Affligem Noël | Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

340 Reviews
Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 12-18-2001

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Reviews: 340 | Ratings: 568
Photo of pbrian
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excuse the weak technical review here, but I had this beer after I had already had many other fine beers, guests were over, Christmas songs were on, dinner was served and I couldn't have picked a better beer to go with the festive atmosphere. It was simple exceptional. Merry Christmas.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very dark brown hazy body, ruby red in color when light is held to the glass. Really big head, tan and foamy, fades to an uneven rocky surface. Smell is pure beligian. Spicy and woody, slightly musty, with plenty of alcohol aromas. Taste is very alcoholic, spicy and earthy with plenty of hops on the fade. A nice big beer for the winter months. I am celebrating the Super Bowl with this stuff, which I would be celbrating like Chriitsmas if the Vikings were still in seaon. Good stuff, get it.

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Photo of Weissenheimer
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got the last two bottles of last year's Affligem Noel at my local beverage shop after hearing lots of good things about it. I pop the cork and pour, and the magic begins. The huge, foamy head soon becomes craggy in the manner of limestone formations. The lacing is luxuriant, and has a distinctive way of rolling down the glass as a unit after each sip. The liquid is a beautiful mahogany.

The first thing I taste is a lovely, smooth caramel flavor. The carbonation is perfect; it makes itself known without being overdone. The taste is spicy, with an anise flavor that's well-blended with the caramel.

This is one of _those_ beers. You know, the ones where you take your first sip and say "Hey, this is pretty good!" and by the time you're done with your first glass you're ready to give the brewmaster a kidney. The taste is big, smooth, round, and buttery. If I had one word to describe it, it would be "sumptuous". It's not tremendously complicated, but it's constructed so well - out of just a few perfectly-tooled elements - that it brings to mind a masterfully carved piece of woodwork. Incredibly smooth despite its richness, it sweeps over my palate like a thick sheet of velvet. This is one exceptional beer. I'll be getting a bunch of this and aging it for next Christmas.

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Photo of Denali
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Package: 750 ml corked bottle, 2002 vintage.

Appearance: A lot of carbonation as I poured it into my glass produced a beautiful creamy tan head formed from lots of tiny bubbles. Beer was slightly opaque brown/slight reddish color. Very inviting.

Smell: Lots of different spices (including cinnamon), fruity aromas (including apricot and plums perhaps), and also some alcohol. Fantastic.

Taste: Oh my! The malt, the spices (so many, including the cinnamon I detected in the aroma), also a little fruity. Superb. A total delight.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation really fizzles in my mouth, allowing the flavors to burst all over. Joy.

Drinkability: Sheer pleasure.

Comments: This has to be one of my all time favorites. If I could live on this beer alone, I would. It is to be treasured. As the tag that came with the bottle says, "Brewed to be Shared." Thank you Stu (from Shoreline Beverage on Long Island) for recommending this to me. After having this one bottle, I went back and bought the other three that he had left.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz. "bomber" bottle with a cork dated 9/07. Pours (into a tulip glass) a spectacular iced-tea-ish brown color with a large, foamy off-white Belgian head. The typical pillar of carbination rises from where the stem meets the bottom of the bowl. The aroma is rich & sweet, with hints of dark fruit, molasses & honey with a slight hint of the alcohol. 1st sip is rich with a dryness that belies the sweet aroma. Notes of raisin & plum come to mind, with a slight hint of honey. There's a hint of spice (cinnamon & nutmeg) on the swallow with an oh-so-slight alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is sparkly & effervescent! The 9% alcohol is very well hidden, almost TOO well!! DAMN THIS IS GOOD!!! I grabbed a bottle just for sampling & rating purposes...I hope there's a few left!!!

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Photo of LarryV
4.83/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very smooth with a lovely deep reddish color. I'm not good at describing all of the flavors and nuances of different beers, but this was an incredible brew imho. Nice thick head and left nice trails down the glass. Had an almost peppery finish to it on the back of the palate. Great beer at a reasonable price.

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Photo of Bradthoc
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After three years of living in Belgium I want to slap myself silly for never trying this one.

For my first stab at Affligem's beer, this was a great first impression, leaving me to consume quite a few of these over the course of December 2010 and into January 2011.

The beer came in a 750ml bottle, corked, with cage and poured smoothly into a glass. Color was a dark brown with a tint of read and a creamy white head that held up nicely for several minutes.

Smelling this beer was almost as good as enjoying it and puts right into the Holiday/Winter season mood.
The beer lifts up a gentle and yet strikingly gorgeous aroma of dark fruits, caramel, and spices.

The taste of Affligem's Noel was simply amazing. The beer was easy to drink with a medium body, and light on the palate and stomach with bold flavors. The toasted flavor of the mentioned fruits and light sweetness has been excellently brewed and prepared by Affligem.

This beer is perfect for a cold night, inside or on an enclosed patio, enjoyed with friends or family all night long.

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Photo of sloejams
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

EVERYWHERE I went in Paris, I would see the Affligem Noël advertisements. Every Metro stop, every newstand, even almost every bloody building had the nice looking poster showing a proper goblet of this fine elixir surrounded by the spices within it. I've had this years version once prior to my trip. It was delicious, no 'bout a doubt it. These omnipresent ads took over my world while in France. I needed to have more. I just did. Only problem NOWHERE had the actual beer!

After looking in about a dozen shops and probably peering into two dozen bars (even many places listed in the Paris Beerfly), I all but gave up. My travelmates were all enthralled. What was the delicious nectar that evaded us so? We can it be? Finally, one bar we sauntered by had it on draught, but we were lunchbound and no one else wanted to pop in for a glass.

When I got home to LA, I stopped in my local shop - a place I knew would have it. Sure enough, it was delicious as could be.

Pouring into my chalice, it looked exactly like Coca-Cola. Sniffing at it, I even get some of that Coke smell - not much mind you, most is filled with spices: clove, cinnamon, and star anise. A slight bready yeastiness seeps out as well. The spices and malt characters shined in the flavor – even more so than the nose. It was a subtle sweetness that rounded the balance. Delicious.

A fine Belgian holiday offering.

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Photo of ROMER79
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It poured a Chestnut brown with a nice thick tan head into a tulip glass. I could smell chocolate, caramel, nuts, and spices right off the bat. The taste was pretty much the same and the flavors just pop on the palate. It has a great balance between the spices and the sugars. I feel that the '08 batch was right up there with the Bernardus Christmas Ale. Very tasty beer and very easy to drink. I am glad that I had it this year.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and cloudy, dark burgundy color, near maroon, with a nine, fizzy, creamy tanned head above.

Aroma is yeast and zest...citric and spicy...a lemon cookie with a glaze of cinnamon and ginger. Or more likely, coriander..with a blast of cloves.

More of the same appears on the palate...big citric fruit, tangy, yeasty zest, and huge flavor, big. big, big....and happily recieved on the tongue and down the throat...the ctirc fruit zest and the spicy factor continue in tandem all the way down the line, with brief suggestions of black cherries, dark grapes and berries, currants and such...

Body is medium, bordering on full, and the finish is long and dominated with the full, tangy fruity flavor that continues throughout the flavor profile found in this bottle...a very festive brew, sure to enjoin any lost soul to the raft of happiness, I assure you!

(I've only gotten halfway through this bottle and I suspect that I'll like it more as I drain the thing...yup, it's happening...yum, this is the epitome...boy, oh, boy, how can you get any better?)

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Photo of Vancoubeer
4.71/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lost of carbonation and due to the yeast its pretty foamy. The head did dissipate quickly. Somewhat tanish whitish head and very mahogany brown. Kind of like a dubbel. The smell is very subtle tropical fruits to strong dark fruits. No hops in the smell at all. In the taste, there is a ton of sweet malty fruits and it leaves a tropical fruit tang. Very nice and the spices are subtle but they are there. The mouthfeel is medium sticky and leaves a pleasant flavor. Overall, this is a top notch beer. As it warms, you get the flavor of the grains to balance the sweetness. An amazing beer indeed and perfect for the holidays. Not as spiced as I thought but I must say its not as warm as I would like and as it does I am sure it will have flavors jumping out of it.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.69/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL corked & caged. Received as a Christmas present from my wife, along with an Affligem glass (and 2 other beers & glasses).

Poured a nice red-amber with a small white head. Nice, full aroma of yeast, molasses, spice, and fermented raisins.

Taste is smooth and sweet, with more molasses, spice, rum fruits, candy sugar, wheat, and a touch of alcohol.

Deeeelicious, and quite appropriate for sharing with my in-laws today. One of the better strong dark Belgian ales I've had in recent memory. Thanks, Meghan.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep red in color with a thin, uneven tan head which quickly settles to a smooth, thin, creamy top.

Quite a strong, sour, musky, yeasty aroma. It takes a little while to work through this layer, but something fruity emerges later on. I have a hard time nailing the scent -- it doesn't seem to be any of the standards.

Wow! The flavor! Quite different from what the aroma led me to expect. Rich, dubbel-like maltiness, with a bit of orange zest, caramel, some candyish malt, cocoa and dates. Yeast comes through at the finish along with a gentle spiciness. Full bodied with a *lot* going on. The alcohol is warming, and lends a bit of estery goodness to the finish, but is not at all intrusive.

Merry Christmas to me!

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.64/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One word, Fresh! This beer pours a deep orange/brown color with cloudiness and a good head that recedes to a thin ring. The nose is very fruity, like fresh, fresh fruit. I can smell some spices. reminds me of some kind of spiced papaya or mandarin orange salad, that is what i would drink this with. The taste follows the nose, and the abv is almost indetectable. A little overcarbonated for a dark strong but by no means abrasive, good kick in the tongue. aftertaste lingers for weeks, and spices stick to the side of your mouth as the fructose taste syrups to your lips. It smells and tastes like some kind of body lotion or scented soap. I'm pretty sure if they churned this with butter, girls would rub it all over them. Maybe im just saying that cause im tipsy and alone, im gonna go to another site, ill be back in a few minutes. Good fruit flavors, but by no means overpowering. suttle spice and great drinkability for the abv. fantastic beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

A- Corked and caged 750ml poured into an Ommegang chalice. Pours a dark amber color with an off-white colored head that leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

S- The aroma is simply mouth-watering for me. There is a lot of dark fruits along with some caramel, a hint of spices and yeast.

T- The taste like the aroma is very malty with a lot of dark fruits and spices.

M- The mouthfeel is somewhere in the middle of light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is a great beer to sip on a cooler night in front of the fireplace as you ponder the complexities. Highly Recommended!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this on 12-17-2002 at a Beer Tasting held in the Rock Bottom, Long Beach.
Fifth beer of the night for me and my fellow Tasters.
Again, a deep brown chestnut color, and also with a very mild haze, but this does not concern me with beers of this strength and quality though. The head was tan brown and also quite sturdy in the sampling glass, carbonation was quite high and the head did last well into the tasting, but eventually died away to reveal a ‘flattish’ looking beer. Delirium Noël was the prior beer, it was uncanny because both looked quite similar – but that’s where the similarity ends.
Affligem has Class, for the aromas are quite astounding. A positively *Huge* nose that presents an organized collection of familiar, and not-so-familiar, scents, smells and odours. This truly is Christmas – which present do I open…., I mean which aroma do I smell first? Well, in no particular order they are; Alcohol, Malt, Roasted Barley, Strong Coffee, Nutmeg, Spices, Herbs, Dark Fruits, Rich Brandy, Port soaked Apples, Rum & Raisin Dark Chocolate, Dates, Belgium Chocolate Liqueurs, et al. This is one seriously great smelling beer. Tastes are 100% reflective of the aromas, an alcoholic-maltiness leads the way, and then the more complex richer tastes and dark chocolate brandy tastes enter towards the middle and back end. A fantastic lingering finish, I did not want to swallow, and so savor this beer as long as I possibly could. You’d better get a big pad and a new pen if you are going to review this beer at home, oh, and swat up on your superlatives as well. At the end of the 8 beers that we tasted on Tuesday night, I went round the room, collected the partly finished bottles of Affligem and finished whatever of this beer was left. Awesome experience, even better as it warmed.
Affligem Noël is 9% ABV and a true Christmas Beer for me. Strong, Complex, Very Potent, Warming and Mysterious at times – just how they should be. On reflection, it makes the prior beer, Delirium Noël, as good as it is – feel somewhat amateurish and timid. A quality offering, and guess what Heineken own 95% of this Brewery, but the good news is that Affligem brands must be brewed in Belgium for the next 30 years. If you see this beer - purchase a couple of Bottles, drink some and cellar the rest, this beer could well turn out to be a classic in years hence. Mightily Impressive.

Dear Santa,
I don’t want an Aston Martin DB7 GT anymore; just leave me a Crate of Affligem Noël instead….

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Photo of uncggop06
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 vintage, purchased in January 2007 ($20 for a case, good deal)

A - Pours with very little head, but some sticks around. Chestnut brown.

S - Absolutely amazing!. Definite candied date flavor, perfect for a Winter brew!

T - Deliciously funky and sweet. This must be due to the aging bringing out the funk. This is a beer that does well by aging.

M - Brightly carbonated, sticks around just long enough to make you want to relax.

D - Amazing, a 9% alcohol beer that I don't mind quaffing an entire bottle of. Given the appropriate time of year, this is a beer that warms like a good scotch, but allows for the drinker to take his/her time.

This is such a great beer! I have been drinking bottles ever since purchasing the 12 750ml bottles in January. It was such a great deal I couldn't pass it up. This is the second to last I have, and I plan on drinking the last on Christmas, which is appropriate. I imagine that this beer would hold up well for another year, depending on how funky one would want this beer to go. Earlier on this beer was maltier, but has taken on such wonderful characteristics during the 11 months so far.

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Photo of DouggiePhresh
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It Pours a murky brown with light tan colored, soapy head which quickly dissipates into thin patches of foam .

I immediately noticed the distinct smell of scotch.

It tastes alcoholic. Dark, candied fruits.

The mouthfeel is syrupy. Light and sparse carbonation.

Very drinkable. I wanna say almost a Quad.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 750 mL bottle. The color was dark amber, with a wispy beige head. The smell was plum/sugar sweetness. The taste was a very nice sweetness, with tastes of plum, candi sugar, and a nice floweryness, and the alcohol wasn't even noticable. Mouthfeel was slightly heavily carbed. Drinkability-wise, surprisingly good, and could have many of these.

A fantastic winter offering. A nice yet uncloying sweetness combined with an unnoticable alcohol leads to a drink with a deceptive goodness to it. Quite good, and on the short list for Christmas in years to come.

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Photo of alkemy
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hands down, the best Christmas beer I've had. I'd love this to be available year round. Dark mahogany brown with a nice ruby edge around the glass. The tan head was thick like whipped eggs. Chocolate and dark fruits are quickly apparent in the nose. A hint of spiciness, but definitely not overdone. There's also a nice banana note mixed in. Caramel/bready malts are also in the mix. I didn't notice the 9% ABV a bit. This goes down very easily.

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Photo of uberabr
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this one into a large Belgian goblet. Well carbonated, produced a pretty golden head of about 3/4 inches, some thicker foam mixed with finer silk froth. Retention was decent but could have been a tad more lasting. Aroma was excellent -- a nutty fruit, with caramel, molasses, and a tad of spice. Taste matched the nose and was superb -- rich and well balanced. Some mild apple hints but not the cheap overpowering effect that you find in some of the less refined Belgians. Mouthfeel was light and a tad on the watery side, but not in a bad way, making for a very drinkable ale that could leave you blitzed in a hurry if your not careful. This liter left a very cheerful holiday buzz. All in all a very lovely beer.

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Photo of jjfancybeers
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Red/brown and subtly effervescent in direct 100-watt light.
Spicy, rich, regal toastiness in the nose. Sticky and...champagne-like mouthfeel. Begins sweet (freshly made toffee?) and slowly segues into a kalidescopic, all-enveloping/lingering warm alcohol finish. The sweet and the heat become one in an orgiastic furor. Yowza.

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Photo of StevieW
4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big 750ml bottle. Label has snowmen signing Christmas carols.
Foamer. Murky brown color with a slight ruby hue to it. Super charged beige head. Excellant seasonal aroamas spicy nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate and everything else. Nice super smooth taste. Starts with all the spices up front but very sublte. Nutmeg Cinnamon, chocolate and yeasty belgian goodness combine with a very soft roasted fruit plum taste. Finish is a nice and rich, very balanced with a hot spicy flash of warming alcohol. Vey rich, perfectly balanced, moderately carbonated. Consistent flavors beginning to end. One of the best Christmas beers yet. Go find this one.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 6/02 on the cork.
Red/Brown color. Rich thick lasting inviting light brown head. The head is sticky and clingy on the sides of the goblet. Rich caramel sweet malt and fruity yeast nose. Mellow soft flavor starts out sweetly with a soft caramel marshmellow taste which is then cut well by a sturdy yeast and hop bitterness on the tongue. Very balenced. A well rounded brew that is sweet upfront with a nice backbone of hops and spice in the finish. Wonderful smooth as silk mouth. WOW what a mouth. A very smooth rounded subtile drinkable beer esp. at 9%. Cheers to Jay V for this present during the holiday season! It won't be the last time I drink this beer!

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Photo of MisterClean
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from total wine in roseville.

A - Pours auburn orange, with a 4-fingered auburn-white head, and dissipates slow. Leaves a little lacing.

S - Clove, honey, and dark belgian candi sugars.

T - Clove, honey, dark belgian candi sugars, and a little bit of slightly spicy and earthy hops.

M - Well-balanced, complete mouthfeel. Excellent.

D - Really good beer. Very impressed as most Affligem products are mostly so-so with me.

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Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
4.08 out of 5 based on 568 ratings.
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