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McChouffe - Brasserie d'Achouffe

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

515 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 515
Hads: 1,024
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 14.61%
Wants: 45
Gots: 126 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 09-22-2001

ABV varies from time to time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of McChouffe Alström Bros
Reviews: 515 | Hads: 1,024
Photo of Ozzylizard
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 01 2016 at 50 degrees into snifter
Aroma of dark malt and yeasty phenolics
Head average (4 cm), light brown, frothy, diminishing to frothy layer 8 mm thick
Lacing spotty; few small islands
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor of yeast phenolics and dates (figs?), slightly sweet; no alcohol, no diacetyl, no hops
Palate medium to full, creamy, lively carbonation

A decent strong dark ale. Good appearance, aroma, and palate. The flavor is fruity and slightly strong for my taste. Overall, pretty good.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have a lot of respect for Brasserie d'Achouffe's La Chouffe, which I gave a glowing review on a while back. What is it about the Belgians that get it so right when it comes to beer? They almost always seem to capture the perfection of flavour, body, aroma and alcohol content. And I'm hoping that McChouffe, the apparently Scottish cousin of La Chouffe's gnome, hits upon that magic formula.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: A deep Mahogany cloudy body presents along with a minimal tan lacing. Looks a treat.

S: Dark fruits, candi sugar and sourdough yeast intermingles along with some pear/apple esters to produce a fine perfume. Expecting some dark fruit and sugar driven flavours.

T: Yep, dark fruits, candi sugar and a light malt base come together. Pear/apple esters, Phenols and sourdough also make themselves present. It's very much a "La Chouffe Dark" then, with the flavour base so similar you might think they were separated at wort (aka the early foetal stage of the brew). The finish is a mid-range medicinal herb bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with a medium (and a tad sharp) carbonation.

D: Really there's not much between La Chouffe and McChouffe, marketing-wise I would have liked if they had been named "La Chouffe Good" and "La Chouffe Evil" with a good Gnome and an evil Gnome on the respective labels for a bit of fun. It really comes down to preference when choosing between the two. I prefer La Chouffe vanilla, however if you like your Belgians with a dark fruit slant (raisin, fig, plum, prune or date) then go the McChouffe, you'll have more fun with the Scottish twin.

Food match: Hard cheese platter, roasted dark meats - beef, venison, lamb, and grilled vegetables are all winners here.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

DATE REVIEWED: June 6, 2014... GLASSWARE: Chimay chalice... OCCASION: a week of returning to workouts--protein is welcome!... APPEARANCE: dark purple body; soft, wispy off-white head that thins out to an uneven, varied density; nice, intricate lacing... AROMA: immediate prune and apple; hops are aromatic and yeast adds some funk to an otherwise sweet malt... PALATE: thick, creamy, a bit chewy, and warming; easy-drinking and dry at the finish; a fleet, discrete presence--good, solid brown ale base... TASTE: grape and prune are the dominant flavors; smoky malt surprises, as does the lack of alcohol; rather flat at the finish... OVERALLL: a classy, slightly subdued version of tits usual and Christmas varieties; situation is key--introduced this at Thanksgiving a decade ago, but it didn't pair with the main courses well; as a nightcap, it can open with its complexity or close with its strength....

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Photo of scottbham
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Don't have time for tasting notes on this one. Just want to update: Opened a bottle from April '12 and it's still excellent. Not preferred cellar temp (~60F). Very enjoyable right now, sweetness has subsided into a very relaxed melange of brown Belgian goodness. Nary a breath of alcohol and pure delicate quench on the back of the tongue. Hope my ambiguity inspires you to try and/or pop it now.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a dark reddish, brown with soapy off white head that rapidly dissipates

S: malty aromas, burnt caramel, hint of banana and other fruity esters

T: malty sweet up front, with finish of more significant hops and a slight metallic twang - clean finish

M: a surprisingly thin mouth feel, doesn't have the fullness of other beers in this genre

O: not a bad brown ale, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find a store that sell it

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Photo of FLima
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown reddish color with a thick two finger beige head with medium retention and leaving some good laces.
Good aroma of prunes, caramels and crystalized and dark fruits.
Nice flavor with notes of roasted and caramel malts, raisins, prunes, figs, spices (cloves, white pepper), cocoa powder , mild licorice, tangerine citrusy, Belgian yeast, muscatel grapes and herbal and earthy hops. A bit of smokiness and candied sugar as well. Quite dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness and a residual elegant spiciness.
Medium body with slightly effervescent carbonation. Alcohol of 8% abv is very well hidden.
This is a great Belgian Strong Dark Ale, well balanced, tasty and pleasant to drink. Not overly complex at first, but reveals its notes throughout the degustation. Not really a sipper once it can be very drinkable, but you still want to take it slowly to harvest all it has to offer.

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Photo of JTuomi
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

33cl bottle (08 2016) into a tulip. Brown color, two finger tan head that settles down pretty quickly, some lacing. Sweet malty aroma. The taste starts spicy, followed by a sweet but not sugary taste of roasted malts that grows in the mouth, finishing with a dry malty aftertaste. Slight alcohol in the taste. Medium-light body with a medium carbonation, smooth mouthfeel. Overall an enjoyable beer but not that special.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

("Scotch of the Ardennes"... poured into a balloon glass)

A: medium-dark reddish brown, fair clarity... initially large, but fizzy head - keeps a swirl of a thin cover... minimal lace

S: brown sugar, medium-intensity of burnt caramel, light prune or other dried dark fruit... if you think "Scotch Ale", knowing it's of Belgian origin, you can somewhat sense the endemic characteristics of each (for lack of a better word) "style"

T: clove-like spice with a semi-sweet, cherry-like finish... rich in ripe-red berry/stone-fruit in the middle.... aftertaste moderately bitter with a mild, ghostly, spicy alcohol warmth - bitterness almost citrus-pithy... malty, but predominantly in the mid-dark spectrum and dry... brown sugar and burnt flavors fairly prominent, but outmatched by the assertive, softly-phenolic spice

M: perhaps a bit too thinned-out by the prickly carbonation and spicy alcohol.... does a have a hint of viscosity that is unfortunately attenuated by the recipe and yeast dynamics

O: having had this a few times, really enjoying it some of those times, it's frustrating when it seems not quite on... I would venture a loose comparison to a Belgian homage to Traquair House Ale, mostly in its expression of dark-sugar flavors - not nearly a parallel in overall composition... the proprietary Achouffe yeast factors relatively moderately into its taste, for better or worse

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

The dark offering from this fairly well-known brewery in the Ardennes. I have read that these guys only use malt syrups rather than whole grains ... True? In any event, this is certainly a well-attenuated and thin-bodied dark ale that does indeed capture some Scottish flavor elements, albeit with a decidedly Belgian profile nonetheless. A dark reddish brown brew, maybe leaning towards the red, with a moderate amount of light tan head and an aroma that is equal parts fruity esters, spicy medicinal phenols, and sweet caramel or toffee along with a vinous wine or cider-like note. Nice balance between the caramel elements and Belgian spice although I am less wild about the cidery component. Palate largely reflects this, such that I initially get some apple and pear fruit followed by clove spice, golden raisin, musty white peppercorns, faint molasses and bandage-like phenols, and perhaps a whiff of citrus rind. Rather dry, powdery mouthfeel and this brew just screams thinned down with a healthy sugar addition to the kettle. Some alcohol is apparent but not over the top in this regard. Really my main issue is the ultra-thin body and correspondingly airy mouthfeel but the flavor is solid.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apple brown with a husky coat of sepia foam. Laces thickly. Awesome.

Apple-like aromas, nuttiness, pear, golden raisin, light candi sugar, and steeped grain. A very lovely, delicate nose with great fruity esters and yeast prominence.

Rich dried fruit flavors with notes of apple, date, raisin, and quince. Toffee malts with medicinal phenols. Estery fruit, nutty yeast, light roastiness, and a sweet alcohol; all in good context. Finishes rather dry, and slightly soapy, like a floral finish.

Could use some more body. Drinks great, however. A little powdery dry; the carbonation puckers a bit.

A solid BSDA. Perhaps, a sweeter example.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: ruby-ish brown with a minor amount if head, not unexpected
S: smacks of dark fruit with a bit of tartness, fig and sour apple, perhaps
T: similar to the nose, but heavier on the dark fruit. Also a bit if woodiness. I think the yeast used adds a very mild funkiness, as well.
M: a surprising amount of carbonation tingle despite the lack of impressive head; otherwise standard for the style I believe
O: I didn't feel there was anything special here, just a solid offering. I can't tell if part of the profile is similar to the Houblon Chouffe, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but it was mildly familiar.

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Photo of jonb5
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into La Chouffe chalice.

A: Very dark mahogany, 90% opaque,
two finger tanned head which faded quickly leaving a bit of lacing.

S: Brown sugar and mollases, some yeast.

T: Fudge, prune, fig quite sweet but not boozy.

M: Smooth, decent carbonation, thick but not cloying.

O: Good, a beer without obvious faults, only minus point was the fact it can be interchanged with quite a few other BSDAs.

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Photo of Act25
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"McChouffe - Brasserie d'Achouffe", sounds like a sneeze, in a squat brown bottle, legend has it as a Scottish Strong Ale collaboration.
A: Winning mahogany, hazy pour with stiff lacey head, that lasts and sticks all the way to the end of my tulip glass. Nicely carbonated and lively.
S: Meditation beer. Candy store, candied apples, cider, berries, yeast, fire, must, hops.
T: Follows the smell with a candied start, then it's a powerful, complex blend that keeps your tongue teasing out the flavors like kisses of grapes, figs, raisens, grassy hops, spice, powdered chocolate, pepper, nuts, zinfandel, minerals.
F: The beer is medium and feels tingly light, thus has the right body given the ABV and the complexity. Finishes clean and cidery.
Ardennes water at the core, this is a must try.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best before Jan 2016. Poured into a tulip.

Another solid d’Achouffe beer! A beer I will drink again, but not outstanding in any characteristic. 3.75

A – Pours a dark opaque brown with a mousey tan one-finger head, dies down to a constant thin layer, good carbonation, some average lacing 3.75

S – Bready, yeasty, slight spice/phenolic 4.25

T – A heavier Belgian pale. Just a hint of molasses sweetness. 3.75

MF – Medium bodied, with a dry finish. Sharp in the middle. 3.75

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My Dark Belgian Ale obsession continues... .

Appearance 4.0: Poured out a lovely dark, deep brown. Nice 1/2" head quickly faded into an attractive foamy residue. Good lacing.

Smell 3.5: Very subdued bouquet on this beer. What I do smell is good: phenols, caramel, Belgian yeast. Just a shame there is not more of it in the nose.

Taste 4.25: Front is sweet on the front of the mouth, almost the tip of the tongue. This spreads over the entirety of the palate and is wonderfully warming. Middle is smooth and delicious, but with balanced tastes of noble hops and caramel malt. Finish is slightly spicy thanks to the yeast and also there is a pleasant smokiness along with a cloying taste of caramelized sugar. Aftertaste is somewhat sweet, but then takes a 180 degree turn and becomes dry, uplifting to the palate and utterly refreshing.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Carbonation is spot on for the style and the ABV and the bubble serve to break up the somewhat sweet taste.

Overall 4.0: Pleasant, but very complex and enjoyable. This is a beer that deceives you with its goofy little smurf-like character and its whimsical talk on the back of the bottle about the Chouffe and his Scottish friend, but make no mistake. This is a serious brew from artisans who are experts in the art of brewing. I would recommend this beer to any and all fans of Belgian beer, especially those who are fans of the Dark Side...er, style. ;)

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color with small off-white head. Yeasty aroma with some dark fruit. Taste follows the nose pretty well. Carbonation is on the higher side with a medium body. Quite good beer overall.

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Photo of jcbogantes
3.89/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark, with a thick creamy head in to the glass, the 2 finger head stays for a while

S: Fruty, yeasty

T: sweet malts, dark fruits, that end with some alcohol warmth but with a good balance, earthy hops

M: medium bodied

O: excellent beer, very artisanal

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Photo of mntlover
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark rich mahogany color about a perfect match for my bedroom suite. Head is small and cream colored it falls to ring laces well for a smaller head. Brew looks good when held to the window nice red notes pretty.

Aroma is dark fruits on a lightly sweet earthy malt base some light yeast notes and small hints of spice to round it out. Aroma isn't to complex fairly simple but nice and pleasant on the nose.

Taste is about like the nose lightly sweet malts earthy notes sprinkles of brown sugars. Wow good cherry notes in the fruits didn't smell that one otherwise dark fruits your plums/raisin notes going on. Finish is more of the same, malt with some good lingering sweetness mixed with some light spice.

Mouthfeel is medium with carbonation that is a little peppy but certainly not over done as I find many Belgians to be.

Overall this is enjoyable on this beautiful fall day defiantly worth a try if you see it on a shelf near you.

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Photo of azorie
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: dark cola, poured it from frig, not much head
s: rich earthy malt and hops notes, spice notes with dark candy rich malt notes
t: dark carmel candy is very first strongest flavor. heavy malt backbone, balanced with sharp earthy hops tones.
nice yeast notes. no smoke, so its not really scotch like. lol
m: medium body, low carb, a sipper
o: good strong dark ale, drinkable

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Photo of alphagnome
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours what at first glance is seemingly pitch black. However, upon holding it to the light, a deep, rustic ruby color is on display. Crowned by a thick, beige head. Plenty of sediment hangs in suspension and carbonation is visible. Decent lacing.

Sweet. Plenty of dark fruit is present here; raisin, fig, dates, and topped with cherry and a hint of apricot. Plenty of malt character and brown sugar.

Again sweet - follows the nose closely. Fruit delivery is a bit more tart than expected, but still chalked full of flavor. Raisin and prune up front with a nice dose of chocolate covered cherries and a bit of yeast esters. The finish is quite boozy, but clean. Reminds me of a port wine. Aftertaste is delightful and brings those chocolate covered cherries back into the spotlight. You will definitely want to take your time with this one.

Heavy - definitely a slow drinker. Decent carbonation. As mentioned above, the alcohol is noticable and provides a mild warming sensation. Finishes semi-dry.

Impressive offering here. Well worth exploration. It's not exactly cheap, so that could scare some people away. However, if you can get past that, you're in for fantastic big beer.

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Photo of brurevu
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From my tasting notes: The McChouffe was touted as a Belgian Scotch Ale and was the obvious darker beer of the night. It came with a fluffy tan head and more Belgian yeast notes in the aroma with some sweet malts as well. It was much maltier than the La Chouffe with hints of toffee and dark fruits with the signature Belgian yeast notes as well. Another well balanced and drinkable beer that I will need to try again.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle to a snifter

A: a deep ruby brown with a thick three finger head that breaks down leaving a cosmic swirl of foam.

S: dark fruits and slight boozy smell...the yeast profile also comes through.

T: sweet dark fruits and a slight wine or booze flavor. Yeast also sneaks in.

M: medium body with full carbonation.

O: a nice beer, pretty basic and straightforward for a BSDA. I like the warm feeling that it leaves and while not the best I've had, it is a good beer and easy to drink.

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Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Finally getting around to another Chouffe offering. Belgian Brown Ale, eh?

A- Poured from the 750ml into a goblet and a snifter-tulip with a dark brown body, hard to see through at all, just a bit of red on the very edges. Light tan cap forms to a finger or so with a foamy texture and decent retention. The head falls to a small bubbly ring that leaves a medium amount of lace in webbed shapes.

S- Dark Belgian Candi sugar, Belgian yeast spices and bananas come to mind off the top. A complex set of aromas between the malts and yeast that bring figs, raisin, toasted nuts, cloves, bread and caramel to mind.

T- Candi sugar, Belgian yeast and toasted malts come to mind first with a broad set of flavors like figs, dates, raisin, caramel sweets, brown sugar, toasted nuts, cocoa powder and cereal grains. Other things that occur to me are bananas, clove, nutmeg and wheat bread. Candi sugar, once again, is big here, I made it once at home and the semi-burnt sugar flavors are huge here. Slight earthy, spicy hops.

MF- Moderately thick body with a semi-sweet overall feel. Texture is creamy and satisfying considering the sweet, rich flavors present. Slight spicy bitter finish and no ABV in sight.

Feels pretty sweet upon finishing, maybe just a bit much for my taste. The balance is nice and the flavors are plentiful making it a satisfying experience. All in all the flavor is just nice.

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Photo of dv8sean
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Surprised to see both the bros and the community at large relegate this to "only" a "very good" beer. This beverage is good enough to mock or outright dismiss its critics.

Appearance is not its forte, tho. It's a bit nondescript, and while it pours with a good head, the foam dissipates, and leaves virtually no lace.

From there, however, it just keeps getting better. Banana bread and spice on the nose. Layered and complex. Taste follows suit. Beautiful balance between the sweetness of the malt backbone and the very mild sour funk of the Belgian yeast. Note: this is NOT a "sour beer".

Mouthfeel is stellar. Beer has a long, long finish--somehow being both sweet and dry at the same time. How'd they do that? I'd rate it 5.0 Perfect, but I cannot profess to know what is perfection.

Overall, this is the best beer of its style that I've found...at least to my tastes.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany pour with an off-white two finger head with nice retention and great lacing. Very malty nose with hints of Belgian yeast, brown bread, banana, nuts, toffee, caramel, and dark fruits. The taste follows suit, dominated by malty caramel sweetness. Hints of tobacco, dark fruit, molasses, Belgian yeast, bubblegum, banana, brown bread, and nuts round out the taste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate to fizzy carbonation with a syrupy sweet finish. Overall, this is a solid Belgian Bruin, albeit a bit sweet for more than one.

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McChouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
89 out of 100 based on 515 ratings.