day the wort is barreled. For 1 ton mol 5 guilders is paid. The first run has to use 2/3rds of the liquid one uses, and the 2nd 1/3 [of the total amount of water].

Note. Dump the hoppert and the nabier in the klaarkuip. It should stand [from] an hour to 10, until it is settled a bit and declared pale enough. When this is pumped in the vat, and the yeast is set with it, it should be strong yeast, before one barrels.

Note. One should let it get very cold on the backen.


Brew only with pale malt. For each tun (2 butts or 6 barrels?) Mol use 50 lb barley malt, also (sometimes?) 39 or 40 lb. The first run of wort is hopped and called ‘hoppert’. Boil for ¾ to 1 hour. Use an ‘eightpart’ (half bag of grain). The malt has to be “thoroughly” dried

For Mol, two runs of the malt are made. The first sparge is transferred into the backen (probably a tub) until the second batch of water is hot. Drain the first run of wort into the kettle, except for a small portion which should be stored until after the first and second run of wort are boiled. The first wort should boil for 1 to ¾ hour with the eightparts of hops. When finished, put the wort in the klaarkuip (vat for /clarifying). (Assuming the second mash has been sparged.) Pour the second wort, called ‘nabier’, into the kettle (do not add hops) and bring to a brief boil. Then add the nabier to the hoppert, mixing the two worts in the klaarkuip. Let it sour (exposed) for 1 to 10 hours. Don’t let it sour as much in the summer as in the winter, when you let it sour as much as possible. Once soured, transfer the wort to the backen, let it get cold, then add yeast (like you would for sweet beer).

With the nabier removed from the kettle, pour the small portion of saved hoppert into it. Evaporate it to a third of the volume, until it is thick syrup. Store until ½ hour before barreling (kegging). Add the syrup then seal ½ hour later.

Note: Evaporating the wort may take 2 days. Slower is better. The wort is barreled on the third day. For 1 tun of Mol, 5 guilders is paid. The first run uses 2/3 of the total amount of water and the second run 1/3 water.

Note: Mix the hoppert and nabier in the klaarkuip. It should sand 1 to 10 hours until it settles and is clear and pale enough. When it is transferred to the backen add strong yeast before barreling.

Note: The wort should ferment at a cold temperature.


  • 6.5 lb of Pilsner malt
  • Water from Poland Springs
  • A little less than a full ounce of Hallertau hops
  • Bière de Garde yeast

Process and Notes

This recipe mostly emphasizes process, but is specific about the malt. Nunes Ferro (1994) found the recipe after it was lost and breweries stopped making Mol hundreds of years ago. The Hertog Jan Brewery in Nijmegen brewed Mol again in 1995. The original recipe describes the light malt as “wind malt” which is thought to have been air dried rather than kiln dried malt. I used Extra Pale Pilsner as the pale malt (Dorst 2016 and Ook 2015). The mashing process described above is “batch sparging” where a volume (usually half) of the hot water is added to the mash tun at a time. Modernly, brewers typically add the hot water to the mash tun first then stir in the grain, allow it to sit for an hour, then sparge continuously (“continuous” or “fly" sparging) until the desired volume of wort is collected. As described in Hollinshed’s Chronicles (1587) and The English Hous-wife (1615), I added the grains to the mash tun first then poured in the hot water, without stirring, let it sit for an hour, then batch sparged 2/3 the volume of water in the first run and the last 1/3 in the second run. For a 4 gal. batch of Mol, I used 6.5 lb of grain, which required about 3 gal. of hot water for the first run (accounting for grain absorption) and 1.5 gal for the second run. After sparging the first batch, I collected 2 qt of wort for evaporating to liquid malt extract. Putting the 2.5 gal of the first wort in brew pot, I brought it to a low boil where there was some hot break and added a little less than a full ounce of Hallertau hops. I boiled this for 52 min. (between ¾ and 1 hour). Meanwhile, I collected the second batch of wort. When the hoppert was done boiling, I poured in into a brew bucket and only partially covered it with the lid to simulate the klaarkuip. I brought the second wort (nabier) to a very short boil then added this to the hoppert. I let it clarify overnight with the airlock hole open for about 10 hours (as it still feels like winter in Maine). I decided on Bière de Garde yeast which I can get locally, is known for sour notes, and works with Pilsner malt. Geographically, sour beers from France and Belgium are just south of Nijmegen, Gelderland. I pitched the yeast and fermented for 3 days.

The next day, after clarifying for 10 hours, I evaporated the reserved 2 qt of first wort (unhopped) in a pipkin over a wood fire. This took about 6-7 hours (due to lower volume) and yielded about cup and a half of malt extract.

After 3 days of fermenting, I racked the Mol and added the malt extract. It was cloudy but very pale and with a good, white head.

Mol LMEandBeer.jpg
  • An English tun is equal to 2 butts or 6 barrels, but I was unable to find information on a Dutch “ton”. I deferred to Dorst and Ook for relative downsizes.
  • I’m not sure what “the yeast is added in the way of sweet beer” means. I would like to investigate this further.
  • Wort souring is usually done with lactic bacteria, Lactobacillus, or Brettanomyces (Milk the Funk Wiki, 2018). From this recipe, the impression is that wort souring was achieved by exposing the wort to ambient, wild bacteria. Though a risky proposition, I followed this route. It’s also possible that some unused malt was added to the wort, which may have lactic acid bacteria on it.
  • Batch sparging is also described in Hollinshed’s Chronicles (1587) and The English Hous-wife (1615). See my English Beer redaction for details.
  • The Mol is decanted into a white stoneware pitcher, based on an extent piece from the Rhineland region of Europe for export starting in the 14 to 15th centuries and made by Eadric the Potter.


Ferro, Rudolf Nunes. 1994. 'A lost presumed beer recipe rediscovered. The method of preparation of the Nijmegen mole in: Yearbook Numaga, p. 43-52. Dorst. 2016. Nijmeegse Mol. Brew UK Forum website. Accessed online at: Accessed February 2018.

Milk the Funk Wiki (2018). Wort Souring. Accessed online at: Accessed March 2018.

Mulder, Roel. 2014. Lost Beers -19- Nijmegen Mol. Lost Beers: Historic beers by Roel Mulder website. Accessed online (English version) at: Accessed March 2018.

Ook, Marc. 2015. Nijmeegse Mol (All grain recipe). Brewer’s Friend website. Accessed online at: Accessed March 2018.

Verberg, Susan. 2018. The Rise and Fall of Gruit. Accessed online at: Accessed February 2018.