Noël | Birrificio Le Baladin

very good
75 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Birrificio Le Baladin

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

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 127
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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Photo of Phatz
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was amazing. I had no idea we would like it so well. My wife and I poured this beer (is it is now a custom since she drinks too) into two snifters, leaving enough to re-cork the bottle and come back to it later we start an movie and when it is over we fish up the 750. It wasn't 25 minutes later that Grace turned to me and asked "did you leave a second pour in the bottle?" I looked down and my snifter was empty as well. What happened to our routine? This beer was too damn good. (after already getting the accidental buzz she decided we should crack the first homebrew 750, which is a hole_‘nother story.) I will certainly be seeking more Noël Baladin ASAP;-)

Appearance: Pours a dark molasses color with a light tan head, and very attractive lacing.

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, Caramel, Anise, and spices like shoe-fly-pie, along with a sweet cinnamon-swirl bread aroma.

Taste: Sweet and malty with rich flavors of dark fruits and sugars and pie flavors along with vinous grape wine. It starts with Raisin dates and cherry a brandy warm alcohol vinous element then sweet caramel brown sugar and molasses followed by a contingent of spices, nutmeg cinnamon and everything pecan pie but in a bready cake like form all blended beautifully in this fabulous flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel: Rich smooth and thick feel in the mouth, with a very warm holiday wine feel to it.

Drinkability: Down right absurdly dangerous. The beer is spectacular and my wife’s favorite yet. 9% is so well hidden until you polish off the bottle and wt_? I'm feeling it now. This beer would be great with a holiday meal. We just had it with some bean dip and corn chips and the beer practically vanished before my eyes. I will be attempting to acquire a case next time.

Hope this is helpful.

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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!

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Photo of Braudog
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Shared bottle at the Coastal Wine Connection’s monthly beer tasting. Poured a deep dark brown wtih a thin tan head. Lightly medicinal at first, but this mellows with a bit of woody bark-like flavors, lightly bittered with an almost currant-like fruitiness. Quite good. Only my second Baladin offering, but I’m impressed with their offerings. (#2674, 2/1/07)

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep brown, almost black Belgian hue. Can't see any bubbling in thid deep hue'd beer. The aroma is aof light Belgian spice and Belgian hops with an exotic flair. A hint of good ol' fashioned American stout lie qualities. Pretty unique smells and tastes. Just a bit too muted for my overall tatse. Hints of brown sugar caramelized currants, and burnt apples. Makes for a guido take on a Belgian classic.

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Photo of jwc215
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours mahogany/ruby with a head that sticks around and leaves lacing on the glass.

The smell is rich, complex and certainly inviting. Winter spices with plums and maple - almost port-like. Slight warming alcohol.

The taste is of sweetened dark fruits - plums and black cherries. A plethora of well-mixed winter spices mix in. A touch of caramel also comes through. But, does not become overly sweet due an earthy, almost nutty taste that balances it out in the back. Alcohol is well-hidden, but a touch comes through to warm things up.

The feel is a smooth, almost airy, medium body. Almost chamagne-like.

This is complex, wintery (but not too heavy) - a nice holiday-time treat.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part 2 of my Christmas Eve day spree of big Noel biers.... from a 750ml bottle... no freshness dating found.

Pours a deep mahogany hue, with tinges of garnet shining through. Steady carbo rising within, heading towards a healthy, finely bubbled, creamy tan head of about 1". Topping has good staying power, and laces the glass well. Nose has some fruit notes as well as some suggestions of cola. Body is a bit less than medium, feeling quite light and airy on the tongue, with a foamy, bubbly feel similar to some Hefeweizens.

Flavor has a touch of sweetness that tags along with some mild, dark fruit characteristics. Subtle hints of chocolate make an appearance. Extremely dry throughout, with a bit of a floral hoppiness making a cameo. Has an earthy aspect to it, with hints and afterthoughts of spiciness. Nothing, though, really jumps out and takes command.... lots of background flavors without a leading actor here... I scored this at the BA Belgian Bier Fest, and am somewhat pleased I didn't have to shell out coin for it.


overall: 3.7
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5


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Photo of HellsBELLS24
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Spicy feel on the palate. Pours pretty well and has a nice dark color. head is white and is a moderate one. Has a small amount of fig flavor as well. I can not get this in Ohio so I had to go back to Michigan to buy it. Bought the last 2 bottles. I do recommend this brew around the holiday times. It has a nice brew-bubbly feel for the holidays.

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

Baladin's winter warmer pours quite dark, with some ruby highlights when held to the light. The head is off white, thick, and leaves a lot of lacing. Smell is rich with winter spices, plums, and black cherries. At lower temperatures, the alcohol in this beer is very forceful; warmed up a bit, the first palate sensations are sweetness at the front of the tongue followed by a big cherry sweetness and light alcoholic burn. Aside from the very forward alcohol, this beer is pretty smooth, almost silky, on the palate, with an initial rush of carbonation offset quickly by smooth malts and candi sugars. Overall, this is quite a good beer. It's not distinctive enough to justify the big price tag, but ignoring the cost it's a fine winter beer.

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

Dark brownish amber color body with a smallish tan head that left little to no lacing as it was consumed. Some fruity sweetness with a very mild spiciness underneath. Sweet dark fruits come on in the flavor before some yeast and spices show. Light alcohol is detectable as is some earthy notes. Pretty strong carbonation and fairy thick body. Easy drinking and pretty tasting stuff that’s worth a try.

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

Pours with moderate foam and is dark brown. The aromas are very well blended. Smells like dark fruit cake with spices.

Taste is big and complex. Dates, prunes, and maybe some sugar. Holiday spices are there too. Mouthfeel is very good. For such big flavors, this beer is light on the palate. The 750ml is just the right size.

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

Undated 750 with a weird cap that is really wide and has a plastic inner seasl, poured into a chalice.

A slow gusher. Didn't spray all over the place but a slow steady stream of light brown "lava" did rise up and spill over. After a few minutes of letting it spill into the sink things became manageable enough to risk a pour. As expected, the head is huge. The beer is so brown it could be confused with black. Moderate retention with sheeted lace.

The nose is very complex. Roasted notes with raisins, plums, sharp spice, a little port wine, maple syrup, cookie dough, earth, nuts and bitter hops. Just a trace of alcohol heat underneath. Amazing!

The rasins and plums are still there when tasted. Not much roasty flavor, but the malts do carry a touch of it. The yeast tastes doughy. No maple or port wine, but the alcohol is detected as a peppery-warm flavor on the finish. Very nice!

Full, velvet like mouth that washes clean. As sessionable as a beer this strong, and expensive can be.

Amazing stuff. Enough to make me want to go out and drop the coin for other offerings from this brewer.

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Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml capped bottle pours a cloudy dark reddish brown that has a nice creamy light brown head that lasts and leaves sticky sheets of lacing in my glass. Spicy ginger, caramel, fruit and chocolate aromas, ginger, nutmeg, pear, caramel, chocolate, plum and smoke flavors. Full bodied with a nice soft and creamy mouthfeel, lasting spicy finish, very nice.

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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 OldSock
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance and Presentation – Noel in July… not exactly the right time for this beer, but who cares. 25.4 oz bottle with gold foil covering a big bottle cap. In my oversized wine glass the beer is dark like a porter, but with some crimson when held up to the light. It also has an everlasting big tan head that leaves nice lacing. Even though I poured carefully I can see little bits of “stuff” floating around in the beer; hopefully it’s supposed to be there.

Smell – Standard estery, spicy, malty Belgian ale smell as a base, but with the aroma of fresh flowers on top the base, not sure if this flavor is from the hops or if there is something else that was added. Really a unique aroma, alluring.

Taste – Similar to the smell in that the base has that excellent Belgian dark beer flavor, but with its own flavor laid on top. The base has big malts, coriander, dark fruits, and alcohol; the floral addition is great here as well.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied and creamy, but with prickly carbonation.

Drinkability and Notes – Not exactly easy to drink, because of the alcohol and little pieces stuff floating in the beer. That being said, this is a pleasing Belgian style ale that is substantially different from the norm. My first offering from Baladin, and after this I will certainly seek out more.

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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 alexgash
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark leathery brown murk that almost looks like melted down milk chocolate but with caramel brown edges in the light, topped by an extraordinary, cocoa brown head that is thick, laces excellently, and lasts forever. Nose is reminiscent of sugar dusted fruit (bananas and pears), with nutty milk chocolate, and a spicy yeastiness. Splendid. Lightly toasted chocolatey malt flavors up front. Quickly becomes fruitier with banana, and candied pears along with some pudding. Warming brandy-ish alcohol sets in for a yeasty, bittersweet finish. Very nice. Like a spiced-up dubbel. Full-bodied with a luxuriously smooth mouthfeel. Much better than their Elixir, and one of the best non-Belgian Belgian's I've had.

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Photo of shertzogovina
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A tempting looking 750 ml. bottle (crowned not corked) with no freshness date (not really relevant with such a brew).
If this is not a perfectly looking beer so I don't know what is.
Dark brown almost opaque color with probably the most amazing head i've ever seen. creamy off-white with a retention so good it stayed until I finished my glass and left an impresive lacing all over the glass.
Smell is of rum-like , dried fruits (currents, figs) burnt sugar and alcohol.
Taste like a spiced up great dubble with extra bitterness. it's hard to define the spices - it's all covered in warming alcohol.
Very smooth and creamy. perfect mellow carbonation and great balance.
Highly drinkable with such alcohol %. I had the whole bottle in three equal portions during a 3-hour period. a great holiday brew to kiss the winter away. very recommended.

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

Pours a black amber color that shows lightly hazy deep ruby-amber highlights when held up to the light. The head is thick and creamy with a rocky texture that falls leaving Belgian lacing on the sides of my glass. The aroma is sharp, spicy and fruity with notes of burnt raisins, brandy, rum, cranberry, cherry, plus some non-descript spiciness including something like a pine note or juniper.

The taste is dry up front with with a rich caramelized malt note. It is quite fruity, but it is a roasted, burnt fruit note that has notes of raisin, fig, pear, and concentrated plum. This beer also a hint of roasted character to it with notes of coffee, and roasted malt. The fruitiness and light sweetness of this beer is quite enticing and it is really quite rich and flavorful. This is quite tasty, it is quite appropriate for the Winter season.

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Photo of putnam
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opened at about 55 deg. F it exploded brownish tan lava all over the floor and desktop. Tall masses of foam melted evenly and subsequent pours behaved quietly. It is dark brown with tiny yeast particles that gather on the bottom of the glass.
Very creamy, doughy blackbread aromas are inviting. Mocha and cardamom aromas delineate a buttery rich base. While silky-textured and kissed with brown spices, it is perfectly attenuated. No alcohol flavor whatsoever and no sugary sweetness. It is easy to take big, open-throated drinks of this brown goodness. Burps of lebkuchen and burned ginger snaps belie an utter lack of anything dessert-like.
The most remarkable quality of this beer is its unctuous, dry creaminess. In time I expect it to gain some sour and stone fruit nuances.

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Photo of marburg
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown beer; big, lingering head. Quite a "pffft" when I cracked the cap on this. Some nice prickly carbonation to this, which matches well with its zippy, well-spiced nose and flavor profile. Aromas of dried licorice, some nutmeg, black currants, pepper, and roasted nuts drizzled in chocolate.

Mulling spices mingle with a bit of dried wood, curaco, and "gourmet" chocolate-covered raisins. Some extra "oompf" from a nutmeg/cinnamon kick through the finish, which has just the perfect hop balance.

This could be the official beer of Festivus. It has all the proper celebratory ale properties, and it' to drink.

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

Purchased in Milan, Italy and sampled one lonely night in Rome.

Deep Mahogany.

Pleasantly aromatic with notes of tangerines, peppers, dead flowers, pit fruit, toffee, vanilla, cocoa and dried fruits along with a very unique yeast strain.

Lovely. Front is cherries and cocoa. Tangerine, dried fruits and plums in the mid-palate. Lingering, alcoholic, finish.

I was expecting more but this beer was still very good.

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Photo of stcules
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany, almost black colour. Compact and very persistent foam, hazelnut colour.
The smell: toasted, alpine herbs, rhubarb, liquorice, barley coffee, light wood, anise.
Malty and full taste, lightly citrus (orange peel). Vanilla, ripe cherry. Spices.
Mostly in the aftertaste, with again liquorice, anise, cane sugar, cinnamon. Some bitter, more of herbal than hop.
Full and round body, wrapping.
Good and drinkable, despite the alcohol.
Very good beer.

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