Friday, October 11, 2013

McChouffe

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (987) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 11, 2013
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into an official Brasserie d’Achouffe tulip glass. It had a best before date of 1/2016 and cost $5.99 ($0.53 per ounce).

Appearance: Brown proper color, opaque. Some carbonation visible at the edges. Pours to an average sized, off-white, soapy head which doesn’t completely dissipate and leaves trace lacing on the glass.

Smell: No distinctive aromas, but has a familiar Belgian scent. Light and sweet.

Taste: The label to McChouffe describes it as an "Artisanal Belgian Brown Ale," though the label description makes mention of Scotch influences. However, the beer itself doesn’t really have much in common with those British Isle styles. It’s not quite a standard Belgian strong dark ale, either. So what is it, exactly? And does it even matter? I’d say no. The best description would be that of a sweet, well-balanced, non-cloying Belgian brew.

The palette begins on a lightly sweet note. It reminds me of cola or root beer but without any spiciness or cloying sweetness. There’s some classic Belgian yeast esters in the nose and flavor in the body. Hints of vanilla or caramel, though I wouldn’t describe it as confectionery-like. Only mild bitterness on the backend, though the Belgian character becomes even stronger as it finishes. Alcohol is both subtle and supple, adding a minor warmth and balancing out the sweetness. Not quite sweet enough to be a dessert beer, but too robust and complex to session.

Drinkability: When I see a Belgian beer with an ABV of 8% I tend to brace myself, though in the case of McChouffe, it really wasn’t necessary. The mouthfeel is light and crisp with no sticky or drying aftertaste. It’s easy to drink in bigger gulps - there’s no reason to sip this. 
Grade: 8/10