1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Affligem Noël - Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Not Rated.
Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

529 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 529
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 34
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 12-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Affligem Noël Alström Bros
Ratings: 529 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dgfair
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

750 ml bottle served in my Chimay Goblet.

A - Pours a beautiful deep amber color, with a nice cream colored head that fizzes down quickly to a thin layer. Minimal lacing on the glass.

S - Smells of sweet candied sugar with underpinnings of grape juice and apple cider. A little bit of sour grape begins to come through as I inhale more of the lovely aroma. As it warms, a little bit of allspice and nutmeg.

T - Tons of ripe fruit, toffee, and caramel followed by a lovely winter spice flavor at the first swallow. This is very nice and much more complex than I expected...a pleasant surprise. Some of the sweet/sour qualities of a nice flemish red balanced perfectly by the malty sweetness of a dubbel, and of course a little bit of the warming alcohol of a tripel giving this the perfect winter taste.

M - Mouth is smooth and creamy with the perfect amount of tingly carbonation. Very full without being overly thick...nice.

D - Mouth and taste lend this to being a very drinkable winter warmer. Now, you probably don't want to go out and session this, but I can't think of too many better beers to sip by the fire on a brisk winter evening. Cheers!

dgfair, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of theo692
2.53/5  rDev -38%

I had high hopes for this beer, but it disappointed at pretty much every turn. It's not a bad beer, per se, it's just not very good.

Served in Chimay goblet, around 37 degrees, and left to warm for about 15 minutes. 750 ml bottle purchased at Bevmo.

Poured lovely and with a nice caramel color. About 1/4 inch of foam, a nice rich brown, as well. So far, so good. But the flavor was amazingly flat, with no flourish or really much of anything. With 9%, I was expecting at least a hint of alcohol-ish, but...nothing. It was like drinking a dark brown Asahi or something like that. Might be a bad bottle.

If you are looking for a good, rich (and possibly spicy) holiday beer for the cold, dark, rainy evenings, this isn't the one for you.

theo692, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of DouggiePhresh
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%

It Pours a murky brown with light tan colored, soapy head which quickly dissipates into thin patches of foam .

I immediately noticed the distinct smell of scotch.

It tastes alcoholic. Dark, candied fruits.

The mouthfeel is syrupy. Light and sparse carbonation.

Very drinkable. I wanna say almost a Quad.

DouggiePhresh, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of rodrot
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%

Christmas in early October, why not? Poured from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle a turbid brown color with a huge pillowy head that took forever to go down. Aroma was malty and spicy, with some ripe fruit mixed in the nose. Taste was of toasty malts, dark fruits(plums and figs), spicy hops and maple syrup. There was also a winey, vinous note that added to the experience. The beer had a medium to full bodied mouthfeel and was rich and warming. Alcohol was there but it didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of this brew. Very nice and one that I will drink again, especially during the colder months.

rodrot, Oct 02, 2006
Photo of loving44
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

No freshness date on the corked and caged 750ml bottle.

A: Deep muddy brown with a thick, rich, foamy, beige head. Looks inviting.

S: Sweet ripe fruits, raisin, plum, fig, followed by citrus, black pepper and alcohol. As it warmed I kept getting a "soap" smell from it. A little off-putting but still nice.

T: Smooth velvety front followed by bitter alcohol finishing with hints of dark ripe fruits. Lingering bitter aftertaste all over the tongue. As the beer warms the bitterness moves to the finish with the fruit becoming more pronounced. A very warming brew. Dry finish.

M: Tingly carbonation, very prickly. Smooth medium body made light by the bubbles.

I found this to be a very drinkable brew for its 9%ABV, as it warms it just became that more delicious. I poured the sediment into my last glass and it was amazing, give this one a try if you come across it.

loving44, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of dblinkhorn
4/5  rDev -2%

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - Hazy, muddy amber color. There were about two fingers of soapy, light-tan head at the pour, but this quickly dissipated to a thin layer of lace on top of the brew. Little lace is left as you drink the beer.

Smell - Peppery spiciness and some fruity/floral notes from the hops. A mild malt aroma way in the background. Some moderate alcohol presense, also.

Taste - Dark ripe fruits are present right away. Sweetness from caramel, a hint of chocolate, and some molasses as well. A peppery spiciness accompanies a rich grainy/wet hay malt character. An earthy and slightly sour finish and aftertaste finish the sip off. Complexities and alcohol warmth increase as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - A bit on the high-end for carbonation. Has just a bit too much bite on my tongue and mouth than I prefer, but still not bad. Medium-bodied with some smoothness, but has room for improvement.

Drinkability - The lively carbonation helps to keep this full-flavored beer refreshing. Average as per the style.

Not a bad little Christmas brew, here. Certainly the best offering Affligem has at present, in my opinion. Recommended.

dblinkhorn, Sep 25, 2006
Photo of stephendr
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%

Dark brown – tan frothy head ; however , the head does not last long – nose of mocha , malt , red fruit , tawny port , and slight earthy – tastes are red fruit , tawny port , milk chocolate cameral subtle brown sugar - creamy , silky body- at chocolate slightly bitter with sweet brown sugar

stephendr, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of edchicma
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%

A very good brew, except for the lack of aroma. It purs a beautiful ruby color with a beautiful head. However, there was very little bouquet, just some light malt notes. The taste was much better, presenting itself with a nutty, malty quality that was almost wine-like. There was a pleasant, slightly sour quality present. The mouthfeel was smooth and refreshing, witha very nice tart finish. For the high abv, it was refreshing and easy to drink (could be dangerous!!(lol))

edchicma, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%

Big ole 750 mL popped open with some struggle.

Noël pours into a wine glass (it's all that was available) with a foggy chestnut stormy presentation topped with a dense rigid tan cap.

Nose is full of sweet complex nutty dessert pastry like scents. Some spicy cinnamon and vanilla.

First swigs: Quite complex and sweet. Malts are prevalant with a soft cake like prescence blend with a slight brownie cocoa blend. A touch of tart fruit and dates ease into the mix here.

Feel is a frothy shushy foamer that can really get foamy on the tongue. The 9% ABV is completely hidden, even while warming.

Last swigs: Reminds me a little of Rochefort 8. It is with little wonder that this is in the Michael Jackson Beers of the World book. Glad that I found this at the Beverage Castle, even if it is a little overpriced.

blitheringidiot, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Appearance: Pours a murky brownish color with a thick half-inch head of tight fluffy tan bubbles. There are quite a few bubbles rising that are visible through the sides of my Duvel glass to maintain the head pretty nicely. After a couple minutes there was still at least a 1/8" standing head.

Aroma: The aroma is dry and grainy with a defined roasty edge to it with almost wheat-like bread aromatics. There are quite a few fruity esters that remind me of raisins in particular. There are some more earthy flavors becoming a bigger player as the beer warms a bit. There is some evident spiciness that I believe is derived from alcohol. As the beer warms further, I can notice a really rich almost Barley Wine like sherry notes and complexity.

Taste: The flavor is very rich and malt driven. I get the chocolaty roast presence that I got in the aroma, but there is also a Melanoidin like earthy flavor here also that is a big player. The yeast plays a big role in this beer giving you a host of fruit flavors along with complimenting the bready malt character to make it more like actual bread. The beer is well attenuated and almost dry, but the alcohol is noticeable late in the flavor as a spicy flavor. There is a little bit of warming fro the alcohol, but not as intense as the flavors would allude to. The finish is balanced by the roast and dry malt as much as from hops. I get floral flavors here, but it is hard to pin down for me to determine if it is from fermentation or hops at this subtle of a level.

Opinion: I am really enjoying this beer. It has a really deep and complex malt profile going on that nicely compliments the esters present. It seems to change minute by minute, so you really can't get bored with this one. It is a little dry for my taste in beers like this, as I like them a little sweeter like Rochefort and such. This is still a mighty fine brew and one that I will surely partake in again.

SkeeterHawk, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of Brent
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

A bit after Christmas for sampling this beer in March, but the beer had no trouble waiting - this would hold up for much longer. Dense, robust flavor profile with caramel, prunes and brown sugar - just what you'd expect from this sort of winter fortifier. Surprisingly easy to drink for the heft - the alchohol was apparent, but not too hot. A beer for sharing on cold night.

Brent, Mar 22, 2006
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -2%

Dark ruby chestnut with a nice head of gap khaki foam. IT lasts a while and leaves some nice lacing. Aromas abound of fruit and spice, very festive, and this is a vintage bottle from 2003 we are dealing with hear, mind. Taste is all dark fruits, cream sherry, and some nuts blending together in a sweet malty diabetic alcoholic haze of flavor meld. Mouthfeel is sweet and viscous, drinkability remains high, but more than one 750 of this will put you in a sugar induced coma. Happy Holidays!

francisweizen, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of Sammy
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

Handsome dark brown appearance, with initial pour thick foaminess. Creamy mouthfeel, goes down nicely. Great meal accompaniment. Well malted combination of spices: cinammon, allspice, pinch of pepper, chocolate. This bottle's age is unknown, I picked it up in Severn, NY, and I am sure by the dust it was already aged. And so the yeast was abated somewhat, it's in the creamy mix but not prominent. Wonderful.

Sammy, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

Unlike most Christmas beers that are usually a big amber or brown ale with a bunch of spices added, Affligem's is a beer brewed specifically with the nature of such spices in mind. Hazy brown with nice carbonation and proteins. Rests on natural spices already exhibited by Belgians. The added spices add not only spice flavor, but roundness, meldedness, and aged flavors without the sharpness usually shown in seasonals. Obvious spices added, but difficult to pinpoint the cinnemon, nutmeg, allspice, or any others. They come together well to contribute to the beer, not over power it.

BEERchitect, Feb 08, 2006
Photo of TongoRad
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%

It pours a hazy tawny brown color with a tall billowy tan head. Aroma is complex and deep- cherries, plums, cloves, cinnamon, orange peel and nutmeg all seem to float on a platform of caramel and molasses. Some medicinal phenols are well hidden and integrated. The flavor is rich and dominated by the molasses and orange peel. The palate is full with sufficient bitterness and a warming sensation of alcohol. But what starts out as intriguing eventually becomes overbearing by the end of a 750ml., and those phenols become too prominent.

TongoRad, Feb 01, 2006
Photo of EPseja
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

Vintage 2005. Served from a 750ml. bomber bottle in a Chimay chalice at cellar temperature.

A - Slightly murky prune juice brown. Head is decent but not stellar, yet somehow manages to produce amazing lacing, even after it has reduced to a film.

S - Sweet, clean maltiness with a sterile, metallic tinge that kept it bright without being a detractor. The usual winter spices are all evident here, however no one of them is larger than the other, making a fantastic balance. Vibrant, floral hoppiness can be found underneath it all. Think untra fine cinnamon-sprinkled raisins and spice cake.

T - Sweet candy sugar with a round maltiness and perfectly blended spice profile. Dark fruits such as raisins and figs. Rum cake. Yeasty Belgian notes as expected. Alcohol is noticeable but mellow. Warms the belly like a Winter Warmer should; a very comfortable sensation like a fuzzy blanket in your belly.

M - Big and chewy, especially as it warms. Soft and pillowy. Carbonation is active, but not grating. Finish is sudsy and rolling. Nice.

D - An excellent Belgian Strong Dark Ale that could double as a Winter Warmer. Well crafted and very satisfying.

EPseja, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of WetCoaster
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

*2005 edition
*750 ml, corked and caged

Appearance: A bit paler than I might have expected, clear oxblood with a very frothy, full manila head. Very good retention and lots o' lace.

Smell: Vinous, citrus, bready, spicy with a good dose fusel al-kee-hol. Complex, tight and quite nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Huh. Surprisingly light and crisp. The flavor, however, is there. In spades. Pretty much everything in the nose carries over to the taste; there's a grapeiness, a tangy orange sour cherry fruitiness with a surprisingly dense base of spice cake. A bit of alcohol, but not hot or distracting by any means. Good stuff.

Drinkability: Good. It's actually a lot lighter and in control than you'd expect a big-ass Christmas Belgian to be. And it IS big, don't let it fool ya. Still, if your liver can handle it, this is actually something you could drink quite a bit of.

WetCoaster, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.63/5  rDev -11%

Aroma leans toward caramel malts, sweetbreads, rum-raisin, spice, candy sugar and white fruits..pear and apple. Color is a dark red/brown and the head is a firm, creamy two finger thick tan beauty. Flavor is moderately spicy with sweet malts and candy sugar some hints of toffee and apples. Mouthfeel is somewhat thinner than anticipated. The flavor concentration could be higher, but it has a good flavor range.

Jredner, Jan 25, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

This is one hell of a beer. The appearance is an impressive red-amber with a thick, puffy white head like a roll of Charmin ultra. Great head! Seriously, it feels uncannyily good on the lips and tongue.

The smell contains subtle orange notes but mostly reminds me of an American Amber-Red.

The taste is spicy and tropical with loads of caramel and yeasts that I associate with Capitol Amber.

MF is superb, primarily because of the outstanding head.

Drinkability is higher than most Noel beers of this sort because it isn’t overly sweet, spiced, or just plain candied citrusy.

DaPeculierDane, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Appearance- Pours a cloudy water color brown with a nice two finger head that lasts for quite some time. The head slowly recedes to a foam generated everytime I took a sip of this beer. Must also add some nice lacing was visible in this muddy brew.

Smell- A mostly sugary aroma hits the ol' nose holes. But not to be unrecognized is the candy like esters of no particular distinction.

Taste- Sugar is the first flavor recognized, then carmalizes a little. A faint touch of flowery hops hits the tongue, but only slightly diverts your attention from the complex sugars of this beer.

Mouthfeel- Great carbonation gives the tongue a gentle tickle, helping me to appreciate the good yeasty palate of this beer.

Drinkability- The great flavor makes it hard to not go for another 750ml bottle of this liquid magic. But the abv. makes it tricky to have another bottle in one day without taking a nap in between.

scruffwhor, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of jamesdergen
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

Appearance: Pours a nice, hazy golden-amber with a smooth, tan head that sticks around and leaves all kinds of lacing.

Smell: Smells kind of like brandy with some hints of vanilla and some sweet bready aromas.

Taste: Big, sweet bready flavors with vanilla, nutmeg, Belgian yeast and alcohol! Kind of dry at the end, like a good dubbel. It's very well-balanced and the alcohol is well-hidden.

Mouthfeel: Almost too smooth and not too carbonated. The alcohol is there, but hard to detect.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. It goes down smooth and the alcohol is not overpowering. I split this 750 with a friend, which is an ideal arrangement.

I have been cellaring this bottle since September and it was worth the wait! Very smooth and well-balanced. If you can find it, it's a great brew to split with a friend.

jamesdergen, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%

It says on the bottle this is a nice between a dark dubbel and a smooth tripel. I would agree with this analysis.

fizzy brown head, no lacing, quick exit. amber color, lots of carbonation. Fruit level is off the scale, dark, light, its all there.

spices are mellow, finishes dry, touch of lime. mouthfeel had a slight tangy feel.

Notes: In my experience this would be a run of the mill Belgian Stong Dark...which still makes it a great beer as the style is phenominal. To be average is an accomplishment in itself.

DogFood11, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

Appearance: Pours a cloudy ice tea brown body with a modest head and some lacing

Smell: Cinnamon, caramel, candy sugar, some dark fruit and a touch of ginger

Taste: Starts with a chewy gingerbread flavor that is quickly joined by a spicy fruitiness with a touch of unsweetened chocolate; finishes spryly with some warming alcohol on the way down

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a good dose of carbonation

Drinkability: Very sophisticated holiday seasonal; a great offering to include on the winter drinking list

brentk56, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of Blakaeris
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Pour mahogany brown with plenty of yeasty debris. Head is off white and very thick.

Smell is of sweet dark fruit, spices, and strong alcohol notes.

Taste is dark fruit (fig and plum), a bit of nut flavor, cinnimon, and nutmeg. Sweetly malty at first with a dry hop finish. Alcohol is warming and lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

This is an impressive brew. It seems to have stronger spice character than the typical Belgian dark. Very smooth and easy to drink. The only drawback is tha alcohol flavor makes this brew a little more harsh than I would like.

Blakaeris, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of bashiba
4/5  rDev -2%

Poured a thick cloudy brown color with lots of creamy tan head.

Smell was sweet with some maple and molasses odors.

Taste has a nice sweet creamy flavor with lots of spices going on, hints of maple, Chocolate, Nutmeg, and cinnamon make appereances.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full with a nice touch of warmth.

Drinkability is good on this holiday treat. Thanks to Blakaeris for this cool holiday beer.

bashiba, Dec 27, 2005
Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
91 out of 100 based on 529 ratings.