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Noël - Birrificio Le Baladin

Not Rated.
NoëlNoël

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

72 Reviews
THE BROS
82
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 119
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 8.93%
Wants: 5
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Birrificio Le Baladin visit their website
Italy

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SixpointJMH on 12-28-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 119
Photo of Phatz
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was amazing. I had no idea we would like it so well. My wife and I poured this beer (is it is now a custom since she drinks too) into two snifters, leaving enough to re-cork the bottle and come back to it later we start an movie and when it is over we fish up the 750. It wasn't 25 minutes later that Grace turned to me and asked "did you leave a second pour in the bottle?" I looked down and my snifter was empty as well. What happened to our routine? This beer was too damn good. (after already getting the accidental buzz she decided we should crack the first homebrew 750, which is a hole_‘nother story.) I will certainly be seeking more Noël Baladin ASAP;-)

Appearance: Pours a dark molasses color with a light tan head, and very attractive lacing.

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, Caramel, Anise, and spices like shoe-fly-pie, along with a sweet cinnamon-swirl bread aroma.

Taste: Sweet and malty with rich flavors of dark fruits and sugars and pie flavors along with vinous grape wine. It starts with Raisin dates and cherry a brandy warm alcohol vinous element then sweet caramel brown sugar and molasses followed by a contingent of spices, nutmeg cinnamon and everything pecan pie but in a bready cake like form all blended beautifully in this fabulous flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel: Rich smooth and thick feel in the mouth, with a very warm holiday wine feel to it.

Drinkability: Down right absurdly dangerous. The beer is spectacular and my wife’s favorite yet. 9% is so well hidden until you polish off the bottle and wt_? I'm feeling it now. This beer would be great with a holiday meal. We just had it with some bean dip and corn chips and the beer practically vanished before my eyes. I will be attempting to acquire a case next time.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers! (1,801 characters)

Photo of RyanDouglasWhite
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good head retention

Nose of caramel, light black pepper, esters, figs.

Palate is layered, balanced, and complex.

Long finish.

Overall a great beer. A hefty price tag as with most Italian craft, but this is something I will throw in the cellar for sure. Good job! (267 characters)

Photo of putnam
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opened at about 55 deg. F it exploded brownish tan lava all over the floor and desktop. Tall masses of foam melted evenly and subsequent pours behaved quietly. It is dark brown with tiny yeast particles that gather on the bottom of the glass.
Very creamy, doughy blackbread aromas are inviting. Mocha and cardamom aromas delineate a buttery rich base. While silky-textured and kissed with brown spices, it is perfectly attenuated. No alcohol flavor whatsoever and no sugary sweetness. It is easy to take big, open-throated drinks of this brown goodness. Burps of lebkuchen and burned ginger snaps belie an utter lack of anything dessert-like.
The most remarkable quality of this beer is its unctuous, dry creaminess. In time I expect it to gain some sour and stone fruit nuances. (781 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours mahogany/ruby with a head that sticks around and leaves lacing on the glass.

The smell is rich, complex and certainly inviting. Winter spices with plums and maple - almost port-like. Slight warming alcohol.

The taste is of sweetened dark fruits - plums and black cherries. A plethora of well-mixed winter spices mix in. A touch of caramel also comes through. But, does not become overly sweet due an earthy, almost nutty taste that balances it out in the back. Alcohol is well-hidden, but a touch comes through to warm things up.

The feel is a smooth, almost airy, medium body. Almost chamagne-like.

This is complex, wintery (but not too heavy) - a nice holiday-time treat. (691 characters)

Photo of marburg
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown beer; big, lingering head. Quite a "pffft" when I cracked the cap on this. Some nice prickly carbonation to this, which matches well with its zippy, well-spiced nose and flavor profile. Aromas of dried licorice, some nutmeg, black currants, pepper, and roasted nuts drizzled in chocolate.

Mulling spices mingle with a bit of dried wood, curaco, and "gourmet" chocolate-covered raisins. Some extra "oompf" from a nutmeg/cinnamon kick through the finish, which has just the perfect hop balance.

This could be the official beer of Festivus. It has all the proper celebratory ale properties, and it's...well...fun to drink. (636 characters)

Photo of deadmonkees
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a bottle.

Appearance: Very dark, nice head retention!

Smell: Chocolate with fruit overtones.

Taste: Again, chocolate and somewhat sweet but not overly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Very Rich and extremely balanced with its carbonation and alcohol content.

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers. One of the best balanced (alcohol, sweetness, carbonation) beers in its style. (379 characters)

Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml capped bottle pours a cloudy dark reddish brown that has a nice creamy light brown head that lasts and leaves sticky sheets of lacing in my glass. Spicy ginger, caramel, fruit and chocolate aromas, ginger, nutmeg, pear, caramel, chocolate, plum and smoke flavors. Full bodied with a nice soft and creamy mouthfeel, lasting spicy finish, very nice. (354 characters)

Photo of JaimeLondon
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best italian beer I've drunk till now.
It has a beautifull dark brown color and a great creamy (and of a cream tone) foam.
Aroma and taste are malty, full of dried fruits as well as an incredible chocolate biscuit feel, there's some coffe too.
Body is perfect, carbonation at great level. Alcohol is well hidden but gives a nice feel.
If you're in Turin, Italy, make sure you go to a Baladin bar and take this one. (414 characters)

Photo of ypsifly
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated 750 with a weird cap that is really wide and has a plastic inner seasl, poured into a chalice.

A slow gusher. Didn't spray all over the place but a slow steady stream of light brown "lava" did rise up and spill over. After a few minutes of letting it spill into the sink things became manageable enough to risk a pour. As expected, the head is huge. The beer is so brown it could be confused with black. Moderate retention with sheeted lace.

The nose is very complex. Roasted notes with raisins, plums, sharp spice, a little port wine, maple syrup, cookie dough, earth, nuts and bitter hops. Just a trace of alcohol heat underneath. Amazing!

The rasins and plums are still there when tasted. Not much roasty flavor, but the malts do carry a touch of it. The yeast tastes doughy. No maple or port wine, but the alcohol is detected as a peppery-warm flavor on the finish. Very nice!

Full, velvet like mouth that washes clean. As sessionable as a beer this strong, and expensive can be.

Amazing stuff. Enough to make me want to go out and drop the coin for other offerings from this brewer. (1,110 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one puts the dark in dark ale. It is a very dark brown with amber highlights. The tan frothy head is about a finger thick at pour but quickly disappears to a thin covering across the top of the beer. It leaves minimal lacing as you drink it.

S: Wow, a lot of stuff going on in that aroma. You can smell the alcohol, fruity tones, and maybe a hint of chocolate. It smells in a strange way similar to a fig newton so maybe that is one of the fruits used. One of the most interesting aromas I can recall in a beer.

T: The fig shows up in the taste. Sweet candied sugars are present in the taste as well. The alcohol comes though a bit but not as much as expected with a 9% ABV. There seems to be just a small flavor of coffee as well which matches the smell. It is a very tasty brew with a lot of flavors, but I still wouldn't refer to it as complex which is why I gave it a 4.5.

M: Its a moderate thickness in the mouth, and has a nice level of on mouth carbonation. It is enjoyable to roll on the tongue.

D: For a 9% Belgian Strong Dark it is extremely drinkable. The after taste is just as good as the initial sip. If not for the warming affect of the ABV this one would be easily drinkable. (1,203 characters)

Photo of shertzogovina
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A tempting looking 750 ml. bottle (crowned not corked) with no freshness date (not really relevant with such a brew).
If this is not a perfectly looking beer so I don't know what is.
Dark brown almost opaque color with probably the most amazing head i've ever seen. creamy off-white with a retention so good it stayed until I finished my glass and left an impresive lacing all over the glass.
Smell is of rum-like , dried fruits (currents, figs) burnt sugar and alcohol.
Taste like a spiced up great dubble with extra bitterness. it's hard to define the spices - it's all covered in warming alcohol.
Very smooth and creamy. perfect mellow carbonation and great balance.
Highly drinkable with such alcohol %. I had the whole bottle in three equal portions during a 3-hour period. a great holiday brew to kiss the winter away. very recommended. (848 characters)

Photo of alexgash
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark leathery brown murk that almost looks like melted down milk chocolate but with caramel brown edges in the light, topped by an extraordinary, cocoa brown head that is thick, laces excellently, and lasts forever. Nose is reminiscent of sugar dusted fruit (bananas and pears), with nutty milk chocolate, and a spicy yeastiness. Splendid. Lightly toasted chocolatey malt flavors up front. Quickly becomes fruitier with banana, and candied pears along with some pudding. Warming brandy-ish alcohol sets in for a yeasty, bittersweet finish. Very nice. Like a spiced-up dubbel. Full-bodied with a luxuriously smooth mouthfeel. Much better than their Elixir, and one of the best non-Belgian Belgian's I've had. (707 characters)

Photo of stcules
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany, almost black colour. Compact and very persistent foam, hazelnut colour.
The smell: toasted, alpine herbs, rhubarb, liquorice, barley coffee, light wood, anise.
Malty and full taste, lightly citrus (orange peel). Vanilla, ripe cherry. Spices.
Mostly in the aftertaste, with again liquorice, anise, cane sugar, cinnamon. Some bitter, more of herbal than hop.
Full and round body, wrapping.
Good and drinkable, despite the alcohol.
Very good beer. (465 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a very dark red brown with a two finger fine light tan head with good retention and lacing. Looks nice. Belgian strong ale aroma, dark and light fruit, sweet malt and Belgian yeast a spicing. Flavor of sweet caramel malt, dark and light fruit, a hint of citrus. A hint of cinnamon and cloves. Very nicely integrated flavors and a taste. Skates to the edge of being too sweet, but the flavors carry the sweetness. Medium bodied with sharp, active carbonation. I liked this quite a bit. (529 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black amber color that shows lightly hazy deep ruby-amber highlights when held up to the light. The head is thick and creamy with a rocky texture that falls leaving Belgian lacing on the sides of my glass. The aroma is sharp, spicy and fruity with notes of burnt raisins, brandy, rum, cranberry, cherry, plus some non-descript spiciness including something like a pine note or juniper.

The taste is dry up front with with a rich caramelized malt note. It is quite fruity, but it is a roasted, burnt fruit note that has notes of raisin, fig, pear, and concentrated plum. This beer also a hint of roasted character to it with notes of coffee, and roasted malt. The fruitiness and light sweetness of this beer is quite enticing and it is really quite rich and flavorful. This is quite tasty, it is quite appropriate for the Winter season. (847 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark. With a backing light it glows mahogany and amber. Without it it seems damn near black.
Smells of currants, burnt green raisins, anise, and earth.
Begins with a caramel sweetness. While not altogether gripping upfront, this coheres into something with a great deal of depth and intrigue.In fact, it pieces itself together into something rather sublime. Grapes seep in, both ripe and withered in the form of raisins. Dashed with tobacco, fig, prune, black currant, liquorice, cocoa, and ginger. Behind this all is a transparent java curtain, tossed aside with a gentle tsunami of rosewater. Coriander spicing, with tracers of vanilla and black pepper. Lingering leathery flowery vanilla and brown sugared grape. Molasses-drenched black grape vinous qualities. Concludes with a congruent peppery, petal-laced hop bite, and little alcohol-associated flame.
Medium+ bodied, with a gentle breeziness from the carbonation.
Most akin to grapey, floral Dubbel.
This is nice beer at a not-so-nice price.
Worth a go, at least once, regardless. (1,054 characters)

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge yeasty nose off the bottle, lots of spicy alcohol as well malts and slight caramels...Overripe grapefruit, pear and belgian styled yeast hit first followed by a hint of citric hops. Medium bodied yet the champagne carbonation gives it so much more. 9% hides well. All of this happens from a booze that looks like someone strained water through smoked tobacco, little bits of tobacco still floating round in there too, awesome.

I like it. Picked it up as my "Night before I get Married Beer", not a bad choice.

Wish me luck on the marriage thing ;)

Slainte (563 characters)

Photo of Douglas14
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dense, hardly transparent dark ruby color with a nice, typical Belgian head that leaves little lace on the glass (tulip), leaving me a little perplexed. The strongest point of this beer is its aromas: sweet malt, dark fruits, oak, some citrus, and the most interesting; damp (like a cellar). The taste is great as well...typical of a strong dark Belgian: sweet malt, dark fruit, banana (from the yeast?), and a little bit of a chocolate/burnt note towards the end.

The Noel has a medium-full body and is drier than most Belgians - a nice trait that separates this beer from its peers. It is extremely well balanced which gives it amazing drinkablitly.

Overall, awesome beer. I don't know exactly why, but I think it's extra cool that it is a strong dark from Italy. A definite must have! (797 characters)

Photo of rallison
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just purchased at Pizza Port Carlsbad's bottle shop.

Pours a relatively dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger semi-fizzy off-white head that recedes to just a bit of lacing.

Smells of Candi sugar, yeast and dark fruits. Very reminiscent of Belgian dark ales, but this is from Italy. Quite promising so far...

The taste does not let down. Dark fruits are immediately present, followed by the nice candi sweetness. A touch of dates and red wine. Not quite as complex as the best Belgians, but altogether very tasty.

Mouthfeel is pretty good - relatively carbonated with a medium body.

Drinkability is very nice on this one.

Recommended. May not be worth the $16 this one cost, but still a very nice beer. (724 characters)

Photo of Sephiroth
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with moderate foam and is dark brown. The aromas are very well blended. Smells like dark fruit cake with spices.

Taste is big and complex. Dates, prunes, and maybe some sugar. Holiday spices are there too. Mouthfeel is very good. For such big flavors, this beer is light on the palate. The 750ml is just the right size. (329 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber/ chestnut-brown color with a huge tan foam head. Spicy aroma with hints of dark fruit, pepper, malt, cinnamon and alcohol. Flavor consists of a roasted maltiness mixed with a creamy dark fruit presence. Hints of cherry, plum, raisin, candi sugar and pepper. (281 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with chestnut hints around the wide edges of my orval goblet with one finger of sand colored head. Very good lacing & a healthy film left on top

S: Bready with some pheonlic notes

T: Chocolate, bready, with fruittyness (dates, figs) up front. Leather, brown sugar, coffee, & oakyness follow. Iron, dryness & a little warming booze show up later. Finishes with a hint of expresso, dryness, breadyness & oakyness

MF: Medium-bodied with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy for the abv, a nice fireside sipper. Easily the most comples & probably best (la rossa when good might give this a challenge) Italian bierra I've ever had! At $6.50 a 25oz bottle, a great deal! I know freshness & aging are factors, but this kicked many belgians & american clones right in the arse! (795 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep deep brown murky brown alot of chunks and floatys with a creamy-like off white head that leaves a nice ring of lace behind as it settles.Aromas of roasted nuts and spiced cake mainly ginger and clove with some alcohol thrown in,wow this brew is rich dark fruit soaked in spiced rum is what I really get in the palate but not overly sweet has a drier finish to it wich is nice.Sharp alcohol hits more in the finish as I drink more and as it warms.This is a late night winter sipper not a middle of the afternoon summer brew but I'll drink it anytime a damn fine beer like the others from Baladin that I have had.

One other note I notice a real chesnut presence as well in the aftertaste as I drink more,man this is good. (735 characters)

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at birch.

A - Pours a pitch-black color.

S - Grape, sour smells, some bourbon.

T - See smells. Some tar, some slight burning sensation.

M - Chewy, medium body.

O - A potent, bold, almost wine like beer. A bit different, but very solid. Worth a try. (260 characters)

Photo of grub
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

christmas tasting hosted by biegaman on dec 15/07. he contributed this one. thanks jan!

750ml bottle, approx 1.5 years old.

pours deep brown with ruby edges. the small very fine light brown head drops fast and leaves some spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. light alcohol. caramel. big fruity nose - date, cherry, fig. bready malt. bit of dark chocolate. toffee. tiny hint of smoke.

taste is nice. big fruit again - date, cherry, fig, bit of raisin. light caramel. bit of alcohol. bready malt. touch of smoke again, but really mellow. light cinnamon and nutmeg hiding in there, but barely noticeable.

mouthfeel is good. very fine well integrated low carbonation level. medium large body. the super fine carbonation and big fruit almost make this one come across port-like.

drinkability is good. well balanced. i like the big fruity character in this one. very nice. (871 characters)

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Noël from Birrificio Le Baladin
88 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.