Noël | Birrificio Le Baladin

BA SCORE
87
very good
127 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good
Read the review
NoëlNoël
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Birrificio Le Baladin
Italy
birreria.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SixpointJMH on 12-28-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
127
Reviews:
75
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
12.82%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
17
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 127 |  Reviews: 75
Reviews by Douglas14:
Photo of Douglas14
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dense, hardly transparent dark ruby color with a nice, typical Belgian head that leaves little lace on the glass (tulip), leaving me a little perplexed. The strongest point of this beer is its aromas: sweet malt, dark fruits, oak, some citrus, and the most interesting; damp (like a cellar). The taste is great as well...typical of a strong dark Belgian: sweet malt, dark fruit, banana (from the yeast?), and a little bit of a chocolate/burnt note towards the end.

The Noel has a medium-full body and is drier than most Belgians - a nice trait that separates this beer from its peers. It is extremely well balanced which gives it amazing drinkablitly.

Overall, awesome beer. I don't know exactly why, but I think it's extra cool that it is a strong dark from Italy. A definite must have!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep deep brown murky brown alot of chunks and floatys with a creamy-like off white head that leaves a nice ring of lace behind as it settles.Aromas of roasted nuts and spiced cake mainly ginger and clove with some alcohol thrown in,wow this brew is rich dark fruit soaked in spiced rum is what I really get in the palate but not overly sweet has a drier finish to it wich is nice.Sharp alcohol hits more in the finish as I drink more and as it warms.This is a late night winter sipper not a middle of the afternoon summer brew but I'll drink it anytime a damn fine beer like the others from Baladin that I have had.

One other note I notice a real chesnut presence as well in the aftertaste as I drink more,man this is good.

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Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This poured a nice, dark brown in color with a thick, heavy brownish-white head.

Smell – The terrific Belgian malts have a light yeast aroma. They are toasty with a bit of raw bread and some herbal spicing to boot. The sugars are light and fruity, reminiscent of dates and prunes.

Taste – The fruits come out a bit more at the taste. I can pick up now raisins and dates along with some light cherry. I’d say though that the toasted malt still dominates, although the lovely yeast made its presence felt as well.

Mouthfeel – This is medium to full in the body with some very good carbonation.

Drinkability – I had no trouble downing this champagne bottle on my own. The alcohol is almost absent in the flavor profile of this 9.0 juggernaut.

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Photo of ricke
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a pale beige head. Some lacings.

S: Dark malts, ripe fruits, powdered cocoa, mild spices, caramel and hints of plastic phenols.

T: The taste is sweet with notes of caramel malts, ripe fruits, spices and sweet alcohol. The finish is mildly bitter with notes of spicy alcohol and herbal hops. The taste is not as big as the smell had me to believe. Slightly unbalanced due to too the alcohol being too powerful.

M: Medium body, smooth mouthfeel.

D: A good beer, but it lacks a little complexity and the alcohol is too prominent. Also, it felt like it developed poorly in the glass.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

No, this is not a wine review. Yes, there is good beer that is brewed in Italy, and it's not just a fizzy Euro lager. Recently just a winter release, this brew has year-round status, so now you can celebrate Christmas in July.

Dark mahogany color, stunning head, this beer is not afraid to foam. Hints of chocolate, dark bread, spiced apple and orange peel, licorice root and green peppercorns. Touch of alcohol in the nose, like a young Port. Tame smoothness rolls across the medium body. Slight fruit cocktail flavor, though cherries and ripe pears are dominant. Cocoa powder, orange peel and a musty malt husk are fused together. Some hop bitterness and spicy alcoholic undertones balance out the sweet maltiness. With a beer like this, you would think of pairing it with some chocolate, though even better was our pairing of Asiago cheese, Bresaola and ripe figs.

Either way, this is an inviting dark brew with big complexities - proof that really good beer can, indeed, come from Italy.

 1,068 characters

Photo of Jason
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of doggydaddy
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Griffith
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of cokes
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark. With a backing light it glows mahogany and amber. Without it it seems damn near black.
Smells of currants, burnt green raisins, anise, and earth.
Begins with a caramel sweetness. While not altogether gripping upfront, this coheres into something with a great deal of depth and intrigue.In fact, it pieces itself together into something rather sublime. Grapes seep in, both ripe and withered in the form of raisins. Dashed with tobacco, fig, prune, black currant, liquorice, cocoa, and ginger. Behind this all is a transparent java curtain, tossed aside with a gentle tsunami of rosewater. Coriander spicing, with tracers of vanilla and black pepper. Lingering leathery flowery vanilla and brown sugared grape. Molasses-drenched black grape vinous qualities. Concludes with a congruent peppery, petal-laced hop bite, and little alcohol-associated flame.
Medium+ bodied, with a gentle breeziness from the carbonation.
Most akin to grapey, floral Dubbel.
This is nice beer at a not-so-nice price.
Worth a go, at least once, regardless.

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Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big head, lots of lace. Foremost taste is cola, chestnut, carmelization, honeyish, some roast. Very drinkable, carbonation right there. Brown, very malty, with a little acidic in the finish. Some dark fruit. A bit alcohol warming. Slightly above average mouthfeel.
Mike's bottle from Italy, via Jason. Drunk exactly three years after bottling.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge yeasty nose off the bottle, lots of spicy alcohol as well malts and slight caramels...Overripe grapefruit, pear and belgian styled yeast hit first followed by a hint of citric hops. Medium bodied yet the champagne carbonation gives it so much more. 9% hides well. All of this happens from a booze that looks like someone strained water through smoked tobacco, little bits of tobacco still floating round in there too, awesome.

I like it. Picked it up as my "Night before I get Married Beer", not a bad choice.

Wish me luck on the marriage thing ;)

Slainte

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Photo of RickS95
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's close on color with a really rich brown pour. It's dark brown, but there's no hint of black like in other Belgians. The head never really impresses with a thin start and a quick dissipation. Inside the rich brown is a lot of little floaties.

You can pick up dark fruits like raisins and figs, but also a little bit of alcohol. While sugar doesn't usually have much smell, you can detect the addition of sugar in this beer. There's an oaky, bourbony scent as well.

It's very malty with no sign of hops whatsoever. The cane sugar shines, if that's a good thing. Very caramelly, slight chocolate note. Maybe a touch of vanilla.

It's very sweet, but not over the top. Kind of unbalanced, there's no hop presence to temper the sweetness and the alcohol doesn't really cut the sugar either. Barely medium bodied, it could use something else. Despite these misgivings, it's easy to drink and would make a good dessert beer because of the likeness to caramel and toffee.

In a strange way, I kind of like this beer. It's too sweet to have on a frequent basis, but I'm glad I added this to my collection. The alcohol content is nice and while it's not a great beer, it's closer to good than it is to bad. Some weaknesses, but overall a good beer.

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Photo of bconsidine
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of russpowell
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with chestnut hints around the wide edges of my orval goblet with one finger of sand colored head. Very good lacing & a healthy film left on top

S: Bready with some pheonlic notes

T: Chocolate, bready, with fruittyness (dates, figs) up front. Leather, brown sugar, coffee, & oakyness follow. Iron, dryness & a little warming booze show up later. Finishes with a hint of expresso, dryness, breadyness & oakyness

MF: Medium-bodied with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy for the abv, a nice fireside sipper. Easily the most comples & probably best (la rossa when good might give this a challenge) Italian bierra I've ever had! At $6.50 a 25oz bottle, a great deal! I know freshness & aging are factors, but this kicked many belgians & american clones right in the arse!

 795 characters

Photo of Goldorak
2.38/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Cola brownish with a few crimson tinges, the ring of lace was short-lived.

Smell: Quite vinious, in a very tannic, plonk red wine kind of way, with plenty of alcohol and a wheaty finish.

Taste: It just tastes like melted ice cubes, like when you thaw out something that's been sitting in the freezer for years, it had a freezer burn flavor. Was this bottle frozen? There is a lingering rafined sugar sweetness in there, but I just found it to be watery, bland, and quite dissapointing.

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Photo of JamFuel
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish brown color, kinda murky. Not very pretty beer at all.

Smell is pretty much as expected, lots of plums and raisins, and a bit of bread.

Sweet taste, once again with plums and raisins, aftertaste is a bit nutty.

Pretty light bodied, considering the ABV.

This was kinda underwhelming, considering the style and ABV. It was easier to drink than I thought, but it wasn't very complex.

 401 characters

Photo of BuddhaBrowett
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a small head.
Nose shows golden syrup, brown sugar, candi sugar, sultanas. Very sweet smelling.
Very similar flavours. Lots of rich sweet notes. Bready malt, golden syrup, dried figs and soft booze.
Needs more carbonation to help cut the overt sweetness.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep clear ruby color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with light dry fruits and fruity ester is quite enjoyable. Taste is a well balanced mix between some caramel Belgian malt with balanced sweetness, dry fruits and light fruity ester in the finish. Body is about average with good carbonation with no signs of alcohol. Well done but additional body and spices could have benefited this beer.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of logicalparadox
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a very dark red brown with a two finger fine light tan head with good retention and lacing. Looks nice. Belgian strong ale aroma, dark and light fruit, sweet malt and Belgian yeast a spicing. Flavor of sweet caramel malt, dark and light fruit, a hint of citrus. A hint of cinnamon and cloves. Very nicely integrated flavors and a taste. Skates to the edge of being too sweet, but the flavors carry the sweetness. Medium bodied with sharp, active carbonation. I liked this quite a bit.

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Photo of rallison
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just purchased at Pizza Port Carlsbad's bottle shop.

Pours a relatively dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger semi-fizzy off-white head that recedes to just a bit of lacing.

Smells of Candi sugar, yeast and dark fruits. Very reminiscent of Belgian dark ales, but this is from Italy. Quite promising so far...

The taste does not let down. Dark fruits are immediately present, followed by the nice candi sweetness. A touch of dates and red wine. Not quite as complex as the best Belgians, but altogether very tasty.

Mouthfeel is pretty good - relatively carbonated with a medium body.

Drinkability is very nice on this one.

Recommended. May not be worth the $16 this one cost, but still a very nice beer.

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Noël from Birrificio Le Baladin
3.9 out of 5 based on 127 ratings.
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