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Noël - Birrificio Le Baladin

NoëlNoël

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

100 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 100
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.52%


Brewed by:
Birrificio Le Baladin visit their website
Italy

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: guinness33 on 12-28-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 100 | Reviews: 67 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a somewhat brownish black body (not completely black) with good head and lace retention. A rather complex nose because I seem to pick up dark fruits like raisins and black cherry as well as some yeast, minor hopiness and then some sweetness that seems to be beyond caramel. Not the most complex beer but it's a light to medium body, not really chewey but there's some sturdiness there, is actually pretty smooth, some more raisins, dark/black cherries, hints of figs, some caramel or candi sugar sweetness comes out and then it has a spicy finish. A rather interesting beer that was worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2014 15:58:52 | More by clayrock81
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Celebrating the holiday season Italian-style! Turns out its a lot like Belgian-style as the ale opens up with the familiar fruit and spice interplay as those darker, richer Belgian Trappist ales and with a familiar candied malt base. It warms the spirit, soothes the mind and makes families much more tolerable.

As the beer settles, it does so with the rusty, reddish-brown hue that casts subtle highlights through its yeasty veil. Its foam is eggshell-white as the creamy bubbles amass a blanket of froth that shields the beer from top to bottom throughout the session. The ale creeps along, leaving denoting concentric rings of lace in its memory.

Fruity and malty aromas align in the nose with raisins, dates, figs and cherries. Throw in the orchard fruit varieties of apples and berries for good measure, allowing a vinous red wine note to permit. The fruit is pulled together with lightly seared caramel and brown sugar for a taste that strikes the nose as "fruitcake" like. Spicy white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg sides with the alcohol for a balance that seems like spiced rum.

Soft and supple to taste, the ale simply melts on the tongue with creamy sweetness- starting off with the sweetness of powdered sugar, light molasses, mildly toasted coffee cake and slight brown sugar. As the taste of dried dark fruit fold into the mix, its nutty date, fig, sultan and cherry flavors reinforce the fruitcake notion. And all those Christmas-type spices do much the same as the fruity-sweetness is in much need of balance. But the ale trails spicy and slightly wine-like as a tangy and tannin-like finish looms.

Only medium-full on the palate, the sweetness would imply richer texture, but the soft and creamy carbonation keeps the beer silky and somewhat "feathery". As alcohol as spice builds, drier impressions are left on the back of the tongue until the finish is left with only echoes of cola nut, toasted grain and mulled spice warmth.

Where greater amplification of the ale overall would aid its vividness, its delicate mouthfeel is what is truly intangible. It simply does what the Rochefort, St. Bernardus and Westvleteren of the world do. We have a winner based on palate sensations alone!

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2014 17:21:46 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
Beer-A-Lot

Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2013 02:09:29 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2012 02:26:38 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2012 04:33:45 | More by drabmuh
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a coca cola dark brown color with fairly good head retention and light lacing. Not getting a whole lot on the nose with this one... some light brown sugar and chcolate is about it. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but there's just a lot more richness and intensity than I was expecting (thankfully). There is also some vanilla and cherry, and damn if this isn't pretty tasty. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and the finish is fairly long and moderately sweet. The alcohol is very well disguised; there's no way I would guess I'm drinking a 9% abv. beer.

While the pricing on this beer will likely keep me from ordering it again any time soon, this is still a pretty tasty beer from the folks at Baladin.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2012 21:01:37 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of MilanoItaly
MilanoItaly

Italy

3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2008 12:02:11 | More by MilanoItaly
Photo of spoony
spoony

Colorado

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a funky-shaped 750 ml bottle (code says L32/120) into a wine glass.

A-A normal pour produces about one finger of thick, khaki foam. The head hangs around for a minute before dropping to a thick cap that hangs around for quite a while. The beer is a dark-ruby hued brown color and very murky.

S-The aroma is malty and earthy, but less sweet than I would expect of a BSDA and a beer that calls itself holiday beer. There is some leather, prune, cocoa, and a touch of spice. The alcohol is noticeable and solventy in character.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with earthy prune, raisin, leather, and soil flavors. There is also some cocoa and a bit more spice like nutmeg and allspice. The solventy alcohol is also obvious, but it fits pretty well with the flavors and gives a bit of sweetness and warming.

M-The beer is soft and full in body. The carbonation is fine and foamy on my palate.

O-This is a tasty and somewhat unique beer. The flavors are complex and the warming, slightly spicy and alcoholic nature of this BSDA are mostly what I expect from a holiday beer. That being said, I could have used a little more sweetness to balance the earthy flavors. Glad I got to try to this and I would drink it again if given the chance.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 21:45:01 | More by spoony
Photo of CrazyDavros
CrazyDavros

Australia

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a small head.
Nose shows golden syrup, brown sugar, candi sugar, sultanas. Very sweet smelling.
Very similar flavours. Lots of rich sweet notes. Bready malt, golden syrup, dried figs and soft booze.
Needs more carbonation to help cut the overt sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 00:26:51 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 03:20:13 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of RyanDouglasWhite
RyanDouglasWhite

Michigan

4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 10:24:11 | More by RyanDouglasWhite
Photo of eduardolinhalis
eduardolinhalis

Switzerland

4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured in a mug.

A: Pours a deep dark amber color. Many particles floating. Head is beige and bubbled. Medium size, small retention and practically no lacings

S: Sweet. Caramel, caramel malts, dark fruits (mainly raisins). Yeasts and flowery hops

T: Caramel malts, yeasts and dark fruits. Mild sweet upfront. Moderated bitter aftertaste. Some alcoholic notes in the end. An authentic Belgian strong dark ale :)

M: Medium body and carbonation. Lighter than I was expecting from a 9% ale. Good sweet-bitterness balance

O: High drinkability. My favorite Italian brewery

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 19:06:00 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of JoeAmerican77
JoeAmerican77

Colorado

4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2011 04:49:32 | More by JoeAmerican77
Photo of Cozzatoad
Cozzatoad

Italy

3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle
Once brewed for the christmas period, now avialable all year. So that's it, christmas in october

A- Very dark brown, almost black. One finger of quite dense and thick off-white head, that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass

S- Dark malts on the chocolate side, with some dark fruits overtones (raisin, maybe more). A slight spiciness, probably from the esters, brings some light peppery notes

T- Very close to the aroma but maybe a bit of a letdown as flavours are not as distinct as the smell suggested. Delicate dark malts with hints of chocolate and liquorice, though still quite on the sweet side as sugar is easily detectable. Then some very light dark fruit notes, a subtle spiciness (pepper, orange) and a slightly acidic finish/aftertaste that reminds of red wine

M- Very light body for a 9%ABV beer, you'd actually say that this beer sits somewhere between 7/7.5ABV. Very smooth on both tongue and palate with soft, delicate carbonation. Not a big mouthfeel but a nice, delicate one

O- Drinkabilty is awesome for a 9%ABV beer. While strong dark ales are usually big in body and flavours, this one is a delicate beer that leans more towards subtle complexity (faint spiciness, that slightly vinous finish) and drinkability, with nice results

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 08:13:37 | More by Cozzatoad
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a large bottle of this along with the Al-iksir at Shangy's in Emmaus. My intent was to buy this and hold onto it until Christmas time with the family. The bottle had a sticker indicating that it was bottled in 2005. This beer pours out as a nut brown color, there are hundreds of little flakes floating around in the beer. As they settled to the bottle it formed a blanket of white flakes in the bottom of the glass. The beer smelled a little spicy, some roasted notes as well. The taste of the beer was a little nutty, but primarily had some yeasty flavors in it along with some spice in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer had a good amount of carbonation left to it. Overall it was pretty good, Wouldn't need to have it again but it was fun to try.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 20:58:43 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 04:41:27 | More by Sammy
Photo of Ochsenblut
Ochsenblut

Italy

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 20:09:30 | More by Ochsenblut
Photo of brystmar
brystmar

Texas

3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 03:54:52 | More by brystmar
Photo of mexikrainian
mexikrainian

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 00:26:51 | More by mexikrainian
Photo of mtbbaboon
mtbbaboon

Connecticut

3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 21:27:08 | More by mtbbaboon
Photo of blakesell
blakesell

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 02:26:43 | More by blakesell
Photo of ricke
ricke

Sweden

3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 19:44:22 | More by ricke
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 20:04:45 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 02:30:10 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of deadmonkees
deadmonkees

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2009 19:21:49 | More by deadmonkees
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Noël from Birrificio Le Baladin
88 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.