Matacabras | Dave's BrewFarm

very good
89 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Dave's BrewFarm
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by darklordlager on 02-19-2010

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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 132
Photo of Knapp85
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a slightly hazy amber color. The head was fluffy and white. As it settled the head left a decent lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is surprisingly different. Has lots of things happening in there. I pick up some strong aromas of rye I think. There is some hints of sweetness also. The taste is just about as baffling as the nose, There seems to be some sweet malts that collide with some spices and herbal notes in there. The mouthfeel of the beer wasn't too bad, it was medium bodied and fairly drinkable. Overall I can't say that I'd need to have this beer again, I think it was a too far out, I like that people enjoy on here but as for me I had one and I think that was plenty.

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Photo of emerge077
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Six pack from Riley's in Madison, bottom of bottle has a julian date stamp "9338", which is roughly 12/09.

Over the last couple weeks i've made it through the sixer, Matacabras is almost more of a dessert beer to me, one at a time.

Murky red with chunky floaties, tan foam that lasts momentarily. Random spotty lacing, but not much.

Estery nose with dark fruits like raisin, currant, and plum. A slight hint of alcohol, but not distracting. Would be nice to get some of the hops and rye mentioned on the bottle, but it's all sweet fruit at this point.

Rich malty cake flavors, hazelnut syrup, amaretto, dried cherry and clove, sort of like a strong weizenbock. A hint of hop bitterness in the aftertaste that dries out quickly. A curious ale indeed, as the label states. Full bodied, estery and rather sweet, though easily sippable. Personally I can't have more than one at a time. Not bad, i'd try this again and make sure it was at it's freshest.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of BeerFMAndy. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours a dark ruby-brown color with a half-finger off-white head that falls down pretty quickly into a thin cap with a protruding collar around the edges. Pretty good lacing. The nose brings a bit of dark fruits, dominated mostly by dates and a light amount of raisin. Some figs in the background as well. Also slightly creamy. The flavor is pretty good and is enhanced by the creamy body. I get just a bit of booze along with the dark fruits and a bit of caramel. Finish is a bit harsh and dry in contrast to the body. Not too bad at first, though this tends to affect the drinkability.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into CCB Snifter

Pours a half finger of fizzy beige head. Fades down quick. Some splattered lace left. Color is a peach hued dark caramel brown.

Aroma: Tons of rye right off the top. Then I get some smoked malts with bananas and clove flavors. Reminds me a bit of a dunkleweisse. A bit of wheat flavors as well.

Taste: Wow, lots of smoked malts with rye really make this beer have an interesting taste to it. Reminds me of a campfire. Then the bananas and cloves come into play with a bit of chocolate. Lots of interesting flavors here. Reminds me of something the Germans would brew. Wheat shows as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Spiced, smooth, and creamy. A bit fizzy from the decent amount of carbonation. Medium bodied. Ends dry with rye flavors.

Overall, this is an interesting brew. I'd classify this as something German, not Belgian. So many German characteristics in this brew. It is pretty solid. Very big. Relatively drinkable. Glad I got to try this unique warlock.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Poured a slightly hazed tanned amber with a big, foamy, white head that retained and laced very well. Actually, I was expecting something much darker for something labelled as a dark ale, and I had to ask the bartender if she poured me the correct beer, but yes, that was it. Smell was full of Belgian goodness (esp. for a beer made in WI), with notes of bready yeast, spice, and dried fruits. More of the same in taste, bready, spicy yeast, pepper, noticeable alcohol, dried apricots, apple skins, raisins, and a touch of honey. Nice and complex, though I still sensed something just a little off...perhaps a bit phenolic. Medium body, and pretty drinkable, but I think one glass was good enough.

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Photo of mactrail
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Intriguing spicy Belgian style ale.

Very rich flavors with complex Belgian peculiarities. Raisins and figs in the dark fruity flavors. Butterscotch in the roasted malts. Some touch of hops but not very evident. A sourish finish. Warm chestnut notes.

Appealing ale with many flavors. A little harsh in the back of the mouth. Less drinkable than some Belgian style beers. Definitely intriguing, I'd like to taste other beers from these guys.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is described as a curious ale brewed with rye which piqued my interest. 12oz shared with tenderbranson69, poured chilled into a snifter

A -A deep crimson shade w/ translucent clarity and good retention - tiny bead and rings of lace cling w/ some sediment added in indicating a bottle conditioned ale.

S - A slightly fruity ester in the nose w/ mild rye bready type aroma and subtle grainy and alcohol notes

M - A slightly earthy and moderately carbonated feel w/ slight spiced hop tinge and moderate effect of alcohol on the palate w/ med full feel and light sweet finish

T - The taste has a dried fruit and mild toffee-like flavor w/ light piney hop compliment and mild rye in the taste with a candied caramel finish. The alcohol is there is there in the taste but not a strong taste overall.

D - The beer is moderately high in abv which is fine, except that I may not drink many - it has good drinkability for the abv and a tasty beer for the price...I enjoyed this more than I expected I would

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting beer. Nice matured fruit tones are in abundance here, but they never get out of control. Carbonation bites a very tiny bit, but overall the feel is smooth. This is a good Belgian style ale that has some interesting (what seems like) Flemish character going on. I like it a lot and think it's very well executed for the style.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazed, dark orange, creeping into brown. Slim, off-white head.

Aroma is many splendorous things, a bustle of complexity....citrus and spice starts us off, maybe the spark of lemon rind and orange peel from the American hops used, and who knows what spices. (Dave won't tell.) Enticing, and arousing.

Drinking....sweetness at first, the bread and spice of the rye, the richness of malt, we get some brown sugar, molasses, maple...a ginger cookie, with a lemon spritz. Refreshing, and undaunting, but with memorable and rewarding flavors. Long finish, medium body, ....flavor lays on the palate and sticks it out for the long haul.

I'm drinking this in a Abbaye des Rocs chalice, which is appropriate, as I am nicely reminded of some of their efforts. High praise.

Matacabras blitzes the tongue with hops and spice, then lets it fade back, as the malt takes charge and delivers the warm, and satisfying flavor. This is one that takes hold of you, doesn't let you forget it. Belgian malts and yeast make this a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but the hopping and the rye make it a wholly American invention. A thoroughly Dave Anderson original.

This is good for food, good for drinking, and good for general happiness and well-being! I cannot wait to see this catch on, as there is no reason why it shouldn't raise a ruckus in the local beer world and become a singular sensation. At least, until the next unique BrewFarm rollout.

Here's to the Goat Killer! But, not to ...actually...goats being killed...

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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe in the Blind BIF, at the the time of the tasting I thought this was a quad, I was close I guess.

Beer is brown with a tiny thin head that breaks and pulls to the walls of the snifter, leaving a little lacing but overall the beer appears undercarbonated.

The aroma is confusing, sweet banana esters, lots of yeast, very fruity, juicy fruit sort of gum aroma, mild.

Beer isn't awesome just average, no matter what style you call it it is an average high gravity ale with a lot of yeast character. The beer is dominated by the yeast esters throughout, could be German or Belgian but the lead off sweetness and dryness to the whole thing makes me think Belgian the entire time.

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Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single from Princeton in Maple Grove. I wasn't impressed by BrewFarm's lager, so this beer was a pleasant surprise. I was struck by how much it reminded me of Westmalle Dubbel, one of the world's best for the style in my opinion.

The body was light enough (for the strength) and highly drinkable. My glass was empty so far I wished I bought more. The flavor and aroma are a mix of dark grains (caramel, toffee, dark bread) and Belgian spice (pepper, clove and cinnamon). The only thing holding this beer back is the CO2. If they could naturally carbonate, there'd be no telling this wasn't from Wisconsin.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a dimple mug)
A- This beer pours a bright slightly aged copper brown with a gentle carbonation of microbubbles and a thick head that last the full beer and sticks to the glass.

S- The aroma of bread crust, pot caramel and some rye/wheat notes have a bit of a fruit cocktail hop note in the finish.

T- The caramel and bread malt characters are full with some softer toffee notes and bock like melanoidin hints. The taste is very lagered with some sweetness grown larger in the finish. There is some grain rye notes that grow in spice and heat in the finish.

M- The full mouthfeel is accentuated by the sweetness and the alcohol heat really grows as the beer opens up.

O- When I drank this at cellar temps it is too hot and sweet to get through but chilled to fridge temps it really keeps the alcohol and sweetness down while the other flavors hold their own, making it a totally different beer. Reminds me of a great eisbock when served cold.

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Photo of pat61
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Matacabras pours copper tinted amber under a slight chill haze under a bone white finely bubbled foam cap. The nose is malty and bready with traces of spice and light fruit. The initial attack has traces of malt sweetness and toffee over a hint of fruit and spice that is close to clove. It dries out on the finish with a moderate hop bitter accent. Medium body, creamy smooth, with slightly above average carbonation.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a weird looking beer. Had no idea it was a Belgium Strong ale clocking in at 8%. Did get a good price mixed and matched for $1.65

A - Wow not as "dark" as expected but it does have some sweet carbonation and is clear. Head is opaque om color and quickly turns to a sticky lace ring.

S - Wow interesting mix of Belgium yeasts and spicy rye. A nice bit of hops and caramel in the smell too.

T - Has a nice body without much cloying yeast. Rye isn't as pronounced but it's got a nice sweetness and mild hoppy finish. Pretty good stuff.

M - Medium to heavy in body but drinks rather well.

Overall a very good Belgium beer brewed here in the states. Would have it again. BTW the cover art is ridiculous with a goat caught in a hurricane. LOL

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appears a fairly clear dark amber color with thin white head. smells a bit boozy, like fermented fruit and belgian yeast.

a bit spicy tasting, a little sweetness, some rye. complex, just hard to pick out all the individual flavors.

medium body, higher carbonation. tasty, unique, I'd try it again

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Photo of Bighuge
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, bloodly red scarlet boddy. Stained beige head. Lace is moderate in amount.

Aroma: Doughy, yeasty, spicy, peppery, cakey, cherry. Great combo.

Flavor: Spicy alcohol and spicy pepper accent a nice fruity belgian yeast backbone of raisin, prunes and plums. Nice bready maltiness as well.

MF/DK: Honestly, this was a little hot at first for 8%. But as it warms, the intensity of the heat dwindles and actually integrates quite nicely into the context of the beer. Solid beer all around.

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Photo of Viggo
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing.

Pours a clear amber/orange, medium sized white head forms and settles down to a medium ring around the glass, a thin layer, some decent lace spots stick, a bit light for a strong dark but looks alright.

Smell is interesting, pretty boozy, a lot of spice, cinnamon, honey, quite sugary, raisin and a lot of fruit, some sherry, strawberries, quite fruity, apples, not bad.

Taste is weird, kind of light and watery, lots of alcohol, a bit spicy and peppery, honey, sugars, sherry, some fruitiness, apple juice, very strange character, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation. A bit rough going down. Thank Russ!

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Photo of maximum12
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I haven't had a bottled/can product of Dave's yet, but I have to say, if you're ever near the BrewFarm when it's open, you owe it to yourself to stop in. It's mad-scientist genius-level brewing. And the company is good, too.

Pours a lovely shade of light red; could almost pass unnoticed amongst a bevy of Sonoma beauties. Nose is subtle & quiet: bits of spicy rye, little wheatiness, light fruit. Nice but could use a goose.

Matacabras is a great name for a beer, & this one is a wormhole into a rye universe. The rye is prominent, & I've never tasted it cut with Belgian yeasts & candied sweetness; the contrast/combo is odd. The sweetness cuts into the rye & makes it rather timid. Aftertaste leans into the field, clove, green apples, the yeast is a touch aggressive. Easy to sip for a Belgian, & just a bit loosey-goosey in the mouth, bubbly, spritzy enough to be distracting from the nice tastines.

Good beer. Not up to level of the wizardry we've sampled at the BrewFarm, but a solid beer that should be on the list of anyone who likes rye or Belgians.

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Photo of Suds
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very hazy pale copper colored beer. The head is initially thick, but falls to a ring of thin foam. Slightly fruity aroma...apricot, peach, and a bit of yeast. The taste, however, is decidedly more fruity. Lots of stone fruit flavors...peach is serious in this one. Pale malt, sweetness, sugar, and, again, lots of fruit (fruit cocktail?). The body is heavier than the first sip would foretell. Also, the ABV sneaks up on you. Full in body and drinkable. This is an interesting and worthwhile try.

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Photo of drpimento
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow, I don't know where all these other reviews are coming from. I personally get a nice average ordinary malty strong beer. Poured with a fizzy, cream colored head and no lace. Color is a clear orange amber. Aroma is malt and bananas. Flavor is like aroma with some alcohol in there and on the sweet side. Body is full and carbonation is decent. Finish is like flavor and fairly short except for the alcohol.

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Photo of ZAP
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Deep burnt orange...whisp of creamy head

S-Sticky sweet malts with a bit of black pepper....yeasty....bready...nice...

T-I get a good dose of black pepper and anise....some cloves too..fruity (apples and pears)...some light breadiness...

M-High side of medium bodied...creamy...the peppery dimension keeps the sticky sweetness in check...

O-This is ok....not a big fan of the peppery/anise notes in this...well made beer just not my flavor profile...wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, scooped at Star

didnt know much about this brewery until the other day - very cool sustainable operation, featuring wind power no less

appearance: served in a great dane imperial pint glass, murky amber body, big foamy/frothy white crest and strong retention

smell: nice - banana and clove, candied belgian sugar, fig, weizen-esque wheat profile

taste: enjoyable - dont immediately think "belgian dark", but whatever, sweet belgian candy sugar, banana, sweet peaches, clove, caramel, dry ginger, dark belgian yeast, lots of wheat

mouthfeel: medium body, smooth and well

drinkability: high

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Photo of jera1350
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky orangeish brown color with a thin ring of tiny suds around the glass. Fair amount of lacing.

Yeasty bread, moderate hop, prune, apricot. Zesty fruit that stimulates the nose.

Reminds me very much of a tripel. Belgian yeast, bready, candied ginger, apricot and prune. Candi sugar? Not sure if it was used, but it tastes like it. Pretty good alcohol presence, but not overwhelming by any means. Really nice complexity, fruity and sweet. Moderate hop bite in the finish.

More than medium body, perfect carbonation that is soft and delivers a smooth feel. Dry finishing.

I really like this beer. Nice drinkability at this ABV. I could drink a couple of these and would by this one again. Great job Dave!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel Green tulip. 8% ABV, no date.

A - Hazy amber brown color topped by a thick and dense light khaki head. Good retention and specks of Belgian lace are left on the glass.

S - Hookah apple tobacco and molasses present interesting undertones to this ale. Belgian yeast is hinter as with some banana while a far too powerful aroma of dry dirt hits up front. It smells like by hands after planting hops.

T - Much better flavor with straight-up dirt is left behind. Dark candi sugar and amber malts mingle with a slight banana Belgian yeast. The dirt is still there but falls to the back of the profile.

M - Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated, it's sweet finishing with a low dryness. A touch on the thin side I feel.

D - It begins to feel like a strong dunkelweiss after a while actually. Not bad, the aroma is just a little unpleasant and worth changing up. Decent brew from a small Wisconsin brewer though!

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Photo of xnicknj
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into large snifter glass - thanks to dregs78 for this extra

Pours a clouded dark burnt orange with some brighter cherry red hues towards the bottom. An off white head bubbles up and dissipates, leaving wispy film and light spotty lacing on the glass.

Scents of candied dark fruit, brown sugar, and an unexpected flair of citrus hops.

Slightly rich up front with an assortment of familiar fruits including raisins and dates. Burnt sugar with syrupy molasses make for an overall sweeter taste. Some hoppy bitterness is also apparent. Finishes with some citrus and peppery tones along with a hint of boozyness.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, and relatively smooth and pleasant on the tongue. Drinks decent, although the dark fruit sweetness felt a little rich for my tastes.

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Matacabras from Dave's BrewFarm
3.86 out of 5 based on 132 ratings.
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