Affligem Noël
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #28
Ranked #3,584
4.1 | pDev: 9.76%
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël
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Reviews: 343 | Ratings: 575 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of tobelerone
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2011 bottle holding up surprisingly well. Nice khaki colored head slowly dissipating over a chestnut colored body. Nose and flavor are nice if a little lacking in complexity compared to some others in the style. Dark fruits, spicy and phenolic, some booze apparent and a modest bitterness in the finish. While not all that full bodied there’s a nice creaminess to the feel with medium carbonation. I suspect this is a little less lively after all those years in the bottle.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has a nice warm booziness, like cognac or brandy, that really compliments the christmas spices, plum and of course the yeast. Surprisingly full bodied given affligem beers, but it is nice. Smell more full and rich compared to taste, but both are well balanced and delightful

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Photo of chinchill
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml cork and wire bottle with no clear bottling date but it has been cellared for at least 2 years.
Pours clear reddish brown with a very durable and creamy beige head. Good lacing that quickly slides down the sides of the glass.
Aroma: rich smells of dark dried fruits, light spices, and fruit cake.
Flavor: follows the aroma. Very well balanced and harmonious mix of flavors including dates and raisins. Slightly sweet but with a lightly bitter finish.
Feel: full body with rather lively carbonation.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from a 1pt. 6 oz. brown bottle - bottled on 09/04/2013

Affligem Noel Christmas Ale has a dark amber colored body. The 1-finger head produced was tan and bubbly. The head had good retention. The nose picked up the aroma of malt, dark fruits, and light spices. The taste has the flavor of dark fruit [raisins], brown sugar, caramel, and a little bready. The spices seemed weaker than the nose...maybe due to its age? Mouth feel is smooth and creamy with a medium body and carbonation.

Noel Christmas Ale is just right for the holiday season. It's tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

*Bottle dated 9/04/13

Pours a murky garnett color with a finger’s worth of beige head that soon dissipates. The aroma evokes a fine Belgian chocolate--candied cherry and nougat in a chocolate shell, dusted with brown sugar.

The taste features raisins, clove, and a touch of cherry cough syrup up front. Aggressive carbonation subdues all but the sweetest, spiciest flavors in the early going. Alcohol provides a little more warmth than I would prefer, but not terribly so. Warming reveals some light toffee and brown sugar notes, as well as a bit of a sour tang to add some complexity. Medium body, along with the aforementioned carbonation, afford a peppy albeit unremarkable mouthfeel.

Overall, this is a sweet, warming beer that’s appropriate for the season. The complexity isn’t exactly through the roof, and the carbonation is a bit much for my tastes, but it remains a serviceable brew. Bear in mind that this bottle has aged over two years, so I can’t say how faithfully it reflects its fresh identity.

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Photo of bnes09
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First glass pours a dark maple, brown sugar color. Finger and a half head with exceptional retention. Second pour produces a mass of chunky yeast which float in the liquid like hot-sour soup.

Malty spicy aroma and flavor. Lots of yeast character. Sweet overall with molasses, brown sugar, dates and figs. Complex flavor.

Full bodied. Sticky feel on the lips. Yeast coats the tongue creating a slick feel. Well carbonated.

Good stuff.

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Photo of chadski
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Interesting but not overly impressive. Aroma is a bit stale and is more reminiscent of an English Ale than a Belgian. Plum, spices and some cola flavors.

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Photo of MisterGone
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 into tulip on Christmas Eve after arranging gifts under the tree. Be forewarned that seasonal merriment may impact review.

Reddish brown with a fine white head. The spice aroma comes in right away with a subtle sweetness that has a brown sugar tinge to it. A bit of estery yeast in the nose, not much. Pretty mild hops, had hoped for a piney profile. Didn't get it. The flavor is spicy in the initial with some clove-cinnamon, followed by the dried fruit of what to me was fig, raisin, and date which lent a brown sugar-honey combo. Very nice. Finishes with the sweet and yeast for the signature Belgian flavor. As expected, the dried fruit, sweet, and estery components increase as the beer comes to temp.

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Photo of cbutova
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Foundry Northampton, MA.

A- A mix of deep burnt orange and ruby hues in the goblet after the beer falls from the tap. A white, puffy head to one finger with pretty good retention. A few webs but not much lace beyond that.

S- Quite mild overall for the ABV and style. Spicy Belgian yeast, light to medium candi sugar and caramelized raisins.

T- Mildness here is more welcome than the somewhat weak aroma. Spicy yeast first and foremost with golden raisins, cherry, apple skin, golden and amber candi sugar.

MF- Light end bodied with a certain dryness contributing to it. Very smooth medium high carbonation soothes the palate with a small bite. A bit light.

Candi sugar and spicy yeast profile are the bulk of this intensely smooth 9% Belgian brew. Doesn't even drink nearly like 9% ABV.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%

$ 8.99/11 oz draft tulip at Uno’s in Exton.PA
Aroma faint of spice and cherries
Head – virtually none, off white, fully diminishing to 1 mm broken layer
Lacing poor – few small islands of small bubbles
Body red, clear
Flavor very sweet spicy cherry cough syrup, alcohol; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate full, syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3, Aroma 2.75, Flavor 3, Palate 3, Overall 2.9375. Final weighted score: 2.9375
Cough syrup from Christmas on tap the following August.

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Photo of NVP12345
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A deep, cloudy brown-red. Medium-sized head that dissipated quickly. Lots of sediment in this one, I thought my glasses might have been dirty.

S - Subtle, sweet.

T - Hard-hitting, the fig/cherry/plum similar to their dubbel mixed with cinnamon, cloves, spices. Initial sweetness gives way to lasting bitterness. Delicious.

M - Fully carbonated, medium- to full-bodied. Typical Belgian.

O - I really enjoyed the Affligem Dubbel and Tripel, and once again they have impressed. Right up there with my favorite Belgian Christmas, the St. Bernardus. Would gladly purchase this beer again, maybe even go out of my way to seek it out.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I gotta learn to pour better. I poured this gently, I thought, down the side of standard pint glass. Didn't tip it but my other hand was full. Well, I received a glass of foam for my trouble. I won't hold it against the beer.

Pours a dark, somewhat clouded, medium brown, lighter than maple syrup but not by much. A well formed, 2 finger high, tan head develops. Good retention, settles evenly to about 1/2".
Smell is malt, wood, miscellaneous fruits, a hint of hops. Very good balance.
Taste is malt, wood, a mix of light & dark fruits, some alcohol and hops. Great balance and nicely complex.
Medium bodied, light but tangy effervescence. A bit of warming develops after the temperature comes up some and some of the liquid goes down. Reasonably smooth to drink if not smooth across the tongue. A really fine brew.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful translucent ruby red with a light tan head.

S: Cherry, ginger, and nectary orange in the nose.

T: Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cherry, orange, ginger, very christmasy and tasty.

M: Medium bodied and smoothish.

O: Delicious. It has that orange flavor to it that (along with the season's spices, of course) is characteristic of Belgian winter/Christmas ales. This is one of my favorites of the style and from the brewery.

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Photo of gatornation
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a medium brown color with an off white head
S-fig raisins brown sugar and brandy
T- dark fruits greet the palate with a brandy wood taste,next brown sugar and plums mixed with cherries all mixed with a spicy hoppy finish
M-full bodied with medium carbonation fruity and spicy
O-great winter ale with a little alcohol heat great dark fruit and spice flavor

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Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer was served in a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a crimson color with good clarity when held up to light with vision of slow moving bubbles coming up through the glass. Layered lacing as the beer was drank.

Smell: Bananas, toffee, bready malts, spicy yeast, and warm boozy alcohol.

Taste: Bananas, cherries, toffee, creamy, bready flavor, spicy yeast, nice warm alcohol, and mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Silky, creamy, smooth, full bodied, sipper, nice warm booze, and low carbonation.

Overall: A nice brew for this Nor'easter coming our way. Good to be inside with this tasty brew.

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Photo of silverking
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- deep amber with ruby accents. Short lived beige head, which fades to a thin ring if foam that leaves sheets of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- brandy soaked figs and raisins, brown sugar, dried plums, dried cherry.

T- figs, brown sugar, dried cherries, and the finish shows some alcohol and a spicy hop presence.

M- full bodied, light prickly carbonation.

O- fantastic, absolutely fantastic.

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Photo of Suds
3.74/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brown, explosively effervescent beer is the epitome of a Belgian Christmas brew. Sugar and spice. Malt and caramel and yeast. The head is enormous and long lasting. Warmth and spritzy liveliness. Full body...the beer is a very enjoyable seasonal treat.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown and ruby red in color with a one finger fluffy off white head that has good retention

Smell has some nice light vinigarlike notes along with light fruit like esters and a light spice. Malt is caramel

Taste follows the nose with fruity flavors spicy phenol light pepper and apricot primarily. Malt is rich and caramel like and mildly sweet with a light tart dry finish

Mouthfeel is good. Dry, sweet high carbonation and medium bodied.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 poured to snifter

Pretty pretty my precious is almost garnet red. Small light tan head settles quickly, with a light lacing.

Smell is like sweet biscuits and christmas cookies

Flavor starts with a toffee assault and spicy cinnamon and clove whipping post lash. A hint of smoked peat and swedish coffee. Lush and delicious pure malt aftertaste. A hint of hot alcohol, about what I expect at 9% abv. A bit of golden retriever as it warms, so don't feel bad if you make it go away before room temp.

Heavy and silky slick mouthfeel moderated with a CO2 bite

If you are looking for a damn fine Christmas cookie in a bootle, this is the top of the 2013 class I've tasted to this point (I'll save my St Bernadus for Christmas day). The whole toffee/malt/spice flavor vulcan mind meld is a step beyond other seasonal beers and Affligem's trippel. It is almost Christmas... if you've not earned your lump of coal yet, after a couple of these you may.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Red amber with sudsy lace. Love the appearance in its intended glass.

Spicy phenols, bready notes, dark cherry fruits, implied mulling spice, touch of buttery vanilla, candi sugar, and plum. A nice festive nose.

Soft flavors of clove spice with lots of candi sugar and spicy yeast phenols. Red fruit nuances with warmth and breadiness. Some dark fruit and nuttiness, but mostly straightforward. Not hot, but showing booziness. Perhaps, a kiss of cinnamon.

The yeast is, surprisingly, not powdery. Proves to be a smooth drink with medium body. Lighter carbonation really allows the alcohol to want to zing you.

Pretty darn good, all things considered. A lot of beer. Festive.

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Photo of Durge
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rosy walnut brown color with a scant bit of off- white head that essentially disappears quickly and leaves no trace of lace. The aroma suggests vinous fruit and malty grain, tart and crisp. The flavor offers deep malts and a slighly grassy bite. There's some dark fruit presence and pineapple highlights. The body is medium with fair carbonation for a relatively smooth feel. A solid brew

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a lot of head which seems to also have very good retention. The head is a very light beige while the body is a muddy, dark amber which appears as a glowing orange, medium amber when held up to the light. Some lacing has been left behind.

Nose- Lots of raisins. There is a fair amount of presence but I wish there were more complexity. Some brown sugar and molasses from the glass. A little bit of caramel from the bottle. Some bread. Swirling doesn't add much to the aroma.

Taste- Same as the aroma- lots of raisins, followed by caramel. Some brown bread, brown sugar, and molasses. Does seem as if it has been aging for 2 years. It's very mellow and smooth and lacks presence. The raisins tend to be a little sour (notes of prune come up) and give the beer somewhat of a wine character. Reminds me more of a dubbel than a BDSA. Clove and banana start to appear, as does apple. I am beginning to see why the label describes this as a mix between their dubbel and their tripel. I haven't had either but I can imagine. I'm sure this had lots of presence and complexity when it was younger but now it's all about integration and balance. No hint of the 9% and this beer is incredibly smooth and mellow. A good to very good beer. Not in the same league as the heavy hitters in this style but still a good beer.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied with a suitable amount of carbonation. Borders on creamy and smooth with a light, dry finish.

Drinkability- Very subtle and very drinkable. Soft and mellow. 9 bucks is not a bad price at all but I don't know if I would pay it again. Perhaps for a fresher bottle to get a better sense of the flavor profile.

Overall- Good to very good. Not overwhelming as this beer thrives as result of its mellow character. Definitely worth a try if you like Belgians and at this age, it's very accessible for non Belgian drinkers.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in an Affligem goblet from a 750 ml bottle. Look is cloudy deep mahogany with a thick, creamy off-white head and sticky lacing. Smell is brandy, cocoa, must with lots of dark dried fruit and hints of tropical fruit. Taste is brandy, caramel, bitter dark chocolate, prunes, orange and spices. Feel is full in body that is creamy and a little sweet in the finish.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature chalice, bottled on 8/16/2012. Pours slightly cloudy ruby red color with a 1 finger fluffy light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of raisin, apple, caramel, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, toast, candi sugar, light clove, bread, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of deep malt with yeast esters and spices. Taste of raisin, apple, caramel, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, toast, light clove, candi sugar, toffee, pepper, bread, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of light fruits, caramel, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, toast, candi sugar, light clove, toffee, bread, pepper, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of malt flavors with fruity yeast esters and spicing; with a great malt/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly slick and moderately prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent spiced Belgian strong ale! Great balance and complexity of malt, yeast esters, and spices; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ggourde
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Murky chocolate brown with creamy head, but no Belgian Lace. Dried fruit- raisins dominate while black licorice comes out. Taste of spices and dried fruit (plums and raisins). A bit sharp- lots of carbonation. Nice alcohol warming. A good winter beer, perhaps with a little more conditioning the sharpness will mellow out.

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Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 575 ratings