Affligem Noël | Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

568 Ratings
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 Philousa
2.46/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark amber, black cherry color with a thin, wispy tan head. Metallic, sweet caramel and honey aroma followed by clove, other strong spices, and banana ester. Plum, dates, and sweet dark fruit flavors hit first, but are fleeting. Candied sugar and bitter allspice flavors dominate and linger. Feel is light and airy with a wet finish. Easily drinkable.

As I try more Belgian winter ales I am confronted with the fact that I just don't like winter spices in beers. If the Belgians can't make it work, what hope do I have? Metallic flavors or aromas are never really good qualities in beer. I'm hoping mine acquired this aroma in transit and it isn't built into the recipe. Candied sugar is too strong in this one, which is an unfortunate pitfall in many Belgian dark ales. Let's try to balance high alcohol content and bitter malts with sweet dark fruits and delicate carbonation next time.

 897 characters

Photo of theo692
2.58/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had high hopes for this beer, but it disappointed at pretty much every turn. It's not a bad beer, per se, it's just not very good.

Served in Chimay goblet, around 37 degrees, and left to warm for about 15 minutes. 750 ml bottle purchased at Bevmo.

Poured lovely and with a nice caramel color. About 1/4 inch of foam, a nice rich brown, as well. So far, so good. But the flavor was amazingly flat, with no flourish or really much of anything. With 9%, I was expecting at least a hint of alcohol-ish, but...nothing. It was like drinking a dark brown Asahi or something like that. Might be a bad bottle.

If you are looking for a good, rich (and possibly spicy) holiday beer for the cold, dark, rainy evenings, this isn't the one for you.

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Photo of stcules
2.71/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reddish brown color, with a beautiful beige head, one finger.
Malty smell, quite sweet and fruity, with some spices. Orange peel, and something else.
A bit of alcohol, too, but not too much. Maybe some balsamic notes, eucalyptus.
After all, quite balanced.
At the taste a bit too much alcohol. Marzipan. A bit cloying.
In the end, though is a Christmas beer, it is a bit cloying and heavy.
Average body, too much alcohol and marzipan in the aftertaste too.

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Photo of Hunter
2.9/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance: Pours a dark amber with a thick but fast-dissolving head of large bubbles. Minimal lacing.

smell: Reminds me almost of one of my homebrews. The smell of spice hits the nose right off, followed by a mild hop and malt combination. Bread, candy, light florals work as undertones.

taste: Disappointing. The typical Belgian candi sugar sweetness is there, but little else. Lighter than I expected it to be, almost watery. Given other reviews here, I wonder whether I got a bad bottle.

mouthfeel: Scours the palate, light and frothy.

drinkability: Quaffable, but there are better winter warmers out there, both import and domestic. I may buy another bottle and sample again to give it a fair shake.

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Photo of magictrokini
2.92/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not impressed by this one, maybe I got a bad bottle. Pours clear copper, thanks to the artificial caramel coloring, with a medium off-white head. Flat flavor. Caramel, malt, apple, corriander, nutmeg, and yeast. Problem is nothing really popped out, so everything seemed to drown in a soup of spice and malt.

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Photo of chadski
2.94/5  rDev -27.9%
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 Ozzylizard
2.94/5  rDev -27.9%

$ 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 acemathew
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance was brown and dark.

A little head came from this beer tons of carbonation.

I am going to say that this beer was overly aged or not aged properly. I blame myself.

Alcohol was quite subdued. Smells of dates and fig and yams.

Some spice notes to speak of. Not hot good mouth feel good sweetness not too bitter not much funk either.

Some oxidation qualities. Something I like but just OK. Next time I wont age it if I do definitely in a refrigerator.

A quality beer.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.06/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL corked and caged bottle. code of 11 229 01 on the label. maybe bottled the 229th day of 2011?

appears a brilliant garnet color, with 1" off-white head that fades. smells like spiced red wine. gingerbread, pumpernickel.

tastes very spicey - nutmeg, ginger. sweet malt. Belgian yeast. grapes, wine. medium in body, higher carbonation. it could be smoother.

overall - eh, nothing special - I was expecting a better beer for a Belgian Christmas beer.

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Photo of corby112
3.06/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes:

Pours a very dark cloudy amber brown color with a one finger yellowish tan head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Spicy peppery aroma with lots of dark fruit notes, syrup, caramel and mint. Slightly medicinal with hints of fig, cinnamon, peppermint and plum.

Medium bodied with lots of peppery spice as well as hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Picking up notes of nut, cherry and plum. Slightly oily with soft carbonation up front. Sweet yet with a nice malt backbone and a dry finish that has some slight alcohol warmth.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.08/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a chalice) The cork said 10/07
A- This beer had a dark dense caramel body that show a soft glow of reddish-brown at the very base of the glass. There was a light tan head that was creamy and bubble and lasted for a bit. The beer was a bit to dense to see any carbonation.
S- The aroma was pretty clean with an apple cider aroma that had a slight sweetness to it and a faint dry spice note underneath.
T- The sweet stewed apple quality blended with a dry caramel candy note and a soft brown nougat note in the finish.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat noticed. D- This beer has a caramel and cidery flavor to it but not much depth beyond that. Just not very interesting or rich in flavor.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.14/5  rDev -23%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The cork says 10/07

Pours out a beautiful ruby tinged garnet with a ton of carbonation in the body and a huge, overflowing, foamy head that I had to "cut" off with a butter knife. Leaves some great, thick, full lacing. Smells of mild cinnamon, nutmeg and anise in the spicing category. I also get some spicy yeast, some orange, honey-covered fruits, and warm alcohol. I'm pretty unimpressed with the flavor here. Just has a vague (and overbearing) malt sweetness with some spicy, phenolic yeast tones and warming alcohol. Although, I don't like it when beers are spiced over the edge, they would have been more than welcome in this modest beer. Admittedly, there is a pleasant dried fruit thing going on in the middle and a really nice grassy and floral hop character in the finish. Finishes sweet. Mouthfeel is moderate with a great carbonation. Very bubbly, but the bubbles only make this feel fuller in the mouth rather than pricking the tongue. This is decent, but kind of sweet for me and without much that grabs me. It will be a bit of a chore finishing this big bottle.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml caged and corked. I didn't even get the cage off completely and the cork rocketed up with the loudest pop I have ever had from a beer bottle.

A - Dark Chestnut with Mahogany hues, 4 finger fluffy head with little brown spots, tons of yeast floating around.

S - Cherry, belgian yeast, alcohol.

T - Malty, black cherry, raison, bready.

M - Very carbonated.

O - Had this on tap and I liked it, the bottle was lacking. Maybe if I waited a year or so this would have been a better experience.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.37/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

It says on the bottle this is a nice between a dark dubbel and a smooth tripel. I would agree with this analysis.

fizzy brown head, no lacing, quick exit. amber color, lots of carbonation. Fruit level is off the scale, dark, light, its all there.

spices are mellow, finishes dry, touch of lime. mouthfeel had a slight tangy feel.

Notes: In my experience this would be a run of the mill Belgian Stong Dark...which still makes it a great beer as the style is phenominal. To be average is an accomplishment in itself.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.42/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From: Hyvee, Council Bluffs, IA
Date: 2011 vintage
Glass: Tulip

I purchased this bottle on discount after the 2011 holiday season. Unfortunately, it sat in my cellar for nearly a year before I decided it needed to be consumed for this year's festivities. While I'm not sure about the fresh flavors of the beer, the one-year aged version has substantial dried date and fig flavor teamed with caramel malt and a touch of fruity esters similar to cherries. While others note substantial spicing in the ale, I didn't pick up on this. With a year's age on it, I enjoyed the experience, but didn't think this beer particularly above average. I'll grab a fresh bottle of this next year: I don't think this ages well.

Pours a 1.5cm head of tan or dark beige foam, composed of small bubbles, quite dense in appearance. Retention is about average, lasting a minute or so, as the head fades to a thin ring around the glass with a small island of residual lace atop the body. Body itself is a transparent amber red color, light bringing out orange hues in the red-brown mix. Carbonation is visible and active through the body.

Aroma is of brown dried fruit esters (dates, Calimyrna figs) and caramel (Special B?) malts, with a hint of anise and cherries in the background.

Flavor is of dried fruit esters (dates and brown figs again) with sweet cherries and caramel malts. Perceived sharpness in flavor is due primarily to the ethanol, not detecting much hop-derived bitterness. Opens with caramel malt sweetness and some mash of dried dates. Mid-palate picks up additional complexity, adding cherry-like esters and a splash of ethanol to the mix. Back of palate finds a toning-down of the dried brown fruit, relying on caramel malt sweetness and characters along with some ethanol to close the experience. Aftertaste of lingering dried fruits (cherries, dates, raisins) and a hint of anise.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy in body, with quite active carbonation typical in Belgian beers. The result is a mouthfeel that is at first fizzy and somewhat prickly, but which quickly converts into a foamy, smooth experience. The result is sensation that at first wakes you and your palate up, then soothes them shortly after. Ethanol is detectable, but never burning or excessively hot for the ethanol content. Closes semi-dry with substantial stickiness remaining across the palate.

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Photo of nick76
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is very citrusy and sweet with alcohol and caramel. The appearance is light red/brown with a large head. The flavor is not great but not bad and very much like the aroma. The main flavors are citrus and soap with some sweetness and toasted malt. The palate is smooth with some spices in the finish. Overall it's not a disappointment but not great.

 357 characters

Photo of nickhiller
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy ruddy coloring, one finger head settles to a healthy ring, good carb.

S: juicy juice (I swear I smell and taste this all the time in these types of beers), strong fruity alcohol esters, oak.

T: more of the same stuff from the nose, lots of seasonal fruit: oranges, apples, pears, cherries, plum. Super sickly sweet all the way to the cough syrupy finish.

M: medium to full body, steady carbonation, nice warming alcohol.

D: it's good, just not the style that I like. I also have to admit that I'm a little bored by these strong, super sweet beers that have no hops or malt, it reminds me more of a liqueur, or cough syrup, than beer. I know that I'm probably alone in this, but they really all seem to taste the same.

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Photo of BierReise
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75cl bottle cork dated 10/02. Poured an attractive ruby red color with a tight thick head that had some staying power. Aroma is a classic Belgian one of fruity malt, yeast and candy sugar. Very nice aroma. Body is medium and crisply effervescent. Flavor not as good as aroma unfortunately. Has some metallic issues with a fruity malt flavor. Just average in that department. Finishes slightly dry and tart. Overall not a bad one, just nothing really interesting to me.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A:Pours a deep brown color with about two fingers of creamy white head. The head quickly disippates and leaves some foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

S: A traditional Belgian yeast aroma: clove and banana with an underlying spiciness. Some dark fruits in the background.

T: Follows the nose fairly closely: a strong dose of clove/banana with a good amount of peppery spice mixed in. Notes of raisin and earthy malt come through towards the finish with just a hint of bitterness.

M: A medium to full body with a mild bite of carbonation in the finish. The alcohol is hidden fairy well.

D: A tasty Belgian Strong Dark. Nothing outstanding, but good all around.

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Photo of philbe311
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Three fingers worth of of tightly packed rich and creamy light khaki colored head... Modest retention gives way to fullest of creamy laces... The color is a mix of light cherry red and amber... Mildly hazy... Moderate paced swirling carbonation within...

S - Sweet dark fruits... Fig... Plums... Prunes... Cherries... Grape juice... Dark brown sugar... Hidden beneath all of the sweetness is some yeasty spice tones... The alcohol lingers even further beneath the surface...

T - The palette is much more balanced than the aroma... Not nearly as cloying as I had expected... The dark fruit sweetness is accompanied by some bready malts, faint spices (namely cinnamon), and Belgian yeast components...

M - Medium bodied... Sticky and slightly syrupy... Rather dense... The carbonation is of the extra fizzy variety... A dry finish with some mild alcohol induced heat...

D - A middle of the road at best in terms of both Belgian Strong Dark Ale and winter seasonal offerings... Not terrible, but nothing to right home about either... I will manage to get the bottle down, but probably won't seek out in the future...

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle on sale for $4.99, nice. Ruby red color, good white head, clear and transparent. The label says this is brewed with spices and caramel color added. I have to wonder what is the point of adding artificial color but maybe they add actual caramel? Smells like a dubble, fruity but tastes like a quad. Flavor is intense malty spices, perfect for Christmas time. Easy to drink despite being a little sweet and I sure couldn't beat the price.

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Photo of bruachan
3.59/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

sampled at the English Cellar Alehouse in Providence

poured with zero head. it's a strong ale but beyond that i'm blaming the service. i think it was undercarbonated and some other potential contributors could be identified, i'm sure

the color of the beer was nice, though. i'll give the head issue the benefit of some doubt

aromas are of the raisin/date/sour cherry variety. it seemed cloying (see carbonation concern)

sticky on the tongue. though probably fairly sweet in its own right. spices shine through in the beer's tasting than in its sniffing. i suspect coriander and allspice were added but the rest of the phenolic elements were yeast related

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a caged and corked 750 into a chalice. Cork is dated 1/06.

A-This is based in the initial pour. Murky dark amber with a creamy tan head. Minimal lacing. Fairly clear orange/ruby at the bottom of the glass when held to light. Not as dark as I though it might be.

S-Yeasty and earthy, slightly citrus biased and a wee bit funky. Behind that lies a fruitiness that seems more fresh than dark and aged.

T-Nose carries through to the palate and the initial impression of this was extreme disappointment. Medium bodied, this reminded me of a fairly standard tripel more than a special Belgian winter warmer. Apples, pears, citrus, a bit of bananna, and darker fruits in the background are carried by the yeast with hardly a hint of alcohol. If I were to review this against the universe of beers, it would receive a higher rating, but reviewing it in style, against other Belgian holiday offerings, I'm afraid it falls short, at least for me.

M-Nice, medium-creamy mouthfeel with the standard effervescence.

D-Interesting, but there are others out there I prefer.

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Photo of Damian74
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Served in Chalice-2 fingers think head that laces glass. Dark reddish.

S-Yeasty esters are dominant aroma-sweet malt

T- Yeasty like most all Belgians. Sweet malt, raisins/rich dried fruit taste evident.

M-Fair carbonation-vapory alcohol end bite, strong 9% abv!

O-A nice beer to try. Nice spice, taste. My wife who isnt even a beer drinker enjoyed this.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, into Chimay goblet.

Pours a crisp, clear medium brown, nearly opaque. Pours with a big, dense creamy tan head, dissipates to light head, leaves little lace.

Aroma is spice: nutmeg, coriander, allspice? Also hints of phenols.

Taste is big spice, all of the same above, and a distinct phenol bite in the middle and finish. Alcohol isn't pronounced, but is present. Caramel malt, some toasted brown sugar, and some stonefruits hints.

Finishes crisp and tingly, with a distinct mouth numbing note.

A decent beer, very drinkable, but not nearly so complex or interesting as I might have expected. Basically a big, darkish Belgian session beer AFAIC.

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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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