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Barbãr (Belgian Honey Ale) - Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

Not Rated.
Barbãr (Belgian Honey Ale)Barbãr (Belgian Honey Ale)

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very good

284 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 284
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 15
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 10-10-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 284 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bobsy
3.38/5  rDev -14%

Very good appearance on this beer - it pours a radiant yellow with a large white head, which leaves a lot of lace. The nose has a lot of honey and sweet malts, although you can also pick up the spiciness of the Belgian yeast. The honey really comes through in the flavour, along with some spiciness and a bit of dry grain and oak. Its okay, but not really doing much for me. very smooth, almost oily on the palate, as if you were pouring runny honey into your mouth, and I like this feel combined with the concept. Carbonation was low, and although it would have interfered with the wonderful slick feeling, it would have also helped to moderate some of the sweetness.

Overall, I couldn't help but be underwhelmed by this beer. Perhaps I should have expected something so sweet, but it just didn't hold a candle to the other Belgians I had that night. It does have a lot going for it, but I think I'll pass on it next time.

bobsy, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +1.8%

11/13/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn, in Santa Rosa, CA. $2.79 price tag.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a small date code on the back label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Medium golden-yellow colored pour with a 3/4 inch head. Slight rim of froth remains after the head has disipated. Leaves some light sticky trails of lace behind.

Smell- Lots of honey in the nose, followed by some white pepper, corriander and powdered sugar.

Taste- Honey really comes through here big time....just enough to add almost a perfect amount of sweetness. That combined with the sugary texture makes it a nice sweet tooth beer. Corriander adds a bit of fruity charachter and the spices come in last evening things out.

Mouthfeel- Pretty smooth, a bit of a heavier sticky mouthfeel. Abv is not really detected.

Drinkability- Everytime I see a new Belgian brew with a low price tag, I'm always hesitant. In this case it was a nice suprise. Very drinkable and tasty.

GClarkage, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of becktone
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%

From notes 10-5-08

Eye: First of all the head formation and retention on this beer is excellent, it couldn't possibly get any better. Head is a thick pillowy, puffy beast. Color and clarity aren't typical of a wit bier. This beer is crystal clear, and is golden yellow in color. Lacing could use some help, it does leaves some nice rings with sheets inbetween them, however, they are not uniform, they don't circle the entire glass. Where the lacing will fall is hard to predict. The lacing is uniform in parts and in others it does whatever it wants. Its like Picasso, modern art, and realism all combined into one.

Nose: Strong aroma on this one, during and after the pour the aroma permeates the entire room. Strong honey notes and a sweet malt backbone are the two things flying about the room. Brought closer to the nose the orange peel is evident. This one has a nice mix of orange, honey, malt, coriander, and some spicy tones. The aroma here is alive, each aroma compliments and adds to the others. Great long lasting aroma, it leaves an imprint of itself with you.

Tongue: Lots of honey in here, also a very prominent rosiness, almost gruit-like. Citrusy orange flavor here as well. Alcohol provides some balance for this brew-it gives off a bite that dries and warms the palate. Sweet malt character is in here as well, much like that of a BSPA or Tripel. Most of the action going on in this beer comes from the mixture of honey, orange peel, and that rosey character, yeast has no role here, and malt is there just for support. Bittering hops are noticeable helping to give the beer a dry feel.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: On the palate this one is oily/and slick. The body is medium-light with delicate carbonation. The beer has a dry finish that eggs you on to take another sip. This is an easy drinking beer, and I can see this one being dangerously drinkable in the hot summer months, Look Out! this is one that you might easily find yourself getting unintentionally drunk off of on a hot summer day... it drinks that well, just like a wit, and just like a wit it is equally refreshing. This is one that I can see myself picking up again. As far as beers brewed with honey, Midas Touch and this are the best I've had so far.

becktone, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%

Cloudy burnt orange colored ale with an OK white Head.

Smell is sweet and musty with a clear and strong honey and pollen aroma. Orange honey and marmalade aromas are recognizable but the coriander the bottle says is in here is missing in the scent. This beer is quite intensely yeasty smells like bread.

The taste starts out sweet and powdery with yeast and pollen. Significant orange flavor here it is fairly strong with a touch of orange juice flavor. Bit of sourness in the aftertaste that I interpret as citric acid.

Mouthfeel is good.

This is an OK beer but not one of the best. Try it once and I am sure you won't want a whole case of the stuff.

Zorro, Oct 23, 2008
Photo of stephens101
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%

I usually approach beers with non-beer elements in their name (honey, fruit etc.) with a certain amount of apprehension and lack of expectation just to be safe. However, with this one, I have high expectations from what I've heard about it. This one pours a somewhat hazy orange into my DFH snifter. One-finger of off-white froth resides above the brew for a short while before settling down with some inconsistent chunks of lacing scattered around the glass. A whiff reveals some definite yeasts, which were also visually evident during the pour, a bit of biscuity and honey sweetness and a good malt base.

Taste is complex, tart, sweet almost to the point of cloying, but not quite, and a bit bitter in the end. Some spice, big fruits and clove exist, and the honey essence is mixed in fairly well, which finishes things off nicely. Mouth-feel is rounded and creamy at first, but finishes with a bit of crispness. It goes down pretty easy, with the 8% alcohol being barely noticeable. It's well carbonated, which keeps things pretty airy in the mouth. Not bad overall, but not totally my cup o'tea either.

stephens101, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of thryn
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%

Just found notes from one of these that I consumed quite some time ago.

A thick white head tops a light gold beer with lively carbonation rising through it. The head settles at about 1.4 inch.

It smells, well, Belgian -- much like an abbey ale, I guess. I'm not really getting the honey or spices in the nose.

Taste is honey at the back, with the spice presence notable but subdued. This brew is lightly sweet, understated and nice. The alcohol is not at all prominent -- if I had to guess the ABV on this I'd peg it at about six. The spices come out a bit more as it warms.

Mouthfeel is a little sticky because of the honey, but still light and soothing as it glides down the throat.

It's extremely drinkable cold -- warmth reveals a bit more of the alcohol and spice and turns it to more of a sipping beer. Cold, I could easily drink a sixer -- if I take it slow and savor its character as it warms I'd still want a second.

thryn, Oct 03, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%

A: Poured a dark straw-gold with a 1 finger bone white head that quickly fell to a slight creamy layering.

S: bananas, honey, candi-sugar and oranges.

T: sweet and spicy with cloves, bananas and a peppery touch. Spicy hops, oranges and honeybread add to the complexity.

M: creamy, spicy and very smooth and viscose from the honey with a high carbonation state.

D: A tad sweet but has a well hidden abv behind the sweetness. Good for a try if anything.

beerthulhu, Sep 22, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%

Always game to try the new stuff to the neighborhood. It is not surprising that this beer is caught somewhere between a Witbier and a Mead. The pour brings out more of a mead appearance with a honey-like color (golden, light amber) with a heaviness and legging like brandy. Aromas are also mead-like up front with a sharp honey, nectar scent before the wheat malts, barley, and twangy yeast character builds in. Estery, citrusy, and flowery throughout the nose. Flavors heavily favor the sweet honey flavor, with a backup of wheat malt, barely, yeasty flavors and herbal tea notes to follow. The hop flavors give a much needed complexity, balance, and variety. Spicy with Wit-like corriander, curraco, pepper, and a lot of yeast contributions. The textures as expected are a bit syrupy, heavy, and more cloying than malty. A hoppy bittering is the only repreive. Finishes spicy, warm, and sweet -- a good substitute for a mead. Similar to the ancient brewed concoctions that are being revived by some Dogfish Head brews. Interesting, but not exactly sessionable.

BEERchitect, Sep 17, 2008
Photo of woemad
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%

11.2oz bottle purchased a month ago at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $3.49. Best by date of "20090503." Not sure if that's supposed to be March or May, but it would appear to still be good either way. I like the fact that they put the ingredients on the front label (well, except the yeast, which I'd guess is proprietary).

Poured an apple juice-like color, with about an inch of white foam that hung around fairly consistently. Thin sheets of white lace receede into spotty, web-like streaks on the sides of my St. Bernardus chalice.

If I were to encounter a breakfast topping known as citrus honey, I'd imagine this is what it would smell like. The sweetness of honey is evenly matched by tart orange peel, with a spicy jab from the coriander.

I had assumed the flavor would be a tad more assertive than it is, but it's shyness isn't to the point of anemic-ness (not sure if that's even a word). It starts off with a sweet taste of honey striking the tastebuds. It is quickly augmented by a citrusy bitterness that is complements of the orange peel. In the background there is a mild, peppery spiciness. As the beer passes over the tongue, a lemon-like citrus bitterness briefly makes itself felt, then things just kind of float away on a barely-there note. As it warms up, there's a slight, warming alcohol sensation.

Light bodied, with a very slightly slick mouthfeel.

This makes a nice apertif on a day when the temperature is approaching hellacious, but I don't think I'd want to follow it up with another or several more if I had purchased more than one. I'd rate this a pretty good example of the style, but not an essential one.

woemad, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of TheMistler
3.85/5  rDev -2%

Everything noted on the bottle is easily detected in the nose. Most definitely honey, but also the coriander and orange peel. Pours a deep gold, with a rocky and foamy head that pulled the always wondrous (no matter the countless times I've seen it) of expanding significantly faster after the pour has finished. Some nice lacing.

Very sweet. The orange and spice - coriander and a peppery sensation - seem slight in comparison to the honey - oh, and the alcohol. Noticeable alcohol taste and warming.

With all the honey it ends up feeling very heavy for a pale ale. A bit cloying. Pleasant, but not great.

TheMistler, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

11.2 oz. bottle:

Pours golden with a thick head that stays, leaving foamy lacing on the glass.

The smell is of honey, coriander and orange peel.

The taste is of sweet honey with orange peel. Sweet and tangy. A touch of coriander gives it a peppery spicing. A bit of alcohol gives it a kick in the finish, though reasonably well-covered in the taste. Sweet with just enough bitter balance and spicing to keep the honey sweetness from becoming too much.

It has a honey-sticky coatingness whilel keeping a light-to-medium body. A very pleasant aftertaste lingers on the palate.

This is an interesting brew, that has a smoothness and a refreshing quality that makes it deceptively drinkable. When in the mood for a sweeter, honey-ish ale, this one is certainly one to grab!

jwc215, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of Natural510
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

Pours from 11.2oz bottle with a pale golden-orange color. Small amount of head which quickly dissipates, but a very solid layer of lacing on the glass.
Honey-candy scent dominates with orange citrus & an unknown spice linering in the aroma.
Smooth, understated flavors in the first sip of honey and orange, with the yeast & hops giving a bitter note in the finish. It tastes like the peel of the orange is being used as well. Interestingly enough, the ingredients are listed on the bottle (and I can detect the wheat listed), but yeast is not mentioned, yet it is certainly present.
Well carbonated and tangy in the mouth, similar to a tripel.
An interesting and drinkable ale, sweet & spicy. Perhaps not the most balanced (although both sweetness & bitterness are both there in spades), but enjoyable nonetheless.

Natural510, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of midaszero
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A - Little hazy amber color with 2 fingers of fluffy white head

S - Honey, spice, and a little citrus

T - It reminds me of a heavier, not so sweet mead. Lots of honey flavor. Alcohol and yeast presence.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Nice and smooth. Could have a few but 8% abv is a little high to sessioning.

midaszero, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of johanvond
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%

Barbar pours with a clear golden hue moderate head and carbonation. The real thing about it is trying to figure out what these flavors are doing. The sent of honey, wheat and pepper. There is this battle of funkyness between the golden style and the calming sweetness of the honey. Funky tartness like the inside of the skin of the granny smith apple mixed with a skin of a lemon held togehter with pepper and orange marmalade. Wierd, and it leaves a grassy aftertaste with a citric zest. Somthing refreshing yet contemplative.

johanvond, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of albern
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

This beer pretty much comes as advertised. It pours an amber orange color with a slight bit of haze, modest carbonation, a reasonable head with retention, not much lacing. The aroma is quite mild, sweet malts, honey, candied florals, maybe some hard to pin down spices, some alcohol notes too. The taste is a bit sourish, some candied fermentables, spices such as coriander, definite honey notes, some typical Belgian yeastiness, a bit of orange rind. The alcohol is a bit too strong with this beer, and it is not masked over all that well. This could have been a much better beer with more crispness and less alcohol. The finish is a bit tart, a bit drying, and too alcoholy.

albern, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of jdhilt
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours a five+ finger cream head that fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Sweet apple cider nose. Flavor is sweet, fruity with some honey almost cloying. Clean finish. $3.70 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. Best before Oct 2007.

jdhilt, May 28, 2008
Photo of whenindoubtstout
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%

Good beer, bought it for $3.50 @ 12oz to pit it against my clone. Flowery bouquet. Fine head and body. Flavor sweet and spicy. Honey evident without being cloying. Finish beautifully balanced and dry. Quite drinkable. Should not have been filtered I will drink my own barbarian from now on.

whenindoubtstout, May 05, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

"The true barbarian is he who thinks everything barbarous but his own tastes and prejudices."

--William Hazlitt

Sunny tangerine with lemon yellow borders. Interestingly, there are no yeast in the glass and none left in the bottle. No matter the style, Belgian brewers bull's eye the head more often than not. The manila colored cap, which is both lightly creamy and slightly sticky, is beginning to lay down an attractive array of lace.

The nose is musky and golden fruity. Although I might not have been able to identify the precise ingredients on smell alone, their general properties are easy to pick out. In other words, honey adds sweetness, bitter orange peel adds citrusiness, and coriander adds spiciness. Points for uniqueness and quality, despite a wee lack of power.

Barbar tastes exactly like it should taste, given the ingredients. Strange as it may sound, that isn't always a given. Specifically, it tastes like an Imperial witbier sweetened and flavored with honey. It also tastes unmistakably Belgian, which is a very good thing.

Even though a bolder Barbar might have been a better Barbar, every member of the flavor profile is identifiable and works well in concert with its friends. This is a beautifully balanced beer in all respects. Not just sweet versus bitter, but earthy honey versus tangy orange versus spicy coriander versus estery Belgian yeast.

Warming rounds things off even more and ramps up flavor intensity another notch or two. It's difficult to imagine anyone liking Belgian pales, witbiers and honey-added beer and not liking this Brasserie Lefebvre creation. I didn't say Belgian *strong* pale ales on purpose, because the 8.0% ABV drinks more like 6.0%.

The mouthfeel gets it done. The honey adds a supple quality and a hint of stickiness, while keeping things in the fast lane. Even though the beer doesn't possess the delicate creamy lightness of the very best Belgian ales, the above score was easily earned.

Barbar (meaning 'barbarian') is anything but an unmannered brute. It's a civilized tipple that combines a handful of classic flavors into an enjoyable, drinkable whole. In spite of the $3.49 price tag, I could be convinced to buy it again. Actually, it wouldn't take any convincing at all.

BuckeyeNation, May 01, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%

11.2 oz single bottle copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Ale brewed with honey and spices (coriander, orange peel)" on the front logo sticker...
Pours a hazy, cloudy, straw-colored, light-blonde, bright amber colored-hue with a slight foamy and frothy head that left hardly any lacing...
Super-sweet aroma filled with honey and candied sugars along with fresh florals bursting through...
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with a noticeable blast of honey in the flavor, along with vanilla and candied sugars which strongly dominated and pulled through... Super-sweet flavor that seemed slightly unbalanced with a suggestion of sugars that refused to let go...
Mouthfeel and drinkability were also about average, but slightly cloying and hard to get down at times...
Overall, not a bad brew after you've already had a couple...

dsa7783, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of Foxman
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%

It pours a quite clear and frenetically carbonated lemony yellow. Three fingers of puffy white head stand proudly sculpted. Tongues of lacing lap the inside of the glass.

The aroma is briefly malt and candy sugar sweet before coriander and orange zest merge with dense, crisp esters twirling green apple and the merest hint of banana.

Upon tasting, a touch of caramel and an earthy tanginess bring the grain to the fore before candy and honey join some berry to sweeten the lead. Coriander and an intimation of bitter orange oil come before the flavor dries and flattens into an ester-driven crisp fog. A brief blush of doughiness slides into a twisting, residually sweet but increasingly dry finish. It's not bad but it has a few too many uneven seams, like a sidewalk heaved by tree roots.

Medium bodied, the carbonation brings the sweet, grainy flow to life.

It's ambitious but it never really steps up to the plate for a full swing. The ingredients fall together but never mesh so much as co-exist tentatively. It's moderately drinkable on a good day, I guess. I gave it a shot, but I can safely say that, despite being more than mediocre, this won't be making a return trip to my fridge.

Foxman, Mar 18, 2008
Photo of mdagnew
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%

330ml bottle bought from McHughs, Dublin...

Poured a light copper colour. Slightly off white head poured fairly loose and frothy then faded quickly to wispy covering... decent amount of carbonation bubbles drift slowly to surface... barely any lacing...

Aroma - Stong sweet and slightly perfumed honey, quite grainy malts underneath, fairly spicy and peppery, grassy hints, tropical fruits (pineapple, lemons, mango), light wheatiness...

Taste - Sharp and spicy fruitiness (bitter oranges, pinapples, lemons, apples), lots of floral honey sweetness, grassy, quite peppery, faint anise notes, some almond nuttiness...

Feel - Pretty sharp and dry... light bodied... a bit too sweet to be very drinkable..

Overall - A decent enough and slightly different pale ale... just maybe a little on the sweet side though... worth a try...

mdagnew, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%

Pours a hazy, bright golden color with a nice, fluffy, white head that reatains great. The aroma came flying up during the pour. Smells of apples, bubble gum, fruity, bananas, coriander, citrus notes. Fantastic nose!!! The flavor is also reminiscent of apples, citrus notes, spices ala coriander, banana, hops in the finish. Very juicy but comes across very thin. Mouthfeel is light, very carbonated, and crisp. Pretty drinkable. Not bad at all.

Doomcifer, Feb 05, 2008
Photo of windigo32
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%

A: Pours a nice golden brown with a finger of head. Retention could be better.

S: Smell is nice. Slight alcohol smell, honey, and spice.

T: Definate honey taste and slight backing of alcohol.

M: Feel is good, its not overly carbonated and isnt overly heavy either.

D: Goes down nicely. I could have had more of this one.

windigo32, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%

I don't think that my bottle explicitly said Belgian Honey Ale, but it was an 8% brew and it was made in Belgium, and the label is extremely similar. So I will put it here.

Pours a slightly foggy orange/gold with an uneventful nose that has minor alcohol and spices peeking out. Flavor is strongly influenced by spices and there is a definite hint of orange there as well. Feel has a lot of carbonation to it and a decent liquid feel. Very drinkable. As long as you don't mind heavily spiced beers, go for it. Cool cap on the bottle too.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of rallison
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%

A: Pours a hazy light amber color with a 1 finger fluffy white head.

S: Honey, spices and maybe some Candi sugar.

T: Honey and coriander are the dominant flavors. Some sweeter Belgian style pale malts are back there, with a bit more spiciness. Pretty tasty, but not complex - heavy on the honey and coriander.

M: Slightly prickly carbonation, although not much sign of the alcohol.

D: Decent. I'll have no problem with this bottle at the least.

Overall, decent. I've had better, but this a solid BSPA. No outstanding flaws, just not very complex and a bit heavy on certain characteristics.

rallison, Dec 12, 2007
Barbãr (Belgian Honey Ale) from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
88 out of 100 based on 284 ratings.