Au Courant | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Au CourantAu Courant
187 Ratings
Au CourantAu Courant

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A remarkable, strong Belgian Pale Ale brewed with French Pilsner malt and pale Belgian Candi Sugar. Pureed currants and our house Belgian Ale strain are added to the fermenter to create a unique beer.Brewed to bolster your bluster in the colder weather!

Added by Todd on 12-04-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 187 |  Reviews: 170
Photo of hoppymcgee
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 2004 vintage bottle into a wine glass.

A: Dark, murky, eggplant color with a decent fizziness and white ring of carbonation.

S: Prunes, grapes, and a little rum raisin. A little mustiness in the background too.

T: Currants! Grape skins shine as well providing the tartness. A little booze still comes through believe it or not.

M: The best feature of this beer. Very dry and crisp. Still has the bubbles!

D: This beer held up pretty well for being 6 years old.

Overall, I miss old Dogfish Head beers like this.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Beer poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. Beer is yellow / dark yellow with a white head made up of a small bubbles that collapse into medium bubbles. Carbonation is moderate to low but steady of medium bubbles that rise slowly through the beer. The beer is mostly clear. There is a faint pinkish coloring to the head. The head falls away leaving some lacing on the glass as I drink.

Kind of tart smelling with a strong acidic component to it, lots of fruit notes (I suppose those are the currants). No hop aromas to speak of but that's fine, I am expecting this to taste like grapes.

Yep, grapes. Definitely some acidic presence as well, tastes a little bready which is a surprise and I don't think its adding a whole lot to the overall beer. Beer is light to medium bodied and slightly dry. Overall drinkability is good. They should reprieve this beer, it was a more successful use of currants in a brew.

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Photo of Deuane
4.02/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One from the vaults! It is funny what you can find looking through old notes.

A-Golden copper with a medium white head that vanished to a thin ring and left spotty lace.

S-Sharp fruity acidity, some white wine notes and a nice dose of biscuit.

T-Grape and a tang of fruity sourness. Some balancing biscuit but this one is all about the fruit.

M-Light bodied very sharp and a fruit spritzer. Dry finish.

D-I remember having this on tap at the brewpub years back and was impressed. Glad they bottled it and am pleasantly surprised at how nicely it came out. A pleasant and easy drinking fruit beer for sure.

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.69/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A. Bright golden color with a little bit of head which lacks retention.

S. Honey, white grapes, lemons.

T. Just exactly like the mouth. Very rich and the currants are dominating. Complex.

M. Medium in the mouth with medium carbonation.

D. Great experience! Never heard of this beer before my buddy brought this one up.

Cheers, hurleymanvw for this one!

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Photo of doho95fu
2.88/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Wow - some beers are not for me and this is one of them. Some experiments are doomed to failure and in my mind the strength of the inclusion of currants was overwhelming to point of the beer being unrecognizable.... as a beer. Color is cabernet. Smell was again currants, with some maltiness and oak. The taste was where the wheels fell completely off. Tasted like a bad diet grape soda with a splash of Hoegaarden. Way too much grape. The mouthfeel was odd as well with a thinness not usual for an ale in my experience. No alcohol burn at all. The tartness and flavor strength make this a low drinkability beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2003

Appearance: The color must have settled down over the years as the color is honey colored with just a hint of garnet; very cloudy with a decent head for its age that settles to a ringlet with lots of splashy lace

Smell: Tart currant aroma - bold and rich, with just a hint of biscuity malt underneath

Taste: Opens with a hint of the malt but jumps to the tart currant flavors; by mid-palate, the tartness has really built and there is just a bit of almost woody malt flavor upon the swallow; the tartness returns afterwards, with an underlying wheat beer character, with hints of almonds, banana and clove

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Looking through some reviews, I think the age has really benefited this beer; I was impressed by the complexity and some of the surprising elements; a lot of wine character, too

Thanks, aerozeppl, for an opportunity I had just about given up hope of getting

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottle

A: Poured with 2 fingers of white head that quickly went down to a half finger. Looks almost like a dark heff in the glass. Cloudy around the edges but the center light has a hard time getting through.

S: Grapes. A little bit bready as well. The obvious wine comparison must be made but it really does not smell like wine at all.

T: Damn I thought the grapes would fade but they are right up front. Grape bonkers! Holy shit. They made this beer taste like that awesome artificial grape using real grapes. Where is there Nobel prize? Little hint of the yeast in the back. Few other things I really cant get down.

M: Very carbonated which cuts it down a touch. Light to medium body. Dry finish.

D: Don't remember what this tasted like fresh but not bad with 5 years on it. I was expecting the worst. Again very Dogfish very good.

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Photo of mhewes
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottle served at room temperature

A : Pours a light brown/golden color with some red tint to it. Not too much head

S : Very nice sweet aroma mainly consisting of currants with a hint of malt

T : Very nice currant flavor with some nice sweet malt flavors in it also. Not much else going on.

M : Medium-bodied, very little carbonation

D : Easily drinkable. I really enjoyed it and was surprised at how well it had held up over the years.

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Photo of Portertime
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An interesting brew from our friends at Dogfish head. Poured a dark, black cherry color. Nose had an upfront currant smell as well as a hint of blackberries and plum. Tastes of mighty currant that alternates between tart and sweet with an off dry finish.

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Photo of blakesell
4.27/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottle, poured into standard pint glass.

Appearance- A dark maroon red with a pillowy pink tinted 3 finger head. Lacing clings to the glass and froth is mildly belgian in style.

Smell- Sweet syrups. Grapes, plums, and currants as the name implies.

Taste- Deep sweet cherries with a wine flavored aftertaste. A malty sweetness with a fruit balance that is very similar to a lightly sweetened biere de garde. A great many flavors that didn't come out when the beer was fresh.

Mouthfeel- Creamy candied berries flavor in the finish. Clings sticky on the lips. sherrylike butternuts also lingering. Creamy with a sharp bite.

Drinkability- I'm on the fence on the drinkability here. It's sweet like a desert beer and is light enough to enjoy. But fruit beers aren't something I really enjoy drinking in succession. I enjoy more beers similar to beer. I could see a wine and malternative audience going for this one, or a big cider fan.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, must be from 2004 or earlier since this beer hasn't been made lately (as stated on Dogfish's website). Served in the "new" Sam Adams Lager pint glass, the beer pours a weird purple/red/brown color with a half inch white-pink head. The aroma is very fruity, it smells like currants, cranberries, grapes and just tart fruit in general. The taste is pretty much the same way it smells. It tastes like tart cranberry/grape juice with some currants thrown in there. Mouthfeel is medium with a slick, coating mouthfeel. Drinkability is good, but I don't know if I could have more than 1 of these at a time or not. Overall I think it's decent. I just wonder how it would taste if I would have been able to try a fresh bottle of this.

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Photo of weeare138
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to egajdzis for breaking out this aged, vintage, '04 bottle.
Appears a reddish, cranberry juice-toned, purple color with an off white head that slowly fades out. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of raisins, cranberries, courants, gooseberries, and other tart fruit.
Taste is of tart fruit, pasty, play-dough infused courants, along with a vinous inspired flavor.
Mouthfeel is tart, vinous, sweet, and sour.

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Photo of CardinalBrewing
2.16/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

This doesn't know if it wants to be a beer or a wine. From the first sip, I was intrigued. I cannot compare the taste to any other beer I have had. The closest comparison I could make was to a cabernet (although more watery). There is very little carbonation, and almost no head. The color is very interesting. It could almost pass for a brown ale until held up to the light, when a slight purple color comes through. The sweetness of this beer is a bit overpowering. As far as drinkablility, I could not ever imagine having more than one of these at a time. I have to give Dogfish Head credit for creativity, but they have the tendancy to take "creativity" to the extreme. I'd give this one a pass.

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Photo of cabsandking
2.52/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

This one is simply all over the place, a conundrum of sensations if you will. Upon the poor you cant wait to dive in. Its a deep crimson with pink carnation fizzy head that fades quickly. Sour courant flavor is very strong and pungent like grape skins. Medium body that coats the mouth well. Very dry in the back and sour like wine. Its malt characters work to subdue some of the sourness but the hops seem to collide with it. The courant is such a strong flavor that its difficult to appreciate the beers style characters. Not necessarily bad, I just couldn't get into it.

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Photo of beefytee
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

All of the reviews this far have been pretty accurate, but I would like to lobby a suggestion.

Try it warm. I don't mean room temperature warm, I mean WARM. Maybe around 90 degrees warm.

I found the best way to bring it up to this themerature was in a glass on the stove with the oven at 450 or so. I have an old inefficient gas oven which leaks heat like a mother. It took about 30 minutes to get it up to the perfect temperature.

assuming you can't do this, maybe a double boiler over medium low heat. you don't want the water to boil though...just to warm up.

If anyone actually DOES take this suggestion, I'd love a beer mail telling me how it worked out.

it REALLY opens the beer up, bringing out more of the sweet and mellowing some of the tart.

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Photo of Vancer
2.68/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Didn’t read the reviews before sampling – quite a surprise. If this was a fruit or lambic, it would rate well for the style. As Belgium strong PA, it fails for me.

Sangre red pour, pink head. Notes of sweet strawberry in the nose.

Tastes of sour strawberry, and finishes with a slickly sweet finish. Fizzy carbonated, reminiscent of red soda.

This was just not a drinker or enjoyalble. The tastes were just not right – too sour & fizzy. Everyone I gave a taste to ended up with the <sour face> look.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lucked into a four-pack from 2003. Pours a deep maroon with lighter red edges that has a thin pinkish-purplish (is that a color?) head. Lacing is almost invisible. The aroma is mostly fruity...courants, grapes, and berries. Sweet and sour at the same time. The taste is almost the same as the smell. Sweet courants and grapes with a tart finish to it. Not sure how this compares to a fresh one, since this is the first time I have tried this beer, but this is pretty tasty. Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy with light carbonation. I only wish the store I found these at had more.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- After a hard pour, laves a spritzy, light rasberry colored head. Color of the brew is a very opaque merlot/maroon hue.

Smell- A mildy tart mix of currants, grapes, and sugar water.

Taste- Mild tart currant with some Concord grape juice sweetness and light English like malts. Can't taste any hops.

Mouthfeel- A medium, yet somehow slightly spicy tartness mixes with the fruity flavors of this beer. Nothing special.

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Photo of bahumutx
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark red with a small pink head.

Smell: Tart berries, currants

Taste: Starts with a fruity, sweet berry taste and then moves to a more tart, sour berry. Ends very dry with a sweet malt. Almost like a champagne/wine.

Mouthfeel: Not a lot of carbonation but smooth.

Drinkability: Probably could only have one of these in a sitting.

This would be good desert beer. A very interesting offering from dog fish head.

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Photo of tgbljb
3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy mahagony color with absolutely no head at all. Some minute bubbles rise from the bottle but leave nothing one the top. Smell is mixed fruit, almost like a fruir salad, with nothing really standing out. Taste is initially sharp and tart but as the glass warms it begins to becomes more appealing, but not overly so. Finishes with more of a tart taste sensation, but little else. It reminds me a mixyue of cheap red wine and flat Sprite. Not something I will ever try again.

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Photo of shertzogovina
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz. longneck. Poured into a pint, this one is dark gold with a fluffy white head and some extremely lively bubbles running fast up the glass.
A very fruity (berry-like) aroma with earthy notes. Taste is sourish from the currants which dominate this brew. sweet toffee and caramel balance the acidity of the fruit. hops tie it all together.
Mouthfel is pleasant and creamy. carbonation is very present and fill the mouth with flavor. Alcohol is there too and the gas lifts it right to the brain.
Overall this is a well balanced and good beer. Great for summertime afternoons as an aperitif, or with mandarin salad.

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Photo of wingnutter
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, ruby red with a pinkish head that didnt last long. Tastes a bit like carbonated red wine....Currants are evident right up front...Carbonation is light...Mouthfeel is thin and bubbly like champagne.

Not what I was expecting (I didnt read any reviews before trying it), but interesting anyway. Worth a try if you see it - according to DFH's website, it was made once in 2004, and could be made again in 2006 if capacity allows.

This beer is listed as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. From the DFH website: "A remarkable, strong Belgian Pale Ale brewed with French Pilsner malt and pale Belgian Candi Sugar. Pureed currants and our house Belgian Ale strain are added to the fermenter to create a unique beer.". Seems more like a lambic though.

Another creative brew from DFH. Trying some of the off-the-wall offerings from DFH is fun and interesting, but never boring. Keep em coming!

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Photo of lpayette
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a very interesting purplish/red with corresponding off-white head.

Smell- courrants, alcohol, and some flowery stuff.

Tastes- it really does taste like a champagne. Pretty interesting. Seems to me to be more of a framboise. Good amount of carbonation for this as it tingles on the tongue. Sweet and tart.

An interesting one to try and one that deserves some respect- but I found it utterly undrinkable by about the halfway point.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2004 Bottling, Sampled January 2006
This beer is a lightly hazy, purple-tinged amber color that is most definitely colored by the currants. The head is quite thin and only manages to form a pale, wispy ring of foam around the edges of my glass. The aroma is fruity and sweet and smells a bit like concord grape jelly and a sweet red, sparkling wine I once had. Even though the carbonation is slight, the beer smells carbonated to me. The deeper one smells of this beer the more it smells like currants and the less malt one can detect. Initially the malt is subtle, but is evident with notes of caramel and a hint of toasted malt character.

The taste is not nearly as sweet as the nose suggested. The finish seems to be where the currants are most in evidence (though they are found throughout); here an acidity develops as well as a white-wine-grape fruitiness. The beer is only lightly carbonated, but it does help to cut through some of the sweetness. The beer has certainly seems to have thinned out over time, the malt is perhaps less in evidence. This beer is definitely close to tasting like a lightly carbonated/ sparkling wine; the currant notes dominate this beer with only a touch of malt character here, playing only a supporting role. This is definitely an interesting beer. I like the acidity that is found here (which seems to be all fruit derived); it adds a much needed balance to the sweet fruit character.

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Photo of jnelson54
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured redish purple much like the label fine white champagne head, tastsed of courants/rasins as the name implies. sour. the taste was almost wine like good beer for someone who says they dont like beer. very nice. The finish was nice and neat with a slight sour after taste

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Au Courant from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 187 ratings