Au Courant | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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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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Reviews: 170 | Ratings: 187
Photo of scruffwhor
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
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 -4.2%
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 -16.2%
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 +4.7%
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 +0.6%
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 -7.5%
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 +2.5%
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 +18.7%
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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Photo of TastyTaste
4.25/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bright hazed medium gold, nice big white head, forms a dome over the top of the glass, fading i a symmetrical pattern, leaving a donut shape on top of the beer.

Smell: Very vinous, lots of tart grape character, yeast and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Champagne, anyone? Taste is tart, fruity, and slightly sweet, this, combined with the effervescent mouthfeel, make this the closest beer i have had to sparkling white wine. A very unique beer, the courrants give it an added dimension.

Mouthfeel: Good efferescent mouthfeel, necessary for this beer to be what it is, I don't think it would be nearly as good.

Drinkability: Not your standard BSPA, Au Courant is a reasonable facsimile to a champagne style of beer. High Life has nothing on this. Props to LuckySevens82 for the bottle.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After some thought, I decided to pour this into a red-wine glass.

It came out of the bottle a charming 'robotussin red' with panty-pink lace and cling.

Intensely tart on the nose with vague suggestions of the Flemish Red persuasion. Cherries, cranberries, grains. Wisps of catsup, cough drops, cherry pie filling. A wee bit 'artificial'.

The taste leans strongly towards cranberry juice, with suggestions of cherry cordials, gooseberries, wine coolers, vinegar, and of course courants.

Tart on the palate with high carbonation, this beer is a worthy experiment. It proves that fruit/vegetable beers can be accessible, eye-opening, and also full of character.

DFH is once again solid as a rock.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a Pilsner glass)

A- This beer pours a deep rusty-purple body that is clear with a dense hazy of tiny bubbles. The head is a creamy light purple cloud that settles to a thin creamy film.

S- The smell is a slight tart odor with a bit of musty fruit note.

T- The tart flavor of currants is bold at the beginning with faint hints of dark cherries and green apples and a slight hop note in the finish. The taste of pale malt is a nice base for this subtle fruit. The finish has a very faint tart currant quality that hangs on.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight fizz in the texture. There is no alcohol warmth and no real astringency but a tartness hangs in the mouth.

D- This beer has a good very pale malt beer that support the flavors of the currants. I didn't find it sweet and it wasn't over-the-top tart either. This beer is currants first and ale second but it is nice and crisp without the cloying sweet fruit flavor.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.01/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I’m not a huge fan of fruity beer, but I’m a big fan of DFH, so you can see my dilemma. The only way to resolve this impasse was by drinking the darn beer.

All right, the pink head has got to go! This is a comically red beer with a good deal of murkiness to it. The best vegetable beer I’ve had looked this color, but it tasted more like a lambic than a beer so I can’t discount credit based on style. It also leaves some pretty good lacing.

Smells like coffee and cough syrup. I suppose there’s a little Flemish sour smell there, but it's slight. I predominantly get the dirty smell of coffee.

For the flavor, there's a brown ale/ porter flavor that’s obstinately refusing to cooperate with a currant flavor. There’s so much chaos, it’s hard to pin down flavors. Well, If I really concentrate, I can see how they go together, but that definitely takes this off the “sippin’ beer” list. These are not bad flavors, just awkwardly paired. To be more precise, the sourness of the porter-like qualities doesn't agree with the sourness of the courant-like qualities. Fortunately, it finishes well with a smooth lambic like fruity sourness.

The mouth feel is very nice. It’s slightly creamy with sharp little bubbles.

Over all it tastes pretty good actually, but this beer is a little too complicated for its own good.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
1.59/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Wow is this a miserable brew! The appearance is actually a nice, raspberry red, with a pink head. I was actually imagining I was about to indulge in a Kreik or framboise. The smell is very dry with a barnyard staleness. Grape skins seem to be present, or is this possibly the infamous courant showing up for the party. The taste follows the aroma in terms of nastiness. The dryness in remarkably cloying and makes you second guess the next sip. Now this is not gueuze dryness, this is just bad. It is so sour and dry up front, that you have a hard time detecting the true flavors in this beer. The tongue is parched more and more with each sip. Now as bad as this beer is, I can honestly believe that there is some hidden beauty in this that some people may find satisfying. A 4-pack is way to much to handle of this. Ickkk!

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Photo of patrick16o
3.18/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It poured a deep cranberry red hue, very little head, some lace, very little bubbling, mostly clear. The aroma was not very strong, only a slight hint of berries/fruity. The berry flavors were subtle, but the beer had a strong tang at the end. The beer was somewhat flat, very tangy and crisp. As my first Belgian Strong Pale Ale, I didn't know what to expect. The high alcohol content was not noticable by taste, and it wasn't too filling. It was a light crisp, refreshing beer, although I think the tang was a bit too much at the end. Worth a try.

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Photo of quasimoto
2.65/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- pours a bright cranbery color with a frothy pink head. A little hazy.

S - Smells of malt are mixed in with a tart fruity smell.

T - This has the tartness and fruity flavors of a begian pale ale, but it comes along with the fruity flavors of currants. Definitly different.

M - It has a the tartness feeling that cranberries bring out along with biiterness of hops. Not the easiest thing on the tongue.

D - This is a one a night type of thing. Great for a warm summer night. Another hit for Sam and his brewery, too bad it its not my Cup of tea. Maybe it will grow on me.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a foggy amber with small head and nice lacing, similar to a dubbel in look.

S - Touches of light fruits, but not sizing up to be a belgian strong. A very light nose.

T - Very, very weak. Only a touch of fruit and yeast, not befitting of the "strong" ale term.

M - As in all DFH brews, they are smooth as silk. Very little carbonation and that lets it glide across the surfaces.

D - At 7% ABV and the ease of drinking, it makes it good, and it being so light you will want a few. BUT, we grade per style, and this just doesn't so much work into the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.57/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Fluorescent raspberry... electric fruit punch... passionfruit juice cocktail. This is, without a doubt, the most amazing beer color that I've ever seen. Not the best (since it doesn't even look like beer), just the most amazing. Providing bright backlighting is even more of a treat. Belgian Strong Pale Ale? I think I hear side-splitting laughter coming from across the Atlantic. The rapidly diminishing, powder pink head doesn't bother to leave any lace.

The nose is odd, and not in a good way. How can something that looks like a raspberry slushee smell like this? Let's see... stale, musty, musky, borderline rancid hops and other assorted effluvia of a vegetal nature. While it isn't quite bad enough to be considered repellent, off-putting isn't far off the mark.

If Dogfish Head Craft Brewery brings anything to the craft beer table, it's eccentricity. Au Courant is eccentric in spades. After my first sip, three words came to mind: what... the... hell... ? I can't believe currants are the only thing present other than malt, hops, yeast and water. I know what currants taste like and this ain't it.

I'm at a loss when attempting to describe the flavor profile, as if none of the usual rules apply. That's how strange this beer is. I hope the bright red color isn't coloring my impressions, but I taste a certain fruitiness that reminds me of sour cherries and assorted berries that have had the sugar sucked out of them and have been sprinkled with some bizarre, exotic spice. I keep hoping the beer is going to grow on me, but it doesn't.

BSPA? Not even close. Not even in the same solar system, much less the same area code. The finish is my least favorite part of the mouthful since that's where the various flavors are best defined. I prefer them to stay as blurry as possible. The mouthfeel is light-medium with a spunky, Belgian ale-like amount of carbonation.

Dogfish Head either brews great beer or less than good beer. This offering is definitely the latter. The appearance is wacky in a good way and the flavor is wacky in a bad way. Since flavor is king, Au Courant gets a vigorous 'thumbs down'.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2002 release: Doesn't have the interesting purple color or the lavender colored head. Instead, a hazy golden color with lots of fizz. Flavors and aromas aren't as bold as in more recent versions. It has a similar body and level of souness, but older versions are better balanced with sweetness. Still, quite tart and sour--almost astringent. A friend said that the difference between the older golden versions and recent purple versions are that the older ones were brewed with white currants and recent ones with black currants.

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Photo of Dewey0603
2.88/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A great looking dark beet red appearance,but the head was small.A fragrant fruity wine smell.A very sharp crisp taste thats dry and yet full of flavor.Not bad,but, I'm not a fan of this style.I really can't see myself ever trying this again.My girlfriend who doesn't like the taste of beer loved this.This may be a good beer to give to non beer drinker.I do love dogfish head,but I think I'll stick to there other beers.

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Photo of mntlover
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a lightly chilled looking red/pink/purple mixture with a finger and half pinkish/purple head. Wild looking punk beer, leaves some light lace behind. Very diffrent so giving it a 4.

Aroma is watered down red wine can pick up some sour currants mingled in, not very complex just dry currants mostly sour hints of a sweet malt base but not making it thru.

Taste is tart dry sour currants some other fruits sneak in rminds me some of tart cherries but probably just the currants not much malt to be tasted. Again a one sided thing going on not bad really but not good.

Mouthfeel is on the light side dry sourness is felt through out the mouth.

Drinkability well not going to have this one again but hell worth a try if I crave currants I will be drinking Canadian beer.

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Photo of DrJay
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red with a bit of haze topped by a thin, pink head that leaves a bit of lacing. Mellow aroma with plenty of fruitiness and a hint of alcohol. Malt seems to be mostly buried beneath the currants. Syrupy and quite tart. Fruitiness carries through to the end, where a bit of malt and hop bitterness peek through. Tart and dry at the end as well. Low carbonation and slightly viscous body. Overall, a very straightforward and well-crafted fruit beer.

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Photo of ILiveOffHops
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A purple reddish concoction with a deep purple head. Sweet, tart berries, currants, grapes...tart, sour...This brew is a little too syrupy and not carbonated enough IMO. I would also have liked this to be more tart less sour. Overall still an interesting beer to have 1 of. If you are feeling adventurous give it a try.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First comment: Almost had a heart attack when this pour hit my tulip. This year’s DFH Au Courant is dark lilac. Now that my chair hasn’t been keeled over, this is a dark hued purple pour with solferino this collar head cap. No more freshness dating on this bottle.

Earthy organic stiff aromatic nose with some grainy juniper berry scents. Some light berry, dandelion and hay airiness jump into the weave, which as warmed, are surprisingly pilsner-esque.

First swigs: Berry with the vine flavor. This is like the garden dirt was chucked in with the courant. Vegetal notes are accentuated to a recognizable degree. The more this warms, the more that it approaches Welches grapefruit juice middle that warms straight towards an ephemeral dry red wine vinous aftertaste.

Crisp attentive carbonation. Firm, medium body.

Last swigs: Earthy red grape dry vinious. The new Au Courant falls on a sharply defined flavor. This is not your father’s Au Courant. After hearing that the recipe changed, this was a shock from last year. Quite a side track from what DFH put out last year. Sleeker label ta boot. Reminiscent of the Cragmill offerings. Daring, and enjoyable. Admittedly, the prior batch was just overall more drinkable.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of packetknife
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A purple-maroon color with a blueish-purple frothy head that held for a while. Good sour berries on the nose but not currant as in currant juice, not that strong. A bit of acidity in the nose too. OK taste but nothing notable. Tart through and into the finish. Good mouthfeel with good carbonation.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark purple brown opaque body and thick drifts of purple cream. Nose is full of cassis flavor with some booze in the background. Puncturing flavor and minimal muscat grape sweetness.

Taste follows suit with the nose -- cassis tart and sweetness, mild and controlled. Dry enough to be tasteful. Like a lambic in feel and reminiscent of rodenbach in tartness and flavor. Alcohol nicely hidden. Not wildly interesting but well-balanced and well-made.

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Au Courant from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.58 out of 5 based on 187 ratings.
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