Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

L’Ambrée D’Esquelbecq / Thiriez Amber | Brasserie Thiriez

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
87
very good
47 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
L’Ambrée D’Esquelbecq / Thiriez AmberL’Ambrée D’Esquelbecq / Thiriez Amber
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Thiriez
France
brasseriethiriez.com

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Local name - L’Ambrée D’Esquelbecq
US Import - Thiriez Amber

Description on US bottle label:
“Daniel Thiriez painstakingly crafts his rustic farmhouse ales in a rustic farmhouse brewery in the beautiful countryside of French Flanders. This brisk Amber Ale is really a luminous golden-red. It is perfectly balanced, with a soft, fresh hop bitterness playing off a hearty whole-grain maltiness, and accented by an entrancing nose of earth and spice that is typical of French farm-country brewing.”

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 10-12-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
74
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
14.62%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
5
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 74
Reviews by metter98:
Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is nearly clear amber in color and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. A careful pour resulted in a two finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a large pillow of bubbles in the center of the glass and a thick collar around the edge.
S: Light aromas of sour apples and pale malts are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has a light amount of sourness with notes of grainy malts and apples as well as some hints of earthy yeast.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes unique for a French bière de garde because it's a little sour (but not to the degree of a Jolly Pumpkin beers) and pleasantly adds an interesting twist to the taste. It is quite easy to drink and the bit of sourness also masks some of the grainy malts and earthy yeast.

 871 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - no US description on this label - pure français, bébé!

This beer pours a murky, medium-dark golden amber hue, with two fingers of fizzy and foamy faded beige head, which leaves a few sparse islets of lace around the glass as it hastily drops away.

It smells of sweet, musty bready caramel malt, some earthy and faintly funky yeast, overripe plums, subtle prickly spice, and soft grassy hops. The taste is more semi-sweet bready malt, some further defined spices - nutmeg and soft cloves, chiefly, which render an obvious gingerbread or cookie note - with a twinge of edgy white pepper, a lessened fermenting fruitiness, and dry, hay-like, and wild grassy hops.

The carbonation is a tad frothy, and more or less meek overall, the body a somewhat unstable middleweight, though this does little to affect the steady smoothness. It finishes with a trend toward all things dry - crackery malt, dried fruit, musky yeast, and ashy and leafy hops.

A decent farmhouse amber ale, the inherent fruitiness rolling nicely with the friendly yeast jabs, and an agreeable, varying hop bitterness helping keep things interesting. A wee bit complicated, so better if you've the time to sit back and contemplate. Otherwise, it also slips down alarmingly fast, if that's your bag.

 1,282 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Overcast overripe apricot with so much carbonation that the beer is very nearly opaque. As I type, there's a slow-motion eruption of foam from the bottle that hasn't slowed in the several minutes since the crown was cracked. The foam in the glass is ecru in color and is as airy and insubstantial as it gets. Not one shred of lace actually sticks to the glass. I love the rustic look of the beer though, even more so as it becomes murkier and murkier with each successive pour.

I like the nose too. This isn't the most aromatic or the most complex Biere de Garde that I've ever smelled (all five of them), but it's grain-like and yeastspicy and even a trifle hoppy. As I continue to sniff, I'm not as enamored as I was at first. The head is nearly gone; maybe the best parts of the aroma went with it.

The flavor is the nose in liquid form. I've always thought of Biere de Gardes as one of the more complex styles. Thiriez Amber isn't all that complex. That isn't to say that it isn't good, just that the flavor profile is a 'what you taste is what you get' sort of proposition. Actually, it isn't all that wonderful. The beer needs a flavor hook and hasn't really been given one.

As advertised, this is one of the least hoppy versions of the style that one is likely to run across. I still had high hopes that there would be enough toasted maltiness and enough spiciness to get the job done. The beer certainly doesn't lack whole grain flavor (Grape-Nuts cereal) or spiciness, but there's nothing to tie it all together, no spark to light the fuse and get the mouth party rollin'.

I'm not so sure that the yeast strain is so wonderful after all. It seems to me that any Belgian yeast worth its salt wouldn't allow such an unfocused flavor profile as this. I'd like to be able to say that Thiriez Amber could at least be enjoyed with all manner of artisinal cheeses, but it would probably lose what little personality is possesses after the first bite. This isn't bad beer at all, it's just that my disappointment is bringing out more negative comments than positive ones.

The body is acceptable. The mouthfeel could use a little help. What started out as one of the most bubblicious beers that I've ever seen, is now very nearly flat. With regards to carbonation, the beer passed from 'too much' to 'too little' without ever stopping at 'just right'. I'm not sure what the cause is, but the brewery would be well advised to fix the problem. Thankfully, my bottle of Thiriez XXtra didn't suffer the same fate.

Thiriez Amber isn't a Biere de Garde that I can recommend. I find it interesting that the most delicious and most accomplished version that I've ever had--of what is one of the most Belgian (and French) of all styles of beer--was brewed in Michigan, USA. For the time being at least, Jolly Pumpkin's excellent Oro De Calabaza is the style leader in my eyes.

 2,885 characters

Photo of shapudding
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lot 1107, dated 12/05. Hand carried back from the brewery by a good friend!
Unclear, amber, with some carbonation seen rising up through it. No real head at all, just a bit of white dusting and some dusting gathered in a ring. Amazing aroma! Fresh tobacco, maybe styrian hops? Nicely hoppy scents, slightly skunky, but good. Smooth feel, low carbonation, you just barely notice it, but by no means flat. Nice hoppiness, caramelly malts, bit herbal. Catching scents of chocolate towards the end... sweet, milk chocolate, but there is no flavor of chcocolate. Very good, very drinkable, very freakin’ special.

 610 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle, capped and w/o freshness dating, bottle calls this a "rustic farmhouse ale", not sure how it lands in the "American amber/red ale category"?... Pours cloudy, dark amber, with active carbonation and lots of tiny bubbles continueing to stream upwards. Head is light tan, frothy, long lasting and leaving coating and thick lacing. Nose is brightly of citrus peels and some light chocolate. This ia a brightly flavored and tasty brew, notes of vanilla, honey, citrus, chocolate, caramel and toffee,yeasty breadyness, floating under the surface, lovely stuff, complex, smooth and nuanced. Well worth a try, yes they do brew world class beer in France!

 660 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of jisak74
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of pat61
4.54/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thiriez Amber pours a clean creamy orange amber with a little haze and a 2” off-white foamy head that quickly dissipates. Caramel and fruity notes dominate the nose augmented by spice and floral notes. Light short cake covered in stone fruit and a trace of caramel dominate the palate with a moderate hop accent on the finish and a touch of tartness for balance. The carbonation is superb with fine soft bubbles that give a luscious mouth feel. It is very smooth and thirst quenching. The body is medium.

 507 characters

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Hennepin flute.

A--Thiriez hearts bubbles. The carbonation on these beers is insane, although this bottle was more tame than others (of Blonde and XXtra) that I've had. Still, head was a good three and a half fingers of chunky off-white foam. It does die quickly, though, and gets eaten up by a deeply red, auburnish body with flecks of all sorts of stuff in it. Thiriez to me is the goldschlager of beers.

S--The fruit on this is very present, both citrus and stone. I'm getting mango, apricot, some cherry, and a little bit richer plum or even prune. Damn. Some back-end esters bite you with clove intensity, too. The yeast isn't pronounced on the nose as much as it is in their other beers.

T--Another fun, wild ride, as you traverse fruit and even wine vinegar spectrums, with a hint of breadiness behind the sweet and sour. Not for the faint of heart--Thiriez beers challenge me and this one was no exception, but it, like Ommegang's Rouge, ultimately makes me happy I got on board. The balance for the complexity is incredibly, as you get even a little bit of what one reviewer said beautifully was "dusty hops." For me I only got a trace feel of that at the end, but it was enough to impress. Not nearly as piney and fresh as the dry-hopped XXtra or Blonde, with a deeper malt character, but that just means it's just right for weather that includes a nip of winter wind.

M&D--Both are excellent, although the ABV is a touch high for such an inviting beer. Hey, can't complain. Overall the creamy champagne feel is where it's at--I'm sleeping in the hayloft tonight. Viva la funkay!

 1,628 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of benbazi
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Photo of bditty187
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightly hazy, peachy-coppery in hue with some amber highlights as well. I really like how this beer looks when backlit. The head was off-white in color, at the apex the foam was almost two-fingers in height. The bubbles quickly faded to a thin soapy cap, which lasted more or less the entire consumption. There was no subsequent lacing of note. That is too bad. Overall, I like how this beer looks but it could be better.

The nose is interesting. It smells like yogurt mixed with apples, cinnamon, traces of caramel, plus some biscuits. At the back is some honey and vanilla… the finish is very grassy with some hay. The bouquet is complex and, in a way, all over the place. The maltiness is kind of light, there needs to be some kind of backbone. The moderately-low potency hurts the vibe. Still, all the little aromas come together and create a pleasant and inviting bouquet. Nice.

The nose didn’t lie as the palate is very much what I expected it to be. There is a minimal malt backbone, which is okay. Caramel flavors do provide a foundation of sorts along with a kiss of biscuit and residual sweetness. In the middle is a weakly spicy moment, some yogurt, tropical fruit, apples, and wheat. Damn! The more I sip the more I like this beer. It is very tasty and complex enough to keep my interest. Plus the abv is low. This is a damn good session beer. Apples in the aftertaste with a kiss of nuts, dry. This is a quality beverage.

Medium/medium-light in body, low carbonation but the mouthfeel fits the palate very well. It is delicate… just like the palate. Right on.

This is a very drinkable beer. I very much like it. Now is this something I would be in the mood for often? No. It hits the spot today and I would think this would make a great session beer or a great beer with baked fish. I purchased by bottle in Iowa City. Worth a try.

 1,861 characters

Photo of Goldorak
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bronzy and quite effervescent, it started off with a fat layer of honeycomb meringue, and it kept on bubbling and churning like a miniature volcano in the middle of my glass, I enjoyed watching that. A few flakes were found laying around the bottom, not enough for me to be repulsed.

Smell: A real sour, almost lactic aroma. Like a funk-less lambic, or freshly squeezed lemonade. I tried hard to pick up anything else, but just couldn't. A little one-dimentional, but I liked it anyway.

Taste: Excellent presence in my palate, much more malt body than I expected, it finished off chewy with an unripe exotic fruit flavor, like a caramel coated mango. This is my second solid offering from Thiriez, I'll try to seek them out more.

 747 characters

Photo of Jredner
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pint 9.4 oz bottle $9.99. The aroma is sweet candy sugar, sweet malts, mild raisin notes, some citrus and spice a soft floral aroma that is very inviting. The body is a bright copper/amber color and supports a massive three fingers thick head that is ivory white, fluffy and lasting. Fore is dry and grainy with toasted breads, mild baked raisin and caramel flavors, honey and sweet malt. Very tasty. The carbonation is biting and gives some crispness to the rounder, lightly sweet base flavor.

 496 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gift from my east coast buddy Gail... thanks!

I hadn't read about this before I opened it, and I guess I was expecting something in the Brown/Brune/Dubbel area stylistically (not sure why I thought that, but I did).

Massive foam arose from this well-chilled baby (a last minute decision, I couldn't wait) as I popped it for dinner of baked fish with Peach salsa and a pear salad. Pours an orangish/copper/golden (but more brown in the shadows) with a large foamy head, which slowly dissipates.

When there was a lot of head, I really felt I smelled a reasonable hop profile. Aroma is malty, with several interesting flavors- vanilla, cinnamon, sweet apples(?), light fruits and honey. I first thought the hop profile was there, an perhaps it is, but it is really more of the organic yeast-based farmhouse aromas (which really come out in the flavor) that remind me a lot of DeRanke XX Bitter (not that whole beer, just that aspect of the beer).

Flavor is more subtle, although I must admit that a spicier part of my salad did hurt my palate- burned some of it away, shall we say? But the dominant flavor is the farmhouse, around which the other flavors (from the aroma) dance. Gentle and easy drinking in a quite pleasant way.

I like this, but to be honest, I don't think that this was the beer I was in the mood for when I drank it. I won't let that affect my scores, though.

 1,393 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this bottle in the back of the cooler at my local shop. Think it's pretty old, this doesn't get distributed to us anymore.

A - Pours a dark orange-amber with a huge foamy head that dissipated quickly. Lots of gnarly "floaties".
S - Aromas of honey, flowers, pepper and herbs, and pears with a gentle caramel malt backbone.
T - Similar to the nose, more pears, herbs and pepper. the honey notes really dominate this for me, though. Almost like carbonated, alcoholic honey. Quite tasty.
M - Medium-light bodied with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel that surprised me. Highly carbonated with a dry finish.
D - Nice and drinkable, especially in lieu of champagne as a meal-starter.

 681 characters

Photo of rhenning
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25.4 fl oz green bottle purchased @ Met Foods, Brooklyn and poured into Ommegang chalice glass.

Hazy bronze in color, a gentle pour yields 2.5-3 fingers of fluffy bone white head that recedes to a smattering of foam within a minute or so. No lacing to speak of.

Nose is sweet, consisting of pear, warm apple cider, a pepperry spiciness/mustiness that I can't quite put my finger on, light yeast and a touch of alcohol coming through.

Taste generally echoes the smell, without many surprises; Malty sweetness right up front that sticks around throughout the palate, tree fruit cider, a bit more hop presence than in the nose, but less perceived alcohol as compared to the smell.

Mouthfeel is medium and pretty thirst quenching. The haze makes the beer look more viscous than it actually is.

The bottle went down pretty easily so I gave it better than average marks for drinkability. It's just a little sweet and juicy for more than a couple of pints.

 954 characters

Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Het Kasteelhof on Mont Cassel, Cassel, Nord France. Pours a cloudy amber colour with a white head. Aromas of cherries, vanilla & hops. Tastes start with a sweet fruity flavour, after a few sips you can taste the cherries & vanilla as well as maple, with a aftertaste of hoppiness. Overall on a very hot summers day a beer that that goes down lovely!

 365 characters

Photo of hdtrice
3.17/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of dipso123
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a wonderful malt character that is unique among the 2-3 other Biere de Garde I have tried. I found it too thin and the yeast character seemed more Westmalle than I would expect, but I found the abbey character a pleasant mix with the unexpected malty-ness.

 270 characters

Photo of carln26
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a hazy copper color with a bubbly tan head. Nice nose, less spice forward than many beers of this style. It’s more about the yeast. Just a ton of yeasty bread dough followed by light spice, a little cardamen, some white pepper. There is some dark fruit dates, and a little pomegranate on the finish. Flavor has more of the yeasty quality, I really find that refreshing. More spice than I get on the nose, I think this beer may have a little pepper in it. The heat on the finish feels more like pepper than alcohol, but I could be fooled. Loads of sweet malt come through midway. More of the pomegranate, dark caramel, a little bit of pear. Nice light mouth feel, Good drinkability. The only thing I don’t like about this beer was the shower I got when it opened. It was a little too carbonated.

 812 characters

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass, pours a deep amber with a big three fingered light tan head. The head drops slowly, but remains around a finger's depth. Some solid lacing.

Aromas of big toffee malt. I can tell this won't be as dry as my favorite saisons, but this is Biere de Garde, meant to be maltier. Some dark fruits. No real hop aroma to speak of.

Flavors of toffee, tobacco, dark fruit, a nice layer of sweet maltiness. There is likely enough hop bitterness to keep it from getting too sweet, but you really can't pick it out. Finish is medium, with toffee and dark raisins hanging on for the ride.

Mouthfeel is medium, chewy. Good level of carbonation.

Overall a very nice BdG. One of the better examples. Seek it out.

 736 characters

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to dickinsonbeer (dick-in-some-beer)
Appears a hazy light gold with a chunky head that is from the 3/4 Liter bottle that spewed like a mother in labor.
Smell is of plum, grapefruit, spices, and doughy bread.
Taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is smooth, mildly sugary, and balanced.

 297 characters

Photo of ystazi
4/5  rDev +2.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
L’Ambrée D’Esquelbecq / Thiriez Amber from Brasserie Thiriez
3.9 out of 5 based on 74 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe