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Affligem Noël - Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Not Rated.
Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

543 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 543
Reviews: 334
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 35
Gots: 34 | 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)
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 543 | Reviews: 334 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of marc77
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pellucid deep ruby hue. Mountainous, steadfast, fluffed light bister head yields coating lace. Gorgeous. Upfront in aroma is an egalitarian mélange of fresh grated cinnamon, orange peel and floral, nectar like esters. As it warms trace bubblegum and clove add subtle candylike and herbal tones, respectively. Judiciously spiced and welcoming aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a transient, citric, lemon like acidity. It is ensued by a dubbelesque combination of raisin, carob and yeast derived must. Spicing is agreeably understated and complementary. Mellow ground coriander melds with the sweet, woody undertone to lend a sandalwood smoke impression. The taste reminds me of the aroma of the markets in Riyadh I used to go to as a kid. Lightly bodied and surprisingly rather dry, but superbly quaffable as a result. Becomes more honey like in its malt character, while carob and dark fruit notes diminish as it breathes. Residual sweetness never becomes cloying. Finishes soft, with trace dark malt and hop bitterness lingering parallel with dilute orange sweetness. A delicious, complex brew that sits dangerously light on the palate. Akin to a traditional dubbel / spiced dark strong hybrid. Outstanding. I should've cellared this for longer. Bottled 10/03.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep red in color with a thin, uneven tan head which quickly settles to a smooth, thin, creamy top.

Quite a strong, sour, musky, yeasty aroma. It takes a little while to work through this layer, but something fruity emerges later on. I have a hard time nailing the scent -- it doesn't seem to be any of the standards.

Wow! The flavor! Quite different from what the aroma led me to expect. Rich, dubbel-like maltiness, with a bit of orange zest, caramel, some candyish malt, cocoa and dates. Yeast comes through at the finish along with a gentle spiciness. Full bodied with a *lot* going on. The alcohol is warming, and lends a bit of estery goodness to the finish, but is not at all intrusive.

Merry Christmas to me!

Photo of SeanChouffe
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown/copper color, plenty of CO2, and a full, rocky, light brown head. Decent head retention and a nice sticky lace. The aroma is malty with spices (coriander) aroma hops and some astringency. The flavor has a sweet start, tart middle and a bitter finish, with spices and astringent flavors remaining. The mouthfeel is medium/full bodied with creaminess and light effervescence.
IMHO: A decent beer, but overdone on the hop astringency bit. Not well balanced.

Photo of genaro
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Affligem Noel 2002-03 season. This bottle conditioned beer carefully poured to a cloudy, dark red coppery color with a big lasting head. The aroma was yeasty and fruity. The taste was nice, sweet and winey and a bit fruity. It had a good body with a nice hop bite. The finish was a little dry and citrusy.
I liked this Belgian style beer more than some of the others I've tried because it wasn't as yeasty and citrusy as they were.

Photo of Hex92
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. In my mind this is the way a beer should look when you pour it in the glass. Great color, thick foamy head that laces down the glass nicely. Feels good on the tongue and is very drinkable. I would like to kick back a few of these in a single sitting but the price and high ABV (which is barely noticeable) make that difficult to do. This is a beer that I buy a bottle of whenever I see it.

Photo of ElGuapo
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alas, I will finally drink this one. This brew has been in my fridge for months now. I have taken it out on many occasions ready to sit down and drink it, but I always end up putting it back in there. Let's just hope it is not mad at me for sitting next to some left over shit beer for some time.

After blasting off the cork, a slow pour produced a murky amber brown brew topped in a huge mass of tannish foam. The retention is excellent, and I can already see the lace gripping to the sides of the glass. All is well on appearance. The aroma is initially filled with fruits. Dark fruits and berries. A nice array of spices are also found in the nose. Maybe a touch of caramel and a bit of grains thrown in the mix. I did also pick up a small whiff of alcohol.

The start is sweet with candies and fruit. The rich fruity flavor takes the wheel for a bit before being joined by spices. I really had to search before finding hints of alcohol in the finish which is mostly filled with toasty grains. The warming effect is mild, but it will do the trick. The flavoring is nice. It is not really spicy, so if you are in for a milder winter brew, look no further. If you want a brew with a nice body that is good in cold weather, you will not be disappointed either. It has a simple complexity if you get me on that one. Everything is very well balanced, and it makes a nice transition through its flavors. It is silky smooth, creamy. Drinkability is excellent. This really seems like a beer that a lot of people would enjoy.

Note: This one came out a bit cold, but it really thrived when it warmed (more so than other brews).

Photo of kbub6f
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge, coarse, maple-tan, hilly head on top of a deep, garnet, clear beauty. Foamy, clump, thick lacing. The smell is sweet candy, fruity grapes and a little yeasty toffee. Nice. Sweet, sweet grapes and alcohol give way to a tangy, sweet, fruity, full, creamy middle. Alcohol in the finish and some nice bready grains surprise me. This is just a nice, strong, sweet, fruity Belgian. Perfect for Christmas.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 ?

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.

Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
91 out of 100 based on 543 ratings.