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

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L'Ambrée D'Esquelbecq / Thiriez AmberL'Ambrée D'Esquelbecq / Thiriez Amber

Brewed by:
Brasserie Thiriez

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

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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 74
Photo of ATPete
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on draught at the Thiriez Brasserie.

A- Nice amber brown color, semi opaque, with s small and quickly dissipating white head. Some lace.

S- Farmy, earthy, herbal, some fruit notes of cherry, grapefruit and some hop.

T- Tastes much like the nose, a little bit of funkyness, overall a good malt structure, semi tart.

M- Medium feel, tiny bubbles and lots of them.

D- Very good

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Photo of avalon07
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from one of the big bottles to a tulip glass. Started as a deep amber color - which changed to a brown when I poured the remainder into the glass - with a very thick consistency. Lots of sediment. Huge amount of head and good lacing.

The smell was pretty interesting. It had a somewhat funky, barnyard aspect to it, but was also rich in hops and spices.

As far as the taste goes, the aforementioned hops and spices made the biggest impact. There was a slightly acidic quality to it, though not overwhelmingly so.

This had a good amount of carbonation, but, as I said, the finish was a bit acidic for my taste. A mixed bag on the mouthfeel.

This is decently drinkable beer, though not my favorite. It is nice to see the French can actually do beer well.

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

Beer bottle (33cl), tasted in 2006.
Appearance: Beautiful orange-amber color, white foam head persistent
Smell: beautiful aromas and malted roasted
Taste and mouthfeel : bitterness well balanced
Drinkability: a good beer in the style "Bière de garde"

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Photo of NoLiberty
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App: Cloudy hue and amber-orange color. Good head, not huge, but lasts the whole drink.
Aroma: Total apple and apple cider. Sweet and crisp. Really nice and different.
Taste: Apple all up front, clean and light malt middle and cool hop finish. Wet and sweet. Nice.
Mouth: Mild, light bodied. Wet with light carbonation.
Drink: Good beer, very drinkable. Pretty unique.

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Photo of sleazo
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a rich reddish golden, with a big foamy white head. Lacing is tight but a bit sparse.

S-Black pepper intermingles with a rich musty scent and a bit of sugar.

T&M-More of that black pepper hits you upon first sip. The effervescence pushes more spice around the mouth. This is followed by a candi sugar sweetness that coats the tongue a bit. There is then a vague noble like hop bitterness in the aftertaste. The phenolic characteristics really come out as it warms. Very well done.

D-not too high in alcohol but the sweetness does get to you a bit in the end. i was happy to share this one. Still it is one beer and one brewery I would seek out again.

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Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recommendation: Have a large pitcher on hand for the opening.

This beer was truly an experience. My wife won it as a door prize and it aged a bit in my cellar but had been in the fridge for at least a month. One word describes the opening ceremony: Eruption. I lifted a corner of the cap and felt like I was wrestling a rattlesnake for the next few minutes. We got 2 eight ouce glasses out the 25.4 in the bottle. The rest was on the floor, sofa, tables, vanity and some unfortunately down the drain, as it continued foaming over while I was mopping up.

All that aside, this was a very enjoyable brew.

When the foam settled back into liquid form it was a hazy reddish brown. The yeast was obviously stirred up by the cataclysm of the opening. The head was snowy white and hung on till the glass was empty. The lacing was somewhat less than expected. I couldn't help noticing the sweet yet spicy aroma which included some citrus notes.

The carbonation provided a tingly mouth-feel that eventually turned into something quite nice, adding to the enjoyment.

The taste was a complex malty blend of sugar, toffee, with some raisin and apricot and some peppery spice, along with the faint sourness associated with belgians. The flavor was long-lasting and finished with the pepper and extended with some satisfying hoppiness.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.31/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 750ml green glass bottle. Sealed with a shiny gold plastic covering on the neck leading one to have the impression that it may be corked, but once easily removed (thanks to one of those nifty pre-installed sliver tab thingies) it revealed a large simple brass crown cap. Main label has a country feel to it, but seems to be a US import version. Listed at 5.8% Alc. Vol., but with no freshness date. Imported by the Shelton Brothers.

Description to the left of the bottle explains:
“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.”

Appearance: As with the Blonde, but worse, heavily carbonated, simply over carbonated and it’s not funny! Even after a quiet untouched week in the fridge the opening immediately induces a frothy leak. The first glass is all foam and the second is not far off, after a glass and a half is evacuated from the bottle the forth in the bottle continues to expand upwards and out. Something is dreadfully wrong here. Aside from the user issues when it does settles, the egg-shell head has an expansive foamy appearance and make-up and when it settles it is still at least 1” thick. Hazed light brown body with golden orange sunset flashes at the base of my Maredsous Glass. Virulent streamers and a few pin prick sized yeasty bits in the hazed body too if I’m not mistaken. Once it settles down, it doesn’t look too bad.

Nose: Struggled with this one, I really didn’t seem to get much of anything here. A candy sugar sweet malt trace in and amongst some soil and an earthy smell. Strange to say the least.

Taste: Along with the nose it has a slow start. Toffee malt, freshly turned soil and a hint of caramel, which reminded me of some 1 pence soft chewy toffees that I bought in England as a child. The earthiness is balanced with a sweet caramel angle which stays. Finish has a smidgeon of hop interference, but it is short lived, and retains the sweet malts at the death.

Mouthfeel: Over-carbonated, burp juice extraordinaire. Medium depth starts to lighten as you get to the back of this one. The punishing levels of dissolved carbon dioxide are not only annoying with the constant top-ups but a little too much in the long term also.

Drinkability: Nice enough but I soon started to get a little bored with this one, it just sort of, dies off. Somewhere along the line it had the promise to be something special but just ends up as a solid Amber Ale with the merest farmyard hint.

Overall: I had the distinct pleasure to visit Brasserie Thiriez way back in April 2003 during my annual Easter Belgium trip with Wakefield CAMRA. At that time I wasn’t too taken with the range of beers to be perfectly frank and the Amber was my least favorite of all of them when I sampled it at the brew at the Brewery. Even now with some improvements, it still not one of my favorites. Needs to do more to earn its “farmhouse” moniker, right now, if you’ve ever seen the Thririez Brewery you’ll know what I mean when I say, that it is too stainless and clinical and still AAA - An Average Amber, at best. An Amber Alert Thank You to BigHuge for sending this one West, much appreciated.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.77/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got a gusher here. Foams over and keeps foaming and foaming after I pop the bottle cap off. Even after I pour what I can into a goblet, the bottle continues to foam over.

So this beer is an orangeish amber color. Dirty white head. And LOTS of it. More than half my glass to begin with. Aroma is lemony, pepper and yeasty. Some hay as well. Herbal hop traits too. Taste is candy like in swetness, but earthy in the hop department. The mouthfeel is quite spritzy and very gaseous. Not impressed.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Certainly pours a nice amber color, a mix of red and copper notes. The beer is incredibly well carbonated, it in fact starts to foam out of the bottle as soon as I pop the cap, and lots of floating yeast bits are kicked up and make it into my glass. Luckily it makes it's way into my glass with out spilling a drop. The myriad, of quickly cascading streams of carbonation keep aloft a fluffy, three-finger thick, amber tinged tan colored head that forms a rocky surface as times wears on. Malty aromatic notes of caramel and toasted grain are joined by a light fruitiness reminiscent of tart plums and raisins and a spicy yeast character that evokes notes of clove, pepper, and perhaps a hint of ginger. Overtime a nice sour sweet apple note becomes quite prominent and pleasant.

The taste is dry and spritzy up front, but leads to a fruity sweet note that is magnified by the caramel malt notes. The sweet malt notes and fruity yeast character remind me of sweet plums and fragrant apples; these notes actually linger for quite some time in the finish. The finish also has a lingering, lightly astringent bitterness to it, which adds a nice balance to the sweetness. This beer is so well carbonated that the spicy, zesty, almost peppery character of this beer is magnified in the front of the mouth as you first take a sip of this beer.

This beer is light and refreshing, yet still manages to have a nice heft to it that makes it a bit satiating as well. Refreshing, yet satiating I really how the beer strikes a balance between these two, disparate descriptors. As the beer loses a bit of its spritzy carbonation it begins to become a touch more satiating, but it is still not heavy or chewy. The malt character is quite nice here as well; I really like how the best Farmhouse Saisons can have such a pronounced malt character despite all of the other exotic yeast characters and flavors.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice clear amber golden with an off-white tall and frothy head which fell very slowly to coat the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a notable citrus punctuation. Further, the aroma was fruity with a bit of grass and an bit of herbal and floral character. Somewhere behind all that lurked a smidge of spice and a hint of caramel.

The flavor was earthy and lightly citrusy with a nice bittering level. The flavor contained a bit of a tea (not astringent however) flavor and a caramel flavor that complemented the entire experience. The flavor was fruity and lightly floral (can a flavor be floral?) with a bit of light spice thrown in just to add even more complexity.

The finish was dry with a lasting hints of caramel, earthy hop presence and light citrus with a fruitiness that continued long and pleasantly into the aftertaste. The body was medium light and the carbonation made the beer seem creamy.

Not an American Amber, but more of a Belgian Pale Ale, although the beer really wasn't that pale. In Farmhouse Ales by Markowski he names it in the Biere de Garde category with just a bit too much hops. With more malt backbone I could buy that, but for purposes here I'd just call it great beer!

750 ml capped bottle. Thanks to dmeadows and OneBoxBIF for this beer I had been searching for!

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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.

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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.

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Photo of OldSock
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 750 ml green bottle with gold shrink wrap from Julio’s. It pours with a 3 finger creamy white head that lasts for the duration. The beer is a haze free amber-orange with rapid streams of bubbles. Surprised to see a so-called farmhouse ale be so clear.

Smell – Light malty aroma with just a hint of yeast funk. Bready, with some vanilla, dull compared to what I expected.

Taste – Almost lagerish, definitely leans more towards Bière de Garde than Saison. Very clean flavor, toasted malts with a hint of nobel hops and a little alcohol. It is towards the sweet side of the spectrum, but still pretty well balanced. It’s a fine flavor, just a bit on the boring side, particularly compared to the other tasty offerings from Thiriez that I have had the pleasure of sampling. With the yeast swirled in for the last glass, the beer gets a slightly spicier flavor that I enjoy considerably more than the beer straight, this also gives the beer a more appealing hazy appearance.

Mouthfeel – This had a medium-full mouthfeel with sharp carbonation at first that quickly bubbles itself flat.

Drinkability & Notes – One of the more drinkable farmhouse style ales out there, mainly because of its subtle flavor and alcohol on the low side. Amber is a good intro to French/Belgian farmhouse ales for those afraid of funk and unidentifiable flavors, which are sadly two of my favorite things.

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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.

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Photo of putnam
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Scented delicately of cinnamon, vanilla, blueberry paste and caramel, this very amber colored liquid produces a mouthful of glazed nuts, chipped concrete and brown bread flavors. Very clean, yet unmistakable as a farmhouse ale. Tangy, bruised peach and nectarine fruits toy lazily with mildly astingent earth and nutshell flavors. There is nothing aggressive or gaudy about it, just serene, shy farmhouse ale prettiness. Drink it with boullion and boiled leeks.

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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.

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Photo of tjd25
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It started as a jeyser, I probably lost half of the bottle. My floor smells like beer now... By the time I had tried to clean it a bit, there was still a very silky head on the glittering orange ruby color body. Smell is nice and intriguing: some dark malts combined with a sweet and citric fruity aspect, hints of chocolate, and a grassy and woody hoppiness, quite sharp and fresh. Some pilsner-malt graininess in the taste, sweet and dry. Citrus, wood and light hints of chocolate combine to give the brew thickness and solidity, and the result is a very good mouthfeel: dense, full, round and smooth. I didn't like the aftertaste that much though, grassy and citric, slightly mouth puckering. Quite weird for an amber beer. I wouldn't imbibe my floor with that again.

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L'Ambrée D'Esquelbecq / Thiriez Amber from Brasserie Thiriez
3.9 out of 5 based on 74 ratings.
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