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Biere D'Hougoumont - Brewery Ommegang

Not Rated.
Biere D'HougoumontBiere D'Hougoumont

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

80 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 80
Hads: 346
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 11.43%
Wants: 16
Gots: 36 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: billab914 on 07-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our Limited Edition Biere d’ Hougoumont is brewed with traditional French ale yeast, eight malts, French Strisselspalt hops, and aged on white oak and hard maple wooden staves. A traditional Biere De Garde style, this malty French-style farmhouse ale is brewed to be aged. The name honors the Hougoumont farmstead at the pivotal center of the Waterloo battlefield. Napoleon repeatedly failed to take the fortification, he then lost the battle and “met his Waterloo.”
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 80 | Hads: 346
Photo of VelvetExtract
2.86/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Dark orange. Not a glower. Head is a solid finger of tan creamy fluff. Leaves lacing and looks good napping atop the body.

S-Plenty going on. Yeasty but very sweet. Oaky, but not aggressive. Smells like they lubed the beer in honey before they oaked it. Very malty. Maple syrup.

T-The nose was a cool lithe artsy collage, but the flavor is far too sweet. The aging on the wooden staves is this beers only high-point. Aside from that its a cloying mixture of maple syrup, yeast and honey. Just too sweet. The flavor does morph on the palate, but I don't like the flavors.

M-Syrupy. Not enough bubbles. Sticky. Makes you chew the air to relieve the stickiness.

O/D-Not my thang. Sorry Ommegang. Sounded pretty cool, but when I am paying $11 for a 12 oz. glass (admittedly not Ommegang's fault for the tap pricing) the beer better be a banger. Shoulda known, shoulda known.

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Photo of goochpunch
2.98/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a caramel amber with little head. Smells like sweet wort and yeast bread and caramel. Taste is overwhelmingly sweet. Sure, I pick up some floral, earthy hops, some tasty caramelized malts, etc., but the sweetness is punishing. Big vanilla and maple taste from the woods used. Mouthfeel is full, and the carbonation is rather mild. This is an alright beer, but I'd much rather have it on a cold, rainy day. Too sweet. I feel myself getting a headache already.

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Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -22.1%

02/27/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Sweet at first then a sour finish on the first sip. Essence of orange under the nose which seems to manifest as a bitterness, ever so slight on the tongue. A touch on the heavy side. The sweet is sustained after a few tastes so sweet it is. Seems like a lot of work for a modicum of result. I'd say Napoleon didn't miss out on too much.

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Photo of russpowell
3.04/5  rDev -21%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Opens with a resounding Pop!

Pours amber/honey colored with a thin cream colored head. Sme floaties early on, no head retention or lacing

S: Pears, peaches & sourmash; appleskins (green) as this warms

T: Folllows the nose, a touch of honey & dryness up front. Pears & appleskins as this warms, slight boozey honey flavors, some brown sugar & passion fruit notes & some floral notes . Finishes with Golden Delicious apple sweetness, & dryness

MF: Light/medium bodied with near zero carbonation, become even thinner as this warms

I usually like ommegang, but this one is meh at best

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Photo of adamette
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Live Review. Poured from the 750 ML corked and caged bottle that I bought at Save-On in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago for $13.49 into my Voodoo Brewery pint glass. No observed "best by" date.
Notes: My most well known Biere de Garde going into this review is Voodoo Brewery's Gran Met, a beer that I not only love but have had many, many growlers of and inspired me to remain in contact with the brewery ever since I first had Gran Met back in 2009. So it is with that perspective that I approach this Biere de Garde from Brewery Ommegang, another favorite brewery by the way.

A Light caramel slightly hazy but translucent body under a two inch thick and creamy light brown head. Good look. 3.5

S Light to moderate malt sweetness with some barley to the nose. Little to no hops detected by me. Seems right on target for the style. Some added intrigue for some yeast smells as well. 3.5

T Light malt and grains predominate and the late taste features a nice smooth, rounded taste that I attribute to the aging on wood mentioned in the brewing process. Although pleasant and on track for the style, honestly this beer's taste is rather forgettable for me. 3.0

M Light syrupy stickiness lingers on my tongue a full minute after my last sip which is not unpleasant. Overall feel is on the thin side. Again, that is appropriate to the style (a French Farmhouse ale) but not dynamic or interesting to me. 3.0

D/O Drinkability is pretty high given the manageable ABV % and the relatively light feel. Overall this is a fair attempt at the style but not one that I can see returning to. 3.0

Notes: There are many more favorable options even within Brewery Ommegang. The great Three Philosophers, Witte and their Dubbel are some examples from the top of my mind. I really made an effort to judge this beer on its own merits but rest assured this will not be replacing Voodoo Brewery's Gran Met atop my personal Biere de Garde list.
Additional note: Voodoo Brewery used to list Gran Met as a Biere de Garde. A quick check just now reveals that it is now considered a Tripel. Oh well. I still rated this beer on its own merits.

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Photo of oline73
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this at Max's during the Belgian Independence celebration. Served in a tasting glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear amber color with a half finger of creamy off white head that fades to a thick ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Lots of herbal notes with a slight tartness. I'm also getting some honey like sweetness in the background.

Taste: I'm getting a malt sweetness right off the bat with a slightly herbal note from the yeast. I am getting the Belgian spice. Reminds me a bit of Bon Chien.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I wasn't a huge fan of this beer. I thought the finish was a bit off. I don't think I'd have another, especially given the price of a bottle.

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Photo of hackmann
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: deep burnt orange body with a one finger (if that) bone white head that leaves no lacing

Aroma: light toasted grains, caramel, hint of wood (oak)

Flavors: to me the oak wood stands out over the maple wood; nice spicy fruit style; the fruit reminds me of apricot and the spice a light clove

Mouthfeel: fizzy carbonation, dry, medium body, earthy, sticky fruit aftertaste

To the Point: I was really looking forward to this ale; unfortunately it is just good at best to me; the overall aroma is light; the flavors – the fruit did not really do it for me; the spice was okay; the wood was good; this ale just does just really doesn't do it for me @ 15 bucks a bottle (750ml)

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Photo of axeman9182
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle, received in Amanti Vino's Beer of the Month program for August. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Biere D'Hougoumont pours a burnt orange, with a few lighter orange highlights and a little bit of clarity through the glass. Four fingers or so of bone colored foam rise up and crown the beer. Head retention is decent, but there's not much lacing left behind at all. The nose has some maple and straight oak notes, as well as the aroma of toasted bread. There's also a very subtle background peppery phenol character. It's all a bit muted though. The flavor has most of those same elements, but it's all somewhat muddled. The toasted, almost biscuity maltiness leads things off nicely and it's followed by a little bit of oak. The finish though suggests at spiciness and maple, but neither end up standing out at all or making an impression in any way. The body has a nice subtle sturdiness to it, while still being on the lighter side. I find the carbonation to be just slightly wanting though, wishing it was a little more lively. Biere D'Hougoumont is an alright Biere de Garde, but "alright" seems to be how I'd some up most of the more recent releases from Brewery Ommegang, and I know they're capable of so much more.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Monk's Cafe, celebrating Belgian Independence Day 2012.

Served in a Belgian Independence Day 2012 tulip by the lovely Jodi, Biere D'Hougoumont has a dark amber shade with some brown woven in the mix, maybe some red up to the light. The cap was a light tan color with some retention and stick. Smell is pretty one sided leaning towards the malt. Let's face it, Ommegang never brings the hops to the present as I think their only hoppy sided beer is the belgian pale ale. Either way, the malt brings slight roast, light dark fruit and some caramel. Maple staves, im not so sure of that. The taste is pretty one sided as well. Your going to get malt with light sweet maple backed with some plum. Slight roast. The thing is, while lopsided, the sweetness is not cloying or "southern tier(ed)" making for an easy ride. The body is a step above medium with light carb. While I will not go for this again or even think of attempting a bomber by myself, I could see this going well with some cooked meat and hearty food shared with friends.

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Photo of Gmann
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly haze golden amber color. The head was fluffy and fizzy but short, settled into a solid ring.

The aroma is bready but mild. Some caramel sweetness and metallic notes. Disappointing for a biere de garde. No spice, pepper, or hops; nada.

The taste is malty and sweet. Nice bready caramel base mixes with a subtle clove and pepper spice. Hmmm, I get the flavors a biere de garde should have but this beer is quite raw. Not really picking up the maple and oak. The malt and yeast flavors still carry the beer though.

The feel is moderate and fizzy. Overall sweet on the palate with some spicy notes and some grassy hops. Well balanced and quite burpy.

I want to like this more but there is not much depth. Perhaps pick up a bottle to age.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Brewed with french ale yeast, 8 malts, french strisselspalt hops,and aged on maple and oak wood. 7.3%abv.

A: A monstrous 3 finger high light beige head is rigid and foamy with an soapy texture and active surface, pitting deep pores with a loud audible presence. An explosive effervesce rages within an ice-tea colored body that is fairly dense clarity wise. Head retention is strong lacing a bit weak.

S: A light toned nose, wet bread, wet straw fairly tame and clean.

T: Toasty french oak, perhaps a sligth indication of rye. Some cara-munich toasted malt, a touch of damp fruit and maple syrup. Funky yeast bite upon warming. Bready caramel apple, green pear and some sweet caramel moments.

M: Strongly active mouthful, medium bodied, leaning more towards the lighter end of the spectrum.

O: Overall cleanly brewed, not much wow factor, respectable but had much better from this brewery.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into a fluted glass and immediately received quite a bit of foam. You can see quite a bit of yeast swirling around in the bottle.

I smell quite a bit of sour coming up from the glass. You also get a decent amount of oakiness from the glass.

The flavor was pretty muted. I'm used to biere de gardes having a lot more flavor to it. This is like the pale version of the style.

This was surprisingly easy to drink. I would have relished more up front presence, but this was a pretty decent offering.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

750ml bottle - $12.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, coppery body with a medium-tall, but brief, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, moderately toasty nose teamed but not teeming with fruity esters, thin sprinkling of dried herb, a pinch of spice, maybe some dried orange peel, and a touch of wood.

Taste: Gently toasted bread and biscuits dosed with, well, a flavor akin to candy corn. Maintains a fair sweetness throughout. Then, some competing tastes of coriander, green banana, cherry, apple, and two drops of Cointreau. A light spiciness, slight oakiness. Not much bitterness. Semi-dry, malty, fruity finish with a lingering yeastiness and warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Fairly decent, if a bit over-priced.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip glass

A- This beer pours a slightly hazy caramel colored body with a thick beige sticky head and some strands of microbubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The fresh rain and yeasty aroma blend with a slightly nutty plastic note that is not offensive. There is a wet wood and nougat note that comes through in the finish. As it opens there is a maple and fusel hint in the finish.

T- The dry malt and fresh grain flavor has a slight pungent papery hop note in the finish. There is a soft maple wood hint that seems a bit odd but remains soft.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a creamy fizz and no alcohol heat

O- This beer is underwhelming and a bit bland. The soft hints of wood character are a bit odd and I don't taste any of the classic Biere de gaurde flavors. Maybe age will help a bit.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to Julie from Trappe Door for sharing this one at the celebration of her last night there! Served from bottle into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured a ruby red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet mat, wheat, banana, earth, and spice. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, wheat, fruit, and spice. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I had just seen this brew on the shelf at GBX about an hour or so before and mentioned that I needed to tick it, but it found its own way to me. Not really much to report here as far as complexity or intensity. It was a decent brew for the style, but definitely didn’t stand out from the rest like I would have hoped. That being said, it is definitely worth trying at least once if you see it on the shelf. But I doubt I would buy a bottle to try myself again.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Served in a tulip glass, a hazy golden yellow color with decent head retention and lacing. Light and organic nose, grains, yeast, mostly. Taste was pretty light as well, nice, but not quite as flavorful as other beers I've had of the style; toasted grains, light Belgian yeast, touches of fruit and grass, mildly musty, and a bit of spice. Mouthfeel was on the lighter end of medium, quite drinkable overall, if not overly amazing.

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Photo of JayQue
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a wine glass from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle. Medium sized delicately bubbly white head that fades quickly, nice hazy dull gold/orangy color. Minimal lacing.

Smell is mild bready malts. Pleasant but nothing spectacular. Taste is mild as well, bready malts, some slight sweetness (the maple?) and, as the beer warms, the oak barrel flavor kicks in.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light. No hint of the alcohol, goes down smoothe,

THis beer is ok, hardly worth the price thought. I guss this style is a bit subtle for my tastes. I like more robust flavor.

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Photo of otterbearfla
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a larger bottle with a corked, wired stopper

4 fingers head

appearance - opaque sienna orange

Aroma - homey, and bread yeast

taste - warm honey, caramel, maple, oak, orange

mouthful - full but not creamy

This would be my middle Belgium ale with the core aspects of the type.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is amber in color with a soapy white head. Sweet malt, bread, toffee, light oak and vanilla. Maybe some yeast and banana. The flavor has a nice banana and oak note, plenty of sweet malt and toffee. Mild yeast and oak flavors as well. Light citrus peel, too.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a nice looking red color, there was a decent off white head on top of the beer for quite a while. The smell of the beer has some Belgian yeast aromas as well as plenty of fresh wood on the nose. The taste of the beer is on the malty side with a slight hint of spice in the finish. The mouthfeel was nicely carbonated with a drinkable body to it. Overall this beer was pretty good, I read that it gets better with age and I would be fun to see how it alters over time. However, the price tags hinders me from getting another bottle.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a pint glass. Really like the new Ommegang labels - cool graphics along with brewery and beer stories plus serving temp on the label. Also on the neck was the packaged on date (5/29/12) and best by date (5/2015). Kudos!! It was rich amber color with good carb streams and a good sized white head. Mild, slow sliding lace with none sticking.

The aroma was malt heavy with caramel and biscuit leading the way. Also, good doses of oak, light yeast and banana. Not as spicy as some recent Biere de Gardes I've had but still good. The taste follows the aroma but there is an increased sweetness to go along with the other elements. The oak and maple taste really good but the overall sweetness is a little high for my tastes. The mouthfeel was light and a little watery. Also needed some more carbonation as it was a little flat tasting.

Overall, a good Biere de Garde that nicely highlights the wood elements but is a bit too sweet for me. Do recommend though. Available here in TX. Rotation - liked it but one bottle was enough.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a biscuit like maltiness. In the taste, sweet biscuit like malt, with notes of fruit, kind of like oaky strawberries. A small bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, and a dry biscuity malt in the aftertaste. Nice malt, and nice tastes of fruit are pleasant.

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Photo of dfillius
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Moderate to aggressive pour yields 2 fingers of slightly fizzy off-cream colored head. Hazy reddish-tan. Fairly good looking.
S: Biscuity malt, slightly noble-esque hop in the background. Caramel. Some maple syrup comes out as it warms. Good complexity and all nice.
T: Sweet and malty, but with a dry tannic finish. I'd like a tad more funk, maybe a bit more brightness.
M: A bit too effervescent. Dry finish. Pleasant overall. Nice sweet and round middle. I would like the body to be lighter though.
O: Decent. Probably won't buy a bottle again. But I would order a pint at a bar.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber-brown color with a white head. The aroma is full of biscuit and bready malt, with some grapes and yeast notes thrown in. I also get a hint of oak. The flavor is full of caramel and toffee, as well as some grape and light fruit notes. There is a bit of oak but it is fairly subtle. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of mactrail
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here it is, my big Ommegang chalice. Pours a lovely rusty amber color with lots of foam. Pleasantly creamy in the mouth. Rich and full bodied.

I keep thinking of peach brandy. It has a distinct fruity, aromatic flavor, like apricots. A little tart and bitter, like the aftertaste of blackberries and chewing on the seeds. Malty with some sweet graininess. There is that distinctive yeasty rasp that seems to permeate every beer they make. Not unpleasant, but it's an eye-opening splash of flavor, and it dominates the aftertaste. I"m wanting a chaser of Aprihop or Ruthless Rye to cut the fruity funk.

From the 750 ml Belgian-style bottle bought at Krisp in San Diego.

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Biere D'Hougoumont from Brewery Ommegang
86 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.