Nostradamus | Brasserie Caracole

514 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brasserie Caracole

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

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Reviews: 514 | Ratings: 898
Photo of JordanChabot
4.75/5  rDev +17%
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 teromous
4.75/5  rDev +17%
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 Hampton73
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
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 +15.8%
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 MrHassellYaHurd
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
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 +15.3%
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 rkhaze
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
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 aromatorio
4.67/5  rDev +15%
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 +14.8%
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 +14.5%
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 Metalmonk
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
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 JamesS
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
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 beergoot
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
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 +12.6%
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 +12.6%
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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Photo of Beelzebeer
4.56/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, served in Chimay goblet, BB June 19th, 2014

A - Perfect. Dark dark mahogany, almost black until held to the light, dense creamy 2" head that lasts, nice lacing

S - Dark sugars, some leather. Typical for style. Maybe a little more faint than others. Could be my nose.

T - Hides the 9% well. A little burn when it's gone, but less than others. Light on the fig/date, more malty than sweet, raisin.

M - Very nice. A little chewy, little carbonation, very creamy.

O - Very nice. Good representation for the style. Think I might try to pick some more up before they're all gone.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date of 09 2006. I'll take that with a grain of salt, thank you.

Into a tulip glass, pours a dark and heady russet brown, moderate carbonation on pour, with a nice off white foma on top settling down to a thin bubbly film in the center, ringed around the edges, and the rest a wispy film over the brown goodness. Aroma is rich, full of dark fruits, figs, plums, mollases, some cherries, some brandy, everything well put together, very nice. Taste is similar to the nose, a lot of fruits, plum and brandy seem to stand out, cherries in there, a wonderful balance of all things tasty. The mouth has the right body, the right carbonation, it warms nicely, its fantastic, I love it. This is pretty much what I think of when I reach for a Belgian Strong Dark, very high quality beer, and an excellent find on my part, on sale at Cellar's for an $8 four pack, I'm stoked cause I have three left, yesss!!!!

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Photo of dmarch
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm surprised that Brasserie la Caracole hasn't got more attention. It's in my opinion a wonderful hidden belgian brewery. This brew pours with a cloudy garnet color and a tan head that slowly diminishes. Alcohol is sweet and wine-like with some alcohol. Taste is initially of caramel and dark fruit. It finishes with a spicy alcohol flavor.

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Photo of Rschis16
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A nice hazy ruby reddish brown colored beer with a big head on top that dissapates pretty slowly, leaving a bit of lacing with it. The head is foamy and a light tan in color. The aroma is subtly fantastic, slightly vinous with a nice sweetness from some dark stone fruits. A hint of chocolate floats through as well. A bit of booze evident in the aroma giving it that vinous quality that works really well with the chocolatey dried fruit aromas. Very pleasant, could sniff this all day.

Very pleasant tasting as well. It has the Belgian qualities of fruity yeasty flavors, with a background of caramel and toffee malt flavors that are brown ale-esque. Definitely a bit of bubble gum that is very Belgian in character. The fruitiness is remeniscent of this and cherries, maybe even a hint of apple or pear. Almost barleywineish even, but then in the end it drops off and returns to that toffee flavor and is distinctly just a brown ale on steroids. Some light cidery notes follow through from a the touch of booze that is most evident in the back and breath. This doesn't detract from the beer however as the booze is actually pretty well hidden by the fruity playfulness for the most part. Farther down the bottle, the hops become more evident and balance out some of the sweetness with just a faint touch of bitterness, just rounding out the beer very nicely. The mouthfeel is subdued for the first half of the bottle, finishing soft and smooth despite the crispness of the initial tasting. In the bottom half, a touch more carbonation and effervescence is evident, but the smoothness remains overall.

Definitely a sipper and one to share with friends, but make sure you get a good cross-section of this beer. The top half is a bit different from the bottom as the yeast sits down there. Also definitely let this one warm up to close to 55 degrees. This seemed ideal for all of the characteristics of this beer to shine. Great beer, definitely recommended by me.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bright crimson color, hazy, and gorgeous, huge, luscious head, a beigey-near-green thing, altogether a picture of beauty...urging me for the next sensory experience...ah, this is the stuff, the nose is tickled by this deliciousness, dark fruit, vibrant spice, grape and clove in harmony, alive and sizzling...perfectly plays out exactly what is desired..cheers to that...
A repetition on the palate, a revisitation by these same full flavors, a big buzz on the tongue, a rich, sumptuous repast, unmatchable...well, maybe...but i'm so content that I toss about hyperbole with utter abandon...spicy, zesty, rich and fruity, a tangible tingle all throughout the duration...zam, bam, boo-ram!!!
This is my first taste of this excellent ale, and I'm damned glad to have drunk it. "Belgian brown ale" says the label, but it's not like any other brown ale, from anywhere...possesses a zest that only the luckiest and happiest should take as their succur...and no matter what you were before, when you have it, you are one of them...I said "yum" already, right? No? Well, to nail it in the shell of the nut, ...there you go...yum, yummy, yummers...

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Photo of asabreed
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottled poured into my Corsendonk tulip. And what crazy ass artwork. The man himself over an open book's flailing pages already predicting the future, wavey antennas whip-snacking over his head. Nice stuff to look at. And I didn't even get to the beer yet.

Appearance: Cloudy, hazy, thick brown color as far as the body goes, a little red toward the top. Very dark though, maybe darker than I expected. The head is insane. I can't even sip the beer yet because I'm still waiting for it to go down from it's ice cream-like state of appearance. Now as it goes down, huge clumps of foam are remaining as lacing, and the head's still beautifully thick.

Smell: Earthy yeast and some phenols at first. Then comes a Flemish Red-type sour apple skin aroma. Citrus, lemon peel, high acidity. Then some darker fruits like cherries or berries, with a tad bit of tropical fruit also in the nose. Then comes the figs, raisins, and prunes. Tons of stuff going on here and very complex and welcoming.

Taste: Burst of sweetness up front, kind of a meld between the malty and earthy raisin-like sweetness, then followed by the entourage of dark, candied fruit. However, the balance is pretty magnificent. It never gets overly sweet, as the yeast or hops or something curbs that by the end, leaving a slightly yeasty yet dry and fruity palate by the end.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with slightest amount of spritzy nature to not make it too thick or cloying. Finishes velvety smooth.

Drinkability: Goddamn this is good, and I'll definitely be buying it again. I keep saying to myself, "Well, this may be biased since I like the style so much," but so many BSDAs lately have impressed me to not end, and this is one of them. And also it seems to be in a category of its own as far as flavor, with different things melding and dominating than most versions of the style I've had. Try it for sure.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a Nostradamus tulip. One inch of light beige foam recedes into a thin layer above a hazy brown body. Thin soapy lacing slides down the glass slowly. Aroma is of sweet malts, candi sugar and dark fruits, specifically plum. Taste puts all the associated tastes of this aromas together in a heaping serving of flavor and Belgianny greatness. Hard to believe this is 9.5% ABV. Awesome.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy brown-amber color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of caramel, dates, anise, and brown sugar. The taste is soft and strong. Anise, dates, brown sugar, molasses, and black licorice. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a silky texture, and fine carbonation. Overall, this is a very good Belgian Strong Ale. I could easily drink this again.

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Photo of Blackwolf
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into an oversized wineglass.

A- Poured a deep rich mahogany colored body, with a cherry/light-brown fluffy head which settled quickly. A thin ring of semi-sticky lacing slowly slips down the sides of the glass at every sip I take. Just wonderful.

S- You know this is a belgian as soon as it hits the nose, bananas/plumb, yeast, caramalt, kinda nutty too. Very aromatic and enticing.

T- Caramalt forward, yummy belgian yeast, some dark fruit mid palate, then a bitter sweet finish with banana very subtle hop tangled with dark roasted nut. Very complex and balanced. Some alcohol says hello in the end too, with a lingering sour.

MF- Light-medium semi sticky body with medium carbonation. Dry finish that is somewhat warming. Lots of fruity flavors and yeast stick to the palate.

O- A very interesting belgian, and easily to be said a great one! I just simply enjoy every part of this fine crafted beer. You cannot be disappointed if you enjoy the style. Worth the buy at a reasonable price, give it a try!

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark garnet body with lovely lacing, not much head, but it was at a restaurant and not my pour. Got a tip from the manager of Semolina (Charlottesville, VA) that it was available, but not yet on the menu.

Vinuous raisiny notes on the nose along with a bit of malt.

Taste has banana esters and plenty of sweet vinuous raisin and dates. Very faint hops clean up the finish; truly gorgeous and on par with Gouden Carolus classic/Kaiser Blauw.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, very pleasant and complementary to the flavor.

Overall outstanding, a magnificent Belgian brown.

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Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
4.06 out of 5 based on 898 ratings.
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