Pepe Nero Belgian Style Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
1,791 Ratings
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Pepe Nero Belgian Style AlePepe Nero Belgian Style Ale

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian style Farmhouse Ale brewed with peppercorns.

Mahogany color, black pepper aroma, roasted malt and spice flavor, creamy body.

Added by adamette on 03-30-2010

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Ratings: 1,791 |  Reviews: 505
Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A black saison. A winter saison. Jon's bottle, and finally caught up with this one that I missed in NYC. A dark body, above average mouthfeel, a sipper of chocolate, coffee, spruce, pepper. Cross-style with a shwartzbier. Wonderful aroma.Bit of smoke.

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Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this back to back with Matilda... very different.

A: two finger tan head on a deep brown body with red tinge when held up to the light.

S: roasted malt, caramel, toffee, chocolate and dark fruit. Less yeasty than a typical saison.

T: Interesting flavor which is both roasty and tart due to the sour side of fruitiness. Peppercorn cotes with more of a yeasty note than was in the aroma.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Having had this back to back with Matilda, I actually would choose this one to have again because of how different it was.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the BevMo Holiday Beerfest held at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Bottled 5/26/12.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, spices, slight peppery aromas, and Belgian yeast. Taste is much the same with a mild roasty and spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a very unique beer, cant believe i waited this long to try one! the pour is nearly jet black, inky and thick, with a really nice off white head, patchy but sturdy, lasting and easy ro revive with a little jolt. the nose is really roasty malts with some bitter dark cocoa in there, also the black peppercorns really stand out, as complimented by the funky yeast. the flavor is consistent here, pepper and funk all the way through, with an alcoholic, almost bourbon flavor on the back end. spicy but not overbearing at all, delicate in way, despite its looks. the feel is legendary, expansive bright mouthfeel, lots of tiny bubbles like champaigne, with some mellow warmth from the pepper and a long lasting bittersweet finish where the yeast still shines. its so complex and tasty, im a huge fan. my bottle is from 2012, and says 6.4% abv rather than the listed 6, but you cant taste it at all. big flavors abound in this drinkable classic. hoping the sale of the brewery doesnt shut this baby down, because this is fantastic.

 1,025 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep brownish black color. The head was foamy and tan in color. The head settles slowly and leaves a ring around the glass with some scattered lacing. The smell of the beer is peppery with some sweet roasted malts on the nose too. The taste of the beer has a nice soft breadiness, with a touch of spice and some very nice caramel notes in there too. The mouthfeel is kind of creamy with a light carbonation. Overall this beer is quite nice, very enjoyable, looking forward to having my next bottle.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a two finger high dense tan head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark malts, yeast and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that that the peppercorns are a little more prominent, but in no way does their spiciness overpower the taste, which is very well balanced.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly dry on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very interesting because the peppercorns make it taste almost like a “black saison,” if there is such a style. The pepper is not overpowering, but it does mask some of the other flavors that you would typically expect from a saison.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Relatively new to the brewing circuit, Black Saisons have potential as an alternative to these ultimately dry Belgian golden-type of ales. But there are some dangers...

Pepe pours a medium brown color with medium haze. Very froathy with a fantastic foamstance, good lacing, and retention. Off white foam caps the snifter with a marshmallowy type of consistency. Very solid.

Muted aromas of fruit and yeasty spice are met with toasty/bready notes. Where the estery and phenolic notes of typical Saisons are present, they share the stage with the added toast and mild chocolate scent. But overall, much lighter than I expected.

Superbly balance flavor of the apple/pear fruitiness and peppery spice weave in and out of the malt complex of toast, fresh baked bread/bread crust, and mild chocolate and woods. Where the added complexity of dark malts give the beer more interest, it also provides some distraction and works against the purity of true Saisons.

Creamy and full textures early fade evenly into a dry toast finish and fleeting aftertaste. Quite refreshing and clean in the end for so much complexity in the early sip and mid palate.

Though Pepe Nero is a very clean and drinkable Saison, it lacks the intensity of flavor and the raw earthy notes that make authentic Saisons so desirable.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.04/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into Trappist Westvleteren goblet in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a one finger head, fairly thin, of slight tan colour, pretty much no cream, and pretty decent retention. Solid black colour.

Sm: Slight cream and very light malt. An extremely light aroma.

T: Chocolate, light caramel, some yeast, and very light nuts. A subtle but simple build, with a good balance. Not at all bold or daring. Brewed safely and in a mediocre fashion. This is not at all a saison; I don't know who entered that as the style but they were wrong. Pretty decently balanced, but shy.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with a welcome touch of cream. It could definitely be expanded to suit the flavours more.

Dr: Quite drinkable (the ABV doesn't come through at all), but indistinct. I wouldn't have it again, unless it was on draught and someone raved about it. An unremarkable beer from an allegedly remarkable brewery. <Disappointment>


01/03/14: Truncated notes for a re-review. Bottled: 03/04/11 (almost 3 years ago on the dot). Served into De Molen stemware (an ideal glass based on the image on the label). 6% ABV according to the bottle.

Yields a carbonation hiss upon opening.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours almost entirely foam in spite of a careful pour. Definitely seems overcarbonated. It's a five finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Airy and fluffy. Okay thickness. Little creaminess. Head retention is good - about 7-8+ minutes.

Body colour is a very dark brown. Semitranslucent but nontransparent. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it looks nothing like the best farmhouse ales I've had. I'm suspicious.

Sm: Starch. Belgian dark malts. Vague cola. That's about it.

I don't find any peppercorn, alcohol, hop character, or yeast character.

Very underwhelming for a farmhouse ale aroma. I can't say it gets me excited to try it. Aroma is average in strength.

T: Vague cola nut/cola notes. Light chocolate malts. Caramel. A kiss of unidentifiable nutty notes. Some unremarkable Belgian dark & brown malts. There's no hop character to speak of. The flavour profile is deprived of the intricate yeasty notes necessary to make a beer in this style a success. The peppercorn mentioned on the label is sorely absent. I'm far from impressed. It's a painfully simple attempt at a farmhouse ale which lacks the key elements; there's no yeasty character (as well as no accompanying farmhouse funk), no pepper/white pepper, no milky notes, and no straw, hay, or spice. Lacks any subtlety, intricacy, or nuance whatsoever. I'm shocked at its simplicity. Very underwhelming. I can't really call it balanced as there's little here to balance.

Below average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No overt alcohol comes through.

Not sure what they're going for with this one, but the execution is lackluster - both within and without style conventions.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Neatly carbonated. Decent presence on the palate. Okay body and thickness. I can't say the texture brings much out of the taste. It's pretty generic.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

Dr: As forgettable a farmhouse ale as you'll ever have. Not worth trying; I'm very underwhelmed. This is even worse than I remember it. You'd think three years of age would give the yeast a chance to show something, but no. This will fail to impress the discerning drinker and I'd caution my friends against trying it. Far from worth its unreasonable price point. Based on this bottle, I can't recommend aging it. Really a subpar try at a farmhouse ale. Why brew this? I know from experience Goose Island can - and does - do better. Extremely disappointing.


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Photo of oline73
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Victoria served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a very murky dark brown with a reddish hue. There is a small layer of tan head that goes away completely.

Smell: The smell is mild but good. Mildly sweet and a little tart with hints of cherry and dark fruit. There is also some spice that fits well with the style.

Taste: A very mild roast and sweetness with hints of dark fruits and tart cherries. There is some spice from the yeast and the rye. The finish has a smooth bitterness with a hint of pepper.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with super smooth carbonation and medium bubbles. There is a touch of dryness in the finish.

Overall: An interesting take on a saison. There are a few too many flavors fighting for attention. I don't think I'd have it again, but it definitely wasn't bad.

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Photo of brentk56
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearancec: The coffee colored liquid pours out and is topped by a massive beige head; the retention is impressive as is the lacing - looks like a true Belgian

Smell: Roasty malt elements along with hints of hazelnuts and the farmhouse

Taste: Pumpernickel bread and hazelnuts, up front, with a quick shift in an herbal Farmhouse direction; by mid-palate, the peppercorns add a bit of hotness; while the Saaz hops add a grassy impact, the peppercorns mask some of the hop elements; a bit of coffee appears in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with spritzy carbonation

Overall: A most interesting beer; the flavor palatte comes at you from all directions

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Photo of SocalKicks
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of emerge077
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tumbler glass. Khaki tan foam, sticks at the edges, dark mahogany body. Delicate crown of lacing in the glass.

Earthy, sweet aroma, dominant Belgian yeast.

Creamy feel, medium bodied, dry and slightly bitter. Not so much as a tingle from the pepper. Pleasant mellowness in the finish, the light roast and mild coffee flavors arrive first, with some earthy peppercorn notes, but again, not all that spicy. Feels more like a straightforward Belgian Dark Ale without the sweetness. Not sweet at all, again fairly dry. Some estery qualities for sure, banana almost... Fairly phenolic with notes of clove and licorice.

 644 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a medium brown foamy head with average retention and light lacing. Aroma of light spicy yeast notes with some Belgian malt with light notes of spices. Taste is an interesting mix between some solid Belgian rustic malt notes with some peppery notes and some spicy yeast. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very solid offering with an interesting mix between the rye malt and the spicy yeast strain.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured an opaque, cola-black color with a small, tan head of of bubbly foam. The head receded to leave behind thick, sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and strong yeasty notes. It smelled peppery.

T - This "black" saison had a very spicy and peppery flavor. Good roasted malt flavor.

M - This one finishes very dry and crisp. A medium-bodied saison that is very easy drinking.

D - This is a pretty nice brew. I'm glad I found it on tap.

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Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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Pepe Nero Belgian Style Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.76 out of 5 based on 1,791 ratings.
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