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

109 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 192
Photo of chaz01
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer of the Month Club item served in pint glass.

A: Dark brown, nearly opaque. Head takes up the entire top half of the glass, but quickly recedes to a nice brown 1 inch head.

S: I pick up sweet aromas of dark fruits -- dates, plums and cherries.

T: More dark fruits and cherry flavor, but not as sweet as the smell would indicate. Lots of spiciness and a bit of alcohol in the finish.

M: Well carbonated, creamy mouthfeel.

D: BOMC suggest pairing this with smoky barbecue type foods, and I have to agree. The sweet aroma is paired down a bit in the taste, making it easy to drink by itself or to complement a fine meal.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Va va voom! I think I can speak Flemish. Maybe it will take more of these and a little studying. This has all the great Belgian qualities that I like - the endless bubbles, the distinctive taste, etc. What it doesn't have are the funky things I sometimes associate with Belgians - cloudiness, over the top tastes or alcohol.

This is a Belgian you could have a couple of without contracting diseases for which Americans do not have a immunity. At least is seems that way. I almost thought it was an American take on a Belgian because of the clean taste. Like the head, the smell doesn't quit.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - deep dark amber color with a thick lasting head

S - fruity flavor present associated with sweet malt

T - sweet malt characterized by a light dark fruitiness, slight bitter hop finish (styrian goldings?)

M - medium body, moderately high carbonation

D - This is an interesting beer - it's too clean for the 'Belgian Strong Dark Ale' style, but not clean enough to be a doppelbock. Perhaps it's somewhere in between - and that's what makes it interesting and makes me want another.

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Photo of rfabian
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass it explodes into a head that completely fills the glass leaving no ale at the bottom. As I continue to pour the head subsides slowly to leave a solid curtain of lacing. The appearance is brown and cloudy. The aroma is lightly of spicy hops and strongly of malt with a hint of orange. The taste is sweetly malty with marked coriander flavor and mild bitterness. The feel is full bodied with an astringent finish. This is a very enjoyable ale.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this one in the December shipment of my BotM club.

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip, a very dark purple-ish black with some pomegranate highlights, 2 fingers of light tan head made of big bubbles. Head drops to half-a-finger, thin but solid. Spotty, near-absent lacing.

Smells of dark, cooking fruits (plum, raisin, slight orange). Good smells but not strong. Halfway down, getting some very subtle Worcestershire sauce (?), like a vinegary, meaty taste, but then disappears quickly.

Taste is of dark grape juice, sweet & tart cherry, some alcohol presence, & dark, rum-like sugars. Booze picks up intensity with each sip, orange peel shows up & provide a mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

Feel is bubbly, a little prickly, medium-full body. The booze provides not heat, but palate fatigue, & my tongue gets a little worn out. As does my sobriety. Surprising effect from an 8% brew. Not bad at all, but I'm not sure I'd seek this one out.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at my local bottle shop..

Pours an almost ruby black yet not quite... Small thin head with not a lot of lacing... Looks rather thin..

Aromas of the usual suspects... Belgian yeast and sugar, some dark fruits, and a little toffee-like maltiness..

Sorta middle of the road on this.. Its good, but doesn't really separate itself from others in the style... Lots of sweet malts, dark fruits, hints of the yeast... A bit sweet, maybe a little cloying...

Overall, not a bad beer at all, but nothing that I would search out...

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Photo of ZAP
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep brown/maroon blend..light tan head on top fizzes like cola..

S-Smells yeasty...dark fruits (plums dark cherries)....

T-Sweet and very has the backbone of a Belgian dubbel but is much sweeter...cotton candy like in some peel and corriander evident...very sweet with mead like qualities...but the dark fruitiness of the dubbel backbone blends with it all nicely....very sounds too sweet but it really isn't.

M-medium bodied at best...sweet and sticky but not cloying...finishes with a touch of light spiciness.

D-Different but recommended. Might be a little on the sweet side for some but it is not cloying.

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Photo of bsp77
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in December shipment of my BOTM club.

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown with a purple-red tint. Moderate tan head with very large bubbles that mostly disintegrate.

Smell: Very dry, mead-like and borderline tart - coriander, orange peel, honey, cloves and figs.

Taste: Somewhat sweet upfront with a focus on fruity malts (maybe figs) and Belgian yeast (cloves, banana). Then it turns very dry from the coriander, honey and orange peel, while the cloves carry through to the end.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, relatively light mead-like body, dry honey finish.

Drinkability: Nice cross between a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and a Braggot. One of the better honey driven beers I have had.

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Photo of natelocc787
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark cherry body with a cola colored cap. Funny thing is, it fizzes and disappears faster than a cola head. Only light traces of lace are left but this beer shines in other areas. The nose offers dark cherries and plums and a chocolate soda aroma as well. The taste is all dark fruits and spice. Lots of dark ripe cherry, plum, caramelized brown sugar, candied pecans and ground coriander. Very tasty, the score could have been bumped with a better mouthfeel. Had a belgian feel to it, a little syrupy even though it was well carbonated it could have been fluffier and creamier. Not the most impressive BSDA I've had but definitely worthy. I wouldn't mind having this again, it was nice to switch from the many American Holiday brews I've had lately and try a Belgians take on the style.

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Photo of Qsy
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type: 330ml into pint glass

Appearance: Little head, dissipates quickly and leaves lacing.

Aroma: Malty & chocolate

Taste: Caramel malts and hints of honey and dried fruit with a bit of a hoppy bite. Some spice and brown sugar with a maple syrupy nutty finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, silky, syrupy mouthfeel with low carbonation.

Drinkability: Big beer served more as a dessert. I'd like to drink iit with chocolate cake.

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Photo of Hophead101
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

drank on 3.28.09 at bryan's beer tasting.

looks like coke - dark brown with hints of orange. head was light and creamy - very guinness like with decent lacing. good malty smell with a nice sweetness to it.

taste was sweet and malty and didn't notice the alcohol. was crisp and carbonated. the mouthfeel wasn't the greatest but it was a good tasting beer overall.

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

330ml. small skinny brown bottle with a Best before: L20100901 10:57...whenever that is? Tribal looking labels depicting ?, adorn the bottle. It pours out a dark mahogany brown with a small light tan foamy head. Not much in head retention and less in the lace dept.

Fairly sweet and fruity to the nose, some spice and that's about it. Fig, dates and honey comprise the fruitiness. Belgian yeast and sugar contributes the rest.

The taste is pretty much the same as the nose with little malty aspect, some definite spice and only just, some hop bitterness. The alcohol doesn't come out in the nose or the taste really. I'd think of it as a Belgian (notso) Strong Dark Ale, with emphisis on the Belgian. The body is medium with a lack of smooth and some fluff to the mouthfeel, but it's trying pretty hard to deliver. Easy enough to drink and worth a try as are most Belgians in my book, the price is not to bad for this one as well...give it a go.

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Photo of PapaEugene
2.2/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

This should be one of the highlights one the last bock beer tasting evening with rvdoorn.

A: A darkbrown/amber color, with a lightbrown head that didn't last long.

S: Am I crazy or do I really smell washing powder... There's a good dose of floral hops and honey.

T: Floral honey upfront and a orange flavor which tastes chemical to me. Some spices.

M: Medium-low carbonation and a medium body

D: I hate beers that taste chemically modified. Often the chemicals bring the beer out of balance. The washing powder perfume association makes me never to drink this beer ever.

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Photo of rvdoorn
2.81/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The winterbok from the brewery that recently stole my heart with their nice honey Beers. Shared this bottle with PapaEugene. I really expected a lot of this one....
Poured into a sniffer. The beer pours a dark-brown-amber color, with a short lasting light-brown head that disappeared into a random lacing.

Smell: Extremely strong floral honey which changes into washing powder smell when smelling long and deep.... Some other sweet liquor like smell (Curacao) with some very vague hints of orange.

Taste: Again, very sweet and strong floral honey with very clear orange as well. Again liquor like, with a strong alcohol and coriander in the bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation with medium body

Overall: The smell and taste are way too sweet, and way too artificial. Completety out of balance! I really expected more from this brew. I stay with the regular barbar beers!

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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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Barbãr Bok (formerly Barbãr De Noël) from Brasserie Lefèbvre SA
3.67 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
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