La Mandragore | BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)

very good
45 Ratings
no score
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La MandragoreLa Mandragore

Brewed by:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ggaughan on 06-07-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 21
Reviews by Cavery:
Photo of Cavery
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

small bottle looks to be about 12oz (can't read the bottle!); shared with Klym

poured into tulip.

A: Extremely dark nearly opaque brown, more like an off-black. small rapidly dissipating foams that take on that classic egg shell appearance. Microfiber bubbles form a ring around the waterline of the glass. Looks just fine, but the bubble formation and dissipation was a bit disconcerting.

S: A strange roast coffee smell, there's a tart sweetness that I can't quite place. There's like a dash of vinegar in this coffee, but not enough to make me think it's misplaced or even infected. It's more of a tart sweetness than a sour. It vaguely reminds me of boiled cherry tomatoes. A buttery note of almonds and cashews perks my interest.

T: Up front acidic sweetness that pierces through roasty notes. A little bit of smoke before a slightly sulfuric egg noodle note. This really actually isn't off-putting, it's just an unusual flavor created by the collision of tart sweetness and light smokey roast. I find this kind of intriguing, but I'm not sure how much I like it. Lots of Asian cuisine notes come into here that makes me contextualize the tartness in the realms of soy sauces. A mildly acidic sting hits the back of the throat.

M: A medium-light body that is saved by a pleasantly buttery coating. Though I will say that the mouth coat of butter really contributes to the taste experience of eggs. I actually don't mind this so much, but I wish I could see more evidence that this is a deliberate connection. A lingering and funky sensation of dry tartness puts this in a weird place for me. Which is what lead me to say cherry tomatoes. Points for a consistently savory experience? I don't know, it's pretty strange.

O: This beer seems like an interesting experiment. I appreciate the unusual salty instead of sweet savory experience in here, but I feel like some ingredients are really alienated in the process. The flavors come in waves and dominate the former, and there really isn't any synergy in any of the flavors. Certain notes collide, while others are left in the dust. Really this isn't badly made, it's just an entirely different spectrum of flavors than I've ever had. Wildly different, but not so coherent. A work of beer expressionism that I currently see as being more like blobs of paint.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of ggaughan
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Monk's Cafe BFM tasting. The beer was served in a 11.15 oz swing top bottle. Very nice presentation like all the BFM beers. This beer poured a deep brown color with a thick foamy white head and good lacing. The aroma was intense with coffee and chocolate notes. The description of the beer from the brewere is a "strong dark mild ale for the winter in the Swiss Alps." The taste seems like it was meant for this purpose as you pick up some alochol in the taste but mostly you get spice, a bit of chocolate and tasted malt. Very enjoyable although a bit heavy.

 574 characters

Photo of Griffith
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Bugs318
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of BKotch
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of honey and light roasted malt notes. Taste is sweeter then expected with less bitter notes then expected and more dry fruits and honey. Body is thinner then what I was expected with some medium carbonation. Interesting and different for sure but not necessarily something I would go for very often.

 408 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of MidwestBA
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of sogrady
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A slightly sour ale, dark brown in color, the Madragore will play to certain tastes but didn't do much for mine. The fruit notes, maltiness and sour finish left it busy for me rather than balanced, while the alcohol was at times more up front than was appreciated.

The body is medium, which is to say it's thicker than a golden but thinner than a stout. Perhaps it's better off cask as one of the other reviewer's stated, but off draft at least, it's not something I would seek out.

 484 characters

Photo of bostonryan
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of EmperorBevis
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled and possibly bottle conditioned but definitely has a flip top
Pours a very dark brown body with decent enough tan head
Big dark berry aroma
Tobacco and Pimms flavour

 174 characters

Photo of Rivoire
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Photo of smartassboiler
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sbauer
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 33cl swing-top bottle.

A: pitch black, a bit cloudy. no lacing or head.

S: black licorice, dark cherry, gasoline, plus hints of tropical fruit.

T: tart fruits balanced with dark licorice or or coffee flavors. not a lot of hops coming through. lot black malt aftertaste.

M: medium-heavy bodied. medium carbonation. a bit sticky on the palate.

O: an interesting nighttime beer. tart mixed with dark, intense flavors.

 433 characters

Photo of crusian
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from pixieskid and Simon in Paris, two amazing BAs.
Am I the impy one that can clearly see on my bottle and the picture here that this beer is misspelled? I had a hard time finding it here.
La Mandragore...

Slight POP at the open and pours a nice dark brown/black with a wee bit of head. Aroma is pungent... smells like olives... that's all I get. This isn't promising... I think this may be a bad bottle.

Taste is odd... maybe this isn't bad... maybe this is supposed to be like this, because it doesn't taste bad. It does have a sourness to it, but it not overwhelming. this is not for everyone. There is a bit of coffee and char on the finish, and it is a bit salty as well. This is a beer definitely on the outside of the spectrum, try it if you like different beers, but be warned...

 797 characters

Photo of HeyItsChili
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle of this from Tom's Beer Box in Chur, Switzerland.

A - Pours pitch black with a nice khaki head. Little bit o lacing.

S - Roast malts, spices, dark fruit, chocolate, little bit of sour tinge.

T - Dark fruit, hint of chocolate, with a sourness that plays off the bitter dark chocolate. Spices.

M - Slightly thinner than medium bodied, nice carbonation.

 368 characters

Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask, of all things, at Max's today. According to the tap handle, this is the 2007-2008 version of this beer.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown/black color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is fairly simple, albeit still attractive. I get some light coffee, cherry, vanilla and some interesting earthiness. The flavor profile is actually considerably better then the aroma profile, much to my surprise. There is considerable chocolate, light coffee, vanilla, a touch of anise and a hint of booze (which in this case, enhances the flavor profile). Mouthfeel is likewise pretty impressive, with a soft, creamy, plush mouthfeel and a long finish. Drinkability is quite good, with the alcohol barely an afterthought.

Have had this beer on draft before, and can't say I was all that impressed. However, on cask this beer is much more impressive, and is a beer I quite enjoyed.

 889 characters

Photo of logobot
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of atis
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with foamy brown head that fades to dense layer, patchy lacing. Aroma is funky sour malt, dried cherries and dried fruit in general, one of the best smelling beers I have ever had.

Taste is fruity, kind of ripe fruit type, slightly sour and alcoholic bitterness, becoming astringent towards the rather dry finish. Mouthfeel is very light with prickly and slightly above moderate carbonation and noticeable alcohol warming.

Overall, the aroma was fantastic, the taste not so, it also felt too light.

 512 characters

Photo of CycleDad
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Euroglot
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Klym
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle compliments of the famous Simon-- thanks! Pours into a snifter and shared with Cavery.

A: Pours an oilish brown that turns black as the liquid piles up. A small clearish white head starts out and dissipates pretty quality. At certain angles the colors don't seem quite consistent, seeming considerably browner and more transparent at top than any other part.

S: Roasted grain, pistachio, asian plum sauce, a touch of black licorice and a tad of yeast.

T: Hmm, quite different from other belgian strong dark ales I've had. All of the nose is still there with a little udon noodle, a little worstecher/soy sauce/vinegar mix kick in the end and some red licorice sweetness in the mostly bitter and tangy finish.

M: Lighter bodied than most belgian strong dark ales, but a good amount of fine carbonation throughout. I feel as though there is a small tarry residue left on my tongue after each sip, but it feels packed with flavor so I'm not sure if it's interesting or bad. Small tingle and bite in the roof ot he mouth and center of the tongue.

O: This was interesting and I certainly don't regret getting the bottle. Don't think I care much whether I ever have this again but I certainly think a serious BSDA lover would find something original and different here. Also, there is a lot of subtle complexity in the flavors here and I think you can go many directions in interpreting the notes. A fun drink to ponder and pretty tasty to boot.

 1,455 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brick Store Pub. I like this beer quite a bit on tap- more so than several of this brewery's beers in the bottle. Pours a very dark brown with a head that fades to a thin cap but leaves some decent lacing. Smells sour and oaky, and even a bit woody, but this is restrained. Not unpleasant at all. The taste is pretty funky with some woodiness and borders on the medicinal with overripe fruit. Tannic and brambly. I like this sort of beer, but I could see how it would put some people off. The mouthfeel is tannic and spicy from the wood. Very interesting sour, but getting toward the extreme of the range- like a very ripe cheese, this won't be for everyone.

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La Mandragore from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
3.8 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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