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 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 socon67
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened on Christmas Day

A - Dark amber color with a creme foam that rises high and settles just as fast. Some cloudy sediment is seen in the pour.

S - Scents of black licorice, raisin bread, and dried currants coem to the nose. As it warms some baking spices jump out as well.

T - Strong flavors of dried fruits give this a strong sweetness. Black licorice candy is noted as well. Can'ty decide if its like Good & Plenty or sambuca.

M - A thick consistency makes this a decent sipping beer. Leaves a spicy feel on the tongue. Some carbonation is noted.

O - In a more tradtional style this is a nice after dinner holiday beer. Was happy to share this with family. Open it and let it warm a moment in the glass before enjoying.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'Tis the season, I've been saving this for this day, Merry Christmas everyone!, from a 750ml bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Pours a rich red mahogany color, cloudy, with a half inch reddish caramel color head with good amounts of lacing.

S: Smells incredible, cinnamon, brown sugars, honey, malts, yeast, alcohol is strongly present, spicy

T: Incredible taste, very sweet, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark fruits, caramel, malts, barley, yeast, spices, with a heavy alcohol backlash at the finish, a slow sipper, to be indulged in small amounts in a non hurried fashion.

M: Very thick, rich, syrupy but not overly done, lower carbonation, a plus for me, strong kick from the alcohol at the finish, warmth. A perfect match for the holidays.

O: It was what I expected and more, provided lots of holiday cheer, very delicious and well balanced and finely crafted beer, a must have on anyone's Christmas list.

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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 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 DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml caged bottle into stange glass...
Pours a syrup colored brown with a bit of foamy head. Nice bannana and spice belgian-syle dubbel...dried fruit, molasses, spice, and some nutty flavors. Relly well balanced, easy to drink, and good all around flavor. A bit over spiced - but nice brew.

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Photo of Infamous7100
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a beautiful ruby to brown. Lovely tan head. Minimal lacing.
S: all kinds of complex. Fruits and malt. Nice whiffs of candied sugar. Wow.
T: a blast of sweet malts and dark fruits. Sweet but citrusy. So complex and interesting.
M: medium body andd medium carbonation but a fantastic sweet after taste.
O: this beer is tremendous. Complex as all hell, flavorful and very well done. Enjoy next to a fire during the holiday season.

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

A: The beer pours a dark red body with a thick creamy tan head that slowly fades and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

S: I am picking up a nice amount of sweet fruit, a tiny bit of belgian yeast and a sort of Jager type smell from the spices.

T: LIke the smell, I am getting a nice fruity flavor, some yeast and a little bit of sweet grain and spice.

M: The beer has a nice full body with a strong amount of carbonation. There is a tiny bit of crispness on the back of the throat and the tip of the tongue.

O: This is a fantastic beer. There isnt a single part of this beer that lacks and I really wish this was year round. For a 750 at $6.50, that cant be beat!

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass. Vintage bottle from 2011

Appearance: A very cloudy amber, little bubbles on the body. Head slightly off white is about 1/3" off the body.

Smell: Potent yeast, light barley feel and you end up inhaling this thing.

Taste: Everything, bitter, sweet, heavy yeast. It is a gem of a beer. Has a strong alcohol feel that get's to you after your first glass if you're not sharing.

Mouth: Medium and slightly heavy, is it smooth it depends whether it after dessert or a meal...I would prefer either or.

Overall: A great beer, I honestly sometimes I wish I didn't share it. I know I sound greedy but this beer was damn good, priceless to time watching MMA with my dad. Salud!

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Photo of gottabetweed
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a "Red Solo Cup". poured a nice clear amber with a substantial head that fades very quickly. Can't see the lacing because of the red cup.

Smell is fig, molasses yeast.

Tastes is biscuits, fig, molasses, spices, some fruit at the end with a nice alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is creamy and substatial, nice carbonation.

Overall a very nice ale. Very Belgian tasting with spices.

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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 MattSweatshirt
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 into a chalice. About a finger of off-white/khaki head and a deep red body with some orange and brown coming out due to the shape of the glass.
The smell is hard to discern. Some spice and fruit.
There is a great sweet dark fruit character in the taste.
Medium body and fairly prickly on the tongue, but oh does it feel so good going down.
I only had a few X-Mas beers during the season so I was looking forward to this, but eh. Darn good but not real exciting. Guess everyone can't be St. Bernardus.

 507 characters

Photo of nukem5
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my Triple Tripel Karmeliet glass and swirled occasionally Great dark copper color and awesome foamy cap.Some nice lacing as well.

S: Aroma is fruity with dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, and Belgian yeast.

T: Taste is an experience to be enjoyed , at first you get a typical Belgian style taste and then it shifts as it warms to a higher octane more fruity/raisin/cherry tastes rise.

M: As it warms it changes to a darker side leaning more to the Alchoholic taste and a bigger bolder boozey side.

O: Cant wait till next year to open the other bottle ...mmmm

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Photo of Doppelbockulus
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this at Mr. Dunderbak's in Daytona Beach, FL. Great Place.

Pours a beautiful clear amber, coppery color.

Smell is very light in this case but does have some yeastyness.

The taste is amazing, possibly the best Christmas beer I have had. I happened to be eating while drinking this beer, which usually doesn't work out too well for me, BUT the beer still tasted great even with this spicy sandwich. The flavor of the beer included a very good sweet taste with light grain and some yeast. There are light notes of Christmas spices like cloves and cinnamon. Great Christmas desert character.

Mouth feels comfortable, medium tingle with a good fluff from the head. It is slightly creamy.

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Photo of Aiptasia
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a great beer trade with Jmagnus87.

It pours a ruby brown cup o love with a respectable 2" head and long legs wearing fishnets for lacing. It's bottle conditioned, so watch out for the yeast at the bottom. Smell is malty, bready and yeasty. Taste is nice, rum raisin, cinnamon and coriander with no discernible hops and warming alcohol on the backend. It's a rich beer and while not as complex as some other examples of the style, it's good and worth drinking.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corner bar near our hotel in Brussels in between Christmas 2011 and New Year: had two as nightcaps.

Not as dark as I expected, this was a deep amber colour almost reddy brown in fact, cloudy/murky haze to it, on top a small head of off-white bubbles.

Sweet nose, almost sugary, caramel for starters with other malty bits for main course and dessert.

The taste was also sweet malts but with some liquorice and spicey hop content too. Must not forget the yeasty feel to all the flavours and smell, this hung over the whole tasting like a ghost: reminding you that it's a Belgian Christmas beer you're drinking.

 611 characters

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

750ml corked and caged bottle served in a chalice. Poured a dark copper with a finger of off white head. Bottle conditioned. Spicy aroma also seemed like there was some pine/spruce. Plenty of carbonation, medium bodied. Some caramel and burnt sugar, fair amount of malt sweetness. More spice in the finish. Also thought I tasted a little licorice. There was a lot going on here, I liked it.

 390 characters

Photo of rapidsequence
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. I got it at Total Wine in NOVA for $8.99 or so.

Appearance: Nearly clear reddish color, off white head, decent retention. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Almost (almost) sickly sweet fruity esters and malt. Raisins and cherries galore. Yeasty, but surprisingly not super spicy. Its OK, just very sweet and not real complex.

Taste: As above, very fruity and sweet, but not as sweet as expected. There's a little bit of a tart cherry flavor, and a nice bitterness from the ethanol that sort of brings this thing together. Bready and yeasty in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium full with lively carbonation. Finish is cleaner, drier than usual for the style, but good.

Overall: Its a tasty little beer. Lots of cherry and raisin flavor. Solid, but not mind blowing.

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Photo of pants678
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a lighter red/mahogany with an off-white, cream colored head foam that dips into a lacing.

Spruce and pine sit well on the nose, also notes of cherry.

As expected with a Belgian it's a landed punch and not a near miss. Vanilla lies on the subtle edges with brown sugar, maple and a tinge of wood and ginger while a more obvious bourbon, rich grape and cherry and candy sugar permeate.

There's no hop bite to create a crisp back, leaving it slightly lacking and an almost marshmallow/icing texture.

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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 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 JuicesFlowing
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe. The beer is a beautiful ruby red with copper hues. The off-white head stays around for a while, but there is no lacing. This beers smells beautiful ... a slight hint of alcohol, covered by bubblegum sweetness. The taste is just as delicious as the aroma. The sugary sweet bubblegum coats the malts and dry hops at the end like a lollipop. The mouthfeel is really smooth, and the 9% ABV goes down like liquid candy, relatively speaking.

Overall, I'm impressed. This beer has amazing flavor, balance, and is extremely smooth. I can't believe it's 9% ABV. A tremendous beer to drink during the Christmas season.

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Photo of Pencible
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear reddish mahogany with fluffy light tan head.
S: It smelled like raisin and whole grain bread, with some honey and nutty malts and wild yeast, and a little banana and clove and nutmeg.
T: It tasted like earthy whole grain bread and toffee, with a little raisin and nutty malt and wild yeast and nutmeg and clove. It had a clean and mellow bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was thick and oily with silky smooth natural carbonation. Excellent body.
D: This was a very nice BSDA with tasty scent and flavor. Not too spicy for a holiday ale. The body was phenomenal and the alcohol was super well hidden, so it was ridiculously easy to drink. Could probably cellar well, but very nice fresh. Recommended.

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Photo of GarrettB
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

In my house, Belgium dominates the Christmas seasonals every year. The winter seasonals and winter warmers pouring out of American breweries are fine - even better than fine. But the rich and textured tradition of Belgian Christmas brewing really shines in the weeks leading up to the biggest Christo-secular commercial frenzy of the year. One of my seasonal regulars is Affligem’s Noel. It pours dark brown and red, dotted with bubbles, and crowned with a great blustering head. Warm scents of apples and pears invoke the sweeter side of winter cooking, the scents soft, mellow and a hint of grainy dryness. The taste is less meek. Beginning with the apple and pear flavors, it shifts to a richer and savory palate of flavors: cream, cedar and a cheesy umami. The savory cascade ends with a light aftertaste of wheat, completing the cycle of flavors and beckoning another sip. The Affligem Noel runs through old world flavors at a comfortable pace, and orchestrates disparate flavors into a single, delicious beer. The Noel is a welcome new tradition to my present and future Decembers.

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Photo of stewart124
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. Leaves a centimeter of white head. Not much lacing to speak of.

Nose has plenty of dark candied fruity esters and for lack of a better description "belgian characters".

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with just the right amount of spice to caramel malt. Cloves and all spice come to mind but these are very light and it sits perfectly balanced. Little to no hops but there could be a noble hop spice in there.

This is really a great Belgian Strong Dark/Belgian Christmas Ale. Exactly what I had hoped for.

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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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