Brasserie Caracole

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Belgian Blonde Ale
Ranked #5
Ranked #11,255
3.93 | pDev: 11.45%
Brasserie Caracole
Very Good
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Reviews: 235 | Ratings: 420 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Libeertarian
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes taken 07/31/17:

Opaque, extremely murky, metallic dull golden amber or orange. Creamy-white heads fizzy at first but settling to a well-retaining mass of light, rocky bubbles. Smells metallic and yeasty, an almost fruity tartness, a little vinegar and burnt rubber like in a sour. Palate is much more medicinal and mentholated, but fairly sweet, somewhere between vinous and pea-like, and lemony-tart enough to be quite refreshing at the 45°-50° it is being served at. Perhaps I was just thirsty, but I am guzzling it at the moment. Better leave a little to complete my review with! Light-bodied, perhaps medium, with a moderately active and soft effervescence, but a lot of it, matching with the level of fizziness in appearance. Velvety and gulpable. Both somewhat acidic and astringent, slightly warming.

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Photo of REDAMI
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

L - Hazy, pale gold pour thin white head. Visible yeast.

S - Tart, bretty smells, sharp citrus, faint grains.

T - Grassy bitterness, sweet apricot, light grain, honey in the finish.

F - Very dry, with creamy carbonation.

A pleasant, slightly sweet tasting blonde. Nicely complex without being overwhelming. Though the smell is quite deceptive.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is fine. It is certainly worth the experience--but I left a bit wanting... Its simply missing that special something. There is nothing really distinct about this golden ale. Its a bit harmless and safe. The carbonation is average which makes the finish a little dull. And you'll get the usual fruity notes of a beer this style. I'd give the bottle artwork a 5/5, but otherwise, I've had many better in this style.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review of on tap, 8/2017:
In the glass, this has a medium haze. A dull dirty golden orange, the just off-white head is enticing.

Nose is sweet preachers fruit, im getting mg more sweet pear than neutral apple. There's some extra sweetness as well that is slightly syrupy in nature. An herbal accent is there as well - can't place it - along with a slight impression of something like earthy cinnamon or dull ginger.

Taste is thankfully not syrupy, though midway through there is a brief fruit cocktail juice taste. The opening is mildly dry and earthy, the pear and apple seeming to lack their unique fruity sweetness. As stated, these flavors grow into a fruit cocktail by mid taste. Herbal hops stay at bay as accents through the end, where they linger just a little, along with a little sweetness and a tingly feel.

An interesting beer, tasty with a decent complexity. It pushes the boundaries on the sweet side, but only for one part of the taste.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/30/2014. Pours slightly hazy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, light pepper, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and compelxity of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and moderate bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, light pepper, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Light herbal bitterness/yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, light pepper, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and moderate bready malt flavors; with a nice malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from bitter/spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and lightly grainy/creamy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian strong pale ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and moderate bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This is the 2nd of the 4-pack. So, I am getting to appreciate this more... as often happens with me as I grow to discern those brewers who spend a lot of time on their yeast... as Caracole does.

Saxo Looks great, even among the stiff competition of Belgian blondes; billowy head that recedes so I can drink.
Smells like a master at work. Fruit like this does not come from an average yeast.
Taste has what seems like Caracole's unique touch. Full, complex and fruity and balanced.
Feel is right, not too carbonated, but does have lingering spices that are not as yum-yum as the rest of the beer. But goes well with herby foods... of which I've had a smorgasbord of by now.

Caracole to me is becoming one of the more interesting brewers that are distinctly Walloonian and huddled in the Ardennes, a place that seems to breed interesting brewers because it is a transition from France to the Germanic north.

MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium" gave a long review (for him) "a Duvel-like beer with a deductively fresh fruitiness reminiscent of bananas and cherries in cream; smoothly seductive but penetrating and strong (8.0 vol)" and then goes on to talk about the ingredients for a while.

2/27/17 Had on tap at The Map Room, my neighborhood craft beer bar that I go to, amazingly, every other year. They served Saxo too cold for me and I didn't have time to let it warm up. Still good, but the bottle fermentation is a better way for me to drink it.

4/18/18 Found another 4-pack (dusty bottles, too, at Binny's.) C'mon guys. You're either missing something or Caracole's yeast has put a hex on me... or both..... Just to test this theory, I think I will have Saxo side-by-side with their amber at dinner.

6/18 finished me last of the Saxo and their amber 4 packs. I am going out right now to buy more... before too many find out about these treasures.

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Photo of stevoj
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Tres Bonne Cuisine. Deep golden body with soft white head. Light yeasty aroma hints at the flavor to come. Yeast, honey and sweet malt all taste elements. Fast finish with a hint of honey.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

on tap at the new wurstkuche sausage place on broadway downtown. neat little program they have running there. this beer looks a lot better than it is though, although to be fair, she had to change the keg halfway through pouring my beer, so some of these criticisms may be a product of that. it has a two inch snow white bright head on it, thick and lasting, really lovely sitting on top of a clear golden straw colored brew. looks fantastic in branded glassware. it smells good too, belgian yeast leading the way as expected, and its fruity like pears and perfume. the malt base is entirely inconsequential and uninteresting, but it doesnt matter. some hops to the taste, but the yeast is the star, a muted, reserved star, but to me it still shines brightly, it tastes really good. one would never know its as strong as it is, it drinks effortlessly. my only real issue with it is the carbonation, which looks like its there, i can see the bubbles releasing from the edges of the glass and bursting at the surface, but i cant feel any of that. its stillish on my palate, not dead and lifeless, but tired or lazy, and its unflattering to an otherwise very springy living beverage. still, i like the way it tastes, i like that its more hoppy than most belgian beer, and i like drinking beer out of the brewers glassware. worth trying for sure, and a cool companion to greasy meat, which is a poor way to describe the tasty food at wurstkuche

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Photo of babaracas
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear gold, fluffy white head, settles slowly leaving a few rings of lace on the glass. Smell: coriander, honey, pear, herbal, orange and peppery notes. Taste: pear, sweet apple and grape, coriander, biscuit, spicy and mildly grassy in the finish. This is pretty tasty. Best by 8/2015?

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Brewnbbq, thanks for the opportunity Jeff!
Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a huge bubbly white head that has moderate retention. aromas of light sugary malt with bits of honey. Tart berry and pomme fruits come through nicely as well as some yeasty earthy esters. The flavor holds what the aroma promised, but adds a touch of warming alcohol. Medium body, sparkly carbonation. Nice brew, thanks for sharing!

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%

On tap at Wurskuche in Downtown Los Angeles, CA.

Raul's not trippin, but he's not hatin'. Light Beligian yeasts, met by more simple flavors and textures like a 3rd grade spelling bee. Some fruit, some spice, a bit sweet like Shirley Temple shaking a cocktail... Not memorable in the least, but easy drinking for those easy drinkers.

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Photo of FLima
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hazy amber golden color with a two finger thick head with good retention.
Aroma of banana and pineapple, mint, Belgian yeast slightly funky, lemon, figs, honey and bread.
Refreshing and spicy flavor, notes of pineapples, Belgian yeast, pear, Cointreau liquor, apple puree, floral hops, coriander and a hint of champagne tartness. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Medium body with effervescent carbonation. Alcohol of 7.5% abv is well disguised.
As its sister, Caracole Ambree, it is a unique and interesting beer, though this one is heavily condimented. Nice brew.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden with an ample white head. Lots of carbonation rising.

Aroma of light fruits and light malts. Hard to get a hold of the aroma.

Taste is of spices, fruit, honey. Has some hints of over-ripe citrus, but in a good way.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite cleansing.

Overall, a pleasant beer that I would happily partake in another.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a light to medium golden amber with a fine two finger white head with great retention and thick lacing. Nice aroma of Belgian yeast, bready malt, light fruit juice; apple and stone fruit, cloves. Flavor is light apple and pear juice, clove, light citus and bready malt. Medium bodied with a suprising creaminess. Tastes almost subdued after the aroma, but the light fruit flavor and malt are so nicely melded that this is a delight to drink. Finishes with faint sweet malt and Belgian spicing. Very difficult to believe that this light mellow ale is 8%, the alcohol is completely covered.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Saxo has a very thick, foamy, white head, an initially clear, golden appearance, with tight bubble streams and some lacing. The beer clouds up once the bottom contents are swished and poured in. The aroma is of sweet, sugary malt, some fruit, like figs, and grain. Taste is of those elements, with candy sugar, grain husk, champagne, and some underlying alcohol. Bitterness is present across the sip, as well. Mouthfeel is medium and the bubbles are very prickly. Saxo finishes dry, sweet, and fairly refreshing. Overall, this is a most excellent beer.


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Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is crystal clear yellow in color. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down and left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of fruity yeast and pale malts are present in the nose along with some hints of white wine.
T: The taste follows the smell and also has notes of Belgian and fruity yeasts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thick on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Notes of dryness are perceptible.
O: This beer has a nice amount of dryness and complex flavors from the yeast.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.19/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured this Belgian Strong Pale Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured a hazy pale yellow color, produced a nice white head, nice retention and left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma consisted of citric lemons, semi-sweet pale malt and floral hops. Medium bodied, a foundation of pale malt, lemon citric hop bitterness and eastery yeast. Finishes dry. Overall, nice version of the style, aggressively hopped and full of malt backbone. Nice session beer.

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Photo of darky
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, poured into a Saxo tulip

A: Pours a golden honey-amber with a persistent thick white head and lively carbonation,

S: Not extremely fragrant on first impression. Slightly citrusy with some grapes mixed in at first, transitioning to fresh baked bread as it warms.

T: All the usual Belgian hallmarks of sour yeast, breads, grape/raisin along with a very sophisticated hop character and an almost nutty finish. The character of the yeast becomes more apparent as you go. Highly drinkable and very pleasant.

M: Possibly the weakest aspect of this beer. While not too thin, just nothing to get excited about here, but this is really just nitpicking.

O: This would be a fantastic first round in a Belgian tasting. This beer would set the stage beautifully to be followed by a dubbel, tripel...quad. This beer is like Belgians - 101. Overall, I really enjoyed this, and I think it's a really good value. If you've never tried it, there is no reason to hesitate.

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Photo of Brandywine
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy orange with two fingers of big bubbled white head.
Smell: apricot, dry white wine, green apples, hay, yeast, faint hint of coriander and spice.
Taste: bitter orange peel, lemon, green apple. Taste follows the nose. Lots of citrus and mild fruit with a layer of yeast.
Mouthfeel: medium with strong carbonation.
Overall: This is a solid Belgian strong pale ale across the board but nothing really special.

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Photo of bheilman
2.96/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smells sweet. Taste is good. Strong bite for such an easy flavor. A bit astringent. I like leffe a lot and this does not quite meet that because of the bitterness. Leffe is smoother. I do like the label of the beer and the brewery does seem to offer traditional Belgian styles. I will try some of there other beers.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a cloudy golden amber color with an enormous four finger fluffy head that lasts for two minutes and leaves behind amazing sheets and curtains of lacing on the inside of the glass. Light body and carbonation levels, just a touch sticky on the surface of the tongue.

Smells strongly of Belgian yeasty funk, green and black tea blends, blueberry compote, and a light lemon peel / mango combo. Tastes of funky Belgian yeast with a middling-sized dollop of spicy phenols over the top of a blend of light pear and apple esters with a certain raw cereal graininess and a very light minty hop garnish in the finish. It's pretty good, but the bottled version is not nearly as good as the hazy memory from a certain special night of revelry in which I had it fresh from the tap... sadly, I had forgotten to bring my notebook along that evening and I am left with naught but hazy and nostalgic glowing memories of a draft pour that this bottle did not quite live up to... Ah, memories...

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Photo of Rifugium
2.85/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

"Lemon, honey, and pear with a belgian yeast back…Wow" is what the beer menu promised. At $10 for a 10oz. pour, I requested a sample, and I'm glad I did, because this one did not deliver.

Slightly hazy golden-yellow pour with a thin ring of bubbles for a head. Muted aroma, toasted grains, light fruit esters. Taste was very bland and lifeless, very light, almost like a light lager, notes of mild yeast, pear and stone fruit, a hint of grass and tea-like hops. On the plus side, this beer sure went down easy, light-bodied, low carbonation, and a barely-noticeable 8%ABV. But the lack of any good flavor just made this a downer for me, and for the price, it just wasn't worth it at all.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a slightly murky yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, fruits, spices, and some perfume-like aromas. Taste is much the same with a slightly soapy flavor on the finish. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is pretty tasty but smells better in my opinion.

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Photo of KMcG
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A geyser!  I poured this from a 330 mL bottle and it was volatile. It rushed out of the bottle top, slowly oozing for about a minute.  I poured this into a small tulip shaped wine glass so only about half of the bottle would fit.  It is crystal clear straw yellow with a light active head about 1-2 fingers high. 

The aroma is full of lemon, honey and pear, and has Belgium yeast backing. 

The taste pretty much follows the nose, but there is a white bread quality that creeps in. When I first poured it, it was much brighter with citrus and honey, but as it aged, it mellowed. It has a slight bitterness from the hops that comes in on the finish.

The mouthfeel is big at first with lots of fine carbonation.  As it warmed, the carbonation decreased.  It's light o medium bodied and pretty dry. 

The alcohol is listed on the bottle as 7.5%.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Jacs (Madison). UnderwheIming. A nice flavor, to be sure. And refreshing on this hot summer afternoon. But although it resembles other Belgian pales with its Belgian yeast and round sweetness (like Atomium, Piraat, and Delirium Tremens), it doesn't measure up to others in character or distinction.

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Saxo from Brasserie Caracole
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 420 ratings