Le Contrabassiste | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

117 Ratings
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Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by corby112 on 06-08-2010

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 117 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of MikeyRx
2.99/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer profile says it was a one-time brew... This is apparently not true as it just returned on tap at Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6/4/11.

Appearance: Pours light, milky brown with head that recedes immediately and completely.

Smell: Surprisingly sour aroma overall with earth, floral and ester notes.

Taste: Slightly sweet, bread/biscuit malt flavors predominate with tastes of earth and some slightly sour esters. I noted hints of wood and a slight buttery diacetyl flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with minimal carbonation, slightly sticky or chewy feel with a relatively flat finish.

Overall: The smell and taste of the beer are good but I was unimpressed with the beer overall. If still available the next time I'm at Bell's I'll revisit this beer.

 767 characters

Photo of chuckgietzen
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of BHansen214
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of eawolff99
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of FrankHammer
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Though much darker and toastier than I'm used to seeing out of the style, this more robust biere de garde applies some artistic liberties above the dry fruitiness of the underlying French farmhouse character.

Medium brown in color, the active beer streams carbonation from the bottom and fuels an off-white head with an understated sturdiness and light pocketed lacing. Much darker than the style suggests, the ale takes on appearances of Belgian brown ales or dubbel ales.

Muted aromatics reveal subtle tones of bread crust, peppercorn, fruit, and grain. The base beer's pilsner malts allow for a bready note to support the toast, spice, and fruit while pulling in nuances of peat and coffee-like roast.

Similarly, the taste starts grainy-sweet, seemingly of creamed corn in a fatty middle palate. That's where the toasty, coffee, peppery note promote a bolder tone deeper into taste. A nondescript fruity taste seems of "Juicy Fruit" bubblegum, but is buried under the pepper, peat, and toast.

Medium bodied throughout, there's a residual sweetness and body that gives the beer a fatty corn-like texture during the bulk of the middle palate. But aided by dry toast, spicy pepper, and alcohol warmth, the beer finishes dry.

This biere de garde does a lot of things at once. I can see this type of flavor existing before coal-fired steam was introduced as a drying and kilning agent for malts. Prior, the wood fired practices may have imparted these darker, toastier, and smokier flavors to nearly all beers. Perhaps this is the motivation for this third installment of their Jazz series. Even with that, this beer remains lacking in authentic farmhouse character and results in a simpler taste and keeps the beer somewhat banal.

 1,734 characters

Photo of BDeibs
3.04/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of masterofsparks
3.12/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of corby112
3.17/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at City Tap House.

Pours a deep dark amber copper color with dark goldn mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger frothy off-white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacng oft behind.

Slightly roasty sweet malt aroma with a faint touch of smokiness. Hintsnof bready yeast, chocolate, caramel and toffee. Overall though the nose is pretty bland.

Mediumbidied with a prominent roasty smoked flavor up front with hints of acrid burnt malt and toast which are quickly mellowed out by sweet notes of hazelnut, toffee, milk chocolate and caramel. A bit too carbonated for my loony but this beer improves with warmth, becoming more smooth and balanced with a slightly creamy lactic presence. Probably the most complex Biere de Garde I've had.

 804 characters

Photo of Mantooth
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BeerNW
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of NJB145
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of rfgetz
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours the color of an old penny, thin cap of off-white head. Scent is sweet brown sugar, melted carmel with touches of burnt grain and burnt popcorn, slight earthy and clay notes. Taste is not much better then scent, tastes almost like a musty Cosecrator - sweet carmel and toffee, roasted nuts. Medium bodied, highly carbonated, cloying at times. Not the best offering from these guys but unique for its style.

 411 characters

Photo of deebo
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap as part of Bells tap takeover at bulldog uptown in mold
A-served in tulip this one has just a hint of filmy tan head. Reddish brown and pretty clear
S-lightly smoked malt, hints of fruity yeast
T-the smoky quality of the malt is there but definitely not overpowering. Some black peppery spiciness, hints of yeast with a long tingly bitter finish
M-high carbonation, medium bodied, bitter with a lingering finish
O-a decent brew but a bit off in its combination of flavor and mouthfeel.

 496 characters

Photo of mothman
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a layer of khaki head. Color is a clear dark copper orange.

Aroma: Biscuit malts and some herbal hops. Weak. Not much in the nose.

Taste: More biscuit malts and some earthy hops. Some spice and coriander. Not a lot going on with these beers. It has a roasted taste and some toffee. A bit of yeast.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit clean but dry.

Overall, it is somewhat drinkable, but there just isn't a lot of flavor in it. Not something I would go out of my way to try again.

 544 characters

Photo of beergorrilla
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Moses_Malone
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of chrisbokmuller
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of tommy5
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of buschbeer
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jarrgal
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of speedvagen
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

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Le Contrabassiste from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.63 out of 5 based on 117 ratings.
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