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N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

515 Reviews
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N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with thyme and curaçao

Added by Bierman9 on 12-14-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 1,135
Photo of Whiteturtle
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Ive been dying to try this for years. Ive never been able to get my hands on it because Kentucky never received it, although they got all the other La chouffe offerings. But I'm in the Big Apple now, so lets see what these gnomes have been working on all year..

Pours a lovely burnt sienna hue. A three finger head.. with stereotypical BSDA retention. Bubbles are always visibly crawling up the sides.

Belgian yeast strain on the nose, of course. I definitely smell the orange peel that this is brewed with. I also get a dash of cinnamon and allspice, maybe a little anise. Sweet malt, burnt sugar, and molasses also get honorable mentions.

Cherry, chocolate orange, clove, and dare I say a bit of spruce?? Ill say this, this beer looks and smells a lot darker than it tastes. Only a minimal perception of spices, which I love. Dark fruits, berries, and a toasty malt finish. Beautiful

If I had one complaint it would be that it is a bit hot. The first few sips caught my throat off guard. It certainly wasn't unbearable, just a bit boozy. But thats not all bad for a winter beer huh?

So far, this and corsendonk christmas have been my favorite belgian holiday ales. Corsendonk is a little sweeter and spicier, while the gnomes came strong with malt and some bitterness to back it up. (Its probably those pine trees, those tricky gnomes). If you can find this, get it. I don't care what kind of beer you like, I don't even care if you like beer (although you probably wouldn't be here if you didn't)... this is awesome. Let the gnomes take care of you for the holidays, you won't be sorry.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle served in my N'Ice Chouffe stem at 53 degrees. 06 0217 (assuming a best by date) printed on the back label. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a dense, three inch, khaki-colored head. A delicate wavy ring of lacing is revealed as the head gradually dissipates into a one inch, rocky, cap. Nose is fairly subdued - some medical notes, perhaps anise, and figs. Taste reveals dull candied citrus fruit, medicinal phenols and christmas spice on a dark malt backbone. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an assertive carbonation, almost gassy, that leaves a residual burn at the back of the throat between quaffs. Overall, not bad - definitely a holiday beer; however, it may be a bit young. Alcohol is well-hidden but I think this one could have used some time in the cellar to even out.

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Photo of JMUduke
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled: 9/19/12 (750 ml)
Consumed: 10/5/15 (3+ years)

Look: dark amber hue, thin head with excellent retention, continuous lacing, sediment in suspension
Smell: licorice, caramel, alcohol, blue cool-aide; it does indeed smell Christmassy
Taste: biscuit, caramel, alcohol well-masked
Feel: great mouthfeel

Overall: I feel as if brew developed well over the course of 3 years, although I have no basis for comparison

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Photo of SM00TH_H0PERAT0R
4.56/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was surprisingly fruity and sweet, especially considering it's dark color and how high the ABV is (10%). If I ever spot this on a shelf again, I could not pass it up.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure what the bottling date on this one was but I'm pretty sure it wasn't fresh.

Dark brown with a nice head to start; the head sank to a small rim around the glass. Nose is of plums, spices, boozy alcohol, Belgian yeast and fruit cake. Taste follows the nose but is nice and sweet. This is an amazing BSDA and I need more. The 4 pack i bought was on clearance for $10!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. 2008 properly cellared bottle. Pours a very dark, hazy orange amber with a two finger light khaki head that dissipates to a thick cap, leaving heavy lacing. Lots of chunky floating particles, due to a bit of foaming agitation on pouring. Aroma of sweet malt, fresh dark fruit, milder dark dried fruit, Belgian yeast, coriander, light oxidation. Flavor is plums, apricot, candi sugar, bready malt, hints of orange, coriander summer spices, finishes with rich plum and stone fruit, coriander, light herbal bitterness, very nice. A hint of oxidation, but barely shows it has been aging for 7 years. Medium to heavy bodied with nice creaminess, great mouth feel. Delicious, which very rich fruit flavors and good Belgian yeast character. The thyme is not detectable except as a light, earthy summer herb flavor in the finish. This brewery has not been common in my area for a while, but I'm anxious now to try this side by side with a fresh one. This has truned into a nice mellow, well integrated fruity Belgian with hints of aging. Very nicely done. I'll update this with a more current vintage review when it becomes available again. Great brewery.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All I can say is why have I not had this beer yet? Really, really dangerous high octane concoction that is delicious. Does this have alcohol in it? I don't taste any. Will be having again. Simple, pleasantly fruity and very well crafted. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

33cl stubby bottle poured into a tulip glass, best before 11/2016

A- pours a deep brown color with a ruby hue, small fizzy off-white head reduces quickly to just a thin film floating on top

S- brown malts & dark bread, dark fruit (raisin & fig), brown sugar, spiced apples, Belgian candied sugar

T- mix of brown bready malt, raisin & fig up front. Spicy mid-palate gives notes of herbs, clove & cherry. Sweet and yeast finish with a fruity linger

M- medium viscous body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues to the finish

O- hides the alcohol well, plenty of dark fruit

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - dark woody brown color with a frothy tan head
Smell - toasty belgium yeast with some holiday spices
Taste - a lot like the smell but with some sweetness to it and a great malt backbone.
Feel - creamy medi full body with a slight crisp after touch of carbonation
Overall - I'm not usually a fan of spiced beers but love this one. Love the dark belgium sweet taste and the great creamy feel!

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Photo of Reidrover
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

33 cl bottle purchased from Lifesource Natural Grocers in Salem OR $3.99 { limited edition , thyme and curacao peel} Pours a cloudy dark amber colour with a large, thick and rocky lighter tan head. Slightly spicy malty aromas..spices are peppery and deep burned orange peel..nice / Smooth taste..malty, dark fruits and smooth "tablet" ( Scottish sweet similar to dulce de leche)...no sign of the 10% alc Brilliant smooth creamy mouth feel..touch of herb maybe the thyme in the after taste. Super tasty winter sipper

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Photo of IPA1978
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L- cola soda with fair head and lace, good for the style.

S-dark fruit, carmel, straw like must and spice.

T- nice raisin, molasses, phenolic yeast, a touch of spice and sweetness. Could not specifically pick out the thyme.

M- light velvety carbonation but a bit thin in the finish.

O- similar to chimay blue but a bit on the quad side instead of strong dark. Loved it and at 10.99 a 4 pack stock up.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours with the appears a vary cloudy and dark iced tea color that has an off white to tan head that rich and pillowy and settles very slow leaving a rich curtain like lacing down the glass.

The nose is delicious with a combination of citrus and bread dominating the floral and alcohol that floats on a subtle bed of coriander, cardamon, nutmeg, and pine.

The taste is spectacular and rich. While it has a very high alcohol content the taste is not dominated by it, it enhances it. The flavors are a well blended citrus, bread and floral explosion of complexity that coats the palate is beer-gasmic awesomeness. the tastiness and flavors of spice are just amazing and perfect.

The moutfeel is super rich and just right for the style.

Overall this is an exceptional beet and extremely enjoyable. I highly recommend it as it is a beer-gasm ina bottle.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Head small, fairly persistent, light beige.
The aroma is festive, winter or cloves, dried or fried plum and maybe a little orange peel.
Slightly alcoholic flavor, very pleasant, gentian clear, also nice. The taste is dominated by plums and spices. Over time, alcohol becomes more intense, not discarded. All very well composed, beer sensational "drinkable". I highly recommend.

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Photo of ZachBCSP
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Strong, boozy, and definitely not your session beer. But the strong scent of raisins and alcohol plays nicely on the tongue and the nose. Definitely worth a try for any fan of the darker stuff.

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Photo of mactrail
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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]

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Photo of stephens101
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An unmistakeable Belgian fruity sweetness rises from this dark brown and crimson brew. Tastes soft with notes of currant and grain quickly enveloped by various other dark fruits and warming alcohol. Simple and brilliant.

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Photo of maxson924
2.41/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one was recommended to me from all over and I can't say I understand why. The description for this style on this site says that it can be "very bold and in your face" which is definitely true here. It's just that, in my opinion, it's true to a fault.

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Photo of Marius
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Murky, dark brown pour with a short-lasting tan head. Smells of dried fruit, spices and caramel. The taste is sweet and rich with notes of dark and dried fruit and sugar. It feels like it could benefit from a fuller body.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear brown with an impressive bubbly head. It dissipated to a thin off white ring like lace which retained until about 3/4 through the drink, after which it mostly disappeared. The aroma was my favorite. I first detected brown sugar, followed by chocolate malt, dry fruit and earthy and grassy yeast like aromas. The taste was malty sweet, fruity, spicy, and malty. Most evident was a boozy finish that was dry and felt like a rum and coke. For me the boozy element was a bit too much, which detracted slightly from the other flavors. For this reason I downgraded the taste. The feel was full bodied but mostly drinkable. A low carbonation that nevertheless stings the tongue.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Again, another solid and well done Belgian. Love the yeast flavors in this one and the addition of the spices makes this a perfect choice on a winter night.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A spicy nose carries an array of pitted fruit aromas and sweet malts and yeasty esters. It pours deep brilliant amber bordering on brown under a 2” ligntly amber tinted off-white foam cap with a very fine bead. The cap gradually collapses as the bubble gradually grow and collapse, leaving gothic lace patterns on the glass. Its spicy with a fruity malty sweetness that stops short of cloying. As it warms cherry and plum with a hint of bubble gum become more distinct and prominent with light ginger, cinnamon and a hint of anise coming into focus. The brewer has lightened the body to somewhere around medium so it drinks a lot less hefty than many 10.0% abv beers. The above average carbonation also softens this big beer. The alcohol is smooth and not hot and shows its presence with a gentle warming. An excellent choice for sitting by the fire and relaxing.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a a nice creamy off-white head that takes a long time to dissipate. The beer itself is an opaque very dark brown with hints of purple that borders on black but not quite dark enough.

The beer smell is pretty diverse. The smell has notes of Belgian sugar, dark fruits, and a bit of hops as well. The Belgian sugar is a pretty strong note and mixes very well with the other notes, especially the dark fruit. The sugar gives off a very candy note but does not detract from the beer. The dark fruit notes are primarily dates and figs. The smell also has a slight hop bitterness to counteract the really sugary notes from the Belgian sugars.

The taste is similar to the smell. The beer taste has stronger hop notes than the smell that works well to balance out the Belgian sugar notes. The Belgian sugar and malts give off a nice bubblegum flavor. The dark fruits are still there but the plum flavor is more pronounced and includes a little bit of grape. The taste also has a slight alcohol flavor as well.

The mouthfeel is heavy bodied. The body is on the lighter spectrum of heavy bodiedness, but heavy enough to know that it is heavy bodied. The drink goes down smoothly with some nice carbonation that gives it a bit of texture.

Overall, a fairly good Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I'll probably pick this up again next winter and definitely recommend this.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of earthy yeast is prevalent with a lingering hay flavor, almost like a dark saison, mixed with some faint fruit / coriander and caramel. Good balance and mouthfeel, but I feel it lacks a standout feature, solid all around though.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage 750 ml bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, almost opaque, deep, dark mahogany color with a full three fingers of white head that slowly dissolved away into a thick lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer. There is a very active effervesce of bubbles beginning at the bottom of the glass, and followed the curve of the glass to the bottom of the layer of head settled atop the beer.

Aroma: Ah, yes! That’s a Belgian Ale! Strong malt aromas up front, imparting notes of freshly baked bread, followed by /mixed with lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, sour cherries, candied sugar, some alcohol notes as well, and of course Belgian ale yeast.

Taste: Delicious! Lots of malt up front, that quickly gives away to tons of stone fruit! Plumbs, cherries, frigs, followed by some candied sugar-like sweetness. The beer finishes with a slight sour cherry-like sweetness that’s quite pleasant. I also get a few faint notes of orange citrus. Unfortunately, I’m not getting a lot of orange or any thyme, which the beer is brewed with, (according to the label), but this bottle is a few years old, so these flavors could have faded. I really want to try a fresh bottle next winter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and with quite a bit more carbonation that I’m used to in a Belgian dark strong ale, but it’s quite pleasant. With an ABV of 10.0%, there’s quite the strong, pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is another great Belgian strong dark ale! Great flavors of fruit and malt, balanced with some subtle, pleasant sour cherry. Delicious!

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Photo of cjgiant
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated best by 11/2016:
Pours a clear brown, maybe auburn, with a decent amount of small-bubbled off-white head. The head sticks around, and laces the glass lightly. Nose is candy sugar, dark in nature: cola, molasses or dark corn syrup, cinnamon and some sort of earthy spice (nutmeg?). There is also a hint of Belgian yeast as the beer warms, adding a little fruit and spice itself, and I started getting candied orange notes when I noticed it.

Taste is quite similar to the nose. Before it has fully warned, the carbonation and alcohol sting the tongue just a tad. The base taste is a solid strong dark ale, based on other versions of the style I have had. A hint of raisin, but again, a sort of cola flavor, some notes of alcohol, and a very light yeast funk comes in to join at the end of the taste. Feel to me (perhaps due to carbonation) a bit more crackery than bready, lighter in nature than I expected.

A very enjoyable beer. The bottle indicates it has potential for aging. I might try that some day. I think this is an offering you might be able to use to introduce people to the style with its light feel and mild alcohol bite.

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
91 out of 100 based on 515 ratings.