N'Ice Chouffe | Brasserie d'Achouffe
From a 330ml bottle served straight from the fridge at 7 degrees Celsius into a white wine glass. Best before date: 02/2019.
The beer pours a clear dark brown with cola highlights and is topped with 5cm of frothy, tan head that dissipates into a craggy cap in 2+ minutes. Great lacing and decent retention especially when considering the high ABV. She's a looker alright.
Moderate strength and sweet. I smell a tinge of metallic minerality right after the pour which is quickly replaced by moderate noble hops and eventually taken over by grainy maltiness with notes of bread, dried fruit (raisins & prunes), and mild caramel. Dayum, that's a sentence. In addition, the fruity esters are quite strong in this one. Faint ethanol; not even close to harsh, but it has a solvent-like (ethyl acetate) quality when the liquid approaches room temperature. Nice and complex aroma – don't let it get too warm however.
Follows the aroma with amped-up intensity (medium-strong) and a tad less sweetness. The flavour is malty-rich and estery with a subdued spicy character. Notes of dark fruit, dark bread, banana, phenolic spice (sweet allspice), and candi sugar. The finish is long, strong, and leaning towards sweet. Holy smokes – I taste the thyme.
Medium-full body with high carbonation. Creamy yet drying with smooth and balanced alcohol warming of notable strength. The sheer amount of bubbles makes the texture seem less hefty. I think the beer could be less carbonated without sacrificing drinkability.
Rich and layered. Well within the style if you leave out the complexity-adding special ingredients. Certainly a great beer for a cold winter evening. I wouldn't drink this below 10 degrees Celsius as the aroma and flavours come off muted. However, allowing the beer to warm brings about some of the potential negatives of a high ABV beer. I think it's worth a try but maybe some tweaking is required to tame the alcohol and esters?