XO Beer | Brasserie des Gabariers (L&L Cognac SA)

31 Reviews
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XO BeerXO Beer

Brewed by:
Brasserie des Gabariers (L&L Cognac SA)

Style: Euro Strong Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by importguy on 06-26-2003

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 34
Photo of papat444
3.15/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Haven't had this in like 15 years back when i was a neophyte craft beer drinker. Remember thinking this was quite the sipper of a beer. Flashback to now and it's certainly not a complex beer. Murky brown body with minimal lacing, flavor is certainly not cognac but does have a sweet discreetness. Body is limp though and overall it's quite average.

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Photo of DARIVA
3.64/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: This is a clear amber colored beer with a beautiful head.

SMELL: This beer smells of yeast and oak.

TASTE: This beer tastes like yeast and cognac.

MOUTH FEEL: This beer has a good balance and a fine carbonation.

OVERALL: Good drinkable, short finish of cognac and a little weak.

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Photo of marty21
3.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light orange/golden colour with 1finger worth of white soapy head. Settles to a thin cap. Left a decent amount of lacing.

S: Lighter malt with a decent amount of honey.

T: Light malts with some honey on the aftertaste. You get a bit of alcohol on the tongue.

M: Light to medium carbonation with a light body.

O: Average beer. I don’t have much to say since it didn’t blow me away or disgust me.

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Photo of krisklyne
3.95/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: caramel in colour with a cream color head; soapy lacing.

S: Booze (wine taste at first)quite minimal,very subtle.

T: Slight Cherry/Raspberry/Caramel flavour but watered down. Pleasant and not overbearing.

M: Moderate body, Light carbonation.

D: Intriguing but not something I would reach for regularly. Something to throw a curve into my usual tastings.Went down easy however.Nice change of pace.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.42/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Been wondering about this one for a few years now. Finally decided to buy one.

A- A dark honey. Hazy, heterogeneous even, with clumps still swirling in the bottom of the bottle. Had to force the beige head by pouring with a bit of height but it was worth it. Retention isn't great but it might be my glass.

S- I think it really smells like raspberry. Some chocolate too and a little alcohol. So all in all it kind of reminds me of a black forest cognac cake. Quite an interesting smell.

T- Surprising taste. Still tastes like raspberries but it also has some sort of green hoppiness to it. Very little cognac or alcohol burn. Sweet but not cloying. A little watery.

M- Low carbonation which doesn't fit too well with the wateriness. Not dry.

D- Good. Easy to drink but not really what I'm looking for when thirsty for a beer.
My sister, who I'm having a hard time turning on to beer seems to really enjoy this one. She says it really tastes like cognac.

To me, this feels more like a cognac malt drink than a beer with cognac in it.

Before liking beer, I thought this would be awesome and fancy. After getting to know beer, I thought this must be a dirty, dirty, gimmick. I now know it's an ok/pretty good product that's not really my thing.
Worth trying.

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Photo of rodenbach99
3.99/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 330ml brown bottle. Bought at the SAQ. Nice copper colour with a beige thin head. Nose with a nice mocha nose, with some nuts. Good taste of malt, some alcohol, nice equilibrium. I drank this beer 10 years ago and it was disapointing now it's a very good beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The version I have of this is 5.9% ABV.

The beer pours a deep, dark reddish brown, with a few fingers of puffy, off white head, that melts away, leaving no lacing. It smells of sour grape essence, and mildly sweet malt. It tastes of sweet wood flavours, citrus, grape must, and caramel malt. The carbonation is quite mild, and the alcohol not really noticeable, just a slight warming. This finishes smooth, with the brandy edge holding on for a little while. A pretty interesting and natural pairing of French beverages, that, while being a blend instead of an aged in wood product, produces similar impressions as those offerings from Innis & Gunn and BrewDog.

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Photo of bloberglawp
2.53/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear medium cooper with a huge white head and some nice lacing, medium carbonation.

Aroma of earthy hops, hints cotton candy, mango and lichi. Flavor is a rather wierd synthetic pop-cycle like cheery candy flavor upfront followed by a boozy note of alcohol. Finished bitter and a tad bit astringent. As it warms up it becomes more and more clutered and flavor seem to clash with one another.

I love both cognac and beer and beleive blending them or perhalps aging beer in cognac barrels is a good idea. I don't feel the base beer used here is the best one for this combination.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.45/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (33 cl.), taste in 2003.

Appearance : Amber caramel clear color, with white foamy head.
Smell : vanilla oak and alcohol (cognac).
Taste and mouthfeel : round, medium bodied, bitterness of alcohol in finish.
Drinkability : a good beer in the French style "bière de garde".

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Photo of forceten
4.03/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer gets an unfairly bad rap. First off, it's a weirdie right off the bat, as it's an orange/amber beer blended with actual Cognac. If you don't like Cognac (or any Brandy), don't try it! You won't like it. It's Cognac beer. For those that are interested, read on... it pours nicely, its head isn't remarkable, but not unacceptable. Very pronounced cognac nose. I must have had a fresh bottle - the beer tasted fresh, and the balance was better than most reviews had me believing. Cognac taste is very present, of course, but it's still a beer. Smooth and drinkable, pleasant. Alcohol was not overly pronounced. Excellent alternative to a port or cognac after dinner, or with a cigar or dessert. I find it's similar in spirit to Innis & Gunn. I'd recommend it for those who like ports and cognacs.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.77/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice initial head and retention with good lacing. Red in color, I can see through the glass.

Smell is of apple and grapes that dominate the malts underneath the beer.

Taste is sweet upfront cut with a mild sourness and a faint bitterness. The alcohol is very apparrent and a little too astringent. Not bad though.

The mouthfeel is slightly crisp but a little astringent because there isn't enough balance to cut the alcohol on the palate.

The astringency of this beer makes a little bit of a sipper, but I would definetly not mind having this beer again.

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Photo of cyrenaica
3.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml Bottle
I tried this beer on August 17, 2007 at 'Smokeless Joe' in Toronto. The beer poured into a tulip glass a beautiful reddish brown colour with almost no head. The aroma was cognac, malt, alcohol and burnt butterscotch. The mouthfeel was very very smooth with a medium body and some mild carbonation. The taste was very heavy on the cognac, and a little hint of fruit. I did feel the alcohol burn, and for a beer with an 8% abv, that's not good in my book. A little pricey at $14.25/bottle as well when I can visit some other places and get an Abbey Quadrupel for less.

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Photo of biegaman
3.92/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There's no denying the branded XO glassware is classy. The liquid it contains, well, that ain't so bad looking either. Though much less ostentatious than cognac, and sootier too, this caramelly amber beer nevertheless relinquishes sharp cardinal red highlights when inspected from the right angles. Its head is foamy and sticks like plaster.

As it warms, the beer starts profusely sweating cognac: warming, soothing but enlivening scents of black cherry and raspberry tannins, vanilla-laced oak and a string of volatile alcohol components that bring phenols reminiscent of jasmine and esters of orchard fruits. It's not hard to understand why they call this stuff "eaux-de-vie" (literally: water of life).

My first thought upon tasting, however, was that they'd used the wrong base beer for this project. It was a disappointing find, to be sure. While difficult to finger exactly what it was at issue - was the beer too insipid? did it clash with the cognac? - it was obvious that without a better base recipe this beer, despite all else going for it, simply wouldn't be as awe-inspiring as it sounded. Nor as sumptuous as it has the potential of tasting.

The cognac, infused both tastefully and tactfully, is really the life-preserver that keeps this beer afloat. Without its rich kirsch-like cherry and plum fruitiness, almond, honey and brown sugar sweetness and hints of citrus shavings, this beer would be a dreadfully average ale. Perhaps the brewery did this intentionally so as not to overwhelm the cognac.

Truth be told, this biere-du-garde-type base beer, while not a perfect match, does little to hinder the cognac, except with regards to regulating its alcoholic intensity and remodeling it for slightly larger, more casually quaffed sips - both of which are positive amendments for my purposes. Still, however, the beer by and large retains much of the balance and delicacy, the sublime serenity, that characterizes even the youngest of France's cognacs.

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Photo of Derek
3.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Burnt caramel colour with an off-white head; some retention, nice lace.

S: Booze (fortified wine-like aroma) up front, but fades over time; toffee; caramelized raisins; brown sugar.

T: Raisins, burnt caramel, brown sugar; pleasant spicyness; the depth of flavour almost masks the booze. Initially interesting, but the taste buds become tired...

M: Moderate body finishes dry; moderate carbonation.

D: Interesting, but not highly drinkable.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.51/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a bright copper color with a long lasting eggshell head and a modest smattering of lace. The aroma is sweet and very aromatic. There’s equal parts ripe red and white grapes, skins and all and some strawberry essence, honey, and booze. The taste is sweet and less appealing than the nose. Booze is more noticeable and cognac flavors dominate. Malt is very hard to find as are any hops. Still, the beer is palatable, like a cognac cocktail would be. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy with light carbonation and lots of numbing from the alcohol (more than most 8% beers). The finish is long, sweet and spicey from booze.

OK but not great, not enough beer flavor and too much alcohol flavor.

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Photo of funkengruven
2.76/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was curious, so I decided to give this one a try.

This poured an attractive amber brown with some head near the top there that subsided to a slight ring around the glass. Smell is rather unique, very bold notes of grape and very little else. The grapes are dominant in the flavor, in fact drinking this I'd swear I was drinking just Cognac. It's not disgusting or nauseating or anything but it's certainly not the best tasting beer out there. The alcohol from the cognac is predominant in the body of this making this a little difficult to drink.

Not horrible, not amazing, not likely to get this one again any time soon.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep amber-brown, with a small white head, and slight carbonation.

Aroma: Profound cognac and brandy aroma, quite spicy and peppery, with prominent alcohol notes.

Taste: Opens with a warm brandy note, followed by a lingering earthy, spicy note. Finishes dry with a lingering clove and spice note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very rich and full.

Drinkability/notes: Well-balanced example, quite well done.

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Photo of elricorico
3.8/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red brown colour and a thick fizzy beige head formed. The head falls back to a thin cap but has some staying power. The beer is quite clear.

The smell first brings to mind raspberry tartness. There is a dry alcohol aroma in there as well. A mix of sweet and tart, quite fruity aroma. I'm not very familiar with cognac, but I imagine the aroma has a lot of its characteristics.

Sweet red grapes are first the be noted in the taste, and become the dominant flavour through the first half of the mouth. The finish is tart, and again somewhat reminiscent of raspberry. There is a slight mustiness in the finish as well. Fairly straightforward, but at the same time fairly pleasant.

This beer has a thickness to it, almost feeling sticky, a bit like a thin syrup. The carbonation is medium, and does well to accent the body.

I like this one. It isn't an amazing beer, but it is quite unique (from my tasting experience) and pleasant to drink. I could see it being a nice desert beer for a winter meal.

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Photo of Orrshow
2.5/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to elricorico for picking this up when out of the province.

Appearance – This beer pours a relatively clear deep brown with a hint of orange to it. A small amount of off white head is produced.

Smell – It has a very interesting smell to it. There is a dominant alcohol aroma from the cognac along with grapes, burnt nuts, raspberries, and brown sugar. I really do smell that cognac in there…it gives this beer something unique. Not bad.

Taste – The taste is dominated by sweetness and cognac. There is a slight hop finish as well. Quite one dimensional. Not the most pleasurable.

Mouthfeel – Very thin and not very carbonated. There is less here than Perrier.

Drinkability – Not great. This beer doesn’t taste very good and I’m not finishing it.

The idea for this beer was interesting…but I’d say an experiment gone wrong.

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Photo of HardTarget
2.72/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: Medicinal grape, like a cough syrup, but strangely in a good way. Overall the aroma was appealing.

Appearance: Clear amber/brown glass holds a tan head, collar, then nothing; no lace.

Flavor: Harsh alcohol and the artificial grape goes over the top. Few redeeming qualities to report.

Mouthfeel: Astringent, but maybe that’s just the alcohol talking. Medium carbonation and body

Overall Impression: The alcohol is a bit hot for me, but cognac isn’t a favorite of mine. If you enjoy it; this is a beer worth trying.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Okay, I've never had any sort of brandy, cognac or armagnac. I bought this because my wife thought it would be good.

Apperance: cola-ish, poor head. Purplish tinges.
Smell: Initial smell out of the bottle was reminiscent of grape juice. In my chalice, smells of sweet brandy with a mild beer smell. Interesting. Hard liquour edge to it. The further into it I get, the more of cognac it smells.
Taste: Better than expected. Malt and hops don't overwhelm, and the cognac is in the forefront. Sweet with and bitter edge to it. This is actually quite good, and I am likely to buy another bottle.
Mouthfeel: A bit too fizzy, and a bit syrupy.
Drinkability: Maybe its just me, but the cognac hits me differently than beer alone. I could probably have two or three of these, but I would not make this a session beer.

As someone else mentioned, this makes a good desert or Christmas beer.

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Photo of pootz
1.56/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Bottle: decants a brilliant clear garnet with amber hilights...not much of a cap even from a hard pour. Aroma is perfumey, some grape with some sweet treacle tones. Starts sweet with some molasses tastes then you catch the dry grapes and the alcohol takes over the palate for the rest of the ride to the finish. The finish is alcohol pronounced and warming...this is more like a cocktail or mixed drink than a beer....not to my liking...won’t revisit. Rye and coke is more palatable

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Photo of Jason
1.54/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Presentation: 330 ml brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Clear reddish brown with a solid lacing on top.

Smell: The alcoholic smell of the beer and booze brings back memories of my early days of drinking … just not right at all.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Insipid, astringent and full of fusel alcohol. Oddly sweet with a vanilla back which does not help. The taste reminds me of a wood polish smell.

Drinkability & Notes: I don’t think I have every used the term “Drain Pour” before … this is without a doubt a drain pour. Not even sure I would cook with this.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.04/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

My bottle said 8% alc., but everything else appears to be the same (as importguy also mentions the 8% alc., maybe tthe first reviewer got it wrong)

Ingredients: malt (49%), cognac, grain, hops, yeast.

Appearance: Thin fine head with rusty amber body.
Nose: Lavender and a mish-mash of perfume
Taste: Did someone dump a perfume counter into my beer? This is wildly fruity.
Mouthfeel: It feels exceedingly foamy
Drinkability: The perfume almost put me under, but interesting.

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Photo of TerryW
3.46/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours up looking pretty good. Distinctly reddish-amber colour, moderate head, but unfortunately no meaningful lace or head retention. Love the colour though.

Now, for the life of me, on first drawing in on the nose of the thing I could have sworn I had a Dr. Pepper in my glass. No foolin'. Just close your eyes and inhale, see what you think. After getting past that initial impression I could pick up berry fruit, herbal and light alcohol scents clearly.

The taste is quite sweet up front and the beer is dominated by the cognac. Raspberry flavours and notes of alcohol. The cognac lingers on the palette and the beer leaves a nice overall warm feeling.

That said, while I enjoyed this beer, I think you need to use it it the right place. Definitely not something you want to knock back a lot of in short order. You wouldn't swill a cognac, so I'd suggest treating this beer the same way. Sip at it and enjoy it slowly after dinner.

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XO Beer from Brasserie des Gabariers (L&L Cognac SA)
3.26 out of 5 based on 34 ratings.
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