741: Chouffe N’ice

741 - Chouffe N'iceName: Chouffe N’ice
Brewery: Brasserie d’Achouffe
Country of Origin: Belgium
City & State: Achouffe
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 10.00%
First Brewed: 1998
Price: $7.00

Tasting Notes
A deep reddish-brown beer with a yellowy head and a slight detergent note on a fruit, nut, and herb aroma. The generous honey-sweet palate has subtle herbs, and there are more nuts with chewy fruit and burned sugar on a warming, sweetish finish.

Ricky’s Thoughts

This is our last beer from this brewery, and I actually found this a few months ago at Sun Devil Liquors. They had a cart full of random bottles, and this was on top. It was only $7 marked from from $9, so I grabbed it. I didn’t realize it was on the “list” until we got home. Score! Total Wine & More doesn’t carry this, so I am glad I found it. The beer sounds good, and tis the season for a big chewy high ABV beer. Of course, it was 80 degrees today! But hey… That is winter in the Valley of the Sun.

This beer uses thyme and orange peel, so I hope it doesn’t overwhelm me with spice. Oh, and this bottle is from 2007, which is fun. I am done talking. I am ready to drink. Happy holidays and cheers!

In the Glass: This is the lightest Belgian dark strong I have ever seen. But I could smell the sweetness as I was pouring it. This is the last Christmas beer we have in the fridge, and since Christmas is next week, I figured we would review it. It has been sitting in the fridge begging to be reviewed. Tis the season! I keep saying that… I am just ready for Maui. Oh, and this bottle is from 2007, which is cool. I am not even sure they distribute this beer here. The guys at Sun Devil always have random rare stuff on the shelf.

Nose: This beer is 10%, and smells like it. I am surprised that I am getting so much heat on the nose. This beer was bottled in 2006, so it has been sitting there conditioning for nearly 7 years. I figured it would mellow out a little. I bet this beer is wicked sweet, too. Which is fine. I had a big lunch and didn’t eat dinner, so I am find drinking my dessert. Speaking of lunch, big shout to my buddy Patrick. He took me to some new pizza place in downtown Phoenix. It was delicious!

Flavor: Here goes nothing. Cheers!

Oh. My. God. That is SO good. It is a little thin, but I am comparing it to something like Terrible, one of my favorite Belgian dark strong ales. The beer is too cold, but the flavor just hits your lips and overwhelms your palate with malty sweetness. Then a hint of spice kicks in and I get a dabble of orange peel on the finish. I bet this beer really heats up nice.

Mouthfeel: There are a lot of bubbles that I didn’t expect, but it doesn’t take away from the overall experience of the beer. Again, this is WAY too cold, so I am going to let it warm up a little bit before I finish it. They call this beer a “winter warmer” and I can see why. SO good.

Before I had this, I had a bottle of the Avery IPA and a bottle of Lagunitas Sucks. I am a hop head. However, I think I like big malty sweet beers just as much. I am always trying to pick a favorite style, and I would put this style in my top 5.

Aftertaste: For a beer this big, I hoped the flavor would stick around a little bit longer. However, it does have a nice finish and leaves a thin layer of spice on your palate. Every time I swallow the flavor dwindles, but that just means it is time for another drink! Oh, and as this beer heats up, I am getting more and more of that Belgian candy sugar flavor. Delightful.

Like I said, I am starting to really dig this style. I don’t get any of the thyme flavor that I was worried about, and it just the right amount of sweet to put me to sleep. That is where I am going. Bed. Goodnight, people!

Chouffe N’ice – The bottle says: “N’ice Chouffe, limited edition, brewed only once each winter by Brasserie D’Achouffe in the heart of the Andennes forest of Belgium. Brasserie D’Achouffe began brewing this intensely complex bottle conditioned ale in 1993.”

“This deep dark winter warmer is rich in taste, spicy, full of complex fruity, berrylike, vinous flavors that are complemented by malt overtones.”

“N’ice Chouffe, is brewed from: springwater, malted barley, hops, thyme & dried orange peel and a lot of dark candy-sugar.”

“Beer enthusiasts may wish to cellar this bottle immediately for enjoy net in the years to come or serve at 60°F as an after dinner drink. The scene depicted the front of the bottle features a typical winter vista of the village of Achouffe with the chapel of St. Joseph and the brewery in the background.”

Come visit us at Brasserie D’Achouffe in the Ardennes mountains.

Rating: 4/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

We haven’t done a Chouffe beer in a while. There must be several of them on the list, because I know we have done at least two before. I had a Chouffe the other night at Brat Haus. They are always a good choice.

The beer is kind of a dark reddish color in the glass, and very cloudy. I can’t see anything through the glass. The beer didn’t have a lot of head. In fact, when Ricky poured mine out, it was full all the way to the very top of the class. I had to sip some to even be able to walk with it into the other room. It smells rich, fruity, and a little bit spicy. There’s no way this is a bad beer. Let’s find out.

It tastes a little bit carbonated, and definitely very rich. It’s not as fruity as it smells. It’s kind of overall just a rich taste. It’s kind of heavy, but good. The carbonation is definitely strong with it, and it leaves a bubbly aftertaste in your mouth. It’s a lasting aftertaste. But I like it.

I’m a big fan of Belgian beers, and this one doesn’t disappoint. If I saw it again (or if it was on tap somewhere) and I wanted a Belgian, I might pick it up again.

Rating: 3.5/5

740 bottles of beer on the wall…

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