Pisgah Brewing Co.

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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #60
Ranked #9,570
4.01 | pDev: 13.22%
Pisgah Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 85 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage from California

3.24/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to (I think) mikesgroove for this one! Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip. 2007 vintage...

Unique color - a moderately cloudy persian orange body, with a milky ring of froth. Not much of a head, but superior retention for the ABV and age. Delicate sandy lacing.

Deeply funky vinous aroma with rose hips, melon, cork and vanilla in the background. Floral, estery, and unique.

Very strange palate entry - big waves of bubble-gum, cotton candy, and a hint of citrus. Very mild spicy hops and a background of clean malt try but fail to balance out the sugars which are only kept from being undrinkable thanks to the complexity of the yeast. Some spice throughout (can't place them, maybe cardamom?), and a candy-coated finish.

Rich almost syrupy mouth-feel with decent carbonation.

Spices and sweetness add some interesting flavor and aroma, but they substantially overwhelm the base ingredients. A well preserved but weird beer.

Dec 13, 2013
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marvin213 from North Carolina

2.61/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A little on the light side, it's easy to see thru the light brown liquid. The base is a caramel-coated green apple, and that's pretty cool! I suppose one big hit here involves the insufficient Belgian yeast. As others have noted, it's a little on the sweet side. The bready maltiness is subtle at best. It is indeed overboard on the sweet side. I don't wholly grasp all the chemistry involved, but what if more (better?) Belgian yeast were to eat up on this caramel candy even more? Would we have a higher ABV, spicier BSDA...or might we end up with more of an English barleywine? Pisgah can absolutely offer up some dope ass beers--and this one's okay--but it's a relative miss from them.

Dec 27, 2012
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akorsak from Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Happy Earth Day. A bottle that is at least two, if not three, years old. In a goblet.

A: The pale ale is appropriately named, a lighter golden color that sparkles in its transparency. Wispy bands of head are all that remain from the initial pour.

S: Sweet caramel, overpoweringly so; I fear that this beer didn't last until 2019 as promised on the label. Residual sweetness, thank you Belgian yeast, adds some diversity to the nose.

T: Not entirely gone, although that caramelly flavor is building in intensity. Light fruits, think white grapes and apples, come from the yeast. The ale is still well carbonated, the zesty heat of the bubbles coming through in each sip. The ale loses all sweetness by the finish, a dry landscape left behind. I can taste the tripel-like spice and strength combination; it peeps through the caramel flavors sporadically.

M: Just a little long in the tooth here, too much caramel for its own good. I'll be visiting Pisgah in less than four weeks; I'll be looking for a re-try.

Apr 22, 2012
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mothman from Minnesota

2.35/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours about a finger of white head. Color is a hazed golden yellow.

Aroma: A fairly sweet nose coming from this one. Some orange peel spice and other fruits. Maybe pears and dried red apples. Some yeasty flavors showing.

Taste: The taste is incredibly sweet, too sweet. It is so sugary. Has some of the flavors from the nose, but it's hard to pick them out over the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy stickiness. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with more sweetness.

Overall, I didn't really like this beer because of how overly sweet it was. It just wasn't enjoyable. Not for me.

Jun 10, 2011
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kbutler1 from Minnesota

2.86/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. I have had this one cellared for a while and it was time to bring it out for a tasting! Poured a clear copper yellow color, somewhat like applejuice, with a fluffy whitehead. Ok, so far so good as the look is nice. Sweet aroma of white fruit (apple and pear) with very minimal hop notes. Medium mouthfeel with carbonation. Wow, this is a very sweet beer. Minimal belgian flavors but very syrupy sweet apple, pear, and white grape. Overall, a let down as the sweetness of this was almost too much to keep drinking.

Jun 09, 2011
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter 2007 release acquired from mikesgroove, courtesy of the Little Guy 2 BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains apple, Belgian yeast, light caramelized malts, honey, some spice, some spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, spices and apples. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. A significant alcohol sting comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, there are some better beers in the style, but this is a solid beer with sipping on for a while.

Apr 12, 2011
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uturn from Florida

4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml caged & corked bottle poured into a vintage Westmalle Trappistebier chalice.

This bottle is dated Dec 2009.

A: As the cork was pulled out of the bottle a load "pop" was heard. The beer poured a hazy golden color with a one finger head which dissipated very quickly leaving a very minimal lacing on the glass.

S: The nose was sweet, with hints of bubble gum and cloves as well as orange peel.

T: The taste starts off sweet with bubble gum and candi sugar, and then I got some spices and pepper along with dried dark fruits and it finished more on the dry side.

M: This had a medium to thick mouthfeel with a pleasant carbonation level and a very enjoyable warmth from the alcohol.

This beer was definitely a sipper. As it warmed up, the alcohol become more apparent in a very good way, which made me slow down to enjoy this beauty. I only hope they make this one again.

Apr 07, 2011
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route66pubs from California

4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank awhile ago and just adding past notes.

A - Small white head with very tiny little bubbles. Pours a deep orange and clears up when held to the light. Some of the little bubbles remain, but not much.

S - Orange zest, coriander, and nutmeg abound.

T - Apricot and orange, with a Christmas spice. Great sweetness, too. Very wonderful and amazing overall from front to back.

M - Orange zest creates a zip, and the sweetness creates a syrupy feeling. This one goes down like candy!

D - very nice and extremely enjoyable. VERY enjoyable! But it feels like alcohol and that syrupy sweetness is somewhat distracting over the long haul.

Mar 24, 2011
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 received in a past trade with GatorBeerNerd. Thanks a lot Donnie!

Pours a slightly hazy golden apricot orange color with golden yellowish hues when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy white head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading over the course of the glass into a lasting cap that leaves sporadic chunks of lacing in it's wake.

Slightly funky, tart aroma. Earthy with lots of interesting spice, bready yeast and estery crisp fruit notes. I'm picking up some peppermint, clove and cinnamon as well as some cherry, strawberry, raisin, grape and other berries. Thankfully there is no unpleasant medicinal cough syrup notes that are often associated with this style. Hopefully this holds up in the flavor.

Creamy medium body that's on the fuller end. Well balanced with zesty spice up front followed by a lactic creamy presence and bready yeast presence mid-palate. I'm picking up peppermint, cinnamon, coriander and pepper along with cherry, strawberry and pear. Sweet dry finish. Very well balanced and the alcohol is excellently masked. I can't believe that this beer is 11.5%. I would have guessed closer to 7 or 8%. This is one of the best examples of this style that I've had and I highly recommend it.

Jan 09, 2011
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.24/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle from 2007.

Pours hazy gold with zero head. A whisp on the surface was all that got kicked up and a placid surface with zero lacing for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with raw sugar, honey, cloves, and booze-soaked apricot. Bubblegum, biscuit malt, and cotton candy follow through.

Medium bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel. Tacky and slick.

Sugar-dusted apricots, boozy fusels, and crushed cloves start the palate. Quite sweet with plenty of fruit and honey. A decent bitterness tries to balance but fails.

Finishes with lingering sugar syrup, spicy yeast, booze, and a hint of menthol.

Yikes, really not warming up to this one. Kind of a sweet, fruity tonic.

Dec 05, 2010
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PittBeerGirl from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer I have been waiting to try for a long time! 22 oz bottle poured into my snifter! Bottled 12/09

A- Body is a hazy dark golden yellow hue. Cloudiness is thick and dynamic. Pours with a 1-2 finger thick foamy white head. Head eventually fades to a thin collar and traces of lacing are left behind in the glass.

S-Nose is interesting and complex. A hint of alcohol astringency, soft floral hops, lemon, peppery spice, a hint of sugar, and an even smaller hint of organic malt.

T-Flavor is light upfront. Peppery spice is the dominant presence upfront with a hint of organic pale malt in the background-hints of lemon and sugar come through initially as well. The finish becomes spicier with an accent of soft floral hops, candi sugar, and the slightest bit of alcohol bitterness. Left to linger is a mild sugary sweetness and a big spicy aftertaste in the back of the palate.

M- Very high spritzy carbonation and a light weight-but full body. The amount of carbonation prevents the true consistency of the mouthfeel (i.e. whether it be full of booze or smooth and bready) from showing. Considering the high ABV-this masking is probably a good thing.

D- This is a very good, drinkable, BSPA. The hops seem to have faded over the course of a year-and Im sure the alcohol has too. This ale sticks true to the style (golden in color and not fitting the profile for a trippel). The alcohol is kept in check-it drinks like a 7.5-8.0% ABV brew. I am more impressed with this than my review reflects.

Nov 09, 2010
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wedge from North Carolina

3.22/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Winter 2007

Pours a bright and clear orange color with a disappointingly small, fizzling head for something named after the Flemish chemist who first distinguished gases like CO2 from air. Aromas of apple and white wine...sweet candied fruit esters and a bit of yeast. The much welcomed presence of pale malt enters the picture with the first sip. Spiced apple, honey, and candied fruit make up the majority of flavors, finishing with a touch of sweet breadiness. The honeyed quality builds as it warms in both smell and taste. There is definitely more balance in the flavor overall. Medium-plus body, slick, with fine carbonation.

I feel like I've been harsh on this one, but it just doesn't measure up to the deliciousness of other examples of the style. This strikes me as raw and one-dimensional...which admittedly lessens as it approaches room temperature. I got a little buzz going at least...

Aug 01, 2010
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mdfb79 from New York

3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting. 2008 bottle.

a - Pours a golden murky color with 1 inch of white head.

s - Smells of sour fruit, sugar, and fruity malts.

t - Tastes of citrus fruits, tropical fruits, malts, and sugar again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very easy too drink.

d - A pretty nice beer. Some nice sour and citrus fruits in the smell and taste. Would try again.

Jul 11, 2010
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from BA Mag Sep 2007.

Everyone should have a chance to try a creation like Baptista--plus, it's organic, so what have you got to lose?

Dark golden-amber color displays perfect clarity as scores of bubbles rush to the top. Full crowning of head with a fine beaded lacing from its high level of carbonation. Aromas of raw sugarcane, ripe peach, apricot and a kiss of black pepper. Smooth and creamy, with a thick body where the carbonation slowly rolls off the palate. Malt flavors range from bready to almost cake-like; a little on the sweet side to start but with enough hops to balance. A little phenolic, but more herbal/medicinal than bubble gum. Alcohol is noticeable and warming, with faint rum, vanilla and peachy notes. Finishes with a lingering alcohol and a drying maltiness.

This is a sipper for sure, and certainly a beer that will become more interesting if cellared. For a pairing, try ripe figs with a creamy bleu cheese.

Jul 07, 2010
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John_M from Oregon

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery the other day. I assume this is what I had, though it was listed as the Baptista Noel at the brewery (abv. was the same).

The beer pours a honey gold color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is sweet and spicey, with some holly and juniper as well. The beer is quite rich and sweet on the palate, though it was never hot or tiring. Along with a complex array of spice, there was vanilla, cherry syrup and light honey. The combination was very attractive, and I could see how this would be very popular during the winter months. Mouthfeel is full and long, but as already noted, it was not at all tiring or heavy on the palate. While certainly not something I'd want to drink by the pint, I still thought this flavorful was pretty drinkable, especially considering the sweetness and abv.

Another good one from Pisgah.

Jun 01, 2010
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nickd717 from California

4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber thanks to bring. I had been wanting to tick this one off. Thanks, Barry.

Pours hazy orange-copper with a small fading off-white head.

Aroma is pretty nice with caramel, candi sugar, Belgian yeast, vanilla, and some fruitiness.

Flavor is nice, a little bitter and boozy. Caramel malt, candi sugar, spices, and some fruity notes, maybe apple and pear.

Decent palate, medium-full bodied with a good carbonation level.

Pretty solid stuff overall. Amazingly drinkable for the ABV.

May 21, 2010
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farrago from New Jersey

4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Two fingers of bone white, super-delicate foam, as active as a beehive, causing it to disintegrate swiftly, a few fluffy streaks of lacing left behind. Translucent, semi-hazy liquid, mostly a copper orange which fades to a metallic yellow at the rims, few visible bubbles. Fruit-driven nose of concentrated, dried fruit in style apricot, pear, peach, nectarine, banana fruit with sweet cinnamon and clove spice, orange marmalade, honey and cane sugar, pastry dough, wisely eschews weight for lift in your nostrils. Medium-bodied yet with great traction across the palate, never heavy but has an insistent medium-firm grip. Broad fruit spectrum of pineapple, papaya, banana, nectarine, melon, apricot, pear, all with a caramelized brown sugar, honey and cotton candy coating. The cinnamon, nutmeg spice as well as spiced orange keep the overall feel light and bouncy. Even with its admirable grip, the carbonation whipped up sufficiently to create a musk, if not perfume, in the mouth. There's a kind of sugary innocence about the brew, however, the sweetness does begin to tire you out after some time. (December 2009 bottling)

Apr 27, 2010
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CBlack85 from South Carolina

4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Duckworths in Charlotte

A hazy golden/amber color with no real head to speak of. For a beer that has virtually no head it leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Big, bold spicy and fruity aroma. Very interesting smells, there are some very nice tropical type fruits and a faint hint of yeast. There is also a slightly boozy smell lingering in the background.

The sweet fruity flavors are the most pronounced. Lots of apricot and banana, I do get some citrusy notes but just hints here and there. There is also an almost artificial sweetness lurking around in there. I am also getting some wine like notes. There is alot going on in this beer, and it all seems to come together nicely. The alcohol is definately there and detectible, but not boozy. Medium/heavy body and very little carbonation.

This is a terrific beer, I have come to expect nothing less from the guys at Pisgah...

Apr 22, 2010
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morimech from Minnesota

3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage Winter 2007

Pours a clear golden color with a small white head that quickly settled to a thin skim of suds. Minimal spotty lacing is left on the glass. As I get deeper into the bottle more of the yeast gets stirred up and the beer gets cloudy. Aroma is that of white wine. Remarkable how much like white wine this smells like. The alcohol is also detected. The taste is more like a beer. The malt and the candied sugar makes an appearance. A little bit of a cider flavor. Finishes dry with the alcohol not really dominating despite the high ABV. Medium in body and adequately carbonated. Feels as good as any of the style. Has some good qualities but overall it falls short of the elite of the style. Worth a try.

Jan 16, 2010
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runningjoke from Virginia

4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a hazey yellow-orange onto a snifter. Thin head lingered for a moment before settling into a ring around the edges.
Smelled of dried tropical fruits like papaya and pineapple citrusy as well.
Taste sweet at first like honey-horehound candy. Crisp fruit moving to the back of the tongue with a citrus tartness. Finished down with a peppery finish.
Felt light due to carbonation but alcohol will keep you honest.
Goes down smooth and the taste changes as it warms to room temp. A great beer to enjoy slowly.
I tried this beer at the brewery along with valdez and solstice. I remember being impressed...but that's about it. I thought that I needed a second, more sober taste at home. I'm glad I did. I love this beer.

Jan 06, 2010
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ClockworkOrange from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, 750ml corked bottle. Poured into my trusty Duvel tulip glass. The ale appears a hazed golden orange color with about an inch of creamy bone white foam. Nose and flavor are of brewers candi sugar, spicy yeast, fruits such as pear, apple, peach, apricot, doughy bread, bubblegum, caramel. There is still a good bit of alcohol coming through. Finish is somewhat dry with a medium body and adequate carbonation levels. Very nice.

Jun 22, 2009
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rallison from California

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another very solid offering from Pisgah. Winter 2007 bottling. And Pisgah corks are a pain, by the way.

Light on the tongue with little to suggest 11.5%. Smells of spicy tropical fruits. Banana. The taste is rather fruity (again, the light, tropical fruits), with a fair bit of spice (think white pepper and whatnot) and some alcohol warmth. Candi sugar. Peaches. Nicely carbonated. Very drinkable with a lightness on the tongue that many American examples of the style fail to exhibit.

I would definitely drink this again; recommended.

Jun 12, 2009
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 750ml bottle from Winter 2007 with a Best Before date of 12/2019.

Appearance: Pours an orange-yellow body with a goodly-sized, white head.

Smell: A fragrant sweet and spicy aroma with vivid notes of candi sugar dosed fruits, aged spices, and good, wholesome booze -- particularly, a notable whiff of white wine.

Taste: Sugary sweet, lightly honeyish taste of pale malts and a heavy-handed inclusion of toothsome Belgian candi sugar. Almost instantaneously fruity, with rich, succulent tastes of apricot, peach, banana, strawberry, orange peel, and even pear. Why, it's a veritable buffet of fruit flavors! Splash of white wine. Toss in a few chunks of bubblegum. Earthy hops with some slight bitterness. Sprinkling of dusty spices, dried herbs, and, maybe, a quarter teaspoon of white pepper. Finishes rather sweet and rapturously warming with some lingering ripe fruit and spice hints.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-plus, somewhat lively carbonation.

Drinkability: Ole Janny Bap would be pleased there's ample carbonation to lighten up the proceedings, steer clear of a cloying nature, and even aid drinkability. Sure, at nearly 12% ABV, the alcohol presence is, well, present, but not heinously overbearing, thankfully. Another fine release from Pisgah -- now when the hell am I going to get to try that Valdez?

May 21, 2009
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dirtylou from District of Columbia

4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, split with the lady during the ncaa tournament

bottle #1/2 of this offering in my cellar

appearance: poured into a de konink chalice...medium straw-golden, soapy white froth with light retention

smell: candied sugar, honey, fresh yeast bursts, banana and clove, dashes of pepper

taste: love this one from pisgah...full bodied with a big alcohol warming...apricot and peach, candied sugars, tons of sticky honey, fresh yeast, lemon zest, bubblegum, fresh hops...very rich and very impressive

mouthfeel: rich, full bodied, alcohol warming

drinkability: nice

Mar 28, 2009
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joepais from Maine

3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I shared this one with a few friends thanks to Santa Deuane. Pored into a Portsmouth tulip glass not to much of a white head appeared and it quickly fell away to a sparse lace. The body of the brew was a clear yellow in color.

Aromas were very reminiscent of a Triple I got some apricot fruitiness with some spice but not what I expected for a Christmas spice at all it was hard to put my finger on it. This brew is big but you get no alcohol in the nose at all

Again it reminded me of a spiced triple in flavors as well. No warmth from the alcohol came thru but it was bottled in 07 so it may have something to do with it. Sweet and fruity not to much bitter and a medium feel to the mouth with no carbonation which made it a little syrupy.

An enjoyable Belgian clone not what I expected from a noel but good none the less in my book. At almost 12% not tasting the alcohol made it very drinkable

Mar 20, 2009
Baptista from Pisgah Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 85 ratings