Tuesday, December 25, 2007
25 Beers of Christmas, Day 25: N'ice Chouffe 2004
One last entry in this series and for the last entries I picked one of my all-time favorites. According to the bottle, this winter ale is brewed with spring water, barley, hops, dried orange peel, thyme (?!?) and "a lot of candy sugar". Guess that candy sugar helps boost the alcohol content up to 10% ABV. The bottle also suggests that this beer may be aged up to 5 years. This version is from 2004, three years of age on it.
It pours an opaque nutty brown with a enormous, frothy head. Tons of thick lacing. A very spicy nose and not just sweet spice. There a bitterness and peppery quality to the aroma.
Although this is a big beer, there is nary a hint of alcohol in the mouth. Nor is this beer overly sweet like so many big ales from Belgium. The body is thinner than you might expect, though not too thin, and the spice and hops really shine through. It's a nice balance that makes this enormous beer quite the easy drinker. The spice and hops create an interesting bitterness, especially in the finish. Is it the thyme? I think so. The orange peel flavor is there to giving that dryness to the body. It's a really interesting beer and takes awhile to wrap your head around.
One thing for sure is that this one's a one of a kind ale. Go get some.