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N'Ice Chouffe - Brasserie d'Achouffe

Not Rated.
N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

482 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 482
Hads: 1,033
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 9.16%
Wants: 50
Gots: 151 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 12-14-2001

Brewed with thyme and curaçao
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 482 | Hads: 1,033
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The king of Chouffe. Light head on dark orange colour. Medium mouthfeel. Spicey and yeast and malt aroma. Lace, some yeast, sugar. This is a controlled orange and spice beverage, worthy of the sip. Yes there could be thyme. 2006. Unique Belgian, surprising 10%. (261 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA as part of their Jingle Bell Jubilee.

Pours a hazy dark brown with a 1/2 inch tan head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this beer. Smell is of malt, dark fruits (plums, prunes), and some mild spice aromas. Taste is of malt, the dark fruits, and a nice balance of spices. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good BSDA with some very nice flavors going on. (468 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear cinnamon brown with a hint of copper and with a nice off white head.

Nose is very spice and fruity apple and cinnamon/cherry;

Mouthfeel is rich and big and creamy. Mouthfilling.

Flavors of carmel malt dried cherry and big Belgian fruit with undertones of banana;

Finish is all malt, fruit and spices; this is really like a dessert ale! Drinkability is limited only because of the "dessert" quality and problematic food pairing. A full rich drink and a case of the bottle being a bit bigger and richer than the tap. (541 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
3.61/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single finger head on a cloudy amber body. Lots of lacing. This is a fairly thick beer. Aroma is mostly light on the dark fruit with some fig and juniper. Overall aroma is light. Flavor is a semi sweet dark fruit however this is light. It is a little watered down. Medium in body and moderate to high carbonation. Overall not in my tops for Belgian dark strongs. (362 characters)

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color. It poured with a finger high beige head that died down but for the most part left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: The nose is sweet and has aromas of spices and notes of dark fruits.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some hints of oranges. Flavors of spices linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The spices add an interesting twist to the style and make it a good beer to sip. (550 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

nice belgian take on a winter beer. pours dark berry red with a rising and lasting 3 inch head in a tulip glass. smells belgian yeasty and of sour cherries, possible candy sugar, but this isnt a sweet aroma, just complex. taste has definitive notes of cherries, fresh ones, and a sturdy malt spine. mouthfeel is belgian magic, smooth, not too heavy, and well carbonated. ten dollars for a small pour, but the flavor is worth it. unique winter brew and excellent with some live grateful dead cover tunes! (503 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Limited Edition 2005 (consumed 12/20/08)

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a frothy top most of which disappears, although the cap lasts a while and leaves some lace

Smell: The candi sugar jumps out in the aroma, which also displays an herbacious character from the thyme and curaçao peel; spice cake aroma, too

Taste: Opens with a spice cake flavor, with the herbacious bitterness taking over by mid-palate; after the swallow, the herbal flavors dominate, although there is plenty of raisiny residual sugar on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This doesn't have the lively mouthfeel of most Belgians and perhaps that is due to its age, and I have to say that while the herbs add an interesting element to the beer, they aren't that enjoyable an adjunct to me (831 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep amber color, the head was white and pretty strong looking. The lacing on the glass was pretty good too. The smell of the beer has a nice spicy Belgian aroma to it. The taste brings those spicy flavors onto the tongue along with a nice yeasty flavor and a touch of roasted nuts. The mouthfeel was pretty good, well carbonated and drinkable. Overall the beer is a nice wintery brew. Has some good warming qualities to it. (450 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious beer! Typically Belgian S. D. Ale in that it's very berry like in flavor, sweetness, tartness, and intensity. Sweetened with cotton-candy sugars, barley malt, and spices. Full and rich on the palate without becoming thick or heavy. Sweetly alcoholic, but swirled around the berry tartness. Lightly woody, musky, dates, and figs. Finishes lightly sweet, tart, and spicy. Looks very much like prune-juice, but tastes much better. A firm, rocky head tops off this juicy beverage. (486 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy golden/beige color ale with a huge foamy head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma of spices with some sweet malt and typical Belgian yeast. Taste is quite sweet with some dominating spices and a yeasty spicy finish. I didn’t think the Chouffe yeast came out as much as it did in their other beers. Body was above average with great carbonation and no alcohol was discernable. (411 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle aged for 1 year.

Appearance: A gentle pour into a tulip glass gave me about 1 inch of frothy foam. The body of the beer is a faintly translucent dark reddish-amber. Head retention is somewhat poor, but it's otherwise a nice looking beer.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts and alcohol are most prevalent, with notes of thyme coming through along with other more ambiguous spice aromas.

Taste: This is very malty stuff - it's sweet from start to finish, with very little in the way of bitterness or bite. The malt has a dried fruit and syrupy berry-like quality to it, and I was hard pressed to pick out any distinct hop flavors. The thyme and curacao peel are very present but nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Lower in carbonation than other d'Achouffe beers I've had, but that's not a bad thing at all. It's smooth, warming, and really easy to drink despite the high ABV and the sheer thickness of it. (905 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml solid Burgundian bottle. Cute little fire-making elven imagery on the label.

This beer pours a hazy, sediment-strewn, dark red brick amber hue, with two fingers of fizzy, tightly foamy, and brown-flecked beige head, which leaves some irregular swaths of chunky lace around the glass as it evenly settles.

The aroma evokes soft dark fruit - wet figs, plump raisins, and dates - earthy thyme, pithy citrus, pale grainy malt, a touch of bready caramel, Belgian yeast, a bit of oily nuttiness, and a mild alcohol warming. Taste-wise, the overripe fruit - plum, prune, raisin, and dates - dominates at first, aided by a weirdly sedate crackery caramel malt, until a warm thyme spice and orange bitters dryness levels things off. Speaking of the 20-proof booze, it appears to be generally toothless throughout, which is an obvious ploy at subterfuge.

The carbonation is just a tad frothy as it meanders merrily along, the body a solid medium weight, smooth as all get out, and perhaps a wee bit creamy. It finishes off-dry, the various fruit esters not letting go for a second, buoyed by the lingering savoury spice. Oh yeah - the booze still seems egregiously AWOL.

Maybe it's because this bottle is approaching its end-of-shelf-life (July 2011), but, good grief is this 10-pointer easy to drink! The fruity malt, yeast, thankfully understated spice, and especially the heady alcohol, are all so very laid back, providing something approaching the oblivious bliss horizon. A pleasantly surprising twist on the strong dark Belgian ale paradigm, and yes, n'ice - drum-roll/rim-shot, please! (1,594 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited edition 2004. Riotously carbonated, softly glowing orange-bronze with more than a little brick red. What a spectacular color, especially when daylight is permitted entry. Due to the loud 'pffft' on crown cracking, I wasn't the least bit surprised to see a large, puffy, pale caramel cap threaten to overflow the glass. It's softly sticky, looks good as it deflates and deposits a respectable amount of frothy, bubble bath-like lace in the bargain. This is a tremendous looking BSDA.

The nose comes close to meeting the high bar set by the appearance. The first thing that hits me is a clove spicy yeastiness. Not far below that is nutty brown malt and tangy fruit. What I don't smell, amazingly enough, is alcohol. With a little more definition and a little more power...

If anyone is hanging onto a bottle of 2004 (I wasn't, I just ran across this one a few months ago), it's holding up very well. There's no hint of oxidation by my palate. I didn't taste it fresh, of course, but it's hard to believe it was any better then than it is now. I've just noticed that the fine print on the painted bottle reads 'best before end 2009'. That's about right.

N'ice Chouffe is easily the equal of McChouffe, which, along with Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, is my favorite Brasserie d'Achouffe offering. Like the best Belgian beer, it's both powerful and subtle at the same time. It isn't possible to completely plumb the depths of beer this complex, but it sure as hell is fun trying.

Spicy trumps bitter, bitter trumps sweet. It doesn't really matter to me in what order they fall, as long as the beer is this delicious. Heavily toasted barley lives alongside overripe orchard fruit. If it was sweeter, comparisons to apple cider wouldn't be out of line. The star of the show, as in the nose, is a turbocharged yeast strain that is bursting with cloviness.

For some reason, the mouthful that just passed over my taste buds reminded me of chocolate and coffee. Is there no end to the palette of flavors that are being revealed to my palate? It's a shame, but I don't know that I'm able to appreciate thyme and Curacao orange peel. I'm sure they're contributing because this BSDA doesn't taste quite like any other BSDA in recent memory.

The mouthfeel that has been provided works exceedingly well within the scope of the rest of N'ice Chouffe's attributes. It's roughly medium for the style, perhaps a shade lighter, and is carbonated enough to keep mouth interest on the high side. Yeah, like my interest was ever in danger of wandering with a beer this good.

I considered waiting until I could acquire a fresher bottle before reviewing this Brasserie d'Achouffe offering. I'm glad I didn't. This is one humdinger of a BSDA that has just enough distinctiveness (thyme and orange peel?) to make it stand out from the world-class crowd. N'ice Chouffe is a very, very n'ice version of one of my favorite Belgian styles. (2,945 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of spice and a tad bit of skunkiness. There was a touch of breadiness, too.

T - There was a nice presence of candy sugar with some bready malt. It had some good spiciness with a touch of dried fruit.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This was a very nice tasting Belgian. The aroma had some issues but it delivered a great taste. (530 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass a slightly hazy russet brown with a huge blooming light brown head that sticks like glue as it slowly settles.Very spicey aromas like that of cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of orange and prune underneath.The orange peel in this brew show on the palate along with some phenolic yeasty spiciness and raisin but its not overly sweet,somewhat breasy mouthfeel compliments the flavors nicely.Its a beer that goes down easy but not overly big flavor wise but solid none the less. (501 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark mahogany-hued body with an inch of creamy-looking, off-white head. Very delicate, powdery lacing on the down.

Smell: Sugary, boozy nose with notes of caramel, dried fruits, earthy spices, and orange extract -- it smells like a slice of fruitcake with a shot of liquor poured over top.

Taste: Sweet mix of dark candi sugar and caramel upfront followed by dried cherries and a shot of what you'd expect raisin schnapps to taste like. Small savory, peppery hint along with a taste of dried, bitter orange peel. Light bitterness throughout. Sip of spiced wine. The alcohol particularly comes through on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. A bit chewy, a bit sticky.

Drinkability: The drinkability for this big, warming, spiced concoction is fair. Another fine beer from a fine brewery. (831 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Randomly found a 2008 vintage at my local haunt, so I figured I'd give it a go. It pours a hazy dark auburn-amber topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises dark wheat, coriander, light mandarin orange, white bread, clove, and light cardboard. The taste brings in more of the same, along with more bread, more orange, some light cocoa powder, some maple syrup, and more cardboard. Something tells me some oxidation had its way with the beer... The body is a hefty-feeling medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a grainy feel. Overall, I think this was past its prime (despite what the "best by" date may tell me to the contrary), as it tasted fairly oxidized and felt like it had lost a step or two in the carbonation and texture areas. (794 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Creamy smaller head fades semi slowly hint of lacing, semi hazy auburn tan brown color.

Nose nice Belgian dark malts, light spices, sweet malts, light booze and esters, hints of nutmeg, dark fruits, fig and nuts, molasses, dark candi sugar.

Taste is almost the same as the nose, starting with light bitter spices, light booze and esters, dark fruits and nuts, fig, raisin, etc, typical holiday spices, nutmeg, ginger, etc, dark Belgian malts, molasses, candi sugar, dry Belgian yeast, tasty.

Mouth is heavier bodied but not syrupy, decent carb.

Overall tasty, a staple for Belgian Xmas beer, great malts and fruit flavors, hints of esters and some booze, light spices, drinkable and tasty. (693 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A wonderful strong dark Belgian brew. On tap at Brabant in San Diego. Big cap of foam on the dark brown beer, served in a squat d'Achouffe tulip. Delirious raisin-like taste, but just moderately sweet.

Dy yeasty tang for the finish, with a burn of alcohol. Crazy stuff. A great Christmas beer-- it's a gift of the Magi! [From notes: Dec. 29, 2014 tasting] (357 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just found a bottle with a vintage date of 1996 on neck of the bottle. Dane from B. United told me a while ago to open it soon because it loses carbonation. He was right, now it has no carbonation at all. A shame really because this would have been a beer of greatness if it had only held on the carbonation. Goes down like a tawny port with fruity aromas and flavours of currants and cherries. Creamy mouth feel glides over the tongue, alcohol is warming but has mellowed for sure but still with a touch of peppery spice. Oddly there is barely any oxidation from the 6+ years of aging. (586 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 vintage, Pours reddish/claret in mt La Chouffe 02 new years glass witha 3.5 finger deep sand colored head. No lacing or head retention

S: Slight peppery notes up front & a hint of popsicle stick dryness. Sourness/lactic traits sneak in as well

T: Alcohol flows quickly with apple skins. Big piney/herbal hops & choclate take over as it warms. Dryness & oakyness also join the party. Lactic notes also assert along with a treacle taste (minimal).

MF: Medium bodied, but a lttle slickness.

Drinks okay despite the heft, won't lie to ya, love this brewery in my favorite part of BE& I'm not sure they can make a bad beer (633 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

75cl dark green glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into Chouffe 25cl stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high. It was served almost fresh from the fridge, but not too cold.

A: Pours a two finger head of nice cream, decent thickness, and good retention for the high ABV. Colour is a dark caramel; nontransparent.

Sm: Candied sugar, light spice (clove?), caramelized malt, a dark ester, and cream. A moderate strength aroma. Consulting the label, I suppose the spice is thyme - but I have no idea what thyme smells like.

T: Candied sugar is heavy, but the finish is surprisingly light. The caramelized malt is a bit too emphasize for the balance, but it works alright. The spices are well placed but not overly prominent. It's a bit imbalanced, but the build is pleasant albeit unfocused. I wouldn't go so far as to call it simple, but it could have more depth.

Mf: A touch tingly on account of the candied sugar, but largely smooth and wet. Overly thick, but then that might have been necessary to cover the high ABV.

Dr: It hides its high ABV very well, and is built to style, but there's room for improvement. I'd try it on draught, but otherwise there's nothing special here. (1,245 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clouded amber brown nice sized off white caramel head specks of lacing. Aroma: Dark candi sugar, alcohol tones running though it along with farmhouse spices and orange peels. Taste: Very herbal flavor with farmhouse spice amazing like Orval only bigger malts, sweet brown sugar and more alcohol phenols brewing here, great stuff. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied yet smooth and effervescent no rough edges to it. Drinkability: Completely incredible Xmas Belgian from the year 2002, that I will be on a lookout for years to come. (532 characters)

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

Solid head with lasting time. Relatively light lace. The liquid is brown and very cloudy.

Pleasant darker malts with a light hop background. There's a candy sugar element to it.

Molasses sugar up front that yields to a pleasant blend alcohol, yeast and light hop. Maybe too much alcohol. There's a brandy-like element to this, with this having about the same body. Low carbonation.

Another great beer from d'Achouffe. I still prefer their IPA. (447 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Edition
This is my first stab at his brew in quite some time. The last "dead soldier" I have is of the 1999 version, but probably purchased in 2001, and the differences are that that one called itself a barleywine on the label, and this one advertises itself as an "ale brewed with thyme and coriander peel." The descriptions on the back label are slightly different, but this new one calls itself a "winter warmer", not a barleywine.
Deep, dark reddish brown color, with a prodigious, creamy tan head, fluffy, bilious. overwhelming.
Aroma: airy, nutty, spicy, but sadly subdued, at least not providing what I was expecting, though I continued to enjoy it before taking a taste.
Fruity, spicy, a wonderful marriage of flavors, richly malted, brilliantly hopped, full of dark fruit (grapes, cherries, plums), various spices, utterly tasty, happily helped by the orange in the mix. Very sublime, very subtle. Full-bodied, full-flavored, with spice and fruit awarding your good taste at every sip. Nice finish, nice texture...just beautiful...
Highly recommended. (1,070 characters)

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
90 out of 100 based on 482 ratings.