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Nostradamus - Brasserie Caracole

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

797 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 797
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 47
Gots: 56 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie Caracole visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 797 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of silenius
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I bought this inspired by the Brothers' visit to Brasserie Caracole described on the main page.

This is from a 750ml bottle and was served at 50 degrees F in a Duvel glass.

The beer pours a moderate chestnut brown. Sitting in the glass, it looks a bit like a buckeye with its brownish tinged head. Nice head on this one. A nice fluff to it.

Smell is interesting. If you just let me smell it, I might have identified it as some kind of odd dark hefeweizen since it smells like a mixture of ripe and green bananas covered in a light caramel sauce with a hint of bubblegum. Odd for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but very nice.

Taste is very good. Yummy in fact. It starts with the dark roasted caramelly flavor that transitions to a sweet dark rye taste that blends into a mashed banana covered in a light sweet syurp. Nice indeed.

The mouthfeel for this guy is superb. Austere and welcoming all at the same time. The creamy bubbles coat your tongue making it feel pillowy and then gently give way to a slightly woody snap that tells you it is time for another sip.

The sweetness in this beer makes me think that one at a time might be enough. Two would be too much. Like too much pie. Altough I can eat a lot of pie before tiring of it. Great job. I will buy again!

silenius, Oct 08, 2004
Photo of twelvsies
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer definately challenged me. First of all, let me say that I've sampled a wide variety of beer types and consider myself a fairly experienced beer drinker, but quite frankly this beer cofused me and I didn't know what to think of it. Maybe another try or more beers of this type will help to expand my palate, but here are my first opinions on this very complex beer. Looks more like a glass of wine than a beer. Dark red maroon color and very watery looking. No head or lacing at all. Smells very strong, almost too intense. Very alcoholic scent, bitter, grapey, red wine tinges in there as well. Taste is very interesting to say the least. It's a bit too in your face for me. The alcohol isn't masked at all, and there are so many flavors hitting your palate you don't know what to think. It tastes like wine at first, but then towards the finish it tastes like what it is, a strong Belgian beer. Feels very dry in the mouth, just like a fine wine. I found this beer pretty hard to drink actually, very acidic and abrasive.
Final notes: This is a very complex and interesting beer. Maybe it's just not my style, but I think it's too all-over-the-place for its' own good. I'm definately intrigued though and I'll get it again to see if my opinions change now that I have a frame of reference. What's the deal with this beer?? It's weird, in a weirdly good way. That's all for now.

twelvsies, Oct 01, 2004
Photo of Crosling
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep Purple.

Heavily aromatic, mildly astringent, nose with notes of solvent, cellar mustiness, red wine, dark berries, brown sugar, caramel and nose hair burning alcohol. Not very pleasant.

The taste, however, is another story. Dry, with a lovely deep fruitiness of cherries, raisins and plums with brandy like alcohol and a finish of bubble gum, herbs and possibly candy sugar. A lover of merlot would enjoy this brew. The flavors blend so well together.

Crosling, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle. I have been waiting to try this for awhile. I don't have the exact glass so I opted for a Duvel glass. The color is a light brown with a reddish tint. Very little head, which I am very suprised at. The smell is sweet, with hints of sourness. Almost punchy? Taste is much more pronounced. Kind of like a dubble or a oud bruin. Sour in the end and sweet in the beginning. Very well balanced just not that complex. I think this beer has so much potential, just lacks something that I can't place. I bit thin but I still like it.

CharlesRiver, Aug 27, 2004
Photo of HopHeadKen
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with funky blue label with picture of some sort of snail shell wearing horned wizard in space, looking through a telescope . . . Reminiscent of 1970's for me !

The ale is a hazy brown in the glass, but a rich copper color when viewed through a clear glass in bright light.

Rich creamy ivory head dissipates to a thin lace in a few minutes.

This beer has a sweet malt flavor; with the characteristic fruity
sweetness of Belgian yeast.
I was surprised that at 9.5% ABV the alcohol was barely perceptible.

Maybe I drink too many American Style Ales and Imperial Ales, but I couldn't detect the hops in this ale; not on the front end (aroma) nor on the back end (bittering).

HopHeadKen, Aug 23, 2004
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very nice and different. A little roastiness, quite a bit of fruitiness. A little sweet, quite creamy. A hint of cherry soda in there. This is a nice, unique Belgian offering. A little like the Three Philosophers. Will boot you in the rear, so go slow. I will buy this again (thanks WOB).

JohnnyDuvel, Aug 06, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a hazy/cloudy dark brown colored beer with a below average head which lack retention. Aroma consists of a strange mix of spices (cardamome??) and some very light roastiness. The mix of spices seems to be even more present while I drink this but the roastiness seems to have disappeared. Body is above average but carbonation could be better for Belgian Ale). Alcohol can be detected in the end, which I don’t particularly enjoy. Overall, this one leave me a bit perplex because I did enjoyed the spice but the lack of roastiness and the fact that the alcohol is way too detectable leave me hanging a bit.

Phyl21ca, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of danadeny
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is labeled as a strong dark ale, but I would say this is a barleywine. The alcohol is very detectible at the end on the back of your tongue and fruity, raisin, maple syrup, and caramel flavors are all over the pallet. As well as a little hop in there. The smell is just that of a barleywine, sweet with a little bit of floral hops. As it warms the alcohol flavor gets stronger, and well does the fruit.

danadeny, Aug 03, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one was a murky brown in color, a bit on the light side, with a nice head that went down rather quickly but left some nice pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – There’s a ton of fun in this nose. The dark fruits are well-blended. I can pick up some cherries, plums, and a bit of tobacco, although I’m sure there are many more that I’m missing. It has some big sugary candy cane as well. The backbone is very bready malt, nicely toasted.

Taste – The alcohol and candy cane came out more at the taste, otherwise this tasted just like it smelled. I liked the balance a bit better at the nose, however.

Mouthfeel – Bigger than medium but not full in the body, this one has some nice carbonation and just a hint of alcohol.

Drinkability – This is an alcoholic sleeper, so watch out. I had the little 330ml bottle but a bomber will get your head spinning. Other than that, this went down quite well. I see some of the other BAs had this on-tap. What a treat that must have been!

RoyalT, Aug 03, 2004
Photo of Cwrw
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the quirkily-labelled bottle comes a dark red, light ruby, almost slightly purple coloured brew; cloudy and robust. To call it "dark brown" would be a discredit. Dark tangerine perhaps, but suffice it to say there are a great deal of different shades in the beer. The head was not overflowingingly massive, but just right. Dark cream/coffee colour, intensely creamy with slow moving screen lacing. In the aroma I first detect must, dark mouldy yeast qualities, which is not unpleasant. Next I smelt the dark malty sweetness, a warm alcohol note, and spicy fruit, nuts. There are strong grape juice aromas, and I definitely smell sharp aged cheese, which is singular. Sweet candy, with some sour/acidic smells too. The sweetness is not cloying, but complements the dry musky yeast expertly. The taste is quite unique, with dark malt sweetness and fruity yeast. Sugary sweet liquidy fruits, dry yeast finish, smooth syrupy on the middle. Prunes, overripe peaches or tangerines, and some caramel, bready cereals, toasted flavours, and saltiness. The lees tasted separately give all the same flavours except the potency is doublefold, and it looks as thick as melted caramel. Mouthfeel is full, lingering, syrupy, dry, with medium carbonation. High alcohol, extremely sweet mouthfeel followed by high dryness does not render this extremely drinkable. Perfect for an occasional indulgence, though.

Cwrw, Jul 28, 2004
Photo of jlervine
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a deep rusty brown with a white head. The head receded to lace fairly quickly, but there is more than enough carbonation in the brew to keep that up to the bottom of the glass, I think. The aroma is sweet, with hints of currants, plums, and an alcoholic caramel malt. The flavor is sweet and rich, with a neat spiciness about halfway through and lingering in the finish. Alcohol notes cut through intermittantly, but it's a swirling mass of caramels and fruit. This beer is very carbonated, and blinds the tongue with each sip, letting the thick malt character in through the back door unnoticed until he cracks you over the head with a pipe wrench. Very good beer, definitely on the "will purchase again soon" list.

jlervine, Jul 15, 2004
Photo of mickeymac
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750 ml bottle with an interesting-looking snail-elf on the label, it pours a slightly hazy brownish-red. The head is thick and full of little bubbles, leaving little spots all around the glass. It smell of dark, ripe fruit with the musty smell characteristic of many Belgians. The taste is raisin and ripe grapes at the start but continues to develop as it sits a while. It's a bit like drinking a goblet full of thick sugar water but somehow it manages to avoid being cloyingly sweet. Just a bit of hop bitterness keeps things nicely in check. In short, the taste is pretty remarkable. The alcohol, while warming, is almost absent in the smell and taste, making it dangerously drinkable. Very nice stuff.

mickeymac, Jul 09, 2004
Photo of cbl2
3.03/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Opaque brown with a monster head on it.


Mainly pear, the canned variety in syrup.


This one screams belgian ale. It is bursting with carbonation and sweetness on the tongue that barely masks a powerful taste of alcohol. Not overly complex, this one reminds me of many other belgian brews that have come before it. A good beer, but nothing worth rushing out and experiencing.

cbl2, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful brown with red highlights nice full beige head that settles to nice cap of little bubbles. Smells of dark fruit plums, figs with some spice. Tastes sweet molasses presence of rum soaked fruitcake then the alcohol kicks in and warms the belly. Brew has good mouthfeel carbonation makes it seem little lighter then it is. Drinkability is good would be a good beer for winter to warm your insides. Not the best of this style, would probably be better if alcohol was more subdued so other flavors would come out more.

mntlover, Jun 16, 2004
Photo of RedDiamond
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from a corked magnum with a serious POP launching from the bottle when that cork was let out. This brew has highly active carbonation – it’s practically boiling! It forms a soft beige head of one finger in depth and releases a peppery fragrance with delicate earthen malts. It is orange-cinnamon color with a tight, spicy flavor profile. The flavor is crisp and punctual with an abrupt finish.

This is a luxurious treat. The taste is slightly tart with some alcohol presence. Everything about it is ultimately relaxing, exotic, pleasant. The bottle tends to drip a bit. But what the heck. So do I.

RedDiamond, Jun 15, 2004
Photo of putnam
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, brilliant brown color... a soup scum of beige on top.
While pouring, it realeased very spicy brown sugar and molasses aromas. With a nose in the bowl it offers a broad base of muffin, cocoa, milk and roasted sasafras root elements. On the palate can be found a boozy eruption of sweet Asian spices, yams, raw walnuts and new leather. The texture is supported by vigorous mousse rather than glycerin. Minimal bitterness on the medium-length finish allows alcohol fumes reminiscent of solera brandy to keep rising. These are punctuated with notes of savory and sweet spices - think Tunisian hearth smells.

Overall a very clean, well executed bottled beer. I shouldn't have worried.

putnam, Jun 14, 2004
Photo of Dukeofearl
2.9/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I have read a number of very good reviews about this beer, but once I tried it, I could not understand them. This beer may have some interesting things going on in it, but the alcohol was so overpowering (both on the palate and in the effects it had on me) that I could not enjoy it. I've had stronger ABV beers where you barely notice the alcohol; in this brew it was all I could notice. I split the 750 into two sessions and tasted on two different days to make sure it wasn't bad biorythems or something. Maybe it was a bad bottle. Having said all that, it was a medium brown (translucent- almost thin looking) with a small head that quickly vanished. Aroma had alcohol, malt, sweetness, vanilla (?) and slight yeast. Flavor was alcohol, alcohol, and alcohol. Hidden behind was some malt, soft bread, nutty tones and perhaps a bit of bite from hops. Drinkability- I could barely finish either glass in two sessions because of the alcohol.

Dukeofearl, Jun 14, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle pours a cloudy, orange tinted brown body with a minimal, beige head that quickly drops into some attractive, sheet lacing.

Aroma is complex, with molasses and brown sugar fronting some bigtime maltiness. Quite spicy, with cloves, nutmeg, and cinamon.

Mouthfeel features a Belgianesque, explosion of carbonation, like a Pez candy tablet that melts on your tongue.

Taste is spiced caramel malt, burnt candy sugar, and an assertive alcohol presence of rum soaked raisins and figs. Some chocolate malt character comes on midway through. The alcohol maltiness is harsh, at times, and hurts drinkability.

This is a big, malty, strong dark ale with a lot of spicy character. The alcohol is in your face most of the way, but there are enough complexities in the spice and malt to make it an afterthought. Very warming, overall, but not my favorite for the style.

merlin48, May 27, 2004
Photo of rkhaze
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful reddish copper with a big bubbly tan head and loads of carbonation.
Earthy, bready malt aromas. Brandy, red fruit, pineapple and yeast.
The smells were subtle compared to the complex flavor. Tastes like a brandy soaked fruitcake. Rich bready malt, brown sugar, dark corn syrup and fruits. The alcohol was present but melded well into the flavors. The earthy tart yeast shows up to tame the sweetness and balance it out. Nice hopping in the finish. Great job!
Medium to full bodied with a rich, full and creamy mouthfeel. The intense carbonation served to lighten it up a bit.
Top notch drinkability for such a big beer.
I really liked this beer. Good balance, great complex flavors and a nice job of hiding the alcohol.

rkhaze, May 18, 2004
Photo of GreenWBush
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

For one reason or another this is a damned hard beer to find. When I stumbled upon it at Trader Joes I was delighted and was basically prepared to part with whatever to get it. When the bottle rang up at a jaw-droppingly low $5.59 I was totally shocked.

Nostradamus' myopic liquid enlightenment pours into the tanker with a durned mighty powerful head. A cascade of frothy honeycombed whipped white froth creates a slight patchy lace. Like staring into a mystically charming fire this beer sits regally in suspension a glowing earthy dirty brown.

The nose is marked by slightly vinegary alcohol notes. Cane sugar and roasty caramel are huge on the nose as well with a nice hoppy undercurrent biting through the strength of the nose.

The taste is beautifully balanced. The uncharacteristic-to-style bitterness matches the sweetly pine-needle tastes of the malt. In this way, the beer is very refreshing for style, pierced by a level of high carbonation. The mouthfeel is medium and rather astringent - the heavy pricks of carbonation match with the bitterness to create one of the most imbibable dark ales around.

GreenWBush, May 08, 2004
Photo of bnuttz
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle serving

appearance: a very dark, cloudy amber, with a nice two finger head, nicely carbonated

smell: smells of fruit, raisins and plums to be more precise, there is also definitely an alcohol smell, very sweet

taste: wow, this is a big beer, fruitty, sweet, definitely some phenolic flavors, a touch of malts, very full on the palate, this one hits it all. a warming aftertaste. This is great.

notes: first beer served in my new, and first tulip style glass, a maudite glass. This beer was definitely deserving of it, I will be buying this one again, great all around

bnuttz, May 03, 2004
Photo of 86MonteSS
4.9/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The ancient greeks believed that the Titans preceded the Gods. It wasn't until that little ingrate Zeus and his cronies rose up against his wise and esteemed father that the Olympians ruled the earth. Let me be so bold as to say that if Unibroue is Zeus, Nostradamus is goddamn Chronos.

I'm proud to be giving this beer what I presume to be its highest rating thus far. Twice I've had it, and twice it's taken my breath away. This is simply one of the most well-rounded Belgian ales I've had. The sweet and yeasty character hits you full force, but a dark, fruity underlay is there to catch your fall. An argument for Belgian nationalism.

86MonteSS, Apr 25, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very well carbonated. Pours a lightly hazy garnet-amber color. The head is a light brown and quite thick. Aromas of raisins, apples, plum, candied fruit, bit of tropical fruit, and malt. Predominantly sweet and quite carbonated. Finishes with a yeasty astringent bite and a tannic edge that helps to balance the sweetness. The alcohol is just evident in the finish as well. This is quite a fruity beer, the sweetness definitely picks up this perception. There is a bit of a acidic sourness in the finish that really sets off this beer, I wish that it were even more sour (but I am off like that). This is pretty straight forward, with nice fruity notes being dominant. As it warms up the fruitiness combined with the sourness gives me notes of cherries. This is quite a tasty beer, at first I thought it was not as good as the others from Caracole, but this one is growing on me and I definitely like it.

Gueuzedude, Apr 20, 2004
Photo of woemad
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz Bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $3.57. Label had a snail-version of Nostradamus (huh?) surfing through the cosmos on what appears to be a page of his own writing. Not sure what the hell's going on with the snail bit.

Poured a color somewhere between a glass of iced tea and a cloudy dark brown. Medium-sized tan head which dropped quickly. There' wasn't too much lace, probably the least I've ever seen from a Belgian ale.

Smell was mostly brown-sugarish maltiness, with more spiciness than most dark Belgian ales I have encountered. Reminds me a little of Maudite.

Taste began with the maltiness, which reminded me of brown sugar. This is then replaced by a moderately sharp spiciness. Not as spicy as a Maudite, but similar. I had always assumed Maudite was an original idea by the brewers at Unibroue. Now I have to wonder, which came first - Maudite or Nostradamus?

Mouthfeel was ok, I thought there should have been a little more carbonation. Perhaps that's why the head and lacing was relatively anemic for a Belgian.

This is a nice Belgian dark ale that is spicier than most Belgian darks I have had. I would say it's quite drinkable if you aren't put off by spiciness (I love Indian food, so it's not really a problem for me). It went down rather easy for something the label declares is 9.5%abv.

woemad, Apr 08, 2004
Photo of BeerAngel
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apprearance is a brownish-grape with a light tan 2-finger head. The aroma is made up of sweet raisons, slightly musty yeast, and a warming alcohol. The taste repeats the aroma only the raisons come out screaming but are very balanced with the light alcohol and faint hops to create a nice harmony. This is a medium bodied brew and finishes sticky sweet. Very nice! Op uw gezonheid!

BeerAngel, Mar 06, 2004
Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
91 out of 100 based on 797 ratings.