My bottle of McChouffe had been sitting in the fridge for quite a long time. I don't really get to use my fridge much, or any other household appliances, which have either been mothballed since May or are still in their original wrapping. As the builders gradually clear out of the house, more things become usable, and yesterday evening the fridge door was unobstructed and inside, among all the trapped children and mysterious fungi, was this Ardennes Bruin.
From the large green bottle it pours a dark and quite opaque brown. Lots of gas in here: forming a thick head which dissipates quickly but leaves a strong, sharp fizzy texture on tasting. Beneath it it bears a strong resemblance to many other brown Belgian ales: the Trappist dubbels in particular. I get dark and slightly spicy fruit; sweet and estery rather than bitter, with a slight slow-burning yeasty sharpness behind it. I probably drank it too cold as I found the flavour a little bit underwhelming: I'd expect more from a dark ale of this provenance and strength. Bunging the lees in smoothed it out, but didn't turn it into a palate pounder. Still, I enjoyed it as a characterful winter's night beer. I've set up a stash with more of this sort to see me through the cold months, but they'll have to wait until I have more freedom in my own house before I start cracking them open.