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Affligem Noël - Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Not Rated.
Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

536 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 536
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 36
Gots: 32 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem visit their website

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
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Ratings: 536 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BierReise
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75cl bottle cork dated 10/02. Poured an attractive ruby red color with a tight thick head that had some staying power. Aroma is a classic Belgian one of fruity malt, yeast and candy sugar. Very nice aroma. Body is medium and crisply effervescent. Flavor not as good as aroma unfortunately. Has some metallic issues with a fruity malt flavor. Just average in that department. Finishes slightly dry and tart. Overall not a bad one, just nothing really interesting to me.

BierReise, Jan 15, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper/maroon color with golden highlights. Decent head retention and grat lace on the glass. Aroma was candy sugar, coriander, hint of cinnamon, dark malts, yeast and dark bread. Flavors that I found were a deep malt finish with a hint of cinnamon, a biscuity nad buttery middle and yeasty and spicy finish. Very complex flavors that really worked well together as the beer warmed. Mouthfeel was "chewy" and alive with slight dryness on the back end. Very tasty and very warming beer. I drink this on draught all night (and the pass out).

CRJMellor, Jan 09, 2004
Photo of AaronRed
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having had this beer before, I knew I was going to enjoy it. Immensely rewarding, it produces tight foam bubbles that persist almost until the glass is empty, Fresh smells of corrinder and or other spices are present, but take a backround to the tast, which is sweet with an underlying bitterness tha balances this beer out wonderfuly. As big as this beer is, (and high in alcohol), it's so smooth. Great choice for a Belgian X-mas beer.

AaronRed, Jan 01, 2004
Photo of Gavage
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Perfect beer for the holiday season. Pours a murky brown color with a medium tan head. The head lasted through half of the drink before becoming a spotty residue on the surface. The aroma was overall somewhat earthy, along with yeast, malt, and bread smells.

The flavor was full of malt and yeast, with a light balance of bitterness. Reminds me of a big brother to an abbey dubbel.The mouthfeel was smooth and a bit of crispness was noticed on the tongue due to the high carbonation level. The malt rides the tongue long into the aftertaste. Quite drinkable as the high alcohol level is not as noticable as in some other xmas ales.

Gavage, Jan 01, 2004
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am a tad bit nervous about this beer. The cork is dated 10/01 and I have been cellaring for about a year. I hope that it's previous owner took good care of it. The best before date is 13/09/03.

Pours a cloudy brown color with a good size head that seems to last and last. The smell is sweet with hints of figs, raisins and nuts. The taste is great. There is no trace of any alcohol notes at all. Although, I would say this is about at it's prime. The carbonation is starting to get very high and it is picking up some smokey notes. I don't see how this beer could improve any more. It could only drop off in terms of quality. It held up well. I think that I will save a Corsendonk Christmas for next year.

CharlesRiver, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. Aged for a year and a half (dated on the cork 6/02). A huge head of creamy light-tan foam resides over a dark chestnut body that teems with streaming effervescent carbonation. When held to the light, the clear brownish body displays ruby and brass highlights. The head retention is excellent, and it leaves wide creamy rings and craggy splashes of lace throughout the entire glass. And although the nose remains quite contained beneath its creamy cap, a distinct candy-ish character, some mustiness, dark fruit, and a touch of toffee come through. In the mouth, its very fine and natural (bottle-conditioned) carbonation warms to become quite airy, giving its light-medium body a bit of a bigger feel, and it passes across the palate with a quick zest that becomes pillowy soft & smooth before it reaches the throat. The flavors reflect the aroma with a candyish malt that's tempered by some sublime phenols and peppery spice. A touch of herbal hops and some minimal drying alcohol rounds it out. Along the way some subdued dark fruit, some nuttiness, and even a hint of cocoa appear; yet it finishes dry and powdery. Impressive! It's bold without being overwhelming, and it never builds on the palate. The alcohol is well-heeled and it finishes clean. This is a really nice beer to enjoy at a quite time during the holiday season, but I don't think it's subtle complexities can really be enjoyed within a party atmosphere.

NeroFiddled, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of clvand0
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby color with a nice amount of head and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is of sweet malts and fruits. The flavor is a little sweet with some malts and a nice bit of spices to make it interesting. It has a thick mouthfeel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

clvand0, Dec 23, 2003
Photo of Weissenheimer
4.88/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got the last two bottles of last year's Affligem Noel at my local beverage shop after hearing lots of good things about it. I pop the cork and pour, and the magic begins. The huge, foamy head soon becomes craggy in the manner of limestone formations. The lacing is luxuriant, and has a distinctive way of rolling down the glass as a unit after each sip. The liquid is a beautiful mahogany.

The first thing I taste is a lovely, smooth caramel flavor. The carbonation is perfect; it makes itself known without being overdone. The taste is spicy, with an anise flavor that's well-blended with the caramel.

This is one of _those_ beers. You know, the ones where you take your first sip and say "Hey, this is pretty good!" and by the time you're done with your first glass you're ready to give the brewmaster a kidney. The taste is big, smooth, round, and buttery. If I had one word to describe it, it would be "sumptuous". It's not tremendously complicated, but it's constructed so well - out of just a few perfectly-tooled elements - that it brings to mind a masterfully carved piece of woodwork. Incredibly smooth despite its richness, it sweeps over my palate like a thick sheet of velvet. This is one exceptional beer. I'll be getting a bunch of this and aging it for next Christmas.

Weissenheimer, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of beergeek279
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 750 mL bottle. The color was dark amber, with a wispy beige head. The smell was plum/sugar sweetness. The taste was a very nice sweetness, with tastes of plum, candi sugar, and a nice floweryness, and the alcohol wasn't even noticable. Mouthfeel was slightly heavily carbed. Drinkability-wise, surprisingly good, and could have many of these.

A fantastic winter offering. A nice yet uncloying sweetness combined with an unnoticable alcohol leads to a drink with a deceptive goodness to it. Quite good, and on the short list for Christmas in years to come.

beergeek279, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of sponberg
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great big bopple that's not quite big enough. Cloudy dark amber with a rocky white head and an aroma of musty dark fruit and hints of malt and butterscotch. Let's sit down beside the tree and see what happens...

ahhh, an outstanding beer when the snow's falling. Starts with a hint of background alcohol and complex earthy fruitiness - figs, yellow raisins, with some toffee and spiciness - anise and nutmeg maybe? Big and round, with the alcohol and spice showing up more prominently in the finish as it warms. Fair degree of bitterness to balance out the malts & sugars. A very fine Christmas ale.

Whaddya mean you want me to put the tree topper on top of the tree? I still have half of a glass of Affligem left! Can't it wait? You sure you want me to put on a 40 year old ornament after a fifth of 9% brew? Ohhh-kayyyy... it's your mom's ornament!! (sounds of nothing crashing) Ahhh, now back to my brew...

sponberg, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of crookedhalo
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich ruby brown color with a decent tan head. Aromas of malt, some Christmasy-type spices and a trace amount of hops. Big malt taste, and, of course, some candi sugar of the dark variety, finishing clean and smooth with the spice showing up again in the finish. Candied raisins, trace amount of anise in there, too. A small bit of astringency, but definitely not off or overbearing. I liked this beer a great deal last year and this year's no exception. A mighty fine winter seasonal.

crookedhalo, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a ruby amber with a thin head. Better than average carbonation can be seen. Aroma is mild hops, some malt background, a hint of candy sugar and some berry elements. Virtually no lacing, despite its ABV.

Taste is light malts, light hops, lightly bready yet full bodied. Mildly spicy, sweetish but not sugary with some tart character, like candied fruit. Cinnamon, nutmeg and spice almost like cayenne that bites the tongue. Very close to what I imagine liquified fruitcake would taste like.

Very smooth, almost no trace of alcohol in the profile. Light on the palate, finishes clean. These words may seem to describe a rather mild offering but together these flavors emerge as a bold, complex, strong but extremely well-balanced ale.

Cork was dated 6/03 so this bottle was moderately fresh but I would imagine this beer would only improve with age.

assurbanipaul, Dec 13, 2003
Photo of Crosling
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sinful and really delicious! This beer pours golden brown with a mountainous white frothy head. Large bubbles massaged the side of the glass with loads of sticky lacing. Gorgeous!

The aroma was easily the best part of this beer. I've summed up the aroma like this....Imagine a freshly baked fruit cake with sweet white icing glazed all over the top, sliced apples dipped halfway through the cake and sprinkled with cinnamon. It was stupendous!

Tons of pears, apples, cinnamon, sweet malts, yeast, caramel, dried orange peels and alcohol. I really enjoyed this!

Crosling, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of ngandhi
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 bottle. Thanks to Drew.

Sugary phenolic nose with hints of rosemary. Herbal and spicy, Affligem Noel opens up on the palette with a sticky, fruity sweetness complimented by firm, yeasty structure that lends a pleasant creaminess to the brew. The finish is, oddly, scotch with sweet phenols and Northern Brewer-like (read: classically bitter) aftertaste.

Relax, relax.

ngandhi, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a caged and corked 750 ml. bottle, it's a beautiful mahogany with a thick head that lingers to the end. Dark fruit and spice with noticeable yeast make for a wonderful smell. The taste is just as nice: complex and fascinating. Peppery flavors play nicely against the taste of raisin and cherry. With fairly high carbonation, the mouthfeel is nice and chewy. As for drinkability, the 750 was gone before I knew what happened. This is a beautiful beer and one I'll revisit as we get even closer to Christmas.

mickeymac, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep reddish brown with a huge foamy head,aroma is very malty and sweet like candied sugar and juicy fruit.Taste is of dried fruit and sweet candied sugar with some light smokiness that liners.A very rich somewhat complex brew good for after dinner like me right now.

oberon, Nov 29, 2003
Photo of rkhaze
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice pop of the cork as this one was unleashed. Sent a sweet yeasty scent into the air. Poured a nice ruby/amber with noticable
carbonation bubbles. Big foamy chunky beige head.
Smells of dark sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, tropical fruits, alcohol and yeast.
Big malty, complex taste. Lots of fruit, spice and a brown sugar sweetness. Slightly tart yeastiness and mild hops at the end helps to balance.
Lighter in body than expected with mouth filling carbonation.
Decent drinkability for such a sweet, heavy malt, high alcohol gem.
Gee, is that bottle empty already ?

rkhaze, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Beautiful, dark brown sugar body with a gorgeous volcanic head that rose monstrously, went down slowly, and laced the glass.

Smell - Big BSDA aromas. The malt is mature and deep, the sugars are dark and sweet, and the fruits (ripe peaches and apricots, dates, and plums) fill the nostrils.

Taste - This one delivers. The super-sugary malt flavors drip sweetness in the mouth. The malt is lightly toasted and heavily infused with the above-listed fruits and a giant dose of brown sugar syrup mixed with cinnamon-laced apple juice.

Mouthfeel - Some good carbonation, along with the syrupy, chewy, rich feel of the ale makes this one a mouthwatering pleasure.

Drinkability - The wonderful malt and fruit flavors, along with a touch of alcohol, helped this one go down extremely well.

Update - Popped a 2007 that I picked up at BevMo. Man I really like this brew. The malts and sugars are balanced towards sweetness, which is how I enjoy my Christmas Ales, and the exotic spices go well with the healthy yeast. Overall this is an excellent BSDA and one of my favorite Christmas beers of all time.

Update - Tried a 2008 right off the shelf and it definitely needed some time in the cellar, so I would suggest at least a year to get your money's worth out of this wonderful ale.

RoyalT, Sep 05, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, medium white head, creamy and very thick. Aroma is malty and a little spicy. Full-bodied Belgian Ale. Malty and slightly sweet. Typical Belgian yeastiness and fruitiness, orange, dates, raisins and chocolate. Spices come through all these flavors to add too a really nice tasting beer. Very smooth taste. High alcohol is warming without any typical alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and somewhat malty.

beerguy101, Jun 10, 2003
Photo of frank4sail
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 6/02 on the cork.
Red/Brown color. Rich thick lasting inviting light brown head. The head is sticky and clingy on the sides of the goblet. Rich caramel sweet malt and fruity yeast nose. Mellow soft flavor starts out sweetly with a soft caramel marshmellow taste which is then cut well by a sturdy yeast and hop bitterness on the tongue. Very balenced. A well rounded brew that is sweet upfront with a nice backbone of hops and spice in the finish. Wonderful smooth as silk mouth. WOW what a mouth. A very smooth rounded subtile drinkable beer esp. at 9%. Cheers to Jay V for this present during the holiday season! It won't be the last time I drink this beer!

frank4sail, Apr 24, 2003
Photo of AtrumAnimus
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This big beautiful 2002 Christmas Seasonal is pouring a nice burnt umber (reddish brown). The head is thick and lively with a wide variety of bubble sizes that eventually settles to a moderate head leaving lace down the sides of the glass. The nose is mild spiced malt. The taste is sweet malt, and strong hops with a distinctive alcohol flavor. There is a pleasant and subtle spice to this and notes of citrus. Overall a better than fair seasonal but not the best one I have had.

AtrumAnimus, Mar 23, 2003
Photo of Denali
4.88/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Package: 750 ml corked bottle, 2002 vintage.

Appearance: A lot of carbonation as I poured it into my glass produced a beautiful creamy tan head formed from lots of tiny bubbles. Beer was slightly opaque brown/slight reddish color. Very inviting.

Smell: Lots of different spices (including cinnamon), fruity aromas (including apricot and plums perhaps), and also some alcohol. Fantastic.

Taste: Oh my! The malt, the spices (so many, including the cinnamon I detected in the aroma), also a little fruity. Superb. A total delight.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation really fizzles in my mouth, allowing the flavors to burst all over. Joy.

Drinkability: Sheer pleasure.

Comments: This has to be one of my all time favorites. If I could live on this beer alone, I would. It is to be treasured. As the tag that came with the bottle says, "Brewed to be Shared." Thank you Stu (from Shoreline Beverage on Long Island) for recommending this to me. After having this one bottle, I went back and bought the other three that he had left.

Denali, Feb 22, 2003
Photo of Dantes
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: 750ml corked bottle, beautiful foil-paper label with 3 snowmen, carolers in corners, and a nice seasonal message describing this as “rich and dark like a dubbel, sumptuous and smooth like a tripel.” Serving recommendation of 44-48º. 9% ABV. No date

Cost: $5.99 Shop-Rite Liquors, Caldwell

Presentation: Affligem glass

Appearance: Cloudy, rich brown. Translucent, not opaque, but not clear. Stiff, meringue-like head lasts forever. Strings of fine bubbles. Strong lace as beer is finished. Bottle opens with a distinct pop.

Smell: Notes of candied fruit, citron, melon, stone fruits. A touch of Belgian mustiness.

Taste: Stronger than aroma suggests. Creaminess, yeast, and malty sweetness appear up front with candied fruit. Surprising drop-off in the middle. Initial flavors wane momentarily. Vinous quality appears on the finish along with spicy notes of clove and allspice. Sensation of alcohol almost non-existent. Perhaps not enough bite to hold up the sweetness of the malt. Just avoids being cloying. Marked down from 4.5 for slight flabbiness and weak middle.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is perfect; remaining down to the bottom but not harsh. Super-smooth with nice body. Flavors not as mouth-filling as I recall.

Drinkability: High ABV limits this. Would improve with a bit more edge.

Affligem Noël has always been one of my absolute favorites. This example was not aged as I usually try to have it, so perhaps my impressions may be skewed. I seem to remember that this beer normally has a more fully-flavored middle, as it expands in the mouth with a slight lemony-citrus backbone. In this instance, the flavor seemed to fade before finishing with the familiar spice notes. I have cellared the other one of these, so I may compare an aged example of the vintage.

Backwash: I believe that this beer is another must-try. It is one of the Winter Seasonal benchmarks. The flavor of this particular bottle was a bit thinner than I remember, but still very impressive. Delivers most of what the label promises. I rank it above Scaldis Noël and Delirium Noël. The Jimmy Stewart of Holiday Brews.

NB: I saved the second half of this bottle with a Vacu-Vin and finished it almost exactly 24 hours later. Flavors filled out just a bit and carbonation was remarkably preserved. Over-poured it, thinking that carbonation level would be down, and ended up with a huge cap of foam!

Dantes, Jan 03, 2003
Photo of Pegasus
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy mahogony brown color, with a massive thick and creamy tan head, heavy carbonation, and lots of broken lace. Spicy and potent aroma of alcohol and dark fruit. Taste begins with rich malt flavor, cloves, cinnamon, and a surge of stinging carbonation, gives way to strong pepper and alcohol notes, finishing with bitter chocolate and strong hops. The alcohol is quite warming and very potent, devastatingly so. An absolutely superior beer - one of the best I have ever had.

Pegasus, Dec 31, 2002
Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml conditioned bottle, 2002 vintage.

Dark mahogany brown color, two fingered off-white head that is very thick and creamy. Aroma of musty cork and vinous undertones with bigger aromas of chocolate and tropical fruit as it warms up. Flavor is a brilliantly evenhanded mix of caramel, dates, raisins, chocolate bitter orange, and spiciness. A good amount of yeast as well let alone the big warming alcohol that holds faint solvent and tropical fruit in the back. A full bodied and rounded brew, a dollop of residual sweetness. Creamy on the tongue. A sipping brew to have with some holiday dessert, one of the many winter seasonals that should be on your list.

Jason, Dec 28, 2002
Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
91 out of 100 based on 536 ratings.