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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: 80 | Ratings: 349
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip glass

A- This beer pours a slightly hazy caramel colored body with a thick beige sticky head and some strands of microbubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The fresh rain and yeasty aroma blend with a slightly nutty plastic note that is not offensive. There is a wet wood and nougat note that comes through in the finish. As it opens there is a maple and fusel hint in the finish.

T- The dry malt and fresh grain flavor has a slight pungent papery hop note in the finish. There is a soft maple wood hint that seems a bit odd but remains soft.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a creamy fizz and no alcohol heat

O- This beer is underwhelming and a bit bland. The soft hints of wood character are a bit odd and I don't taste any of the classic Biere de gaurde flavors. Maybe age will help a bit.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.86/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Dark orange. Not a glower. Head is a solid finger of tan creamy fluff. Leaves lacing and looks good napping atop the body.

S-Plenty going on. Yeasty but very sweet. Oaky, but not aggressive. Smells like they lubed the beer in honey before they oaked it. Very malty. Maple syrup.

T-The nose was a cool lithe artsy collage, but the flavor is far too sweet. The aging on the wooden staves is this beers only high-point. Aside from that its a cloying mixture of maple syrup, yeast and honey. Just too sweet. The flavor does morph on the palate, but I don't like the flavors.

M-Syrupy. Not enough bubbles. Sticky. Makes you chew the air to relieve the stickiness.

O/D-Not my thang. Sorry Ommegang. Sounded pretty cool, but when I am paying $11 for a 12 oz. glass (admittedly not Ommegang's fault for the tap pricing) the beer better be a banger. Shoulda known, shoulda known.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a copper color and a clear consistency. There was an absolutely massive, foamy, long-lasting head. Fair lacing.

S: An interesting aroma of fruit, yeast, and a hint of malt.

T: Tasted of Belgian yeast (a decent amount), fruit (apples, pears), light hops, and malt as well. A little on the acidic side, but in general a good flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Surprisingly light and thin body.

O: Not exactly my favorite Ommegang beer, but still a solid brew.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a hazy golden orange color with a one finger white head. The head faded slowly over time to give a spotty lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest citrus and a sweeter malt smell. Mixed with these are aromas of a more woody and peaty nature as well as some lighter notes of yeast and spice.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice caramel flavor with some hints of a citrus sweetness mixed within. As the flavor moves forward some buttery flavors comes to the tongue, with the caramel taste that was present in the beginning taking a more toffee like nature. This buttery flavor is also accompanied by some yeast as well as a nice oak like taste. These flavor blend well with the sweet and savory flavors the preceded their arrival and create a nice smooth taste. Toward the end, a light herbal flavor mixes with the rest to leave a nice lingering aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer was on the average side with the carbonation level being slightly on the higher side. While a slightly thicker body may have been better for the toffee and buttery flavors, the carbonation did do a nice job with in making it a rather refreshing tasting brew. Overall a pretty good balance.

Overall – A pretty easy drinking brew with some nice oak and yeasty flavors. Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Flying Saucer in Houston, TX

A: Pours a brilliant and vibrant burnt orange/red color. A one finger white head forms with good retention. There is a small cap that sticks throughout and light lace. I love the color here.
S: Up front is some stone fruits. Fleshy cherries, plums, and peaches. Next comes some Earthy, slightly musky yeast. Slightly sweet vanilla and wood aromas. Excellent.
T: Follows the nose with stone fruits and musky and Earthy yeast. Caramel and vanilla sweetness, maybe just a bit to much sweetness. Though still very enjoyable.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Very crisp and smooth at the same time. Though I would have liked this to be a bit dryer. So easy to drink. All day with this one.

A very small quibble of mine is that this finishes just a bit to sweet. I wish there was a bit more dry bite here, but otherwise a great example of the style. I hope I can find a few bottles of this soon.

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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 lordofthewiens
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass this beer was a cherry amber color, very bright. There was a tiny tan head. I thought it was a rather pretty beer.

Sweet malt aroma, some fruit.

More malt in the taste, mostly caramel, maybe a little toffee. Pear taste.

Malt forward. Very smooth and enjoyable.

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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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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to Julie from Trappe Door for sharing this one at the celebration of her last night there! Served from bottle into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured a ruby red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet mat, wheat, banana, earth, and spice. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, wheat, fruit, and spice. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I had just seen this brew on the shelf at GBX about an hour or so before and mentioned that I needed to tick it, but it found its own way to me. Not really much to report here as far as complexity or intensity. It was a decent brew for the style, but definitely didn’t stand out from the rest like I would have hoped. That being said, it is definitely worth trying at least once if you see it on the shelf. But I doubt I would buy a bottle to try myself again.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a biscuit like maltiness. In the taste, sweet biscuit like malt, with notes of fruit, kind of like oaky strawberries. A small bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, and a dry biscuity malt in the aftertaste. Nice malt, and nice tastes of fruit are pleasant.

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Photo of Gmann
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly haze golden amber color. The head was fluffy and fizzy but short, settled into a solid ring.

The aroma is bready but mild. Some caramel sweetness and metallic notes. Disappointing for a biere de garde. No spice, pepper, or hops; nada.

The taste is malty and sweet. Nice bready caramel base mixes with a subtle clove and pepper spice. Hmmm, I get the flavors a biere de garde should have but this beer is quite raw. Not really picking up the maple and oak. The malt and yeast flavors still carry the beer though.

The feel is moderate and fizzy. Overall sweet on the palate with some spicy notes and some grassy hops. Well balanced and quite burpy.

I want to like this more but there is not much depth. Perhaps pick up a bottle to age.

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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 pkalix
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange, as someone else described it, seems fitting. I was really looking for nice way of describing it. It really is a beautiful color. I didn’t get the head everybody else is describing (well, maybe a little on the 2nd pour), and no lacing whatsoever. nothing really discernible on the smell but there is certainly some taste in it. A tiny bit tart with some malted fruity flavors and a little bit of alcohol taste. The alcohol wasn’t tasted so much in the first pour of this 750ml, but it is definitely more pronounced in the 2nd pour. I really like this taste although I will admit it could (possibly) use a tiny bit more of the hops.
This brew feels ‘creamy’ and has medium body. It lacks some carbonation but doesn’t suffer from it. Overall, I really enjoyed this and very much like the malt-to-hop ratio of taste in this. It’s labeled as a 7.3% (my butt), or maybe I’ve just not got anything in my stomach because I’m feeling this brew very nicely already…… I could easily do a couple (or more) of these brews before calling it a night.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark orange in color with some bronze/copper colors coming through. Fairly murky body that allows some light to shine through, but no visibility. Off-white head that does not hang around for too long and leaves just a ring of bubbles. Not much in the way of lacing.

S- Toasted bready malts, caramel, oaky wood, slight hint of tree fruits, a bit of spicy yeast. Overall very pleasant nose.

T- The bready malts come through a lot, but about half way through the wood and the Belgian farmhouse yeast kicks in. The bready caramel flavors give way to oak and pear, along with some peppery flavors.

M- Medium carbonation, medium bodied, pleasant carbonation tingle at the end.

O- Very nice beer. Have not had too many Biere de Gardes, so this was a nice experience.

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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 thecheapies
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Warm red-orange color with some haziness. Head looks short, but well-comstructed.

Slight oakiness in the nose, but lots of fruity esters apparent. Nectarine, blood orange, caramel malts, and butterscotch. A little honeyed, too. No hops detectable. Malty and yeasty with some noticeable strength.

Implied taste of corn whiskey with the combination of buttery fusels, fruity yeast byproducts, and sweet oakiness. Mostly attributed to flairful Belgian malts. More blood orange and caramel with some stone fruit essences. Semi-sweet, smooth, and a potently bright. Very round body offers a mellow evening, but not late-evening drinking, kind of feel. Hops are available now to split the extremity of the malts a bit. Works to improve drinkability and balance.

Most Ommegang beers fall into this overall rating or higher. This beer further proves we're dealing with a creatively fantastic brewery here.

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Photo of JayQue
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a wine glass from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle. Medium sized delicately bubbly white head that fades quickly, nice hazy dull gold/orangy color. Minimal lacing.

Smell is mild bready malts. Pleasant but nothing spectacular. Taste is mild as well, bready malts, some slight sweetness (the maple?) and, as the beer warms, the oak barrel flavor kicks in.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light. No hint of the alcohol, goes down smoothe,

THis beer is ok, hardly worth the price thought. I guss this style is a bit subtle for my tastes. I like more robust flavor.

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

A: Poured from the 750 ml (caged & corked) into a Stone Old Guardian glass. Body is glowing orangey-amber with a 1-finger bubbly white head.

S: Citrusy fruit over sweet malt and a touch of spice. Pleasant. Slight yeasty funkiness too.

T: Kind of follows the nose: sweet malt (brown sugar) and yeasty sweetness is followed by a touch of lemony bitterness. Lingering touch of tannins at the finish. Good balance. Touch of heat down the gulley.

M: Good fizziness, but with modest creaminess too. Call it medium in heft.

O: Good stuff.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: deep amber with tan head that explodes and then slowly retreats into a thin layer with laces along the sides

S: light on the nose - some toasted wheat, hop and yeast aromas; floral and herbal, woody oak

T: lots of dry, farmhouse ale flavors here: tart yeasts, mild sweet malts in the background, bits of oak and wood, vague citrus qualities; floral and grassy with some hints of sharper spices

M: thin-bodied, well-carbonated, clean, crisp, slightly tart, slightly bitter, but with a sweeter malty finish that rounds off the drink

O: I've had a few farmhouse ales, and this is the French version of the style - distinct yeast and hop tastes set it apart from (non-French) saisons. A very refreshing and pleasing brew, but I didn't really pick up any of the maple sweetness that I was hoping would set it apart - perhaps since it is meant to age, it will become sweeter and mellower with time.

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Photo of adamette
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Live Review. Poured from the 750 ML corked and caged bottle that I bought at Save-On in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago for $13.49 into my Voodoo Brewery pint glass. No observed "best by" date.
Notes: My most well known Biere de Garde going into this review is Voodoo Brewery's Gran Met, a beer that I not only love but have had many, many growlers of and inspired me to remain in contact with the brewery ever since I first had Gran Met back in 2009. So it is with that perspective that I approach this Biere de Garde from Brewery Ommegang, another favorite brewery by the way.

A Light caramel slightly hazy but translucent body under a two inch thick and creamy light brown head. Good look. 3.5

S Light to moderate malt sweetness with some barley to the nose. Little to no hops detected by me. Seems right on target for the style. Some added intrigue for some yeast smells as well. 3.5

T Light malt and grains predominate and the late taste features a nice smooth, rounded taste that I attribute to the aging on wood mentioned in the brewing process. Although pleasant and on track for the style, honestly this beer's taste is rather forgettable for me. 3.0

M Light syrupy stickiness lingers on my tongue a full minute after my last sip which is not unpleasant. Overall feel is on the thin side. Again, that is appropriate to the style (a French Farmhouse ale) but not dynamic or interesting to me. 3.0

D/O Drinkability is pretty high given the manageable ABV % and the relatively light feel. Overall this is a fair attempt at the style but not one that I can see returning to. 3.0

Notes: There are many more favorable options even within Brewery Ommegang. The great Three Philosophers, Witte and their Dubbel are some examples from the top of my mind. I really made an effort to judge this beer on its own merits but rest assured this will not be replacing Voodoo Brewery's Gran Met atop my personal Biere de Garde list.
Additional note: Voodoo Brewery used to list Gran Met as a Biere de Garde. A quick check just now reveals that it is now considered a Tripel. Oh well. I still rated this beer on its own merits.

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Photo of draheim
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL (bottled 5/29/2012) into a Hennepin glass. Pours a clear amber w/ a 1-finger off-white head, moderate carb.

Aroma is earthy and slightly vinous; grapes, bready yeast, dried fruit and a vague spiciness.

Taste is bready, earthy, fruity, sweet.

Mouthfeel is balanced, medium-bodied, crisp, semi-dry.

Overall a different take on a style of beer I've only tried a few times.

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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 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 facundoCNB
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

An amber pour wih a finger of head which dissipated into a small ring. No lacing. Smell is of vanilla, honey, caramel, maple. Flavor is of light barrel.. Vanilla, maple, oak. Very sweet and delicious beer. A lighter medium body. Low carbonation. Glad I got to try it. Nothin too special but definitely a nice beer.

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Biere D'Hougoumont from Brewery Ommegang
3.85 out of 5 based on 349 ratings.
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