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: 897
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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Photo of Pbanks
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

One of the best brown ales out there. Smooth texture and great taste. With a abv @ 9.0 makes it perfect to enjoy a couple at a time. Highly recommend.

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Photo of jim102864
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours with a very robust head from the bottle into my Duvel tulip glass. A beautiful brownish, copperish, redish appearance. Lace bubbles up aggresively during the pour but settles nicely leaving patches of lace on the glass. This is an aromatic Belgian...something that's been lacking in some of the stuff I've recently reviewed both Belgian and otherwise. Strong notes of candied sugar, ripe pears, orange peals, raisens, and dates even. Yes, finally an aggressive brew and not just from an alcohol perspective. More ripe fruit in the taste. You really can perceive the candied sugar. Nice, full mouthfeel. Slightly bicuity. Chewy but not overly so. This brew just embraces your palette. It's sweet and then migrates its way down and the alcohol presents itself; it's light but oh so nice. I'm a virgin to this brew no more and will make an effort to seek it out again. Can't wait to try it on tap should it ever appear in my area or somewhere during my travels. Make a point to grab this at your next opportunity.

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

Appearance: Deep reddish-amber with a moderate off-white head, thin glass-cating lacing, and moderate carbonation.

Aroma: Deep aroma of sweet caramel, bitter cocoa, earth, dark fruit, pears, bitter apple rind, and sweet and spicy alcohol.

Taste: Opens with an abundance of sweet caramel, soon followed by dark fruits. Sweet vinous alcohol carries throughout the taste. Other flavors drift in and out, including bitter apple rind, pears, and woody oak-like notes. Finishes with a lingering note that is reminiscent of bourbon.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very full, and pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: Simply excellent, a potent and yet gracious ale, I hope to find this again.

Presentation: Packaged in a 750 ml brown glass Belgian bomber with a cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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

Poured a deep rusty brown with a white head. The head receded to lace fairly quickly, but there is more than enough carbonation in the brew to keep that up to the bottom of the glass, I think. The aroma is sweet, with hints of currants, plums, and an alcoholic caramel malt. The flavor is sweet and rich, with a neat spiciness about halfway through and lingering in the finish. Alcohol notes cut through intermittantly, but it's a swirling mass of caramels and fruit. This beer is very carbonated, and blinds the tongue with each sip, letting the thick malt character in through the back door unnoticed until he cracks you over the head with a pipe wrench. Very good beer, definitely on the "will purchase again soon" list.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33 cl. bottle. pours garnet colored with a slight tan head. A slight alcohol smell with figs, dates, and caramel. Light to medium bodied. Nice carbonation with a smooth mouthfeel. Taste is of dates, figs, caramel, and spicy, yeasty bread. Finishes with a slight alcohol tang to remind one of its 9.5%.

Wish I had more of this brew. Excellent.

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

a slightly chilled corked and caged 750 ml bottle that fellow BA and great buddy Stopper hooked me up with. I am sampling in a large tulip glass.
The cork comes out with a loud pop and some fog/mist eminates from the opening immediately after. A good sign I think.
The beer pours a rather clear mahogany with strong ruby tints. A few small sediment chunks float around.
A large frothy beige head foams up and fades gradually with large craters opening up as it recedes.
Aroma is very nice, I get green apples, lemon, and cherry mixing with some cloves and candy sugar. Also a bit of grassy hops and a general musty smell as well. Quite interesting and appealing on the nose.
First sip reveals a fine and prickly carbonation that tingles my tongue and average body with a slightly syrupy texture that I find enjoyable.
Flavor is rich and complex with some light fruits up front, again the green apple but also sweet ripe pears. A bit of caramel and toffee play through the middle and brown sugar and hard candy sweet, but not cloyingly. Quite pleasant actually. This would make an incredible dessert beer and I am very impressed with it. I would be sure to buy this again now that I have sampled.

Thanks again Stopper!!

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

A terrific beer. Has all of the characteristics of a great Quad with other qualities that make it work well. Dark fruits, confectioner's sugar and sweet bread carry the aroma and initial flavors. Much more malty-sweet with brown sugar and maple combined with the candy sugars. More prevailant with plumbs, dates, figs, cashews, and a touch of chocolate. Not quite prunes or raisons, which is a good thing. Slight toasted character. Body is a touch fuller than most Trippels. Strong alcohol flavors throughout, but become a little medicinal toward the finish. Finishes both dry and sweet.

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

I received a 33cl bottle from my sister who lives in Belgium (thanks sis!) The best before date was 06/2007.

I chilled it to 50 deg F, and drank it from a Leffe glass. It poured a deep red, with some foam but not too much. It has a rich mouthfeel, and an aroma of spices. Very sweet. For me, one of the best Brune beers.

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

Pours a beautiful dark brown with a tan head into a Teku glass. Lovely smell of malt, husk, and chocolate.

Slick and juicy, wonderful rich notes of dark fruits, chocolate, and a touch of molasses. The phenolic undertone is quite nice and balances out what would otherwise be quite the heady combination of flavors. The hops come through with an earthy note, adding even more complexity. Carbonation also lifts on the palate, making this very drinkable. 9%? That is news to me! Medium to medium-heavy bodied.

What better than a piece of Belgian chocolate to go with this sweetie?

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

I absolutely love trying new Belgian brews, and especially at Christmastime. This year I found this new puppy: Nostradamus. This dark brown ale was uncorked from a 25oz. bottle on a cold December evening. It was the perfect beer for a nice session of wrapping presents.

It poured nice and viscous, with a creamy tan head that sustained throughout the session. The color was a tawny brown, with some translucence. The nose was pleasantly malty, but considering the strength of this beer, it wasn't too 'sweet'-smelling--probably because I also detected a nice infusion of aroma hops. However, the malt does edge it out.

The first taste was characteristic of good, solid and creative Belgian brown ales--a nice yeasty, fruity character, and with a malt sweetness that satisfies greatly, but also a nice bittering hop component, as well. The body feel was solid, nothing missing in the middle at all. The finish was delightful, as the palate kept saying, 'give me more!'.

For a beer of 9.5%abv, this is a surprisingly smooth, not-as-rich-as you-might-think, brew. However, as I did move right along on this 25oz. gift, it did become obvious that not only was this a special beer, but also a strong one, as visions of, Belgian candy sugar...danced in my head.

I'm not familiar with this brewery, Caracole, but they have an excellent creation with this prophetic offering.

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Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
4.06 out of 5 based on 897 ratings.
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