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

Subscribe now!

McChouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
528 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 528 | Ratings: 1,077
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Watou chalice from 11.2 oz brown bottle. Liquid had a brown orange color, with sticky white head.

Smelled of funky yeast and bread. Not really the La Chouffe aroma though... Taste was really good anyway. Had a dubbel-type flavor, not too strong, nice.

La chouffe is one of my favorites, so I was happy to find this on sale in small bottles. They need to make more of these small bottles available (the big bottles are green and I don't trust them).

 466 characters

Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter in Atlanta.

Pours a somewhat hazy brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of mildly spicy caramel malts with good amounts of brown sugar and hints of pears and green apples. As it warms the spices come out even more in the nose.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth but muted caramel malt flavors up front with a hint of toastiness are joined shortly by brown sugar and mild spices. Midway through the sip hints of pears and green apples come into play and carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a good beer that wasn't quite a BSDA but obviously wasn't a BSPA. Interesting, nicely done, and worth a shot.

 897 characters

Photo of champ103
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown color. At first a beige head forms and rises to about two fingers. The head recedes in an instant. Not much lace to speak of.
S: Dry wood with lots of yeast and sweet malt. Some spicy aromas as well. Very dank and musky. Like wet cloths. Not a lot of depth here.
T: Follows the nose. Some dry wood, malt, and yeast.
M/D: A medium body with a little to much carbonation. Not hard to sip on for the style.

Kind of nondescript malt, and not much more. Not bad, but nothing that really gets me excited.

 523 characters

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

The beer after disassociating itself from the 750ml dark green bottle sets in the glass a brilliantly clear brown color with a semi-creamy tan head piled high on the body, lace a thick and sticky sheet to obscure the glass. The aroma of yeast, hops, sweet malt, a bit of peat smokiness, all rolled up into one, crisp and fresh, the start is inconspicuous in its sweetness, the malts plentiful and the top fair to middling in its feel to the palate. The finish is unrelenting in its acidity, the hops pleasing it their spicy presence, quite dry aftertaste and a fine drinking beer.

 580 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saw this eer in the store. Am looking forward to their upcoming Tripel, thought this would be fun to try. It was a medium brown color with a thick white head. It had a malty caramel odor and a sweet taste with some spice in the background. Felt OK in the mouth. I thought it was a good, but not great beer

 305 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip. 8.0% ABV, Best Before 2012.

Thanks to bnieman and his Dad for sharing this one!

A - McChouffe pours a hazy brown-amber color with a quickly fading off-white head. Great lace is left behind on the glass.

S - The aroma starts with a rich Belgian yeast and a spicy brown ale nose with moderate hops behind. This has a lot of mineral going on, much like a German pils.

T - Slight mineral pulls through into the flavor with a standard brown ale base. Belgian yeast spices it up adding, well, spice notes, and earthiness. Hops balance it out.

M - This medium-bodied and smooth-feeling brew is lightly dry but still maintains a smooth finish.

D - While this is a good beer, it's not something I'd be interested in having a whole lot of. One better split.

 815 characters

Photo of Suds
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer introduces itself with a serious peppery phenolic smell. There’s also a heavy, sugary-malty aroma, mixed with yeast and a touch of alcohol. It’s a dark brown beer with a moderate, creamy head. There’s a lot of fruit in the taste…ripe cherries and plums, also yeast and generous brown sugar flavors. Pleasant malt backbone. It’s sweet, with a medium body. Alcohol warming sets in after the first few sips. Finish is peppery and lingering, with a little hop bitterness. It’s a solid and drinkable beer.

 516 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cranberry with off-white film. Smoke, berry and dark malt on the nose.
Dark berry, chocolate malt, and bark, a big forest fruit jam hit, candy sugar and some clovey yeast and deep spicy hay hops to finish and linger.
Light to medium, fizzy, and slightly chewy.

A self-described Scotch ale.

Belgian character underneath a lot of sweet malts. Not very Scottish, in spite of what they were aiming for. Berry too up front. A sipper.

 437 characters

Photo of mynie
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh from the tap.

I've stopped writing redundant reviews based on different serving styles except for when there's a marked difference between them. McChouffe in a bottle is good. On tap, it's bonkers.

Dark chocolate brown. Pours an awful lot like Bernardus, actually. Nice beige head, thick and hazy.

Smells of biscuits, light alcohol, milk chocolate, Chips a'Hoy, smooth silk malts. Just a perfect strength, perfect balance blend of what a Belgian dark is supposed to be. Nails it.

Tastes damn close to as a good as it smells. Sort of a very pleasant mix between a Belgian Brown and a BSD. Fruit nodes are more apparent but overwhelmed by the sweet grain and chocolate complexities of the aroma, all backed up by a little kiss of alcoholic burn.

 755 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a rich, almost opaque chocolaty brown. Aroma is strong and malty and just a touch sweet. Flavor is rich, remarkably sweet but not cloying, strongly malty with hints of fruit and butterscotch and a nutty trace. There is just a tiny hit of hop bitterness. Very smooth and pleasant to sip.

 301 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with a fair amount of tan head.
S: It smelled like dry roasted barley and earthy caramel, with some nutty malt and sour yeast and copper.
T: It tasted like sweet raisins and cherries and caramel, with sour yeast and nutty malt and bread crust.
M: It was watery with smooth carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste.
D: This was an interesting beer with a nice blend of flavors. The Belgian and Scottish styles were well integrated - almost too well because it ended up seeming more like a standard dark Belgian ale. Regardless, it had decent body (would have preferred a bit thicker), and it hid the alcohol well, so it was easy to drink. This would possibly improve with some age, but it was still enjoyable fresh.

 750 characters

Photo of FLima
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown reddish color with a thick two finger beige head with medium retention and leaving some good laces.
Good aroma of prunes, caramels and crystalized and dark fruits.
Nice flavor with notes of roasted and caramel malts, raisins, prunes, figs, spices (cloves, white pepper), cocoa powder , mild licorice, tangerine citrusy, Belgian yeast, muscatel grapes and herbal and earthy hops. A bit of smokiness and candied sugar as well. Quite dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness and a residual elegant spiciness.
Medium body with slightly effervescent carbonation. Alcohol of 8% abv is very well hidden.
This is a great Belgian Strong Dark Ale, well balanced, tasty and pleasant to drink. Not overly complex at first, but reveals its notes throughout the degustation. Not really a sipper once it can be very drinkable, but you still want to take it slowly to harvest all it has to offer.

 888 characters

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

Brown? This beer is darker than most so-called black ales with no hint of opacity; can barely see into it, much less through it. A thick, creamy and dense tan head grows to between 1 1/2 and 2 fingers in height. Retention is fantastic; this beer's showing a lot of character. Lacing is left in rocky patches and a thick ring at the top followed by somewhat spottier but thick lacing the rest of the way.
This is a very spicy beer, lots of peppery notes primarily. It's got a thick, malty breadiness to it as well. It's almost like a seasoned holiday bread of some kind, though sweetness isn't so prevalent in the aroma. There's also just a light note of banana and clove. Going into the flavor, just a little sweetness comes out, but otherwise quite a bit of earthy tones come out, tasting more raw and natural but not leafy, though a light herbal quality comes out that I'll presume to think is hops, along with a light nuttiness.
The feel is pretty creamy but mingling with a moderate crispness in about a medium body. It gets a little smoother as the sip lingers, though, and everything works together well.

 1,110 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage. Served from bottle into a tulip. Pours a dark brown amber with a one finger off white head. It maintains decent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of bananas, alcohol, malt, and brown sugar. The flavor was of fruit, massive malt, and slight alcohol. It was medium on the palate with high carbonation. Overall, this beer was excellent. Couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. It definitely aged very well if you can get ahold of an aged version you owe it to your taste buds to try it.

 510 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy deep amber to brown in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, earthy and candy sugar. In the taste, earth, peet, malty, and a small candy sugar. A yeasty and sugar bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry earthy aftertaste. Almost saison like, small dry amlt and great.

 296 characters

Photo of tavernjef
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dried blood brownish red with a medium soft-looking foamy cap that sits briefly leaving behind a big collar and thin skim. Lacing is minimal in big blobby things.

Aroma is dry and delicately soft with a semi-yielding date, prune, dark purple grapey fruitish backlay.

Taste is short, rounded in a softly darkened fruityness of red apple, purple grape, and lesser tarting fruity sugars. A bit sharp on the buds with a big carbonation hump in the middle. Finish is light and airy with a yeasty woodish dryness with a bit of fruit pits and skins trying to grab a bit of interest.

Feel is OK, the short-lived flavors don't help anything as it has a seemingly light/medium body with that hump of carbonation in the middle totally taking away what could be a fairly smooth ride.

Drinkability is a little less then the norm for a Belgian Dark ale. Quite plain, but seems like the effort is there and comes across well made, just not much going on with this one.

 965 characters

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

Appearance – Beautiful dark, ruby brown with a good head that rose unpredictably.

Smell – The full array of BSDA aromas are here. The deep, dark fruits such as dates, figs, tobacco, etc, are laced with raw brown sugar and lay atop a wonderful, toasted malt base.

Taste – This is extra special. The taste goes as the nose goes, but there’s a little something extra going on at the tongue. There’s some big, alcohol-laced bread that comes out in a surprisingly big way, making this extremely complex, full, and satisfying.

Mouthfeel – Full-bodied and chewy with an alcohol reminder makes this one feel amazing in the mouth.

Drinkability – I just went through a couple bad bottles today (two that I reviewed, the third one was so flat I figured it was defective and poured most of it out without rating it), so this was quite a treat. The bread especially that came out in the taste was a very unique flavor and well-appreciated.

Update – I first reviewed this in 2003 a month after joining the site so thought it would be interesting to re-review it with a 2004 vintage. It didn’t hold up nearly as well after tasting over 200+ Belgian ales over the course of the last year, but it was still a good beer and a joy to consume. I dropped most of my ratings by half points but still would recommend.

 1,319 characters

Photo of Gmann
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. Pours a mud puddle brown color with an average cream colored head that left a sparse cap. The smell is of bready malt, some typical Belgian spice/yeast aroma. Has a slightly dark fruit scent as well. The taste starts off with an earthy Beligan yeast flavor, there is a hint of candi sugar sweetness, not much of a fruity flavor as there is a woody flavor. Rounds out nicely with a slighty bitter end. The feel is moderate with tingly carbonation and finishes well balanced. This doesn't feel like a big beer at all, quite sessionable. The taste doesn't blow me away but it sure does drink easy.

 624 characters

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

Poured from bottle into tulip. Deep brown amber with crazy head and lacing.
nice sweet malty alcohol aroma...bit of belgian yeast.
Taste is of malty dried fruit, mixed with belgian yeasts and alcohol. Alcohol is obvious, but it should be. This is advertised as a Belgian Brown Ale, which is a way better description than Belgian Strong Dark. Its deff a brown, with belgian tendencies...like it had a condition.
Really great beer...tasty and unique. Worth drinking for sure.

 473 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.31/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown-apricot colour with really pleasant beige head, retains superbly but isn't all that thick. The sticky sheet of lace on my mistress' bed...whoops, I mean, on the glass, more than makes up for that, and very strong carbonation. Great-looking brew.

Nose is tart and resiny with a very distinct ethanol character. Fair amount of grape skins, with a hint of peach and maybe a slight banana character as well. Slightly simple, but pleasant enough.

Taste is also quite tart, with a pleasant fruity malt character on the mid, slightly tart grape characters and a hint of vinegar. Very phenolic with a distinct alcohol hit. Throughout the palate there is a lot of sweet characters though, boiled lollies and carob on the front. To be honest it doesn't sit perfectly right with the vinegar character on the back, and the overall palate feels a bit short, with not much of a finish. Pleasant enough but just lacking a bit.

Mouthfeel is very sticky and thick with a large body, not much texture but nice sticky Belgian quality.

As much as I'm not a huge fan of the flavour here, it's very drinkable and pleasant, goes down smoothly, because its tart and phenolic characters aren't quite sharp enough to make me recoil. Could disguise its alcohol better but otherwise pretty fine.

 1,290 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.39/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce stubby bottle poured into a Rochefort goblet. Deep russet brown with an ecru head. Poor retention, unbecoming of a Belgian beer, and little lacing. Aroma is primarily bready, dark fresh-baked bread to be exact, with some dusty raisins and vague red fruits. A little booze as well. Flavor is mild for the alcohol level; there's a pleasant bready grainy malt profile with an unsweet chocolate undercurrent but not much in the way of fruity esters. Sweet caramel malt finish, dry with a soft alcohol presence. Palate is overrun by carbonation. This needs some swirling and time to settle down. I was expecting a dubbel flavor profile out of this dark 8% beer but that's just not what it is. Rather pedestrian but not bad.

Edit: Turns out this is a scotch ale. Weird, wasn't expecting that. Explains the lack of yeasty/fruity notes, obviously, but it still doesn't cut it overall.

 886 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from champagne bottle into a duvel glass.

Pours dark brown, reddish tints, some foam sits atop. Good lacing, light malty and nutty smell. Some caramel but faint. Taste is very smooth and even lightly sweet brown ale. Some nuttiness, some cola and root beer buried. Creamy mouthfeel almost reminds me of a soda beverage. Very good.

 339 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer comes in a lovely 750ml bottle with a cap and no cork or cage! It pours a lovely dark brown colour with a big, fluffy, white head. The aromas are of anisette, licorice, chocolate, caramel, belgian candy sugar, various strains of yeast, and alcohol. The taste is a boozy mix of imported chocolate, high quality caramel, the finest anise, and more. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy and the drinkability is excellent as well. A staple Belgian in my diet! :0-) YUM!!!


 478 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 75cl green glass wine style bottle that has a screen printed label. “Mc” appears above the word “CHOUFFE” in purple lettering. A wizened gnome sporting a Kilt completes the presentation. Labeled as 8,5% ABV. Screen printed it has no freshness date.

Appearance: A dark brown chestnut body that is lucid. A light brown head massively robust in nature and stature proudly sits atop the beer and never really goes away during the drink but laces well. Good carbonation lends a, dare I say, classic English Brown Ale appearance.

Nose: Wet yeasty breads and a spicy dough lend a real fresh bakery feel to this beer. Dark malts want to break free but can’t. Restrained.

Taste: Smooth, caramel malt start, which is very enticing but after this the flavors tend to die away rather quickly – somewhat disappointingly. I remember this beer offering more in the past. If this is supposed to be Scotch Ale, as I remember it was at one point, then it needs more of the 8,5% to come through in the middle of the beer. As it is it tastes weak and is a let down. Have the Gnomes messed with this beer I wonder to myself????

Mouthfeel: Average at best, way short of the warming feel a Scotch Ale should present. I’m not going to down mark it for falling short of a so-called beer style – but this is pretty thin and unrewarding as well as forgetful.

Drinkability: Easily taken down at the end of a long Saturday, but the fact that it is a relatively easy drinking beer without many complexities helps the case.

Overall: Described as the “Skotch from the Ardennes”, I first drank beers from Brasserie D’Achouffe in Ostende during a trip to Belgium in Easter 1994, later we visited the Brewery at Easter 1997 – and somehow I remember this beer being much more complex than this bottle offered to me today.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I view this beer through my rose-tinted beer goggles perhaps! Still this is an OK beer, but it falls way short of the “classic” I thought it was from my ailing memory. Time goes by and we all move on I suppose - Damn, I must be getting old! Or this beer has been messed with, or perhaps I’m drinking better beers - Or all of the above perhaps? NOT worth $8 IMVHO!!!

 2,232 characters

Photo of woosterbill
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Prime 16 into an Old English Oil tulip.

A: My glass arrives full to the brim with clear ruby-brown liquid that's alive with fine effervescence; the bubbles serve to sustain a finger of delicate tan head that shows great retention and leaves light lace. Attractive.

S: Deep, bready malt is front and center, with serious toastiness and some background yeast; dark fruits and spice lie underneath. Nice.

T: Decadent maltiness dominates throughout, but is nicely restrained by some drying yeast spice on the finish. Flavors of nuts, prunes, cake, bread, and toffee provide plenty of sweet intensity, only to be balanced by a clean bite of minerality and light alcohol. Excellent.

M: Fairly hefty medium body that explodes with prickly carbonation. A little over the top.

O: This was my first encounter with a Belgian Scotch Ale, but I had no fears - in my experience Brasserie D'Achouffe can do no wrong. While not quite as transcendent as Houblon Chouffe, this brew is quite tasty indeed. The Scottishness of the malt character was apparent, although the overall effect was decidedly skewed to the Belgian side of the continuum. I kind of hoped that they would have thrown some peat-smoked malt into the grain bill, but I suppose it turned out just fine as is. Well done, gnome.


 1,300 characters

McChouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,077 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!