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La Chouffe

Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
20 / 20

Deftly camouflaging its deceptive alcohol strength among layers of ripe fruit aromas and honeyed malt, La Chouffe from Brasserie Achouffe is truly a world class Belgian strong golden ale. Brewed in the Belgian Ardennes, La Chouffe’s nose is rife with notes of ripe banana, juicy peach, and just a whiff of white cardamom. Tom appreciated the aroma’s dominant notes of lush Bosc pear and hints of bubble gum wafting over “sweet, almost honey-like maltiness.” Beneath the initial malt blast, Tim teased out a “subtle note of succulent Asian pear” and praised the amazing complexity added by the distinctly Belgian yeast character. True to style, La Chouffe throws a gargantuan, ivory-colored creamy head, crowning a straw yellow beer shot through with just the slightest haze. The flavor swirls with alternating notes of sweet, candy-like malt, bananas, and a faint pepperiness – all with a lurking alcoholic warmth. The overt sweetness of bananas and peaches took Pete aback at first, but as the biscuity malt pushed though, he lauded the delicate interplay of fruit, malt, and spices, proclaiming it “a uniquely Belgian experience.” Lee also found “gobs of banana and pears up front,” but delved deeper to discover a perfumed floral quality in the finish likening it to “a lightning rod for the tastebuds.” Though highly quaffable, this brew packs a respectable ABV (8%) and should be savored in moderation.