Brasserie d’Achouffe is a brewery located in the Ardennes region of Belgium and produces N’Ice Chouffe as thier winter seasonal beer brewed with thyme and curaçao. This brewery was founded in 1982 and produces wonderful Belgian beers including La Chouffe, a Belgian blonde ale, and Houblon Chouffe, an excellent Belgian IPA. This brewery also has a very distictive gnome-theme for their brewery and beers.
The brewery describes N’Ice Chouffe as follows:
The N’ICE CHOUFFE is a strong dark beer that will warm you up during the winter months. It is spiced (with thyme and curaçao) and a light hop taste, a well-balanced beer. The N’ICE CHOUFFE is unfiltered, and re-fermented in the bottle as well as in the keg.
Date Reviewed. January 8, 2010.
Where I Found It. Draeger’s in San Mateo, CA.
Serving Type. 750ml bottle to a tulip glass.
Appearance. N’Ice Chouffe has a dark reddish brown or oak color and is quite cloudy. The head is a creamy a-little-darker-than-buttermilk color and has tiny bubbles but does not last long. However, the effervescence causes some foamy bubble to always be on the top of the beer.
Smell. When I opened the bottle, my first thought was champagne like a champagne-yeast smell. It has notes of wine grape dry fruitiness coupled with a sweet candy sugar and malt aroma. It has a slightly herbal aroma, I want to say thyme but it’s not terribly strong. It contains a little banana and not much cloves with a hint of sourness. At 10% abv it smells a little boozy.
Taste. N’Ice Chouffe has a slight sourness contrasted by the sweetness of the malt. It is more sweet than bitter meaning not too much bitterness from the hops. It has a bit of a taste of cola nut, dried fruit (like dates or prunes), a subtle fresh herbal flavor like thyme or oregano, and a hint citrus in the foam like orange peel. It has a spicy cloves taste too.
Mouthfeel. This is a full bodied beer with plenty of natural effervescence. The tiny bubbles from the natural carbonation give a slightly creamy or smooth texture. It is quite nice.
Drinkability. At 10% alcohol by volume this is a sipping beer but a sipping beer that you can enjoy throughout the night.
Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.
- Appearance (20%): 3.5
- Smell (20%): 4.0
- Taste (40%): 4.5
- Mouthfeel (10%): 4.5
- Drinkability (10%): 4.0
- Overall: 4.15
- Style: Belgian dark strong ale
- Brewery: Brasserie d’Achouffe
- Alcohol by volume: 10%
- Other ingredients: thyme and curaçao
- Beer Advocate rating: 4.07 (as of May 10, 2010)
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