Le Contrabassiste | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Liked This Beer
3.74 w/ 118 ratings

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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this beer is awesome, havent had very much wild ale stuff from bells, so a real treat to get to try this one. there is a listing for a brett edition of this, but i think its a double listing as this is very obviously a wild ale. hazy amber in color, cherry colored really, looks fruited its so red, and the head is tan and bubbly and holds well. it smells fantastic, tangy woody weirdness, not quite sour enough to be a flemish type, not readily recognizable as similar to anything else i have had. i get dried fruit notes out of the malt, and a very complex mix of yeasty bacterial cultures from saison elements to funky brett to lemony lacto. summery and light despite its color and depth. the best feature here is the unique fermentation palate, taking wild ale to a place it rarely goes, and i love it. there is a hint of vinegar on the back end, really tangy and dry, and carbonated brilliantly. definitely spent time on wood, or at least some of it did, not sure of this is a blend or what. very expressive and unique beer, nice to get to see this side of bells, i was not even really aware of any wild ale they made, so this is a nice change of pace. do they package this one? if so, i would be interesting in trading for some!

 1,234 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -19%
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 kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mothman
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
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 DrBier
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bell's last weekend.

Pours a mostly-clear brown-amber color with a short white head. Some spotty lacing as it goes down. The nose is pretty tame, bringing just a bit of malt and bread crust. The flavor is more complex and fits the style quite well, bringing some nice earthy elements and a slight fruity touch. Bread is the main characteristic. Some sweetness. Medium body and moderate carbonation. A good example of a style I'm not particularly fond of.

 465 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach as part of a tap takeover.
Listed as a Farmhouse Brown Ale with Brett.

108 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Zaphog
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of VeganUndead
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of tommy5
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of eawolff99
3/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of beergorrilla
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of jbaker67
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jschott75
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of corby112
3.17/5  rDev -15.2%
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 rfgetz
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
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 DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite a rare find at my local Beermuda. Was able to get a full pint of this for 5 bucks.

A - Pours a deep amber hue brown, very clear in color, with a 1/2 inch of mocha head.
S - Mostly smells of clean fruity Belgium malts, has smoked malts and a bit of chocolate malts as well. In a way it kind of smells like a Doppelbock very Toasty.
T - My notes describe a very clean Doppelbock taste, mostly caramel sweetness, some fruity notes and smoked malts a plenty of toasted malts.
M - Medium bodied, somewhat chewy. Clean and easy to go down.

Overall it seems pretty on par with the description of the style maybe could have used some sour lemon that's always good. It drank well enough was a great beer overall.

 711 characters

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Le Contrabassiste from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 61.9% out of 100 with 118 ratings
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