McChouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

very good
533 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies from time to time.

Added by Mitchster on 09-22-2001

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Reviews: 533 | Ratings: 1,101
Photo of mothmanscott
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque brown with amber highlights producing over 2 fingers of beige, foamy, lasting head that leaves sheets & webs of lace. Aroma is malt forward expressing bready dark malt, brown sugar, dark fruits, cherry, banana, clove, dried apples and just a touch of alcohol. There is also a phenolic note. Taste is also malt forward consisting of dark malts, caramel/toffee, raisins, dried apples, cloves, spice, alcohol & honey. Some burnt & smokey hints. Sweet through mid-sip becoming spicy with pepper which builds through finish rapidly developing a bitterness which becomes dominant in the malty, dark fruit over-ripe apple aftertaste. Malt & booziness increase as the brew warms. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation, slightly chewy, very peppery but smooth & silky on the tongue.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a slightly opaque dark brown, with a small white head, and no lacing.

Smells like port-soaked raisin bread, super fruity but very richly malty on the nose.

This is quite nice. It invokes the feeling of malty port wine. It's bready, with honey, chocolate, molasses, with a slight bitterness, a nice but not overwhelming fruity sweetness. It's not boozy at all, which is a plus.

This is medium, not quite syrupy, but pretty close, with a lower level of carbonation.

This is a pretty nice and rarely talked about beer.

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Photo of Bombelsky
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle poured into a snifter. Hazy, reddish brown with some particles. Frothy off-white, bit fizzy, dimnishing to a small crown foam. Good lacing. Malty, bready notes of a medium strength. I found there low hops aroma, bit of vanilla. Flavor is very straight forward. It is medium sweet and bit of bitterness. Medium body in palate, quite oily. Dry, medium lasting finish with some phenolic spiciness. Some alcohol.

Decent beer, but some look improvements should be done.

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Photo of Ginger-tipple
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an excellently aged and refermented dark beer from Chouffe. The bitterness coming through gently. Perhaps it could have been a bit more hoppy.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A great brown color, with ample head and lacing, the smell is sweet, malty and yeasty. The taste is quite the same as the smell. The malts are wonderful, with apple notes and yeast and spices, and it ends with a little bit of a sour and bitter note. But it is subtle. The carbonation is a little less than you might get with other ales in this style, and the mouthfeel is also a little thin when comparing to other Strong Ales. This brewery is fairly new, but they seem to have a good feel for what they want to do, and the quality they want to bring to the table. This is a very potable ale...Very easy to consume quickly if you aren't careful. And at 8% ABV, it can creep up on you if you consume too much too fast. In the end, this isn't anything super special or wowish--but its a solid and respectable beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I first met owner & brewer Chris Brouwarts at the 2002 Mondial de la Biere in Montreal. I was a recent Pitt graduate awaiting a mid-summer return to begin a Master's program & with time on my hands, I stayed behind when the tour bus headed home. Also, the Pittsburgh Pirates were in town to play the soon-departing Expos, so I seized the chance to go to yet another stadium. Chris is a great guy & we parlayed in my broken French & he bestowed some patches for my jackets & vests. We have maintained a casual friendship & always warmly greet one another at various events, the latest being in DC for SAVOR a few years ago. I am proud to Pop! the cap on this one.

From the bottle: "Artisanal Belgian Brown Ale"; "McChouffe is brewed by the Artisans of Brasserie d'Achouffe deep in the heart of Belgium's Ardennes mountains. Inspired by the tale of a Scottish Chouffe who[,] along with his Belgian friend[,] created an eccentric 'new style' Scottish Ale. This Belgian micro brewery crafts McChouffe with local Ardennes' water, top fermenting yeast, fine hops and malts. Double fermentation produces natural carbonation and a small yeast deposit (lees) on the bottom of the bottle. Enjoy the dark earthy color and spicy flavors of McChouffe. Serve cool between 50-55 F and pour carefully to enjoy the full flavor and aroma of this truly innovative Belgian Ale. Brewed within the luxuriant green Belgian Ardennes using 100% natural ingredients."

I did, indeed, Pop! the cap & began a gentle pour so as not to rouse any lees that the gnome may have collected during his slumber. I still got an oddly shaped finger of dense, foamy, deep-tan/light-brown head with good retention. It was actually lopsided, denser in some spots and non-existent in others! Bizarre. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity & garnet highlights. Nose had a vinous sharpness along with a fusel alcohol booziness. Whee! Mouthfeel was medium with an extreme effervescence. The taste was very much of dried, dark fruits - think raisins, prunes, figs, dates and a little bit of milk chocolate to round things out. Mmmm. The alcohol was there, but not as prevalent as it had been on the nose. Man, this was a tasty beer! I do not want to oversell its sweetness, either. It was held in check, possibly by the alcohol, and made for a vinousness akin to what I noted on the nose. This would be great with spare ribs, like the one that I had last night. The finish was closer to semi-dry than semi-sweet, again thanks to that fruity vinousness that I kept noting throughout. The beer's inherent effervescence acted like a palate cleanser with ever sip & really allowed me to taste it fully. And now, for the pour of the lees (waste not, want not): The clarity was gone, leaving a sip of mud in its place. The vinousness of the nose was now replaced with a caramel-like sweetness. The mouthfeel was flat and grainy on the tongue. The taste had a distilled brandy-like alcohol flavor! Oh my. Finish was sharp and dry. NEVER dump those lees!

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Photo of OlaB
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Gives a hazy dark brown color. A small top of foam that disolves rapid, some islands of foam do stay there most of the time. Good lacings on the glass.

S: much fruits like plums and cherries, dried fruits like raisins and dates. Burned sugar I also sense along with caramel malts.

T&F: starts of with the fruits in the flavour , the yeasty sweetness is in the background. In the middle I sense more of spices in the flavours, bitterness from the hops are also there in the finishing, and the aftertaste is lasting for a good period.

O: a good belgian dark. This brewer almost always deliver good beers and this one is no exemptions.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thick cloudy copper color, with a red hue, very active, and chunks of floating yeast. Frothy light brown 3 finger head, lasting around 10-15 minutes, with thick legs. Flavors of dark berries, plums, cherries, nuts, cheese, wild yeast, dark grains, wood, herbal spices, faint coffee and chocolate. Highly sugary, with soft sharpness, and bitter herbs. Slick light body with crispy carbonation. Strong but pleasant finish, vinous and dry, lingering sour fruits with a barrel aged feel. Good as an appetizer. Bad freshness, deadly yeast. Decent flavors and a balanced feel. Overall good quality craft. Too much yeast, disgusting huge chunks, maybe a bad bottle?

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Photo of teromous
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown body that is opaque but hazy where light shines through. Short eggshell white head that fades out to a fluffy ring. The ring does leave good lacing on the glass.

Aroma: There is a very faint raisin aroma but it is barely there. I pick up a touch of brown sugar too but again it is hard to even pick that up.

Taste: Thankfully there is more flavor than there is aroma. I get a big bite of brown sugar and cinnamon with some light anise or licorice flavor. It has a very spicy character to it. At times I feel that it is giving off some pepper flavor and I get a bit of clove.

Mouthfeel: It feels a bit thin and slightly under-carbonated.

Overall: This beer lacks the fruitiness that you would normally find in a Belgian Strong Dark Ale but it is clear that from the name it is designed to be something wholly different. The label indicates as much not only in the name but in the statement that it was "inspired by the tale of a Scottish Chouffe who along with his Belgian friend created an eccentric 'new style' Scottish Ale/Abbey Ale." Leaving the traditional boundaries of style guidelines alone this beer delivers a nice spicy ale that would be perfect for a Christmas Beer. If I was in the mood for a more traditional Belgian Strong Dark Ale this wouldn't do the trick but it certainly would work well as a spicy fall or winter beer.

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Photo of AleMan66
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this straight from the bottle in the dark, so I didn't have a chance to see the color. It smelled great but the smell itself didn't tell me the beer is anything special; the taste did. It is a great brown ale! Love it! It warrents the the cost of almost $3 per bottle that I paid. I will buy it again. My score for this beer might be higher if I had seen the beer and had a better sense of smell.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I think I lost my previous review of this before I could post it - I know I drank it before.

It's a pretty dark brown with nice little head, just as it should be. The aroma is cool - a sweet dark malty smell.

The taste matches - very slightly tart, slightly toasted malts, bready and yeasty. The aftertaste lingers with more of the same, Long times. It is milder and easier drinking than many of this style yet it does not wimp out.

Like other brews from these guys, this totally works and it is a great example of the style.

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Photo of matuto
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

330 ml bottle (exp. 04/2017) in a Leffe tulip. Dark brown liquid with beautiful tones when put against light. Some particles of all sizes may be seen. Foam shortly recedes to a thin layer that leaves some laces. Sweet aroma of a delicate caramel. Some fruitiness, resembling bananas, makes presence both on aroma and flavor. I don't mind serving with the bottom sediments from the bottle, and in this case I think the subtle sourness and bitterness on mouth comes from those. Light body and smooth upfront.

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Photo of barczar
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, so rating set to current average.

Aroma is laden with raisin, fig, dates, and prunes.

Flavor is less stellar, fairly flat by comparison. Big toffee malt aftertaste.

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Photo of janubio
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Deep hazy brown colour with a small off white head that holds for a while, leaving ring and lace. Smell of toffee, pepper, dark fruits, cinnamon, chocolate. Medium body, good carbonation. Taste is peppery, caramel, chocolate, dark fruits.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown. Thin, wet lacing.

Smell is fruity but thin.

Bit of bubblegum in the taste. Mildly sweet.

Mouth is carbonated and pleasant.

Nothing remarkable, but comfortable and easy to consume.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On the docket: 750ml bottle of Brasserie d'Achouffe’s McChouffe, bottle date: best before end of 2015. Seems like I’m cutting it close.

Poured into: Etched Chimay Goblet

S: An initial mass of beige-gray head, thick and puffy forms. Underneath, a dark, burnt-sienna body sits, with an orange tint at the base. Tiny bubbles snake up to the top. Eventually, the head dies down to a thin cap on top, bubbles populating the head, sort of like soap.

A: Fruity esters immediately wend their way into your nose, laddie. Ef ya couple that with some yeasty bubblegum and a bit of caramelized malt, you have the knack of it. The hops, while muted, are spicy and earthy. It’s entertaining to smell, the sweetness being a draw factor here.

T: Some of the aroma carries over into the taste. The fruit here is dark and plummy, but gentle. A spot of hay, or husk, sweet caramel, a definite melanoidin tang like that of a Scotch ale, and a bit of spice and earth from the hops.

F: Tingly carbonation, chewy mouthfeel, fluffy. Deceptively light bodied. A kiss of warming alcohol on the end, more pronounced as it warms up (at 8.0%, it’s certainly prudent to exercise a dram of caution. A finish that sticks around.

O: Though the brewery calls this beer a brown ale, and while they’re not exactly wrong, I feel that comes up short in describing this one. Picture the offspring of Gerard Butler and Ellen Petri (go ahead and look her up, I had to, too) in a beer, and this is much closer to the mark. There are equal parts Scotch ale and Belgian Strong Dark in here, and they combine to make something that while new, is evident of its parents. This is a pleasure to sip and meditate on; much like the upcoming celebration of our Lord’s birth.

S: 4 A: 4.25 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25

Suggested food pairing: Molasses grilled barbecue ribs, beef Szechuan, sharp cheddar cheese, crème brûlée

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a signature Chouffe tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown color with cloudy body, head is off-white and comes off slightly thick. Rose to a about notch or so above a finger's length.

Smell: Light yeast scent not going anywhere.

Taste: Smooth bready taste that reminds you of raisins and almonds. Has a light sweet note to the brew.

Mouth: Medium to heavy carbonation with extra bubbles to body.

Overall: Very good brew, unfortunately I had little to enjoy and review it. I read some reviews prior to writing my own but one thing you have to keep in mind is that some might call this brew average but it delivers a lot considering the price. To get quality for this price is worth it. Factor that in your reviews. Salud!

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Photo of Arthuros
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Your typical Belgian dark, similar to a Chimay Red.

Deep dark brown with reddish hints, stiff nose with touches of coffee and caramel. Overall, though, light malt taste with some sweetness, underlying simple hop flavors.

Again, typical Belgian dark, nothing fancy.

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Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

McChouffe - La Chouffe's darker cousin - is indeed as brown as the standard gnome is blonde (though both share a white top that bubbles like a pot boiling over on the stove). The colour looks light enough to allow for clarity or at very least highlights but, surprisingly, neither is observed.

Most Belgian ales smell either like the yeast is throwing a tantrum or someone doused the malts in brown sugar - neither is really the case here. This is a rare case of a Belgian aroma leaving the nose turning up blanks. Well, not quite blanks, but the chewy toffee and nutmeg notes take some work to find.

McChouffe, like many Belgian ales, could be accused of being too sweet and too carbonated. Both qualities mellow with age (and contribute to the aging ability) but, when fresh like this bottle, perhaps give the impression of a thin and hollow brew. I know better than that, but it was my first impression.

Mind you, that bright carbonation is intended to counter all the dark sweetness; notes of raisins, treacle, and dates aren't able to stick around for long as bubbles give them the bum's rush. As result, despite initial figgy and syrupy undertones, the beer finishes nearly tasteless, bone-dry and sans-alcohol.

I love brunes - more than blondes in fact - but truth be told I much prefer the classic La Chouffe to its darker counterpart. Not that this isn't a perfectly quaffable, digestible, flavorful offering in its own right (because it is) but just not enough so to warrant the same iconic, style-defining, must-have status.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ML bottle into a tulip. It pours hazy dark amber to reddish under a 1” light tan foam collar that provides sheets of lace. Caramel malt with traces of chocolate on the nose and palate with a bitter hop accent on the finish. The Belgian body and carbonation really accentuates the flavors.

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Photo of beer488
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color, like a cola. Scent of roasted malt, and sweet malt. Medium bodied and fizzy on the palate. Some chocolaty bitterness balanced by a sweetness. Sweet malt on the finish. Strong ale at 8%.

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Photo of JasW
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Spiegelau tulip with a huge, fluffy three finger head that dissipated fairly rapidly, leaving moderate lacing. A yeasty musty nose. Taste is yeast, very light fruit for the style, with an unusual and unusually pleasing prominent undertone of nuts. Mouthfeel is top notch for the style. BSDA fan? This is a must.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in a Gordon's Highland Scotch Ale thistle glass. Poured slow leaving the sediment behind.

Appearance: Dark clear amber. Persistent 1/4" rocky tan head. Persistent thick strands of lacing.

Smell: Fruit (grape, plum), caramel, and a hint of metal.

Taste: Toasted/caramelized malt, Belgian candi sugar, fruity esters, bready-yeasty pastry-like sweetness, raisins, and a finish which is part noble hop, part English-style bittering hops.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, but not fizzy. Scrubs the tongue clean. Some stickiness on the teeth noted.

Overall / Drinkability: This is indeed a blend of a Scottish Ale and Belgian Dark Ale in style. A fine sipping beer all by itself, I think it would go well with some food also....and not just dessert, but the sweetness of this beer might limit what it can pair with. Not sure. Regardless, I'll have to pick this one up again - very nice.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brownish red with small off white head. Aromas of sweet malts and fruits. Flavor had caramel, brown sugar, toffee, plum. Full body, creamy texture, average carbonation, pretty easy finish.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured from a 33 cl bottle into a pint glass, muddy brown colored with a short white head that dissipates leaving little lacing, cloudy

S: raisins, dark fruits, cherries, brown sugar, baked bread

T: dark malty grains, pumpernickel bread, raisins, fig

M: medium to heavy with prickly carbonation

O: a nice yeasty brown ale with well hidden alcohol

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McChouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,101 ratings.
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