Vapeur Cochonne | Brasserie à Vapeur

137 Reviews
Vapeur CochonneVapeur Cochonne

Brewed by:
Brasserie à Vapeur

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-27-2002

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Reviews: 137 | Ratings: 202
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An interesting tasting beer to throw your friends off. Mix it up with others. In a spicy meal you can share a bottle. Not sure it would hold up by itself. ALcohol and carbonation there and a bunch of spices and tastes on the tongue that seemed like spiced rum. Bottle's wild picture makes you contemplate your life.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a murky dark honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with malt, vinegar, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and sour fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity 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 with a nice sour presence that works with the beer whether intended or not by the brewer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.31/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

weird brew here, this from 1996 it says. thats pretty old for what this is, and it pours real flat, maybe as a result of its age. apple juice color with some yeast sediment and no head at all, just some quickly bursting white bubbles, then no activity at all. the nose is like cider vinegar, its got that orchard fruitiness on the front end, and moves into a lactic tartness that may be an infection, not sure this was ever supposed to be a wild type ale, but it is now. the flavor follows the nose, moving from fruity and stale cereal grain beginnings to an acidic tartness in the finish with the yeast lasting quite awhile on the tongue. sharp acidity is exacerbated by the alcohol, which comes out when this warms up just a bit. a very strange mix of flavors here, it may just be well past its prime at this age, but for me it was a miss.

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Photo of Knapp85
1.98/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Perhaps I had a bad bottle of this brew but I was not into this one at all. Color, Mouthfeel and Aromas were fine. The flavors were just undrinkable for me. I really don't know why I found this brew to be so gross. After having half the bottle I had to send this one down the drain. Not a pleasant site I know...

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.19/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I really hope that I received a bad bottle of this brew... because this was godawful. The rust colored beer poured without a hint of head retention, lacking in carbonation, and simply appeared lifeless. The aromas did not fare better; a pungent vinegar aroma dominated the red-wine character and disregarded any malt sweetness and artisan ale influence. Flavors resulted in much the same: sour and dirty. No real detection of the spices that were noted on the bottle, nor any variety, complexity, or balance. The body was watery, acidic, and astringent; nearly undrinkable. The beer was a near disaster throughout; I'm interested in revisiting this brew and updating this review. Potential buyers, beware of old / contaminated bottles.

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Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber-colored, not particularly light or dark, and mostly opaque. The first pour creates a fizzy, champagne-like head. Subsequent pours produce more of a standard oversized Belgian head.

Smell: Initially it's pretty earthy with a mustiness that reminds me of gueuze or lambic. Aromas of dried fruit are present as well, namely dried peach.

Taste: Simultaneously sweet and sour, but not in an over-the-top way; it's a fairly subtle beer. Apple cider and mead both come to mind. Spices are noticeable but I can't pin down specific flavors - it's pretty unusual. The finish is a touch dry and slightly metallic, with a mild herbal bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light-bodied with a sharp champagne-like fizz on the tongue.

Notes - An unusual beer, not one I'd revisit any time soon.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.06/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of sweet malt with some funky notes which don't balance well with the malt. Taste is also dominated by some nice medium sweet Belgian malt notes with a weird funky finish which I can't say for sure that I really enjoy. Full body with limited filtration and some great carbonation. Interesting but not sure I would go for this very often.

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Photo of zeff80
2.64/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured out a somewhat hazy, copper color with a tan , foamy, bubbly head. It left some nice lacing.

S - Simply put, it smelled like Heineken. It was a little skunky and smelled like a Euro Lager. Not good for a Belgian.

T - It tasted bitter and grainy. Not at all like a Belgian ale. Not very good at all.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - From other reviews, it looks like they have quality issues and this must have been one of the bad ones.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 12/31/2014 at Doherty’s Ale House in Warwick, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep coppery red color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains tart fruit, caramelized malts and touches of chocolate and spice.

T: The taste starts with a quick burst of sourness and then some flavors of tart fruit and caramel come in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly tart.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty with good complexity, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good variation of style, this is solid beer to drink for while.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.7/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours considerably murky with a dingy brownish orange color. If a beer could look gloomy and depressed, this would be it. Essentially no carbonation; you could count the bubbles it produced on one hand.

Smell: Markedly funky fruitiness, with green apples, pears, and yeast. A little sherrylike, all glossed over with a pronounced vinegary aroma.

Taste: Grapes, sour apples, and pears usher in a brief, vague sweetness, followed by a spicy, puckering tartness. Seems overly acidic.

Mouthfeel: Flat and syrupy, though unmistakably mealy, like a bad grocery store apple.

Drinkability: Sadly, it never really excels in any particular category. The flavor of this beer mocks me. The mouthfeel mocks me. Both hurt. For me, it failed, and I wouldn't recommend it.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Massive, intensely fizzy, cracklin' loud cap of foam. Rice Crispies in milk bow to the noise currently emanating from my glass. The hugely stiff, blown styrofoam-like head is falling quickly (how could it not, given the deafening roar of bursting bubbles) and leaves no lace. The initial pour is as bright tangerine as any IPA from the U.S. left coast and the final pour is indistinguishable from fresh, sweet apple cider. Ultimately, the aural sex is over and I'm left looking at a spotty, spent film on the surface of the beer.

The nose is butterscotch fruity and smells like golden raisins swollen with dark rum. Alcohol is front and center, but is so completely integrated into the flavor of the beer that is doesn't bother me at all.

Cochonnette reminds me of a sweet dessert wine, some variety of port perhaps, with notes of dried fruit soaked in honey liqueur, an appetizing sourness and an oakiness that gives it a stately character. Candied orange peel completes the picture; hints of Grand Marnier. The syrupy slick mouthfeel is perfect for the flavor that it carries. Sip and savor.

I didn't expect to like Vapeur Cochonnette nearly this much. I have yet to cultivate a love affair with Belgian beer, but perhaps I just haven't had the right one. I have no illusions that this is among the elite, but so what. I like it and that's all that matters.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this bottle at Ebenezer's Pub in Maine- poured from the 750ml into a snifter - this bottle was the '96 vintage

A - A slight caramel ruddy amber w/ no head at all except there is some evidence of lace on the glass.

S - The smell has vanill oak notes and a cherry-like aroma similar to a baked tart w/ mild currant and subtle toast notes w/ sugary odor and floral yeast esters

M - The feel is tart and juicy w/ mild acidity and light spice w/ slight sweetness, very mildly carbonated and subtle drying in the finish

T - A creamy taste w/ cherry juice and subtle pine w/ mild vanilla and toasted oak notes. The taste is bready like grandma's homemade pie crust w/ slightly sour cherry flavor and gentle lemony accent w/ a moderately tannic dry finish

D - The beer is slightly oxidized but drinks well - a tasty treat from Chris and our friends at Ebenezer's Pub who shared graciously. The drinkability is great now I need to get a bottle of Supplication since it is the supposed nearest thing

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Photo of Jason
4.04/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz slender Euro style bottle with no freshness date, this is no problem for this brew being that it is at 9.0% abv and bottle conditioned.

Appearance: Lots of foam for the initial pouring, sadly it drops down to a ring of lace. Chunks of yeast stay whole a in suspension within a semi-clear reddish amber.

Smell: Solvent alcohol, tropical fruit punch, citric peel, musty powdery yeast and a vague sugary malty sweetness make up the complex and inviting aroma.

Taste: Slick mouth feel with an apparent medium body. Big viscous carbonation that slowly flows through the mouth. Solvent and fusel alcohols dance on the taste buds with a never ending and ever warming spiciness. Fruity is not even the word to use, tropical punch with a ripeness that you would never think would be in a beer is more like it. Musty powdery yeast with hints of coriander. An earthy bitterness comes out of nowhere, obviously from the roasted chicory. Hints of a rum and triple sec mixed drink from the fruitiness and raw sugar like flavour hits hard with a spicy phenolic surprise in the finish.

Notes: An in your face Belgian beer, it wakes up the taste buds shakes them a couple of times and then does it over and over again. This brew is all over the place but in a great way.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a hazy copper color with a thin layer of off-white foam.

S: Very sweet on the nose with caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch. There's a strange aroma of tart fruits, too, like raisins, green apple, grapes, and cherries.

T: The flavor is almost a mirror image of the aroma. The tart fruit character is perhaps a little more intense, and (at the very least) provides a counterpoint to the rich butterscotch and caramel flavor.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation.

D: The combination of intense sweetness and tartness was not at all what I was expecting. This was a really interesting beer, if nothing else.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.11/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To say that this bottle was ancient would be putting it mildly. It predates my move to my "new" house over two years ago.

As such, I was very gentle in my initial pour, so as not to disturb any dormant sediment and I got no head as a result. Color was a deep copper with only hints of carbonation, making it seem more like liquor than beer. Nose was rich with a molasses scent - slightly bitter, slightly smoky, slightly licorice. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, so the cap had done its job after all that time, really retaining the carbonation. I got an initial heat, followed by a very molasses-like flavor on the tongue. Finish was still hot and left me almost breathless. I would imagine that this must be quite the item when consumed fresh. I am also sure that its brewer, my inspiration for wearing an apron, Jean-Louis Dits, would not mind that I waited this long to open my bottle.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.07/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Murky brown body, thin carbonation on top. Brown soot on the bottom, swilled and poured.

S - Tangy, fruity esters, aromas of apple butter and fig newtons. Carmel mineral water.

T - Good complexity with flavors of apple skin, wild cherry, honey, apple butter and dry wood. A certain mineral twang, sweet, tangy and metallic.

M - Fizzy carbonation, medium body, clean the whole way through.

O - A wonderful beer; complex yet clean, fruity and refreshing.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I like the label on this one. Piggie's got a clean bottom, don't he?
Murky, deep amber, little floaties dotting the landscape, under a fine, pudding-y head that softly drifts down from an impressive several inches thick at first pour.
Funky and sour in the nose, with bright fruit to complement, a lemon/peach tango. Spices are prevalent, and oddness prevails.
Taste: ooo! The weirdness continues. Starts fierce, then fades with all those flavors found in the nose at play on the palate. Dark fruit, citric, and spices, but they take a powder a bit too quickly, and do very little in the mouth.
Medium bodied, with a fruity, but brief finish.
This is a nice, tasty brew, but very quirky. I feel as if I got a "good bottle" when I see some of the other reviews here, but hey, you get lucky some times...or you?

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Photo of GClarkage
2.47/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

07/13/05- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA

Presentation- 750ml bottle, caged and corked. No expiration date listed. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky spoiled peach color, the smallest of head and minimal lacing.

Smell- Smells lifeless. Maybe some peaches and other fruits hanging on, but not much else.

Taste- Sour to the point of almost a red flanders. Maybe a little bit of sweetness as well from the fruity aspects.

Mouthfeel- Hardly any carbonation. Lifeless and somewhat watery.

Drinkability- Hands down the worst belgian I have had the pleasure of having so far. I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing. Glad I was able to share this with someone rather than drinking the whole thing myself.

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Photo of Tone
3.35/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and poor lacing. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, tart acidity, slight roasted malt, slight caramel, and a hint of syrup. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable tartness. Tastes of sweet malt, slight tart malt, slight acidity, hint of caramel, hint of syrup, hint of hop, and a hint of roasted malt. Overall, the tartness and acidity are slightly off-putting. The spice is hard to discern. An okay beer, but I wouldn't recommend.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a orangish amber in color with yellow highlights and had a thin head leaving a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: the aroma was very fruity cinsisting of dark fruits, apples, pear, and citrus alogsinde some tart notes but with weird butterscotch notes.

T: the flavor had more sweetness than the nose presented which I'm guessing are from the caramel malts with apple, dark fruit, tart, candi sugar accents and a touch of spice.

M: the brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, and tart finish.

D: it was drinking really good and was pretty damn tasty. good lookin out bryan for crackin this brew.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: whoa nelly! Despite being properly refrigerated and gingerly handled, this beer started outgassing and exploding immediately upon opening. Definitely one of the fizziest beers I've encountered. Upon pouring, I got mostly a big, frothy foam; inconvenient, but at least it dissipated somewhat quickly. Body is a hazy, medium-dark brown. Good color, but despite its huge original size, the head neither stuck around nor left much of a lace on the glass.

Smell: sweet caramel malt with a hint of fruitiness and a tart bite. I don't know if this is a bottle infection or an intended aspect of the beer, but I find I like it. It reminds me of a nice Flanders oud bruin.

Taste: dark caramel malt with dark fruit flavors: plum, cherry, raisin. The tartness is here but it's much, much more subdued than the aroma; plus, there is a definite alcohol bite. This beer is a bit of an odd duck, but I find I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, but despite its prolific outgassing this beer has a massive carbonation and fluffs up to a light foam the moment it hits my tongue. Despite this mammoth creaminess, it's also both quite light and evanescent, which makes the creaminess not as satisfying as it could be.

Overall: a weird beer that is pretty decent. It's worth a try if you are a fan of the style, but it's probably not a good introductory point for those interested in BSDAs.

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Photo of biegaman
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In short, I didnt like it. Firstly (though last in relevance) I dont like this brewery and their odd labels, plain odd. Never been impressed with its beer, but of course, approach with an open mind...
To be more integral, the beer put forth a pleasant aroma, but with little complexity. Body was flat with a slight sharpness in the taste. Past that very little flavour development and the beer only got worse as it warmed. Generally off-putting, slightly displeasing and not overly quaffable. I wouldn't reccommend bothering. It's beers like this that make me question Belgium's reputation as best beer country. Then again, what country doesnt have its blemishes... (*cough Molsons...shiver* Canadian)

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Photo of Gueuzedude
2.68/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color, it is pretty clear except for the large floaties that have stirred up from the bottom of the bottle. Pours with a wispy off-white head that does not stick around for very long. There is not much in the way of aroma here, a bit of sourness, some cider character, and a bit of alcohol is all I can pick up. The taste is lightly sweet, and quite thin as well. I get a weak cidery flavor, this is definitely a big disappointment. There is nothing wrong with this beer per se, but it is just weak and lame.

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Photo of Zorro
3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled through the efforts of 120/190 BIF and lostbearbrew.

After the pour the beer in the glass is hazy and reddish brown most similar to iced tea. Very little head formation or retention here.

Smell is spicy and fruity with a very nice aroma of brown sugar. Strong spicy aroma with brown sugar, cinnamon and black pepper the strongest. Strong figs and plums aroma with some apple on the edges.

Taste is semi dry in sweetness. Milder in flavor than smell very light on the brown sugar and spice kind of a let down from the delicious smell. Barely above average in flavor and that is a shame this smells like heaven.

Mouthfeel is good.

This is a beer that could really be outstanding if they could just get the smell to translate into the flavor. Worth a try I guess but there are better examples of the style out there.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.04/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with NO head, there are chunky bits on the bottom. Hazy, murky off-color amber. No carbonation and medium bodied. Sour raisin nose, starts and finishes with the sour raisins some hops in the background, some sour bitterness in the aftertaste. High ABV is not noticeable. $3.65 for a 330ml bottle from Blanchard's Allston, Ma.

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Vapeur Cochonne from Brasserie à Vapeur
3.4 out of 5 based on 202 ratings.
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