Affligem Noël | Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Affligem NoëlAffligem Noël
569 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 569 |  Reviews: 340
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 dsa7783
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle copped at Bottle King in Livingston, pours a beautiful caramel, light-brown color with incredible frothy, foamy head with real staying power... aroma is rich and thick, full of caramel, malts, spices, sweet candy, and brown sugars... taste strongly complements the smell, very creamy, rich, and thick, with incredible heavy flavors that continually linger on the palate... great mouthfeel... very creamy, with excellent drinkability for a 9% ABV... fig and prune taste do well to mask the hefty alcohol percentage... Loved Affligem Blonde, and this goes one step better... excellent beer... Definitely recommmended...

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Affligem Noel

· Appearance: Hazy walnut color with a light but substantial cream colored head which lasts well into the beer.
· Aroma: Sweet nutty scent with spices and faint hop presence. Dark fruits as well. Also a bit coppery upon a second inspection.
· Taste: Nice sweet flavor, rather malty, dark fruits. Some spice hints and faint caramel.
· Mouthfeel: Noticeable carbonation, but balanced and smooth.
· Drinkability: Very enjoyable and easy to drink. As I try to identify more flavors, it leaves you trying it again and again. Good Christmas style.

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Photo of pittvkyle7
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark coper, with huge tan head the does settle. Some lacing.

S- Sweet, yeasty, dark fruits like raisin and plum.

T- Like the nose. Mostly malts. Brown sugar, plum, raisin, carmel, yeast, grape. Alcohol is very well hidden. Hard to discribe the distinct taste of this one. No extreme taste here, everything just sits in the middle of your tounge, very round taste while the balance remains on the malt side.

M- meadium body, good carbonation for style.

D- High in alcohol so not too drinkable. Belgian styles are growing on me with help from such brews as this.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cork exploded out, pours a five+ finger light tan head that fades very slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber/brown color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose. Flavor sweet, raisin, some spiciness. Clean finish high ABV is not noticeable. $7.70 for a 750ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of nahthan
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From bottle, at home. Simple, pretty one-dimensional, but not in a bad way. Tastes like a very simple Belgian trippel with a little bit of Caramunich and some coloring agents. Good fruity esters in the middle of the palate. Reminds me of a Westmalle yeast at moderate fermentation temperatures, slight pepper. Very clean finish. Enjoyable, but kinda forgettable.

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Photo of ccrida
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my Affligem chalice, the Noël is a murky chestnut with a large but tight, long lasting tan head that left foamy lace.

Smell is fairly soft but rather nice, sweet/tangy caramel malt, like the appearance, reminiscent of a big Bière de Garde, lots of tropical fruit/bubblegum esters

Taste is initially fruity then a crisp metallic transition to the spices, pepper, curacao and a nice candi rumminess. In line with the style, albeit heavy spiced, which gives it a dry, dusty quality.

Mouthfeel is light, pillowy soft and creamy.

Drinkability is pretty good, full and tasty, perhaps a bit to spicy right now, I'll bet it would be nice with a year one it. At less then $6/750ml, I'll get a chance to find out. Served strait from the cellar (only a few weeks old).

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

Pours a dark copper color. Cloudy. It has a head of about a half inch that stays throughout the beer.

The smell is of strong malt and alcohol. Chocolate and sugar notes.

The taste is very rich in sugar and caramel. The taste of alcohol is in there, but not overbearing.

Perfect mouthfeel. Very nice on the tongue. Thick and smooth.

Drinkability is very smooth, but with incredibly high alcohol content, drinking many of these could be a serious task.

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

Poured out of a 750ml corked and caged bottle. The appearance is a mud puddle brown color with a decent tight tan head that dissipated into a slight cap. The smell is of wine grapes, raisins, dates, prunes; a strong dark fruit aroma. The taste is a bit deeper than the aroma. There are notes of carob and chocolate followed by the dark fruit aromas; dark cherry & prunes. There is some subtle spice flavor. The feel is moderate with tight fizzy carbonation, finishes sweet yet bitter. A very good BSDA, though nothing that would make this stand out from most BSDAs. Probably the best Affligem brew tried to date.

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

I was intrigued by this beer at a recent tasting. I found a 750 ml bottle sitting at one of my local stores. The cork has "6/03" standing out in brown, so I'm guessing that must be the bottling date. Cool, I'm holding a 2003 vintage in my hands (though other reviewers suggest it's a 2004 vintage). On to the beer:

It pours a cloudy orange, which settles into a lightish brown in my chalice. The aroma is malty and sweet; ripe fruits, raisins, chocolate, and a breath of alcohol. Off the bat, it's a smooth beer, featuring more of the same flavors in the taste as in the aroma. The alcohol takes a seat in the back of the car. Finish is quite dry. Is it drinkable? You betcha.

Affligem Noël holds the honor of being my first "aged" beer. Tasted several years after it's release, its mellow compared to the fresh sample I had a week ago. Whenever the bottling was, this is one you can put on your Christmas wish list.

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Photo of BeerLover729
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark opaque amber color. Average one to two finger head when poured in wide chalice. Light malty aroma followed by a note of cloves and cinnamon. Up front rich malty and caramel sweetness accompanied by clove and cinnamon flavors. Tapers to smooth crisp finish. Lighter body than expected with soft carbonation. Good beer.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated 11/06. Pours with a rich head with lacing that lasts the whole beer.

Smell is almost undetectable to me , maybe a faint apple aroma.

This beer has a lot going on with the taste. I'm reminded of a sharp green apple cider . Cinnamon and nutmeg round this out nicely. Some residual malty sweetness and just a touch of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium/thick , nicely carbonated.

Overall an excellent beer I'll be drinking more of.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber/ burgandy color with a tan head. Aromas of a sweet malt, alcohol, and spices of cinnamon, corriander, nutmeg. In the taste, cinnamon, chocolate malt and alcohol. A smooth and spicy mouthfeel, and a dry alcohol, cinnamon aftertaste. A fantastic beer, nice spice. Can't wait to have more.

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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 macster
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. 750 ml. botle.

Pours a slightly hazy deep amber color with some orange highlights. Creates a thick, tight and rocky head with excellent retention; however, minimal lacing.

Somewhat tame but pleasant aromas of caramel candies, crystal malts, figs, plums, raisins, spices and a touch of ethanol are enjoyed.

Nice full and round mouthfeel with the expected lively carbonation level of a Belgian.

Flavor is respectable , like the aroma, just somewhat tame and muted. Starts out with sweet notes of caramel candy, amber candy sugar, Grape Nut cereal, raisins and dark fruit cake. Mid-palate some cardamon/nutmeg-like spiciness kicks in with just a hint of hop bitterness in the finish. A pleasant warming alcohol presence finishes things off.

In the end a decent holiday Belgian Ale, but not all that memorable.

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

Bought at Peace Street Market in Raleigh for $8.99 (750ml) two weeks ago. I'm a sucker for Christmas ales, so I just couldn't pass this one up, as I've never seen it before (or anything else by this brewer, for that matter).

It poured a dark brown with yellow highlights, and with a just off-white creamy head that stuck around for a little while. The aroma was mainly of dark fruits, spices and malts, with little hop presence. As the beer warmed, the aroma became much more intense, and the fruity esters dominated. Ripe, tart fruits dominate the flavor, while malts and some hops support it. Some spiciness is present as well, mostly brown sugar and cloves. It has a medium body. The alcohol is felt very quickly: I really had enough just after the first snifter full (half a 750ml bottle), but just couldn't help continuing.

This is a very good Christmas ale. So often, seasonal ales based on Christmas don't tend to be very special. This one is.

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

From notes:

A-Cloudy and foamy, brown with ruby highlights. Huge foam head 3/4inch off white in color.
S-Fruity yeast esters(lots of red fruit and a bit of spice almost like what I would expect). Malty all through the body, with lots of caramel and strong alcohol.
T- Red Fruit Cherry and berry flavors....light hops and a hint of crispness. Sweet, malty, caramel that covers the alcohol nicely.
M/D-Medium bodied, lots of carbonation, and very smooth....the best part was that the 750ml bottle only cost me a $1.69(hence my drinkability)!

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Photo of geexploitation
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark, crystalline amber that looks too good to be real. Turns out it isn't -- this beer is colored with caramel. Why bother? Ugh. The aroma is quite spicy with coriander and cinnamon, and joined by some mild molasses notes. Rich and sweet on the palate, with plenty of spicing present from the start to the finish. Light fruitiness crops up at the mid-palate, but the emphasis is more on spices and sweet malts than fruit esters. Rich yeastiness comes out at higher temperatures. Mouthfeel is big in body and carbonation, although the carbonation is less than some other beers in this one's class. There's some residual stickiness in the back of the throat left by the caramel coloring. Overall, this is a good winter beer, and one that will probably age well, but I still don't get the caramel coloring thing -- it seems unnecessary and creates problems with mouthfeel.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby/brown color. Thick tan head is creamy and laces the glass nicely.

Smell: Has a spicy, sweet aroma of dark fruits. Cloves, plums, figs, etc.

Taste: Quite spicy (cloves, brown sugar, nutmeg, ...) with mild alcohol undertones, and more alcohol in the aftertaste. Not very much complexity.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and generally smooth, but with slightly excessive carbonation.

Drinkability: The alcohol in the tastes really creeps to the front after a while.

This is an ok beer for this style. The taste of alcohol is a bit too much, as is the carbonation. The taste in general is lacking a bit too, as it's almost like the spice cabinet fell in the beer. If you like this style of beer it's worth a glass if you come by it, but otherwise I'd pass.

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Photo of bensiff
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poored from the 750ml caged bottle into the unspecialized Guinness glass a mahogany red color with a slight haze. Initial big rocky head of a light tan color that quickly settled to a fraction of its original height with minimal lacing. Smell is estery, alcoholic, and typical of spiced abbey styles, nothing special. But then again, even nothing special in Belgium is still pretty good.

Taste is respectable, but again nothing special. It hits the tongue with a rich maltiness that quickly shifts to alcohol and finishes with a strange spice note reminiscent of coriander and pepper intermixed with a touch of sourness.

Mouthfeel is lacking and slightly watery. Overall an enjoyable beer that is average for the style.

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Photo of theopholis
3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a beautiful deep amber/cherrywood, with a nice creamy head with soem decent staying power. Very little lacing. The color is slightly opaque. I may have stirred up the yeast a bit..

Aroma- Smells like a crisp, clean, malty sweetness with lots of sweet candied sugar. Mabye some sweet ripe white grape and crisp apple in there to. The label says it's brewed with spices, and I did get a jolt of spiceness at the very beginning, but now I can't find it. Smells great.

Taste - Nothing really jumps out. I'm getting some over-ripe fruit and caramel followed by some kind of indescernable spice flavor (I'm not big on spicy beers and can't pick out once spice from another). Doesn't taste nearly as good as it smelled, but not much on God's green Earth could have tasted as good as this stuff smelled. Still, not bad. As you drink more of it, you get more of the alcohol taste and hot spiciness.

Mouthfeel - Medium body for the style. way over-carbonated for my taste tho. I suspect I would get a lot more of the complexity out of this beer if it didn't kill my tastebuds with the carbonation.

Drinkability - I'm not much into Belian beers, but I would try this one again.

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Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 569 ratings
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