Noël | Birrificio Le Baladin

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BA SCORE
87
very good
74 Reviews
THE BROS
82
good
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NoëlNoël
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Birrificio Le Baladin
Italy | website

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 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 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 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 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 eduardolinhalis
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured in a mug.

A: Pours a deep dark amber color. Many particles floating. Head is beige and bubbled. Medium size, small retention and practically no lacings

S: Sweet. Caramel, caramel malts, dark fruits (mainly raisins). Yeasts and flowery hops

T: Caramel malts, yeasts and dark fruits. Mild sweet upfront. Moderated bitter aftertaste. Some alcoholic notes in the end. An authentic Belgian strong dark ale :)

M: Medium body and carbonation. Lighter than I was expecting from a 9% ale. Good sweet-bitterness balance

O: High drinkability. My favorite Italian brewery

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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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 stephenjmoore
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky brownish-Amber with some floaters in it. Not sure if it's sediment, or dried cork residue. Aroma has cherries, grainy bread, hints of cocoa, toast and a dash of brown sugar. Flavor is rich, almost fruitcake like with some tree fruits, brown sugar, sweet bread and caramel. Feel is medium-full bodied, slightly prickly and metal-like finish. Overall a nice Belgian-style ale with lots of flavor.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Celebrating the holiday season Italian-style! Turns out its a lot like Belgian-style as the ale opens up with the familiar fruit and spice interplay as those darker, richer Belgian Trappist ales and with a familiar candied malt base. It warms the spirit, soothes the mind and makes families much more tolerable.

As the beer settles, it does so with the rusty, reddish-brown hue that casts subtle highlights through its yeasty veil. Its foam is eggshell-white as the creamy bubbles amass a blanket of froth that shields the beer from top to bottom throughout the session. The ale creeps along, leaving denoting concentric rings of lace in its memory.

Fruity and malty aromas align in the nose with raisins, dates, figs and cherries. Throw in the orchard fruit varieties of apples and berries for good measure, allowing a vinous red wine note to permit. The fruit is pulled together with lightly seared caramel and brown sugar for a taste that strikes the nose as "fruitcake" like. Spicy white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg sides with the alcohol for a balance that seems like spiced rum.

Soft and supple to taste, the ale simply melts on the tongue with creamy sweetness- starting off with the sweetness of powdered sugar, light molasses, mildly toasted coffee cake and slight brown sugar. As the taste of dried dark fruit fold into the mix, its nutty date, fig, sultan and cherry flavors reinforce the fruitcake notion. And all those Christmas-type spices do much the same as the fruity-sweetness is in much need of balance. But the ale trails spicy and slightly wine-like as a tangy and tannin-like finish looms.

Only medium-full on the palate, the sweetness would imply richer texture, but the soft and creamy carbonation keeps the beer silky and somewhat "feathery". As alcohol as spice builds, drier impressions are left on the back of the tongue until the finish is left with only echoes of cola nut, toasted grain and mulled spice warmth.

Where greater amplification of the ale overall would aid its vividness, its delicate mouthfeel is what is truly intangible. It simply does what the Rochefort, St. Bernardus and Westvleteren of the world do. We have a winner based on palate sensations alone!

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Photo of spoony
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a funky-shaped 750 ml bottle (code says L32/120) into a wine glass.

A-A normal pour produces about one finger of thick, khaki foam. The head hangs around for a minute before dropping to a thick cap that hangs around for quite a while. The beer is a dark-ruby hued brown color and very murky.

S-The aroma is malty and earthy, but less sweet than I would expect of a BSDA and a beer that calls itself holiday beer. There is some leather, prune, cocoa, and a touch of spice. The alcohol is noticeable and solventy in character.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with earthy prune, raisin, leather, and soil flavors. There is also some cocoa and a bit more spice like nutmeg and allspice. The solventy alcohol is also obvious, but it fits pretty well with the flavors and gives a bit of sweetness and warming.

M-The beer is soft and full in body. The carbonation is fine and foamy on my palate.

O-This is a tasty and somewhat unique beer. The flavors are complex and the warming, slightly spicy and alcoholic nature of this BSDA are mostly what I expect from a holiday beer. That being said, I could have used a little more sweetness to balance the earthy flavors. Glad I got to try to this and I would drink it again if given the chance.

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

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a coca cola dark brown color with fairly good head retention and light lacing. Not getting a whole lot on the nose with this one... some light brown sugar and chcolate is about it. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but there's just a lot more richness and intensity than I was expecting (thankfully). There is also some vanilla and cherry, and damn if this isn't pretty tasty. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and the finish is fairly long and moderately sweet. The alcohol is very well disguised; there's no way I would guess I'm drinking a 9% abv. beer.

While the pricing on this beer will likely keep me from ordering it again any time soon, this is still a pretty tasty beer from the folks at Baladin.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a somewhat brownish black body (not completely black) with good head and lace retention. A rather complex nose because I seem to pick up dark fruits like raisins and black cherry as well as some yeast, minor hopiness and then some sweetness that seems to be beyond caramel. Not the most complex beer but it's a light to medium body, not really chewey but there's some sturdiness there, is actually pretty smooth, some more raisins, dark/black cherries, hints of figs, some caramel or candi sugar sweetness comes out and then it has a spicy finish. A rather interesting beer that was worth a shot.

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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 Cozzatoad
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle
Once brewed for the christmas period, now avialable all year. So that's it, christmas in october

A- Very dark brown, almost black. One finger of quite dense and thick off-white head, that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass

S- Dark malts on the chocolate side, with some dark fruits overtones (raisin, maybe more). A slight spiciness, probably from the esters, brings some light peppery notes

T- Very close to the aroma but maybe a bit of a letdown as flavours are not as distinct as the smell suggested. Delicate dark malts with hints of chocolate and liquorice, though still quite on the sweet side as sugar is easily detectable. Then some very light dark fruit notes, a subtle spiciness (pepper, orange) and a slightly acidic finish/aftertaste that reminds of red wine

M- Very light body for a 9%ABV beer, you'd actually say that this beer sits somewhere between 7/7.5ABV. Very smooth on both tongue and palate with soft, delicate carbonation. Not a big mouthfeel but a nice, delicate one

O- Drinkabilty is awesome for a 9%ABV beer. While strong dark ales are usually big in body and flavours, this one is a delicate beer that leans more towards subtle complexity (faint spiciness, that slightly vinous finish) and drinkability, with nice results

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Photo of Knapp85
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a large bottle of this along with the Al-iksir at Shangy's in Emmaus. My intent was to buy this and hold onto it until Christmas time with the family. The bottle had a sticker indicating that it was bottled in 2005. This beer pours out as a nut brown color, there are hundreds of little flakes floating around in the beer. As they settled to the bottle it formed a blanket of white flakes in the bottom of the glass. The beer smelled a little spicy, some roasted notes as well. The taste of the beer was a little nutty, but primarily had some yeasty flavors in it along with some spice in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer had a good amount of carbonation left to it. Overall it was pretty good, Wouldn't need to have it again but it was fun to try.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

let me just preface this by saying that i love all the italian beer flooding the market right now, and my curiosity is through the roof, so it is with great enthusiasm that i get into this one, my first of these on tap, thanks to lucky pie in louisville. its got a nice red color to it, like that almost maroon red you see in old renderings of saint nick's coat. deep burgundy sort of, short lived off white head. it smells like dried cherries or cranberries, tart and sweet, but not wild yeasts really so much as a fruity tartness. the grain is heavy, but you would still never suppose 9% abv on this one. its creamy and well carbonated, and tastes like red malt, even rice starchiness, dried fruit, saison type yeast, and a mild spiced character. its perfect winter beer, unlike others, but fits neatly within the baladin family of beers i have had so far. one was enough, two tops, but i appreciate its uniqueness, which has been a common theme with their beers. worth trying for sure, and with longevity beyond the holiday season i think.

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