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Climax Noel - Imperial Red Ale | Eel River Brewing Co.

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83
good
40 Reviews
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Climax Noel - Imperial Red AleClimax Noel - Imperial Red Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States
eelriverbrewing.com

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This robust Imperial Red Ale is a hop showcase. The first sip reveals hints of toffee and caramel flavor notes, accentuated with dry hopped organic Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe and Citra hops.

Named after the Climax Engine, a steam locomotive used to haul logs out of the forest, this beer was made for the winter season. With a 9.2% ABV and 62 IBUs, you can count on a nice, warm, drinking experience.

Added by cswhitehorse on 11-22-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
54
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
12.53%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
2
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 54
Photo of largadeer
2.16/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy reddish-brown with significant chill haze, not the most appealing color, but the head retains nicely, fed by high levels of carbonation. The nose is fruity, spicy, yeasty. Orange juice, apple cider, apricots. Intense esters backed by a lot of malty sweetness. On the palate it isn't nearly as sweet as the aroma suggests. Big fruity esters meet somewhat astringent spiciness and surprisingly harsh solventy alcohol. There's some pleasant bready malt mid-palate, but I can't get past the sharp alcohol and overall astringency. Finishes like spiced rubbing alcohol. This is the worst climax I've ever had.

 610 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

it's a nice fiery red color with some dense haze. smells belgian, with a strong toasted marshmallow thing happening. a slight sweet fruitiness emerges too, enough to tell you this is a belgian strain of yeast at work here. the marshmallow thing continues, and is slightly plasticy. the beer finishes wicked boozy too. underneath the chaos there is promise of a well-rounded belgian abbey ale, warmth brings out a nice gingerbread malt/spice note, but it's not enough to save the beer overall.

ps: my bottle says 9% abv

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Photo of morimech
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The foam explodes out of the glass during the pour. But once it settles down the beer has a clear red color. The head is off-white and very large. Good retention and a lot of lacing is left on the glass. Interesting aroma and flavor. Aroma consists of spicey hops and fruity esters. The malt that usually plays a big part in red ales is nonexistent. The flavors are a little disjointed and do not meld that well together. It is a combination of spice, fruity esters, and alcohol. This is seriously lacking in malt character. The body feels a tad light for a red or a hearty winter warmer. But it is nicely carbonated and posesses a nice texture. This beer could use some improvement but as it is, an interesting drinker and worth a try.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This red really glows, drops a substantial 1" off white head, a little under average retention though. Aroma brought more dark fruit vibe than red malt. Does that mean its complex?

Taste was a little sweeter, minimal hop usage, like a hybrid of a dubbel, bdsa and red ale. Even brings some holiday spice rack to a small degree. Caramel of course.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Certified Organic, 9% ABV, 2009, no bottled on/freshness date.

A - A moderate pour into the base of the glass released a dense and tight, tiny bubble tan-khaki head. The retention was ok even with the nucleation point feeding it a giant plume of carbonation. The color is a lightly hazy bronzed-amber with orange-ruby highlights.

S - The nose instantly reminds me of the funky infected yeast from a home brew. After sitting a bit, that aroma went away and became much better. Toasted bread and amber malts with a Belgian yeast nose. A light nose of alcohol has a slight band-aid phenol hint apparent on a harsh swirl. Low fruits and hops even the nose out a bit.

T - The presence of a lightly acidic-sour touch is a bit off to start with. The alcohol level is rather strong too. The phenol band-air thing is back again but more so overshadowed by a hot, solvent-like flavor. The malt flavor seems to come in secondary and is fairly amber-driven with a toasty caramel touch and light fruit hint. Hop flavor isn't present as much as it's bittering qualities are. The finish has a light spicy flavor too.

M - The fairly strong carbonation tingles on the tongue through the length of the beer. It's medium-full in body with a light sweet finish that's quickly overcome by dryness and a well-balanced hop bitterness.

D - The hot alcohol is one of the best parts of the beer giving it a nice winter warming quality but shouldn't overshadow the other aspects. A fair beer that could use some work and some age. If the last bottle is available there I may pick it up and sit on it for a while.

 1,630 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brewery calls this as an Imperial Red, but it's listed here as Dubbel. Whatevs. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear red, with a bit of a mahogany tint. Just a thin cap of light tan head dissipated quickly and left very light lacing.

The aroma was very sweet and had sharp alcohol note. behind that was some nicely blended grainy malt scents and a hit of hops. The grains take center stage on the tongue, with the hops in the background and on the finish. The beer also was sticky-sweet and had a noticeable alcohol bite.

The body was pleasantly solid, without being heavy, but that sticky-sweetness got a bit boring. Drinkability was pretty good, would have scored it a bit higher if not for that annoying stickiness and the alcohol burn.

Overall, a decent enough brew. I'd probably like it better on tap, but it's certainly worth a try if you see it.

 868 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: cloudy reddish amber in color with a one finger head. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel, yeast spiciness, and a brown sugar sweetness is easy to pull from the glass.

Taste: caramel, brown sugar, plums, apples, yeast, and some mild spiciness are most detectable. Bitterness is moderate and there is a hint of orange citrus late. Alcohol is slightly noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout. Long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: so-so at best. Interesting flavor profile, but personally I grew a bit tired of the flavors by the end of the bottle.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a vibrant red, good initial impression of the head, 1" deep, dissipates rather quickly that doesn't have any lace to it. This was a 2009 bottle, so it has about 1 year of age on it.

Fair presence of dark fruit, dark sugar possibly, cane. Isn't overpowering, reminded me of a tamer Salvation, which is a good thing. Aroma is tame, has some of that red aspect to it, can't really describe it, but you know how a red smells, tame. No hop presence, plenty smooth. Hides the alcohol well. Seems like a winter warmer. Could be some hazlenut or nutmeg to this one. Equal parts red and amber ale, but then takes on dimensions of a dark belgian hybrid.

 650 characters

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

Climax Noel pours a cloudy copper color with a creamy, one finger width off white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly down to a thin sheet on the surface leaving behind spots lf lace on the glass.

The aroma is faint with notes of caramel malt, orange citrus, clove and pepper. Each sip of this full bodied beer is soft on the palate with a mild fizz on the sides of the tongue. The flavor is typical for a Belgian style beer. Orange citrus, clove, pepper combined with some apple and light fruit flavors. It finishes sweet with a medicinal taste of alcohol. Once gone some of the spice notes and orange citrus linger on the palate.

I guess for a Christmas beer I was looking for a bit more spice. Still, it's a nice, smooth beer with a well balance flavor.

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

Red ale on steriods right here.

Poured a deep dark amber with a nice frothy head. Also had some bad ass lacing that was glued to the side of the glass.

smell was very hoppy. Also some deep malts in the mix.

Taste is full of hops. again deep malts. It has a boozy after taste though. Little too boozy for my liking though

 325 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into my Meantime snifter. Climax Noel is a dark amber with a dense khaki head that leaves sheets of foamy lace.

Smell isn't to strong, but a really nice caramel note, reminding me a bit of cream soda.

Taste is malty, some of the caramel from the nose, plastic phenols, a bit spicy. On the simple side, it opens up just a bit as it warms, but I'd like more sweetness. Or bigger hop flavor, which isn't really obvious here, although this is getting on a few months since the release...even though I bought from a cooler, it may not have been there all winter.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, medium heavy body.

Drinkability isn't too bad, not really that exciting though. One of those where if the nose matched the flavor better it would really be great. The alcohol is well hidden and it's overall rather smooth, make up for the lackluster flavor.

 863 characters

Photo of bonk0076
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, deep amber color with a nice big head that doesn't leave any lacing. Aroma consists of fruits - raisins, plums, apricots something of that nature - as well as underlying notes of toffee and molasses. Taste begins with the sweetness of those fruit notes, but is quicly followed by the slight bitterness of roasted malt. Longer finish that is somewhat boozy.

 372 characters

Photo of clickpush
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Super red body, clear, big light tan head. Lots of carbonation. Looks delicious. Head lasts a decent amount of time. Sticky lacing remains the whole time.

Nose: Sweet vanilla wafers, malt richness. Some cherry cough syrup, alcohol.

Mouth: Tastes strikingly familiar to cherry cough syrup. I mean, it's a tasty Christmas beer, thick, rich & malty. I like it. Just some astringency that I'm not fond of. Also some cardboard-y after taste. Creamy mouthfeel.

 462 characters

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

1 Pint 6 Oz brown bottle. No Freshness date. Brewed 2009.
First point: This can't be a "Belgian" Imperial Red Ale, or Belgian anything because it's brewed in California. Bad form.
It pours a ruby-hued amber color with a medium-sized off-white, pink tinted head with wispy trails of lacing.
An upfront smell of a horse barn is noticed but fades soon. A light yeasty/vinegar smell lingers. While it is a hoppy tasting beer, I only notice a faint citrus aroma along with a hint of cut copper.
A rummy alcoholic fuminess is present throughout.
The foremost flavor is of light rum. The 9% abv seems a bit low as the rummy alcoholic flavor is pretty potent. There is certainly a Belgian quality to the slightly sour yeasty bitterness. Sharp lemony citrus and slight orange/tangerine tastes counterbalance a syrupy sweetness. Again the alcohol punch seems more like something in the 11-12% abv range. Its effects are noticable as well. The malt body is slightly cloying, although not off-putting.
Nice BIG brew all in all, but there is no real clear definition to the style. Sort of a bastard...a likeable bastard.

 1,107 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 vintage.

Pours a hazy orange-red with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus fruit, candied citrus zest, and slight herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of citrus forward qualities in the aroma and flavor.

 586 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cream, three-finger head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Amber/red color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and hops. Higher ABV is hidden. $6.39 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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

Tropical sunset orange-cherry with a gorgeous glow when backlit with late April sunshine. Electric tangerine edges look good as well. The three finger crown is the color and texture of orange-caramel mousse. Abundant and attractive lace are the finishing touches on this attractive winter warmer (that looks like an Imperial red should look).

The nose isn't exactly jumping out of the glass. Even though it's low on power, aromas include caramel-covered cherries and oranges. A New Zealand hop known as Motueka (a Saaz variant) is present, but isn't appreciated. Nor is alcohol. If it opens up with warming, I'll give the score a well-deserved bump. Note: it does, just not enough.

A few ounces in.... Climax Noel is probably Eel River's second best beer, behind Raven's Eye Imperial Stout. It's tantalizingly close to being a well-crafted Imperial red, but better than average is about as high as I can go. This is sort of brew that Rogue knocks out of the park on a routine basis.

Suggested fixes are more malt (especially caramel malt), as well as a better choice of hops. More hops wouldn't be a bad idea either, but malt is more crucial to CN's ultimate success. Flavors mirror aromas: maraschino cherries and orange slices swimming in a light caramel and brown sugar syrup. Simple and direct. Sweet and bitter are pretty evenly matched.

Given the style and the ABV, the body/mouthfeel is a fraction light. It isn't bad though, and almost pulls it off in the end. A glassy smoothness is probably the result of an ideal amount of bubbles.

Climax Noel is enjoyable beer, even though it's destined to be forgotten once the final drop has disappeared. It's a friendly sort of 8.0% winter warmer that makes no major missteps. I'm sure it warms the cockles of many a beer-loving heart in Scotia, CA come Christmastime... when it gets down to a bone-chilling 45 degrees.

 1,873 characters

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

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a lovely clear red amber with a small white head and lacing. Hoppy aroma with light malt. Medium bodied with a nice malty, light citrus, hoppy red ale start, but the finish is overly bitter, a bit boozy and not supported by the other flavors. The bitterness stays starkly on the palette. I liked the looks of this and it seems well made, I'm disappointed it's a miss.

 439 characters

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

Serving notes: snifter, half-inch head.
Aroma: Full malty body dominates the aroma.
Appearance: Dark red and clear. Nice half-inch head.
Mouthfeel: full body, light on carbonation.
Taste: Alcohol flavor prevalent with full malt flavor. Nice floral hop flavors.
Drinkability: A decent red ale although not necessarily one that I will seek out.

 342 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy ruby and copper colored brew. Nice bone white and light amber colored two finger head that lasts for a strong few sips till dissipation. Pretty good bubbling considering how hard it is to see it. The aroma is lots o' toasted malts, some sugary gummy bears with some alchy cinnamon. The taste starts with some toasted mlats and Belgian candi sugar mixed in. The middle has lots of sweet rolls and packaged candy sweetness. But from the middle t the finish of the palate, it does get a little hot. The 9% abv of this years Climax Noel is warming at the very end of the mouthfeel of this brew. Definetly a festive sipper ale for the season with lots of Belgian influence. Bu the finish make me think of cough medicine a bit.

 741 characters

Photo of claspada
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Armomas are of doughy bready and sweet malts with some hints of herbal hops and some Belgian musty yeasts.

The taste is pretty darn good, yet simplistic. I agree with the last reviewer that a year in the cellar has helped this 2009 version. There are some butterscotch, nuts, a bunch of vanilla, citrus/sour from the yeast and some lighter hints of brown sugar, alcohol and a light spiciness in the finish. Not your typical winter warmer because of the lighter malt backbone but enjoyable regardless. The high ABV is masked well by the yeast and the age (I assume). The mouthfeel was smooth and soft, the carbonation adequate and the body medium yet extremley full. I recommend if you find this 2009 version today to give it a try because it is probably discounted (because beer merchants are tools) and it is a good value regardless.

 835 characters

Photo of RedBrewer83
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip....2009 vintage

A: Amber body with hints of orange and ruby, two finger head forms and maintains half finger head for large portion of beer. Very creamy with nice lacing.

S: Candied caramel malt, orange, hints of hop citrus aromas as well. Nice and straightforward but not overly intense or complex.

T: Flavor follows suit with the nose for the most part, yeast is more present in the taste and just a hint of booze is noticed mid palate. Finish lingers with hops, but needs a little more to really crisp things up and help the drinkability.

M: Pretty smooth, medium body and the abv is not really felt, warming as it goes down but not overpowering.

D: As I said before, needs a little more dry hopping and this would be a very drinkable beer, as is being a 9% belgian imperial red its pretty drinkable...

 828 characters

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

22 oz. bottle from John's Marketplace served at Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting 12/22/09.

Reddish amber body, 1/2 finger white head, quick dissipation and minimal lacing. Nose is fairly sweet up front, a bit of spice (cardamon?) and decent hoppiness on the back end. The taste is unlike any imperial red I've ever had, very, very sweet cherries dominate the taste, really mask the hops. A bit of alcohol heat, and the IMO cloying sweetness, inhibit drinkability. Pretty smooth, but too sweet for my liking. A decent enough holiday imperial red, though if if wasn't the season I wouldn't drink this. Worth a try if you like fruity winter warmers.

 648 characters

Photo of Boto
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber: This one pours a cloudy reddish-coppery color. There was a fairly large off fizzy white head on it that dropped away rather quickly. Interesting nose. Yeasty and bready, with a hint of a little funk. Some raisins, faint spices and caramel malts also. Definitely some fizziness on the tongue. Toffee, faint raisins, toffee, and some distant, faint citrus bitterness to the taste. A touch harsh. It's not too bad, but just doesn't seem to work.

 456 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours two fingers of head on a cloudy light brown colored body.
The aroma is a pleasant barnyard, grain and lemon mixture.
The taste is a sharp malty sweetness, a hit of lemon bitterness, caramel and pine.
The texture is thicker with moderate carbonation.
A bold red ale.

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Climax Noel - Imperial Red Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.67 out of 5 based on 54 ratings.
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