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La Vache Folle - ESB - Microbrasserie Charlevoix

Not Rated.
La Vache Folle - ESBLa Vache Folle - ESB

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

92 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 2
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Microbrasserie Charlevoix visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 04-27-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 61
Reviews by santa109:
Photo of santa109
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at 45 degrees. 500ml bottle.

A: Poured a cloudy coppery-orange with just a bit of off-white head into a pint. The head quickly fades into a thin yet stubborn film that stays around until the end.

S: A swirl brings forth aromas of citrus and also a bit of apricot. There is also a floral aspect to it. The malts are also present to balance it all out.

T: Initial assertive bitterness when cold with a hit of citrus in the back of the mouth. Then the hops become a bit more piney with a lingering aftertaste. It ends with a thick balancing maltiness. As it warms a bit, the balance shifts a bit in favor of the malt for a very satisfying 2nd half of glass.

M: Feels thick and smooth with a fairly high but what feels as appropriate amount of carbonation. Quite pleasant.

D: This is where it shines, it goes down so smooth and it's highly refreshing. The 500ml bottle went down like it was much smaller and I wanted another.

Overall, I'm quite surprised by this beer. Colder, it seemed to lean towards Pale Ale territory with it's assertive hops but as it warmed a bit, it developed into a more balanced beer. All in all, an easy drinking brew with a good kick that will be welcome during the summer heat waves. I will have this one again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This was a very light orange in the body with a mammoth head and lots of little sediment floating around.

Smell – ESB? This smells like a Belgian malt monster. I can pick up a few notes of bittering hops but mostly this is a bottle of fermenting yeast.

Taste – Very interesting. It is a bitter beer, that’s for sure, but the flavor profile is a cross between ESB and Belgian ale. It tastes dark but is light in color. Ah, the paradox of beer reviewing. I say it tastes good so what the hell.

Mouthfeel – Big, fluffy, and almost full in the mouth. I thought that this was the ESB’s strong point. It was dry, bitter, and darkly malted all at the same time. Excellent!

Drinkability – This just hit the spot. It is a very unique ale that defines classification. It tastes good, goes down beautifully, and was one of the funnest beers that I’ve drained in a long time.

Photo of MaliciousMatt
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First and foremost, I must admit thatcher I don't drink a lot of ESB. It seems to be a style that is overlooked by some brewers and it is unfortunate, this great offering proves it.

The look is nice. Slightly hazy light cooper with a good fluffy head that looks like a cloud you would like to sleep in!

Smells goood! Floral and subtle. Straight foward.

Taste is clean and pleasant. Once again, nothing too complex. Notes of sweet and toasted malt well balanced by the bitterness wich is present but not overpowering.

In the mouth it fits the rest of the experience, round fulness with medium to light bubbling.

So this is a great overall beer that is well constructed. It may not be the most shockingly innovative beer but does it always have to be? This is a great session style and this beer is a great interpretation of it.

Thanks to brasserie Charlevoix. Long live your brewery!

Photo of talbotjf99
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JonnyBeers
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of biboergosum
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Nice to see another ESB from a Canadian brewery on the shelves here in Alberta.

This beer pours a hazy medium copper-amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, bubbly, rocky, and eventually creamy ecru head, which leaves a thin curtain of snow rime lace around the glass as it slowly dissipates.

It smells of mildly crackery, biscuity, and bready pale and caramel malt, musty citrus, and somewhat zingy leafy, grassy hops. The taste is more grainy biscuit and bready malt, a bit of lemon citrus zest, a hard water minerality, black tea bags (paper included!), and a relatively strong bitter, spicy noble hop character.

The carbonation is pleasant and moderate in its bearing, the body just short of medium weight, and genuinely smooth. It finishes on a drying trend, clean, and all about the minerals and hops.

A very well-made bitter ale - nicely balanced, without being chintzy on the bitterness, which keeps you coming back, until that extra point of booze, absent in the flavour, makes itself known in other ways, i.e. compelling you to proclaim: get thee to the bottleshop to procure another, anon!

Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

More than just a palate cleaner, with orange colour and retaining head. Yeastiness, lace, aroma. The bitterness is moderated by the yeast, apple there, and malts. Appropriately and strongly carbonated.Good outside in the heat. Cross style, or defies style.

Photo of jcubz
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Lallsballs77
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hard to read but I'm pretty sure this was bottled october 22nd 2009. They say you can keep itfor 2 years but should really drink it before 9 months.

A- Consistent white head with a little yellow in it.Lots of bubbles. Slightly hazy amber. Lacing is shy.

S- Cheese and chocolate. Floral hops. Candy malt. Fresh cut leaves.

T- Bitter and sour right off the bat. A bit of clementine. Dairyness to it (don't think i was influenced by the label) Tastes and feels really fresh

M- Everything is medium here. Feels great. Not watery.

D- 500ml bottle and I'd still have two more. I'd also buy it again if I didn't see anything new.

Nothing special. Just a good drink.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - poured into a tulip, clear copper with tall tan head that retained well
S - citrus and earthy aromas, biscuity with a hint of caramel
T - biscuity malt with hop notes of citrus, pine, and spice, and a hint of caramel sweetness
M - mild carbonation with a smooth medium weight, just right bitter and spiciness on the finish
O - a nice full flavour ale with heathy bitterness, a great example of one of my fave styles

Photo of jbonapar
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light amber hue with a nice thick foam that quickly dissipates.

unfortunately, after translating the French, we realized that they brewery recommends Drinking the beer 9 months after the bottling date, we opened ours 3 months after the date.

Tate is alight caramelly bitterness. Some floral overtones.

An average bitter at this time, however, its our fault for not reading the French on the bottle. We'll get another one and age it appropriately and try again!

Photo of eat
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled July 22, 2009 and recommended to be consumed within nine months of bottling. 30 IBU. Attempted translation of the label:

"La Vache Folle Extra Special Bitter is a red beer, generous on all levels. A powerful nose of floral hop scents and a mouthfeel supported by a marked bitterness which "little" beers don't possess... Thumb your nose at the usual. Go for it, be a cow!"

Hazy and golden-amber in colour with a good cover of foamy white head, receding to a ring around the glass. Decent lacing.

Fresh, light smell. Honey, floral hops, yeast, minerals. A little buttery/lactic as it warms. Smells really nice but there's not nearly enough. I'm almost snorting the beer up my nose to pull anything off it.

This is quite a bit different from other ESBs I've had before. It doesn't have the characteristic hop profile I'm used to. If I didn't know it was an ESB, I'd be inclined to guess it was a strange sort of pale ale. It's tasty anyhow. Fresh and simple and mostly consisting of a fairly high hop presence, floral in character, and a honey-like sweetness. Nice balance between bitterness and sweetness. The aftertaste leaves more of an ESB flavour than while the beer is in your mouth. Dry finish, no alcohol noticeable.

Great medium body with moderate carbonation.

I don't know if I'd call this an ESB, based on my experience with the style, but it's a damn tasty brew. Another Charlevoix I wish I had discovered while I lived around the corner from an endless supply of it in Montreal. This would make a great session beer. Extremely drinkable.

Photo of Rutager
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Poured a cloudy orange with a hint of red. Half a finger of nice white head that falls slowly to a film that lasts the duration.

Smell. Plums, green grapes, herbal hops and a hint of roasty malt. Real nice.

Taste. Bitter herby hops. A little apricot and pine and a long bitter finish. Yum.

Mouthfeel. Medium, prickly carbonation and just a little thin.

Drinkability. Went down quick. A great drinker.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured an hazy amber color ale with a bit foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of floral hops and big malt is easily noticeable. Taste is bigger and stronger then your average English bitter with some lots bitter hops and a full body. Does not stay within the style limit but is very enjoyable nonetheless.

Photo of ZorPrime
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Never reviewed this one... don't know why. This one is coming from their new brewery.

The beer color is copper with light carbonation. The head looks like ice cream. It's white and sticks well to the glass. The aroma is mainly caramel malts with some earthy hops. The taste shows a very crisp bitterness and dry finish. The beer is well balanced between the malts and the hops. I would say this is a very good ESB. Medium body beer and carbonation is more present. There is more than what we can see would suggest.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with a smooth even white head on top that held on for a good long while, dropping nice amounts of side glass lacing along the way. Aroma was light, hints of citrus hops, a touch of light grassy notes and a noticeable touch of light spice all coming together rather lightly, but pleasantly. Taste was light as well, clean and crisp with a smooth profile. Light touches of hops sprinkled throughout a light bready and grainy base that shone through pretty strongly. Light touches of peaches and pears actually popped up as well as a nice light touch of spice and hops

Photo of IronDjinn
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 500 ml brown bottle, came in a La Vache Folle 4-pack, bottled on Feb. 2nd 2010.

Tall creamy, spongy off-white head on the pour, slightly hazed bright copper hue to the body.

Mild toasty and biscuity malt on the nose, some light grassy and spicy hops.

While the hops are slightly more predominant there's a decent balance to the flavour: mild dry toasty malt immediately followed by bright grassy and spicy hops, almost exactly as advertised by the aroma.

Mouthfeel is pretty much bang-on for the style, medium-light body, smooth, with mild carbonation.

An enjoyable easy drinker on par with everything else I've tried from Charlevoix.

Photo of CurtisD
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Antilochus
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottled April 2014.

A: Cloudy orange with off-white head. Good retention.

S: Caramel, honey, breadiness, a little bit of orange peel.

T/M: Balanced on the palate leaning towards bitterness. Tea, fruitiness. Sharp bubbles. I find the finish a bit sweet.

Very nice. I'm really looking forward to the milk stout.

Photo of DaveR514
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Rastacouere
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky amber appearance with quite a few sediments, but not nearly as many as others it seems. Smallish light honey head. It displays a rather original nose for a bitter, almost belgian yeasty flavors (oranges, pears) accompanying the butterscotch malt profile and the subdued hops (citrus, lemon). Palate is fruity, lightly tart and proposing a dry and bitter finish. Not a traditional bitter that's for sure and possibly my favorite of the very few I've had, but this still doesn't come close to rocking my boat, for the same refreshing and quaffable qualities, I'd much rather have victory's prima pils from a few hours ago. I loved the coating round mouthfeel though. Nevertheless, this beer has given me the feeling that Charlevoix's domain remains belgian styles (although I'm longing for their doppelbock) and that's for the best from my egoistical point of view!

Photo of spinrsx
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours an amber colour with a fair size foamy/fizzy off white head. There isn't much carbonation showing. There is a lot lacing to be seen, and the head stuck around for a few minutes.

Smell - The beer has a slightly off-putting scent. I can't put my finger on it, but it is something along the lines off a wet fish/dog. I can also pick up on some caramel and some hops

Taste & Mouth - Thankfully the beer doesn't taste like it smells, I can taste a sweet honey and some hops. Also some caramel and some floral notes. There is a fair amount of carbonation, I wouldn't mind a little bit more, but it is still decent.

Drink - An above average beer that is worth a try - not the best I've ever had; but still a fairly good brew.

Photo of liamt07
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of ZorPrime, 500ml into a pint glass. Charlevoix always dates their stuff, but this one is missing a stamp on the back.

Pours a translucent golden brown, couple fingers of sudsy and soapy white head that really sticks around. Phenomenal retention and a bunch sticky lace. Lots of fruit notes in the nose, apple, pear, honey and some earthy hops. Taste follows for the most part, light bitterness and more fruit, again the apple and pear are prominent, and potentially some honeydew melon? Slightly sweet malt backbone lies underneath, bready. Good stuff. Medium carbonation and smooth going down; a touch watery. Moderate lingering bitterness. Another winner from Charlevoix.

Photo of hoser
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A full bodied extra special bitter that makes Fuller's ESB weak at the knees and that is saying something. To steal a line from Todd and Jason Alstrom's Imperial Milk Stout review the beer is nothing to get mad about. It actuality the name translates to Crazy Cow and is a tongue in cheek poke at something else. All in all love this nutty version of an ESB.

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La Vache Folle - ESB from Microbrasserie Charlevoix
86 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.