N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
515 Reviews
N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with thyme and curaçao

Added by Bierman9 on 12-14-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
515
Ratings:
1,138
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
14.53%
 
 
Wants:
54
Gots:
195
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 1,138
Photo of bronzeside
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow!
Purchased a 750ml bottle from a local retailer.
2007 product
Consumed in a Ommegang Chalice.
Very pleasant winter ale.
Dark--like a good cup of French roast coffee.
Nice head, but not overwhelming. Smaller bubbles. They dissipate after a couple minutes but do not disappear. Enough to let you know you are drinking a real beer, but not so much that they get in the way.
Taste--Curacao, spice and dark sugar, but so, so, mellow. Although I mention sugar, this is not a sweet beer.
Slightly bitter on the end, but not jolting. Just enough to even things out.
Be careful--even after one chalice, this is a different beast.

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Photo of exodus1369
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer! I usually get a little shy around green bottles but I had to try it. Nice aroma of spice and dark fruit, a bit flat but I have read that this beer tends to do that after time. Has a wonderful taste of spices and those dark fruit notes really do come out. Nice and smooth finish leaves you wanting more.

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Photo of Shanex
4.56/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Is N'ice Chouffe the best Christmas beer around? Probably at least in Belgium. It's super sweet, caramel, orange and at 10%ABV the 75cl bottle will knock you down. Before bed time only.

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Photo of SM00TH_H0PERAT0R
4.56/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was surprisingly fruity and sweet, especially considering it's dark color and how high the ABV is (10%). If I ever spot this on a shelf again, I could not pass it up.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage.

Pours a deep amber with an eggshell white head. The foamy head leaves substantial lacing. Rich aromas of candied nuts, balsamic vinegar, chestnuts, allspice, and cinnamon. One of my favorite things about this beer is its body. Smooth, soft and mellow, with delicate carbonation. It's downright beautiful. The best vehicle
possible for the complex flavor profile at work in this beer.
Notes of marzipan, anise, Belgian candi sugar,caramel,
toffee, rum soaked fruit, candied orange peel, and pie crust. Good lord. This is a tasty beer.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2002 edition. Poured chestnutty brown with frothy tan-colored head it the La Chouffe tuliped goblet. Top notch lacing, beautiful. Pruney, raisiny, malt aroma with a mix of mandarin zest and musty, yeasty notes. Smooth texture from the subtlized carbonation. Malty and rich; beautiful, soft spicing round out a nice sweet and sustained finish. So many flavors going on in this beer it's rather hard to describe. Spiced, candied dates with orange zest on them. Quite the delicacy of a winterbeer.

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Photo of dnichols
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I shared this fine winter brew with my sons on Christmas day. We poured the capped 750 ml bottle into chilled chalices.

A: It poured a dark brown body with an off-white to tan head that was an abundant three fingers. The head slowly receded leaving a thick curtain of lacing that clung to the side of the glass.

S: It presented a sweet malt aroma rich in caramel and dark yeasts. It smelled of brown sugars and floral herbs and spices.

T: It tasted of sweet toasted malts that generated flavors of caramel and sweet light chocolates. The floral herbs and spices generated by hops and the alcohol gave it a wintery warmness that make me feel like I was enjoying a rich spicy hot chocolate spiced with nutmeg and all spice.

M: It was full-bodied with sweet malts and spices. It was warming and finished clean with no aftertaste.

D: It was a joy to drink...so much so that in some ways I regretted having to share the bottle. I wanted more when my allotment was done. I enjoy Mc Chouffe but this excellent BSDA gives it a run for my favorite from this fine brewery.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this at Tully's; hadn't seen it there before. The bottle said Limited Edition 2005. An extraordinary , complex beer. It was a medium brown color with a coffee-colored head and some nice lacing. It had a distinct spicy odor, very warm, almost like a red pepper. Tasting was a revelation. It was sweet, orange, spices, some malt, and a nice warm aftertaste. A little bubbly for my taste. The alcohol is not noticeable at first, but it certainly sneaks up on you. Be careful with it.

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep dark brown with a pillowy beige head that falls into a thin blanket, leaves a nice lace down the glass.
the aroma is rich with carmelized malt, citrus, and unidentified spice/herb (guessing it is the thyme) with a hint of alcohol.
the flavor is heaven rich with maltiness and cirtus, thyme, candied sugars, hint of bitterness.
the mouthfeel is a little thin but that is perfect to the style.
beer is very drinkable but most enjoyed on a cold night.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12/31/04- Purchased at Beverages and More in Colma, CA

Presentation- 750 ml bottle with a little knome dude on it. Best before end of 2009, poured into my Duvel glass. Version 2004.

Appearance- Huge nice foamy head, a darker amber-brown color, but very light lacing.

Smell- New scents abound here for me. A decent amount of sweetness. Maybe it's the thyme or curacao I am smelling? Needless to say there is some kind of fruit in there.

Taste- Sweet, but not overly sweet. A citrus taste to go with some sweet plums or raisin-date kinda taste. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel- Quite full mouthfeel, but the ABV doesn't hit you as hard as most 10% beers. It caught me off gaurd and made it easier to consume. Perfect mid range carbonation.

Drinkability- The only thing holding it back is the ABV, which does sneak up on you. Nice buzz at the end of the bottle. Very good beer that will be getting cellared if I can get a couple more.

Version 2003....

Quite different....a huge and I mean huge thyme flavor. Almost so that it was making me gag. In the future I will be sure to taste before buying multiple bottles. Pass on the 2003...probably past it's prime.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark plum or prune color with purple highlights. Frothy and bubbly one finger cream colored head. Nice retention on the head.
S: Very fruity and fresh with pears and apples. Dark fruits of figs and prunes also are noticeable. Sweet and sugary with brown sugar notes. Spicy.
T/M: Full and thick in the mouth with spicy and sweet fruity notes bursting onto the taste buds. Spices, orange peel, apple, pear, figs, and dates. Sweet caramel and brown sugar round out the fruity flavors. Very smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. Slight hop presence in the finish. Toasted malts are also there, but not too big. Decent yeasty aftertaste. A tad hot and boozy, but it's actually nice.
D: Creamy and smooth. Excellent drinkability. More spicy than the other noels I've had this season so far, a bit fuller, and cheaper to boot. High abv doesn't cloud the senses and is hardly noticeable.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All I can say is why have I not had this beer yet? Really, really dangerous high octane concoction that is delicious. Does this have alcohol in it? I don't taste any. Will be having again. Simple, pleasantly fruity and very well crafted. Highly recommended.

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

Appearance – The head came right out of the bottle. It poured a beautiful, fine, tan white. The body is an extremely dark brown, cloudy and carbonated.

Smell – This opened up wonderfully in my Chimay glass. The deep yeast aroma is laden with dark fruits and sugars. I can almost taste the dates, figs, overly ripe apricots, and brown sugar. I’m tasting this with a Lebanese dish I just made that involves making bread, so the kitchen is filled with a wonderful aroma of yeast, bread, and fruit.

Taste – This is terrific. The classic flavors come out in force here. This is a very thick blend of toasted malts and bready yeast. The fruits are bigger at the tongue. The figs and dates are huge! The sugar is present as well, making this an extremely well-rounded ale.

Mouthfeel – This is full in the mouth. You’ll want to eat this one with a fork. There’s a small sting of alcohol, which is amazing for an ale with a 10.0 ABV. The carbonation is big and top notch.

Drinkability – I had to drink this exceptional ale while making disgusting, sour faces so that my wife would think that it was horrible. No, seriously, this is a fine example of the style and well worth the ten bucks or so that I paid for it.

Comments – This is the 2002 Edition and is a seasonal winter ale, so it’s been sitting for almost a year. It tastes just right, so maybe this is something to age off the shelf. Either way, this is awesome and would make a great Christmas gift.

Update – I first reviewed this in 2003 with a year-old bottle, so thought I’d revisit this classed in 2005 with an ’04 vintage.

The beer is wonderfully balanced and extremely complex. The curacao that they use in the brewing process ads a particularly inviting dimension to the ale. The fine Belgian yeast stands out in my mind as exceptional, and I really enjoy the way that the sweetness moves in and out of the flavor profile. This is an incredible beer!

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Photo of dacrza1
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: December 29, 2015... GLASSWARE: Chimay goblet...OCCASION: basking in the afterglow of The Force Awakens with a beer that has some force of its own... APPEARANCE: dark ruby brown body that reveals none of its contents... the thick, creamy brown head resembles the head of mousse, with thick bubbles wreathing the glass...a thick shade follows its crest... AROMA: ginger, anise, pepper, and vanilla roil in the citrus and pear... small hits of toasted malts work their way in--raisin and currants lastly ... PALATE: creamy, active at the throat, and long-lasting in its finish--one that coats and resounds... shockingly sippable and worth holding in the mouth, with a pleasant, almost softened cola consistency... TASTE: a light grape, vinous sauvignon , with mellow anise, malt, and dry hops that suggest orange and earthy roots...figs and dates, yes sir...slightly sour, with some fermentation making the experience a bit more complex... ...OVERALL: in a run of great strong beers--see Southern Tier's 2xmas and Corsendonk's Christmas Ale--Nice more than holds its own, it owns...as drinkable a weighty beer as one finds, with complexity and enjoyability coupling easily... had this a long time ago, then on a St Patty's Day crawl in State College on tap--and the search was over at The Hop and Vine....one bottle, and one is feeling good...

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Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage

It's an attractive beer, pouring a deep, rich, spicy looking brown. Lots of particles suspended in the liquid. The head is bright white providing great contrast with the beer, but lacks solid retention.

Strong dark fruits in the nose, really rich smelling. Very wine-like bouquet, but with a bit more fruitiness and a little malt backbone. As it warms, the thyme and orange scents are more noticeable. When it really warms, the curacao finally presents itself.

Taste is more dark fruits--raisins, figs and grapes. The funky Belgian yeast is present and wonderful. Some candy sugar as well. Alcohol is mildly present in the finish.

There's a lot of sweetness, but it's balanced nicely with some citrus acidity, a bit of hoppy bite, some heat from the alcohol and the malt. Despite the minimal head, there's plenty of carbonation to keep the finish slightly dryish. Full bodied.

Overall, I love this beer. No major flaws. Easy to drink. Hides the alcohol well. Wish it wasn't a seasonal beer.

 1,010 characters

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

Delicious beer! Typically Belgian S. D. Ale in that it's very berry like in flavor, sweetness, tartness, and intensity. Sweetened with cotton-candy sugars, barley malt, and spices. Full and rich on the palate without becoming thick or heavy. Sweetly alcoholic, but swirled around the berry tartness. Lightly woody, musky, dates, and figs. Finishes lightly sweet, tart, and spicy. Looks very much like prune-juice, but tastes much better. A firm, rocky head tops off this juicy beverage.

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

2007 Limited edition reviewed on 1-11-2011.
750ml in Affligem Chalice.

A- Dark brown with a blush encapsulated by caramel. Head comes strong, audibly disturbed and dies quick.

S- Yeasty notes are beset by strong tones of dark fruits and clove spice, finishing bitter sweet.

T- Date and prune jump start a ride into a peppery explosion of clove and hop bitterness amid a grassy background. Very complex, with an aftertaste as magnificent as the sip. Alcohol is barely detectable but noticeable if searched for.

M- Full bodied, creamy great carbonation.

O- Amazing brew, so easy to drink, so enjoyable, so exotic. Wish there was another waiting for me. It aged incredibly. You won't believe this beer is as strong as it is... It's so complex and has such a nice yeast presence.

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

Presentation: 75cl green glass wine style bottle that has a screen printed label. N’ICE CHOUFFE in red and white lettering adds a Christmas feel to this offering, as does the scene of the Chouffe Gnomes stooped around a small burning fire set against a snow covered village scene. This is an annual brew, and my sample is clearly labeled as Limited Edition 2002.

Appearance: A dark winter-brown body clear and free of any deleterious matter at first, later in the pour some yeast clouds appear. The dirty white head is massive at first, but it slowly rescinds, excellent lacing. Good carbonation, classic appearance.

Nose: Caramel mixed with some yeasty fresh bread odors. Curaçao is prevalent in the middle with brown sugars. The thyme adds a refreshing summer herb garden aspect in the ending.

Taste: Lightly sweet malts, some restrained caramel and a spicy feel at first, no doubt from the curaçao peel. The middle is all malt with some feint hints of an alcohol lick. The ending is the best part for me though, an excellent balance of malts laced with thyme which adds a very refreshing fresh ‘minty’ dimension to the end of this strong beer. I grew thyme in my Garden in England, who would have thought it would be put to such good use in beer?!! I’ll have to remember that!

Mouthfeel: Nice, solid, full-bodied ale that is not overwhelming, or alcohol dominant. The sweet malts add some bulk to the beer, whilst the thyme at the end lightens the load.

Drinkability: Well a 75cl at 10% ABV is never going to be a “downer”. However, the whole bottle afforded me several Goblet Glassfuls and steadfastly accompanied me easily throughout the night. Gets better, much better, and much easier to drink, as it warms - which means that the end of bottle soon disappears.

Overall: This offering, as the label does actually recommend, really needs to warm to around 60°F before it gets chance to reveal all of it’s complex nuances. As such, straight from the fridge, your impatience may well mean that you are far from impressed at first.

The 2002 is good to go right away if you see it on the shelves of your local beer store. But don’t believe the label hype about Cellaring – this beer is at its best around 2 years old and starts to head south after 3-4 years, sometimes quickly in my experience. It is better "fresh" I think.

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

2005 Edition. Served in a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature. Bottle reads "BEST BEFORE END 2010". I will have to hoard a few of these for the years to come.

Appearance- Juicy, glorious berry red with raisin brown highlights... looks like it could be Rodenbach's heftier cousin. The explosive, four finger head pops and hisses into a thin mat floating on the surface. Lacing is moderate and sporadic, with island-like cling.

Smell- Huge, dark candy sugar and malts with alcohol-soaked spices of curacao peel and thyme. Monstrous and god-like are not overexaggerations of the aroma here... I am sitting here getting drunk off the smell. This is a winter brew built to last, and it has enough going on in the nose to probably cellar for years. If you blended a vintage ruby port with a quadrupel, this is what it might smell like.

Taste- Berry-like fruits plow through the festival of malt and spices, holding nothing back with regard to strength. Full, round, overwhelmingly huge (but not at all to a detriment) this has a balance that could be thought impossible for a beer of 10%. Of the great offerings from Brasserie D'Achouffe, this is actually my favorite.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Near perfection... Slick, rolling, and luscious in the mouth. The tiny bubbles whisk the gigantic, heavy strength of the beer elegantly down the gullet, leaving no harshness or cloying whatsoever. Each time I enjoy a bottle of this edition (2005), I walk away feeling like this beer is one of Winter's great treasures... and one to come back to again and again.

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Photo of chris19571978
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must say I really enjoyed this beer. Especially the dark candy sugar. The inside of the bottle smelled like melting chocolate. Amazing. I loved the orange rind and the smooth malty taste. The bottle is also great. The finish was excellent as well. The dark candy sugar came out at the end. I would definitely drink this again!

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Photo of drmeto
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

L:
-pours a slightly hazy ruby with a small to medium,foamy,beige head
S:
-caramel,toffee,plums,raisins,figs,candi sugar,strawberries,banana,chocolate,cinnamon,toast
T:
-Follows the nose plus Herbs (THyme) ans syrup
-elevated bitterniss for the style
F:
-medium carbonation
-medium body
-alcohol noticeable
O:
Great Christmas Ale.The Thyme isn't too in-your-face.

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Photo of puck1225
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap into a snifter. Rich dark brown with a thin head and decent lacing. Very nice, pleasant smell, sweet and comforting. Taste of candied fruit, warm spices and dark fruit. A very nice beer. Even my son, who recently went only for Coors Lite and Shiner Bock, likes this beer!

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle, pours a hazed brown slight copper ruby with a light tan head. Aroma caramel with notes of nuts, hazelnuts and spices. Taste is sweet and rich with notes of dark and dried fruit and sugar. Very nice.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 edition. Sent by mnwags as a nice surprise in a recent trade.

Murky, muddy look, like dirty old puddle water in a glass; speaking of dirty, the head is a dirty white--fluffy, creamy and producing incredibly clingy lace.

Aroma is a nice melange of exotic spices, milk chocolate, raisin, dark grape, and alcohol. The stronger scents, like spices and alcohol, just barely dominate the mellower and more vinous smells.

The flavor is total complexity and pure Belgian wonder. Unique too. The thyme this is brewed with can be detected, as can a softer cocoa powder element. The thyme doesn't spike out, fortunately, and the 10% alcohol only adds what it should, which is additional spiciness and a welcoming, cozy warmth. Various fermented fruits come to mind also. A hint of mint; healthy dose of orange; even some caraway. All this is swirled together and the result is a mellow beer that is intensely flavorful while not being heavy at all.

The airy and slick mouthfeel only helps matters...it's fairly creamy, mildly carbonated, and slightly sticky. A ghost of citrus bitterness in the finish, along with a consistent layer of smooth and silky cocoa.

WOW. That's about all I can say. This is amazing and a great beery delicacy...as are all the other beers by Achouffe. (Gesundheit!)

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Photo of Whiteturtle
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Ive been dying to try this for years. Ive never been able to get my hands on it because Kentucky never received it, although they got all the other La chouffe offerings. But I'm in the Big Apple now, so lets see what these gnomes have been working on all year..

Pours a lovely burnt sienna hue. A three finger head.. with stereotypical BSDA retention. Bubbles are always visibly crawling up the sides.

Belgian yeast strain on the nose, of course. I definitely smell the orange peel that this is brewed with. I also get a dash of cinnamon and allspice, maybe a little anise. Sweet malt, burnt sugar, and molasses also get honorable mentions.

Cherry, chocolate orange, clove, and dare I say a bit of spruce?? Ill say this, this beer looks and smells a lot darker than it tastes. Only a minimal perception of spices, which I love. Dark fruits, berries, and a toasty malt finish. Beautiful

If I had one complaint it would be that it is a bit hot. The first few sips caught my throat off guard. It certainly wasn't unbearable, just a bit boozy. But thats not all bad for a winter beer huh?

So far, this and corsendonk christmas have been my favorite belgian holiday ales. Corsendonk is a little sweeter and spicier, while the gnomes came strong with malt and some bitterness to back it up. (Its probably those pine trees, those tricky gnomes). If you can find this, get it. I don't care what kind of beer you like, I don't even care if you like beer (although you probably wouldn't be here if you didn't)... this is awesome. Let the gnomes take care of you for the holidays, you won't be sorry.

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
91 out of 100 based on 515 ratings.
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