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La Dragonne - BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)

Not Rated.
La DragonneLa Dragonne

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

22 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 22
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 20.47%
Wants: 1
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) visit their website
Switzerland

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ggaughan on 06-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 22 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by brentk56:
Photo of brentk56
4.53/5  rDev +34.4%

Appearance: Sans carbonation, it looks like prune juice; chocolatey brown with just a hint of purple

Smell: What a lovely aroma! All kinds of things in there, including cinnamon, anise, dark fruit, Ricola herb cough drops, clove, coriander, prune and God knows what else

Taste: After a brief flirtation with sweet dark fruit flavor, the herbal elements kick in to provide all matter of cinnamon, anise, clove, coriander and juniper spice around the chocolate, prune and date flavors; a hint of menthol in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, just slightly syrupy

Drinkability: Lots of fun to consume; just wish it was a bit colder now to drink around the fire

brentk56, Feb 14, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%

Bottle from the Brick Store heated to 120 deg F and served at about 100 deg F out of a vacuum thermos.

Pours black with dark ruby highlights and no head due to the heat. Swirling the glass leaves decent legs.

Smells of anise, syrupy brown sugar, raisins and plums. It's also got a slight floral aroma that fades along with the anise aroma as it cools.

Tastes good. Syrupy molasses and brown sugar flavors up front are joined by good amounts of anise and other assorted spices shortly. Midway through the sip dark fruit flavors kick in - plums and raisins as with the smell. The ending is definitely on the sweet side and leaves hints of anise lingering.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with mild carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished my glass with no problem however I'm not sure about another.

Overall this was an interesting beer that held the heat well. I couldn't drink more than one of these in one sitting due to the sweetness but every now and then I could revisit this, especially on a colder day.

glid02, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of ggaughan
4.1/5  rDev +21.7%

Sampled at the Monk's Cafe BFM tasting the other night. This was a very interesting "beer". The description they gave of this was "full of X-mas spices and honey. Perfect for apres ski. Can be served warmed." Served warm was how we had it. The beer looked to be a deep brown color with a slight tan head but it was hard to tell because it was served warm in a coffee mug. It had a spicey, herbal warming aroma. The was also very warming. There was notes of honey and cinnamon and other spices. When drinking this you could imagine sitting in front of a fireplace on Christmas eve but it was 80 degrees outside and early June. One can imagine thought. The brewer Jerome commented that it was not served warm enough but it seemed to have a good balance of warmth and character.

ggaughan, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of cliff1066
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

cliff1066, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with no head or hardly any carbonation. Aroma consists solely of honey and nutmeg. Taste is also dominated by some nutmeg with some sweet malt notes. I understand what they are trying to do but over spice beer that need to be served hot will never make a big impact on me.

Phyl21ca, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of andthevolcano
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

andthevolcano, Nov 07, 2012
Photo of jwc215
2.83/5  rDev -16%

Served hot - as per instructions on label

Pours pitch black with virtually no head (a few bubbles) - I had poured a tasting into a tasting glass before warming - also no head.

The smell is a plethora of spices: anise, coriander, cardimom, clove, orange peel, cinnamon, juniper - all hits at once. Smells not unlike potpourri.

The "potpourri" all intermingles with candy sugar and honey. Very sweet and herbal/medicinal. Virtually no hop presence. The anise sticks out ahead of everything. The more I drank the sweeter it became, almost to the point of being intolerable. The lack of carbonation makes it flat.

It is warming, but...overkill on spices, IMO and WAY to sweet after awhile. Might be more enjoyable to split with someone. Flavors lose out to anise and honey as it warms.

Not my thing.

jwc215, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of Smurf2055
2.95/5  rDev -12.5%

Cold pour.

Pours dark red min head.

Smell cinnamon and gingerbread!

Taste thick, gingerbread, bitter but not a good beer bitter.

Very boozy. Literally liquid gingerbread with a side of cherry cough syrup.

Hot pour.

Dark red/black with min head, large bubbles, chocolatey head.

Smells like a stocking, gingerbread, candy cane, fruit and spice.

Taste strong. strong licorice. That’s really all I can get is liquid black licorice. Somewhat drinkable. Not worth it, but the smell and experience might be worth it to some. Horrible beer though, cough drop.

Smurf2055, Aug 08, 2013
Photo of woodychandler
4.03/5  rDev +19.6%

My C/S host here in Anchorage, AK is a member of the counter culture at La Bodega, meaning that she is the person at the counter when it becomes pay up and get out time. That being the case, I had ample time to just wander aimlessly (seemingly) throughout the store today, finding those things that I really wanted to try. "15% off" always gets my attention, especially when TheLongBeachBum apparently had a problem with the original retail price. Many thanks to Jackie for taking a wandering beer bum to work.

It turned out to be a good fit for a cloudy, overcast, cool day in AK. It would be tough to review this like a standard beer, but as a frustrated cook, I have mulled both Quel'que Chose and Liefman's Gluekriek in a double boiler before, so the concept was not foreign.

The color was a deep, dark brown, like coffee with no head, as was to be expected. The nose was a combination of anise, and herbs, like a Riccola throat lozenge. The mouthfeel was medium with a riot of flavors that included licorice, caramel, dark chocolate, plum, cinnamon, that same herbal quality that I noted on the nose, and sour cherry. Finish had a lingering cherry/anise flavor. It was like Christmas in July in Alaska! What a find! This was their last bottle, though. That and one bottle between the two of us was probably enough to satisfy that (previously non-existent) jones. Still, between the cool atmosphere, the good company and my desire to try something new, this was a good fit. Definitely keep it in mind for the coming winter months.

woodychandler, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +21.7%

Presentation: 750ml green Belgium flask sealed with a large crown cap. Main label has a red background with the words ‘La Dragonne’ below the BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) logo which includes a salamander. Lots of information on the main label. “To be enjoyed hot!”, “Swiss <<After Ski>> Ale” and “Dark Mild Winter Ale brewed with Spices and Honey Added” as well as the fact that is “Unfiltered and without Carbonation”. Listed at 4% Alc.Vol. To the right a white portion of the label explains how to best serve this brew, basically that it should be warmed in a bath of hot water and served between 110-120 °F.


Appearance: Utterly flat, absolutely devoid of any conditioning. Dark red body with lots of deep browns to add some texture. Thin light tanned head on the pour which bubbles but rapidly disappears. Despite the lack of carbonation and head, this one still looks very nice, especially with the some steam trails vaporizing from the glass.

Nose & Taste: Incredibly aromatic with a myriad of contributors. This has a wonderful nose that has a light medicinal tone to it. Lots of spices, sweet honey and a resilient lingering aftertaste on the palate. Cinnamon and Juniper Berries are the most detectable but soon you start to work into Anise, Orange Rind, Cloves, Coriander and Cardamom. A lovely warming spicy Winter brew which has a truly Victorian Christmas feel to it.

Mouthfeel: All of the flavors and aromas are more than adequately suited to the thick Mouthfeel. Never heavy, far from it, but like a thick coat on a cold day it embraces the flavors and keeps them warm and comfortable.

Drinkability: I shared this bottle with Erica and it soon disappeared, but even so, this was a nice fruity warm brew that had a pleasing Drinkability and I could managed another, but it is really a sipper though.

Overall: Lovely, warming winters brew that fits like a glove on cold dark night. The only complaint is the price, but you should treat yourself to this Mulled Ale from Switzerland if you get chance.

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of chefelf
1.55/5  rDev -54%

I really, really wanted to like this beer. The idea of warming this up and serving it like a hot mulled wine or cider on a cold winter night seemed so romantic.

When pouring it looks like coffee. When tasting it it tastes like one of those herbal caffeine-free coffee replacements. Teccino springs to mind.

I'm sure that there are people who like this drink. Maybe if you'd grown up with it. I could not get past the bitter qualities of the drink. In fact five sips was the best I could muster and I had to pour the rest down the drain. My wife wouldn't even attempt a single sip after watching my reactions. I was wondering if I actually did something wrong in the heating process. It was very difficult even with small sips.

I would try this again if it were prepared for me while on holiday in Switzerland and prepared by someone that was Swiss. Just for the full effect. However, I'd be very leery of it. Perhaps in that setting I'd be able to look past the notes that I didn't particularly care for.

This is only the third beer in my life I can remember pouring down the sink. Generally I'll drink just about any beer even if I'm not thrilled about it.

Without knowing what my score is going to come out to I would imagine this beer will maintain my lowest score for some time.

It's probably that I'm just not sophisticated enough to appreciate this beer. Usually I can at least appreciate a beer that is not necessarily my style. This one, unfortunately, is beyond my appreciation.

chefelf, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of HopStoopid120
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

HopStoopid120, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of brdc
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%

Large capped bottle, opened and heated according to the instructions.

It is very hard to judge this one, since I have no grounds to compare. It does not look, smeel or taste like beer.
It is very dark, almost black with some very dark red highlights. No head, just some "bubbles" come up as you pour it and quickly go away.
Aroma is powerful, and quite different. Hot tea, heavy on honey and cinnamon.
Despite the obvious warmth and alcoholic punch, it is surprisingly thin. Taste is another strange experience; "quentao", a brazilian winter drink comes to mind. It is quite sweet and honeyish upfront, it turns heavily spiced with strong cinnamon notes in the middle, and finishes quite bitter and warm (alcoholic), similar to a cognac.
Drinkability is very very low, it is difficult to have a single mug of this. A unique experience, but I am not sure I will have it again.

brdc, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of phisig137
3.83/5  rDev +13.6%

Served at 115° F as the label recommends in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Pours a deep black that lets absolutely no light through. Absolutely no carbonation, just as the label says. Ominous.

Aroma is interesting to say the least. Massive spice punch,most notably the star anise and cardamom. This combines with a bit of chocolate malt aroma, and some vegetable-like (but not DMS) herbal qualities to make a very interesting nose.

Flavor is and explosion of spices. Huge waves of cinnamon, vanilla, mint, juniper, raw wood, liquorice, and black pepper come one after another. All the spices are well balanced, so you really have to dig deep to find each of them. No real malt character, and completely devoid of hops. Finish is long, dry, and filled with complex spices. As full flavored as this beer is it is oddly light bodied. Drinkability is pretty damn low, this is the true definition of a sipper.

Without a doubt, this is the most odd beer that I've ever tasted. I've had Gluhwine before, and I loved it. I never thought I'd see it done with beer. If you like odd, off the wall beers, this is for you. It is worth seeking out. Just be sure to share it with friends... I'd be surprised if even the most hardened BA would be able to finish a bottle.

Think of it like this.... Imagine that you were invited to a christmas party at Hansel and Grettle's gingerbread mansion... this is likely what they'd serve.

phisig137, May 24, 2007
Photo of russwbeck
3.55/5  rDev +5.3%

Served at the Monk's Cafe Beers of the Cellar event, we did not warm the beer to extreme temperatures. It pours out black devoid of head. The smell is like paint. So sweet, spicy and offensive, and smoky. Gingerbread. It tastes very spicy and sweet. Mellowed from age so the bite is gone. I'm not a spice fan. Light body and decently drinkable, the aftertaste gets me a bit. Glad I tried it, would skip again unless it was heated up!

russwbeck, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of corby112
2.1/5  rDev -37.7%

From notes:

I heated this up as per the instructions to the recommended 120 degrees. Pours a dark chocolate brown, almost black color with a thin chestnut brown ring.

Slightly roasted aroma with lots of spice, alcohol and dark berries. Hints of pepper, clove and anise as well as some plum, raisin and grape.

Full bodied, thick and syrupy with a very prominent spice character along with hints of dark berries and astringent alcohol. There is some subtle citrus complimenting the dark fruit notes. Hints of currant, plum and raisin as well as a very prominent anise flavor that overpowers the rest of the beer. Although the beer is only 7.5%, the alcohol presence is strong and off putting.

I'm not sure what this beer tastes like cold but heating it up seems more like a novelty than anything else. It tastes mostly like an alcoholic herbal tea. I was intrigued by the idea but it didn't really work.

corby112, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%

Sampled May 2007
Well I did not serve this hot as I was supposed to, so as a compromise I have served it at a warm room temperature of about 72ºF (22ºC). As advertised the beer is quite still, it pours with a dark, opaque, blackened purple amber color. The aroma has a woody spice character to it reminiscent of a root beer or spruce beer. Notes of orange syrup, cinnamon, anise, allspice, sassafras and some cola-like cardamom are noticeable as are a lot of other spice notes that one would generally associate with a dark, sweet, rich spice cake / bread. Concentrated fruit notes that smell quite berry like, perhaps similar to blueberries, touches of cherry brandy, and figs, but ultimately probably a product of the juniper berries. The aroma of this must absolutely explode when heated up as it is incredibly aromatic already.

Only lightly sweet, but it is enough to accentuate the juniper berry flavors up front. There is actually very little, it any bitterness here at all and this tends to accentuate the natural sweetness of this brew. Cola-like flavors of cardamom mix with something that reminds me of Dr. Pepper; in fact Dr. Pepper flavors are quite an apt descriptor for the character of this brew. Without any carbonation this beer is fairly light feeling, it has the same heft as a lightly sweet port does, it even has some flavors reminiscent of port. Orange peel is noticeable as well, but it seems muddy, perhaps caramelized or even approaching a browned orange character, if that makes sense.

An interesting beer, it certainly would be appropriate as a mulled beverage after a long day on the slopes, but I am not sure if it really fits in to my lackluster lifestyle. Still it is enjoyable and is certainly worth trying.

Gueuzedude, Jun 13, 2007
Photo of CReilly
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

1/10/09
Isaac Newtons, Newtown Pa.

La Dragonne Hot Spiced Ale
Dark Mild Winter Ale brewed with spices and honey.

Known as the Swiss after ski Ale

Appearance: Dark dark brown, zero head, turbid and murky.

Aroma: Warm with a very cinnamon raison bread nose. strong warm alcohol aroma and no hop sign detected.

Taste: exactly like warm Cinnamon Bread toast with butter... sweet, dark malts, warming alcohol and a strong raisoney flavor. I did not recognize the star anise, orange peel, cardamom or juniper berries listed on the label but i did subtly detect clove.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium bodied but not overwhelming despite the lack of carbonation.

Finish: Very smooth and somewhat dry at the finish, the warm sensation is unique and the overall taste leaves you questioning what it is your sipping on. It was not cloying but something I wouldn't have often. Best appreciated on cold nights with friends, as well as after skiing as the label states.

CReilly, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

JAHMUR, Mar 28, 2013
Photo of Jordantb313
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%

Jordantb313, Apr 03, 2013
Photo of Bov
2.6/5  rDev -22.8%

a glühbeer which has to be tasted at 60 degree C - it is dark brown without foam; cold, it has a deep aroma of honey, cinnamon and cane sugar, the flavor beeing just sweet and flat; hot, some alcohol aroma comes between the cinnamon and the honey, the flavor is very sweet (probably too much), but a pleasant hint of bitterness is coming in the finish - don't drink too much of that stuff or you will get a bad headache

Bov, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev +5.3%

My plan was to review BFM La Dragonne at cellar temperature and then at the suggested temperature of 110-120 degrees. Then I read that it's uncarbonated and was brewed to be consumed warm-hot. I placed the '750' in a heavy sauce pan 3/4 full of water, heated it slowly and removed the beer when a candy thermometer stuck into the neck of the bottle reached 120 degrees.

Coca-Cola brown with scarlet and gold accents. Surprisingly, the beer is opaque. Not surprisingly (given the lack of bubbles), the microthin beige crown was short-lived. Definitely an odd look, though not an unattractive one.

The nose is reminiscent of chai. No surprise, perhaps, given the ingredients. In addition to malt, hops, yeast and water, La Dragonne contains honey, cinnamon, anise, orange peel, cloves, cardamom, coriander and juniper. Oddly enough, only the ones that start with the letter 'c' are appreciated. Maybe juniper too, it's hard to say.

Not great and not nasty. The lack of carbonation will definitely take some getting used to. Needless to say, given the warmth and the flatness, it doesn't seem like beer at all. The honey adds a subtle sweetness that is easily countered by a bitterness of uncertain origin.

The label says this is a 'Dark Mild Winter Ale'. That isn't too far off the mark, but it's much darker than most beer of that style. Let's go with raisins, blackstrap molasses, a twist of orange peel and Sambuca without the alcohol. The spices themselves are tough to sort out on the palate. Clove and cardamom just do get noticed.

Never having had a beer of this sort before, scoring the body/mouthfeel is proving to be difficult. It's thin and bubble-free, which is how it's supposed to be. I would much prefer something full and a little syrupy, with an ABV at least double the actual ABV (my bottle reads 4.0%). Carbonation wouldn't work given the method of preparation.

Although La Dragonne could have been more enjoyable, this was a fun little experiment. Now that I've done the water bath once, maybe I'll be brave enough to warm and drink that bottle of Unibroue Quelque Chose that has been sitting in my cellar for the past year. This offering is recommended for the novelty, not for the beer.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 03, 2008
La Dragonne from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
79 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.