Climax Noel - Imperial Red Ale - Eel River Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Climax Noel - Imperial Red AleClimax Noel - Imperial Red Ale

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BA SCORE
83
good

54 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 2
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Belgian Imperial Red Ale"

(Beer added by: cswhitehorse on 11-22-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beertunes
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brewery calls this as an Imperial Red, but it's listed here as Dubbel. Whatevs. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear red, with a bit of a mahogany tint. Just a thin cap of light tan head dissipated quickly and left very light lacing.

The aroma was very sweet and had sharp alcohol note. behind that was some nicely blended grainy malt scents and a hit of hops. The grains take center stage on the tongue, with the hops in the background and on the finish. The beer also was sticky-sweet and had a noticeable alcohol bite.

The body was pleasantly solid, without being heavy, but that sticky-sweetness got a bit boring. Drinkability was pretty good, would have scored it a bit higher if not for that annoying stickiness and the alcohol burn.

Overall, a decent enough brew. I'd probably like it better on tap, but it's certainly worth a try if you see it.

Photo of claspada
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Armomas are of doughy bready and sweet malts with some hints of herbal hops and some Belgian musty yeasts.

The taste is pretty darn good, yet simplistic. I agree with the last reviewer that a year in the cellar has helped this 2009 version. There are some butterscotch, nuts, a bunch of vanilla, citrus/sour from the yeast and some lighter hints of brown sugar, alcohol and a light spiciness in the finish. Not your typical winter warmer because of the lighter malt backbone but enjoyable regardless. The high ABV is masked well by the yeast and the age (I assume). The mouthfeel was smooth and soft, the carbonation adequate and the body medium yet extremley full. I recommend if you find this 2009 version today to give it a try because it is probably discounted (because beer merchants are tools) and it is a good value regardless.

Photo of ricke49
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2009 version....so I suspect that by fall 2010 it was at least 9 months in the bottle ....and that may be key. Because it drank with a smooth pleasurable sensation that is not reflected in many of the "B" reviews that have appeared to date. It's my guess that waiting 9-12 months, or longer, on this creation brings out a whole other experience. This offered a near perfect balance between malty sweetness, hops, and moderately high ABV. It sipped very pleasurably. It had a complex and satisfying taste. It was just a damn fine brew. Hopefully the $4.49 bombers that were on closeout last month at a nearby store are still there, when I make my next trip into 'civilization.

Photo of Durge
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this off-season holiday brew at The Muddy Pig in St. Paul, MN. It has a deep orange-brown / copper color with a decent light-tan bubbly head and great lacing. The aroma brings a quiet sour cherry and cider malt. Pleasant enough but maybe too understated. The flavor offers a grassy hopped malt and sour fruit and cinnamon. Not an obvious Christmas brew for sure but a nice enough brew with a heavy leaning to the leafy bite while carrying a goodly honey malt to balance things. It's medium bodied or so, with a crisp feel that finishes with a dry cover. Plenty drinkable for the style with little alcohol evidence. Nothing conjuring images of sleigh bells and snowfall but it's a good brew that goes down happily. Fair grade for general ale goodness, low grade for my Christmas list.

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint 6 Oz brown bottle. No Freshness date. Brewed 2009.
First point: This can't be a "Belgian" Imperial Red Ale, or Belgian anything because it's brewed in California. Bad form.
It pours a ruby-hued amber color with a medium-sized off-white, pink tinted head with wispy trails of lacing.
An upfront smell of a horse barn is noticed but fades soon. A light yeasty/vinegar smell lingers. While it is a hoppy tasting beer, I only notice a faint citrus aroma along with a hint of cut copper.
A rummy alcoholic fuminess is present throughout.
The foremost flavor is of light rum. The 9% abv seems a bit low as the rummy alcoholic flavor is pretty potent. There is certainly a Belgian quality to the slightly sour yeasty bitterness. Sharp lemony citrus and slight orange/tangerine tastes counterbalance a syrupy sweetness. Again the alcohol punch seems more like something in the 11-12% abv range. Its effects are noticable as well. The malt body is slightly cloying, although not off-putting.
Nice BIG brew all in all, but there is no real clear definition to the style. Sort of a bastard...a likeable bastard.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Certified Organic, 9% ABV, 2009, no bottled on/freshness date.

A - A moderate pour into the base of the glass released a dense and tight, tiny bubble tan-khaki head. The retention was ok even with the nucleation point feeding it a giant plume of carbonation. The color is a lightly hazy bronzed-amber with orange-ruby highlights.

S - The nose instantly reminds me of the funky infected yeast from a home brew. After sitting a bit, that aroma went away and became much better. Toasted bread and amber malts with a Belgian yeast nose. A light nose of alcohol has a slight band-aid phenol hint apparent on a harsh swirl. Low fruits and hops even the nose out a bit.

T - The presence of a lightly acidic-sour touch is a bit off to start with. The alcohol level is rather strong too. The phenol band-air thing is back again but more so overshadowed by a hot, solvent-like flavor. The malt flavor seems to come in secondary and is fairly amber-driven with a toasty caramel touch and light fruit hint. Hop flavor isn't present as much as it's bittering qualities are. The finish has a light spicy flavor too.

M - The fairly strong carbonation tingles on the tongue through the length of the beer. It's medium-full in body with a light sweet finish that's quickly overcome by dryness and a well-balanced hop bitterness.

D - The hot alcohol is one of the best parts of the beer giving it a nice winter warming quality but shouldn't overshadow the other aspects. A fair beer that could use some work and some age. If the last bottle is available there I may pick it up and sit on it for a while.

Photo of 4000qtrap
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Source/Serving: 22 oz. bottle. No expiration date.

Smell: Very spicy (coriander and a little nutmeg), Belgian yeastiness, brown sugar, ripe plums, a little sour, a little brown, and a hint of apple cider. Very nice.

Taste: Sweet and carbonated. Quite sweet ripe fruits meet with a sharp bitterness at first. Yeast flavors are prominent and notable caramel apple notes. Underlying grape skin bitterness provides just enough balance though sweet malts do dominate the flavor profile but are quite complex...syrupy plums, apples, brown sugar along with a touch of coriander spiciness. Finish is quite spicy, fairly bitter, and a pinch cidery. No sign of the 9% alcohol...and VERY drinkable.

Photo of morimech
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The foam explodes out of the glass during the pour. But once it settles down the beer has a clear red color. The head is off-white and very large. Good retention and a lot of lacing is left on the glass. Interesting aroma and flavor. Aroma consists of spicey hops and fruity esters. The malt that usually plays a big part in red ales is nonexistent. The flavors are a little disjointed and do not meld that well together. It is a combination of spice, fruity esters, and alcohol. This is seriously lacking in malt character. The body feels a tad light for a red or a hearty winter warmer. But it is nicely carbonated and posesses a nice texture. This beer could use some improvement but as it is, an interesting drinker and worth a try.

Photo of robbyc1
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice hazy orange/red look, with good head, off white.

Very fruity nose, cherries, lime, apricot, very good.

Taste is similar, with solid malt fruity, balanced by the hops, finish is solid and warming. Really a nice winter warmer which I was looking for on the 33 degree day. Fine and dandy.

Photo of littlebibs
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the new "Grill next door" Haverhill, Ma. Another excellent seasonal winter warmer offering. I try many of these as they come out, this one is right up there with the best of
them, strong, so go easy on this delicious concoction whiles it around. Nice mix of tastes swirl around the tounge, check this out if you can find it.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy ruby and copper colored brew. Nice bone white and light amber colored two finger head that lasts for a strong few sips till dissipation. Pretty good bubbling considering how hard it is to see it. The aroma is lots o' toasted malts, some sugary gummy bears with some alchy cinnamon. The taste starts with some toasted mlats and Belgian candi sugar mixed in. The middle has lots of sweet rolls and packaged candy sweetness. But from the middle t the finish of the palate, it does get a little hot. The 9% abv of this years Climax Noel is warming at the very end of the mouthfeel of this brew. Definetly a festive sipper ale for the season with lots of Belgian influence. Bu the finish make me think of cough medicine a bit.

Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: cloudy reddish amber in color with a one finger head. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel, yeast spiciness, and a brown sugar sweetness is easy to pull from the glass.

Taste: caramel, brown sugar, plums, apples, yeast, and some mild spiciness are most detectable. Bitterness is moderate and there is a hint of orange citrus late. Alcohol is slightly noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout. Long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: so-so at best. Interesting flavor profile, but personally I grew a bit tired of the flavors by the end of the bottle.

Photo of jdense
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle from John's Marketplace served at Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting 12/22/09.

Reddish amber body, 1/2 finger white head, quick dissipation and minimal lacing. Nose is fairly sweet up front, a bit of spice (cardamon?) and decent hoppiness on the back end. The taste is unlike any imperial red I've ever had, very, very sweet cherries dominate the taste, really mask the hops. A bit of alcohol heat, and the IMO cloying sweetness, inhibit drinkability. Pretty smooth, but too sweet for my liking. A decent enough holiday imperial red, though if if wasn't the season I wouldn't drink this. Worth a try if you like fruity winter warmers.

Photo of bonk0076
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, deep amber color with a nice big head that doesn't leave any lacing. Aroma consists of fruits - raisins, plums, apricots something of that nature - as well as underlying notes of toffee and molasses. Taste begins with the sweetness of those fruit notes, but is quicly followed by the slight bitterness of roasted malt. Longer finish that is somewhat boozy.

Photo of clickpush
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Super red body, clear, big light tan head. Lots of carbonation. Looks delicious. Head lasts a decent amount of time. Sticky lacing remains the whole time.

Nose: Sweet vanilla wafers, malt richness. Some cherry cough syrup, alcohol.

Mouth: Tastes strikingly familiar to cherry cough syrup. I mean, it's a tasty Christmas beer, thick, rich & malty. I like it. Just some astringency that I'm not fond of. Also some cardboard-y after taste. Creamy mouthfeel.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Climax Noel pours a cloudy copper color with a creamy, one finger width off white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly down to a thin sheet on the surface leaving behind spots lf lace on the glass.

The aroma is faint with notes of caramel malt, orange citrus, clove and pepper. Each sip of this full bodied beer is soft on the palate with a mild fizz on the sides of the tongue. The flavor is typical for a Belgian style beer. Orange citrus, clove, pepper combined with some apple and light fruit flavors. It finishes sweet with a medicinal taste of alcohol. Once gone some of the spice notes and orange citrus linger on the palate.

I guess for a Christmas beer I was looking for a bit more spice. Still, it's a nice, smooth beer with a well balance flavor.

Photo of largadeer
2.13/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy reddish-brown with significant chill haze, not the most appealing color, but the head retains nicely, fed by high levels of carbonation. The nose is fruity, spicy, yeasty. Orange juice, apple cider, apricots. Intense esters backed by a lot of malty sweetness. On the palate it isn't nearly as sweet as the aroma suggests. Big fruity esters meet somewhat astringent spiciness and surprisingly harsh solventy alcohol. There's some pleasant bready malt mid-palate, but I can't get past the sharp alcohol and overall astringency. Finishes like spiced rubbing alcohol. This is the worst climax I've ever had.

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

it's a nice fiery red color with some dense haze. smells belgian, with a strong toasted marshmallow thing happening. a slight sweet fruitiness emerges too, enough to tell you this is a belgian strain of yeast at work here. the marshmallow thing continues, and is slightly plasticy. the beer finishes wicked boozy too. underneath the chaos there is promise of a well-rounded belgian abbey ale, warmth brings out a nice gingerbread malt/spice note, but it's not enough to save the beer overall.

ps: my bottle says 9% abv

Photo of flannelman808
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours very nicely... lots of white foamy head with nice lacing.... It is a murky brown color, pretty opaque and rather dense looking. There is a hint of orange in the color as well.

S: There is a nice bouquet of pie spices which seems to dominate. I also Smell some fruit.. apricot and other stone fruits. There is a mild Dulce de leche quality here as well.. smells nice.

T: This beer is 'bready' and approachable, not overbearing. I'm thinking almost too approachable. The aroma renders more pungent than the taste does potent. That said its not bad. I still get the cinnamon and allspice quality and can detect a little bit of caramel. The stone fruit I was hoping for is not really there, instead I get a baking soda like carbonation that seems to wipe out what I was hoping would be a very complex brew.

M: I wish this beer had some more body too it... It smells like a bombshell and looks like a hot babe but tastes like a model with a really bad eating disorder. There is a little too much carbonation on this one I wish it was a little more tongue friendly.

D: pretty drinkable, and the alcohol is extremely well hidden

Photo of RedBrewer83
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip....2009 vintage

A: Amber body with hints of orange and ruby, two finger head forms and maintains half finger head for large portion of beer. Very creamy with nice lacing.

S: Candied caramel malt, orange, hints of hop citrus aromas as well. Nice and straightforward but not overly intense or complex.

T: Flavor follows suit with the nose for the most part, yeast is more present in the taste and just a hint of booze is noticed mid palate. Finish lingers with hops, but needs a little more to really crisp things up and help the drinkability.

M: Pretty smooth, medium body and the abv is not really felt, warming as it goes down but not overpowering.

D: As I said before, needs a little more dry hopping and this would be a very drinkable beer, as is being a 9% belgian imperial red its pretty drinkable...

Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cream, three-finger head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Amber/red color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and hops. Higher ABV is hidden. $6.39 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tropical sunset orange-cherry with a gorgeous glow when backlit with late April sunshine. Electric tangerine edges look good as well. The three finger crown is the color and texture of orange-caramel mousse. Abundant and attractive lace are the finishing touches on this attractive winter warmer (that looks like an Imperial red should look).

The nose isn't exactly jumping out of the glass. Even though it's low on power, aromas include caramel-covered cherries and oranges. A New Zealand hop known as Motueka (a Saaz variant) is present, but isn't appreciated. Nor is alcohol. If it opens up with warming, I'll give the score a well-deserved bump. Note: it does, just not enough.

A few ounces in.... Climax Noel is probably Eel River's second best beer, behind Raven's Eye Imperial Stout. It's tantalizingly close to being a well-crafted Imperial red, but better than average is about as high as I can go. This is sort of brew that Rogue knocks out of the park on a routine basis.

Suggested fixes are more malt (especially caramel malt), as well as a better choice of hops. More hops wouldn't be a bad idea either, but malt is more crucial to CN's ultimate success. Flavors mirror aromas: maraschino cherries and orange slices swimming in a light caramel and brown sugar syrup. Simple and direct. Sweet and bitter are pretty evenly matched.

Given the style and the ABV, the body/mouthfeel is a fraction light. It isn't bad though, and almost pulls it off in the end. A glassy smoothness is probably the result of an ideal amount of bubbles.

Climax Noel is enjoyable beer, even though it's destined to be forgotten once the final drop has disappeared. It's a friendly sort of 8.0% winter warmer that makes no major missteps. I'm sure it warms the cockles of many a beer-loving heart in Scotia, CA come Christmastime... when it gets down to a bone-chilling 45 degrees.

Photo of ccrida
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into my Meantime snifter. Climax Noel is a dark amber with a dense khaki head that leaves sheets of foamy lace.

Smell isn't to strong, but a really nice caramel note, reminding me a bit of cream soda.

Taste is malty, some of the caramel from the nose, plastic phenols, a bit spicy. On the simple side, it opens up just a bit as it warms, but I'd like more sweetness. Or bigger hop flavor, which isn't really obvious here, although this is getting on a few months since the release...even though I bought from a cooler, it may not have been there all winter.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, medium heavy body.

Drinkability isn't too bad, not really that exciting though. One of those where if the nose matched the flavor better it would really be great. The alcohol is well hidden and it's overall rather smooth, make up for the lackluster flavor.

Photo of Yeastcakes
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes: snifter, half-inch head.
Aroma: Full malty body dominates the aroma.
Appearance: Dark red and clear. Nice half-inch head.
Mouthfeel: full body, light on carbonation.
Taste: Alcohol flavor prevalent with full malt flavor. Nice floral hop flavors.
Drinkability: A decent red ale although not necessarily one that I will seek out.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bomber bottle bought in Orono, Maine, that I shared with one of the best women I've ever dated, this beer was a mahogany color with one-finger of beige head. The retention of the thin cap was good and the lacing was great in genuine curtains. The aroma was of doughy/bready malt, light alcohol, some mustiness and a lightly toasted character. The flavors were excellent, butterscotch, nuts, wood chips, vanilla, brown sugar and a light spiciness. A great example of the flavor profile one would hope to find from a Winter Warmer. The higher ALC was well-concealed too. The mouthfeel was smooth and soft, the carbonation subtle and the body medium/full. If you find it, buy it.

Climax Noel - Imperial Red Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.