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Nostradamus | Brasserie Caracole

512 Reviews
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Brasserie Caracole

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

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Reviews: 512 | Ratings: 880
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

In the mood for a strong dark beer, Bucky bought a bottle of Nostradamus Extra Strong Brown Ale by Brasserie Caracole. Nostradamus came in a brown 330 ml bottle with a best before date of September 13, 2014, and was a healthy 9.0% alcohol by volume.

Brasserie La Caracole is an artisanal brewer located in the small village of Falmignoul, Province of Namur, Wallonia in southern Belgium, close to the French border. Their portfolio consists of four stock ales: Caracole, Nostradamus, Saxo and Troublette. All of these are bottle conditioned (secondary fermentation with yeast in the bottle), unfiltered and unpasteurized. Note the snail shell artwork on the bottle's label, which apparently is a recurring theme on the company's beers, with "Caracole" being the word for snail in the local Namurois dialect.

Nostradamus poured a hazy mahogany colour with hints of orange around the edges of the glass, and even through the slight haze plenty of fine, champagne-like bubbles were visible. Pouring produced about 2" of very long lasting beige coloured head that eventually faded to a 1/8" layer of foam that left some attractive lacing down the glass. This is a good looking beer! Its aroma was fairly subdued, with sweet dark malts dominating a mix of dark fruits and alcohol. The flavour is complex, starting with the sweet dark malts, followed by chocolate, cherries and molasses, a warming alcohol presence, finishing with a very mild bitterness. A fleeting aftertaste lingers that is both sweet and slightly bitter. Nostradamus had a creamy mouthfeel and I would describe it as medium bodied, with a fairly active carbonation that works well.

Overall, I'll have to try another one of these to try and pin down the additional fruit flavours that I strongly suspect are in the mix. At $3.40 per 330 ml bottle Nostradamus is a bit pricey, but not outrageously so.

Rating 8.15/10

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Photo of dank203
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

cool label on the bottle. loud pop of the cork. poured into a tulip. dark murky brown with ruby red. aromas have hints of brown sugar, licorice, some raisin and sour fruits. taste is very well balanced, brown sugar, spice, dark fruits, licorice, big burn. not overly carbed

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Photo of CaptFrothy
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Been in the cellar for a while, has a best before l06092014 which I'm guessing is sometime in 2014.

Dark Brown cola looking 3 inch head that settles down to 1/2 inch.
Smells inviting, raisins mostly.
Tastes delightful, figgy raiseny fruitcake, with above average carbonation, but it's working tho I usually prefer more silklyness, the extra bubbles work here.
Mouthfeel is silky at first then the bubbles scrub the palate clear.

A beaut, every sip a treat, would revisit again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of BrewerMike
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Brought this home in my suitcase from my honeymoon in Belgium, thankfully fully intact. We had a wonderful visit to the brewery and friendly tour and conversation with the brewer. Great brewery! This beer is quite a treat. Fantastic aroma and flavor of dark fruit, chocolate, and a slight finish of honey. Very drinkable for 9%abv. I didn't find it "light" necessarily, but very drinkable. A lot of flavor, very complex. One of my favorite beers and breweries from my trip to Belgium. Cheers!

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Photo of KYGunner
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This poured a kind of murky look of cloudy dark auburn. The head was light and fizzy and trailed away.

The aroma was big on date and prunes with a fruit cake sweetness. There are some grain tones but then I catch some green Apple.

The first sip was a slap of alcohol but once my palate adjusted this was a smooth ride. I caught huge fig, red wine, maple and date at the front with a malty center. The end finished with a touch of hop bitterness, crabapple and raisin.

The feel could be tinny at times but was thick and full. The alcohol brashness subsided relatively quickly.

This was very nice and easily drinkable once you adjust with a very good array of flavors.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A buddy brought this over to watch the NFL playoffs. Go Niners.

Pours a light brown murky color with a beige foamy head that stays. Light lacing.

The aroma is great. Plums, pear, grapes and brown sugar are at the front of this. Very pleasing. Some malt, raisins, orange and booze.

The taste is smooth and with fruity esters apparent. Darker fruits are present as is a touch of alcohol. Some wine-like flavors also. A tad dry on the finish.

Overall I'll admit I never heard of this beer before today though I was not let down. The big fruit aroma was awesome and was tough to stop this guy from whiffing. Flavor wasn't as strong, but a nice beer for the style.

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

Appearance: Deep reddish-amber with a moderate off-white head, thin glass-cating lacing, and moderate carbonation.

Aroma: Deep aroma of sweet caramel, bitter cocoa, earth, dark fruit, pears, bitter apple rind, and sweet and spicy alcohol.

Taste: Opens with an abundance of sweet caramel, soon followed by dark fruits. Sweet vinous alcohol carries throughout the taste. Other flavors drift in and out, including bitter apple rind, pears, and woody oak-like notes. Finishes with a lingering note that is reminiscent of bourbon.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very full, and pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: Simply excellent, a potent and yet gracious ale, I hope to find this again.

Presentation: Packaged in a 750 ml brown glass Belgian bomber with a cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Danimals_Beard
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark brown. Smells like raisins and figs. Got that smell that Belgians usually have, but with a dark, rich fruity flavor. The taste reminds me of figs, raisins, an d plumb skins. The mouth feel is good and a little complex. Makes my tastebuds think. First time I've had a beer like this. I really enjoy it.

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Photo of DelMontiac
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A friend brought this 750ml "Belgian brown" back from Missouri last week. No dating indicated on bottle. Interesting "trippy" label. We consumed this beer from Rose and Crown Pub English nonic style glasses. The cork released with a loud "pop" almost propelling itself from my fingers as I broke it loose from its firm grasp of the bottle. Quite chill hazed and bronze in color with some red hues in the mix. Off white 2-3 finger bubbly head leaves behind large webbing of lace. Highly vinous but slightly sweet vinegar to the nose backed my nutty brown malt. Flavor is very fruity, sweet, and quite tart verging on sour. Toasted malt lingers but is overcome by the tartness. Really not much in the way of hop bitterness. There is an obvious woody oak character in the back of this beer. Carb is pleasant and somewhat silky and feel is full. 9% abv provides dryness and warmth. All this leads me to think of this as a Flanders red ale more than what I perceive as a Belgian Dark Strong. The abv and location of the brewery in extreme South Belgium just miles from France has much to do with this terminology as well. I feel this is probably a beer that should be savored slowly with a meal at the dinner table to fully appreciate it.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

250ml bottle served in a Duvel tulip glass.

A :Pours a dark amber to brown color forming a big bubbled, fluffy and fizzy tan head that dissipates quickly leaving only few spotty lacings in the glass

S: Classic Belgian Strong Dark Ale: Very sweet and fruity in the nose. Strong notes of dark fruits, like plums and raisins. Also strong notes of Belgian-like bready yeasts. Toffee, caramel malts, crystal malts. A bit spicy. Boozy in the end

T: Follows the nose. Strong notes of dark fruits like plums and raisins. Strong notes of toffee, candy sugar, caramel malts, roasted malts, crystal malts. A little bit metallic taste. A light bitter hop finish

M: Heavy body. Medium carbonation. Black fruits in the aftertaste

O: Good drinkability. Classic Belgian Strong Dark Ale

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Photo of wspscott
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle in wine glass
best before 24052013 (I assume May 24 2013)
Courtesy of Ron

A: Crystal clear, brownish red color, thin, light tan head, no lace. That doesn't sound pretty, but this is a good looking beer, the sum is greater than the parts.
S: Definite "Belgian" nose, the yeast jumps out
T: A yeasty spiciness is very up front, the malts are more in back. There is a distinct raisin/prune note along with some dark sugars. Almost seems to be some brett in the back, but it is very subtle. A slight alcohol warming, but very muted for a 9% beer.
M: Crisp, tingly carbonation, seems to linger on the tongue a little too long. Slightly drying (tannins?)
O: An excellent beer even if it was past its prime by a couple of months, very easy to drink with lots going on. A great sipping beer.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Reddish amber with a one finger off-white head that takes it's time dissolving to tiny bubbles. Significant lacing.

S: Dark fruits (raisins, plums, dates), chocolate, malts caramel and Belgian yeast.

T: Richly rewarding with a Belgian delight following nose and amplifying. Sweet, thick, robust.

M: Medium to heavy. Lots of carbonation. Chewy. Semi-dry finish.

O: I predict, in the year 2035, this Belgian beauty will still be kicking ass. A fine example of the style. Recommended.

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Photo of Samp01
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy rusty red brown with a medium beige head. Aroma of caramel malt, some dark fruit and plum esters. Taste is of caramel malt, Belgian yeast, some dark fruit favors of black plums, figs, brown sugar with a bit of tartness and mild bitterness. Palate is medium body, smooth with mild carbonation, a slightly sticky mouth feel. Finish is caramel malt, Belgian yeast, dark fruit of plums, mild tartness and bitterness with some sweet brown sugar and alcohol on the end with some lingering sweet yeast and plums. Overall a very good, smooth and flavorful brew.

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Photo of teromous
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy dark brown color, with a very bold substantial tan head. I'm not really getting lacing, even with a big head. After drinking for a while the head fades, but never leaves the top of the beer unaccompanied by a cap of white foam.

S: Lots of caramel right up front, along with some vanilla cream, and faint alcohol esters in the background. There's also a spice scent to it, like cinnamon or something. That last bit could just be me, but it reminds me a bit of cinnamon.

T: There is this soft flavor of caramel that just melts in the mouth. Even as the beer fades away, it just lingers there. It brings back memories of Halloween. There's a date flavor in there as well, ever so sweet and rich tasting.

M: The mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Soft bubbles wash the corner of my mouth as I drink this. It is so easy to drink this beer.

O: Oh man this is a good beer. I will naturally recommend it to those who are fans of Belgian beers, especially dark ales, but I think that fans of sweet stouts or dessert style beers will find this very appealing. I will look for this beer again in the future.

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Photo of freneticamnesic
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass

A - pours deep, dark red with a two-finger brown/beige head

S - roasted nuts were most present here

T - Roasted barley and sweet toffee, leading into smokey hops and a dark chocolate finish

M - very carbonated at first, smooths out very quickly

O - Very well balanced, enjoyable Belgian amber. Nothing really stood out or set it apart for me, but it was definitely very nice, complex, and enjoyable. Certainly a beer I will return to again.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured this Belgian Strong Dark Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured a dark brown/reddish color- produced a nice tannish head, great retention and left excellent lacing on the glass. The aroma consisted of plums, pears and yeast. Full bodied, there is a foundation of roasted malt, pear, plum, chocolate, berries and belgian yeast- dry finish. Very complex flavors, this is for sure beer that is to be sipped. Complex flavors remind me of drinking a dark red wine.

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Photo of BGDrock
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: muddy, strawberry/rhubarb jam red/brown; pours a big, fizzling head with good retention

Aroma: not much coming forward, some fruit and spice, jam coming to mind again

Taste & Mouthfeel: fatty, yeasty flavour and mouthfeel jump out at first with mashed fruit; feels stronger than the 9%, good burn from the alcohol; some spice - cinnamon; toffee begins to come through strongly, nice and rich; great carbonation and medium body; yeast is unfiltered and has built some great character; cherry, cassis, banana, and even a little tart in the finish; flavours mesh but also surprise with each sip

Overall: love a good Belgian beer in this style and this one is an amazing example with wonderful depth, complexity, and full mouthfeel

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

330ml bottle, served in Chimay goblet, BB June 19th, 2014

A - Perfect. Dark dark mahogany, almost black until held to the light, dense creamy 2" head that lasts, nice lacing

S - Dark sugars, some leather. Typical for style. Maybe a little more faint than others. Could be my nose.

T - Hides the 9% well. A little burn when it's gone, but less than others. Light on the fig/date, more malty than sweet, raisin.

M - Very nice. A little chewy, little carbonation, very creamy.

O - Very nice. Good representation for the style. Think I might try to pick some more up before they're all gone.

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Photo of biegaman
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nostradamus - the beer - reveals nothing. The dark brown colour and marble complexion make it so that you can't see anything inside. Saying much of anything about it is extremely difficult, especially since this bottle poured out completely flat (over-carbonation had made previous experiences quite messy, but decorative nonetheless).

Belgian yeasts have a serious talent for drama - they are typically loud with bombastic fruit and flaming spice - but this strain is actually quite tame. While you're likely to find traces of clove or pepper, the nose is actually rather sweet and simple. Brown sugar and raisins make a pleasant, if straightforward bouquet.

Many Belgian ales have layers of fruit flavour. This offering has only the one: raisin. Sure, I could entertain the notion of figs and prune, maybe even a squirt of orange juice, but essentially what you smelled is what you get - raisins and brown sugar. It is not as layered as a Quad and lacks the savory dimension of a Dubbel. Put another way: I feel I'm missing out a little...

The fact that Nostradamus is dark, high in alcohol and bottle-conditioned means it can age, which is good because the bubbles are as hyperactive as a classroom of kids with A.D.D. They sting the palate like small electric shocks, numbing it from the beer's more nuanced malty notes. Otherwise, however, it is smooth, satiating, and full of dark candi sugar sweetness.

Nostradamus has a seductiveness that has less to do with its flavour and more in its ability to help you forget about the world in the recesses of alcohol. Still, come cold temperatures and dark nights, it is an invaluable asset. And while fashions change with time, rich and malty strong ales such as this are truly timeless. My prediction: you'll like it.

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Photo of darky
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Saxo tulip/snifter

A: Murky,muddy brown. Minimal, but complete off-white head.

S: Ripe banana, hints of anise and coriander, bread-y yeasts. There's another component I cannot put my finger on, blueberry?. Near-zero alcohol on the nose. Extremely pungent, even at too-cold of a temperature straight out of the fridge, which is impressive in itself. Letting this one come up to temp before proceeding.

M: Creamy, with moderate but satisfying carbonation. Pretty much perfect here.

T: The smell of this beer is an edge-of-your-seat build-up to the actual flavor; here goes... Taste follows the nose but is markedly different on the back end in that it has a surprise (sourdough?) funk and nutty-ness to it. Wow. There is a lot going on here. I've never had anything like this before. It has many characteristics of a brown ale, but with the delightful bread and subtle fruit traits Belgians do so well. The malt is remarkably sweet, which also contributes to the aforementioned funk. Very hard to pinpoint, this.

O: My final thoughts are, this is like a Goose Island Nut Brown on steroids. A brown taken to stratospheric heights. Not for everybody, but really just excellent overall.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I agree with the last reviewer that I think this beer is rated far too highly - I don't think, for example, it's as good as Chimay Blue, but Jason (for example) rated it actually slightly higher. Go figure.

Poured into a tulip a hazy reddish brown with gorgeous ruby highlights. Large initial tan head fades to a ring and scattered head, which leaves small amounts of spotted lacing on the glass.

Rich aromas of caramel, stewed and dried stone fruits, port, yeast, esters. Really nice. However, on the palate, this comes off as far too boozy and over-carbonated as well. May work after dinner as a digestif, but it's kind of a killer if you're trying to pair it with food or have in a sampling. Probably would improve with aging. At least it has a dry finish.

Probably not going to buy again, but always glad to try another BSDA. Increases my appreciation for those breweries who really nail the style.

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Photo of TerryW
3.24/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I'm not understanding all the high scores for this one, because to me it comes across as a very average beer.

Looks good. Big head that's not out of control that settles to a heavy film and leaves gooc lace throughout. Cleat chestnut brown, reddish. Nose is gently fruity and sweet. Taste is fruity and sweet, malty, finishes with mild alcohol and some dryness. You can feel the buzz at 9%, but it's nice and warm rather than hurtful. Best drunk at room temperature or a little warmer as it has an unpleasant plastic chemical aftertaste when cold.

Drinkable, bur really just average, not worth all the plaudits here. Nothing leaps out to make you say wow. Uninteresting.

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Photo of mintjellie
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown colour with red highlights. Large beige head, good retention and lace. Fragrant with notes of cherry, brown sugar, plum, yeast and nuts. Boozy, but nicely so. Complex flavour - plum and cherry notes are underscored by a finish of gentle acidity. It's malty and slightly sweet as well, with cookie dough and toasted nut. This hides the alcohol well on the palate. Medium-bodied with abundant carbonation. Feels light in the mouth, but not in the thin sort of way. A beer that manages to be both approachable and somewhat complex at the same time.

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Photo of Kremlock
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in tulip glass.

A: Very dark copper with burgundy hues. Pours a very thick frothy white head with low-medium lacing.

S: Sweet, fruity notes. I pick up cherries with some sweet plum. There is a soft bubble gum scent present. Scent is soft and refreshing with smooth alcohol aromas.

T: Complex fruity flavours. Some cherries, raisins and plum but all on the sweeter sides. Finish is dry to low sweetness. I get a bit of holiday fruitcake. The malt is very complex with some nice sweetness yet the dryness of the finish balances it very well.

M: Medium body. Carbonation but has a bite on the tongue. Sweetness is not bothersome and the finish is great. I find the carbonation to have a bite but other then that...amazing.

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Photo of peensteen
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown with some ruby red coming through, cap of off white head, not much in the way of lace. Smell is yeasty and a little funky, followed by some herbal anise and dark fruits, corriander perhaps in there as well, plum, raisin, mild brown sugar, some metalic/sour points when cold that seemed to fall of as it warmed. Taste has lots of dark fruits with some spicy herbal flavours, touch of yeast, malty dark breads, raisin, a little sweeter and fruity in the finish. Medium carbonation, medium-full body. Nice dark belgian, nose is a bit odd but certainly drinkable and quite enjoyable, surely something that will age nicely.

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Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
91 out of 100 based on 512 ratings.