Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

La Vache Folle - ESB | Microbrasserie Charlevoix

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
64 Reviews
no score
Send samples
La Vache Folle - ESBLa Vache Folle - ESB

Brewed by:
Microbrasserie Charlevoix
Quebec, Canada

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 04-27-2004

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 102
Photo of josanguapo
4.73/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From lacasadelacerveza. In Ikea's pint glass. After dinner. More refreshing than usual in the style, maybe thanks to a slight and pleasant sourness. Left me wanting more.

 170 characters

Photo of CanadianBacon
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is my first time trying the style so my rating is not in comparison to other esb's Its just what I think about this beer.

Appearance - this beer pours a deep gold with brown hues, 3 fingers off white head that last awhile and lacing remains for even longer.

Aroma - Floral hops, buscuity malts, slight citrus and caramel.

Taste - totally follows the smell from hops to malts to citrus and caramel.

Mouth feel - Light-medium body etremely balanced slightly more bitter throughout, prickly carbonation sweet finish.

Overall - I very much enjoyed this beer, I hope to try more ESB's down the road.

 606 characters

Photo of VbolieuV
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Was expecting an amber beer but it's golden in color with a nice head that stays there for a while. Not much hops in the smell, mainly grain maltiness, with some caramel malt but not much. In the mouth it tastes a little more of caramel malts. Dry finish with a nice carbonation. Not the best ever but not bad either.

 317 characters

Photo of Antilochus
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottled April 2014.

A: Cloudy orange with off-white head. Good retention.

S: Caramel, honey, breadiness, a little bit of orange peel.

T/M: Balanced on the palate leaning towards bitterness. Tea, fruitiness. Sharp bubbles. I find the finish a bit sweet.

Very nice. I'm really looking forward to the milk stout.

 319 characters

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Sampled a pint on tap at Beer Revolution. After trying this brewery's excellent double milk stout some time back, one of the best stouts I have tried to date, I was keeping an eye out for this one. A light gold to amber brew, light for an ESB to be certain. Aroma is sublime, very nice earthy English hops, tangy crystal malts, and sweet citrus, registers as orange to my olfactory center. Smells sweet and fruity, albeit with some dry grain to provide a foil. Taste is initially quite bitter and nutty, with a touch of caramel. Not bad but was hoping for more malt complexity. Some bread crust is apparent but not as rich and assertive as I'd like. There were some sweet fruit flavors as well, evoking banana and white grape. Could be the yeast strain or the fermentation temperature? Whatever the cause, one shouldn't get these in an ESB. Some unique mandarin citrus flavor that does fit the style and I applaud the earthy bitter finish that screams Fuggle. Nice semi-chewy mouthfeel and the carbonation was spot on, mid-range for an English-style ale. I was hoping for more in the malt department ... Rating for taste might be a bit low but there you have it. The hops were bang on and I'd give this another go.

 1,214 characters

Photo of SebD
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice clear golden/yellow color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of bready/biscuity malts, some faint citrus, floral hops and some caramel.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some bready/buiscuity malts, citrus, floral/earthy hops and some faint caramel.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

 548 characters

Photo of TheDoctor
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a barely hazy honey color (between amber and orange) with a inch-and-a-half creamy, puffy beige head stays around fairly good (finally forming a nice thin cap of film). Good retention; splotchy and stringy lacing.

Strong caramely and bready malt scents and some hops behind it all.

Earthy and fresh with some mineral flavors. Tea, lemon, and biscuity malt. Really well-balanced.

Slightly creamy, prickly carbonation, light-medium body.

Another spectacular beer from Charlevoix! A really nice drinking ESB. I am a big fan of bitters and I think that this one is a good one. Smooth and rich. Looks nice. The hop-malt flavors come through really nice with a tinge of bitterness at the finish.
Would totally have again. Worth seeking out.

 760 characters

Photo of deBeaupre
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found a bottle in my closet which was a part of payment made for some custom woodwork. It was given to me in 2009 - reviewing it 2013.

Appearance: Branding graphic is weak. Bottle appearance is lacking. Poured it into a stolen Stella Artois 33cl glass...shhhh! Colour was bright gold very warm in hue temprature. Musty density with few flotilla at the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Sweet smell, very pleasant. Hint of bitter in the back of throat as expected.

Taste: Sweet citrus - bitter for a second then sweet. Aftertaste very present (could be because its 4 years old).

Mouthfeel: Very pronounce sharp sensation - Mostly feeling in the back of the throat.

Overall: I would really like to try again with a fresh bottle. I have a personal bias towards Canadian brews especially French ones so - please buy and try.

 821 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass

A: copper color and bright, a good two finger head that dissipated leaving some lacing.

S: well...it smells like an ESB should. Malty, a touch of yeast and a very mild citrus profile from the low hop presence.

T: Malty, biter and a nice sweet finish after the bitter settles down.

M: medium carbonation, dry finish.

O: a good ESB, I don't think this is the strongest of Charlevoix's brews but it is a good beer. It meets the criteria of an ESB with its malt and bitterness. Seems like a good beer to enjoy at the pub or with some traditional pub fare.

 605 characters

Photo of Muhly
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 65cl bottle into snifter. Label indicates that it was bottled May 2012.

A-Pours a clear and true copper. Two fingers of tight knit head forms easily upon pouring. Head retention is ok, but a thin film stays on top of the glass. Lacing is decent with lines and dots.

S-Malty sweetness highlighted by some dried dark fruits, namely prunes. Can't detect any hops on the nose.

T-Sweet malts and a decent hint of fruit esters. Hop bitterness is prominent, but balanced by the sweetness.

M-Moderately round and full mouthfeel. Sweetness lingers longer than the hop astringency.

O-A nicely balanced ESB that tends towards the bitter. Would have been nice to get more hops on the nose, but maybe that's just my lack of sense of smell...

 746 characters

Photo of jrenihan
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled November 8, 2011

Amber/orange in colour with a moderately sized white head. Decent retention and lacing.

Biscuity malt in the nose along with grassy, earthy hops. Not a strong smell.

Taste is full of biscuity malt, a bit toasty, with some grassy/earthy hop flavours. Well balanced- some sweet malt tastes coupled with mild bitterness from the hops. Slight flavours of light citrus fruit. Nice.

Moderate carbonation, medium bodied. Chewy.

Overall, a nice ESB. Would like to find a fresher bottle, but I'll take what I can get.

 538 characters

Photo of NightINgale
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my second attempt at this beer. The first time I got a really old bottle and found the beer bland.

A - Looks more like an American IPA than and English ESB: slightly hazy orange body with a rich and creamy white head. Really good lacing and solid head retention.

S - Biscuit notes, some nice fruitiness (apples, pears and plums), some slight citrusy notes (orange, grapefruit), and a very solid malt aroma base (toffee, caramel and toasted bread).

T - The taste doesn't disappoint! This beer is fruity, yet fairly hoppy (with a nice flowery taste to it), slightly citrusy, and quite malty. There is a noticeable level of bitterness, which does a great job balancing the fairly strong sweetness of the beer. This definitely tastes like a true ESB.

M - Medium-bodied. Not very carbonated. It gets just a little hefty after a while, though. No hint of booze. Drinks really well.

O - All in all, this is a good ESB! Complex yet drinkable; original enough yet true to the style. All one has to do is make sure the freshness date is not years away from today!

 1,066 characters

Photo of leaddog
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a pale amber/topaz hue with a ½ finger width of white head.

Smell – Citrus and tropical fruits, piney hops, honey sweetness.

Taste – Nice balance of citrus/tropical fruits and hops, that leaves a little touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. This light bitterness lets us know its presence but subtle at best. Honey flavours are present in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied with light carbonation. Good dry finish.

Overall – An enjoyable ESB from La Vache Folle. There are some great flavours in this brew that are well balanced with one another. Very nice touch with the honey. An easy drinker that is worth a try.

 653 characters

Photo of hoser
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A full bodied extra special bitter that makes Fuller's ESB weak at the knees and that is saying something. To steal a line from Todd and Jason Alstrom's Imperial Milk Stout review the beer is nothing to get mad about. It actuality the name translates to Crazy Cow and is a tongue in cheek poke at something else. All in all love this nutty version of an ESB.

 358 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - poured into a tulip, clear copper with tall tan head that retained well
S - citrus and earthy aromas, biscuity with a hint of caramel
T - biscuity malt with hop notes of citrus, pine, and spice, and a hint of caramel sweetness
M - mild carbonation with a smooth medium weight, just right bitter and spiciness on the finish
O - a nice full flavour ale with heathy bitterness, a great example of one of my fave styles

 419 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber in color with a smooth even white head on top that held on for a good long while, dropping nice amounts of side glass lacing along the way. Aroma was light, hints of citrus hops, a touch of light grassy notes and a noticeable touch of light spice all coming together rather lightly, but pleasantly. Taste was light as well, clean and crisp with a smooth profile. Light touches of hops sprinkled throughout a light bready and grainy base that shone through pretty strongly. Light touches of peaches and pears actually popped up as well as a nice light touch of spice and hops

 580 characters

Photo of fostachild
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled on: 2011/09/09

pours a nice clear medium-light bronze hue, tons of white foamy head - lasts forever.

smell was sweet - had hops, malt, fruit/citrus.

taste was bitter, malty, with an even maltier aftertaste. maybe a hint of caramel in there too.

good carbonation and drinkability. pretty enjoyable esb.

 314 characters

Photo of ctgui
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 14/08/2011.

A - Poured a clear copper with some amber, about 2 inches of off-white head. The appearance is good.

S - Biscuit and booze, but not overly so. Notes of bitter floral hops.

T - The taste is not too intense, a nice balance between the sweet malt and the bitterness of the hops that sticks for a while. I enjoyed the overall simplicity of the taste. Well put.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a bit over average carbonation. The finish is not too dry.

O - Another good beer by the Microbrasserie de Charlevoix. My first ESB I believe, and I truly liked the style. Very drinkable. Looking forward to having this one again.

 640 characters

Photo of bylerteck
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Broue HAHA.

A - Pours a nice light copper colour. Hazy with a good one finger white head. Mildish carbonation. Good filmy retention and some soapy lacing.

S - Oh ya. I've always loved EBSs from my first by Fuller's. This is no different. Balance is so key to a beer IMO and ESB just show it so well. A rich, fruity malt character combines with a great, earthy, fruity sorta hop character and just meld so well. I'd say the malts come out a little stronger than the hop profile but damn, it's well put together.

T - The taste is surprisingly weaker. I get some yeast and oranges. Strong malts with bread and biscuits. While the hop comes out in an earthy/spicy character. Weaker than the aroma but still nice.

M - Good carbonation, medium body and a lightly sweet finish with a bitterness that is quite light.

O/D - Quite a nice ESB. Not aggressive but easy to drink. Well done.

 894 characters

Photo of MaliciousMatt
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First and foremost, I must admit thatcher I don't drink a lot of ESB. It seems to be a style that is overlooked by some brewers and it is unfortunate, this great offering proves it.

The look is nice. Slightly hazy light cooper with a good fluffy head that looks like a cloud you would like to sleep in!

Smells goood! Floral and subtle. Straight foward.

Taste is clean and pleasant. Once again, nothing too complex. Notes of sweet and toasted malt well balanced by the bitterness wich is present but not overpowering.

In the mouth it fits the rest of the experience, round fulness with medium to light bubbling.

So this is a great overall beer that is well constructed. It may not be the most shockingly innovative beer but does it always have to be? This is a great session style and this beer is a great interpretation of it.

Thanks to brasserie Charlevoix. Long live your brewery!

 888 characters

Photo of Digimaika2
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed this at Atwater Market (along with some incredible cheeses).

A: Nice orange-copper colour but a thick and milky head steals the show. Frothy head dissipates to a grouping of beautiful bubbles. Great stuff.

S: Lots of earthy spice with sweet honey. Picking up faint banana and grapefruit aromas aswell. Other reviewers noted plum, and I'm picking that up a bit too.

T: Subdued earthy-flowery hops up front, with a taste of grapefruit. Finishes with a lingering bitterness, but malty sweetness balances it out nicely. Overall well balanced and very smooth.

M: Rather viscous and quite oily with mild carbonation.

D: Easily drinkable. Would be great to have acouple pints of this on-tap.

 698 characters

Photo of HopBacchus
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I confess I have an affinity for ESBs. I like the way brewers can transform the lackluster style that is English Bitters and make something relatively complex and interesting while still remaining true to the Bitter's roots.

Served in a Stein glass. Pours a rusty orange with medium lacing throughout.

Candied fruit comes to mind, plums and raisins as-well as lightly toasted malts. Citrusy hops are also detectable.

Smooth and well balanced with a surprisingly robust hop character. More citrus, certainly lemon with an addition of orange and apricot.

On the lighter side of medium bodied with mild carbonation.

I could sesh this thing all day, goes down wonderfully.

 673 characters

Photo of Glory
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this ESB while saying to myself...I like pretty much everything they make at Microbrasserie de Charlevoix so I guess I could pick this one and have no worries ! Yeah... doesn't really happen as planed.

The Beer is served in a small Weizen Glass. Its copper to orange in color and very clear from any sediments. There's a little head of foam but not much to say about it... It kinda looks like a regular cheap Red Ale.

The smell is quite nice and probably where this beer is at its best.
You get caramel malt with floral essences. A little hint of rust as well and for some reason it kinda smells like my mother's Pecan bread !! You tell me...

The taste is a bit flat and watery at first but then you really taste Mash of sweet caramel Malt. After two second you get a small kick of bittering hops and adds a pine sorta foresty taste and finishes with a pretty bad after taste of....you know, when you take some tylenol and you don't quite swallow it right away and you get this very bad medecin tast in you mouth for a while...well...that !!
The carbonation is quite low..I did swearl it alot to get the esters but still pretty flat witch is nice because its similar to real English Bitters.
Overall, I didn't get as much fun as I though and probably won't buy again but I still love the Microbrasserie of Charlevoix!

Cheers Lads


 1,344 characters

Photo of Rutager
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Poured a cloudy orange with a hint of red. Half a finger of nice white head that falls slowly to a film that lasts the duration.

Smell. Plums, green grapes, herbal hops and a hint of roasty malt. Real nice.

Taste. Bitter herby hops. A little apricot and pine and a long bitter finish. Yum.

Mouthfeel. Medium, prickly carbonation and just a little thin.

Drinkability. Went down quick. A great drinker.

 417 characters

Photo of Matt1516
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

Shows ambers and cloudy with a thick frothy head that sticks around.

Looking at other reviews, I notice I'm not the only one who was put-off by the initial smell. It's sour and grassy.

The bitterness is impressive, however. It has a sourness that puckers up your mouth. There are some notes of fruit (banana?) In the taste. Compares well to a Fuller's ESB

Drinkable--much more impressive on tap--especially at their Baie St. Paul brewery.

 468 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
La Vache Folle - ESB from Microbrasserie Charlevoix
3.84 out of 5 based on 102 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!