N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe

527 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: 527 | Ratings: 1,190
Photo of Phatz
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 edition

Appearance: Pours a dark murky opaque brown color, with a light brown head and nice lacing.

Smell: A sweet aroma of mango and caramel and plum with sprinkles of caramel and hints of a light phenolic touch, but only pleasantly so, showing some banana and new rubber pants, in the aroma as well.

Taste: Like the nose it is sugary, dark fruity flavors of dates grape toffee mango cherry caramel banana and a bit of orange in the spices. A bit of warming alcohol in the back wraps it up with a bow. Very nice brew.

Mouthfeel: medium to rich in the mouth with lots of backbone and spices to boot. It has a warming boozy alcohol feel but it is gentle for 10% because even my wife liked it!

Drinkability: It is a 10% BSDA, not the most chug gable style but it is very enjoyable and as we Pennsylvania Dutch folk would say "it is more-ish." Meaning you can't seem to get enough, or translated further, it is quite quaffable.

Hope this is helpful.

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

Poured very dark brown/plum with a small, off-whit head. The head is small but very persistent, with thick, viscous, creamy lacings.

The aroma is winter seasonal spicy bliss. Sweet plum, grape and apple esters blend masterfully with an earthy, funky, Chouffe yeast character. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, thyme, clove and coriander are all perceived in the spice profile. Despite the spiciness, the complex aroma is well balanced and the high ABV is nowhere to be found. This could be my new Yule time air freshener.

Sweet plum, raisin and red grape blend masterfully with Belgian candy sugar to make a delightfully sweet flavor. The sweet, fruity esters are balanced by a doughy malt presence and a delightfully, funky shot of yeast. Again, the spice profile is high but well blended with the other flavors. Cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice stand out above the other spices. The finish has a subtle hop bitterness. The ABV is very well masked, aside from a very nice warming as this tasty brew traverses the palate.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel with excellent, fizzy carbonation makes for an excellent mouthfeel and a highly drinkable brew.

Whoa! As a huge fan of Chouffe products, I'm amazed that I had yet to try this wonderful beer. This is the perfect Belgian winter warmer and I'm sure it would be equally enjoyable throughout the year. Viva La Chouffe!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy golden/beige color ale with a huge foamy head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma of spices with some sweet malt and typical Belgian yeast. Taste is quite sweet with some dominating spices and a yeasty spicy finish. I didn’t think the Chouffe yeast came out as much as it did in their other beers. Body was above average with great carbonation and no alcohol was discernable.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

*2006 edition

Appearance: Well, hate to say it, but it looks pretty much like every other winter warmer out there. Mahogany with golden highlights. Off-white head with decent retention.

Smell: Very interesting. Deep and saturated malt and winter spice, floral, cherry, but also green and fresh garden herbs.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Hmmmm. An odd amalgam of vegetal and sweet. Sweet, malty and spicy, as you might expect, but that thyme is GREEN and absolutely dominates the finish. I'm not sure why it's here, to be frank; it's a very odd flavor. That said, the huge ABV is nicely concealed. Body is medium, smooth carbonation, just fine.

Drinkability: Man, NOT for me. I simply don't get this beer. I think it might work better with food than on its own; perhaps the thyme melds well with some of the winter lamb/game dishes and stews you might run across. As a stand-alone, though, that huge fresh herb just has no place in the otherwise rich malt and sweet spice mix -- ruined it for me.

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

2006 Edition poured from a 750ml bottle into a large red wine glass.

A: A reddish dark brown color with a 1 finger tan head that stays around pretty well.

S: Dark fruits, prunes, brown sugar and the like.

T&M: Wonderful dark fruits with some Belgian Candi sugar sweetness balanced nicely by some spices - coriander and the like - this is a nice spicy beer. A bit of molasses too. All the flavors are in a nice balance, with a nice carbonation level and a rich but not heavy body. Alcohol is not readily noticeable.

D: For 10%, this is extremely drinkable.

This is an excellent Belgian Winter Ale. Highly recommended.

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

1 pt 9.4 fl oz green bottle; served in a snifter.
Limited edition 2004.
Best before end of 2009.

Pours a murky amber with auburn highlights. Densely creamy, inch-high lightly tanned head with impressive retention. Thin and condensed lacing that holds rather well to the snifter's sides.

Whaffs of semi-sweet candied sugar with hints of milk chocolate. Soft citric notes in the background: orange, lemon. Moderately heavy profile of spice; most noticeably corriander, rosemary, and thyme.

Sweet and slick Belgian candied sugar intertwined with herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme. Amidst the spicy herb-sweetness is also a hefty dose of clove and corriander. Not quite tart fruity esters lie in the background: raspberry, orange. The finish is slightly dry and airy, and the aftertaste is filled with spice.

An airy medium bodied; dry with an appropriate amount of carbonation. Almost filmy but not irritatingly so.

A rather complex profile of flavors; however, none are that assertive. At 10% abv, the brewers have done a respectable job at masking the alcohol presence.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for this bottle:

Pours a big thick head that doesn't dissapate f a while. Also leaves a good strong lacing, the color is dark ruby/brown and very dark. The smell is sweet with burnt sugar and smells a lot like Aventinus. The smell is light a fruity. The taste of alcohol is very prevelent, but the taste is very good. It's fruity and smooth. It's smooth, but also has a little carbonation. Overall I would try this sometime in the future.

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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 paleoplant
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured with a deep dark rich color with a slight white foam. The smell was pleasant with hints of malt and fruit: cherry and/or candied orange. The carbonation was strong but added a complexity to the beer. The taste was deep with the flavors of cherry and strong hops almost cigar-like flavor.

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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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N'Ice Chouffe from Brasserie d'Achouffe
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,190 ratings.
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