Nostradamus | Brasserie Caracole

515 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: 515 | Ratings: 898
Photo of danadeny
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is labeled as a strong dark ale, but I would say this is a barleywine. The alcohol is very detectible at the end on the back of your tongue and fruity, raisin, maple syrup, and caramel flavors are all over the pallet. As well as a little hop in there. The smell is just that of a barleywine, sweet with a little bit of floral hops. As it warms the alcohol flavor gets stronger, and well does the fruit.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one was a murky brown in color, a bit on the light side, with a nice head that went down rather quickly but left some nice pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – There’s a ton of fun in this nose. The dark fruits are well-blended. I can pick up some cherries, plums, and a bit of tobacco, although I’m sure there are many more that I’m missing. It has some big sugary candy cane as well. The backbone is very bready malt, nicely toasted.

Taste – The alcohol and candy cane came out more at the taste, otherwise this tasted just like it smelled. I liked the balance a bit better at the nose, however.

Mouthfeel – Bigger than medium but not full in the body, this one has some nice carbonation and just a hint of alcohol.

Drinkability – This is an alcoholic sleeper, so watch out. I had the little 330ml bottle but a bomber will get your head spinning. Other than that, this went down quite well. I see some of the other BAs had this on-tap. What a treat that must have been!

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Photo of Cwrw
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the quirkily-labelled bottle comes a dark red, light ruby, almost slightly purple coloured brew; cloudy and robust. To call it "dark brown" would be a discredit. Dark tangerine perhaps, but suffice it to say there are a great deal of different shades in the beer. The head was not overflowingingly massive, but just right. Dark cream/coffee colour, intensely creamy with slow moving screen lacing. In the aroma I first detect must, dark mouldy yeast qualities, which is not unpleasant. Next I smelt the dark malty sweetness, a warm alcohol note, and spicy fruit, nuts. There are strong grape juice aromas, and I definitely smell sharp aged cheese, which is singular. Sweet candy, with some sour/acidic smells too. The sweetness is not cloying, but complements the dry musky yeast expertly. The taste is quite unique, with dark malt sweetness and fruity yeast. Sugary sweet liquidy fruits, dry yeast finish, smooth syrupy on the middle. Prunes, overripe peaches or tangerines, and some caramel, bready cereals, toasted flavours, and saltiness. The lees tasted separately give all the same flavours except the potency is doublefold, and it looks as thick as melted caramel. Mouthfeel is full, lingering, syrupy, dry, with medium carbonation. High alcohol, extremely sweet mouthfeel followed by high dryness does not render this extremely drinkable. Perfect for an occasional indulgence, though.

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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 mickeymac
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750 ml bottle with an interesting-looking snail-elf on the label, it pours a slightly hazy brownish-red. The head is thick and full of little bubbles, leaving little spots all around the glass. It smell of dark, ripe fruit with the musty smell characteristic of many Belgians. The taste is raisin and ripe grapes at the start but continues to develop as it sits a while. It's a bit like drinking a goblet full of thick sugar water but somehow it manages to avoid being cloyingly sweet. Just a bit of hop bitterness keeps things nicely in check. In short, the taste is pretty remarkable. The alcohol, while warming, is almost absent in the smell and taste, making it dangerously drinkable. Very nice stuff.

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Photo of cbl2
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Opaque brown with a monster head on it.


Mainly pear, the canned variety in syrup.


This one screams belgian ale. It is bursting with carbonation and sweetness on the tongue that barely masks a powerful taste of alcohol. Not overly complex, this one reminds me of many other belgian brews that have come before it. A good beer, but nothing worth rushing out and experiencing.

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Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful brown with red highlights nice full beige head that settles to nice cap of little bubbles. Smells of dark fruit plums, figs with some spice. Tastes sweet molasses presence of rum soaked fruitcake then the alcohol kicks in and warms the belly. Brew has good mouthfeel carbonation makes it seem little lighter then it is. Drinkability is good would be a good beer for winter to warm your insides. Not the best of this style, would probably be better if alcohol was more subdued so other flavors would come out more.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from a corked magnum with a serious POP launching from the bottle when that cork was let out. This brew has highly active carbonation – it’s practically boiling! It forms a soft beige head of one finger in depth and releases a peppery fragrance with delicate earthen malts. It is orange-cinnamon color with a tight, spicy flavor profile. The flavor is crisp and punctual with an abrupt finish.

This is a luxurious treat. The taste is slightly tart with some alcohol presence. Everything about it is ultimately relaxing, exotic, pleasant. The bottle tends to drip a bit. But what the heck. So do I.

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Photo of putnam
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, brilliant brown color... a soup scum of beige on top.
While pouring, it realeased very spicy brown sugar and molasses aromas. With a nose in the bowl it offers a broad base of muffin, cocoa, milk and roasted sasafras root elements. On the palate can be found a boozy eruption of sweet Asian spices, yams, raw walnuts and new leather. The texture is supported by vigorous mousse rather than glycerin. Minimal bitterness on the medium-length finish allows alcohol fumes reminiscent of solera brandy to keep rising. These are punctuated with notes of savory and sweet spices - think Tunisian hearth smells.

Overall a very clean, well executed bottled beer. I shouldn't have worried.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
2.91/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I have read a number of very good reviews about this beer, but once I tried it, I could not understand them. This beer may have some interesting things going on in it, but the alcohol was so overpowering (both on the palate and in the effects it had on me) that I could not enjoy it. I've had stronger ABV beers where you barely notice the alcohol; in this brew it was all I could notice. I split the 750 into two sessions and tasted on two different days to make sure it wasn't bad biorythems or something. Maybe it was a bad bottle. Having said all that, it was a medium brown (translucent- almost thin looking) with a small head that quickly vanished. Aroma had alcohol, malt, sweetness, vanilla (?) and slight yeast. Flavor was alcohol, alcohol, and alcohol. Hidden behind was some malt, soft bread, nutty tones and perhaps a bit of bite from hops. Drinkability- I could barely finish either glass in two sessions because of the alcohol.

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Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle pours a cloudy, orange tinted brown body with a minimal, beige head that quickly drops into some attractive, sheet lacing.

Aroma is complex, with molasses and brown sugar fronting some bigtime maltiness. Quite spicy, with cloves, nutmeg, and cinamon.

Mouthfeel features a Belgianesque, explosion of carbonation, like a Pez candy tablet that melts on your tongue.

Taste is spiced caramel malt, burnt candy sugar, and an assertive alcohol presence of rum soaked raisins and figs. Some chocolate malt character comes on midway through. The alcohol maltiness is harsh, at times, and hurts drinkability.

This is a big, malty, strong dark ale with a lot of spicy character. The alcohol is in your face most of the way, but there are enough complexities in the spice and malt to make it an afterthought. Very warming, overall, but not my favorite for the style.

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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 GreenWBush
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

For one reason or another this is a damned hard beer to find. When I stumbled upon it at Trader Joes I was delighted and was basically prepared to part with whatever to get it. When the bottle rang up at a jaw-droppingly low $5.59 I was totally shocked.

Nostradamus' myopic liquid enlightenment pours into the tanker with a durned mighty powerful head. A cascade of frothy honeycombed whipped white froth creates a slight patchy lace. Like staring into a mystically charming fire this beer sits regally in suspension a glowing earthy dirty brown.

The nose is marked by slightly vinegary alcohol notes. Cane sugar and roasty caramel are huge on the nose as well with a nice hoppy undercurrent biting through the strength of the nose.

The taste is beautifully balanced. The uncharacteristic-to-style bitterness matches the sweetly pine-needle tastes of the malt. In this way, the beer is very refreshing for style, pierced by a level of high carbonation. The mouthfeel is medium and rather astringent - the heavy pricks of carbonation match with the bitterness to create one of the most imbibable dark ales around.

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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 86MonteSS
4.88/5  rDev +20.2%
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 Gueuzedude
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very well carbonated. Pours a lightly hazy garnet-amber color. The head is a light brown and quite thick. Aromas of raisins, apples, plum, candied fruit, bit of tropical fruit, and malt. Predominantly sweet and quite carbonated. Finishes with a yeasty astringent bite and a tannic edge that helps to balance the sweetness. The alcohol is just evident in the finish as well. This is quite a fruity beer, the sweetness definitely picks up this perception. There is a bit of a acidic sourness in the finish that really sets off this beer, I wish that it were even more sour (but I am off like that). This is pretty straight forward, with nice fruity notes being dominant. As it warms up the fruitiness combined with the sourness gives me notes of cherries. This is quite a tasty beer, at first I thought it was not as good as the others from Caracole, but this one is growing on me and I definitely like it.

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Photo of woemad
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz Bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $3.57. Label had a snail-version of Nostradamus (huh?) surfing through the cosmos on what appears to be a page of his own writing. Not sure what the hell's going on with the snail bit.

Poured a color somewhere between a glass of iced tea and a cloudy dark brown. Medium-sized tan head which dropped quickly. There' wasn't too much lace, probably the least I've ever seen from a Belgian ale.

Smell was mostly brown-sugarish maltiness, with more spiciness than most dark Belgian ales I have encountered. Reminds me a little of Maudite.

Taste began with the maltiness, which reminded me of brown sugar. This is then replaced by a moderately sharp spiciness. Not as spicy as a Maudite, but similar. I had always assumed Maudite was an original idea by the brewers at Unibroue. Now I have to wonder, which came first - Maudite or Nostradamus?

Mouthfeel was ok, I thought there should have been a little more carbonation. Perhaps that's why the head and lacing was relatively anemic for a Belgian.

This is a nice Belgian dark ale that is spicier than most Belgian darks I have had. I would say it's quite drinkable if you aren't put off by spiciness (I love Indian food, so it's not really a problem for me). It went down rather easy for something the label declares is 9.5%abv.

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

Apprearance is a brownish-grape with a light tan 2-finger head. The aroma is made up of sweet raisons, slightly musty yeast, and a warming alcohol. The taste repeats the aroma only the raisons come out screaming but are very balanced with the light alcohol and faint hops to create a nice harmony. This is a medium bodied brew and finishes sticky sweet. Very nice! Op uw gezonheid!

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish color with hints of orange. Aggressive carbonation with a fluffy tan head and slippery lace. The smell is malty with fruity esters, caramel and a grassy background. The taste is malty sweet with a spicy finish and a lingering hop presence. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a complex mix of spices.

IMHO: Many of the Belgian Dark Ales have a strong presence of spices and hop finish that can overwhelm the balance of tastes. This beer does a does a better job than most by expanding the spectrum of flavors and maintaining a balance.

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Photo of StevieW
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Small 11.2 oz Euro bottle bought at Roy's in Ft. Pierce, FL. Yea things are getting a little better down here.
Nice ruby tinged dark brown color. Bubbly thick light tan head. Traditional earthy Belgian brown aromas. Yeasty, with hints of cinnamon, and caramels. Taste is right along the same blend of flavors. Lots of sweet sugary toasted caramels, hints of cinnamon, earthy belgian undertones. As the beer sits, alcohol thins the body a bit, and becomes more noticable at 9.5 %. Lots of sweet candy flavors throughout. Medium to light bodied, very drinkable. Avery good Belgian Brown ale.

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Photo of Imbiber
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle purchased from American Beer Distributors, Brooklyn.

Dark reddish-brown in colour, moderate off-white to tan head. Aroma very impressive, strong vinous sensasions; a bit like sugary dried fruit pies cooking in the open, but with hops too. Smooth on the tongue, quite malty and rich with a bit of diacetyl - which I don't mind. Sweetness lingers on the tongue for a while to give a smooth aftertaste; this is very dangerously drinkable and doesn't easily give away that it is as strong as 9.5% ABV (unless you read the label, that is!). A nice coating of yeast on the bottom of the bottle tells me there's nothing 'unreal' about this one...

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Photo of Brent
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great label art with a children's book-like snail theme. Caged and corked, and the cork fairly leaped from the bottle as soon as I started to remove it. I noted an interesting hops vine design on the cork. Aggressively carbonated, with a tight, soda-fizzy head and lots of bubble streamers up the glass. Poured a medium cola brown.

My overall impression of the beer was that it just needed something more in any category to be noteworthy. Not sweet, and perhaps just a bit more fruit sweetness would have added some dimension. Not a great deal of bittering, nor significant yeasty phenols. As the beer warmed, a little caramel malt was present, but, again, not enough to make much of a statement. Really quite average in every department. I suppose the bottle art lead me to expect some creativity, and I was let down.

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Photo of Morris729
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chestnut color with a tall and foamy light tan head that slowly fades into a thick sheet of lace. Nose is rather complex with aromas of rum-soaked raisins, fig preserves, and some faint musty undertones. Fairly full-bodied and a bit syrupy in texture. Taste begins on the sweet side with notes of brown sugar and sweetened raisins leading to a bready and yeasty flavor. A mild spiciness follows along with notes of caramel and a bit of brandy that rounds out the finish. Thoroughly enjoyable brew here with a sweetness that becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. Some interesting pairings with many desserts could be done with this beer.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served slightly chilled in a goblet-like vessel.

Appearance: Murky ruby-esque brown topped by a smallish white head that quickly dissipates to a ring of bubbles at the perimeter of the glass. No lacing was left.

Smell: Predominant smell of sour cherries. Bits of woodsy goodness lurked in the background (read: barrel).

Taste: Big smack of Luden's cherry cough drop flavor that gives way to Belgian candi sugars and maltiness. Peppery hops and oaky notes on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body. Decent carbonation made this a palate cleanser.

Drinkability: Relatively drinkable. A good mix of a kriek and an oud bruin, if you ask me. Best paired with desserts (I'm thinking cheesecake) and not the burger I had.

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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 898 ratings.
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