Affligem Noël | Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

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

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Ratings: 569 |  Reviews: 340
Photo of Stubbie1
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Notes from Xmas)
Dark ruby color with a nice thick head. The head is steady and strong and lasts forever. Aroma is spicy, hints of dark fruit make their way up front and finishes with a mild hint of alcohol on the nose. The taste is a mix of dark fruit, raisins, figs, prunes and spices. All are blended well with none overpowering each other. Just when you thought the flavor was finished a slight wave of alcohol will wash across your tongue and travel down to warm your belly.

This beer looks as good as it taste. The lacing will last forever and as the beer warms you senses pick up more and more “things” happening with this beer. A must to try on any occasion.

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

I've had this once before and enjoyed it. Popping another one for a review.
Served at room temp.
Poured into a tulip glass.
Popped the bottle and the beer erupted. All over my computer table. Shitty. After i cleaned up the mess i started drinking:

Appearance is good. Dark ruby red color with a thick pearl white head. Lacing is nice as well.

Smell is good. Sweet fruits, candied malts and nutty Belgium goodness.

Taste is good. Not as much sweetness as i would have thought. Toasty malts, plum and alcohol jump out. Spices are well done. Tad bit cloying.

Mouthfeel is very good. Texture is very nice and the carbonation creates a fluffy, creamy feeling.

Drinkability is above-average. If the alcohol wasn't so big in the flavor i would have given it higher marks.

Overall: Solid offering and a good beer. Not up there with the greats but still solid. I'll be aging a few for sure.

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

This was a Christmas gift from my best friend. I figured I'd save it for a cold, wintery night. Well, it's about -5F outside and there is snow falling. A perfect night for this brew.

Poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Bottle says "caramel color added" so the appearance mirrors that - this is a nice cloudy reddish brown. The head is about a finger or so and the lacing is incredible. The smell is spicy and fruity - reminiscent of Christmas cookies, which means there's some bread/yeast in the nose as well. Taste is tart cherry in the front with a spicy malt middle and a bit of floral finish - very complex & delicious. This is well carbonated, which brings out the different flavors while adding another layer to this brew. This is an excellent Christmas beer, right up there with Delirium. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of gonzogambler
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (cork date says '03) on sale for only $6.50. Pours a thick caramel brown with a fine dense head. The beer smells rich and spicy; a hint of nutmeg. As with many belgians the 9% is hidden quite well, but is noticeable after drinking a glass; this beer is very enjoyable to drink. The flavor is of caramel and holiday candies with some dried dark fruits, there is a slight bite but the beer finishes smoothly.
Like the clerk at the liquor store said, "You're going to love this one."

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Photo of ti2777
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750 bomber purchased (on sale!!) at the former Happy Deli in Hell's Kitchen summer of 2005. I've been ageing this baby in my cellar/fridge and the results are as follows:

A dark amber color with good head retention and little lacing. Beer had thrown 1/4" of sediment in bottle. Candied orange peel, dark caramel, smokey yeast, spicey alcohol, and baking spices: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, anise greet the nose. Caramel, malts, candi sugar, and sweet alcohol on the palate with a gingerbread flavor. Hops only mildly bitter to offset sweetness. A rich, smooth, warming mouthfeel with mild carbonation from the midpalate extending into a long, satisfying finish. Deceptively, but deliciously easy to drink at 9%abv.

Happy Drinking!

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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 Morris729
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy chestnut brown color with a creamy tan head that fades into a heavy lace. Nose is sweet, rich malt and Juicy Fruit bubblegum. Taste is caramel and dark fruit along with Belgian spice and yeast. Notes of chocolate malt towards the middle with a dry semi-spicy finish. Nicely done.

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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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Photo of slyke
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Affligem Noel pours hazy brown-red in color with an ample tan head. The smell is dominated by grassy notes and alcohol. The taste is hoppy at the beginning and end, the center of the taste is bready with a note of anise (black licorice) and other spices. The mouthfeel is full and somewhat creamy. As for drinkability, the beer is a solid sipper. I received it as a gift, but I will seek it out again.

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

6 249 13, a Christmas gift from my awesome girlfriend ;-0 Somehow I doubt they've been using this recipe since 1074, according to the bottle, but I get the idea.

A: Deep and brown, dark enough to intimidate but clean enough to see sediment through (of which there isn't any). Fluffy dirt colored head and Brussles lacing.

S: Sweet rich carmel malts. A bit like gingerbread.

T: Sweet malts, spicy carbonation. Some heat. Mild subtle spices like nutneg and ginger. Hybrid characteristics of a dubbel and tripel.

M: Carbonation lifts the heavy body. It is slightly sticky. Not so subtle candi sugar.

D: Good drinkability, as long as it's kept below cellar temp.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

6 271 15 on label...

A: Pours a dark rust color color with a one finger cream colored head. Nice retention of this bubbly head. A bit of lacing, but nothing too crazy.
S: Nice fruity esters with a good yeasty backbone. Lemon zest with a spicyness to it--possibly coriander and cloves. Slight bit of cinnamon and nutmeg also. Smooth with a silkyness in the mouth. A bit of a gritty finish left on the palate.
T/M: Yeastyness is most abundant but it's coupled and almost completely masked by the spices--cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and nutmeg. All the spices are mild without one becoming a dominant flavor. Maltyness left on the tongue in the aftertaste that has a slight bitterness to it. Didn't detect any bitterness in the flavors, but this must be where the hops assert their authority.
D: Pretty tasty winter or if I were being pc, "holiday" Christmas brew. Get it if you can, but there are others out there that I think are better. Nice high abv will warm the chest and make you silly like the fat man if you drink it by yourself...

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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 AlexJ
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky scorched amber pour with a beautiful head of khaki froth that is thick, clingy, and lasting. The stiff head forms peaks and craters in that last until the beer is gone...impressive.

The nore is rich and fruity, brimming with moist raisinbread, berries, musty yeast, and light toasty malt. As it warms, and oaky sherry or port note becomes apparent.

The flavor is even better. Dark and complex, it reminds me a little of Chimay Grand Reserve. It starts fruity and finishes with peppery hops and dry minerality. Very complex.

Body is just below big, with a perfect mouthfeel that is full, yet soft and creamy. An absolute bargain at $6.50 for a corked 750. I will certainly seek this out again before it 's gone for the season!

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Photo of shadow1961
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Affligem's Noël Christmas Ale pours out a fluffy
tan head over a dark brown brew. Carbonation
is active, and the nose is rich with yeast, malt,
bubblegum, and dark fruit flavors. The flavor is
of malt, molasses, raisin, and spices. It's slightly
sweet and the mouthfeel is tingly. With the 9%
alcohol by volume, there's a definite warming effect.
This is just the drink for quiet adults to get together
to ponder the season over. Another amiable brew
from Affligem. Very good!

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

Dark golden amber with a creamy offwhite half finger head that melts to creamy top covering lacing.
Aromas are dark belgium yeast and toasted sweet malts with a sweet sort of alcohol scent.
Taste is of candied dark toasted malt, a little dark fruits, belgium yeasts and alcohol.
Aftertaste is a strange mixture of cloying sweetness and drying.
Lots of alcohol warmth going down.
Sip this one on a winters night.

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

750 ml bottle served in my Chimay Goblet.

A - Pours a beautiful deep amber color, with a nice cream colored head that fizzes down quickly to a thin layer. Minimal lacing on the glass.

S - Smells of sweet candied sugar with underpinnings of grape juice and apple cider. A little bit of sour grape begins to come through as I inhale more of the lovely aroma. As it warms, a little bit of allspice and nutmeg.

T - Tons of ripe fruit, toffee, and caramel followed by a lovely winter spice flavor at the first swallow. This is very nice and much more complex than I expected...a pleasant surprise. Some of the sweet/sour qualities of a nice flemish red balanced perfectly by the malty sweetness of a dubbel, and of course a little bit of the warming alcohol of a tripel giving this the perfect winter taste.

M - Mouth is smooth and creamy with the perfect amount of tingly carbonation. Very full without being overly thick...nice.

D - Mouth and taste lend this to being a very drinkable winter warmer. Now, you probably don't want to go out and session this, but I can't think of too many better beers to sip by the fire on a brisk winter evening. Cheers!

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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 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 rodrot
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Christmas in early October, why not? Poured from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle a turbid brown color with a huge pillowy head that took forever to go down. Aroma was malty and spicy, with some ripe fruit mixed in the nose. Taste was of toasty malts, dark fruits(plums and figs), spicy hops and maple syrup. There was also a winey, vinous note that added to the experience. The beer had a medium to full bodied mouthfeel and was rich and warming. Alcohol was there but it didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of this brew. Very nice and one that I will drink again, especially during the colder months.

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Photo of loving44
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No freshness date on the corked and caged 750ml bottle.

A: Deep muddy brown with a thick, rich, foamy, beige head. Looks inviting.

S: Sweet ripe fruits, raisin, plum, fig, followed by citrus, black pepper and alcohol. As it warmed I kept getting a "soap" smell from it. A little off-putting but still nice.

T: Smooth velvety front followed by bitter alcohol finishing with hints of dark ripe fruits. Lingering bitter aftertaste all over the tongue. As the beer warms the bitterness moves to the finish with the fruit becoming more pronounced. A very warming brew. Dry finish.

M: Tingly carbonation, very prickly. Smooth medium body made light by the bubbles.

I found this to be a very drinkable brew for its 9%ABV, as it warms it just became that more delicious. I poured the sediment into my last glass and it was amazing, give this one a try if you come across it.

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

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - Hazy, muddy amber color. There were about two fingers of soapy, light-tan head at the pour, but this quickly dissipated to a thin layer of lace on top of the brew. Little lace is left as you drink the beer.

Smell - Peppery spiciness and some fruity/floral notes from the hops. A mild malt aroma way in the background. Some moderate alcohol presense, also.

Taste - Dark ripe fruits are present right away. Sweetness from caramel, a hint of chocolate, and some molasses as well. A peppery spiciness accompanies a rich grainy/wet hay malt character. An earthy and slightly sour finish and aftertaste finish the sip off. Complexities and alcohol warmth increase as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - A bit on the high-end for carbonation. Has just a bit too much bite on my tongue and mouth than I prefer, but still not bad. Medium-bodied with some smoothness, but has room for improvement.

Drinkability - The lively carbonation helps to keep this full-flavored beer refreshing. Average as per the style.

Not a bad little Christmas brew, here. Certainly the best offering Affligem has at present, in my opinion. Recommended.

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Photo of stephendr
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown – tan frothy head ; however , the head does not last long – nose of mocha , malt , red fruit , tawny port , and slight earthy – tastes are red fruit , tawny port , milk chocolate cameral subtle brown sugar - creamy , silky body- at chocolate slightly bitter with sweet brown sugar

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Photo of edchicma
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good brew, except for the lack of aroma. It purs a beautiful ruby color with a beautiful head. However, there was very little bouquet, just some light malt notes. The taste was much better, presenting itself with a nutty, malty quality that was almost wine-like. There was a pleasant, slightly sour quality present. The mouthfeel was smooth and refreshing, witha very nice tart finish. For the high abv, it was refreshing and easy to drink (could be dangerous!!(lol))

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

Big ole 750 mL popped open with some struggle.

Noël pours into a wine glass (it's all that was available) with a foggy chestnut stormy presentation topped with a dense rigid tan cap.

Nose is full of sweet complex nutty dessert pastry like scents. Some spicy cinnamon and vanilla.

First swigs: Quite complex and sweet. Malts are prevalant with a soft cake like prescence blend with a slight brownie cocoa blend. A touch of tart fruit and dates ease into the mix here.

Feel is a frothy shushy foamer that can really get foamy on the tongue. The 9% ABV is completely hidden, even while warming.

Last swigs: Reminds me a little of Rochefort 8. It is with little wonder that this is in the Michael Jackson Beers of the World book. Glad that I found this at the Beverage Castle, even if it is a little overpriced.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a murky brownish color with a thick half-inch head of tight fluffy tan bubbles. There are quite a few bubbles rising that are visible through the sides of my Duvel glass to maintain the head pretty nicely. After a couple minutes there was still at least a 1/8" standing head.

Aroma: The aroma is dry and grainy with a defined roasty edge to it with almost wheat-like bread aromatics. There are quite a few fruity esters that remind me of raisins in particular. There are some more earthy flavors becoming a bigger player as the beer warms a bit. There is some evident spiciness that I believe is derived from alcohol. As the beer warms further, I can notice a really rich almost Barley Wine like sherry notes and complexity.

Taste: The flavor is very rich and malt driven. I get the chocolaty roast presence that I got in the aroma, but there is also a Melanoidin like earthy flavor here also that is a big player. The yeast plays a big role in this beer giving you a host of fruit flavors along with complimenting the bready malt character to make it more like actual bread. The beer is well attenuated and almost dry, but the alcohol is noticeable late in the flavor as a spicy flavor. There is a little bit of warming fro the alcohol, but not as intense as the flavors would allude to. The finish is balanced by the roast and dry malt as much as from hops. I get floral flavors here, but it is hard to pin down for me to determine if it is from fermentation or hops at this subtle of a level.

Opinion: I am really enjoying this beer. It has a really deep and complex malt profile going on that nicely compliments the esters present. It seems to change minute by minute, so you really can't get bored with this one. It is a little dry for my taste in beers like this, as I like them a little sweeter like Rochefort and such. This is still a mighty fine brew and one that I will surely partake in again.

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Affligem Noël from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
4.08 out of 5 based on 569 ratings.
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