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N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

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N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe
BA SCORE
4.07/5
Exceptional
1,327 Ratings
N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe
Belgium
achouffe.be

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#5,697
Reviews:
575
Ratings:
1,327
pDev:
9.83%
 
 
Wants:
73
Gots:
249
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,327 |  Reviews: 575
Photo of edthehead
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of archero
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of officerbill
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

 539 characters

Photo of Shantzak
4.84/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of VABA
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 261 characters

Photo of bump8628
4.56/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Berknerj
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of kinggimp
3.49/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of generallee
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lastmango
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

 334 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

 4,068 characters

Photo of BelgianBeerChef
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of beergoot
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

 208 characters

Photo of Dutchcraftbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MoreBeer4me
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

 197 characters

Photo of scootny
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 1,349 characters

Photo of andrei_chiffa
4.51/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of IronLover
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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. 

 769 characters

Photo of Chilmer
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Gemini6
3.59/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Wizzman
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of mishi_d
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of robebo44
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of steverx8
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of damndirtyape
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

 1,172 characters

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 1,327 ratings