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 Sammy
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Handsome dark brown appearance, with initial pour thick foaminess. Creamy mouthfeel, goes down nicely. Great meal accompaniment. Well malted combination of spices: cinammon, allspice, pinch of pepper, chocolate. This bottle's age is unknown, I picked it up in Severn, NY, and I am sure by the dust it was already aged. And so the yeast was abated somewhat, it's in the creamy mix but not prominent. Wonderful.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 is the likely year of production for this light copper color holiday ale, that pours with a nice white head. Hint of sweet fruity raisin in the nose. Big and very well balanced flavors with big malt and hints of sweet spice, orange peel and candi sugar. Finishes long and a bit hoppy. Very nice!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, dark fruits, spices, and an earthly, honey-like aroma. Taste is much the same with a dried dark fruit flavor and a slight alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that I noticed gets markedly better as it warms up with time.

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Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy brownish amber in color and poured with a two finger high creamy beige head that slowly faded away and left a thin layer of bubbles consistently covering the surface. There is a light amount of carbonation and some yeast particles are visible floating in suspension.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits and malty sweetness in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is moderately sweet and has flavors of dark fruits along with notes of spices and yeast. There are some hints of alcohol in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a high amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of dryness in the finish from the spices.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink because the alcohol is well masked.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unlike most Christmas beers that are usually a big amber or brown ale with a bunch of spices added, Affligem's is a beer brewed specifically with the nature of such spices in mind. Hazy brown with nice carbonation and proteins. Rests on natural spices already exhibited by Belgians. The added spices add not only spice flavor, but roundness, meldedness, and aged flavors without the sharpness usually shown in seasonals. Obvious spices added, but difficult to pinpoint the cinnemon, nutmeg, allspice, or any others. They come together well to contribute to the beer, not over power it.

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Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy ice tea brown body with a modest head and some lacing

Smell: Cinnamon, caramel, candy sugar, some dark fruit and a touch of ginger

Taste: Starts with a chewy gingerbread flavor that is quickly joined by a spicy fruitiness with a touch of unsweetened chocolate; finishes spryly with some warming alcohol on the way down

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a good dose of carbonation

Drinkability: Very sophisticated holiday seasonal; a great offering to include on the winter drinking list

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy and dark with really impressive head retention. The half-inch cap of foam lasts until the very end. The label claims that caramel coloring is added, which seems pretty stupid to me.

Smell: Sweet and spicy, with an underlying yeasty aroma. Slightly funky, but in a good way.

Taste/mouthfeel: Bold flavors of caramel, burnt sugar and cinnamon. Sticky and fairly heavy, the beer finishes dry, lingering on the palate for quite a while. The 9% ABV is completely undetectable. This is really nice stuff, and at $7 a bottle it's pretty affordable too. Recommended.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Indybigtom: Poured a cloudy lightly filtrated brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with some nice fruity ester. Taste is a mix between some sweet malt with some fruity ester and some dry fruits such as raisins. Full body with limited filtration and no apparent alcohol. I have to admit that this one was quite good and exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of zeff80
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgundy color with a four-finger, tan head of foam. It left thick rings of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel, sweet malt and some cinnamon and nutmeg.

T - It tasted of raisin, sweet malt and spices - mostly nutmeg and cinnamon.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a warm alcohol finish. A medium to full-bodied ale.

D - This is a good Belgian ale. It was great to drink on Christmas eve.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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 oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep reddish brown with a huge foamy head,aroma is very malty and sweet like candied sugar and juicy fruit.Taste is of dried fruit and sweet candied sugar with some light smokiness that liners.A very rich somewhat complex brew good for after dinner like me right now.

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Photo of jlindros
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Somehow this review escaped me over the years. Tap at Horseshoe Pub in Hudson, MA.

Nice rich creamy darker almost mahogany colored head fades at a med pace with little lacing, mostly clear cranberry maroon colored beer.

Nose is typical, big malts, reddish toasty brown malts, caramel and toffee, light nutty, booze is fairly strong with some phenols. Dark fruits are big, fig, date, brown sugar covered candied raisin, nutmeg and cardamom like spices are quite light, bit of other Xmas spices, some candi sugar.

Taste is similar, esters and phenols, candy syrup, apple esters and dark fruit, raisins, fig, date, brown sugar candi sugar, etc. Light bitterness from some grassy hops it seems. Nice malts too, light toffee and caramel, but somehow feels slightly thin, light booze. Mellows as it goes, finish is syrupy and sweet, sticky, lingering dark fruits and malts, candy sugar and toffee, fair bitterness kicking in, a bit more booze too.

Mouth is med bodied, seems a bit thin for what it should be, decent carb, light warming booze.

Overall nice, almost a staple for a Belgian Xmas beers, most of the typical nice Belgian characters with light Xmas spices in there too.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. Aged for a year and a half (dated on the cork 6/02). A huge head of creamy light-tan foam resides over a dark chestnut body that teems with streaming effervescent carbonation. When held to the light, the clear brownish body displays ruby and brass highlights. The head retention is excellent, and it leaves wide creamy rings and craggy splashes of lace throughout the entire glass. And although the nose remains quite contained beneath its creamy cap, a distinct candy-ish character, some mustiness, dark fruit, and a touch of toffee come through. In the mouth, its very fine and natural (bottle-conditioned) carbonation warms to become quite airy, giving its light-medium body a bit of a bigger feel, and it passes across the palate with a quick zest that becomes pillowy soft & smooth before it reaches the throat. The flavors reflect the aroma with a candyish malt that's tempered by some sublime phenols and peppery spice. A touch of herbal hops and some minimal drying alcohol rounds it out. Along the way some subdued dark fruit, some nuttiness, and even a hint of cocoa appear; yet it finishes dry and powdery. Impressive! It's bold without being overwhelming, and it never builds on the palate. The alcohol is well-heeled and it finishes clean. This is a really nice beer to enjoy at a quite time during the holiday season, but I don't think it's subtle complexities can really be enjoyed within a party atmosphere.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 12/30/09 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramel, fruits, Belgian yeast and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is very sweet with flavors of fruit, brown sugar and caramel. There's a Belgian yeast breadiness, a hearty malt character and a mild hops presence but no of those things is enough to balance out the candy-like sweetness. The after-taste is likewise very sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it's a decent beer overall and if you're into the sweetness I can see how someone would like this beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old copper penny with highlights of scarlet, orange and gold. The frothy cap is the color of orange-cinnamon mousse and is typical of all good Belgian ales in that it looks fantastic. I'm reminded of a wind-sculpted rock formation as it slowly melts. Oddly enough, very little lace ends up on the glass.

The brewery says that Noel has characteristics of both a dubbel and a tripel, without going so far as to say that it smells and tastes like a combination of the two styles. If the nose is any indication, it's a dubbel/BSDA all the way. I get earthy brown malt with more yeasty spiciness than dark fruit. There's a certain woodsy character as well. Very nice.

Affligem Noel is good beer that falls short of greatness because it isn't quite big enough. It tastes like a pleasant 7.0% dubbel rather than a rich, malty, holiday treat of a 9.0% winter warmer. Things might come together better as it warms, but my hopes aren't high. I don't believe any spices were added. It tastes more like an especially estery yeast strain was used.

The flavor profile is along the lines of barely sweet dates and figs, bruised apples, tobacco and a light dusting of cocoa powder. There's just enough of a phenolic-edged, ground clove bite to give the beer a needed extra dimension. Dry and bitter is favored over sweet. It's an okay take on the style, but more malt sugars would have done wonders.

The mouthfeel, sorry to say, isn't up to snuff. It's too light for the style/ABV and is slightly too fizzy as well. I keep hoping that it'll firm up and calm down as I get into the middle of the '750'. So far it has done neither.

This Brouwerij Affligem offering is solid, if unspectacular. I can't see myself buying another bottle (even at a reasonable price of $7.49), but I'm beginning to get into the holiday spirit thanks to the sneakiness of the 9.0% ABV. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Photo of russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle with a cryptic date code of 6 249 17

Pours a deep chestnut with 2.5 fingers deep rocky head. Good lacing & a nice healthy film

S: Slight metallic & caramel notes. Hints of nutmeg & cinamon & fruitty notes as it warms

T: Caramel, fruitty, & warming up front with cinamon notes. Some chocolate notes & a gentle hint of iron. Big fruittynes (plums)/jammyness with nutmeg/cinamon & brown sugar once this warms. Finishes fruitty, warming, dry with bready notes, plus a little more spiceyness! Easily the best holiday beer I've had so far year regardless of total score!

MF: Rich, sticky, low/medium carbonation with some syruppy notes

Drinks great for the abv & a great Christmas ale. This really worked for me. Worth the $7.99 IMO

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decided to bring this one over to the BBQ last night and share it with the family. I had been waiting quite some time to try it, and decided that last night would work quite well. Popped the top and out poured a delicious looking ruby tinted brown liquid. Nice clarity, with a touch of sediment at the bottom. Very nice three inch high head of tan colored lace formed on the top and hung around for a good few moments before settling down to just a thin layer of lace and some nice side glass presentation. There were a few touches of carbonation visible as well drifting up toward the surface.

The aroma was very rich, with a nice mixture of sweet caramel notes and dark fruity yeast. Hints of plums and raisins were all over this one, as was a sweet liqueur type aroma, which gave a hint to the alcohol that lie within. A nice touch of spice as well, with hints of nutmeg and other Christmas type smells. The flavor followed suit perfectly. Opening up with a nice sweet malty flavor that warmed from within, it quickly became much more complex. A small boozy flavor coming in behind it, was laced with nice bits of spice and rum soaked raisin flavors. Definitely a sweet Belgian here, with the malt profile clearly dominating. There were some lingering flavors of roasted nuts as you got toward the end and the long lasting finish, had the slightest of sour bites to it. Very complex indeed. The overall profile though was quite mellow with nothing really dominating in one way or another, and a very smooth and creamy Mouthfeel. The carbonation never did let up and led to this one never coming across as dull or flat throughout the session. The alcohol was a touch noticeable at first, but never distracting, and was just enough to let you know this was indeed a nice sipper.

Overall, this was one of the better Belgian Noel's I have had. Very rich and complex, and delightfully smooth I could have had this one again and again. Seemed to go over very well with the family, as it was the first bottle that was emptied. Come next year I will have to pick up another of these to try. Definitely have to recommend this one.

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Photo of smcolw
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Impressive rocky, beige head. A warm amber color with nearly no haze.

Sweet with tremendous amount of molasses and brown sugar. No notable hop.

This is like an upside-down beer. There's a whiff of bitterness at the beginning of the sip. This quickly disappears to strong sweet sensation of raisins, brandy and Chambourd (the raspberry liqueur from France). The swallow reminds me of a good port while the aftertaste has the slightest sourness to it. This is a full-bodied offering that is close to light cream.

A wonderful Belgian offering for those who harbor a sweet tooth.

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Photo of Jason
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml conditioned bottle, 2002 vintage.

Dark mahogany brown color, two fingered off-white head that is very thick and creamy. Aroma of musty cork and vinous undertones with bigger aromas of chocolate and tropical fruit as it warms up. Flavor is a brilliantly evenhanded mix of caramel, dates, raisins, chocolate bitter orange, and spiciness. A good amount of yeast as well let alone the big warming alcohol that holds faint solvent and tropical fruit in the back. A full bodied and rounded brew, a dollop of residual sweetness. Creamy on the tongue. A sipping brew to have with some holiday dessert, one of the many winter seasonals that should be on your list.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can't beat a 750 of a BSDA for $5. Gotta love Total Wine and their coupons.

A: The beer pours a dark mahogany color with plenty of red notes and a couple finger high khaki head.

S: Smells like I had hoped. Plenty of sweet dark fruits such as cherries, raisins, dates, and plums. A solid sugary base of molasses and toffee with some dark caramel providing additional sweetness. Not super spicy, but a decent amount of esters here.

T: A nice blend of bread, molasses, toffee, caramel, and fruit. Quite toasty with some nice spice notes which go well with the sweetness, and help to mellow it out a bit. Seemingly all the descriptors mentioned in the nose carryover to the palate.

M: The body is medium with a nice full carbonation, but not quite as intense as many Belgian beers.

D: Another very good Belgian Christmas beer. I will have to pick up some more of these for next year.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Well, it's discounted, but the sample I took before purchasing told me this stuff has held up just fine over the past couple of months. It pours a dark ruby-brown topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises dark fruits (focus on the fig, as per usual in this style), light red apple skin, cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, light cream, and a firm undercurrent of sweet caramel. The taste brings in more of the same, along with raisins, pumpernickel, and a light wisp of cocoa powder. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a generally smooth feel. Overall, a very nice BSDA, one of the best of the Affligem line in my eyes.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer is dark sunset orange. Yeah, that's right, you heard me. The head is two inches thick, after a slow pour down the center of the snifter. The head fades to a thin layer quite rapidly, leaving sparse lacing in its wake.

The aroma is malty with holiday spices. Fruit and yeast. Smells slightly sweet.

Good flavor. Lots of yeast, loving that. Thankfully, the flavor is not as sweet as the scent indicated. Dark fruits and yeast, though lighter than is found in a quad or Belgian strong dark ale. Well balanced with a lot of flavor. Yeast, spice, malt all come through.

Medium bodied. Well carbonated. Nice feel. A bit sweet, but not cloying.

A solid beer and a suitable choice for the holiday season.

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Photo of Billolick
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The holidays are over, but winter is not. Large bottle, caged and corked. Opened with a flourish of escaping energy, poured with a vigorous head, leaving a puffy, fluffy head, leaves the expected respectable sticky lacing. Dark almond in color, cloudy. Nose is of ripe fruit. This is a tasty, warming ale. Lots of yeasty, bready goodness. Slightly prickly on the tongue. As it warms, notes of clove, yeast, licorish, and smoke come foward. Very nice winter brew, lacking the depth of complexity of the higher rated BSDAs, but still well worth a try.

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass chalice:

Pours caramel-colored (no surprise, as caramel-color added, acc. to label).

The smell is brandyish with prune and caramel and alcohol spiciness.

The taste is prune-like and brandyish, though not heavily so. Caramel with an herbal, minty spiciness mixes in. Peppery alcohol gives it a kick. It has a dry, warming finish.

Medium-to-full-bodied with some effervescence, the feel grows bigger as it progresses.

Tasty with a fair amount of smoothness for abv. I've had more Christmasy (and fuller) Christmas beers, but this one does the job well enough and is tasty and warming enough to do well on a wintery night!

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