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Noël - Birrificio Le Baladin

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

72 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 119
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 5
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Birrificio Le Baladin visit their website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Noël Alström Bros
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 119
Photo of Goldorak
2.38/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Cola brownish with a few crimson tinges, the ring of lace was short-lived.

Smell: Quite vinious, in a very tannic, plonk red wine kind of way, with plenty of alcohol and a wheaty finish.

Taste: It just tastes like melted ice cubes, like when you thaw out something that's been sitting in the freezer for years, it had a freezer burn flavor. Was this bottle frozen? There is a lingering rafined sugar sweetness in there, but I just found it to be watery, bland, and quite dissapointing.

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Photo of morebeergood
2.62/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got a bottle for Christmas (thanks joshman). Poured into two belgian style goblets. First thing you see is my nemesis: yeast floaties. I cannot stand these in a beer. The smell was average, mostly just malt, with maybe just a hint of candied sugar. The taste was very weak, not much flavor to speak of, and the body was very thin in consistency. This was my first belgian style beer from Italy, and I can see why many don't come out of that country. Glad this was a gift!

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Photo of brystmar
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: dark brown and fizzy. One full finger of off-white head with OK retention. Sticky lace.

S: smells like a Belgian dubbel with some winter spices thrown in, though they are fairly faint. Shame.

T: really malty with some dark fruit, spices are subtle and show up at the end. Compared to other winter ales I've had, this one is fairly tame. Not bad, but not special or impressively complex.

M/D: too fizzy for my liking. Strongly reminds me of Coke. And if the feel isn't good, the drinkability isn't gonna be there either. I *really* enjoyed Super Baladin and had high hopes for this brew; still looking forward to Nora.

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Photo of MilanoItaly
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Starting my career as beer taster ;-) , I'm afraid this one came too early because of its complexity.
My sensation is in becoming,what I'm sure of this beer for now is the following.
Mahogany dark colour with a creamy foam and intriguing rings left on glass.
Uneasy to drink due to alcohol accents, not referring to the 9 ABV : I had it with meat (shin) in a winter cold day and still had my hard time to finish it.
It has so much tastes in it,I was wondering if I was drinking a beer after all.Coffee accents anyway amongst all.

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Photo of nick76
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is sweet and yeasty with some chocolate. The appearance is brown with a large head. The flavor is like the aroma with plenty of alcohol for a 9%. The palate is thin. Overall it's pretty good but not that impressive. These beers have nice bottles but that just leads to frustration with the beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer on tap at Churchkey, beer is brown and mostly clear but no head, low carbonation, no lacing.

Aroma is a little weak, mild spice, some malt, some yeast / breadiness.

Beer is about as thin as a beer can get. I forget I'm drinking while I'm drinking it. Odd, very odd, minimal flavors too, just too watery for me. Decent finish though. I won't have it again.

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Photo of ricke
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a pale beige head. Some lacings.

S: Dark malts, ripe fruits, powdered cocoa, mild spices, caramel and hints of plastic phenols.

T: The taste is sweet with notes of caramel malts, ripe fruits, spices and sweet alcohol. The finish is mildly bitter with notes of spicy alcohol and herbal hops. The taste is not as big as the smell had me to believe. Slightly unbalanced due to too the alcohol being too powerful.

M: Medium body, smooth mouthfeel.

D: A good beer, but it lacks a little complexity and the alcohol is too prominent. Also, it felt like it developed poorly in the glass.

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Photo of hopdog
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of those bowling pin looking bottles.

Poured a dark brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of bread, light spices, licorice and some dark fruits. Tastes from dark fruits, chocolate, lighter spices and lighter bread.

Notes from 12/25/04

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Churchkey. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderate brown color with just a touch of a reddish hue. A bit of head and lacing, but not as much as I'd expect for the style. The nose carries a good bit of Belgian yeast plus a light touch of spice. Nothing too complex or interesting, though it's fairly well done. Flavor is about the same. Not really much of a noel beer. Medium body and good carbonation. Not bad, but not something that I would seek out again.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent dark brown with reddish hues and a loose shallow light tan head that fades quickly to spotty patterns of Belgian lacing. The smell is really sweet of grape, fig and plums that carries directly over into the flavor. The mouth feel is light bodied with a slight tangy character from the 9% alcohol. The fruitiness lingers well after the swallow. A reasonable drinker.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep brown, almost black Belgian hue. Can't see any bubbling in thid deep hue'd beer. The aroma is aof light Belgian spice and Belgian hops with an exotic flair. A hint of good ol' fashioned American stout lie qualities. Pretty unique smells and tastes. Just a bit too muted for my overall tatse. Hints of brown sugar caramelized currants, and burnt apples. Makes for a guido take on a Belgian classic.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep clear ruby color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with light dry fruits and fruity ester is quite enjoyable. Taste is a well balanced mix between some caramel Belgian malt with balanced sweetness, dry fruits and light fruity ester in the finish. Body is about average with good carbonation with no signs of alcohol. Well done but additional body and spices could have benefited this beer.

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Photo of Ochsenblut
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dated Nov 2010, this bottle is a little overdue. But considering the alcohol content and the storage condition, I think the review will be a fair one.

This beer is dark brown with a slight red hue. The head is khaki and subsides almost instantly, leaving a soda-like appearance.

Raisin, prune and what can only be described as freshly opened panettone (Italian fruitcake) pervade the senses. The taste is upfront and sweet. Its loaded with brown sugar notes, more raisin and tobacco. The alcohol is pretty well hidden and compliments the lingering tobacco taste. There is no hops presence to speak of, just malty sweetness. The aftertaste fades quickly to leave only a very faint reminder on the palate.

The malt profile is chewy and relatively thick, but the suspended carbonation makes it seem soda-like. This Christmas beer would have really benefited from lower carbonation.

Strictly speaking, Baladin Noel is an above average Christmas beer. It has most of the flavors closely associated with the season and the substantial body to carry them without feeling overwhelming. But as far as Yule-tide ales go, this one is lacks complexity and physical prowess. Finishing the bottle was easy, but I'm reticent to grab another.

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Photo of mexikrainian
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Petrus long-stem chalice.

Aroma: sweet, malty with aroma of caramel, honey, raisins and spices.

Appearance: murky, dark amber with shallow, off-white head

Taste: acidic, slightly sour notes on the tongue initially. malty and and sweet on the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium body and unbalanced with medium carbonation

Overall Impression: not my favorite beer. too expensive for the quality.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part 2 of my Christmas Eve day spree of big Noel biers.... from a 750ml bottle... no freshness dating found.

Pours a deep mahogany hue, with tinges of garnet shining through. Steady carbo rising within, heading towards a healthy, finely bubbled, creamy tan head of about 1". Topping has good staying power, and laces the glass well. Nose has some fruit notes as well as some suggestions of cola. Body is a bit less than medium, feeling quite light and airy on the tongue, with a foamy, bubbly feel similar to some Hefeweizens.

Flavor has a touch of sweetness that tags along with some mild, dark fruit characteristics. Subtle hints of chocolate make an appearance. Extremely dry throughout, with a bit of a floral hoppiness making a cameo. Has an earthy aspect to it, with hints and afterthoughts of spiciness. Nothing, though, really jumps out and takes command.... lots of background flavors without a leading actor here... I scored this at the BA Belgian Bier Fest, and am somewhat pleased I didn't have to shell out coin for it.


overall: 3.7
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5


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Photo of mtbbaboon
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A friend of mine gave me a bottle of this, courtesy of his local beer club. I poured this into a Duvel tulip glass. Color is a dark brown. Moderate head that is rather fizzy. A good amount of sediment floats around the beer. A pretty good layer of lacing sticks to the glass.

Smells spicy up front. Dark fruit (grapes and figs) and sweet caramel malt, followed by a noticeable alcohol presence. The taste follows the nose. Rather sweet up front with a nice hop presence in there. As with the nose, the alcohol is noticeable in the taste. A bit of bitterness rounds out the flavor. A little more balance would be nice. Still a good tasting beer though. It's got a medium mouthfeel and is easy to drink, considering the style. Definitely a drinkable beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany color with a distinctive head that hangs around for the duration and leaves splotchy lace all over the chalice

Smell: Lots of interesting fruit and spice flavors mix together - green apple, cherry and raisins on the fruit side and cinnamon and tobacco on the spice front; still, I cannot say I love the aroma

Taste: Fruity at the outset, with raisins and green apples that lead to a destinctively sour note by mid-palate; after the swallow, I pick up maraschino cherry and pear flavors, as well as tobacco and rum; oddly, some swallows are decent and others are marred by the phenolics

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with lots of carbonation

Drinkability: I had high hopes for this one and, while it is pretty interesting, I am not sure I want to spend the $ to try it again

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

No, this is not a wine review. Yes, there is good beer that is brewed in Italy, and it's not just a fizzy Euro lager. Recently just a winter release, this brew has year-round status, so now you can celebrate Christmas in July.

Dark mahogany color, stunning head, this beer is not afraid to foam. Hints of chocolate, dark bread, spiced apple and orange peel, licorice root and green peppercorns. Touch of alcohol in the nose, like a young Port. Tame smoothness rolls across the medium body. Slight fruit cocktail flavor, though cherries and ripe pears are dominant. Cocoa powder, orange peel and a musty malt husk are fused together. Some hop bitterness and spicy alcoholic undertones balance out the sweet maltiness. With a beer like this, you would think of pairing it with some chocolate, though even better was our pairing of Asiago cheese, Bresaola and ripe figs.

Either way, this is an inviting dark brew with big complexities - proof that really good beer can, indeed, come from Italy.

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Photo of blakesell
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the strange shape I don't even want to guess what oz fits in this bottle bottle into a standard pint glass.

This is aged for at least a year, so we'll just call it 2008 vintage.

Appearance - Beer pours fairly thin for a strong dark, a clear brown amber with a pretty small head for what I was expecting after opening the champagne capped bottle (like nothing I've seen before, large size bottle cap with a champagne rubber thing holding carbonation in). Yeasty chunks fall to the bottom of the glass. Lacing is there, but again thin.

Smell - Smells like a Belgian beer. I would love to add some extra adjectives, but it's simple at best. My closest main beer that I've had to it is New Belgium 1554 which is a Belgian dark, nothing strong about it. It smells to be of average strength, which judging by the ABV, is impressive on it's own.

Taste- A rich cola carbonation and flavor, I'm getting a big RC cola flavor, some plum, no very dark fruits, but light dark fruits if that makes any sense. Pulpy ripe fruits, very much like a plum pear combo if that existed. I can't get past the soda and this is not a bad beer, but it is being detracted from by the perceptions that I'm getting here.

Mouthfeel - I may have rated this too high at 3.5 but the number stands. The carbonation is too high and the whole soda feel is simply out of place here. The richer fruits taste great here, I honestly was expecting more and I guess I shouldn't have let my expectations get the best of me here. Medium light in body, high in carbonation, low in overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability- It tastes light overall and a bit syrupy sweet. This isn't bad for the one time offering that I'm going to give it. For the price, it is no where near worth it. As a standard beer if I could get it for $6 a sixer, I still probably wouldn't go for it. but this will go down smooth for tonight. I will not be holding this against Baladin as a whole.

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Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big head, lots of lace. Foremost taste is cola, chestnut, carmelization, honeyish, some roast. Very drinkable, carbonation right there. Brown, very malty, with a little acidic in the finish. Some dark fruit. A bit alcohol warming. Slightly above average mouthfeel.
Mike's bottle from Italy, via Jason. Drunk exactly three years after bottling.

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Photo of RickS95
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's close on color with a really rich brown pour. It's dark brown, but there's no hint of black like in other Belgians. The head never really impresses with a thin start and a quick dissipation. Inside the rich brown is a lot of little floaties.

You can pick up dark fruits like raisins and figs, but also a little bit of alcohol. While sugar doesn't usually have much smell, you can detect the addition of sugar in this beer. There's an oaky, bourbony scent as well.

It's very malty with no sign of hops whatsoever. The cane sugar shines, if that's a good thing. Very caramelly, slight chocolate note. Maybe a touch of vanilla.

It's very sweet, but not over the top. Kind of unbalanced, there's no hop presence to temper the sweetness and the alcohol doesn't really cut the sugar either. Barely medium bodied, it could use something else. Despite these misgivings, it's easy to drink and would make a good dessert beer because of the likeness to caramel and toffee.

In a strange way, I kind of like this beer. It's too sweet to have on a frequent basis, but I'm glad I added this to my collection. The alcohol content is nice and while it's not a great beer, it's closer to good than it is to bad. Some weaknesses, but overall a good beer.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark amber with a one finger light tan head. Deep ruby color when held to the light.

Smells of cocoa, licorice, figs and dates. Some spice notes of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Taste is more cocoa and spice. Some dark fruits, molasses and caramel. A hint of vanilla.

Rich, smooth mouth feel with medium carbonation.

A good beer which has a Christmas feel and taste to it.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint, 9.4 fl oz, round, large bottle purchased from Super Saver in Somerville for $10.99...
Pours a deep, purple-colored hue with no carbonation or any head at all... barely any lacing around the glass, just a dark, blackish color with not much going on...
Very noticeable grape smell, with slight cherries and a hint of raisins...
Taste resembled the aroma, very similar flavor to a strong, spiked, malty, sour, grape juice that went down pretty smooth and lacked any strong alcohol interferences... Like many other Italian beers that I see in New Jersey, this one was also ridiculously over-priced and the cost mostly has to do with the "exotic" Italian factor... This isn't a superb beer to say the least - more mediocore than anything, and certainly not the best depiction of the style...
Not bad, but nothing above and beyond either...
For the price, it would be hard to recommend this one, yet at the same time, I wasn't completely dissapointed...

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color, with small, lasting head.

Scent of prunes, malts, slight chocolate, and spices.

Flavor is spicy with a subtle chocolate taste initially. Spicy grain flavor with the finish.

Mouth feel is clean with a nice bite.

I did enjoy this beer, but I do not think I will purchase it again at the price.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It pours a cloudy dark brown, small head of foam, near no lacing left behind.

Smells of dark fruits, yeasty, some spice, almost a tartness to it.

Fruit is light in the taste as is everything else. A bit of a shy brew except for the abv. I get some bready notes from time to time as I do some vanilla notes. Very slight tartness.

Pretty light bodied with, I think, too much carbonation.

Not bad but not worth the $$$

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