Scaldis Caractère
Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl

Scaldis CaractèreScaldis Caractère
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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #66
Ranked #16,780
3.9 | pDev: 14.36%
Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl
Very Good
Scaldis CaractèreScaldis Caractère
Notes: Formerly called Scaldis Amber // Also known as Bush Ambrée

Introduced in 1933 under the name of “Scaldis Beer”, this is one of the oldest specialty beers in Belgium and the flagship brand of the Dubuisson Brasserie.

The Scaldis Caractère is a filtered, top-fermented beer made from malt, hops, natural sugars, water from the brewery’s own underground source and an exclusive house yeast that has been cultivated for 80 years.

The pronounced bitter-sweet taste of this beer, its gentle taste structure and characteristic amber colour are all due to the caramel malts used and the expertise and patience of the master brewer (the beer rests for four to six weeks). The high density – the proportion of malt – and the active house yeast make for one of the strongest Belgian beers, with an alcohol volume of 12%.

The CO2 saturated Scaldis Caractère is easily digestible and makes an excellent aperitif or after-dinner digestive beer.

25 IBU
24° Plato
Reviews: 437 | Ratings: 738 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Tiny 8.4 oz brown bottle with a dark orange foil over the cap. A lot # or odd freshness date on the side of the label could be deciphered as the month, week of the month and year to drink before.

Appearance: Aggressively carbonated though with the beer being thick it takes its time as it rolls to the top to form a rocky head. Peachy orange colour with small flakes of yeast floating around.

Smell: Peppery sweet alcohol, ripe tropical fruit like pineapple and mango are thrown to the nostrils. Some malt sweetness is the back also.

Taste: Creamy medium body with a thick carbonation, big unwavering alcoholic character is there from start to finish. Peppery and warming with a sweetish sherry like flavour. Nectarine? Fruitiness is there but mixed. Hints of medicinal phenols. Malt flavour is cake like and a bit doughy, it seems uniform all the way through also. Hops a mild and a bit of a veggie flavour peeks in. Finishes with more alcohol and leaves some residual sweetness.

Notes: Impressively strong yet balanced in a way given its strength. Makes a perfect dessert beer or a night cap to sip on. Certainly is close to the barley wine style though still lined with a big Belgian influence.

Jul 23, 2002
More User Reviews:
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doktorhops from Australia

3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Now there are two types of bush in this world: One that produces delicious berries, and George W Bush. Hopefully Bush Ambrée is good Bush. TBH, this one caught me by surprise, I thought I had reviewed some pretty big Belgian beers in the past but Bush claims to be “THE STRONGEST BELGIAN BEER” quite prominently on the back label. I had to check back over all the Belgian beers I’ve reviewed and the only thing that comes close to 12% ABV is Trappistes Rochefort 10 at 11.3%... so I guess Bush is the strongest then.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Yee HAW! We got us a heap o’ them yeast particles floating around up in them there glass *best Yosemite Sam impression*. Along with a typical amber body and thin white lace I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much yeast floating in a glass, it’s a massive yeast party [insert highly (in)appropriate yeast infection joke here]... a little off-settling actually. 6/10.

S: Over ripe apples and pear, hints of dark fruit and quite a big boozy note, hope it’s not a half glass of beer with Grandmas brandy making up the rest, fingers crossed. Add a truckload of sugar, and you’ll be spot on the aroma of Bush. 7/10.

T: Yep. Sugar. Truckloads. But we expected that from the Belgians who famously use truckloads of sugar in their brews, and this is THE strongest Belgian beer one can buy, so yeah, obvious really. Once you get past the overbearing sweetness though there are some nice flavours at play with the over ripe apples, pears providing some acidity to cut through the sweetness, along with notes of plum with bready yeast, and a medicinal bitter finish. 8/10.

M: Medium to heavy body with a dense, excitable carbonation. 7/10.

D: Good? Yes. I can however feel a headache coming on like a swarm of sharks smelling blood in the water. Better pop a couple Aspirin with this brew. I do appreciate that my face is warm now, living in Canberra (which is the Australian word for “cold winters”). Overall though this beer is competing in the best stable in the world - the pedigree of Belgian Strong Ales, and there are many other great options: Duvel (of course!), La Chouffe, Piraat and Delirium Tremens. That said it is cheaper than all of those... this is then, I do declare, the best cheapest Belgian Strong Ale you can get, yay! 8/10.

Food match: Ibuprofen, Panadol and Aspirin - pick your poison. Or cheese platter.

Mar 18, 2015
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Scaldis Amber is sold in Europe under its original name, "Bush Beer", but I think the North American title better suits it anyhow; it sounds like "scalding" which is perfect given the fiery amber colour, blazing highlights and red-hot 11.8% alcohol. (Though, to be sure, there's no confusing this flashy, fancy looking beer for "the official sponsor of fishing, hunting and Nascar").

Dubuisson has been cultivating the same yeast for this ale since the recipe's inception, over 80 years ago. Hey, when it ain't broke. This mildly zesty, peppery strain helps lighten the thick, gooey, caramelly maltiness and is a complimentary match to the underlying fruity alcohol esters. The beer smells strong but has seriously satiating and sedative elements too.

It's easy to get lost in this Aladdin's cave of flavours: macerated and mulled orchard fruits alongside toffee, maple fudge, banana split, dark honey, and a kind of dried fruit-and-nut granola that's been baked in syrup. Even some berry notes. The brewery grows its own hops but apparently forgot to use any. Still, it never really gets cloying. It's actually curiously creamy.

This brewer has a thing for strong, sweet beers - and he pulls them off very well. Reading the label then looking at and smelling it you half expect to be breathing fire. But alas, the mouthfeel is ultra-honeyed and alcohol extremely mellow. Still, it's best to approach this as you would a brandy or cognac: something best suited to a snifter and plate of nuts and fine cheeses.

Brasserie Dubuisson dates back to 1769 and has had eight consecutive generations of father to son brewmasters (and, as if that isn't remarkable enough, the brewing lineage goes back even further than that, predating the family brewery). Do you think that might have something to do with why their beers (like this Amber) are so good? Probably, right?

Sep 16, 2016
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cozmo from New York

4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Jul 16, 2017
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oneturbucfan from Rhode Island

5/5  rDev +28.2%

Dec 11, 2011
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Jemonster from California

4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Unfiltered orange/honey color with almost no head on the pour. Actually looks pretty tasty...but there is a lot of stuff floating around in the glass.

S: Sweet, honeylike smell and not much else in the nose.

T: Sweet honey and cakelike flavor, slightly hoppy with alcohol bite, dark berries in the far background. My wino (whino?) friend says it tastes exactly like a Sauternes (dessert wine), I think it tastes a lot like Mead.

M: Lightly syrupy and barely carbonated, sticky. Coats the mouth in a good way.

D: Low drinkability because of the high alcohol content, but I must give it a 4 because its delicious! I could definitely/obviously not session with it, but it is easy to drink the one I'm drinking.

Jul 01, 2010
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EmperorBevis from England

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

Bottled and part of beer by mail package deal delivery
Pours a handsome enough looking ake
big liquor aroma taste
like liquidised highland toffee
Here's to life

Feb 01, 2015
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Osiris9588 from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an amber color with a rusty-golden hue from a 11.2oz bottle. The head was weak and thin, the large bubbles quickly dissipated without leaving any lacing of which to speak.

An aroma of honey, toasty malt, and caramel. The flavor offered just a suggestion of citrus at the edges of the warm malt, honey, caramel, butterscotch, some golden raisin, and substantial alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full and warm, with good action on the palate. It begins with just a flutter of citrus, then the toasty malt, follwed by a sweetness inspired by caramel and butterscotch, then finishing with a jolt of alcohol. A rich, sugary, goodness clings to the lips.

Good drinkability. It's complex, sweet, and alcoholic, yet balanced enough to not be overbearing in any single respect. Very solid indeed. Salud.

Sep 01, 2006
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lighthabit from Oregon

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Aug 20, 2013
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MusicalBeers from Texas

3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice from a small 250 mL bottle, which is fine with me at 12% ABV. Pours a honey caramel color with a nice two-finger head and lace that will hang on the glass forever. Aroma hints of cherry and chocolate, smelling darker than it looks, or maybe more accurately it looks deceptively light for a Belgian Quadrupel.

Taste is very consistent with the smell, chocolate and cherry sweet flavors with a note of coriander at the end. The hops are not at the forefront, it goes down very smooth and malty, easy to drink given its high ABV. The alcohol makes itself known in the sweetness, with a liqour sweet finish rather than any hoppy bitterness.

Overall, a nice addition to the Quadrupel style but nothing Earth-shattering. I like this beer, but given its price here in Texas I probably won't try this again for a while. If you're looking for a good Belgian you haven't tried before I recommend this one though.

Jul 27, 2006
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shelby415 from Oregon

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

Jun 19, 2016
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Estarrio from Massachusetts

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

Pours a cloudy orange-brown with visible yeast sediment. Medium white head, gives way to silky lacings.

Sweet peach, spicey alcohol some malt tones make an for an interesting aroma.

The flavor is very fruity, with peach and other tropical fruit notes. The alcohol presence is spicey and warming. The sweet fruit flavors are somewhat balanced by a big malt presence that saves the taste.

Thick, syrupy body with moderate carbonation.

I found the syrupy, fruit characterstics to be somewhat overpowering. The beer does eventually grow on you as it warms.

Dec 05, 2006
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Vylo from New Jersey

3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mar 28, 2016
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dblinkhorn from California

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

Poured from 250 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - The head was small-medium, but very velvety and off-white. It was about two fingers thick at pour, and remained at a nice half finger cap throughout the drink. The color is a hazy honey-orange.

Smell - This beer smells of sweet, ripe dark fruits. There are notes of spice and very crisp and slightly citrusy hops way in the background. The aroma is held together by a mellow an earthy, bready malt flavor that is also way in the background.

Taste - For 12% ABV, you can barely taste any alcohol in this brew, although there is a slight tingling from it accompanied with the end of the sip. From the start, the sweetness of dark ripe fruits is the most noticeable flavor. Also, as with the smell, the earthy, bready malt along with the citrusy and crisp hops are in the background, but a bit more pronounced in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - This beer is lightly carbonated, and is medium-bodied. The feel of the liquid is very, very smooth. It's silky and velvety, and everything soft or smooth. The alcohol burn is slight for its ABV.

Drinkability - Very good, again especially for this beer's ABV. It's very smooth, has a nice amount of carbonation, and a very good flavor.

Overall, definitely not a bad brew, and while I would have it again, I probably won't buy it again only because there are better quadrupels for the same price that are superior. However, this is a fine brew and everyone should at least taste it.

Aug 14, 2006
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Drinkerofales from California

3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a strangely sized 8.4 ounce bottle.

Color is orange amber with a small light tan head that has good retention and lacing.

Smell is caramel candy sweet malt along with a heaping dose of alcohol. Unfortunately, I found a hint of wet cardboard as well.

Taste is deep roasted malt, booze, dark raisins or other dark fruit.

Feels hot, yet bubbly, kind of difficult to drink.

This kind of reminds me of Sammiclaus(not quite as good though). Roasted candied malts make for a huge flavor, but the burn is just a bit much for my taste.


Feb 25, 2012
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dherling from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a copper to orange color with a deep white head. Good head retention & minimal lacing The nose was rich, boozy & oaky, with some port-like notes. The taste featured alcohol, oak & apricot. Finished like a sherry or port, really dry, fruitty and burning. Had a rich, subtle carbonation.

Nov 27, 2006
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s4s from California

4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This seems to be scaldis refermente = bush amber, both ~ 12%. I prefer the taste of an 8% belgian, but for $/alcohol this is wonderful.

Jul 20, 2016
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BlackHaddock from England

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

Obtained this 33cl brown bottle from a 'Night Shop' in Brussels last year (2006), didn't notice the shop keeper had removed the rear label (I wonder how old it is?).

Poured into a Palm tulip shaped glass.

Good off white head sits on top of an amber, hazy body. Plenty carbonisation within the glass, rising to replenish the head.

Heavy alcohol aroma with malt and hops trying to be found as well.

The taste is obviously mostly of 12% alcohol, but barley malts can also be tasted, this is well balanced for such a strong beer.

The alcohol takes over again in the mouthfeel and it becomes more harsh on the throat as it fades away.

I have had this on tap in Brussels and i enjoyed it then too, this is a good beer, but don't forget the strenght, it is a nightcap drink, not a session one.

Oct 02, 2007
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Scamboogery from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +9%

Dec 16, 2012
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srandycarter from California

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

A - Pours only slightly murky copper, small ringish head, very spotty lace.

S - Booze, juicy fruit, sweet tropical fruit, malt is present but overwhelmed.

T - Hot as hell. The booze is first, followed by estery fruits, juicy fruit, bitter end.

M - Medium body, good carb, hard to balance but did a pretty good job. Finished on a slight candy note.

D - A sipper.

Oct 28, 2012
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justinm4bama from Alabama

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Feb 21, 2012
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NHGrafx from Massachusetts

4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 8.48oz brown bottle.

Pours a nice dark amber color. Not much of a head, but a nice ring of lace.

Very pleasant floral like aroma. Some malty aromas and a bit of spice. Mainly sweet. Can smell some alcohol too in the background. There are some nice fruity aromas too, but it's hard to put a name to them.

Taste is very good. Some sweetness, caramel, bit of malts. Pretty boozy too. There are some spice notes in the flavor, feels slightly peppery on the tongue. Bit of fruit flavors too, reminds me a little of sour apple with some grape mixed in or something like that. Mouthfeel is nice. Drinkability is good too, just a little boozy.

I really enjoyed this one. Would buy again, if I can find it again.

Mar 19, 2010
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andrewj17 from Ohio

4/5  rDev +2.6%

Feb 06, 2012
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sstackho from Canada (ON)

3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On draft as "Scaldis" at Sunset Grill in Allston, MA. Pours a medium copper with no head or carbonation. Delicate aroma. Rather sweet, but not overpoweringly so. The sweetness feels like it hits the roof of the mouth more than on the tongue. (Not sure if that's physically possible...) The aftertaste doesn't develop any differently from the upfront sweetness. This one didn't really do it for me.

Aug 30, 2007
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darkhorseT from Maryland

5/5  rDev +28.2%

Nov 21, 2011
Scaldis Caractère from Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 738 ratings