Matacabras | Dave's BrewFarm

very good
89 Reviews
no score
Send samples

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 132
Photo of caskstrength
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interesting beer here. Hard to categorize.

Pours dark orange, brown. Nice white head, carbonation is just right.

Smells are spicy. Malty. Some lemon, cinnamon, clove. Belgian? Maybe. Smells suggest a lot of flavor is present.

And it is. At first I thought belgian strong. (8%). Then some hops and rye showed up. then it was the sweetness I noticed. then the malts, then the rye again, then the spices, then...flavors bouncing around, and fun to try to figure it out.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick, but it works.
You want to keep drinking because you want to keep working on this beery puzzle.

Unique beer. American rye, belgian influenced spicy strong ale? Something like that.

 682 characters

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.

 955 characters

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

Clear red-brown color with a thin and brief head.

The smell is bread and spice, like rye. Caramel sweetness and dark fruits.

Sourdough bread, prunes, and a spicy finish.

Heavier body, low on the carbonation, and slightly astringent.

Pretty good beer, but one is enough for me.

 284 characters

Photo of grub
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

got this one from somebody at dark lord day... thanks to whoever you are!

12oz bottle. sampled aug 8/2010.

pours hazy deep orange, not really red or brown, just sort of an odd muddled colour. a thin fine light tan head forms, dropping fairly fast to a faint long-lasting layer over the beer and leaving some spotty lace.

aroma is good. light alcohol. candied tropical fruit. light belgian yeasty spice. bit of dark fruit. whole wheat bread and cracker. bit of honey. seems like a mix of BSPA+BSDA character, but interesting.

taste is nice. light alcohol. a bit of chocolate and nutty character. bit of dark fruit. whole wheat bread. touch of cracker. light caramel. bit of belgian yeasty spice. medium-low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. just under medium body. medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is pretty good. well balanced. overall, the beer is a bit muddy - both in appearance and character. it shows shades of both a belgian strong pale and strong dark, but doesn't assert itself in either direction. interesting, but misses (either) mark for me.

 1,071 characters

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!

 686 characters

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.

 619 characters

Photo of Riccymon
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Matacabras pours from the bottle a dark, purply red with about a finger of off-white head. Some long-lasting head covers the top of the brew for quite a while, and just a bit of lacing remains at the top of the glass. Plums, brown sugar, and a little bready malt with a hint of spice (rye?) round out the aroma on this beer, and it's a good one.

Matacabras tastes of additional fruits, including cherry, and plenty of candi sugar. There's also a small hop presence to balance out the sweetness, and I'm really enjoying how the flavors work together. Nothing's overpowering, and the flavors all seem pretty authentically Belgian in nature. I haven't noticed a hint of alcohol until I go looking for it near the end of one of my last few sips; it's more a tingling feeling than a burn, happily. The finish is a little sticky and dry, as to be expected from a BSDA, but the beer drinks very smoothly while going down.

All in all, this was a terrific beer that definitely surprised me. I'm glad I picked out of the crowed shelf at Casanova's in Hudson, WI!.

 1,055 characters

Photo of ballz50401
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. Pours a dark brown-reddish color with a bubbly head that quickly turns into a thin sheet. Can smell some dark fruits, sweet dark malts, burnt caramel, and some alcohol. Again, lots of dark fruit, brown sugar, a touch of rye, and alcohol presence in the taste. Has a slight chewy texture that finishes with a lot of hop bitterness. A pretty solid beer overall.

 402 characters

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.

 409 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy brown color with amber hues. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes rather quickly into a small ring of lacing around the edges. The aroma is yeast, anise, dates, plums, and cardamom. There is a lot going on here. The taste is equally complex. It is similar to the aroma, but with the spice notes coming though more and the fruitiness being a little calmer. The mouthfeel is full bodied with vibrant carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is one fine beer that I will surely be drinking again.

 538 characters

Photo of Soilworker
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured from a12oz pry-top bottle into a snifter.

A: Golden amber with a one finger thick off-white head. Moderate head retention on this one.

S: This one has an amazing nose on it! Sweet ripe banana (heavy emphasis) hit right up front with a crisp apple overtone and some cinnamon and corriander and perhaps some citrusy orange peel. Quite nice.

T: More syrupy and sweet than I would have expected but amazing nonetheless! Citrusy (almost on the cidery side) sweet with a pleasant emphasis on the banana and green apple notes accompanied by some coriander and slight cinnamon flavors. The hops are there but they serve only a balancing role, a role that they play quite well.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation for this one and moderately full bodied, but not too much.

D: I'm really bummed that I only have one because I want to drink this one all night, unfortunately the liquor store is closed. Very drinkable despite the high abv.

Notes: This one really wowed me. I wasn't expecting much
but this was amazing. Definitely something I'll have in my fridge from here on out.

 1,101 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is brownish red with about a half finger of cream colored head. Spotty lace left behind.

The aroma is a nice mix of belgian yeast carmel malt and spices. Lots of dark fruits and hints of citrus.

The flavor is similar to the nose. Spiced dark fruit along with belgian yeast and modest hop bite. A bit of heat can be felt with each mouthfull.

The body seems a bit thin in the mouth. The carbonation is about right for the style.

Overall a decent stab at the style for an uber small brewery.

 530 characters

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Love the name of this beer: Matacabras translates from Spanish as "The Wind that Kills Goats".

Appearance: Clear deep amber color with a nice tan foamy head that left some lacing and receded to a frothy cap.

Smell: Subtle hints of citrus, spice, and light sweet fruits.

Taste: Like it smells, much more subtle than I was hoping for. Sweet malts with a little spice and some subtle hops. Not much of the good yeast phenols I associate with good Belgian Strong Dark Ales.

Mouth Feel: Medium body with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Nice beer, but not on par with the better BSDA's out there. This might be a good choice for beginners to the style, but there are some other better examples of this style (Unibroue, Delirium, etc.). But, not bad for a "brew farm" from Wisconsin. :)

 839 characters

Photo of blackie
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: unibroue tulip, reddish deep caramel ale with a nice layering of carbonation, quality retention, looks good

s: full Belgian yeast profile overrides structural aromas of fruity caramelized malts, creamy banana, white fig, aged hops, really nice aroma

m: carbonation full, lively, medium bodied

t: caramel malt structure with some light brushes of rye, creamy Belgian yeast flavors - banana and clove, paper-pulp hop finish, a little salty even, nice beer, my only complaint being that it seems the flavors fall flat quickly

d: a nice beer from a new brewery - look forward to seeing what else they put out, easy drinkability

thanks dirts

 644 characters

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerwolf77.
12oz bottle poured into Duvel Tulip.

A- Pours a reddish brown that only lets light shine through on the edges. A good finger and a half worth of head that recedes quickly and leaves no lacing behind.

S- Big amounts of Belgian yeast and candi sugar. A good amount of malt and some nice dark fruits.

T- A very flavorful and complex beer. The Belgian yeast sticks out right away but it pushed aside by a few others. Dark fruits, maybe some dates and some sweet candi sugar.

M- Medium bodied with a some carbonation that has a crisp edge to it.

D- A very flavorful beer that I was quite surprised with considering the size and the relative newness of the brewery. Get your hands on this one if you can.

 726 characters

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.

 980 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After taking the personalized tour at Dave's BrewFarm earlier this Spring for a birthday surprise, this stuff along with the Japanese Harakuza? brew, and many others, I was sold on Dave's idea immediately with his wind powered 'Green' facility.
Matacabras: goat killing wind - is a delight to behold, brewed with brown sugar and coming in at 8% ABV. Pours a wonderful dark orange chill hazed cast that whispers a browned and aged brick glow. An inch tall foam of ivory hue smoothes over the top for a bit before fading to an always present thick collar ring. Big patchy piles of lace coat the goblet in which it was poured.

Aroma is soft and alluringly rich and heavy with candied sugar, Belgian candied yeast, dusty fig, golden raisin, and banana, lightly coated with dark citrus and cocoa, partially doughy and a touch peppery. Complexly sweet and definately Belgian and definately Dave!

Taste has more of the same complexities found in its aroma. Actually, a tall notch above since the tongue is more happier then the nose upon first taken onto the palate with that first yummy big sip. Super soft, smooth, rich, creamy, doughy sweet, with feathery spicyness puffing about with big banana breadyness to start then hints to the brown sugar cave in quickly over the middle as light touches to raisin, fig, cocoa, and dark citrus float into a lofty long finish of doughy remains. Nicey Nice!

The body is unbelieveably soft and fluffy with an insanely smooth creamyness. Bready but liquesent and a nearly perfect medium body, no over ABV heavyness here. Nor a body bound by too much sweetness. I like that its more on the medium soft and creamy side then heavy as it really speaks to the craft of the beer and that of the brewer himself. It also makes it a wonderfully quick treat to drink down in a hurry. Two or three of these aren't difficult to handle.

Big congrats to Dave! This stuff is a keeper and I'm looking forward to seeing alot more of his brews hit the market soon!

 1,982 characters

Photo of kenito799
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Fin du Monde chalice.

Medium brown brew with rocky head, leaves nice lace. Aroma of warm malt and cinnaon-spicy fuitiness, spot-on Belgian. The taste is nicely crisp and dry, not cloying at all, very well balanced. Tastes like a really good dubbel or abbey ale, perhaps the undetectable alcohol actually helps giv ethe impression of dryness. That crispness keeps this lighter despite what a strong heavy brew this really is. The aromas and flavors keep you coming back for more. Very well done.

 522 characters

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

 619 characters

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

Belgian Strong Dark Ale, an elegant beer out of Belgium, an unnecessarily refined beer out of America. Too often American brews in this category lack the character and complexities of the true ones. can Dave bump this trend?

Pours into my tulip a nice murky red grape color with a big off-white head that stays a long while before receding halfway and leaving Belgian-style lace. Plus so far.

The smell is a bit of a let down, it is yeasty and herbal but it ends up being a bit too clean, similar to Steenbrugge beers.

The taste is very fruity and yeast with flavors of dark fruits, banana, and clove. The yeast used is complex enough to keep you wanting to drink more. It is slightly cloying but not outrageous.

This is a very strong effort from an American brewer trying to do a Belgian style, it can be better, but as far as American Belgian ales go this one is up near the top.

 885 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't reviewed a beer in months but this one is so surprisingly good that I had to put the pen to paper.

Pours into a snifter a brilliant reddened brown with a large beige head that very quickly descends to a thin but pretty lacing.

Aroma is sweet and boozy with lots of banana bread, along with some prunes, caramel, and pepper. Very Hefe meets Belgian Strong Dark and a hair shy of a Weizenbock.

Bready with a diverse range of fruit flavors. Banana, musk melon, prunes. Traces of caramel like sweetness. Lots of black pepper in the finish along with some mineral content. Hints of rye.

Mouthfeel: warm and a bit boozy but not in a way that I mind. Well carbonated.

Drinkability: Great. This is really my kind of beer.

I really, really like this beer and at 10 bucks a sixer I will be drinking quite a lot of it. Well done Brewfarm! I can't wait to see what else you'll come up with.

 896 characters

Photo of CPeterson
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A -- A deep amber and orange / red that leaves a good two finger head in my glass that dissipates into a nice skim and leaves good amounts of lacing.

S -- Smells of spice, slight citrus, and light fruits with a touch of pine.

T -- Tastes of sweet malt, countered by spices; cloves, nutmeg...backed by a good hop note that mellows the sweetness and backs down the spicy notes. Essence of apricot, banana, citrus punctuated by light bitterness.

M -- Nicely carbonated, sweet but not cloying and counterbalanced by the dry finish.

D -- Nice beer, very approachable if a little hefty for some. Easy to drink and fairly well balanced.

 633 characters

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

Blurry amber-mahogany in color with a tight crop of beige foam which dwindles quickly but leaves nice lacing.
Scented of golden raisins, banana bread, caramel, clove, prunes, and pepper. There is a bit of brandy-esque alcohol bite, but its intergrated. Nose-wise it's closest to a Weizenbock, though there is a hint of Belgian yeastiness that pushes toward Dubbel territory.
It rolls caramelly sweet across the tongue. Bready too, with pinpricks of rye spiciness. Fruitiness follows with raisins, muskmelon, and prune. Then the phenols hit, bringing browned bananas, clove, pepper, and wet limestone. Hopping is meager, but adds a congruent peppery, dryness. Alcohol is downplayed, considering the potency, but adds a touch of port-like boom at the end.
Medium-full bodied, somewhat cloaked but the rampant carbonation. More exciteable than fizzy, but it settles out just the same, finally showing its real girth. The balance of sweet/fruity vs. dry/spicy keeps this drinkable long past the CO2 fadeout.
I wanted a bigger pronounciation from the rye, and I didn't get it. But that's my only disappointment here. This is nice, and I'm thinking a little age will help this melt together even better.

 1,199 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours amber in color with a thin cream colored head that retains itself rather nicely. I don't know if I agree with the style, as it isn't all that dark.

S: This beer expresses hints of caramel, dried fruit, banana, and some spice in the nose. Hops are faintly present in the backround, lending aromas of herbs and flowers.

T: Like the nose, but more intense. Banana and spice, with other dried light fruits and a bit of caramel. Hops dry out the finish, making the beer very clean.

M&D: A bit thin. Medium bodied, and not as complex as I expected. It's enjoyable, but just lacks a bit in what I look for in the style. Definitely a good effort, though.

 659 characters

Photo of Wisconsin
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer number two from Dave's BrewFarm looks to be interesting based off the label alone. Lets hope what's inside is just as appealing.

A - A rigorous pour delivers a bellowing white head that nearly flows over my pint glass. After a minute or two it has faded to about a finger and a half thick, but it is still thick, frothy, and extremely full looking. No small bubbly head here. Depending upon whether the beer is held up to the light, the color varies. A dark orange in the light and a brown when not. I'm trying to find a reason not to give this beer a 5 on appearance and am unable to find one. Carbonation bubbles along with all sorts of sediment are floating throughout the beer. Almost five minutes after pouring the head is a half finger thick. Dam impressive.

S - The nose is almost as inviting as the appearance. Maybe not a perfect score here, but it still grabs you. A nice concoction of sweet citrus (orange and lemon) notes and clove spices stand out first. I know hops are present in this beer but seem to be more toned down than I was expecting. However, they are still present along with the malts, just not as pronounced. A bready, yeast along with the rye is also noticeable.

T - A more balanced taste than the nose would have you expect. Clove and citrus notes are not as dominant as I thought they were going to be. Conversely, the malt and hop profile comes to life a bit more as a result. A slightly boozy aspect is also present but seems to be edged off by some dark sugar or molasses. As the beer warms, the booze dies off and it seems to come to life even more, making it harder to put down.

M - Medium bodied beer with a decent amount of carbonation. Entering the mouth the slight malt profile comes to life. Carbonation arrives and brings in the clove spices and citrus notes. The finish is a little boozy but is masked pretty well with what seems like molasses and brown sugar and the hops.

D - This another solid offering from the BrewFarm. The booziness towards the end of this beer keeps it from being great but there is plenty of good to write home about here. I'll look forward to trying this and other BrewFarm products in the future. This one might be good after some extended cellar time.

 2,234 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.