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Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël) | Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

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BA SCORE
83
good
109 Reviews
THE BROS
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Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël)Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
Belgium
brasserielefebvre.be

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
In the beginning, it was only brewed in the winter and was called Barbãr Winter Bok. However, since 2008 the consumer decided otherwise.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 12-10-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
109
Ratings:
191
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
17.44%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
23
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 191
Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Barbãr Bok has a stylish look: bubbly foam atop of sleek black liquid. It reminds me of a piano key, the off-white tint is reminiscent of old, tarnished ivory. Opaque and serious, the beer's actual appearance is a stark contrast to the easy-to-dismiss, cartoonish, pixelated cave-art label.

Some people may know this beer as 'Barbãr De Noël' and, indeed, this winter seasonal is highly suggestive of the holiday season; the aroma brims with baking spices and brown sugar sweetness. Most prominent is probably anise, but it's followed closely behind by coriander, nutmeg, clove and orange zest.

A curious thing about the Barbãr beers is that the honey is added during the boil. As result, it doesn't factor nearly so much into the flavour, although given the strong presence of black licorice, bitter orange peel, fennel and pantry spice, there's a good chance it wouldn't be noticed much anyhow.

Barbãr Bok is a beer of strength but not body; it's a featherweight offering despite the deep, dark flavours. Malt is really not this beer's strong suit. The not-so-subtle 8.5% combines with earthy notes of fennel and anise and spicy cardamom to create a miniature Fernet or Absinthe of sorts.

Barbãr Bok is as good a digestif as standard Barbãr is an aperitif. I very much enjoy the distinctive character of both though I can see why others may not. Still, I'd recommend this darker version to anyone in cold climates given the spicy, sweet, savory profile is perfectly suited to holiday drinking.

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Photo of stevoj
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Pub L'Escale - Riems, France. Sweetish brew, dark brown in color. Decent but have had better Belgians and their so called 'Boks". Somewhere between an Oud Bruin and a Dubbel

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Photo of Zet
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown/black colour with a steady crispy head of foam that holds quite well. Fairly weak smell of yeast and caramel. The taste is alright with caramel, honey, orange, malt and yeast flavours, with honey and mild hops in the aftertaste, but it's also a bit bland. This beers seems to be missing complexity. The alcohol mixes nicely with the other flavours though, and this beer has a smooth mouth feel (probably due to the honey) and gives a warming feeling afterwards. They shouldn't call it bok though: you simply expect something more bitter and pronounced. Please relabel this beer as Noël (X-mas) again, instead of this shameless freeride on the dutch 'herfstbok' market.

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Photo of Arthuros
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very sweet dark, little to no bitterness or sourness. Quite fizzy. Color very reminiscent of soda.
Tastes like honey dissolved inside a light dark ale.
A little heavy if it starts too warm, I'd go with 33cl or half pints if on tap, needs to stay cold.

Flavors include orange peel (tangy), a little caramel (color gives that away), spices.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. Bottled at 2014/9/25. Poured into tulip.

A: Nearly opaque black. Poured with thin head.
S: Toasted honey bread.
T: Caramel. Medium- sweet. Slightly orange peel. A touch of chocolate. Drying out when finish.
M: High carbonation. Medium bodied.
O: Much dryer than I expected, which is actually I preferred though. Perhaps it is why the "winter" word has been removed. A good brew, but I'd expect more complex flavors.

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Photo of Kampfar
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap in Babar mug, dark brown beer, sweet smell of honey and malt, light brown head, full creamy mouthtaste dominated by malt and honey, less hops and very less alcoholic taste, aftertaste with light hoppy dryness and a rich malty taste.

 239 characters

Photo of TheDoctor
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

SERVICE: Bottle
Best Before: 03/17/2016


A:
Pours coke-colored thick black, a touch red when held to light with three fingers of really effervescent head that actively evaporates to a barely-there ring. No retention; no lacing. (3.25)

S:
Spiced biscuit. Dark fruits, coriander, leather, yeast spiciness, some bitter chocolate in the background. (3.5)

T:
Sweet and spiced, warm. Sweet foamy explosion in your mouth with cherries, oak, bready sweetness, spiced rum. (3.75)

M:
Pretty intense. Very carbonated (a bit too much for me), a little thin with a sticky sweetness and medium-full body that is accentuated with a noticeable alcoholic warmth. (3.5)

O:
Rich, warming Honey Beer.
An interesting beer, but definitely a different one in many respects.
It isn't much to look at but is a roller coaster to drink. Lots of woody, sweet aromas dominate the nose with a lot of alcohol in it, with the flavor beeing similar. Tons of carbonation up front with sweet earthy flavors creeping up and a mead-like burn at the finish. There is a lingering sweetness that is a bit sticky and the alcohol (to me) tastes a little more prominent that a wine but definitely less than a hard liquor. Honestly it reminds me of Dr. Pepper with a little more body and a shot of Havana Club. Not bad, not mind-blowing, interesting.
Might have again; worth a shot if you see it and like this sort of beer. (3.5)

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Photo of seedyone
4/5  rDev +9%

12/25/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Part of a flight. Raisins, raisins, raisins. And then...some orange but overall this one of the subtlest 'strong' ales. Must revisit in larger quantities. Repeat. Must revisit in larger quantities Repeat. Must revi....

 256 characters

Photo of John656
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with lots of carbonation present. The off-white head builds up nicely but dissolves almost completely to around the rim.

S - Dark fruits and molasses with something herbaceous.

T - The most dominant flavours extend from the nose. This beer is sweet but not too sweet and is nicely balanced with some subtle hints of berries, plum and honey. The flavours don't linger too long and give way to a dry, earthy finish.

M - Medium-bodied with a little too much carbonation. This easy drinking beer feels much lighter than it actually is.

O - Not a bad Strong Dark Ale but certainly not one of the best. This beer is not as complex as others in this weight class but I still enjoyed it because it felt like a lighter sipping beer. The flavour combination is unique and represents a nice change from the norm.

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Photo of MarkoNm
2.71/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Pours a clear, deep brown almost black color, topped with a tan colored head, with decent retention.
The aroma is malty with the addition of some honey - pleasant.
The taste is quite bittery, finishing with a roasty feel. Quite strong but still drinkable.

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Photo of BucBasil
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 330mL bottle into a Chimay chalice at Jing An Temple in Shanghai China.

A: The beer is a nice black color without much light coming through. Head is light tan, foamy, and stays on the sides of the glass very nicely.

S: Why/How is this so fruity? Berry and yeast character. Showing its Belgian side very readily. Some nice smooth malt in the middle. More along the lines of a dubbel.

T: Berry and anise amid the yeasts an the malt. Pretty crazy tasting. All over the place. Again a bit like a dubbel. Delicious but very unexpected.

M: Nice and smooth.

O: No way to see this coming. You see "bok" in the name and think huge malt bomb. But this is essentially a solid Belgian. Really good.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: brown 330mL bottle, interesting label for a Belgian beer - something a bit different.

Appearance: dark brown in colour with ruby highlights against the light. A frothy tan head leaps up two-fingers, and quickly drops with odd fizzing on top. Very little retention or lacing.

Aroma: definite dark fruits, honey and some spices, with some anise in the background. Something else almost quite over the top, which I later identified as the honey.

Taste: an almost saccharin sweetness from the honey and a molasses character, those fruits coming through again also. The pungent sweetness is somewhat balanced with a decent amount of sourness through that anise and herbs. It's certainly full flavoured, though the sweetness is not my sort of thing.

Aftertaste: the sweetness backs off a bit, to be replaced by more of that mouth-filling sourness. More my sort of flavour. Pretty tasty!

Mouth feel: medium in body with a light and yet somehow spritzy-feeling carbonation. Clean and crisp.

Overall: a full flavoured Belgian Strong Dark, different to the ones I've had before - much stronger and with plenty more sourness to marry up with the sweetness. Only detractor is the AU$120+ per case price (2013).

 1,212 characters

Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml thumbler served from tap at Bruxelles Café - Lausanne.

A: Pours a very dark amber color forming a good one to two fingers creamy beige head. Good retention, forming and leaving some thin lacings around

S: Strong notes of dark fruits, spices and honey. Sweet grains. Bready Belgium style yeasts

T: Sweet upfront. Sweet caramel, dark fruits (plums, mainly), spices (cinnamon?) and honey. Brown bread. Belgian yeasts. Slightly earthy. Light hoppy bitterness in the end. Strong Belgian character. A bit alcohol warming

M: Medium and bit molasses body. Medium carbonation too. Malty bittersweet aftertaste

O: Good drinkability. Good winter ale. Recommended

 664 characters

Photo of Douberd
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ml brown bottle, with a swing top cap, poured into a snifter glass. ABV is 8,5%.

Pours a very brown colour, almost black, with a good two finger head, beige in colour, with average retention. Very light lacing left behind, although some foam persists on the beer's surface.
Very nice sweet smell. Lots of honey in the aroma, pretty much overpowers everything else. Some light alcohol aroma too.
Taste is sweet-sour, with less honey now and more flavours of dark fruits,red grapes,molasses. Tastes quite like a good red wine.
Quite carbonated with a medium to full body.
Great beer.

 587 characters

Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep amber colored body, verges on black, surmounted by a thick, dense and creamy tan head, which retains well. Thin, fine-beaded lacing utterly coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Dark fruits and spices (coriander, cloves) dominate the aroma. There is also a fairly prominent aroma of dark bread. The purported orange rind is not discernible.

Taste: Opens with strong dark bread notes, soon after a subdued winter spice presence makes itself known, quickly followed by spicy, slightly warming alcohol. The dark malt offers some earthy, smoky flavors as the taste unfolds. Toward the end of the taste, bitter cocoa and earth notes assert, and a moderate wave of metallic hops draws the taste to a close.

Mouth feel: Smooth and fairly soft, a touch thin.

Drinkability/notes: Not spectacular, but neither is it bad. Worth a try on a cold Winter's night.

Presentation: Packaged in an eleven point two ounce Euro-style brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

 1,017 characters

Photo of Aethien
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with a fizzy tan head that fades to a thick film on the beer.

Smells like fruit, blackberries and blueberries mainly with some hints of strawberry in there as well. Slightly artificial fruit though. It's hard to smell anything past the fruits but there's some chocolaty malts in there as well, it's all very very sweet though. I loved the smell when I first got it but now that I'm drinking the beer it's less appetizing and a bit too artificially sweetened.

Taste is full of fruits again and just as sweet, it takes a lot of effort to taste much of anything past the fruity yeast and sweetness. Add a noticeable amount of alcohol to it and the thick, creamy mouthfeel and this beer is very enjoyable for the first few sips and goes downhill after that.

As mentioned, the mouthfeel is very thick and creamy, almost like you're drinking fruity yoghurt instead of beer.

Overall, this beer started out wonderful but went downhill quickly for me because of the overly sweet nose and taste and the thick mouthfeel that make it hard to drink. Still, it's worth trying, if only because it's so different from the norm for the style.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

This is no longer named Barbãr Winter Bok, it's just Barbãr Bok, and has been so for some time.

APEARANCE: Black runny body, not creamy looking. Craggy beige Belgian head.

SMELL: Chocolate, hint of dandelion & burdock, roasty malts.

TASTE: Bitter rum and coke alcohol flavour which is too strong. Non of the chocolate I was anticipating. Some dandelion & burdock, reminiscent of the Floreffe dubel by the same brewery. Tingly numbing sensation on the tongue which leads me to think it may be off but I see others have reported the same alcohol burn.

OVERALL: Lots of character but totally lacking in refinement. Alcohol flavour way out of control for an 8% beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A very dark hazy brown, almost pitch black with a 1/2 inch of mocha colored head. Belgium dark ale indeed.

S - Smell is mostly fruity yeasts and dark fruits but I can smells some mild honey.

T - Well not much for sweetness of honey and the taste may impact some coriander or orange peel but the yeast and dark fruit is too overpowering to deliver those "hidden" qualities. Noticeable ABV makes it hard to drink.

M - It's medium to heavy so a very dark Belgium winter bock.

Overall I really don't like dark Belgium ales and this one assures of the dislike.

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Photo of Intrinsic
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to be honest, I don't even know if I'm reviewing the right beer or not. Mine just says Barbãr Bok, but it has all the same qualities that everyone else seems to report so I'll have to assume that's the one.

Its a very dark brown colour - even held up to the outside light you can hardly see through it. Nice light brown head, although it disappears quickly. Nice lacing.

The smell is sweet, with fruits and malt dominating but not overpowering. Its very nice, and leads well into the taste. I was worried the honey would make this way too sweet, but it's very well balanced by the bitter finish. It's also quite dry and well carbonated. Overall, this is a stand-out beer. It definitely lives up to the Belgian standard.

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Photo of Kacid
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip Glass

Appearance: Pepsi-colored with a pepsi-like colored foam. Both fine and medium sized bubbles that float on a creamy head. Nice, thick lacing that follows the long-lasting head.

Nose: Anise, pepsi, sweet alcohol, herbal, herbal soda (like Mr.Green), spicy. Strong smell of honey
Warmed up: the nose smells like purple grape kool-aid, dark bitter chocolate becomes more prominent, as well as sweet red wine. Slightly unctuous. Lacing stuck thick to the entire glass

Flavour: Herbal, Pepsi, Bitter at the back of the toungue, Alcoholic burn at the back of the throat and tongue, dark/bitter chocolate malt, Honey and Brown sugar, dried fruits

WOW, i did not expect so much out of this beer, especially having never heard of it. It is an incredible Dark ale, complex flavours that only unfold more as it warms up. While it could pair well with some berry-like dark chocolate, i'd almost prefer to savour it alone to feel its complexity. Definitely worth a try! I'm keeping at least 1 of these in my fridge from now on

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange-ish to brown in color with a tan head. In the aroma, coriander, cinnamon, and a note of honey. In the taste, coriander, sweet cinnamon, and a dry honey flavor. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry coriander and cinnamon like aftertaste. The honey is a bit sweet to dry, a bit basic but nice nonetheless.

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Photo of beerpirates
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33 cl bottel poured into my lost abbey stemware glass

Barbar bok brewed with 2.5% honey !

A: Black, with a reddish tint when held to the light. Thin, vanishing head that sticks to glass.

S: Sweet malt, brown sugar, honey , liquor , Belgian yeast.

T: More brown sugar and sweet malt, honey, and bread. Is that a hint of cherry in the back , also some hints of grand marnier ?

M: Medium body, with medium carbonation. Nothing special.

D: It's sweet enough that I wouldn't want to drink more than one in a night, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this one.

 554 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Barbãr Winterbok

From the tap it pours a dark brown, clear, with ruby hues. Aroma of dark fruits, primarily raisin, grape and fig. In the taste, fruity yeast imparting date, raisin, fig notes along with a sugary malt body and a light tang. Alcohol is well hidden. Trademark dark Belgian ale flavor, big time dark fruits. Light roasted malt qualities. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, a tasty winter brew from Barbar, a spiced honey ale is also in their lineup.

 500 characters

Photo of elNopalero
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle printed with a best by date of 2011 09 23 but picked up mid-November, 2011. That’s old stock, folks. I’m guessing it’s from last winter if it’s a seasonal release. Anyways…
This pours a malty brown color with a quite a bit of foam. There’s a molasses-malt syrup aroma. Tastes really sweet. Malty. A bit of orange peel, candied fruit. Cloyingly sweet. Bleah. Not my thing, and not one I’d try again.

 419 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a dark brown color with a few highlights around the edges. Light cap of tan foam showing little retention and lacing.

Nose is fruity and bready, akin to a trappist quad. Rich and fragrant with notes of raisin, plums and pineapple alcohol.

Wow, super fruity and rich. Full-bodied and a little metallic on the finish. Highly carbonated and the drinkability is fairly low on this one. I have a feeling this beer might be a love it/hate it type of brew. There are many BSDAs that are more complex, subtle and delicious than this readily available (see Chimay Blue), but this one will cure a curiosity for the unknown if one is so inclined. It is decent, just really not distinguishable.

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Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël) from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
3.67 out of 5 based on 191 ratings.
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