Nostradamus | Brasserie Caracole

904 Ratings

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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Ratings: 904 |  Reviews: 514
Photo of DoctorDog
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz/330 ml bottle poured into a goblet.
*bottle lists ABV @ 9%, as opposed to the 9.5% currently listed here.

A: Very dark and hazy copper appearance. ~1 1/2 fingers of tan, effervescing head, which dissipates to a thin incomplete cap.

S: Sweet fruitiness...raisins / dark fruits and cherry, with a hint of port. Quite appealing.

T: Interesting and complex. Chocolate is actually the first flavor that jumps out at me. Dark fruits....spicy/herbal bitterness....too much more to even try to decipher right now. Alcohol presence is noted, but blends well into the mix.

M: Crisp, with moderately high carbonation. Medium feel. Wells up easily into a creamy swirl. Very slight alcohol warming. Quite good.

D: Excellent. Great flavor, feel, and aroma....goes down enjoyably....

Future outlook: I kept passing this little gem over...night after night in my beer fridge...shame on me. Dare I say, the most enjoyable Belgian strong dark ale that I've personally experienced to date?

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Photo of digr
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark brown thick pour. creamy brown head. looks rich, inviting. Dark opaque brown liquid, but not black.

S - smells of dark candy, raisins, almost pruney fruit. Not much hop aroma, maybe just a hint. caramel, burnt sugar smells. My mouth is watering.

T - tastes lighter than it looks. Caramel and burnt sugar flavors, similar to, but lighter than a dubbel. Finishes with a slight hop bitterness, but ever so slightly. There is a slight yeasty bready note under the burnt sugar and mild bitterness that evolves as the beer warms in the mouth. There is a definite bitterness from hops that mellows the residual sweetness.

M- I love it! A great mix of flavor and tightness and lightness. Starts a tad sweet, then dries as you swallow. Not thin, not thick, but a great balance. Again the bubbles evolve as the beer warms to make a great experience

D - Quite drinkable due to the exceptional Mouthfeel and Flavor. Not quite as easy as say a WestMalle Tripel, much more going on here. But very drinkable if you are into the stronger Belgian Styles.

Overall I really like this beer. I am a huge fan of Brasserie Caracole. I think this is all they things I like in the style of a dubbel turned up a notch. It is a bit cleaner and more falvor full IMHO. If there was such a thing as a dark tripel, I would say this is it. Try this if you can find it.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle best before either June or Sept 2009 or 2010 (notches were off-kilter). Poured into a goblet and Duvel tulip. Pours dark amber, red under light with a two finger light beige head. Retains a small cap and leaves a ring of lacing.

Aroma is yeast, grain, bready, a light amount of cherry.

Aroma is quiet compared to the flavor which is much bigger, fruitier, apple, green raisins, good amount of cherries, some brown sugar, candy sugar, caramel malts, quite sweet, yeast, bread and grains a prominent as well. Some alcohol, sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is full and velvety, medium carbonation.

Been meaning to try this for a couple of years, glad I got around to it. A nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale, recommended.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle in a snifter glass

Appearance: amber with a firm head

Nose: horse blanket, wet dog, nail polish remover, fruity sugars

Taste: complex sweetness, fruity, slight hops bite in the finish

This is a very complex beer that I need to review a second time (oh darn). I really enjoyed this beer but didn't get everything that was imparted into it.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with some yeast. A light head that leaves a ring of foam and not much lacing.

Smells of dark dried fruit, especially prunes and raisins, with some ginger, spice, and nuts.

Delightful tastes of prunes, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts and port. The sweet tastes upfront resolve into a nutty bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is rich, the carbonation is tight.
A complex beer, very port-like and the alcohol is noticeable, at 9.5%, which may make it a good dessert or night cap beer.

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Photo of Travlr
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark chestnut color with a small light beige head that evaporates quickly to leave a few bubbles.
S: Aroma of roasted malts and licorice.
T: Flavor of caramel and toffee, a bit sweet, but nice balance.
M: Medium body.
D: Nice example of the style.

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Photo of rarbring
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light amber, nearly orange clear fluid. A rather strong foam that recedes into a fine lacing. Small bubbles.

Smell of sweet fruity marmalade and some overtones of sherry.

The taste is very sweet, and dominated by fruits, like orange, but also some sherry tones both in taste and alcoholic presence.

The beer is pleasant to drink, nicely carbonated and goes very well with a strong cheddar I dare say.

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Photo of dqrull
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lighter than expected amber, with a light beige coloured foam that receeds rather quilcky, not leaving much lace, doesnt disappear totally though.

Not a very prominent nose, slight notes of peach marmelade, orange zest, pretty sweet, and the alcohol shines through. I find no appearent notes of the usual dark fruits that are usually abundant in this style, tasting will be interesting!

Again, none of the dark fruits I was expecting before opening the bottle are here, instead there are sweet peach, orange, tropical fruits and a just as sweet maltyness, but it succeeds at not being too cloying, much thanks to a slight sour touch that really fits in with the tropical fruits. The alcohol really complements the sweetness swell, I would have liked a little more bitterness in the end, but otherwise pretty tasty.

The mouthfeel i a little bit watery for this ABV, but the carbonation feels just right with small smooth bubbles that helps to foam it up nicely with a toungue-swirl or two.

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Photo of TLove
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 ml bottle into Palm snifter.

The sweet/sour balance is heavy on this beer, as is the dry finish. Head holds well, though doesnt really fill the glass in the way you'd expect. Color is a beige brown with a tint of orange.

An interesting blend stylistically between a BSDA and a brown gueuze, with cherry, rum, apple, and a spicy, dry finish. Some red grape on the tongue, with cherries, some light spices.

The carbonation is almost chewable. The flavor sits, oddly, at the carbonation, despite letting the beer sit for some time. 9% ABV not overpowering, but the finish is very dry and very sour.

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Photo of bark
2.59/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The colour is dark amber, almost brown. The liquid is clear. The finger thick head is pale beige with a tint of red. Lots of fine lacing.

The smell is aggressively sweet with notes of apricot jam, fruit candy, strawberries and some alcohol.

The taste is not as sweet as one could have expected from the smell. Quite the opposite, it is almost dry with some sweet fruity flavours, lots of alcohol and some anonymous spices. The aftertaste is dominated by alcohol, some raisins and a very fragile bitterness. The taste is overall simple, unbalanced and uninteresting. Low body.

The carbonation is strong with lots of minimal sharp bubbles. The liquid is a bit thin.

An uninspired Belgian brew, alcoholic like a malt liquor.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is hazy copper with a rich large off-white head that stays for a long time before it dissipates, leaving lots of lace.

S: Alcohol hits your nose at first. Then there's almost a sherry-like-smell. Lots of different fruits: dark dried one (raisins), but also raspberries and fresh dark cherries (like the ones they use in Kriek). Spicy and complex.

T: Sour and dry, like an Gueuze without brett. Lots of fruit; dark cherries, dark dried fruits, raspberries (just before they're fully ripe). Alcohol is present, but a bit more laid back than in the smell. Spicy.

M: The aftertaste last forever (almost), with dry bitterness. The body is full and the carbonation is medium. An obvious warmth from the alcohol.

D: A very complex beer. Some of the parts in it are the greatest ever, still other parts are a bit to much... They could have hold back a bit on the alcohol.
But overall: If you get your hands on it, you clearly must buy at least one bottle.

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Photo of krunchie
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Semi-hazy red copper, slightly pink/orangey thick frothy head. Dissappears a bit too fast IMHO

S: Like a nice Calvados, red wine and rum. Kind of alcoholic in a nice, fruity way. Estery and a bit tart. Raspberries and strawberries. Red berries in general. Slight almond hint. Definitely red currant! After a while I definitely pick up some belgian yeast aroma. Very interesting!

T: Had to take a couple of sips before my tastebuds really got going. This is a quite nice beer! Very estery and, again red fruits come to mind. Lots of alcohol taste, but again in a nice way. If I was served this beer without knowing what it was I'd definitely say it's a fruit beer. Tart raspberries and almonds. Light, red wine character with a hint of oak perhaps? There's something in here that's very special, no doubt. Very unique beer, I like it! Can't put my finger on it, but I made a raspberry ale once with belgian yeast and it tasted a little like this beer. It's a bit earthy and dry in the finish, alcoholic flavors stick to the palate. Interesting and unique, but not too convincing to be honest. They could've cut down on the alcohol character and gone for a maltier, grainy body and flavor.

M/D: Medium-light body, proper carbonation level for the style and quite drinkable. The alcohol taste keeps me from chugging it, since the body isn't that big. I'd expect for intense fruit flavors and a bigger body. The yeasty aromas accumulate after each sip and during the last few ounces I got nothing but a bread yeast smell.

Conclusion: Unique and interesting, especially in the aroma, where tart red berries and red wine came to mind, as well as almonds and warming alcohol of Calvados. The alcohol and yeast smells get more dominating for each sip and take over. Adequate body with nice CO2 level, but too alcoholic and tart for my taste. Definitely worth tasting for its individuality, but it wont blow your mind.

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Photo of berley31
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with an average-sized head that quickly dissipated to a thin film. Body is a ruby-brown color, and hazy.

S: Quite a strong alcohol aroma is the first thing to hit, then a sour, almost candy-like smell comes through. Definitely different.

T: Nice fruity flavor, with banana and cloves coming through. The alcohol is there in the finish, but no more than a moderate presence... I expected there to be more from the aroma.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy, with average carbonation.

D: Me like... a little too strong to really have more than one or two, but definitely an interesting beer.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750ml corked and caged brown bottle with a cool, trippy label. Best before 3/2010 clearly notched.

Appearance: Slightly hazy dark mahogany beer with a big, thick whipped light-tan cap. Nice sheet lacing and good retention from this one.

Smell: BIG dried apple and oaky cider notes. There's some sweet caramel in here, as well as a little dark fruit and booze as well. Overall, this is a bit too cidery and fruity for me; I'm not sure if it was supposed to be like that, but there could definitely be some more malt in here.

Taste: Tart spiced apples. There's not a brett/lactic sour presence here, but there's definitely a hit of fruity acidity. This is surprisingly dry as well. Finishes with a bit of baking spice. Again, I'd like to see some more malt character here.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, and lusciously soft

Drinkability: Medium...splitting this with the wife was even a bit more than I wanted

Conclusion: This is pretty interesting, kind of like a spiced version of Pommeau de Normandie (a Norman apple cider/Calvados mix). It's esoteric, funky, but a bit over the top for me, a little bit too brash, boozy, and spicy (especially considering the brewery doesn't use spices in this beer) for me.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark, copper color with a large beige head that shrinks but never leaves. Nice bottle art.

Smells like tart dirt and leaves; an earthen sour. Fruit and nutcake malt, spices, rum raisin and figs, brown sugar and cinnamon, and on, and on...complex stuff here. Rusty alcohol becomes more pronounced with warming.

Herbal and fruity with bits of chocolate and gingerbread. Boiled honey dryness. Again, a rusty copper alcohol becomes more pronounced as it warms. Super fizzy carbonation works for this beer but I still wish it wasn't so fizzy.

It's the bees knees.

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Photo of Vengeance526
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark reddish brown color with a nice sized tan head that retains well and leaves only a little lacing.

Aroma is very spicy and fruity upfront with clear notes of raisins, figs and cherries.

Taste again showcases some raisins and figs but also has a distinct hit of lemon with dark cherry, honey and brown sugar. Spices are present throughout. Alcohol is present in the taste the whole time, but not so powerful as to hinder drinkability.

Medium body with very prickly carbonation at first, but soon becomes very smooth. Overall this was very tasty and the initial aroma was very inviting. The alcohol made its presence known right from the start but I don't feel like this detracted from the experience in any way.

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Photo of MisterDeeds
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring from a 750 corked bottle, aged over a year in the great cellar of RixBeer.

A gorgeous looking velvety brown, bordering on rusty. Almost looks like a mulled apple cider. Nice thick foamy head that retreats quickly a lacy garter.

Great aroma of dark fruits and black licorice. Very inviting.

Taste is outstanding. Sweet mocha chocolate notes up front mingling with plums and spices, finishing with some black licorice and a touch of bitterness.

Very fizzy bubbles, which I normally don't agree with, seem to do wonders for this brew. It looks almost cloudy and rusty, yet the bubbles lend it an almost light and fizzy quality.

Drinkable is an understatement. I can now understand why this is so hard to come by. This is the ideal bottle to share over dessert, or for the perfect after dinner night-cap.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750 bottle. $8.99.

Appearance: Clear ruby colored. Thought it might be darker. Big head that I expect from a belgian dark, but it doesnt stick around. Really not much lacing.

Smell: Boozy fruitcake. Liquor soaked dates and raisins. Bready yeast is a little spicy. Not the most interesting or complex of this style, but really good since the appearance left me a little worried.

Taste: A fair amount of detectable alcohol. Alcoholic dark fruit and a little spice. The finish is long bready, malty, and spicy. The taste is not quite as good as I thought it might be after smelling it, but quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Very bubbly. Feels nice. It was a little thin but gets just right as it warms up. The mouthfeel is really great.

Drinkability: Overall this is really nice. The alcohol is a little prominent. Its good, but not fantastic especially since it has to be compared to some of the best beers in the world. There are better choices for the price, but this is pretty widely available, so thats nice.

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Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Caracole snifter. Lot F, best before end 2012. At least, that's what I think the notches meant.

A: Medium-dark brown with a typical Belgian head.

S: This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Seriously, the smell is pretty much all bananas. Also some caramelized sugar.

T: Even more bananas. They're balanced out by spicy hops and just enough alcohol to be perceptible.

M: Medium to heavy, not too carbonated.

D: It's not quite as contemplation-inducing as other BSDAs. It is, however, an outstanding dessert beer. Be warned, though. If you're not big on bananas, stay far away.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown/black, a bit thin and clear and the color is not all that appealing, with a tan head.

Nose is of creamed sweet carmeled coffee and undertones of Belgian sugar and fruit.

Mouthfeel is medium to thin but there is character to make up for the lack of viscosity.

Flavors are layered and with lots of character. The flavors follow the nose - Belgian fruit and malted coffee. Abit short on flavor and character. Not bad at all - just nothing special.

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Photo of bskrtz
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A) Cloudy root beer, tan leather with little to no lacy white head

S) Sweet pastries, candy, raisons, figs & dark fruit. Emphasis on sweet

T) Candied sugar and classic Belgian malts. Root beer, sweet/sour mash... it's all there

M) Full bodied & dense but lacks carbonation despite effervescent secondary fermentation. Tingly bubbles but still flat.

D) I had very high hopes for this 9% ABV beer, and by high hopes I emphasize high. But the beer fell flat as in flat beer. If it were draft I'd blame the bar but I poured these (plural) from 11.2 ounce bottles. It's good when compared to others, but the Belgians set the bar high.

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Tall, creamy tan head. Body is a hazy dark brown.

S - Sweetness from barley is most noticable. Light detection of esters, but not much. Practically no hop presence.

T - Very mellow compilation of malted sweetness, with accentuating phenols backed by alcohol on the finish. Very moderate leves of ester are present, but don't comprise or stand out in the palate. Very tame bitterness; faint hop character.

M - Very welcomed cream texture with high carbonation levels. Warming from ABV is evident, but not unwelcomed.

D - Nothing unexpected, everything expected per style.


Everything you'd want in a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, from a small Belgian brewery.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Atlanta, Georgia. Served up in a Caracole snifter.

Appearance: Pours out a brown-amber body with a finely textured, medium-sized, off-white head.

Smell: Sweet, sugary maltiness of toasty caramel and brown sugar covered with a heady scent of ripe fruits soaked in peppery alcohol and some smaller notes of spice and dehydrated herbs.

Taste: Malty tastes of toasted dark caramel, light cocoa, nutty nougat, and dark brown sugar transitions to a particularly strong, fruity mix of figs, tart pears, and even red currants. Heavy, generous layering of both sugar and ground spices. Slight earthy herbal aspects. Finishes semi-sweet, though there is a lot of drying, warming alcohol at the end of it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: Both flavorful and nicely complex, though the alcohol and warming nature of the brew slows my progress to small, thoughtful sips. Thankfully though, the airy carbonation does a fine job in aiding the overall drinkability of this brew.

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Photo of erz316
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Caged and corked 750ml bottle, with a best before of 06.2009, served in chimay chalice

A - well it actually looks just like a chimay red. turbid body with a dark orange-copper colour with ruby highlights, and a great lasting head, the colour of which is a medium beige. this beer looks fantastic; the body is perfectly the right colour: dark, but not so much that light cant make its way through; just enough translucency to give justice to the colour of the body, which is far from a muddy completely opaque brown of the majority of dark strongs. masterfully crafted. and the big, excellent retaining head is just more eye candy; it eventually becomes this silky smooth and creamy looking surface (the head is indeed quite creamy!). I guess the only slight improvement is that the body could be a slightly bit less transparent, and there could be more lacing

S - the nose could be more potent, but is nonetheless good. the top notes are of a very fresh cut fruits, citrus, and an almost grassy note; continued in the foreground is this toffee flavour joined with some dark sweet malts. mixed in the midground is this sweet smell of artificial cherry, like a cherry jolly rancher (which happens to be my favorite of those candies). the cherry flavour masks the dark booze soaked fruits, but lets just enough out to have it blend with the cherries to give the sweetness. the nose is incredibly enticing, especially when one gets to the fruity mid and base notes, however, the nose is simply not strong enough for me.

T - overall taste is a slightly cocoa powder, fruity and boozy beer. initial tastes are of rum soaked fruits, quite sweet but with a good kick from the alcohol; good malt backing as well, though their direct sweetness gets smothered by booze, the fruity accents show that they are indeed there. main flavours of the initial: boozy prunes/figs, alcohol (semi-dry), light caramel flavours with the dark malts. the finish is a lighter array of the fruits, though they are majority of the flavour; a semi-acerbic hop presence comes out of nowhere, really; alcohol is also a medium dry. the aftertaste is to die for: lightly cocoa powdered fruits that have been soaked in rum. so incredibly delectable! improvements? not many, but I guess the cocoa could be mixed with the fruits throughout the whole process, and the booze be a bit more like rum: less dry more sweet molasses. but really, this beer kicks some serious arse.

MF&D - this is an extremely creamy, velvety beer. the brew is so incredibly mouthcoating, ive never had anything like it before. the brew is a full medium body, but the carbonation pumps it up to a heavy feeling brew, all without bloating me. the carbonation is spectacular, it is abundand and very small scale, which benefits the creaminess of the brew. utterly perfect and enticing, this brew has nailed the feel of a dark strong right on the head. the only problem with the drinkability is that the alcohol might be a bit too pronounced.

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Photo of BigJim5021
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle pours somewhere between amber and brown with a very small tan head. Easily the smallest head I've ever managed to put on a Belgian beer. Hmm. Must be past its prime.

The aroma is quite sweet. Caramelized sugar and toasted malts. Light clove. Just a little bit too sweet for me.

The flavor is definitely on the sweet side as well. It's good, but time has muted what may have once been there. Given that this bottle was near the end of its lifespan (if not past it, as the notches on the back were off-the-mark), the alcohol has completed subsided.

Mouthfeel suffers from the age as well. The carbonation is well below what I like in my Belgian brews. It's still got a decent body to it.

This is by no means a bad beer. I think that I'll need to get ahold of a fresher bottle to give it another stab. But hey, how could I pass up a $6.49 bottle of this stuff?

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Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole
4.06 out of 5 based on 904 ratings.
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