Brasserie Caracole

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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #26
Ranked #4,304
4.09 | pDev: 11%
Brasserie Caracole
View: Beers
Reviews: 530 | Ratings: 942 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
JudgeRoughneck from Louisiana

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

LOOK- Hazy, copper-bown, low head fades fast

AROMA - Tart cherry, black pepper, citrus, mint, hint of dried cranberry, blackberry, - all medium-low intensity
slight clove phenol, faint perfumey alcohol, mod-strong caramel malt

TASTE - Bright citrus and spicy phenol profile over deep but well attenuated malty sweetness with a kiss of rast in the finish.

Big bready malt center dripping with caramel

medium-low anise and citrus

light backdrop of forest floor

bittersweet finish

surprisingly hoppy with licorice and grapefruit notes

MF- medium-light body, low carbonation, very smooth, light peppery alcohol

OVERALL - Like nothing I've had before. Boisterous aromatics and spice of saison with the body of a dubbel, and the lingering bittersweet finish of an English strong ale. Hops are noticeable and add complexity. Definitely a sweet beer but there's so much else going on.

Aug 03, 2021
Photo of janubio
janubio from Spain

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Echarle Huevos, served at home in a trappist glass.
Amber-ruby colour, big heas with long retention and a big creamy head.
Aroma is malty, liquor, caramel, prunes, raisins, some chocolate, fruits, spices.
Medium body, oily texture, good carbonation. Sweet boozy finish.
Taste follows the aroma.
Great and complex.

Mar 13, 2021
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L- Deep chestnut with a hint of ruby-red when held up to a light. Minor haze in glass, with more sediment left in bottle. Pours with 5mm fine-bubble pale-tan head. [Late ps. 20+ mins later, holds really well whole way down].
S- 'Ohhh...yeah', I subconsciously exclaim... very prominent roasted notes + coffee for me. Smells like it might be quite a beast this one.
T- And yes it is, as it's full impact progressively unfolds. It certainly has coffee in spades and then some cocoa with it. This is a *notably* impactful beer on the palate, one to take nice'n slowly...
F- Boof! A beast indeed. Rich but balanced by hefty ABV%. Let's just say it's much more a winter style beer than a summer of session-style one.
O- Lovely, it reminds me of the impact of being served the historic measure of a beaker of port or sherry - oh yes, no dainty little glasses in centuries past. This is complex, heavy and demands to be taken slowly. Very nice, I'd happily buy this again.
Lable much simplified from one shown ^, more modern and pretty bare-bones.
330ml Bottle, Bought from BeersOfEurope (UK) BB: 08/10/2021

Mar 29, 2020
Photo of MercInc
MercInc from Wisconsin

3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured my last one yesterday, paired it with spaghetti and meatballs. Light brown in color, a tan colored head that slowly disappeared . By allowing it to warm to 55-60 degree's, I was able to appreciate richness of this brew. smooth feel, some bitterness on the backside. A well balanced beer.

Mar 01, 2019
Photo of SpongeHop
SpongeHop from Belgium

2.71/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

L - really nice deep brown, not very clear. Very quickly dissipating white, barely foamy head.
S & T - smelled a little bit roasty, but the taste is just nothing but sweet out the wazoo. Sweet sweet sweet. Banana, clove, sure, maybe some raisins or dried plums, but so much toffee. Quite alcoholic as well. Some bay leaf, almost cola-like. Not my thing.
F - Lots of alcohol, not much carbonation.

O - so, so, so very sweet. It's like drinking liquid toffee. And has that typical banana/clove thing that belgians have that I don't really like very much (full disclosure).

Not one I would personally recommend.

Jul 20, 2018
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig from Scotland

4.41/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle from ‘t Brugs Beertje, Bruges (€4):
Strong & rich, this one was a beer with a definite kick from the warming alcohol which goes well with the dark fruits, the dates & raisins the most pronounced with the plum a nice touch too. I enjoyed the banana & cloves around the middle to help the balance along with the caramel but I especially enjoyed how drinkable it seemed given the strength. There was a great balance throughout with lots going on & it's definitely a beer I'd pick up again too.

Jun 29, 2018
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial sourness on this had me thinking this was a sour ale. Pours dark brown with airy head. Aroma is cider, raisins, cola. Taste is dried fruits with some cider sourness. Palate is sour and lingers. A slightly different take on the style

Jun 20, 2018
Photo of meefmoff
meefmoff from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It looks pretty much as expected with a deep, opaque amber brown crowned by a thin slightly dark head that recedes to a ring pretty quickly but continues to leave some lacing for a while. It smells very spicy with lots of cinnamon and clove, sweet malt, and almost a root beerish kind of aroma. Thankfully there's no bannana which is a character of Belgians that I don't enjoy.

Taste is initially surprisingly sweet. It's currently colder than the recommended serving temperature (55F) so I'm a little worried this is going to be too sweet once it warms a bit. Taste is sweet malt, molasses and raisins. I've taken a break now and let it come up to the recommended temperature and I'm getting some cherry now and more of that yummy root beer-ish flavor that I can't quite put my finger on. Thankfully, the sweetness has stayed in check as it warmed. Alcohol is very well hidden and the mouthfeel is a bit crisper than the beer otherwise sets you up to expect.

Jan 15, 2018
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.59/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My bro in law and high school buddy shared a bottle of this at a beer store in Concord, Ohio. It poured a clear brownish amber with thin white head that did not leave much lace. The scent had hints of sour dough and Belgian yeast. The taste was slightly sour leaning but was drinkable with some dark fruit presence. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it was a decent beer.

Dec 29, 2017
Photo of hman43
hman43 from North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours dark brown with a brown head. It has excellent head retention and plenty of lace.

Smell: It starts with a malty chocolate aroma with alcohol. Various aromas of nuts are also present. In addition, it also has a good deal of cherry and plum notes.

Taste: There are flavors of plum, alcohol, nuts and cherry. The cherry flavor becomes more pronounced as it warms. There is a bit of spice. There are low chocolate notes in the background.

Feel: It has moderate alcohol warming and a moderately heavy feel.

Overall, an excellent presentation for both the aroma and flavor.

Dec 23, 2017
Photo of Voss
Voss from Italy

4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It was quite a lot from the last Nostradamus, so last week I had one in the pub, but it wasn't as great as I remember.
So tonight it's time to open the one I have in my cellar, a best before 8/2018 (thus between 3 to 5 years old).
In a few words, good looking, good smelling and good tasting, as a Belgian strong dark ale should be.
Not far from a Rochefort 8, just a bit more chocolate but without that punch of excellence.
Great beer, as I remembered.

Sep 19, 2017
Photo of Beersnake1
Beersnake1 from California

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased this at a local shop in Freiburg. Also my first time having anything from this brewery. Poured from fridge temp (maybe slightly warmer). Pours a nice dark brown with strong head that quickly dissipated. The nose is really nice - I'm getting a good about of plum and raisin, along with some bready notes. Taste is really nice - surprisingly strong with almost a licorice bite upfront. Very different from other Belgian dark ales, and definitely not in a bad way. Taste is really full and complex, with raisin, fig, plum, and toffee. Slight bitterness on the back end that lingers for a minute. Nicely balanced with a good creamy mouthfeel. Overall a wonderful offering from this brewery. I will definitely seek this one out again.

Sep 10, 2017
Photo of Dinglehacker
Dinglehacker from Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter.

Appearance: Nice head gives to a ring with a swirl of lace. Cola in color.

Nose: Rye and raisin.

Taste: Oh so very Belgian, dark fruits and light citrus, rich malt backbone.

Mouth: Medium in body. Finish is surprisingly wet.

A very good Belgian brown.

Jul 25, 2017
Photo of CTHomer
CTHomer from Connecticut

4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: opaque; watery cola brown in color; 1 finger medium brown head that receded quickly to a thick collar; no lacing;

S: smells like a barleywine; predominantly sweet dark fruit; light spice; a hint of alcohol warmth;

t: still reminds me of a barleywine; dark fruit from start to finish; mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: very enjoyable;

Jul 08, 2017
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

2.61/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75


AROMA: Raisin. Burnt grains.
LOOK: Pours Dark Brown. Big Head with a lot of bubbles
TASTE: Raisin, Almond. Rum. Too much Wang.
FEEL: Good carbonation, but really "sticky".

Difficult to drink; especially considering the bottle size. Very (overly) Belgian.


Jun 27, 2017
Photo of moose1980
moose1980 from Germany

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep red-amber that becomes more red-orange, and wonderfully clear, when held to light. Small head with low retention. Smells of lightly brown sugar sprinkled baked plums. Taste is similar, except also reminiscent of rum-soaked raisins due to some slight heat. Malty rich without being heavy. Great beer.

Feb 20, 2017
Photo of REDAMI
REDAMI from Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 33cl bottle into Chimay goblet.

L-Medium brown color with a sandy tan head. Slight head retention.

S-Butter, nutty bread, fig, raisin, toffee, so bread pudding with a hard sauce.

T-Dried fruits and toffee up front, pepper, creamy buttered brown bread.

F-Sting from the fine carbonation, smoothing into a creamy, syrupy finish

We tried reviewing this previously but ended up with a flat bottle. The taste was good, but it didn't feel right. Now we know what was missing! The carbonation up front balances the heavy flavors and coating mouth feel. A solid strong dark ale.

Sep 11, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

During the Season of Light, I finally hunt down a 4-pack after 5 or more years of searching for Nostradamus. (For what I lack in insight, I make up for with timing.)

A delicious Looking dark; full-on foam settles, but even then says "Gusto is here." Nutty and sweet dark fruit Smells on my nose. For Tastes, I finally get the alcohol (but only mid-to-late palate) and it also is balanced like the rest of this introspective dark. The sweet malts stay contained in all stages. Very full in the mouth; certainly luscious and close to chewy.

Reviewed in "Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium", the master asserts "chocolate praliines filled with port wine." And I get that; but it would be plagiarism if I said that. He thinks Caracole is a must-visit. After reviewing their website, I've put it on my BBBL (Belgian Brewer Bucket List.)

Nostradamus also is listed in the "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die." The reviewer notes that this is fitting since the dark rich ale is named after the medieval French soothsayer whose predictions are still followed today. The brewery's mascot, the snail, is dressed up as Nostradamus. So maybe there is more to Caracole being a favorite of mine. Maybe this luscious dark brew stimulates self-perceived insight. After all, isn't that why we drink strong ales ?

I've Had Caracole's 4 ales with distribution in the U.S. They deserve a brewer's visit. In fact, I just might put them on my ever lengthening BBBL, Belgian Brewer's Bucket List. There also seems to be food involved from their website.... but I'm not sure as there is no workable English button. But all the pretty photos certainly intrigue me more. Get the English button so I can do my research among the many on my BBBL. So many Belgians, so little time.

Apr 23, 2016
Photo of Nanothaniel
Nanothaniel from Tennessee

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Beautiful ruby-brown color, head dissipates quickly but leaves a nice light lacing.
Smell: Toffee and dried fruit
Taste: Raisins are predominant, a bit of fig and nuts coming in as well, reminds me very much of a tawny port
Feel: Rather high carbonation and medium body, I feel this helps the drinkability of the beer and keeps the intense flavor in check, if this was too thick I could see it becoming cloying
Overall: Awesome beer with great complexity, big on flavor but with enough restraint to stay mildly refreshing. If I was trying to turn a port drinker onto craft beer this would be my first choice.

Apr 01, 2016
Photo of PlutonowyManiek
PlutonowyManiek from Belgium

3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Color: dark maroon, burgundy, on top of a huge, beige foam.
Aroma: sweet and fried plums, cherries in a sweet marinade, delicate caramel. Taste: is a little softer than the aroma. Light acidity cherry, ash, roasted plum and caramel again, this time slightly scorched. Everything is perfectly arranged.
Gentian: only at the finish, slightly spicy. Saturation: average, according to me fit. Alcohol slightly present, do not bother.

Dec 09, 2015
Photo of drmeto
drmeto from Germany

3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

-pours a hazy ruby-brown with a huge,frothy,beige head
-high carbonation visible
-slightly acidic,plums,raisins,dates,cherries
-plums,raisins,dates,cherries,earthy,caramel,candi sugar
-a touch of bitterniss
-high carbonation
-full body
-alcohol warmth
Good Dark Belgian Strong Ale,Didn't "Wow!" me though

Oct 12, 2015
Photo of Eric_Standard
Eric_Standard from Canada (BC)

4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky medium brown with a tan head.
Strong, spicy nose, sweetish.
Interesting flavours – spice, overripe black cherries, raisin, mild sweetness, a bit toasty, slight sourness. Very complex. Alcohol starts of fairly hidden but becomes significantly more apparent as the beer warms, as do phenolic notes.
Medium to light body, slight creaminess to the mouthfeel.
Very solid.

Sep 05, 2015
Photo of FBGordon
FBGordon from Florida

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from draft into a room temperature tulip.

A: Pours hazy brown with with a nice light beige head that maintains well while drinking.

S: Lots of spices evident, almost like a barley wine, with a strong raisin presence.

T: The strong, sweet smells compliment a well-balanced Belgian strong flavor profile, with a pleasant semi-sweet aftertaste and a bit of an alcohol bite.

M: An easy, smooth pull makes this beer surprisingly light across the palate, making it very drinkable despite the big profile in the nose.

O: A nicely drinkable Belgian strong with a noticeable alcohol presence. I don't care for barley wines and my nose warns me about this beer right before drinking, but it's quite light and enjoyable.

Jul 14, 2015
Photo of josanguapo
josanguapo from Spain

3.46/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From maybe my bottle was in bad state, as it was the last one in the shop and its label was a bit damaged. It let down my expectatives, but it wasnt infamous either

Apr 11, 2015
Photo of Beastcpa
Beastcpa from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very tasty QUAD with Belgian/Brown ale elements. Most interesting experience that any one who likes QUUD/Belgian and or Brown ale should try at least once.

Apr 05, 2015
Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 942 ratings