Biere D'Hougoumont | Brewery Ommegang

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Biere D'HougoumontBiere D'Hougoumont

Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Limited Edition Biere d’ Hougoumont is brewed with traditional French ale yeast, eight malts, French Strisselspalt hops, and aged on white oak and hard maple wooden staves. A traditional Biere De Garde style, this malty French-style farmhouse ale is brewed to be aged. The name honors the Hougoumont farmstead at the pivotal center of the Waterloo battlefield. Napoleon repeatedly failed to take the fortification, he then lost the battle and “met his Waterloo.”

Added by billab914 on 07-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 350
Photo of gopens44
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Calling the appearance "run of the mill" may sound more harsh than intended, but ehen I say hazy, caramel colored with a thin cream colored head, you likely conjure an image you've witnessed hundreds of times before. If there is an exception to this, it may ne in the pearls of air gracefully heading topside. The nose is mostly sweet and caramell laden with a small hint of the same aroma as a Baltic Porter, of all things. Tasty thing, with a wine like tartness riding the wood essence before fading away with a little more sweetness. Overly thin, this body is - maybe attributes to the fact that anything acting like an aftertaste scurries away quite quickly. Overall I enjoy this, and even though it is far more complex than a biere de' garde, it still carries a decent amount of it's character.

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Photo of gr0g
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is revealed as an orange-amber after a pour into an Ommegang tulip. Moderate cloudiness. A 2+ finger head shows good retention, but only some sparse lacing is left behind. The usual farmhouse ale aromas are present along with some oak character picked up from the aging on oak staves. Though this beer was also aged on maple staves, I'm not able to pick up any maple. Some chalky yeast and plenty of toffee malt. The oak adds a very nice complexity to the aroma.

The flavor profile features a very nice interplay between malty sweetness, tartness, bitterness, and oak. While generally dry, the underlying malt body is allowed to showcase a slightly sweet butterscotch note. A slight tartness throughout leads to a bitter finish. A slight vanilla note is lent by the oak aging. Carbonation is lively but still somewhat soft.

Ommegang impresses me more often than not, so I'm not surprised at how good this is. The wood aging imparts a very nice complexity. Despite the price premium, this is very much worth picking up. I'd definitely like to see this brewed again.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The biere de garde style seems to be a "sweetheart" style of beer right now, as many brewers have to give their own recipe a shake. However, many shortcuts leave the beer's tasting highly insufficient. But not such ill effects are found with this Ommegang version- it takes the charm of authentic Belgian brewing technique and ingredient choices to pull this off the right way.

D'Hougoumont pours with a hazy peach-copper combination in color. Still, the beer allows soft light to brighten the beer just a touch. Its firm ivory head provides a cottony structure that retains and laces beautifully. The beer simply promotes notions of yeast and fruit, even to the eye.

A whiff of fresh baking bread, bread dough, and yeast form the malty underpinnings are are highly evident to the nose. Backed with fruit esters of peach, oranges, and sulfury apples- the beer starts to show its Belgo-French influences. Light cork-like must offers a slight cellared aroma that adds to the beer's complexity.

Soft and bready, the beer starts off with light kettle caramelization that provides a semi-sweet taste to start to accompany the malty taste of bread dough and sugar cookies. Weave in a zesty taste of freshly zested oranges, peach, and green apple and we have a balanced taste that carries the farmhouse ale into finish. Generous hopping rates contribute herbal flavors of lemongrass before churning to an earthen bitter flavor to close. Light flavors of weathered woods and cork rise late and swirl about the aftertaste and invite the next sip.

The beer's dense texture also seems of bread to its mouthfeel as well. The middle palate waivers slightly to shed the ample creamy carbonation and pushes the textures toward a semi-dry finish with light minty alcohol, and grassy hop dryness.

D'Hougoumont is a fresh "celler" beer that hasn't yet earned its maturity. Its that age that would traditionally dry the beer and develop greater depth of earth flavor and texture. I'm not sure if Ommegang's version can achieve this, but its rush to market leaves it slightly simplified. Still, it's head's and shoulders better than many American attempts at the style.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang flute glass. Pours a coppery amber with a nice two finger off-white head with great retention and lots of lacing. Spicy aroma of orange rind, caramel malt, Belgian yeast and light grassy hops. Flavor an interesting, well integrated caramel malt, maple syrup, oak, vanilla and stone fruit. Finishes drier with lingering maple and pleasant wood. Light to medium bodied, but excellent mouth feel from active carbonation. This is definitely a bit sweet for a biere de garde, and does not have a strong wild yeast element, but I found it delicious. The deviation from a biere de garde were all towards my taste. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark amber with white foam. Hazy look to it. Sunny citrussy smell. Light fruit otherwise malty. Smooth and subtle malt taste. Background yeast and light sugar taste. Cherries. Toffee. Hugely flavorful with a perfect carbonation that blends in. Subtle booziness.There is an oakiness in the background. This is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of russpowell
3.04/5  rDev -21%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Opens with a resounding Pop!

Pours amber/honey colored with a thin cream colored head. Sme floaties early on, no head retention or lacing

S: Pears, peaches & sourmash; appleskins (green) as this warms

T: Folllows the nose, a touch of honey & dryness up front. Pears & appleskins as this warms, slight boozey honey flavors, some brown sugar & passion fruit notes & some floral notes . Finishes with Golden Delicious apple sweetness, & dryness

MF: Light/medium bodied with near zero carbonation, become even thinner as this warms

I usually like ommegang, but this one is meh at best

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Photo of nova009
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a caged and corked bomber into my Ommegang glass

A- pours a clear dark copper color with a slight red hue to it, a big fluffy two finger head appears and sticks around for a long time, a steady stream of bubbles races to the top

S- malty and a bit earthy, some funk mixed in, definitely some oak, figs and other dark fruits, dark cherries, slightly noticable belgian yeast notes, slightly sweet as well

T- malty and earthy just like the nose, some hop bitterness mixed in, some woodiness as well, a little tartness as well, dark fruits aren't as noticeable on the sip, alcohol is noticeable toward the end of the swallow, seems a little lacking

M- medium body, fairly high carbonation, slightly chewy, finishes dry

O- there was something slightly off with the flavor, felt like it was lacking a little bit, other than that the style and composition of the beer was pretty spot on, might grab another and see if it develops over the years

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Photo of carlborch
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful, creamy, off-white head. Yeasty, but delicious, nose. Significant carbonation. Tiny bubbles. Restrained, but floral hops in the nose. Slight haze. Medium-tan color. Suggestions of amber. Medium body. Well-balanced palate. Nice malt and certainly moreish. Sweet and tart in restraints. Some Belgian lace. The ABV is not noticeable on the palate. Fresh, enticing, delicious. Will definitely try again. Would be fun to lay some down and see how they age.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pt 9.4 fl oz bomber from Frugle, out of a tulip glass

A- Ruby and cloudy, with a thin one finger head with an off-white pinkish hue.

S - Dough, citrus, faint malt and yeast

T - Mild fruit up front, with a bitter hop finish with wine like aftertaste. The maple mentioned on the label is more apparent later.

M - Sharp, similar to a champagne. Very fizzy and active.

O - I must say I do not have much experience on the style from comparison purposes, but it seemed to close to a white wine for my tastes. That being said, it appears to be put together well, like most Ommegang efforts.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First time with this one. 750ml into Duvel glass at 40-45.

Pours with a healthy cream-colored head over deep golden colored body, with a fun combo of carbo flowing up in multiple directions.

Bready and fruity aromas. Very inviting. Caramel, apricot, and green apple lead the way in my nose.

Creamy mouthfeel - very soft and luxurious on the palate. Love the mouthfeel. Flavors have a nice fruity quality from the yeast. Apple cider like, with some light spices in the mix. Light tang... maybe some orange peel citrus.

Really enjoyed this one. It's very approachable, and smooth. Perfect complimentary beer to many different foods.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Builds a big, three-inch, antique white foamy head that is long lasting and leaves a coating of lace over a hazy, amber orange beer with golden highlights.

Nice funk with lots of fruit, orange, apricot, and Juicy Fruit Gum. Wood and banana notes come out with warmth.

Acid is out front, with a light tartness. Fruits are subdued, however, yeast flavors come out along with toasted sourdough. There is a short, powerful burst in the finish, with subtle, lingering bananas that follow.

This is a medium body beer with explosive carbonation that forms fine bubbles against a wooly texture. Alcohol is light.

An easy drinking and refreshing beer to aid decompression after work. Enjoyed from a tulip glass.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into a fluted glass and immediately received quite a bit of foam. You can see quite a bit of yeast swirling around in the bottle.

I smell quite a bit of sour coming up from the glass. You also get a decent amount of oakiness from the glass.

The flavor was pretty muted. I'm used to biere de gardes having a lot more flavor to it. This is like the pale version of the style.

This was surprisingly easy to drink. I would have relished more up front presence, but this was a pretty decent offering.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Brewed with french ale yeast, 8 malts, french strisselspalt hops,and aged on maple and oak wood. 7.3%abv.

A: A monstrous 3 finger high light beige head is rigid and foamy with an soapy texture and active surface, pitting deep pores with a loud audible presence. An explosive effervesce rages within an ice-tea colored body that is fairly dense clarity wise. Head retention is strong lacing a bit weak.

S: A light toned nose, wet bread, wet straw fairly tame and clean.

T: Toasty french oak, perhaps a sligth indication of rye. Some cara-munich toasted malt, a touch of damp fruit and maple syrup. Funky yeast bite upon warming. Bready caramel apple, green pear and some sweet caramel moments.

M: Strongly active mouthful, medium bodied, leaning more towards the lighter end of the spectrum.

O: Overall cleanly brewed, not much wow factor, respectable but had much better from this brewery.

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Photo of dfillius
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Moderate to aggressive pour yields 2 fingers of slightly fizzy off-cream colored head. Hazy reddish-tan. Fairly good looking.
S: Biscuity malt, slightly noble-esque hop in the background. Caramel. Some maple syrup comes out as it warms. Good complexity and all nice.
T: Sweet and malty, but with a dry tannic finish. I'd like a tad more funk, maybe a bit more brightness.
M: A bit too effervescent. Dry finish. Pleasant overall. Nice sweet and round middle. I would like the body to be lighter though.
O: Decent. Probably won't buy a bottle again. But I would order a pint at a bar.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy amber, one finger head with some carbonation.

S-Maple, oak, vanilla, grass wheat, but the maple is overpowering.

T-Very sweet maple and oak dominate with slight vanilla. Tad bit of spice and grass. Some mollasses as well.

M-Light to medium bodied, not much carbonation.

O-At the end of the day too much maple. If it was toned down a little bit, the balance would be great and the beer would improve a lot.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass at SmallBar - Division.

Not every day you come across a beer named in honor of a farmstead near Waterloo that happened to have a potentially overly-decisive effect on the battle itself. This stuff pours a clear tawny-auburn topped by a finger of light khaki foam. The nose comprises stark barley, very mild rum, light maple syrup, very light earthy greens, and biscuit. A vague sense of spice hangs in there, but meekly compared to everything surrounding it. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a soft touch of oak and a slightly heightened sense of spiciness (though this is still far from pronounced). The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a very nice BdG, actually kind of surprisingly easy to drink and enjoy. Despite the usually hefty price tag, get some!

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Photo of MatthewWilde
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Pours a medium off-white head that slowly dissolves, dark orange in color, moderate internal carbonation, slightly cloudy

S: Complex nose, sugar cane, slight caramel mixed with a definite yeast notes, sweet and fruity, moderately fragrant overall

T: Starts fruity and yeasty, elements of apple crisp and caramel, finishes rather empty, however, with mild sweetness and some alcohol

M: Very smooth, light in the mouth, not lingering or overpowering, mild fruity/yeasty aftertaste, moderate alcohol

O: True to the style, but leaves something to be desired, nice bouquet and look, but just alright

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Photo of XicanoBeerRun
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish orange with heavy carbonation.

Smells like candied orange, vanilla, rum punch.

Tastes, caramel, maple coated nuts, oaky, dried dark fruits, malty tootsie roll, hoppy bitterness. Great balance of flavors.

Clean finish.

I wonder what it does with age?

I'll have another.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a pint glass. Really like the new Ommegang labels - cool graphics along with brewery and beer stories plus serving temp on the label. Also on the neck was the packaged on date (5/29/12) and best by date (5/2015). Kudos!! It was rich amber color with good carb streams and a good sized white head. Mild, slow sliding lace with none sticking.

The aroma was malt heavy with caramel and biscuit leading the way. Also, good doses of oak, light yeast and banana. Not as spicy as some recent Biere de Gardes I've had but still good. The taste follows the aroma but there is an increased sweetness to go along with the other elements. The oak and maple taste really good but the overall sweetness is a little high for my tastes. The mouthfeel was light and a little watery. Also needed some more carbonation as it was a little flat tasting.

Overall, a good Biere de Garde that nicely highlights the wood elements but is a bit too sweet for me. Do recommend though. Available here in TX. Rotation - liked it but one bottle was enough.

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Photo of keepersj12
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a red tint. The aroma malty sweet with a hint of sourness, caramel and some wood, a bit of cherries. The flavor has a fruity taste up front with a bit of sour and pepper at the end. The finish is quite dry and refreshing. Nice beer.

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Photo of allouez86
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel Tulip.
It's safe to say that this isn't a style that I frequent all that often but I may after trying this beer.
Pours a nice amber color with about a two inch off-white head. Has great head retention.
Smell is slightly sweet and yeasty, what I would expect from a bier de garde.

Taste follows up the smell. Sweet malts and yeast with some very nice earthy undertones. A little bit of caramel creeps into the aftertaste.

Has a slightly thicker mouthfeel to it, coats the entire mouth well and has rather large carbonation to it.

Overall I thought this was a good representation of the style and would think twice to picking up another bottle or two to throw in the cellar.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at whole foods in a pint glass unfortunately, pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with barely any head, decent retention and no lacing. I get the feeling that if this has been served in a tulip it might have developed a nicer head.

Smel is yeasty and malty- there's some caramel in there and a little funk in addition to the earthy yeast quality.

Taste is consistent but more fleshed out- some hops are thrown into the mix, a fuller malt body, nice yeasty notes, finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel is good- medium body, light to moderate carbonation, a little sticky sweet. Pretty good but not necessarily worth the price (get it at happy hour for 5).

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber-brown color with a white head. The aroma is full of biscuit and bready malt, with some grapes and yeast notes thrown in. I also get a hint of oak. The flavor is full of caramel and toffee, as well as some grape and light fruit notes. There is a bit of oak but it is fairly subtle. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel and bready malts with some tart pear and other green fruits, Belgian yeast, banana, some spice, maple, and oak.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel and grainy malts with some tart pear and green apple, and some light spices. Through the middle, some maple and oak comes through with some sweet bready malts, Belgian yeast and some more spices. The finish is a mix of sweet grainy and caramel malts with some tart fruits, banana, Belgian yeast, some farmhouse flavors, maple, and oak.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, tart, and estery finish.

D - Very drinkable. Great Biere de Garde with good complexity from the oak and maple and great overall balance.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to drink a beer from New York on 11 September. OK, so this is from Cooperstown, but it's from the state. Strong, fruity aroma is mainly apple with hints of pear and banana, as well as some malty and honey tones. Pours a clear coppery with a fluffy pale wheat head. Lip-smacking fruity flavor is slightly sweet but not cloying, with hints of caramel, malt and - horehound? Smooth, full texture has plenty of fizz.

I toast the memory of all who perished on September 11, 2001. If any of you loved beer, may your spirits now be where there is lots and lots of good beer - and you get to drink all you like!

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Biere D'Hougoumont from Brewery Ommegang
3.85 out of 5 based on 350 ratings.
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