Noël | Birrificio Le Baladin

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BA SCORE
87
very good
74 Reviews
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
Reviews:
74
Ratings:
123
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
16.67%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
13
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 123
Photo of mtbbaboon
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A friend of mine gave me a bottle of this, courtesy of his local beer club. I poured this into a Duvel tulip glass. Color is a dark brown. Moderate head that is rather fizzy. A good amount of sediment floats around the beer. A pretty good layer of lacing sticks to the glass.

Smells spicy up front. Dark fruit (grapes and figs) and sweet caramel malt, followed by a noticeable alcohol presence. The taste follows the nose. Rather sweet up front with a nice hop presence in there. As with the nose, the alcohol is noticeable in the taste. A bit of bitterness rounds out the flavor. A little more balance would be nice. Still a good tasting beer though. It's got a medium mouthfeel and is easy to drink, considering the style. Definitely a drinkable beer.

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Photo of blakesell
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the strange shape I don't even want to guess what oz fits in this bottle bottle into a standard pint glass.

This is aged for at least a year, so we'll just call it 2008 vintage.

Appearance - Beer pours fairly thin for a strong dark, a clear brown amber with a pretty small head for what I was expecting after opening the champagne capped bottle (like nothing I've seen before, large size bottle cap with a champagne rubber thing holding carbonation in). Yeasty chunks fall to the bottom of the glass. Lacing is there, but again thin.

Smell - Smells like a Belgian beer. I would love to add some extra adjectives, but it's simple at best. My closest main beer that I've had to it is New Belgium 1554 which is a Belgian dark, nothing strong about it. It smells to be of average strength, which judging by the ABV, is impressive on it's own.

Taste- A rich cola carbonation and flavor, I'm getting a big RC cola flavor, some plum, no very dark fruits, but light dark fruits if that makes any sense. Pulpy ripe fruits, very much like a plum pear combo if that existed. I can't get past the soda and this is not a bad beer, but it is being detracted from by the perceptions that I'm getting here.

Mouthfeel - I may have rated this too high at 3.5 but the number stands. The carbonation is too high and the whole soda feel is simply out of place here. The richer fruits taste great here, I honestly was expecting more and I guess I shouldn't have let my expectations get the best of me here. Medium light in body, high in carbonation, low in overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability- It tastes light overall and a bit syrupy sweet. This isn't bad for the one time offering that I'm going to give it. For the price, it is no where near worth it. As a standard beer if I could get it for $6 a sixer, I still probably wouldn't go for it. but this will go down smooth for tonight. I will not be holding this against Baladin as a whole.

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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 jjayjaye
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent dark brown with reddish hues and a loose shallow light tan head that fades quickly to spotty patterns of Belgian lacing. The smell is really sweet of grape, fig and plums that carries directly over into the flavor. The mouth feel is light bodied with a slight tangy character from the 9% alcohol. The fruitiness lingers well after the swallow. A reasonable drinker.

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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 deadmonkees
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a bottle.

Appearance: Very dark, nice head retention!

Smell: Chocolate with fruit overtones.

Taste: Again, chocolate and somewhat sweet but not overly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Very Rich and extremely balanced with its carbonation and alcohol content.

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers. One of the best balanced (alcohol, sweetness, carbonation) beers in its style.

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

Noel is an intensely dark brown colored beer, topped with a thick beige foam. It's a nice-looking brew, and the aroma is rich with chocolate, fruit (plum, pear, and cherry), and roasted malts. Wonderful aroma. The beer's taste is quite sweet, with the chocolate theme continuing from the smell. It's smooth and modestly carbonated. The alcohol is expertly hidden...you don't realize the ABV of this beer until you've had plenty. Low hop flavor (also aroma), this is a malt-centric beer. Well done.

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Photo of Quej
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with a ruby red glow, chunky almost with lots of visible carbonation and laces quite nicely.
S - Smells sweet and malty, with lots of fruit flavours and a hint of sourness from the yeast.
T - Starts quite sweet and very malty, lots of flavours of dark fruit, cherries, blackberries and molassess. Has a dry quirky finish which helps to hide the high ABV.
M - Perhaps a bit overcarbonated, but nicely medium bodied, not too heavy.
D - Surprisingly decent for something so strong, dark and sweet.

 510 characters

Photo of nick76
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is sweet and yeasty with some chocolate. The appearance is brown with a large head. The flavor is like the aroma with plenty of alcohol for a 9%. The palate is thin. Overall it's pretty good but not that impressive. These beers have nice bottles but that just leads to frustration with the beer.

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Photo of MilanoItaly
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Starting my career as beer taster ;-) , I'm afraid this one came too early because of its complexity.
My sensation is in becoming,what I'm sure of this beer for now is the following.
Mahogany dark colour with a creamy foam and intriguing rings left on glass.
Uneasy to drink due to alcohol accents, not referring to the 9 ABV : I had it with meat (shin) in a winter cold day and still had my hard time to finish it.
It has so much tastes in it,I was wondering if I was drinking a beer after all.Coffee accents anyway amongst all.

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Photo of baggio
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

[email protected]

A: Copper/Red with a nice and quite light white head.

S: Spices, Herbs, Caramel, Dark fruit.

T: Caramel, Herbs, Spices (pepper among others), Licorice.

M: Sweet with a creamy but rather thin body. Alot of carbonation in this one.

This beer was extremely drinkable due to its high carbonation. Still, i hoped for some more body and more everything with this beer. Would i drink it again, yes indeed. Dunno if i would cough up the 10E this beer cost me tho. Give it a shot!

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Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber/ chestnut-brown color with a huge tan foam head. Spicy aroma with hints of dark fruit, pepper, malt, cinnamon and alcohol. Flavor consists of a roasted maltiness mixed with a creamy dark fruit presence. Hints of cherry, plum, raisin, candi sugar and pepper.

 281 characters

Photo of hopdog
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of those bowling pin looking bottles.

Poured a dark brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of bread, light spices, licorice and some dark fruits. Tastes from dark fruits, chocolate, lighter spices and lighter bread.

Notes from 12/25/04

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color, with small, lasting head.

Scent of prunes, malts, slight chocolate, and spices.

Flavor is spicy with a subtle chocolate taste initially. Spicy grain flavor with the finish.

Mouth feel is clean with a nice bite.

I did enjoy this beer, but I do not think I will purchase it again at the price.

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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.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one puts the dark in dark ale. It is a very dark brown with amber highlights. The tan frothy head is about a finger thick at pour but quickly disappears to a thin covering across the top of the beer. It leaves minimal lacing as you drink it.

S: Wow, a lot of stuff going on in that aroma. You can smell the alcohol, fruity tones, and maybe a hint of chocolate. It smells in a strange way similar to a fig newton so maybe that is one of the fruits used. One of the most interesting aromas I can recall in a beer.

T: The fig shows up in the taste. Sweet candied sugars are present in the taste as well. The alcohol comes though a bit but not as much as expected with a 9% ABV. There seems to be just a small flavor of coffee as well which matches the smell. It is a very tasty brew with a lot of flavors, but I still wouldn't refer to it as complex which is why I gave it a 4.5.

M: Its a moderate thickness in the mouth, and has a nice level of on mouth carbonation. It is enjoyable to roll on the tongue.

D: For a 9% Belgian Strong Dark it is extremely drinkable. The after taste is just as good as the initial sip. If not for the warming affect of the ABV this one would be easily drinkable.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint, 9.4 fl oz, round, large bottle purchased from Super Saver in Somerville for $10.99...
Pours a deep, purple-colored hue with no carbonation or any head at all... barely any lacing around the glass, just a dark, blackish color with not much going on...
Very noticeable grape smell, with slight cherries and a hint of raisins...
Taste resembled the aroma, very similar flavor to a strong, spiked, malty, sour, grape juice that went down pretty smooth and lacked any strong alcohol interferences... Like many other Italian beers that I see in New Jersey, this one was also ridiculously over-priced and the cost mostly has to do with the "exotic" Italian factor... This isn't a superb beer to say the least - more mediocore than anything, and certainly not the best depiction of the style...
Not bad, but nothing above and beyond either...
For the price, it would be hard to recommend this one, yet at the same time, I wasn't completely dissapointed...

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas tasting with biegaman, grub and ThatWineGuy, biegaman brought this one out!

Pours a clear red/brown, almost copper, thick tan head forms, settles down to a solid ring and layer, some lace spots. Smell is neat, sweet, caramel, very malty, spices, wood, apples, spice, unique. Taste is caramel covered apples, spices, lots of lighter fruits, almost tropical, bread, bit of a sour funk and spice finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, nice, smooth, interesting flavours, I like it. Thanks Jan!

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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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Photo of morebeergood
2.62/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got a bottle for Christmas (thanks joshman). Poured into two belgian style goblets. First thing you see is my nemesis: yeast floaties. I cannot stand these in a beer. The smell was average, mostly just malt, with maybe just a hint of candied sugar. The taste was very weak, not much flavor to speak of, and the body was very thin in consistency. This was my first belgian style beer from Italy, and I can see why many don't come out of that country. Glad this was a gift!

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Photo of grub
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

christmas tasting hosted by biegaman on dec 15/07. he contributed this one. thanks jan!

750ml bottle, approx 1.5 years old.

pours deep brown with ruby edges. the small very fine light brown head drops fast and leaves some spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. light alcohol. caramel. big fruity nose - date, cherry, fig. bready malt. bit of dark chocolate. toffee. tiny hint of smoke.

taste is nice. big fruit again - date, cherry, fig, bit of raisin. light caramel. bit of alcohol. bready malt. touch of smoke again, but really mellow. light cinnamon and nutmeg hiding in there, but barely noticeable.

mouthfeel is good. very fine well integrated low carbonation level. medium large body. the super fine carbonation and big fruit almost make this one come across port-like.

drinkability is good. well balanced. i like the big fruity character in this one. very nice.

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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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Photo of brentk56
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany color with a distinctive head that hangs around for the duration and leaves splotchy lace all over the chalice

Smell: Lots of interesting fruit and spice flavors mix together - green apple, cherry and raisins on the fruit side and cinnamon and tobacco on the spice front; still, I cannot say I love the aroma

Taste: Fruity at the outset, with raisins and green apples that lead to a destinctively sour note by mid-palate; after the swallow, I pick up maraschino cherry and pear flavors, as well as tobacco and rum; oddly, some swallows are decent and others are marred by the phenolics

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with lots of carbonation

Drinkability: I had high hopes for this one and, while it is pretty interesting, I am not sure I want to spend the $ to try it again

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Photo of jdhilt
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one-fingered cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Dark cloudy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Almost malty nose. Flavor is sweet/spicy, balanced, clean finish. Higher ABV is hidden. Christmas gift, bought from Liquid Solutions Oregon City, OR.

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Photo of phisig137
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pops open with a mighty loud pop, and pours a deep brown, with brilliant mahogany shining through. Three finger head has good retention, and leaves behind some delicate lace. Good amount of floaters, despite the gentle pour.

Aroma is of raisins and alcohol. thin malt caramel is also present.

Flavor is malt dominated, and backed by a gentle fruitiness from the yeast. Nice dark fruit esters combine well with the toffee like malt. Slight toasted grain presence and notes of coffee as well. Alcohol is well hidden on the palate considering the ABV. Mouthfeel is moderate and smooth, well carbonated. Drinkability is great.

Fantastic beer, and well worth the $12.50 this normally costs. I was lucky enough to find a bottle mis-marked at $4.99! Either way, it's worth seeking out and trying. Highly recommended.

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Noël from Birrificio Le Baladin
3.9 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
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