Nostradamus | Brasserie Caracole

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Average: 4.09 | pDev: 11%

Reviews: 526 | Ratings: 936

Ranked #28 Belgian Strong Dark Ale and #3,348 overall.

ABV: 9.00% | Availability: Year-round

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Brasserie Caracole

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Reviews: 526 | Ratings: 936
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.99/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark, mahogany color with one and a half fingers of white head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic! Lots of toasted malt, immediately followed by, and almost overpowered by, tons of dried stone fruit, such as raisins and prunes, as well as candied sugar, Belgian yeast, a touch of vanilla and star anise.

Taste: Very, very good! Very fruity and earthy up front, imparting notes of raisins, prunes, dates and figs, along with some toasted malt, candied sugar and Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy, and much more carbonated than I’m used to in Belgian beers. With an ABV of 9.0%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is another very, very good Belgian brown ale! A little more fruity and earthy than other Belgian Brunes that I’ve had, which is pleasantly different. Reminds me of Goulden Drak.

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Photo of datamike
4.95/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice chestnut brown with medium carbonation. Aroma is of candy sugar, raisins and dark chocolate - overall a very sweet smell, but not cloying.
Taste is similar to St. Bernardus 12, but perhaps even more balanced and rounded. Toffee, caramel, chocolate and sweet malt are all present along with the perfect amount of hop bitterness to make an exceptionally balanced sipper. Slight alcohol taste present at the finish, but never solventy, hot or overpowering.
Flavor definitely is improved at the recommended drinking temp of 50-55f.
The perfect Belgian Strong Dark Ale? Perhaps...

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - When I popped the top on this one, honey-hued foam began to slowly creep up from the mouth of the bottle like one of those expanding snake things you light on fire on the fourth of July. That head making machinery continues in the snifter as a four finger gargantuan brownish head rises like Godzilla from the sea of russet-with-blood-highlights brew. The head exhibits excellent retention for the high ABV, and lots of sparkling lace is left on the sides of the glass.

S - I could smell mellow marshmallow and milk chocolate before I poured it into the glass, but once decanted this really fills the room with sweet mellow aromas. Sticking my schnoz into the glass, I can smell loads of honey, pancake syrup on top of buttermilk flapjacks, Honeycomb cereal, french fries, and baked potatoes. Sweet, mellow, soothing, and amazingly complex.

T - Sweet, sweet, sweet honey, black licorice (good n' plenty), gooey chewy movie theater candy, and Mrs. Butterworth pancake syrup. Creamy, buttery diacetyl flavors are there in abundance with butter, butterscotch, and sour cream flavors. Honeycomb cereal with about a pound of sugar and whole milk in the bowl. Some tangy hay-like make an attempt to balance the sweet insanity, but don't quite have the muscle to overpower the honeyed sugary flavors of this desert brew. For some reason I taste french fries and twice baked potatoes...that is a very good thing IMO. This is pretty much sweet tooth curing candy, and the alcohol attenuation helps somewhat with the sweetness, but as long as you treat this as a desert beer, it's simply outstanding!

M - Thick, viscous, oily, buttery, and full bodied. This one is mildly carbonated, warm with alcohol, and slick with sugar. This finishes up with a long sweet alcohol laden aftertaste.

D - A little too sickly sweet for more than one, and the alcohol content could be a problem. This is an outstanding sipping beer, and it's just about perfect as an accompaniment to dark chocolate. I'm impressed. This is bottled candy.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The ancient greeks believed that the Titans preceded the Gods. It wasn't until that little ingrate Zeus and his cronies rose up against his wise and esteemed father that the Olympians ruled the earth. Let me be so bold as to say that if Unibroue is Zeus, Nostradamus is goddamn Chronos.

I'm proud to be giving this beer what I presume to be its highest rating thus far. Twice I've had it, and twice it's taken my breath away. This is simply one of the most well-rounded Belgian ales I've had. The sweet and yeasty character hits you full force, but a dark, fruity underlay is there to catch your fall. An argument for Belgian nationalism.

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Photo of spiffylubes
4.87/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown/amber, cloudy. Decent head, decent retention, very nice lacing. Smell was fairly strong of alcohol, but not in a bad "this will taste awful" kind of way, more of a sweet alcohol way. Taste is incredibly smooth, with little to no alcohol taste. Very sweet, in a dark fruit sort of way. Good mouthfeel, slight warmth from the alcohol, good amount of carbonation. I would definitely drink more than one of these if I had another, and if I felt like getting slightly drunk. But I don't have one, and I don't want to get slightly drunk. But I highly recommend it!

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Photo of djmitche
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At Villains in Chicago, and at Smaakcafe 't Poatersgat in Brugges. The head was coarse and foamy and fell quickly. The color is a dark brown with a distinct ruby tone - unexpected for a dark.

The nose has spur cherries and some vinegar, leading to the expectation of some sourness. But don't be fooled! The taste is warm and sweet, with a nice caramel background. The mouthfeel is full without bring heavy.

The finish has a funny, dull bitter "hook" to it that cuts the sweetness without going overboard. I love it - I just don't know what it is! I've only enter tasted this in St. Bernardus Abt 12 before.

Nostradamus is similar to Abt 12, but a bit more sweet.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Even before opening the bottle, the sediment at the bottom hints this is going to be something special. The bottle categorizes this as a Belgian Brown Ale. Upon opening the bottle, an aroma of brown sugar penetrates the air. The aroma becomes stronger upon pouring. The color is of the ale is a murky dark brown with visible sediment that scatters about the bottom of the glass. The taste is a unique sweet and slightly sour flavored brown ale. A brown sugar flavor stays on the tongue, melting into a sweet aftertaste.

Nostradamus is a very good Belgian where the flavors of the yeast shine. It is not too thick or "syrupy". It also provides the health benefits of the sediment.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lot FGHX. 'Best before' code is confusing, but it seems to read 03/2012. Didn't Nostradamus predict the end of the world in 2012? Maybe it should just read "drink before the end."

Served just under 50°F. Synthetic cork pops with ease.

A: Nostradamus pours deep, deep, brown with fire red highlights against the light. It's clear enough to see all the way through. A half-finger yellowed brown head rises and falls to a cream, leaving pseudo-lacing that spiderwebs into thin strands on the glass and then falls into the brew.

S: The nose is an explosion of fruity and lightly-spiced esters. Most noticeable is a blast of bubblegum, followed by grapefruit, plum, and fig. There is an underlying heat, leading to a delightfully complex spectrum of scents. As it warms, the nose sweetens. Phenomenal.

T: Following up the great smell is a sweet, smooth, and hot taste. Alcoholic heat is present but subtle, and accentuates the raisins, plums, caramel, chocolate, cherries, and toffee. The flavor is well-rounded and balanced. Nostradamus is a candy bar in a bottle.

M: Full bodied, and slightly chewy, with good, soft carbonation. Surprisingly smooth.

D: High. One of my favorites!

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.77/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

not sure what to make of the date stamped on the back, but i know this one is at least a year old 0062010. bottle also says 9% abv, not 9.5. oh well, who's counting? not me.

A- pours a beautiful murky reddish brown that glows warmly when held up to the light. the color of this beer is fantastic and i don't even know what to compare it to. foam is khaki colored, dense and creamy, and leaves thick sheets of lace that eventually slide back down. i blame the booze.

S- extremely fragrant aroma of brown bread and sugar cookies, faint cinnamon and nutmeg spice, apple wood, pecan, pear, fig, date, prune, cherry, strawberry, melon, brown sugar, and pipe tobacco. mineral water aromas fade quickly as the brew warms. smells like dessert with a floral hop sprinkle. complex, impressive, and inviting with notes that range from sweet, tart, fruity, earthy, woodsy, and everything in between.

T- tastes very similar to the aroma but heavier with the dark malt. alcohol is hidden nicely but definitely felt on the way down! the flavor has a darker, breadier, more bitter edge than the cookie sweetness of the aroma, and that suits me just fine. at the onset of a deep sip, dried fruits such as dates, figs, raisins and prunes flood the palate, almost reconstituting themselves into a brief but tangy instant of fresh grapes, pear, and melon. deep rich malts take the wheel from there with dark bread, caramel, a hint of chocolate, and port wine. a leafy, somewhat tea like hop bitterness weaves its way in and out of the strong malts to meet some banana yeast flavor in the glorious finish. alcohol is deceiving by taste and smell alone, with just a puff of pineapple, but as i said before- you will feel it, and it will warm your ass up. this is one deliciously complex brew and definitely one of the best i've had of the style. finishes like the skin of orchard fruits.

MF- juicy and rich, high abv contributes to the feel nicely. absolutely perfect carbonation holds firm, distributes flavor, then washes clean with a subtle dryness and grainy feeling left behind. a bit of powdery yeasty feel is also appreciated. this bottle is definitely not over carbonated! alcohol is felt in the chest more than anything.

D- very glad i waited and didn't drink this one too young and i recommend everyone else do the same. ridiculously drinkable for such a big belgian! i don't even have any left to go with the prized amish bleu cheese, let alone all the extra exclamation points. the mother with these amazing complex high abv belgians is that i keep digging for more flavors and ways to explain them and then... the bottle just isn't big enough. now i got this french michel cracka with a telescope flyin around in my head i'm like bitch get out of there before something bad happens... (in the future!)

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Photo of teromous
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy dark brown color, with a very bold substantial tan head. I'm not really getting lacing, even with a big head. After drinking for a while the head fades, but never leaves the top of the beer unaccompanied by a cap of white foam.

S: Lots of caramel right up front, along with some vanilla cream, and faint alcohol esters in the background. There's also a spice scent to it, like cinnamon or something. That last bit could just be me, but it reminds me a bit of cinnamon.

T: There is this soft flavor of caramel that just melts in the mouth. Even as the beer fades away, it just lingers there. It brings back memories of Halloween. There's a date flavor in there as well, ever so sweet and rich tasting.

M: The mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Soft bubbles wash the corner of my mouth as I drink this. It is so easy to drink this beer.

O: Oh man this is a good beer. I will naturally recommend it to those who are fans of Belgian beers, especially dark ales, but I think that fans of sweet stouts or dessert style beers will find this very appealing. I will look for this beer again in the future.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Jim at Sherbrooke for the sample. Came in a 330 ml brown bottle, abv. listed as 9%. Dark, dense nut brown in colour, turns to bright oaky highlights when held to direct light. Quick creamy beige head that settle to a thin cap.

Remarkable aroma that fills the room. Rich caramelized malts, figs, dates and raisins, milk chocolate and carob nut, currants, pear, and Gala apple.

Flavour holds toffee and sweet caramelized malt up front, dates and black currant rising in the middle, a little swish of milk chocolate, with mildly tart notes of pear and apple on the finish. Wow! I can't do it justice, it all works together amazingly.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, slick, with some brisk carbonation.

An incredibly well-crafted Strong Dark Belgian, very well put together. Enchanting even. This is one definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of JordanChabot
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found this fine brew buried in the craft beer section at one of my local, usually uninteresting, package stores.

They didn't know how it got there, as it was not in their system.

After 12 minutes, I was even more intrigued as this single bottle of beer caused chaos in this store full of unworthy folks. I had to have it, so I negotiated a price with them to reassure them that they were getting their money's worth. They didn't... this beer is priceless.

(Bless the person that put it there.... bless you.)

Knowing the characteristics of a typical Belgian Brown....I immediately cooked up a complimentary dish before even picturing opening it. Garlic, red onion, kalamata olives, black olives, mushroom, red peppers, pepperoncini, basil, oregano, marsala wine, Quinta olive oil, oregano, Parmesan/Romano cheese blend, and Gorgonzola over spaghetti.

Of course, I ran the risk of this beer being nothing close to what I expected, but, I had a great meal nonetheless.

So I open Nostradamus and it looks like I may have been all knowing mind of the future after all....

The beer pours a copper brown color and has a thick, off-white head that laces beautifully. The head stuck to the glass forming a perfect concave from bird's eye view. And the head stood there...with no plans of subsiding.

The aroma over powered the over spiced air of the kitchen immediately. Rich toffee and sweet crisp yeast filled the nose with a very slight alcohol bite. The token Belgian spice cleans out the sticky aromas so that you may have another smell.

The taste was unbelievable. Too vague? Let me explain....

It starts with a smooth body and thin but loose carbonation typical of well done brown ales. Sweet toffee sticks to the palate as dark fruit and spice fades in and out. Add the perfect touch of bottom fermenting yeast? Lees maybe? And you have an unrivaled brown Belgian style ale.

Please, try this with a strong cheese. I tried with Gorgonzola and could not get enough. The competition of the sweet ale and pungent cheese cause a reaction a chemist could not explain. Only something I or Nostradamus could have predicted.

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Photo of Hampton73
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ML Bottle, poured with a nice head that leaves lace on the glass. Pretty reddish brown color with little bubbles.

The aroma is very impressive, with dark fruits, malts, and alcohol blending nicley.

The flavor mimics the aroma, only better. Complexity and goodness are the words that come to mind. The Belgian yeast has been tamed to avoid the extreme flavors they can produce.

Mouthfeel is nice, with just the right amount of carbonation to balance the viscosity of the beer.

One of my favorite Belgium Brown ales.

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Photo of BlueHammer
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First sip reaction: excellent. This beer was served to me at the Half Door, in Hartford, CT. It was served still in the bottle and I poured it myself.

The lighting was a bit dim in this particular restaurant but it appeared to pour a light to medium brown color with a slight purplish hue. It appeared lighter still when held to the light. The smell was fruity but not overwhelming. It poured with a thick head that disappated quickly with no lacing. The initial taste was of raisins and prunes. The beer is served chilled but it warms immediately upon going down. It finishes sweet. Nostradamus is smooth and delicious, and quite literally had a taste that made me feel happy!

I nursed this beer slowly as I ate an appetizer. Intersting to note is that the taste did not particularly improve as the beer sat. In fact, it tasted almost stale within about 15 minutes.

It's a great beer! But I recommend drinking it fairly quickly!

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Photo of rkhaze
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful reddish copper with a big bubbly tan head and loads of carbonation.
Earthy, bready malt aromas. Brandy, red fruit, pineapple and yeast.
The smells were subtle compared to the complex flavor. Tastes like a brandy soaked fruitcake. Rich bready malt, brown sugar, dark corn syrup and fruits. The alcohol was present but melded well into the flavors. The earthy tart yeast shows up to tame the sweetness and balance it out. Nice hopping in the finish. Great job!
Medium to full bodied with a rich, full and creamy mouthfeel. The intense carbonation served to lighten it up a bit.
Top notch drinkability for such a big beer.
I really liked this beer. Good balance, great complex flavors and a nice job of hiding the alcohol.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a translucent bright red orange into a Delirium tulip glass wish spectacular visible carbonation and a thin tan head.

Smells of dark cherries and raisins, thick syrupy sweetness and caramel.

The taste is initially sweet and fruity with tastes of thick and dark fruit preserves. A subsequent haze of alcohol which descends into a mildly roasted malty aftertaste. Dusty yeast notes throughout.

Thick bodied, and stiffly carbonated. Silky smooth mouthfeel. Superb drinkability.

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Photo of unseenbyyou
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank a taster of this at local beer bar in Alhambra:

It was my first taster of the night, and definitely stood out against all other beers--save for bosteel's tripel

The color was a beautiful brown with a hint of red and gold... not much head

Smell did not strike me...nothing given away to the nose

the taste, now that is where I was happy to be drinking a belgian...some spices, but no taste of alcohol whatsoever, smooth sailing the beginning and at the end, the beer was smooth, only drawback, it did not leave a lasting impression on the tastebuds like a barrel aged beer does

drinkability..for 9.5% abv it was immensely drinkable, like an abt 12 or delirium noel...just goes down so easy

highly recommended

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Photo of aromatorio
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I thought this beer was exceptional. I was told it was a quad, but I guess it is a BSDA.

A: Looks good. Not as cloudy as I thought it might be. Dark, dark amber. Good head. A little yellow, decent retention.

S: Big bouquet. In my face sweet, light notes hiding under some molasses? Honey?

T: Sweet, delicious. Hardly any hops lurking under all the delicious malt. I barely notice the alcohol until the whole glass is gone.

M: It feels flowery on the tongue. Lighter than I thought, creamy in a way that I'm not used to for ales like this.

D: Almost too drinkable. There aren't many beers I can slam down like this. Only after all the beer is gone do I notice the buzz that I've acquired.

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Photo of bnuttz
4.66/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle serving

appearance: a very dark, cloudy amber, with a nice two finger head, nicely carbonated

smell: smells of fruit, raisins and plums to be more precise, there is also definitely an alcohol smell, very sweet

taste: wow, this is a big beer, fruitty, sweet, definitely some phenolic flavors, a touch of malts, very full on the palate, this one hits it all. a warming aftertaste. This is great.

notes: first beer served in my new, and first tulip style glass, a maudite glass. This beer was definitely deserving of it, I will be buying this one again, great all around

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Photo of zeeksterusa
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

drinking it now in Belgium...

- green apple aroma, really amazing, need to experience this

- smooth taste, highly drinkable

- beautiful color, incredible appearance

- bright smell with tons of depth in every sip

- more to come after my night...


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Photo of JamesS
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a wonderfully deep dark black/purple color with some decent head. Wonderful deep malty scent, with a great sweet and fruity tone. Wonderful taste, a hugely deep dark malty flavor with great prune and cherry flavors, along with a nice sugary sweet undertone. Goes down very well for such a thick beer.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lotsa gas release when popping the cap. Poured a smooth head, 1 finger width, and the color is a beautiful caramel-brown.

Raisins, prunes and brown sugar dominate the aroma, with nice maltiness also present.

The taste is where it's at, and this one has tons of complexity: malts command, followed by a subtle yeast funk and a chocolatey finish. Also in the background and aftertaste is something reminiscent of the dark corn syrup used in pecan pies. The 9.5% alcohol is well-hidden, you can hardly tell it's there. This ale is a real pleasure, it's my 4th try in the last couple years and it's always delivered pure satisfaction. So good I'm tempted to take big gulps.

Mouthfeel is both delicate and lively.

Despite the high ABV, this goes down easily and is absolutely satisfying. Should please any Belgian ale enthusiast of any persuasion.

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Photo of beergoot
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great reddish-copper (mahogany) body with a creamy, thick head. Powerful aroma, rich with malt goodness and succulent, ripe fruits (plums, raisins, and figs). Outstandingly robust taste infused with boldly sweet dark fruit esters and hearty caramel malt grains; there is a sublime alcohol warmth lurking in the background and a really, really nice subtle hop bitterness. Rich, smooth, heavy-bodied mouthfeel; sweet and chewy.

This is a pretty stunning beer overall, especially in the taste-department. Smoothly balanced and deep complexity make this a beer to savor and sip over a period of time. Big, beautiful, and well-worth seeking out...

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Photo of stephens101
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every once in a while a new Belgian will hit the local shelves, and they are generally hit or (usually) miss.

Reddish-brown with a wispy tan head.

Notes of brown sugar float freely to the nose with a pleasant admixture of herb, black grape, warmed syrup and vanilla.

Tastes of brown bread, a little grain, a pinch of nutmeg and molasses covered grapes. Yes, that is correct, molasses covered grapes, and ain't that yum!

Medium-bodied with a perfectly warming alcohol heat.

A definite hit that makes all the misses completely worthwhile.

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Photo of UFGUY2122
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a chalice type glass that I have.

A-The head on this is unreal. Started at about 2 1/2 inches and retained for some time. Then receded and left webs of sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

S-Raisins, dark fruits, and the slightest hint of alcohol.

T-Matches the smell, malty with dark hops.

M-Great full-bodied mouthfeel with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D-This beer is dangerously smooth for the ABV. The amount of alcohol is barely detectable.

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Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 936 ratings