N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
528 Reviews
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:
Brewed with thyme and curaçao

Added by Bierman9 on 12-14-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
528
Ratings:
1,188
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
9.85%
 
 
Wants:
59
Gots:
215
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 528 | Ratings: 1,188
Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours hazy reddish-brown with a half-finger foamy off-white head. The head on the beer dissipates quickly with some amount of retention and a very small amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma of this beer is very sweet with hints of bitter orange and spices.

T: The beer's predominant taste is that of malts and spices though there are hints of dark berries and bitter orange - the spices are very noticeable in the finish.

M: Medium bodied and smooth with moderate carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable and the taste of alcohol is nicely hidden in this beer - a good beer to enjoy over the holiday/winter season and seems like it would pair nicely with traditional American Thansgiving & Christmas dinners.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours very dark copper with a very sticky one finger foam, lingering.
Smells of fruit cake, caramel, warm alcohol, cherries and spices.
Expected it to be very sweet and creamy, but surprisingly, it starts off prickly-spicy and crisp. Dried dark fruit in the background, with some crisp citrus up front (oranges, faint tangerines, faint grapefruit), more than mild acidic red apple and yellow pear, sour cherries and nice musty red grapes. Roasted malts, not so smooth, a bit rough, almost giving a sense of burnt Christmas cake crust. Sweet caramel and Belgian sugars throughout. Spicy from the yeasts, not to mention the added thyme (and curacao, weirdly, but i felt that especially in the excess booziness). So some clove, peppercorn, low cinnamon, low cocoa powder. A woody aspect to it, also. Green notes towards the end, with (tiny) hints of pine and spruce. Hop presence, a bit bitter and completing (along with the malts, especially) a not-so-great funky finish.
Booze gets a bit too noticeable later on, not well hidden. Carbonation isn't perfect, or maybe i just expected it to be lower, for a creamy, chewy body. Funky aftertaste gets even bigger, i blame the curacao (or the hops..), still i might be wrong.
Not a bad Christmas beer, but still there are a few off notes. Not so bad as to keep away from, but not in my top ten.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited edition 2004. Riotously carbonated, softly glowing orange-bronze with more than a little brick red. What a spectacular color, especially when daylight is permitted entry. Due to the loud 'pffft' on crown cracking, I wasn't the least bit surprised to see a large, puffy, pale caramel cap threaten to overflow the glass. It's softly sticky, looks good as it deflates and deposits a respectable amount of frothy, bubble bath-like lace in the bargain. This is a tremendous looking BSDA.

The nose comes close to meeting the high bar set by the appearance. The first thing that hits me is a clove spicy yeastiness. Not far below that is nutty brown malt and tangy fruit. What I don't smell, amazingly enough, is alcohol. With a little more definition and a little more power...

If anyone is hanging onto a bottle of 2004 (I wasn't, I just ran across this one a few months ago), it's holding up very well. There's no hint of oxidation by my palate. I didn't taste it fresh, of course, but it's hard to believe it was any better then than it is now. I've just noticed that the fine print on the painted bottle reads 'best before end 2009'. That's about right.

N'ice Chouffe is easily the equal of McChouffe, which, along with Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, is my favorite Brasserie d'Achouffe offering. Like the best Belgian beer, it's both powerful and subtle at the same time. It isn't possible to completely plumb the depths of beer this complex, but it sure as hell is fun trying.

Spicy trumps bitter, bitter trumps sweet. It doesn't really matter to me in what order they fall, as long as the beer is this delicious. Heavily toasted barley lives alongside overripe orchard fruit. If it was sweeter, comparisons to apple cider wouldn't be out of line. The star of the show, as in the nose, is a turbocharged yeast strain that is bursting with cloviness.

For some reason, the mouthful that just passed over my taste buds reminded me of chocolate and coffee. Is there no end to the palette of flavors that are being revealed to my palate? It's a shame, but I don't know that I'm able to appreciate thyme and Curacao orange peel. I'm sure they're contributing because this BSDA doesn't taste quite like any other BSDA in recent memory.

The mouthfeel that has been provided works exceedingly well within the scope of the rest of N'ice Chouffe's attributes. It's roughly medium for the style, perhaps a shade lighter, and is carbonated enough to keep mouth interest on the high side. Yeah, like my interest was ever in danger of wandering with a beer this good.

I considered waiting until I could acquire a fresher bottle before reviewing this Brasserie d'Achouffe offering. I'm glad I didn't. This is one humdinger of a BSDA that has just enough distinctiveness (thyme and orange peel?) to make it stand out from the world-class crowd. N'ice Chouffe is a very, very n'ice version of one of my favorite Belgian styles.

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Photo of russpowell
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 vintage, Pours reddish/claret in mt La Chouffe 02 new years glass witha 3.5 finger deep sand colored head. No lacing or head retention

S: Slight peppery notes up front & a hint of popsicle stick dryness. Sourness/lactic traits sneak in as well

T: Alcohol flows quickly with apple skins. Big piney/herbal hops & choclate take over as it warms. Dryness & oakyness also join the party. Lactic notes also assert along with a treacle taste (minimal).

MF: Medium bodied, but a lttle slickness.

Drinks okay despite the heft, won't lie to ya, love this brewery in my favorite part of BE& I'm not sure they can make a bad beer

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Photo of smcolw
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid head with lasting time. Relatively light lace. The liquid is brown and very cloudy.

Pleasant darker malts with a light hop background. There's a candy sugar element to it.

Molasses sugar up front that yields to a pleasant blend alcohol, yeast and light hop. Maybe too much alcohol. There's a brandy-like element to this, with this having about the same body. Low carbonation.

Another great beer from d'Achouffe. I still prefer their IPA.

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Photo of Jason
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just found a bottle with a vintage date of 1996 on neck of the bottle. Dane from B. United told me a while ago to open it soon because it loses carbonation. He was right, now it has no carbonation at all. A shame really because this would have been a beer of greatness if it had only held on the carbonation. Goes down like a tawny port with fruity aromas and flavours of currants and cherries. Creamy mouth feel glides over the tongue, alcohol is warming but has mellowed for sure but still with a touch of peppery spice. Oddly there is barely any oxidation from the 6+ years of aging.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Randomly found a 2008 vintage at my local haunt, so I figured I'd give it a go. It pours a hazy dark auburn-amber topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises dark wheat, coriander, light mandarin orange, white bread, clove, and light cardboard. The taste brings in more of the same, along with more bread, more orange, some light cocoa powder, some maple syrup, and more cardboard. Something tells me some oxidation had its way with the beer... The body is a hefty-feeling medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a grainy feel. Overall, I think this was past its prime (despite what the "best by" date may tell me to the contrary), as it tasted fairly oxidized and felt like it had lost a step or two in the carbonation and texture areas.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12/31/10 notes. 2007 vontage shared by jslot38; thanks Justin.

a - Pours an amber color with two fingers plus of white fluffy head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of spices, yeast, and dark fruit.

t - Tastes of spices, raisins, dark fruit, yeast, and molasses.

m - Light body and low carbonation.

d - A very nice Belgian dark ale with lots of spice and fruit. The taste was a bit sweeter than the nose, which I enjoyed. Would like to have again.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Review from notes. Dark brown color with light brown head. Aroma is malty, not very yeast forward. Taste has yeast esters, sweetness, slightly acidic, dark fruits and some spices. Body is on the heavy side with good carbonation. One of the better belgian winter / Christmas beers.

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Photo of stakem
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage. "Limited Edition" 75cl bottle picked up and reviewed during a trip to Jacksonville, FL on 2/13/10.

Pours a dark amber color slight red with 2 fingers of tanned head. Fair amount of retaining powers and sticky lace clings on to the glassware. Nose is a bit spicey and includes a bit of orange citrus feel to it. Taste is very similar to the aroma but is quite warming. Light feel with moderate amount of carbonation. Taste continues to be yeasty and a bit spicey as it warms but leaves me with the feeling of expecting more.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clouded amber brown nice sized off white caramel head specks of lacing. Aroma: Dark candi sugar, alcohol tones running though it along with farmhouse spices and orange peels. Taste: Very herbal flavor with farmhouse spice amazing like Orval only bigger malts, sweet brown sugar and more alcohol phenols brewing here, great stuff. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied yet smooth and effervescent no rough edges to it. Drinkability: Completely incredible Xmas Belgian from the year 2002, that I will be on a lookout for years to come.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the 75cl bottle into a large snifter glass. Bottle just arrived on store shelves, a recent purchase, this beer is not old whatsoever. It is very recent.

A very surprising light but well together put off white head and foamy soapy consistency off the pour. Out of the bottle the beer is almost golden dark, but hits the glass with a very simple dark chestnut brown. Fairly clear if dark.

Nose is husky, slight ripping grain, interesting fruit angle on this coming across with small sense of dark malts. Clean sense, but fairly muted, but a sense that something heavy is coming. Kind of a mix between a light blonde ale, and dark. Interesting. Nothing real spectacular though, and it certainly does not smell like thyme WHAT so ever.

Taste is really sort of varied and strange. Slight orange, but a weird off malty chocolate sense too. This tastes kind of "meaty" and I was expecting hints of fruit, grain, malt, maybe even hop, but there is something very "un" beer like tasting about this. It's very odd. Texture is also a bit carbonated that just messes with everything instead of complimenting it. Slight extremely faint almost watered down toffee in the finish, as if it was hit with a sledgehammer. Really incredibly novocaine stinging tongue after awhile. Jesus what is going on with this brew?

Overall just not feeling this beer here, this is just not doing it for me, and its label description gives it NO justice whatsoever. Drinkability though even for the high abv is easy however.

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Photo of jwc215
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Limited edition 2007" - 750 ml bottle:

Pours slight hazed dark brown with a huge fluffy head that descends to a lasting thin cover. Some lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell if of thyme, curucao peel, anise, caramel and chocolate.

The taste and curucao peel give it a pleasant, unique spiciness that does not overwhelm. Caramel, chocolate and anise mix in nicely, as does a zesty fruitiness. Nice complexity. The alcohol is present and warming, but not too sharp or interfering.

It's medium-bodied - a bit effervescent - warming.

A flavorful beer to enjoy sipping on in the winter season.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Edition
This is my first stab at his brew in quite some time. The last "dead soldier" I have is of the 1999 version, but probably purchased in 2001, and the differences are that that one called itself a barleywine on the label, and this one advertises itself as an "ale brewed with thyme and coriander peel." The descriptions on the back label are slightly different, but this new one calls itself a "winter warmer", not a barleywine.
Deep, dark reddish brown color, with a prodigious, creamy tan head, fluffy, bilious. overwhelming.
Aroma: airy, nutty, spicy, but sadly subdued, at least not providing what I was expecting, though I continued to enjoy it before taking a taste.
Fruity, spicy, a wonderful marriage of flavors, richly malted, brilliantly hopped, full of dark fruit (grapes, cherries, plums), various spices, utterly tasty, happily helped by the orange in the mix. Very sublime, very subtle. Full-bodied, full-flavored, with spice and fruit awarding your good taste at every sip. Nice finish, nice texture...just beautiful...
Highly recommended.

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Photo of Billolick
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large green bottle, etching tells me its best to consume this necter before 2009...woohoo 3 yrs to go...Pours dark plum amber, semi hazy with a large tan head, initially rocky then melting to a thick film and leaving classic and extensive lacing. Nose of fruits, musty malt and yeasty Belgian goodness. Tasty, strong brew, notes of alcohol, cola, Belgian yeast, dark rum, sweet cookie tastyness. Classic strong brew, get some of this Chouffyliciousness and enjoy...

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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 drabmuh
3.51/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is amber and clear with a nice head of slightly off white bubbles, medium and small, that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation moderate to low.

Not much aroma here, mild sweetness, some esters.

Beer is medium bodied and light on flavor in the front, it's slightly sweet but then I lose the beer on the palate some where. It's bland and plain, easy drinking especially considering the ABV, but I wanted more flavor.

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Photo of stevoj
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddy, hazy brown with lasting thin beige head. Aroma of dried fruit, some light molasses sweetness. Taste is more dried fruit, some pepper, coriander, general spiciness. Warmth comes at the finish.

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Photo of Gavage
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Version.

Appearance: clear brown in color with a short 1/2” head. The head falls quickly. No lacing develops.

Smell: prunes, overripe plums, and spices are easily detectable.

Taste: hearty malt levels, molasses, prunes, raisins, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, some citrus, and a nice bitterness. Alcohol is clearly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Short flavorful aftertaste. Heavier in body.

Drinkability: very flavorful and spicy beer that is a slow sipper. The bottle is easy to quaff over a long period. Great cold weather beer too.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. 2008 properly cellared bottle. Pours a very dark, hazy orange amber with a two finger light khaki head that dissipates to a thick cap, leaving heavy lacing. Lots of chunky floating particles, due to a bit of foaming agitation on pouring. Aroma of sweet malt, fresh dark fruit, milder dark dried fruit, Belgian yeast, coriander, light oxidation. Flavor is plums, apricot, candi sugar, bready malt, hints of orange, coriander summer spices, finishes with rich plum and stone fruit, coriander, light herbal bitterness, very nice. A hint of oxidation, but barely shows it has been aging for 7 years. Medium to heavy bodied with nice creaminess, great mouth feel. Delicious, which very rich fruit flavors and good Belgian yeast character. The thyme is not detectable except as a light, earthy summer herb flavor in the finish. This brewery has not been common in my area for a while, but I'm anxious now to try this side by side with a fresh one. This has truned into a nice mellow, well integrated fruity Belgian with hints of aging. Very nicely done. I'll update this with a more current vintage review when it becomes available again. Great brewery.

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Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a cloudy dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and fruity aroma that's heavy handed with dark candy sugar and crystal malts. It's sweet with a roasted edge as well as being spiced appropriately. The taste is good also. It's incredibly smooth with a nice crystal/roasted malt flavor as well as a wonderful Belgian yeast fruitiness. It boasts of dark fruits and candy sugar. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It's a full flavored Belgian ale with kick ass yeast character and a well balanced malt bill; very tasty.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ last night, 2008 vintage. On to the beer:

Deep dark brown color. The head is large on top, has great retention, and leaves a show of lacing in the glass. Despite the strength of the beer, it seems a little mellow. Some plums are noticable, along with the dark fruity yeast, plus the addition of whatever mellow, oddball spice Brasserie d'Achouffe puts in their other beers. It doesn't have the same "warming effect" as other winter warmers, but is still a darn good ale.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

N'Ice Chouffe

Appearance: Pours a rich dark brown, opaque with a small soapy, off white head and lace going all the way down the glass.

Smell: Malty aroma, hinting at belgian goodness underneath. Not particularly strong, but pleasent in its own way.

Taste: Toffee like maltyness, a hint of apple tartness. Solid belgian strong dark flavors, giving way to some dark fruits (fig, date). Candied malt, belgian candi sugar, no discernable hop flavor and little in the way of bitterness. A subtle tinge of spice is also noted, hinting at an earthy nutmeg flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A medium bodied feel with a more-ish finish. This is my first D'Achouffe beer and it is certainly of a high quality. I am excited to try other beers from this brewery, the 10% alcohol is nowhere to be found and the simple flavors work well together here.

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Photo of biegaman
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The wintery scene of the village of Achouffe on the label is quite charming although I cannot say the same for the beer itself. It is a muddy brown colour and littered with chunks of sediment that look like partially digested food. And for a Christmas-y beer I'd have hoped for a little more white on top; there's no snowy peaks here.

All you shy people out there will relate: N'ice Chouffe needs a little time before opening up. Once doing so, however, it turns out not to have all that much interesting to say. The bouquet of dark, sticky-sweet malt is typically musty and yeasty for a beer of this style, from this part of the world, and yields no real excitement.

Although thyme and curacao peel are the ingredients that stand out most in the name, it's the dark candi sugar that sticks out most in the taste. This viscous, syrupy-sweet flavour, combined with the malt, becomes like some sort of concoction of liquid bran muffin and molasses. It's not half bad, but we'll see if it's '750ml bottle' good...

All signs continue to point to 'yes' at the halfway point. In fact, the flavour is easily my favourite part of this beer. It tastes like some kind of wonderful hazelnut bread baked with brown sugar, cinnamon bark, honey, and a spritz of sweetly fragranced orange oil. Strength is somewhat perceived but the alcohol is never tasted outright.

N'Ice Chouffe is an easy ale to recommend. Whether or not it'll make my want list next year remains to be seen, but I'd gladly welcome a bottle in my stocking any time. The Belgians, like the French, know as much about drink as they do food, and, good Catholics they are, they obviously know a thing or two about celebrating Christmas too!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has another nice fruity nose on it, even more so than the Mc Chouffe I just had. It also has that slight tart note to it and I get aromatic notes of sour plums, raisins, even some prunes (to differentiate from the plum notes). There is also a nice sweet spicy note to this, that is almost a fruity spice note; either way it accentuates the fruitiness.

The taste of this beer starts out tart, like a tart fruit, and finishes with a nice sweet mix of fruit and sweet spice; like clove, mace and allspice perhaps. The finish also has a slight note of chocolate and more so even a hint of roasted malt, though both are quite subtle. This is quite rich, it really works as a night cap. It is a nice balance between the tart and the sweet character.

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,188 ratings.
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