N'Ice Chouffe
Brasserie d'Achouffe

N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #21
Ranked #3,088
4.1 | pDev: 9.51%
Brasserie d'Achouffe
N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe
Notes: When the little animals in Fairyland hibernate, the Achouffe gnomes love to gather in their cottage. By the gentle firelight, they spend long evenings telling the best Ardennes stories while enjoying a delicious N’Ice CHOUFFE. Smooth and strong, with spicy notes of thyme and Curacao, this dark beer warms both hearts and atmospheres, making even the coldest winters joyful.
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Reviews: 575 | Ratings: 1,333
Photo of officerbill
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 34cl bottle (best by 12/19) poured into a Bernardus goblet.
Reddish brown (almost the color of a dark caramel) with a thick wheat colored head that way became a.
I have a sinus thing going on so I can't comment on the smell.
A full, rich, malty taste. A little sweet, but not sugary. The well balanced spices stay in the background to enhance the flavor of the ale instead of overpowering it.
A very good dark Belgian ale and one of the best "winter ales" I've had. Just remember that this is 10% ABV and the alcohol can sneak up on you.

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Photo of VABA
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours nice dark amber brownish color with a generous head and lacing.
A-Aroma has generous fruity and spicy hints
T-The taste follows the nose with well balanced fruity and spicy flavors
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer.
O-A very nicely balanced beer.

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Photo of lastmango
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby brown with a two finger fizzy tan head. Light lacing is present. Nose of candied sugar, malt and dark fruit. Taste follows the nose with orange peel and winter spices. Crisp and dry finish. Moderate body and carbonation, yet with a bit of thin syrup feels. Easy drinking. Booze is warming but not overpowering.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wotta week! Three straight days at the same substitute teaching assignment! Normally, I eschew such things and two is usually my upper limit, but this gig was too good to gloss over/past. I scouted the nearby bottle shop, Country Garden Six Pack, on Thursday & on Friday, I pounced! A sampler four-pack of Chouffe + a glass at a rock-bottom price! Plus some other Belgians that I had drank before. It's a Belgian weekend as the snowstorm & Arctic Inversion approach! I contacted Chris Brouwarts of Chouffe via E-mail, but I have yet to get a response. Onward! [Edit] He says that these are Mai 2018 vintage.

From the Bottle: "Belgian Dark Ale brewed with spices (Thyme and Curacao Peel"; "N'Ice Chouffe, limited edition, brewed only once each winter by Brasserie d'Achouffe in the heart of the Ardennes forest of Belgium. Brasserie d'Achouffe began brewing this intensely complex bottle conditioned ale in 1993. This deep[,] dark [W]inter [W]armer I rich in taste, spicy, full of complex, fruity, berrylike, vinous flavors that are complimented by malt overtones. N'Ice Chouffe is brewed from: water, malted barley, hops, thyme & dried orange peel and a lot of dark candy-sugar. Beer enthusiasts may wish to cellar this bottle immediately for enjoyment in the years to come or serve at 60 [deg.] F as an after dinner drink."

This has been a pretty wondrous day thus far! I had some other Belgians earlier & then I got started on this Chouffe party pack in earnest. This one is the fourth of four so a nap may be forthcoming following this one. I began the finale with a Pop! of the cap, followed by a slow, gentle, C-Line pour into my now well-seasoned Brasserie d'Achouffe glass that came with the set (!). It huffed & it puffed & it blew itself up into three fingers of dense, puffy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head until it couldn't hold its breath any longer & exhaled. Poof! Nowt but heavy, sticky lacing to remember it by. Color was an amazing Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity & garnet/ruby highlights. Gorgeous! Nose smelled like a Christmas cookie! Oh, how I loved to bake as a young man. I excelled in HomeEc (Foods) & I wanted to be a baker/pastry chef until drugs fouled me up. The holidays were the best as we were encouraged to find a blend of spices for our cookies, all of which would be judged by students, faculty & administration. I never won, but I also managed to add some herb into mine, making them VERY popular. I would be hard-pressed to pinpoint which spices were used in this, but dang, did it smell like the holidays! Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but more like a ball of dough on my tongue. Mmm. I let it roll around to warm & see what spices might emerge from the mélange. Anise? Imprecise. Cardamom? Not spicy enough in the beer. Same with many of the usual suspects, like star anise, grains of Paradise & coriander. The spiciness of the beer simply was not THAT strong. I kept rummaging through my memory, licking my lips as I did so, but to no avail. 8=( The label gave it away - thyme. Thyme?!? In a beer?!? Brilliant! The last time that I used thyme was on a bone-in leg of lamb at Easter with Herbes de Provence as a rub. Mmm. Now, in cogitating on it, I m-I-g-h-t be able to identify it as thyme, but it would take some time. Enough! The back label also mentions mulling/wassailing/heating & I am all for the concept. We have been discussing double-boilers, crock pots & assorted means for a couple/few months with an outdoor pop-up event as part of the plans. This would be a fantastic candidate! It was a subtly spiced beer that could really blossom with a bit of heat. Mmm. & some cookies to go with … Man, these digressions. Bottom line: this was a really nice holiday ale & it could be identified as a "Spiced/Herbed Ale" without any static from me. It finished dry, as any spiced ale should be expected to evince. My next move will be to search out some more to warm & serve in cups, NOT glasses. Laugh at Winter! Heat your beers & wines & sip them from cups!

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Photo of beergoot
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tawny brown; thin yet lasting head; rings of lacing. Ripe, dark pitted fruit; plum and dates. Licorice and brown malt; bitter with mild booziness. Heavy body with a prickly, dry feel; warm.

A damn fine beer.

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Photo of MoreBeer4me
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Its good...BUT nowhere up to snuff when compared to Christmas beer such as those brewed by Gouden Carolus or St. Bernardus. This one kind of leaves me wanting more from the beer which isn't there.

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Photo of scootny
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A deep mahogany pour yields a dark tan head that stays for quite some time and leaves nice trails of lace along the sides of the glass. Often clear on its initial dumping I swirled the bottle to introduce the yeast and a light amount of haze.

Nose is sweet and malty with notes of brandy, dark cherries, figs, and dark candi sugar, faint molasses. Some holiday spices waft lightly along the top.

Taste is full on Nat King Cole Christmas. Delicious brandy soaked roasted malt with nuts and nutmeg lingering. Sweet dark fruits and boozy toasted brown bread dipped in toffee. And while there is alcohol in the taste signature, the beer itself is not hot or really alcoholic. It has the FLAVORS of brandy and rum soaked fruitcake, but not the full on alcohol edge and bite. So it goes down so smooth and easy that its a joy, and pleasure to easily have too much. A dry crisp finish is surprisingly short and reveals a light toasted malt on my tongue and mild herbal hops with just a touch of earth.

A bit of syrup and and soft carbonation are this one an easy drinker. The surprise is really just how quenching it is, given the weight and overall category. Holiday brews generally aren't high abv quaffers. This one is.

A great Holiday brew. Period. If you can only have one in the house, this one makes it onto the list of five to choose from.

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Photo of IronLover
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown in color. Poured with a billowy, light tan foam with excellent retention. Sweet dark malt, raisin, prune and sweet dark fruit aromas. Medium bodied with lively,  effervescent carbonation and pleasant warmth from the middle through the finish. Sweet dark malt and estery dark fruit flavors followed by spicy hops that transition medium light, acidic hop bitterness. Soft, sneaky, boozy backbone. Earthy, spicy hop flavors with dark malt flavors on the back end. Finished with light booziness, dark and grainy malt flavors and earthy, spicy hop notes. Subtle malty complexity that is balanced by light hop character and mellow booziness. Estery character is a balance of dark fruit light spiciness.  Mellow, tasty, and warming. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. 

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, best by 11-2019. Date stamp L32804 08:52. Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Slow pour to leave the sediment behind gave a very dark copper-ruby red beer with a thin white head. Some occasional persistent strands and islands of lacing noted.

Smell: Not a lot of aroma, but some notes of dark fruits and caramel/toffee.

Taste: What this beer doesn't have as much of in the way of aroma, it more than makes up for it in flavor. Lots of tastes all going on here: dark candi sugar, caramel, toasted malt, dark fruit/berries, thyme, bitter orange peel, and leafy noble hops.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick with brisk carbonation that scrubs the palate clean. Dry finish with a bit of warming from the higher ABV.

Overall / Drinkability: Definitely a slow sipping beer, and I'm glad I followed the advice on the bottle to let it warm up to 60 F before drinking. I had it in the back of the fridge to help the sediment settle out, and when first poured and it still had some chill to it, it was quite bitter and some of the malt sweetness was hidden. Once warmed up though, all the flavors come out to play. A great beer for a winter evening.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

had two 330 ml glasses of this over a lunch in Brussels. In the d'Achouffe tulip glass

dark brown in color, a little hazy. thick creamy tan colored head. rich malty aroma - toffee, a touch of spice and dark fruit. similar taste, slightly sweet. thick, full bodied and smooth.

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Photo of Fatheroftoomany
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep dark brown color pour. Tremendous amount of head. Thyme taste is there and I like it. Spicy yet not too spicy and leaves my mouth smoothly. Very good beer and very tasty.

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Photo of Martin194
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Clear, dark amber-brown, light tan head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Bittersweet spices; cinnamon, maybe nutmeg. A bit grassy? Brown sugar and dark fruits. Not a super strong scent, but it's good.

Taste: Sweet, bready, but also pleasantly bitter, roasty. Hints of banana. Definitely a lot of alcohol after swallowing, haha.

Feel: Full body, normal carbonation. The alcohol leaves a warm, dry aftertaste.

Overall: Great beer for a cold night in, warms you right up.

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Photo of spectru
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown ale with a creamy colored head, lacy; The aroma is not strong, but fresh; Sparkly, well carbonated; The flavor is rich, full-bodied, fruity, sweet; Hardly a hint of the 10% ABV.

The label on mine was the same as that shown rhere on BA, but the bottle was short and shapely.

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Photo of REVZEB
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent belgian winter dark ale. Spices carry all the way through the nose and taste. Has sweet berries, malts and booze, with savory spices, wholesome barley, and creamy yeast. Not the best I have had in the style, but does well to hide booze.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.57/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5


Holiday Beer Tasting at JPK's.

1. Bruery 10 Lords a Leaping
2. N'ice Chouffe
3. Goose Island Noel
4. Fegley's Rude Elf Reserve

LOOK: Brown color, small white head; fades to lacing.
AROMA: ash, wood, pine.
TASTE: raisin, allspice
FEEL: medium body, decent carbonation

Pretty Good winter ale.


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Photo of arizcards
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop 11-11-17 for $3.99. Best before 2-2019.

Beer poured light brown with a nice slightly off white head.

Nose is very estery, mainly dark fruits.

Taste is classic strong dark Belgian, figs and currants dominate over yeast fed with candi sugar. The thyme and orange peel adjuncts are ever so light in the background which is nice.

Mouthfeel is classic Belgian yeast strain, light bodied with each sip dancing across my palate.

Overall the base beer is very good and the brewer's touch with the spice was nice and light handed.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Feb 2019 and served at cellar temperature.

Pours a deep copper-brown colour with amber red highlights, generating nearly an inch of frothy, buff-coloured head that slowly dissipates over the next 5-10 minutes. A quarter-inch cap of creamy foam holds fast, ringed by a thick collar and an attractive coat of lacing; lookin' good so far. The aroma is rather subdued for such a strong Belgian beer, with notes of bready malt, caramel and candi syrup mingling together with yeastiness and fruit esters. Hints of prune, raisin and red apple flesh provide a semblance of depth, as does a slight herbal root note; meanwhile, the 10% ethanol is just barely perceptible.

A decent quaffer; a bit too sugary for me, and a bit lacking in complexity by the standard of Belgian strong ales, but at least the abv is well-integrated. The flavours don't stray too far from the boundaries drawn out by the aroma - dark, cake-like malts, molasses and caramelized candi sugar are quite prominent, accompanied by dark, fruity qualities that evoke thoughts of prune, black cherry, apple and fig. It becomes yeastier towards the finish, giving off spicy hints of clove, pepper and cassia, as well as some herbal licorice root, all of which pave the way for a malty sweet, spicy, mildly boozy aftertaste. Medium in body, leaning towards full; the carbonation started off aggressive, so I left the room to do something else for 20-30 minutes. This gave the carb time to thin out, smoothing out the mouthfeel drastically, making it much more pleasurable to sip. Even still, this step really shouldn't have been necessary.

Final Grade: 3.79, a B+. N'Ice Chouffe is, well, pretty nice I suppose, but it could have been better. The thyme and Curacao don't seem to play much of a role here at all - I'm all for judicious use of spicing in beer, but if they're not even noticeable, in either the flavour profile or aroma, then why even bother? In all fairness, I do prefer an underspiced beer (like this) to one that is overspiced... but that sweet spot in between is the optimal target, and N'Ice misses that mark. It's certainly worth a try, but it's easily outclassed by the Trappist equivalents.

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Photo of Hanglow
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy brown with chunky yeast. Large rocky head

Light aroma, sweet, some bubblegum, low key. Not offensive is about the nicest thing I can say about it.

Lots more going on in taste though at least. Copper coins, toffee apples, sugary. Not bad

Star of the show is the mouthfeel - prickly carb goes great with the body and a lovely dryness. Hint of hop bitterness.

10% abv is almost completely hidden, save a warming sensation. Hard thing to do.

Ultimately it makes me think a pale Achouffe would have been a better choice.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brasserie d'Achouffe "N'Ice Chouffe"
33 cl brown glass bottle, "Best before end 02 2019..."
$4.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Look: A slightly hazy very dark brown body is topped by a finger-thick head of creamy khaki foam that holds remarkably well and leaves some very nice lacing behind.

Smell: Dark sugar, the distinct La Chouffe yeast, and delicate fruit and spice and herbs. The label states that it's brewed with thyme and curacao peel although neither particularly stand out.

Taste: As the aroma suggests with the exception that the spices are clear. The sweetish malt is lightly caramelish and sugary, not quite heading into burnt sugar but maybe a little bit of brown sugar. The fruitiness is soft, with orange, and apple as well, and the herbal character of the thyme is backed by a light spiciness from the yeast. The alcohol never shows despite being a full 10% ABV, although its presence is felt. It balances nicely, and a moderate bitterness rounds it out, leaving it with some residual sweetness in the finish that the light spice and alcohol help to dry out.

Feel: Medium in body with a dextrinous side, and remarkably soft and creamy with a very delicate, fine-bubbled, effervescent and "airy" carbonation.

Overall: A classic, as are several of the La Chouffe beers. Superbly balanced with a lot of flavor but not so much that it weighs you down or overloads your tastebuds. It's remarkably refined and way too easy to drink at 10.0% ABV. This may be a winter beer but I think it could be readily enjoyed all year long.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.52/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle. Pours brown with tall, long-lasting, foamy beige head and nice lacing. Aroma is of grassy hops, toasted malt and some fruit. Body is full and crisp. Herbal hops, spices, caramel malt and dark fruit fill the mouth. Finish is long and spicy. Good brew.

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Photo of Easton70
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours with a surprising amount of head for such a strong beer but it doesn’t stick around unfortunately.

The aroma is sweet dried fruits.

The flavour is also sweet, unctuous with a real boozy kick. A great beer for late at night on a freezing winter night.

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Photo of OlaB
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Apperance is murky dark brown color with a medium top off beige head. Aroma is off dark matured fruits,caramel,bread,raisins,licorice and burned sugar. The taste is sweet where i sense dark matured fruits, while in the back is malty with flavour off caramel, bread and some hints off licorice. In the middle i sense that is also is some spices present, while the finish is long and pleasant with a slight bitterness. Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is soft and creamy. Gives almost immediatelly a warming feel, and has great complexity in the flavours.
This was a delicious beer, very well made. This is what i want in the christmas time.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: dark dark murky brown, almost black. Slightly shiny. 1/2 finger off-white head

S: fig, plum, brown sugar, grass, sweet cherries upfront, dark wheat and oak as well. Big candie sugar and raisin following those. A touch of caramel as well

T: dark sweet cherries, plums, loads of raisins. Candie sugar and caramelized figs. Big hit of booze in here as well. There is a nice Belgian yeasty pepper and clove spice in here as well. Huge doughy malt presence in the backbone

M: heavy mouthfeel, with lower-mid carbonation

O: very solid strong Belgian Ale. This is a sweet sipper and an excellent beer for the cold weather. Big thumbs up on this

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Photo of janubio
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber coppery colour, medium off white head and retention, great lacing.
Aroma is spicy, herbs (label reads thyme, I'm not sure if that what I get), fruits, malts, some citric notes, cloves, cocoa, vanilla.
Medium to full, body, creamy sticky texture, great carbonation.
Taste is malty, licorice, citrics and herbal notes, chocolate.
A different really good winter.

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Photo of pootz
3.56/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: pours a hazed brown with ruby highlights - Aroma is musty, spicy, pungent....flavor is fruity, musty, a tad sweet...wet finish with little hop balance,,,not my cup of tea.

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1333 ratings