Papa Noel's Olde Ale
Alameda Brewhouse

Papa Noel's Olde AlePapa Noel's Olde Ale
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English Old Ale
3.79 | pDev: 10.03%
Alameda Brewhouse
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Papa Noel's Olde AlePapa Noel's Olde Ale
Notes: "This holiday ale was brewed in the English 'old ale' style, a traditional strong ale style that is sometimes called a 'winter warmer.' The warmth comes from the alcoholic strength of the beer, which weighs in at about 7.2% by volume. It is an attractive dark copper-brown hue and is extremely full-bodied. Papa Noel's
has a pleasing sweetness from its higher-than-normal alcoholic content, and from its complex malt foundation.This sweetness is
balanced by a hint of roasted flavor, as well as a mellow bitterness imparted by a generous amount of English Fuggle hops. Other flavors in evidence are bittersweet chocolate, caramel, and toffee,Papa Noel's Olde Ale is the perfect brew to warm the body and nourish the soul during the cold and wet holiday season. Cheers!"
7.2% ABV
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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 47
Photo of Fatehunter
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a half finger of head on a dark brown body.
The aroma is faint chocolate, a little cinnamon and milk.
The taste is roasted malt, chocolate and a mild bitter finish. Great balance.
The texture is smooth.

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Photo of stevoj
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A nice winter beer that could use a little more thickness or viscosity. Overall seems to come off a little watery. Aroma and taste are right, dried fruit, spice, molasses and dark malt, but the body is very light. No hint of the high ABV either, but warming nonetheless.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up an okay amount of head which has pretty good retention. The head is a light beige while the body is a dark maroon to chestnut brown which appears as a deep maroon with hints of crimson and dark amber when held up to the light.

Nose- Subtle and one trick pony. Pretty much only roasted malts, some coffee, cocoa, even a little cream. Not really a one trick pony but the different aromas are so interlaced that they are difficult to distinguish. Slight grain under the cocoa so much that it gives it a little bit of graham cracker. Swirling shows mostly more lactose notes.

Taste- Reflective of the nose in both its flavor and the simplicity of the notes. Roasted malts dominate with hints of coffee and slight citrus (some orange, some lemon). Basically, seems to taste like a little more robust take on the porter with less of a blanketing malt bill. The coffee doesn't linger but the citrus of the front reappears on the finish. Some notes of chocolate but claims of toffee and caramel aren't evident at this point. Some hints of cherries and raisins as the cocoa and bitter chocolate build. Not bad as some caramel and toffee do express on the middle in an envelope of brown bread and grain. A mostly subtle beer but it has very good balance and integration, even some complexity. Above average to good but mostly good. Slight earth around the edges and at the top of the throat. The lactose nature of the flavor profile really helps to bring some average notes together and create a beer better than its parts. A little boring but very accessible and quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel- A little more than medium bodied with light carbonation. Medium amount of creaminess. The mouthfeel really adds to an average beer that ends up being good.

Drinkability- Extremely accessible and very easy drinking. Shows no heat and has excellent balance and integration. Seems reasonable at 5 to 6 bucks a bomber. Wonder what it goes for on tap? Wouldn't mind having a couple pints of a pretty mellow beer.

Overall- Above average to good but mostly good. No individual aspect that grabs my attention but each one comes together well. Definitely worth a try. May not impress but very sessionable for a higher ABV beer.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.44/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Very dark brown without that Guinness blackness. Clear, but so dark if appears more opaque.. Lightly carbonated. Very light brown near white foam.

S: Malt, sweet brown sugar, nutmeg and chestnut. Alcohol backbone. Definite cinnamon and nutmeg finish.

T: Sweetness starts off with molasses and maple. Sweetness fades to a mild nuttiness and a very heavy roasted malt. Most unusual, almost with a dark roasted wheat component. Slightly charred and smokey. Finishes cool with a oily mineral finish. Almost zero bitterness at the end. It needs a little bit of bite to round it out better.

M: Again, oily and mouth-coating alcohol. Long mineral aftertaste of iron. Smoothe and easy to drink due to the very low bite.

O: It's a winter warmer with too little flavor. The alcohol overpowers mostly all the subtle flavor except for the roasted grain. Possibly my least favorite winter warmer yet. On the plus side, very drinkable.

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Photo of Spikester
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with red highlights. Tan head of one finger that lasts quite well. Strong lacings follow the level as it drops.
Smell is roast dark malts a hint of yeast. Some earthy hops.
Taste is dark roasted malts some fig and raisen. Leather and some hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is big and wet with some drying toward the end.
Overall a tasty winter beer with plenty of hop bitterness to beat back the sweet malts.

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Photo of Braz
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slightly woody smells. Herbal and malty notes as well. Very dark brown with virtually no head to speak off. Kind of wild tasting. Green tea and foresty notes too. Mild astringent aftertaste. Takes a few tastes to get used too. One of the more unique beers I've tasted in a while. But it has a strangeness to it. I'd compare to drinking a darker beer while chewing mint gum at the same time. Not sure I'd have a huge need to try again.

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Photo of DenverLogan
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured in Grimbergen chalice.
Pours very dark with big dark amber head...multi layers and lace.
Aroma of tennis shoes in the laundry, dark - burnt roasted malts, freshly shaven #2 lead pencils.
Medium mouthfeel...full body.
Flavors of burnt malts, dark rich roasted malts, shaven #2 pencils, slight funky fruit, citrus hops, cream of tartar, unripe pear...let me give this five minutes...
OK...big and bold...but rough on the edges. Ahhh, but it's an Olde Ale...humm...
At least 12 minutes into this brew...beautiful dark brown, lovely head and lace, chocolate malt aroma, rich flavors of bitter chocolate, Italian herbs, melon rind, bitter root, slight chalk...there's a bitter dryness. Tasty and full bodied but not something I'd crave.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice to get this one in BC as I love me some Winter Warmers and I also love everything I have tried from these guys. This is a pretty cool little number that really tastes a lot like Dechutes Jubelale which ain't a bad thing. The hops rise from the big malt backbone and yes the beer does taste more CDA than old ale. I need to get more of these before they go.

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Photo of MAB
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very decent beer, although I wish there were more hops present in it.

It looked lovely in the glass, and it had lots of head. A promising start.
The smell was subtle. Malts and a bit of a fruity nose, I thought.
The taste was good but not enough hops, as I mentioned earlier. This would have been excellent with some residual bitterness.
I scored it high on mouthfeel. This is a well-crafted brew, no doubt about it.
Overall it was a bit over average. It's probably better on-tap, I figure.
Don't think I'd buy another bottle but never say never, right?

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Photo of Murrhey
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger width khaki head. Very little retention. Mahogany coloring, nice carbonation.

S- Chocolate and medium roasted malts. Brewing spices. Smells quite warm.

T- Bitter hops and toasty malts hit you at first sip. Deep bodied flavor.

M- Light bodied for a dark beer. Finishes mostly clean but lingers bitter.

O- Tasty and from a Portland brewery. I'm a fan. Good winter warmer type beer.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
3.22/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had my eye on this one for a while and finally picked it up while in Oregon.

THE APPEARANCE of Alameda Brewhouse's "Papa Noel's Olde Ale" is pretty good. It is a dark, reddish brown color with a malty off-white head and nice lacing. To me, this looks more like a brown ale or a light winter warmer. The reddish amber hue was a bit unexpected. Overall, not a super-appetizing color.

THE SMELL is sweet with hops, chocolate, and raisin all in the nose. Very fragrant but also very winey (red).

THE TASTE is very smoky, dry, and hoppy with strong dried fruit (raisins) and dark chocolate flavors. There is also a definite swampy, peat flavor reminiscent of a Scottish ale. The overall impression I got from this old ale is Scottish ale + Irish stout + double bock. I haven't had a lot old/stock ales so I'm not entirely sure how this is supposed to taste but I would like more of the raisin and less of the smoke and dryness. It's just a little too odd for me and tastes a little too bold, I think.

THE FEEL of Papa Noel's Olde Ale is surprisingly thin and light, especially considering the high alcohol content and flavor profile.

CONCLUSION: This is a very drinkable brew and is certainly above average, it's just not my thing and seems like it needs more refinement.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Boxing up some beer for a good friend tonight... picked this one up at the COOP earlier tonight for $5ish... not bad. Poured into my Cigar City goblet... tannish short lasting head... little lacing and a pretty flimsy cap.. the brew is deep dark brown with a definite haze to it.

Nose is pretty light throughout... raisin, little cocoa.. some dark dried fruits...

Flavor pretty much mirrors the nose with some red grape essence.. a little dry and a bit tannic on the finish.. sorta earthy dry malts...

Not sure that I like this one, but it isn't bad at all.... just not what I want in an old ale or a winter warmer... I do appreciate that this one isn't spiced... It just doesn't have the body or the complexities that I would hope for.


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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lucky Lab Barleywine Tastival 2011

A: Poured a brownish copper color with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Caramel, toasted malt and old lingering spices

T: Caramel, toasted malt, some spice, light hop bite remians

M: Light toasted malt, sordove plain, medium body, hints of booze

D: Pretty Good

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Photo of jsh420
2.89/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

pours dark ruby brown with a 1+ finger off white head that left lacing all down the glass

smell isome fruit and sweet malts

taste is better then the nose - grapes brown sugar a little chocolate - kind of a muddy mess

mouthfeel is light medium body with no carbonation - flat - at least it was wet

drinkability - the beer being flat killed any enjoyment i might have gotten from drinking this

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Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours dark brown with a crackling, spongy head of beige. A solid skim coat and some ringed lacework remain for the duration of the glass.

Aromatics are filled with raisins, molasses, brown sugar, and a hint of roasted chocolate. Traces of toffee and nougat follow through.

Medium bodied with a slightly tacky, chewy mouthfeel. A bit overcarbonated and prickly for the style.

Plums, raisins, dark caramel, and chipped toffee lead off the palate. Shades of brown sugar, rum, and leather follow through.

Finishes with lingering raisins, rum, and a bit of roast.

A good beer after a long day of stacking cordwood, and enjoyed by the crackling fire.

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Photo of velosuds
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. Purchased at local grocer for $4.59.

A-Pours a dark copper-brown hue with a one finger off white head with good retention and lacing.

S-Malts dominate with some earthy hops. Smell is reminiscent plum pudding, raisins, chocolate, and coffee. This description seems odd, but the aroma is quite nice.

T-Slight hop bitterness, caramel like malts, raisins, and chocolate covered toffee. Very welcome as a winter seasonal interpretation of the Old Ale style.

M-Medium body, very smooth, and great carbonation.

D-This is a nice winter seasonal but a little weak for the style at 7.2% ABV, although it is well within the range. Probably the best Alameda Brewhouse beer I have had.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber . Beautiful looking beer to be sure,dark,dark brown with a very attractive frothy tan head. Just looks so good in the glass. Nice bready,roasty toffeeish aromas, a very malt based scent indeed. Taste is the same with some creamy goodness thrown in and the hint of hops in the end breaks up the sweetness. I Palate is Ok tends towards the thin side of the spectrum. Overall a very nice ale. have to buy some more before its gone.

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Photo of jdense
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle from Belmont Station poured during Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting, 12/22/09.

Dark reddish brown/amber body one finger tan head, quick dissipation with minimal lacing. Nose is fairly sweet, but malt backbone present, with a bit of roastiness. Taste is dominated by the malts, roast more present in taste than nose, with a slightly bitter finish from the Fuggle hops. Pretty sweet, chocolate and toffee, a bit sticky mouthfeel. May have been a bit too much roasted malt for my liking. Drinkable, but nothing spectacular. Worth a try, but won't be purchasing again.

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

I know it's on tap... but I had to snag a bottle because it is a rare occasion I get the time to actually go over there and try this good stuff on tap... grrr... it's frustrating.

- A nice semi-creamy/cloudy brown ale of sorts... nice light light mocha head... leaves a slew of lace-maker, and a ring of mocha goodies...

- Quite the fresh smelling hop farm, with some earthiness.. spice, and a caramel/chocolate malt... smells balanced and mild.

- Nice smooth chocolate malt... semi-spicy.. some earth, herb... overall a light and sweet tasting malt brew...

- A little dry and sticky... not overly chewy....

- Once again... this is much like every other seasonal winter brew... why the weird porters with spice all the time... I don't know... it's almost like they are all striving towards some sort of REAL style... hah! But... this IS a fantastic winter brew... and if I lived next to there again, like I used to... I would fill o' many growlers w/ this humble winter brew! Cheers! I do like Alameda!

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Photo of Magpie14
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: somewhat of a bland look. I pours a brown laced crimson color with a light haze making things non-tranparent. The edges help gauge some other hues, mostly of sunburnt orange. It took some work for the cap to form a dingy cream color which fizzled away before I could get a good look. Most of the lacing it left is speckled and scattered about in small patches

S: this is nice. It has a very pleasant sweet hopped up smell. Some spices are present that go hand in hand with a vinous woody character. Maltiness is at a minimal in the nose as I had to pull deep to gather some toasted malts with maybe some toffee

T: my first sip led me to believe this has some vino fondness going on. It pulls in light spiced grapes, currants, and very light tart cherry characters. This is augmented with a pinch of sweet toasted toffee malts, brown sugar, and some floral-like hops. I find this a very unique beer. It has some neat flavors while remaining very cordial. It's not a malty, hefty, or intense as I was expecting or would like...but I am not disappointed

M: First thing, ABV is nowhere near the palate's experience and very well hidden. The body is medium plus-a-few and carbonation is near perfect. I caught myself taking pretty massive gulps with ease, a soft silken drinker and the body pairs great with the flavors

D: this is gonna get in my fridge again. A surprisingly unique and always tasty showing from Alameda

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle shared at ramnuts' house. Thanks Frank!

A: Pours a rich mahogany color in the glass that seems black on first glance. Ruby highlights against the light. Moderate head that recedes into a collar and leaves no lacing down the sides.

S: Vinous with dark fruit character. Grapes, plums, molasses, roasted malt, and chocolate.

T: Leads with chocolate and roasted malt, suggesting a stout, but it goes into molasses, which confounds my expectations, then blows them apart by going into dark fruit territory. Grapes, plums, and possibly cherries (cannot quite discern). Tasty and complex. Smoky in the finish.

M: Full-bodied and even chewy. Low-moderate carbonation that makes this a creamy beverage.

D: We didn't have much of this, but I was impressed by how rich the pour was, for such a low ABV. It drinks very smoothly and has much to offer in each sip.

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Photo of bitterthebetter
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep tasty looking brown with tannish head and slight amber notes at the bottom of the glass.

caramel, malt, slight chocolate, and slight spice

a smooth malty body, followed by the spices and bitterish chocolate and slight caramel sweetness. kinda feels like there are some hops lingering around in there, but not sure

smooth, slightly creamy and balanced with a smooth enduring finish, not too sweet either, medium bodied

creamy, smooth, malty yet balanced, its a nice hearty winter ale with a nice finish

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Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color with garnet highlights and a decent but not impressive head that declines to a ringlet and leaves a few waves of splashy lace

Smell: Unexpectedly fruity, in a red French wine sort of way, with barnyard funk, a slight tinge of red grape and almost an oaky character

Taste: Opens with a fruity (French grape, again) aspect that also has some nice caramel tones; after the swallow, the malt builds and is offset by some earthy hops and a slightly sour aspect; the overall impression is earthy, again much more wine-like than beer-like, although it is clearly a beer that we are dealing with here

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: The more this warmed up the more I warmed up to it; very different and a shy one (just like Father Christmas), that's for sure

Thanks, tangfoot, for the long-awaited experience

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Papa Noel pours a dark murky blackness with a nice finger foam head. It leaves some good sud lacing on the side of the glass.

The aroma is toasty malts with some chocolate hints. The flavor is smooth and balanced. It has a slight bitterness to it in the beginning but finished with a stronger malt characteristic. In the mouth is it light and tad chewy. The alcohol comes through a little bit but stays hidden pretty well. Very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of ccrida
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle that I've cellared for 6 months, into my Midnight Sun cervoise. Papa Noel's Olde Ale is a dark, muddy amber, with a really nice and rocky, tan, 2 finger head, with thick creamy lace rings.

The smell was very nice and strait forward, strong and sweet malt, reminiscent of grapes and prunes.

The taste is more subdued then the aroma, and was initially a bit of a let down. But as I worked my way through this bottle, I really came to enjoy the complexities. I think the age did this well, to bad I only had that one bottle. Would have rather had one fresh, and another few in the cellar. Anyways, the dark fruit was raisin and sour cherries, not as sweet as the aroma, very rich, with this great sour cider vinegar tang.
Very smooth and no taste of booze, and although it's only 7.2%.

The mouthfeel was very creamy, but this was on the heavy side. So rich, it drinks like a much bigger beer.

The was a slow sipper but worth the effort and very enjoyable. There is a lot going on, and it's very rich, and in spite of not being able to taste the booze, I can't believe it's only 7.2%. Not sure why I put this off for so long, I'll definitely stock up on next years!

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Papa Noel's Olde Ale from Alameda Brewhouse
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 47 ratings