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N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

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518 Reviews
N'Ice ChouffeN'Ice Chouffe

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe

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

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Reviews: 518 | Ratings: 1,150
Photo of markgugs
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 750ml bomber into a snifter, Ltd. Ed. 2005 vintage

A: pours a beautiful, murky brown with a lovely light brown head, lasts a good little bit and laces mildly. This looks like I want to pour it over some vanilla ice cream.

S: Yum, a solid mixture of a flowery and roasted molasses smell wafts out of the glass. Additional inhales detect some nice citrus flavorings hidden in there.

T: My lord, I'm not sure if I've experienced such complex flavorings right out of the gate before. Describing this as simply malted sweetness would be not doing the brewer justice. It's more of a wide array of darker fruits like raisins, the slight tartness of green apples and a delicious lingering butterscotch finish.

M: definitely featuring some fizzy carbonation and a velvety smoothness that gives way to a slight alcohol feel on the swallow.

D: for a 10% ABV strong ale, this is remarkably drinkable, I took my sweet time with it and enjoyed over the course of 60-90 minutes. I'd definitely buy this beer again.

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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 IntriqKen
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is pretty standard. Dark brown...with amber undertones....smallish almost-white-head that melts rather quickly to a haze of head on the top.
Aromas are definite Belgium malts and yeast...fresh and inviting.
A hint of light brown sugar seems to enter into the mix and become the most memorable part of the aroma.
Flavor is bursting. Everything tastes very fresh. Sweet amber malts...definite Belgium yeasts...brown sugars...honey, raisins, plums.
Finish is clean and fresh.
No hint of alcohol although I know it is in there.
Maybe a hint of spices but I'm not so sure.
More like a very, very fresh Belgium dark ale.

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Photo of Budlum
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring this ale produces a foamy, tan head that slowly recedes to a very thin ring. The body is a rich mahogany color with shades of red and very good clarity.

The nose of this beer is very aromatic with a rich spice content. Prevalent nutmeg and allspice blend with the tremendous malt smell bringing perfect sweetness. This smells much like a spiced and iced gingerbread cookie fitting with the holiday season. As the label states, cuarcao orange peel is notable after the cookie sweetness.

A rich, sweet flavor starts this beer and remains noticeable throughout each sip. Soon after the sweetness mellows, the myriad of spices take hold and everything stated on the label can be tasted. The huge amounts of candied sugar cannot be overlooked either. Alcohol flavors are present but masked quite well for a 10% ABV beer. The finish is quite long with strong sugars and spices balancing the overall flavor. This is a very nice winter beer.

The mouthfeel of this beer is lively throughout with good carbonation and spiciness. The body has enough gravity to leave a healthy coating in the mouth after each sip.

Drinkability is very good for this strong beer. It is definitely a beer that gets better as it warms and small sips are recommended. This is an excellent beer to share with friends on a cold, winter day.

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Photo of klewis
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Edition

A: Pours a dark mahoghany color with a one-finger bubbly head. Moderate lacing.

S: Phenolic with a mild baby powder smell and a bit of pepper.

T: The spices and orange peel are quite prevalent in the taste and blend nicely to create a complex, fruity taste. The flavor is sweet with a bit of heat.

M: Medium-full bodied with a typical Belgian fizziness.

D: This stuff smells awful, but other than that, not too shabby. Worth a try and perhaps worth aging.

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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 dgallina
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml dark-green capped bottle dated 2006 season.

Pours nearly-clear dark brown & red with quickly-subsiding tan head and good lace. The aroma is faint. Malt, some medicinal alcohol, bananas and spice. Flavors are nicely balanced. Toasted grains and hops blend into spiced bananas and rum-like caramelized sugar. Finish is medium-sweet and short. The beer is medium-thick in body, with some oily slickness and good lively carbonation. An enjoyable holiday warmer.

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Photo of Terp96
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am in love with the Chouffe products these days and being the holiday season, I decided to give this one a whirl.

The first pour from the 750 into my Westmalle chalice was disappointing. Perhaps I poured before allowing enough time for the beer to breath after popping the cork but their was virtually no head at all. By the time I went back for my second glass, the head was much more of what I expected. Tight, thick off-white head with prolonged lacing in the glass.

Smell is very malty and sweet. It just smells of candy, dark fruit, brown sugar. Not much of a hop presence at all.

Taste was very sweet. Too sugary sweet IMO. Again, brown sugar, a bit of citrus/orange and a lot of dark dried fruit. It is very smooth and not cloying but too sweet for me.

Mouthfeel is good. Although very sweet, this beer seems very balanced and very drinkable. A definite tribute to a experienced, world class brewery.

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

I split a 750 mL bottle with a friend at Brugs Beertje in Brugge.

Appearance: Pours a hazy brown-amber with a thick, brown head that thins to a film leaving good lace.

Smell: Sweet, notes of caramel, cherries and raisins with light pepper on swirling.

Taste: Sweet and fruity malts: light cherries and raisins. There's lots of pepper in the finish with some nice roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, lightly dry.

Drinkability: Good drinkability for a strong winter beer.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage. We have the 2006 as well, but I was told it was a candi sugar bomb and much too green compared to the '05. Reminds me a lot of a well-aged Rochefort 10, though not quite as complex.

This beer pours to a nice dark brown color with a thick off-white head. Head retention is pretty good, but lacing doesn't seem to stick too terribly well. Looks pretty good.

The smell is where things start to look really good. A nice bubblegummy candi sugar aroma, along with some great esters from the belgian yeast. Smells like pineapple, pear, and orange, with a great bubblegum aroma. The taste is very similar. Sweet up front with a range of fruity, estery flavors. It has aged very well over the past year.

The body is fairly thick and creamy. Mild carbonation. Dry finish with little aftertaste. The alcohol is undetectable. Very good. I will probably try the fresher '06 version just to see how it compares, but this is a wonderful beer.

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

Poured from the 750ml capped bottle into a La Chouffe tulip glass. Body is a reddish brown color with garnet highlights, topped by a smallish creamy tan head that settles to a thin, sturdy crown. Aroma of dark Belgian malt, candy sugar, dark fruit (figs), and holiday spices that become more prevalent as the beer warms up. Palate is rich and malty up front, with a good bit of candy sugar. The subtleties of dark fruit and spice emerge mid-palate, with a good bit of holiday spice coming through. The sweetness takes over again on the swallow, yielding to a nice, warming finish that's the only hint of the 10+% alcohol. Body is rich, creamy, smooth, and damn near perfect. Another excellent offering from d'Achouffe.

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Photo of ChillMike
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage:
Pours a dark dark brown that contains a bit of a red color, with a smallish light tan head that recedes somewhat quickly and doesn't appear to leave any lacing. Smells of sugary malts, lots of spices, and maybe a bit of orange. Tastes of brown sugar, sweet malts, some nice mild hops, rasins, a bit of chocolate, and plenty of spices top this pleasant winter warmer. This is definitely a nice beer, it'd be a lot nicer if it was snowing outside and I'd come in from a day of skiing. That's not a knock on the beer though. Overall I'm greatly impressed with this offering and i'll be picking up a few more of these!

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Photo of phisig137
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle pours a dark ruby mahogany color, with a fluffy two finger head. Nice retention falls leaving behind a blanket of foam and abundant lacing. Quite nice for something of this ABV.

Aroma is beautifully malty, with yeasty notes of dark fruit and rum. Some orange is in there as well, but not overly so. Very nice.

Flavor is very well balanced, great malt flavors of caramel and nutty toffee. Yeast esters are huge and well integrated. You can really taste the thyme on the finish, although if it wasn't printed on the bottle, I would have never guessed what it was. No alcohol presence, aside from a slight warming after a glass. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Drinkability is very good.

N'ice Chouffe is a fantastic winter warmer from a brewer that never disappoints. It is spiced, which I enjoy during the winter, but none of the spices play the leading role. Very well balanced and integrated. I think this bottle could have gone in the cellar for another year, but there is nothing at all wrong with it right now. Highly recommended for winter beer lovers.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage

A: Dark chocolate brown with ruby highlights. Totally unfiltered and raw appearance. Head is towering but made up of medium sized bubbles...beige color with an amber tint.

S: Raisins, brown sugar, black cherries and dank, musty yeast.

T: Begins very malty and sweet...loads of candied figs, prunes and fermented raisins. A very strong thyme presence, but not overwhelming nor distracting. As the flavors meld, the dark fruit flavor intensify and carmelize leaving an interesting herbal almost cough syrup aspect in the mouth. Finishes dry and somewhat woody with unusual red wine aspects. Aftertaste is lingering cherry pie filling.

M: Medium with a fuzzy carbonation.

D: Nice beer. A touch cloying after a while but thats sometimes the price you pay with dark belgian ales. Not overly complex, just nice and smooth.

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Photo of dherling
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out dark brown with a red hue on the edge, raisin like. There'sa thin off white head that floats on top momentarily. Big huge nose, malt, alcohol, spice, orange peel. Taste is berry fruit like, with lots of malt, alcohol, spice, orange peel, and more alcohol. I may be mentioning the alcohol too much, it's actually quite balanced. Has a slick to creamy mouthfeel, and a big rip roaring finish.

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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 stephendr
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Dull gold murky appearance – nice white head white however, the head does not last long– nose is malty , prunes , raisins , cereals , and oats , caramel , musty , and moldy very sharp – medium sweet sparkly body – initial taste is sweet then turns acidic, and malt , dried prunes , citrus flavor - aftertaste is medium with a creamy, acidic and roasted malts *2003 edition*

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Photo of
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened up a 750ml bottle with cork & cage. The beer was a deep dark brown with red highlights, very clear. It produced a large, light tan head. Aroma was of yeast, spices (mint?), alcohol and cotton candy. Flavor fit with the aroma, in that it was all about sweet. Berries, grapes, some port wine character. The finish had a bit of an acidic bite to it and a lingering sweetness. Body was medium to heavy, with fairly low carbonation. ABV came through hear as a warming sensation. A very complex beer, which didn't really ring my bell. I like a little bit more bitter to balance the sweet.

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

As my 200th review I figured this would be a good choice. I've had it on tap once and in the bottle it's just as good. Now here I am sipping a glass of this, in the opposite season of when I first tried it and I'm enjoying it every bit as much. The pour looks like a brown ale but with a velvety texture. Minor head of dense brown foam that looks like it would massage the tongue. The nose features big malt like an oscar winning actor. I get lots of caramel and brown sugar mingled with exotic spices that only a master beer craftsman could concoct. The nose really is quite unique and I wish my reviewing chops were up to doing this it's due. First in the taste dept I get a slight hint of chocolate, then caramel, an almost flat herbal taste and big alcohol that is NOT unpleasant in the least. It speaks to me and says "hey bro, let's party," oh wait ... wrong voice ... no it says, "hey bro, it's cold outside, let me help you out."
I find it invigorating. Along with this I get plenty of orangey flavor and spiciness.
The longer you hold this on your tongue exploring the flavors the more silky smooth it becomes. Nice.
I feel like I should grab several of these and have them on hand for special nights. I wish I could afford to do that. I surely would because I really enjoyed this beer. Chouffe is really a special brewery that I'm glad I've become aquainted with.

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Photo of Zorro
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy brown colored ale with a good light brown to tan colored head. This one never does really turn clear.

Scent is sweet and fruity with lots of sweet aromas. Brown sugar and black pepper are the major aromas here. Fruit aromas of cherries and figs with some grape aroma. Strong scent of vanilla and lesser scents of other spices.

Taste is sweet with a strong flavor of coriander at the beginning. Quite a spicy flavored Belgian beer to say the least. Spice flavors are pretty much eggnog spices complete with caramel flavor and Bourbon whiskey flavors. Very much a Belgian Brown Ale with Christmas Spices and this is a good thing.

Very good mouthfeel.

A good version of a beer style that works very well as a Holiday beer. If there is any flaw to the beer it is the strong coriander flavor, a beer with lots of spice simply doesn't need any.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at The Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium.

Poured a clear, garnet color with tall, creamy, light brown foam that persisted and coated the glass. The smell was malty with hints of spices. The carbonation was biting in the nostrils. The taste was malty and fruity (oranges?) with a light sweetness and some spiciness which I could not put my finger on (coriander?). The mouthfeel was smooth though with a sharpness of flavor. The body was medium to full with good strong carbonation. Overall this beer was warming. The drinkability was good for this strong Belgian ale.

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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 rabsten
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage, poured into pint glass. Dark red-amber. Thick head, coarse bubbles, very carbonated.

Mild malted smell. Nothing exeptional.

Taste is special. Anise or fennell in the intial stage, then a sweet maltiness, and a mild finish that leaves you wanting another sip.

Mouthfeel starts out a bit astringent, going along with the licorice-like flavor, but then rounds out into a less dry feeling.

Drinkablity. A pleasant drinking beer.

It's geared towards cold to cool weather drinking, but I've got a nice, warm spring day around me and this beer is doing me fine. I've heard the green glass on this one means it doesn't age too well, so you may want to be wary for looking this one up now. But, if you can find some that has been properly kept (mine was in the back of the fridge for 4 months, out of light's way), it's worth picking up.

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Photo of Crosling
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vertical, with a 2002, 2003 and 2004 and I definately perferred te 2004, but I also hate oxidation. Dark ruby color. Very subtle aromatically, comparing multiple samples. Rich toffee and spice with a pretty overwhelming bitter and acidic flavor, along with an orange tone, which may come from spices. Musty yeast as well. Never really been to fond of it.

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Photo of rodrot
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark reddish brown color with a fluffy one inch head. Aroma was malty and caramelly in the nose. Taste was quite alcoholic at first with notes of malt, spice, dark fruit, prunes and candi sugar. The beer had a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Overall, this beer tasted overly sweet to me and had a rather thin mouthfeel. I could barely detect the spices that are stated on the bottle(thyme, curacao peel). Drinkability was low due to the strong alcohol and excessive sweet taste. Kind of disappointing, but I guess that's part of the fun of trying new beers. Some really surprise you and others are a letdown.

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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,150 ratings.
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