On the docket: 750ml bottle of Brasserie d’Achouffe’s McChouffe, bottle date: best before end of 2015. Seems like I’m cutting it close.
Poured into: Etched Chimay Goblet
S: An initial mass of beige-gray head, thick and puffy forms. Underneath, a dark, burnt-sienna body sits, with an orange tint at the base. Tiny bubbles snake up to the top. Eventually, the head dies down to a thin cap on top, bubbles populating the head, sort of like soap.
A: Fruity esters immediately wend their way into your nose, laddie. Ef ya couple that with some yeasty bubblegum and a bit of caramelized malt, you have the knack of it. The hops, while muted, are spicy and earthy. It’s entertaining to smell, the sweetness being a draw factor here.
T: Some of the aroma carries over into the taste. The fruit here is dark and plummy, but gentle. A spot of hay, or husk, sweet caramel, a definite melanoidin tang like that of a Scotch ale, and a bit of spice and earth from the hops.
F: Tingly carbonation, chewy mouthfeel, fluffy. Deceptively light bodied. A kiss of warming alcohol on the end, more pronounced as it warms up (at 8.0%, it’s certainly prudent to exercise a dram of caution. A finish that sticks around.
O: Though the brewery calls this beer a brown ale, and while they’re not exactly wrong, I feel that comes up short in describing this one. Picture the offspring of Gerard Butler and Ellen Petri (go ahead and look her up, I had to, too) in a beer, and this is much closer to the mark. There are equal parts Scotch ale and Belgian Strong Dark in here, and they combine to make something that while new, is evident of its parents. This is a pleasure to sip and meditate on; much like the upcoming celebration of our Lord’s birth.
S: 4 A: 4.25 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25
Suggested food pairing: Molasses grilled barbecue ribs, beef Szechuan, sharp cheddar cheese, crème brûlée, on its own as dessert