Noël - Birrificio Le Baladin
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
3.75/5 rDev -4.3%
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.
07-15-2011 20:58:43 | More by Knapp85
3.68/5 rDev -6.1%
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.
03-20-2011 04:41:27 | More by Sammy
3.53/5 rDev -9.9%
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.
02-12-2011 20:09:30 | More by Ochsenblut
3.1/5 rDev -20.9%
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.
02-03-2011 03:54:52 | More by brystmar
3.5/5 rDev -10.7%
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.
08-03-2010 00:26:51 | More by mexikrainian
3.58/5 rDev -8.7%
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.
01-10-2010 21:27:08 | More by mtbbaboon
3.7/5 rDev -5.6%
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.
11-21-2009 02:26:43 | More by blakesell
3.35/5 rDev -14.5%
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.
10-15-2009 19:44:22 | More by ricke
3.5/5 rDev -10.7%
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.
10-09-2009 20:04:45 | More by jjayjaye
3.53/5 rDev -9.9%
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.
09-28-2009 02:30:10 | More by Phyl21ca
4.5/5 rDev +14.8%
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.
08-12-2009 19:21:49 | More by deadmonkees
4/5 rDev +2%
Noel is an intensely dark brown colored beer, topped with a thick beige foam. It's a nice-looking brew, and the aroma is rich with chocolate, fruit (plum, pear, and cherry), and roasted malts. Wonderful aroma. The beer's taste is quite sweet, with the chocolate theme continuing from the smell. It's smooth and modestly carbonated. The alcohol is expertly hidden...you don't realize the ABV of this beer until you've had plenty. Low hop flavor (also aroma), this is a malt-centric beer. Well done.
04-17-2009 19:59:05 | More by Suds
4.08/5 rDev +4.1%
A - Dark brown with a ruby red glow, chunky almost with lots of visible carbonation and laces quite nicely.
S - Smells sweet and malty, with lots of fruit flavours and a hint of sourness from the yeast.
T - Starts quite sweet and very malty, lots of flavours of dark fruit, cherries, blackberries and molassess. Has a dry quirky finish which helps to hide the high ABV.
M - Perhaps a bit overcarbonated, but nicely medium bodied, not too heavy.
D - Surprisingly decent for something so strong, dark and sweet.
01-15-2009 20:29:12 | More by Quej
3.28/5 rDev -16.3%
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.
12-28-2008 20:58:33 | More by nick76
3.23/5 rDev -17.6%
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.
12-21-2008 12:02:11 | More by MilanoItaly
3.83/5 rDev -2.3%
A: Copper/Red with a nice and quite light white head.
S: Spices, Herbs, Caramel, Dark fruit.
T: Caramel, Herbs, Spices (pepper among others), Licorice.
M: Sweet with a creamy but rather thin body. Alot of carbonation in this one.
This beer was extremely drinkable due to its high carbonation. Still, i hoped for some more body and more everything with this beer. Would i drink it again, yes indeed. Dunno if i would cough up the 10E this beer cost me tho. Give it a shot!
12-15-2008 20:52:51 | More by baggio
4.18/5 rDev +6.6%
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.
12-03-2008 07:47:29 | More by corby112
3.48/5 rDev -11.2%
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
11-22-2008 18:51:00 | More by hopdog
3.68/5 rDev -6.1%
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.
10-11-2008 23:51:11 | More by paco1029384756
3.65/5 rDev -6.9%
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.
07-23-2008 17:49:08 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.43/5 rDev +13%
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.
04-20-2008 01:33:26 | More by GatorBeerNerd
3.73/5 rDev -4.8%
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...
03-21-2008 00:58:47 | More by dsa7783
4.1/5 rDev +4.6%
Christmas tasting with biegaman, grub and ThatWineGuy, biegaman brought this one out!
Pours a clear red/brown, almost copper, thick tan head forms, settles down to a solid ring and layer, some lace spots. Smell is neat, sweet, caramel, very malty, spices, wood, apples, spice, unique. Taste is caramel covered apples, spices, lots of lighter fruits, almost tropical, bread, bit of a sour funk and spice finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, nice, smooth, interesting flavours, I like it. Thanks Jan!
02-10-2008 02:19:58 | More by Viggo
4.22/5 rDev +7.7%
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!
02-09-2008 05:15:02 | More by Douglas14
2.6/5 rDev -33.7%
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!
01-23-2008 00:48:44 | More by morebeergood
Noël from Birrificio Le Baladin
88 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.