La Choulette De Noël - Brasserie La Choulette
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 66 | Display Reviews Only:
4.05/5 rDev +5.5%
My second La Choulette biere, I spotted this at my local and I figured I would give it a try since I had hadn't had any La Choulette Ambree' in about ten years. This one pours a rustic muddled amber brown unsure of what color it wants to be in my glass with a big thicket of foaming khaki tan head. Fine lacing left behind on the sides of the glass this is definitely a french style farmhouse ale, not as funky as Belgian saisons/biere de gardes. Aroma has tart apples/green raisins and a thick layer of fresh baked breadiness, very nice mineral water tone as well binds things together with light herbal hops blended in. Flavor is complex a light air of musky horse blanket, with tart apples juicy plump raisins or plums, with a thick slice of bread with caramelized toasted malts playing the key role here. Strength is well hidden I wouldn't have guessed this had that much booze in it with a blind taste, mouthfeel is a nice juicy round middle with a big dry finish. Medium bodied effervescent airy carbonation very nice texture rolling off the palate with each sip. Overall a likeable biere albeit a bit expensive at 9.99 a 750ml bottle. However, I'm glad I decided to revisit this French brewery not bad at all.
11-06-2011 14:48:01 | More by WVbeergeek
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
Away from the light, La Choulette De Noël has the kind of brown tone that was popular in the corduroy suits of the 1970s. Against the light, however, it reveals a sun-scorched amber that is recurrent in the amulets of ancient Egypt. Indeed, this clear, silken bière de garde ("beer for keeping") looks like it's something worth keeping. And drinking.
The beer's Styrofoam-like head doesn't hide the fact that it smells like a musty basement; mildewed fruits and moldy bread give this the pungency of the best French cheese money could afford. A soft nuttiness and light caramelization marks the malts, while its musty, woodsy, cellar-like character is simply unparalleled - and impossible to imitate.
I love French wine. I also love French beer (as well as a lot of other things French). But no one ever claimed that the French could brew a more flavourful beer than their Belgian or German or English counterparts, and I certainly won't refute that. Like most French beers I've had, this has a simple profile: moderate maltiness with a slight hop presence.
As per the French diet, this has a super-fresh breadiness. The malts in this offerings are made slightly buttery by light caramelization, which relates with it a plate of dried fruits (figs, raisins and prunes) as well as an initial cheese-like taste. The resounding impression is that of stale tootsie-rolls (a dubiously enjoyed flavour.) Beers like this provide all the evidence needed that farmhouse products (beer, cheese) share common origins.
The aftertaste coating my mouth is that of fig jam and chestnuts. How typically French. The beer is faintly savory, perhaps hops are responsible for this nearly imperceptible herbal element. It drinks with ease, although can't claim to be as refreshing as other lighter, paler ales. Like a bottle of wine, this is best slowly enjoyed and is wisely shared.
This brewery is a survivor. They've been doing their thing - the French farmhouse thing - since 1885. Unlike a lot of Belgian "abbey" breweries, you can be assured that this artisanal French operation is the real thing. Although the true art of Bière de Garde is basically as lost as the music of the Aztecs, you still have a chance to try the distinctiveness of Europe's forgotten brewing country - buy a La Choulette product.
03-23-2011 20:34:37 | More by biegaman
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two finger high off white head that slowly died down but never completely faded away..
S: The smell is somewhat earthy and has aromas of caramel and spices.
T: Sharing similarities with the smell, there are flavors of caramel, plums and spices in the taste, which has a slight amount of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink; the spices keep it interesting but don't overpower the taste.
01-21-2011 01:39:07 | More by metter98
3.6/5 rDev -6.3%
A: Dark ruby color. Clear. Very classy. Large foamy head.
S: Toffee, a bit too much.
T: Candi-like toffee sweetness. Fruity: figs. Bit of rustic huskiness in finish that often shows up in Biere de Gardes.
M: Medium body and carb. Finish rather sweet, since there's little to balance it.
O: A caramel candy sweetness reigns in this beer. I can't say I'm a huge fan, though others may like it. Personally, I wouldn't buy it again. But it's not a bad beer - I just tend to prefer drier ones.
01-07-2011 02:16:12 | More by jibbyvonjibb
4.25/5 rDev +10.7%
Review #600, a Christmas biere de garde on Christmas Day. Poured into a goblet. Shows very good head formation and a few rings of solid lacing. Fairly dark amber, could pass for an American Brown. Impressive presentation.
Smells like a very malty beer, with hints of cinnamon apples.
Lot of malt front to back, but no sweetness ever really manifests on the palate. The beer remains dry through and through, with a dusty mineral character typical and desirable in bieres de garde. Minerals, light spice and a faint suggestion of the apple noted in the aroma. A light hand was used with the spices here; they don't overpower the beer.
Dusty mouthfeel with significant bubbly bite.
Even though this is a Christmas beer, I think this is a pretty textbook example of biere de garde. It adheres very close to style, with minor Christmas-spice accents. Recommended for fans of the style. Good by itself, but as usual, begs for a nice food pairing. It would easily fly with Christmas dinners of all stripes.
12-25-2010 20:53:02 | More by Patrick999
3.85/5 rDev +0.3%
Beer bottles (75 cl. & 33cl.), tasted in 2009/2010.
Appearance : amber color, with white foamy head.
Smell : malty aromas and spiced.
Taste and mouthfeel : malty and caramel, nicely spiced.
Drinkability : a good beer in the French style "Bière de garde"
12-05-2010 05:48:50 | More by thierrynantes
3.88/5 rDev +1%
Appearance: Deep reddish amber. Moderate fine white head dissipates relatively quickly.
Smell: Bready malt notes dominate, although there's a subtle hint of dried fruit. Not much hoppiness is apparent.
Taste: The breadiness continues to dominate initially, but it's quickly augmented by some berry notes. The finish is surprisingly dry, as a subtly spicy hop presence makes itself known right at the end.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body - almost bouncy.
Drinkability: Pretty high - the almost effervescent mouthfeel goes a long way here.
11-27-2010 22:20:20 | More by rdickey
4.3/5 rDev +12%
Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip.
A: Pours a clear reddish-amber with moderate carbonation producing a rather thick 2+ inch thick head. Good retention and lacing. Very nice.
S: Sweet caramel malt, soft citrus and spice, and a hint of banana and clove.
T: Soft banana and melon. Yeasty bread. Mild clove and spice. A musty note and dried cherries too. Hint of black pepper. Sweet caramel malt and mildly spicy hops linger in the background. Understated, but a nice mix of notes. This one was nice to begin with and grew on me over the course of the bottle.
M: Light-medium body. Soft and smooth to begin with...turning toward a mildly acidic bite midway through. Pleasantly effervescent. An understated, but nice lingering finish. Superb for style.
D: Highly drinkable. An excellent example of style. I believe this is also a very accessible quality brew...bring it to a holiday party and watch the converts discover the true joy of beer.
11-23-2010 05:19:53 | More by mwilbur
4.33/5 rDev +12.8%
La Choulette de Noel
Appearance: Honey colored with a medium-large head, and good lacing.
Smell: Sweet candy caramel, slight apple, and malts.
Taste: Malts, apple, caramel, slight yeast (visible, too), and subtle spices.
Mouthfeel: Medium with a smooth, malty texture.
How about dessert? This would be great for dessert. The smell is very sweet, but the brew itself is not overly sweet. It has that malty dopplebock-like caramel backbone. It is very smooth and easy to drink, but not too watery.
10-09-2010 03:54:20 | More by megahurts4
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
750ml bottle on sale for $10. I was not sure what to expect from this beer but I was a little surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was a dark amber color with a good head. The smell was spicy and dusty, not bad. The taste was spices, dust almost like a dark saison but also made me think of Christmas spices which could be the power of suggestion at work. Overall I thought this was a good beer but I would not revisit it. I will however purchase their framboise next.
04-26-2010 02:15:32 | More by ArrogantB
4.2/5 rDev +9.4%
Nothing like a Christmas beer in August!!
A- A careful pour yielded a thin layer of tan foam, which slowly dissipated, giving way to some tiny bits of lacing. Body is a hazy honey color, with abundant carbonation visible from both the sides and top of glass.
S- Sweet and spicy on the nose... just like a Christmas beer should be! Aromas of burnt candy sugar and caramel malt are up front, with a nutmegy spiciness in the background.
T- Anticipated flavors of burnt candy sugar, caramel malt and nutmeg are strong, but not overpowering... this is followed by some restrained booziness, which translates into a nice, warming BUTTERY (diacetyl) finish!
M- Medium to full body with tons of texture from the unattenuated sugar. Unfortunately, this is spoiled a bit by the rampant carbonation.
D- Very drinkable. Would have again... and will probably finish the 750ml bottle all on my own.
Note: This bottle has been cellared for over a year (improving). Also, note that this review was done while the beer was approx. 50 degrees F... and the aromas/flavors/mouthfeel change considerably as the beer warms.
09-04-2009 00:05:13 | More by jgasparine
4/5 rDev +4.2%
A: Pours a dark reddish brown color. A small white cap of foam forms, and leaves hardly any lace.
S: Lots of layers in the nose. At first a dry oak aroma. Dark and sour fruits. Some sweet caramel and vanilla.
T: Again, a dry oak flavor up front. Sweet caramel with some slightly sour dark fruits.
M/D: A medium body, but a bit on the watery side. Some prickly carbonation as well. Easy and smooth to drink. I will have no problems finishing this even with the somewhat high ABV.
A very enjoyable beer. I will pick up more of this next time I see it. Something I would recommend.
07-17-2009 19:15:23 | More by champ103
3.03/5 rDev -21.1%
Reviewed from notes.
Picked this up at Wells liquors in Towson Maryland. Best by date printed on the label is 3/22/07. Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Fin Du Monde tulip glass. Gentle pour yields a 1/4 inch head that fades very quickly. Bone white head leaves a minimal lace. Color is a deep and murky earthy brown.
Nose- Some dark over ripe fruit. Burnt caramel, sour grapes and molasses.
Palate- Wonderfully smooth and muted caramel nuttiness. Sweet, bordering on cloying. Faint hint of finishing hops. Finishes dry. This, I believe, is past its prime and is begining to show it.
Mouthfeel- Under carbonated, dry and cloying.
Drinkability- Under carbonated, fairly monotone and unmemorable.
01-06-2009 01:21:48 | More by Kraken
3.98/5 rDev +3.6%
Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.
Best By: 22/03/07
Poured into a tulip a nice golden dark copper color, some carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, some islands left behind. The nose is malty, slight yeast, figs, raisins, plums, and some caramel. The taste is sweet, malty/yeasty, with some dark fruits thrown in, and caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a different Biere de Garde in my book, tasty, but quite not the same. Very easy drinking brew.
04-15-2008 23:54:24 | More by Wasatch
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
saw this as part of a "christmas beer liquidation" display. best by 3-20-09.
A - nice clear brown color, highly carbonated, big tan head.
S - Earthy, funky notes are dominant, light dark fruits, caramel and spice. Took a few whiffs and decided it was not skunked.
T - nice malty caramel sweetness, spices, earthy hops and a hint of must.
M - medium, medium light bodied, highly carbonated, dry finish.
D - nice, approachable and I got it on a discount!
03-28-2008 20:52:48 | More by barleywinebrewer
4.03/5 rDev +4.9%
Finally getting around to trying this one tonight as sort of a night cap to a fun evening in Greenville. Been sitting in the fridge for a couple months but I had never gotten around to trying it. Poured a very nice deep reddish amber with a good sized three finger plus high head of thick off white lace. This faded rather slowly and was replaced by a nice thick layer of side glass lace and a good amount of foam left on the top of the liquid.
THe aroma was rich and spicy. Lots of yeast present here, but at the same time very sweet with hardly atouch of alcohol. Rich caramel malty notes prevelant throught, really making a difference here, The flavor was very smooth with a rich sweet character coming through and balanced well against a dark fruity yeast character. Nice notes of pums and raisins throughout this one, really offering quite a bit of depth here. As it warmed a bit of spicy rum like flavor cae out with a touch of peppery like alcohol, but very nicely done. Very smooth texture and very highly carbonated, this as definitly a good choice here. It was highly drinkable and made an excellent sipper that was for sure.
Overall I thought this was a fine noel and a really good choice for the evening. Sometimes the style can wear on me but I think this was done really well. I would defintly get this one again next year!
03-23-2008 03:10:08 | More by mikesgroove
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
Appearance: 750 mL bottle finished with a cork and cage. Marked as best before 20Mar09. Poured into a crystal chimay goblet (330 mL). Rich copper color. Amazing head retention...it held for better than four minutes with clear bubbles which did not diminish in any way. Oulle dfrom my cellar and served at ~ 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
Smell: Earthy to grassy nose at first with a bit of sweetness and a clear jammy/plummy fruit sense. No alcoholic or medicinal notes.
Taste: Very sweet. Notes of caramel with a touch of earth. The fruity smell carries over to a pleasant sweet fruit flavor. Plum is the thought that comes to mind first. Not a berry flavor by any sense.
Mouthfeel: This beer has medium body. It has a lingering aftertaste, but is not cloying or overly done. It should be savored and enjoyed over time.
Drinkability: Bottled at 750 mL, it shoudl be shared. I would not suggest drinking more than a half bottle. Easy drinking without alcholic notes. A nice holiday beer without the heavy body.
02-24-2008 04:57:38 | More by F2brewers
3.2/5 rDev -16.7%
750 ml cage-corked bottle, best before end of 20.03.09:
Pours copper with a large foamy head that settles to a lasting cover.
The smell is of a touch of mustiness with caramel, earthy notes, some vague fruitiness and a touch of alcohol. Didn't get much in spicy area.
The taste is of caramel and a hint towards chocolate that comes through but quickly fades out, with earthy, herbal, slightly grassy notes way in the back. Something bland about it, though. Slight metallic tinges and alcohol peek through.
It is medium-bodied. A bit thin for a Christmas ale, but pretty smooth and drinkable.
It seems to lack in richness and depth. Not nearly as impressed with this one as I was with other offerings from this brewery. And, pretty mediocre for both a biere de garde and a Christmas ale.
02-13-2008 03:19:50 | More by jwc215
3.88/5 rDev +1%
Appearance: clear reddish orange in color. Two finger head lingers a while. No significant lacing develops during the session.
Smell: fruit sweetness and some yeast tones are mild but detectable.
Taste: plums, raisins, caramel, and a hint of honey provide the sweetness. Mild bitterness, some yeast spiciness, and hints of alcohol bring it into check.
Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Long fruit sweetness aftertaste.Medium bodied.
Drinkability: a pleasant Christmas time beer that is enjoyed slowly. Worth giving this a try.
01-18-2008 00:11:59 | More by Gavage
3.53/5 rDev -8.1%
Picked up a bottl e on sale as a whim. Opens nice, pretty good color- much like magic hat #9, very little head and no leg left on glass.Smells sweet and slightly citrus like. Taste is up front and lingers nicely. Would pair nicely with goose or duck. Probably would not buy again.
01-14-2008 03:00:13 | More by tyboxr
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
Poured a rich crimson red color with an off white head that subsided to a thin ring of film around the edge of the glass. The aroma is sweet and malty almost like a scotch ale but much more estery. The taste is very smooth and creamy, it begins with the most unobtrusive malt sweetness that builds as the beer rolls over the tongue. The usual belgian high carbonation levels arent found in this one and it is a refreshing example. The mouthfeel is very nice yet i might revisit this beer later as i think i might have got a bottle the leaked gas through the cork as it just dosent seem carbonated enough. Very tasty and drinkable yet a little flat for a belgian.
07-26-2007 07:30:39 | More by RenoZymurgist
3.95/5 rDev +2.9%
A: Clear ruby-tinted chestnut beneath an off-white head of frothy bubbles that holds well but leaves only thin lace.
S: Nose is limited but offers some light sugary malt and a touch of yeasty fruit and spice. Clearly a filtered (not bibbtle-conditioned) beer.
T: The flavor is sweetish, somewhat herbal, and a tinge musty with notes of carmelized sugars, fruit syrup, and raisins. Very nice!
M: Medium bodied with a delicate carbonation that's fine-bubbled but more of a median level than effervescent.
D: Although it's not one of the super-elite Belgian Christmas ales, it would be hard to argue that this one's not worth its cost. It's more of a mainstream ale than some, yet it's still full enough to keep you interested - and in a certain way, it's very much more drinkable. And as this is indeed a Christmas ale, I'd be more than willing to offer it to guests before, during, or after a holiday feast. Quite enjoyable!
05-20-2007 16:00:53 | More by NeroFiddled
2.73/5 rDev -28.9%
750ML bottle caged and corked. Poured into a chalice it forms a thin filmy head. Lace is ring like. Brown body with some copper around the edges.
Plenty of malty flavors up front including caramel, toasted grain and a slight bitterness. There is even a faint hershey's chocolate taste lingering deep in the background. The brew is pretty thin overall and doesn't have much of interest. It needed a sharper bitter, tart, sour, balanced edge but when it looks for the balancer it just fades away. Alcohol comes through fairly easily combined with a slightly spiced pumpkin bread taste. Not for me.
Notes: Slight metallic twinge at the end of each pull was a distraction. The taste lays down on the palate for quite some time and its a bit cakey. Overall I'd say this is a below average offering and certainly not worthy of another purchase at its current price.
04-26-2007 03:57:25 | More by DogFood11
4.2/5 rDev +9.4%
Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a St. Feuillien goblet (love the bulbous shape on this one), the Noel is a dark, brownish garnet, with only a slight haze and thin, light tan head. Darker then I expected, more Noel then biere de garde, but vibrant and appetizing.
The aroma is rich and bright malts, immediately reminding me of a bock, nutty and sweet with just the slightest funk. Yummy, but a bit much.
The taste's not nearly as robust as the aroma, which at first was a bit disappointing, but as I work my way through the bottle, I've come to really appreciate it (as well as grown tired of the overbearing aroma). This is a really fine beer. The palate follows the malty nose, caramel, brown sugar, hazelnut, some dark fruits and a really tasty, yet subtle boozy finish. This Noel is surprising balanced and smooth with a clean finish. The more you let it warm up, the more it opens up, particularly a rich honey booze, and well executed holiday spice. Or is that just superb depth from the esters and specialty malt? Being a Noel, I'm thinking spices, but maybe thats being pessimistic. Regardless, its very good and worth the wait if your bottle's refrigerated.
The mouthfeel is thin and light, but not in an unsatisfying manner. There has been a steady flow of streamers rising up from the bottom of my glass, although those may be more from the etched monogram in the center of the St. Feuillien goblet. Nevertheless, there's a pleasant yet light effervescence.
The drinkability on this was pretty high, although it can be a bit cloying, but that depends how quickly you want to drink it. Letting mine open up was a good call, and had the evening provided more time, I could certainly have had another. Overall this was an enjoyable experience, although I should have known that with a Noel Biere de Garde, I was in for an unusual treat. The best buy date is in 2 days, although I assume it's an 06 brew b/c the year boxes are 6-9, so I'm surprised that they don't call for it to be aged. Apparently they already did the 'garding' and found the sweet spot!
03-20-2007 06:29:48 | More by ccrida
3.63/5 rDev -5.5%
Very fruity and estery aroma. Smells like prunes and apples to me. I get some toasty malt aromas too and a nice blended spiciness that may be a yeast character since it's so subtle.
Nice brown color and clear. Very small but persistant head with good rising cabonation in the glass. Some lacing but not much.
Flavor is very fruity and estery. I get bready yeast at some points and cherries and plums at others. The spicy notes I got in the aroma I'm not picking up here. Decent hop bitterness but the malt dominates the flavor. Seems like theres a lot of caramel or munich type malts in the flavor. None of the flavors are particularly big.
Body seems a little light but the carbonation level is very nice and refreshing.
A nice, pleasant beer but I'm not really thrilled by it. I was hoping for a little more from a Christmas beer. I would drink it again though. It's pretty good.
02-06-2007 08:05:57 | More by czechsaaz
La Choulette De Noël from Brasserie La Choulette
86 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.