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

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Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël)Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël)
195 Ratings
Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël)Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël)

Brewed by:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

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

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Ratings: 195 |  Reviews: 110
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black cherry with bright orange accents and abundant bubbles. The wheat toast colored crown is large and airy, but it doesn't have the world's greatest texture. Nor is it sticky enough to lay down more than a few scattered scraps of bubble bath-like lace. The beer makes up for the head's shortcomings.

The nose is interesting. Given the ingredients (see below), it's hard to think of Winter Bok as a BSDA. Only in the sense that it's Belgian, strong, dark and an ale. Medium-dark fruit and an intriguing spiciness dominate. Clove and cardamom (from the Belgian yeast, most likely) are at least as prevalent as coriander.

As far as I can tell, Winter Bok is essentially a darker version of the standard Barbar. They both contain honey, bitter orange and coriander. Sort of a mead meets dark witbier meets BSDA. Truth be told, it tastes most like the last of those. Sweeter and differently spiced perhaps, but otherwise pretty close to a classic BSDA.

The malt backbone is on the skimpy side for the ABV and is more brown ale than porter or stout. It's doubtful that anything as dark as roasted or chocolate malt was used. Flavors include figs dipped in honey, steely caramel, orange zest and the spices mentioned above. Other than providing a minor nip of back end bitterness, the Hallertau and Styrian Goldings hops keep their heads down.

Considering the fact that it's essentially a winter warmer that tips the scales at 8.0%, the mouthfeel is a little weak in the knees. While it does its job fairly well, the carbonation injects only a minimal amount of creaminess and can't save the day in the end.

For whatever reason, I like Barbar (Belgian Honey Ale) more than I like Barbar Winter Bok. They're both delicious, but the lighter beer allows the additional ingredients to contribute more than the darker beer. If you're a Belgianophile, this one is still worth a single bottle purchase if you happen to run across it.

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

A: Deep mahogany with mild carbonation. Rocky and soapy cream cap has decent staying power, but only leaves bits of lace.

S: Orange, chocolate and alcohol are what struck me most. Dark fruits in the background add a vinous note.

T: Warm and strong. The chocolate and orange themes continue. They're joined by a honey sweetness and some dark fruits. A mild pepper bitterness is propped up by the alcohol's warmth. The alcohol isn't masked much and makes the beer seem stronger than it is. Finishes warm with lingering dark fruits.

M: The medium body has very prickly carbonation.

D: This is a nice beer overall. The strength keeps me from drinking more than one in a sitting. Very nice as a nightcap.

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Photo of tempest
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a friend for sharing this. I was expecting some simple and overly sweet Belgian, but I was pleasantly surprised. At first it tasted like there was a good share of wheat from the sour malt taste. Then, yes, there was a honey note, which was followed by mild coriander and then mellow dark fruits. Very drinkable and comes off like some sort of crazy Belgian dunkel wheat. This is different and worth a try.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 5/21/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a very dark, reddish brown colored body with a whitish colored head, that is quickly diminishing. Has a honey and coriander, a very floral aroma, fresh flowers. A nice coriander taste. Floral, and spicy. Almost like a saison.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.06/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Amber/orange with short white head. Candidly a rather unimpressive effort. A very light and "soda poppy" drink, although there are hints of honey and spice, coriander and orange peel - all very mild and a bit too subtle for my taste. Very light bodied with the carbonation being the primary "standout." Nothing special here; almost like a "light beer" of winter ales. Just my experience....

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Photo of chaz410
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle from Pizza Peel in Charlotte NC.

Pours a very dark reddish brown body with small lumpy caramel colored head.

Smells very sweet and fruity with tart and sour raisens intertwined. Wheat notes come through with honey and some citris notes as well.

The taste is best described as imagening a dopplebock infused with corriander, honey and dried raisens. Very sweet but still holds that roasted lager essence that defines the bock style. Dry mild hop finish. Hop character is typical of Bock style beers.

Mouthfeel is round, smooth and thick. THis is the most "wintery" part of this beer experience.

Drinkability is good because of all the nice sweet flavors. It's more accessible to more people then most dopplebocks. It would probably age well too.

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Photo of becktone
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 1-29-09

Eye: The color of this one is a very dark brown with garnet hues that appear when the light diffuses through the beer and makes them visible. Head formation was real nice. From the pour a rocky, almost soapy looking head formed, tan in color. However, now it has receded to something around 5/8 of a finger-little more than a thick blanket of a rocky tan head. It left behind some spotty and poor looking lacing.

Nose: As the beer is poured a strong aroma fills the room. Reminds me of Quaker instant peach oatmeal...basically I get some fruit on this one. On closer inspection what I first thought of as peach is actually orange aroma, close up it is very clear that the aroma is that of oranges. Coriander is also present...the label doesn't lie. Honey sweetness is mixed right in, sandwiched between the coriander and the orange. Getting hints of wheat, and some alcohol. Thats about it. No real malted barley aroma. I was thinking that there might have been a wheat presence here and then I read the label. Really not much more complex than that. Smells inviting.

Tongue: Honey is foreground as is orange peel and coriander. On the surface the flavor profile is very similar to that of Barbar. However, the Winter Bok is warmer, toastier, with notes of roasted grains and hints at chocolate. This one definitely warms a bit as it goes down. Some roasted grain bitterness, not much but enough to be noticed there in the finish. Reminds me a bit of the Nic'e Chouffee. Some dark fruit flavors as well-plums? All in all this is a nice brew. Not as pure or herbal as Barbar, but this is a winter brew, and it is like Barbar but appropriate for the colder winter months.

Feel and Drinkability: This beer is medium bodied with moderate levels of carbonation. As aforementioned it has some warming qualities as it goes down. Aftertaste is dominated by coriander and orange notes. This is one that I'd pick up again, especially in the winter months. When I'm in the mood for a beer containing honey this is where I'll turn, during the winter that is, during the summer its most likely going to be Midas or Barbar.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An odd little beer that made the Pazzo list. I began my session with this 8%er.

The beer begins with a ruby-mahogany color that was darkened by deep brown low-lights. An initial froathy tan head falters under the alcohol and sugars to a film but then retained well. Light lacing and legging on the glass.

Sharp, spicy aromas of orange peel, corriander, and fruity sweetness. Very complex with pilsner malts, fruity esters, phenolic peppery, and yeasty tartness.

Flavors are extremely sweet with some maltiness, but more importantly the candi sugars. The heavy dosing of added spices rise in dominance and exceed the expected balance. Very fruity and spicy with grapes, figs, raisons, dates, berries, and all other fruits and Christmas spices usually found in fruitcake. Still the candied-sweet fruits takes on the proportions of cotton candy in the mouth.

Quite sticky, tacky, and sugar laden to the mouthfeel. Very hot from the fusals notes of 8% (feels much more alcoholic than it is.) Spicy and tingly textures take the taste buds for a wild and bumpy ride. The 10 oz. glass quickly becomes tiresome.

The yeast in this beer can't be happy. Maybe fermented hot to amplify the alcohol, fruitiness, and peppery notes. Still, the beer didn't attenuate well enough to absorb the excess amount of sugar. If the flavors and textures of the beer matched the aromas, then the beer would have been worthwhile.

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Photo of sleephowl
2.61/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a dark mahogany color with an inch head that recedes slowly. Decent lacing on glass with slow retreat.

S- Grainy malt with subtle honey scent. Distinct belgian yeast aroma as well.

T- Was disappointed with the overall taste. While the honey is present there is a barely distinguishable taste of orange peel and coriander. A sense of pure alcohol is present on the tongue which is not very appealing to my taste.

M- A medium body and carbonation beer with a creamy feel.

D- I was very intrigued to try this beer. A winter bok with honey coriander and orange peel sounded delicious to me. While it was a unique tasting experience, I will not be trying another Winter Bok by Brasserie Lefebvre. Exceptional ingredients that just did not work well with this go around.

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Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BB 25/10/2009, served chilled in Gulden Draak's tulip-shaped sniffer.

A: pours a very dark mahogany hue, mildly carbonated and topped with a huge beige soufflé head that slowly retreats to a thin cap.
S: deeply aromatic, maybe due to the magic of the honey in interaction with the yeastiness? There're plenty of grainy malts, licorice syrup, black sugar, plum candy, and of course plenty of honey notes which are however very fine indeed, on top of the usual estery notes (like sweetened kidney bean paste) and bitter-sweet herbal notes of yeast sediments. Overall, aromatic and rich, but a touch too sweet for the balance.
T: an oily and lubricating swallow of rich, sweet dark malts and juicy dark fruit syrup (featuring black plums, raisins, dates and a touch of aromatic figs) is closely followed by a wave of aromatic licorice and melted black sugar, before a dry-ish wave of yeastiness and bitter hops with a residual "ginger-honey"-ish flavour creeps down deep to the four corners of the palate. Overall, the flavour structure is very clear, with one layer of flavour emerging and building on top of another layer, leaving the dry palate and a residual herbal bitter mouthfeel to linger nicely in the very end.
M&D: pretty soft in carbonation, full-flavoured but not heavy at all, with the alc. well hidden behind the malty façade, while the bitter-sweet, dry finishing touch also witnesses the good work of yeast's consumption of the sugar provided by both malts and honey. Overall, I find this a well-structured and enticing strong dark ale with a good level of complexity to offer. Very delicious and highly drinkable!

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Photo of Fnord
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Smell - Sweet malt, brown sugar, Belgian yeast.

Taste - More brown sugar and sweet malt, honey, and bread. Is that a hint of cherry in the back?

Mouthfeel - Medium body, with medium carbonation. Nothing special.

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

Notes - I might not like this so much if I hadn't already had two sweet beers already tonight, so my palate is already accustomed to the sweetness. An interesting beer, I might try it again.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cola colored brown with some tarnished garnet when held to the light. OK bubling beneath a nice to finger head that quickly recedes. Faintly spice brown sugared orange peel and sweet bread with a faint roast plus some molasses in the nose. Some plum jelly too. Fruit caked fruits, molasses spread over some semi-sweet grains. Sweet palate, honey infused with candi sugared grains. Not cloying at all, plus unnoticeable alcohol.

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Photo of Bagman007
4.41/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a pint glass.

A- Very dark black appearance with not a whole lot of head.

S- Has a very sweet, somewhat spicy scent to it.

T- Tastes very, very sweet. Probably one of the sweeter beers I have ever tasted. Slightly hoppy.

M- Excellent carbonation and feel. Very sweet. Very smooth.

D- Sweet, but not too sweet to hurt it's drinkability. Very smooth.

Overall a really great beer. I've only had two of Brasserie Lefèbvre's beers, but they have both been spectacular.

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Photo of armock
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a dark brown color with a tan head that leaves lacing

S - Is of sweet malt dark fruits and some spice

T - Follows the smell lots of sweet malt with some dark fruit and spice

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - For the 8% abv this beer was very easy to drink a good solid malty beer for the winter worth trying sometime

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Photo of John_M
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's the other night.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with fairly good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just a hint of sweet malt and spice. The beer is actually pretty intriguing on the palate. I get a sugar daddy caramel flavor, intertwined with almost a gingerale flavor. It's not bad. The beer is very light and soft on the palate, and frankly the 8% abv. is surprising. This does not come across as a big beer, and drinkabilty is pretty good. My only complaint is that over all the beer seems just a bit light and insipid, with some pretty simple flavors. Nevertheless, it's tasty enough and is fairly pleasant.

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Photo of colts9016
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour:Dark Brown with a two finger head, with Belgium lacing.
Nose: Wheat: toasted malt, citrus, spice and hint of sweetness. and fruit
Taste: Nutty, toasted and roasted malts, orange and coriander with honey tones. The hops is barely there>
Body: Thick
Overall: A Very interesting beer with heavy tones of honey and orange and a good malt complex. It is an okay beer.

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

This brew pours up a dark brown color with a small tan head. the nose is a lil boozy, light sweet malts, oranges. the taste is the same as the nose but very orangey, subtle crisp hops, dark fruits, medium bodied, medium carbo. A little bit too orangey in my opinion.

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

11/30/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a best by code on the back label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep copper in color, maybe some rust color as well. Nice 3/4 inch head and leaves light patchwork of lace behind.

Smell- Fairly sweet and a decent dose of spice. A bit of chocolate malt and honey as well.

Taste- Pretty much like the nose. Maybe a touch medicinal, but not really bothersome. Good amount of sweetend honey and a very light chocolate malted flavor. A few spices here and there including corriander and maybe a tiny bit of a peppery flavor.

Mouthfeel- Middle of the road carbonation level. Lighty sweet aftertaste and a bit sticky.

Drinkability- Nice beer overal. I've been impressed with both Barbar offerings I have had.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2008.

Appearance : dark brown color, with tan foamy head (not persistent), no yeast.
Smell : sweet, fruity and spicy notes.
Taste and mouthfeel : sweetnes, alcohol presence, hint of bitterness in finish.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of ATPete
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle
2007 vintage
best by, 08/22/2009

Pours a hazy deep brown color with rich orange highlights and a large peach colored head. Great big nose of Belgian yeast esters, big spice and orange skin. Other notes include cinnamon, lime and minty soap. Spicy but bold malts and citrus notes create a round balance through out. Light/medium in body with some slight alcohol heat. I usually am not a fan of big Belgian winter biers that are packed with spice and coriander but after this mellowed out for a year this became something special. Some cherry and woody notes come through more as the beer warms adding to its complexity. This is unlike any winter bock ive ever had but i enjoyed it. Its got great herbal and earthy qualities that make it slightly medicinal but not offensive. I highly recommend this for a cold night.

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

11.2-ounce bottle poured into a large tulip glass yields a clear, dark cola-colored body with a thick cap of persistent beige foam. The head retains well and is replenished by a steady stream of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Chubby wisps of lacing decorate the emptying glass.

The smell of the drink is darkly fruity with sweet malty cereal. A bit of spice tickles the nose.

The taste is exceptionally sweet with a silky malty backbone and notes of dark fruit with an unquantifiable spiciness. Despite the 8% abv, alcohol is mostly absent, save a slight warming sensation in the drinker. A hearty heft of wheat and a touch of orange-laced mellow honey sweetness round things out.

On the full side of medium-bodied with excellent carbonation and feel, Barbar is undeniably sweet, but very, very drinkable.

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Photo of generallee
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: It pours a very dark brown color that has coppery highlights. The body is nearly opaque and it forms a big tan foamy head that has very good retention. It also makes nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma has sweet, fruity and spicy character with just a hint of hops.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor has a wonderful natural sweetness from the honey and malted barley. Dark sweet fruit notes of raisins, figs and plums mix with coriander, bitter orange peel and a touch of earthy yeast. Hop flavor is very mild and adds just a hint of bitterness. The alcohol adds a nice warming quality and it finishes slightly dry. Its palate is medium to full bodied with a smooth creamy texture that is tempered by its lively carbonation.

Notes: This is another great Belgian treat.

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Photo of Taffle
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Relentlessly dark brew. Black with a little shade of dark copper on the sides. Lush tan head lasting nicely.

Huge aroma of coriander and fruit. Also a lot of caramel-like sweetness going on. I like the liquorice analogy Todd referenced. Some spiciness and a hair of alcohol present.

Spicy, bitter flavors blend well with the carbonation and feel on impact. Honey sweet and citric tasting with a dry, wine finish.

Could have finished a little more boldy. Seemed lacking the Belgian roots - but still good and unique.

As I finished the brew, the aftertaste got to me a little. I can definitely see how a wine enthusiast would enjoy this one.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed with honey and spices (coriander, orange peel).

A: Poured a very dark, opaque mahogany with a sudsy off tan head.

S: fresh and fruity full of plums, honey, raisins, pears and oranges. The nose was very sweet and spicy with some fresh grapes as well.

T: fruity with some white grapes, raisins, figs, and a vinous sweet fruity wine notes as well a honey sweetness. The palate was sweet and vinous with a touch of smokiness coming through upon warming.

M: moderate with some warm raisins and grape juice like texture. There was a soft roasted character along with some dark molasses with a very nice winter spiciness.

D: Overall a nicely done winter bock at 8.0%abv. that was spicy and semi-sweet, providing a good alcohol warming.

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Photo of AltBock
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle that I poured into a Chimay chalice. The back of the bottle had a best before date of 2009 08 22.

Barbãr is a dark cola brown with a nice looking massive 2 inch creamy head of white foam. This head of foam had excellent retention that left behind a small white film and a ton of white streaks of lace around the glass. The aroma was lightly sweet with a pinch of hops in the background. The aroma featured lightly roasted malts,sweet caramel, subtle milk chocolate, juicy fruits, a hint of honey, a tiny splash of bitter hops, and then it ended with a quick splash of orange peel. The aroma was truly unique. The taste was dry with quite a few dark fruits, roasted malts, honey, coriander, orange peel, and a big bite of alcohol at the finish. The mouthfeel was somewhere in between medium and full bodied. It was hard to tell. The aftertaste was fruity with roasted malts and more alcohol. Barbãr is a very unusual and unique brew. The small amount of honey and coriander was a nice touch and the alcohol was that powerful. If you can find a single of it, it's worth a shot.

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Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël) from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 195 ratings