Thursday, December 12, 2013

N'Ice Chouffe (2013 re-review)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1021) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 12, 2013
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into the official Brasserie D’Achouffe tulip glass. It had a best before date of 6/2016 and cost $7 ($0.63 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful maroon/blood red hue. Dark, but clear with plenty of effervescence visible. Pours to an average size, ivory, soapy head which mostly dissipates but leave a little lacing.

Smell: Standard Belgian yeast esters with aromas of flowers and spices. No alcohol, though.

Taste: When I think of the taste of a classic Belgian Christmas or winter-style beer, the palette to N’Ice Chouffe is exactly what I have in mind. This is a fairly typical Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but with just a bit of added spices to make it suitable for the holidays. The taste is similar to a well done Trappist quad, but not as overtly malty. A tasty and complex concoction of dark fruits (cherry, plum), dried fruits (figs, raisins) and warming spices (thyme and curaçao). The familiar Belgian yeast character is also a major component, imparting some powder or dough-like flavor, along with its usual cinnamon-like zestiness. There’s hints of caramel sweetness, too, which is an added bonus.

Drinkability: Despite the cute label with gnomes, N’Ice Chouffe is a little intimidating considering it is 10% ABV. Yet, that alcohol is not present in the nose, palette, or body. In fact, the mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for such a weighty beer. It’s extremely bubbly from first to last drop with plenty of fizziness across the tongue. It’s a tad surprising the body isn’t more robust than it is, but drinking a beer this strong that doesn’t feel this strong is always a good thing.