Papa Noel's Olde Ale | Alameda Brewhouse

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Papa Noel's Olde AlePapa Noel's Olde Ale
Very Good
47 Ratings
Papa Noel's Olde AlePapa Noel's Olde Ale

Brewed by:
Alameda Brewhouse
Oregon, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"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

Added by Thrasher on 12-08-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 31
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one came out of Kim’s growler a deep, dark brown with some light reddish-brown hues. The head was gigantic and thick and showed great retention.

Smell – The big seasonal aroma is full of darkish malts and powdery spices. There’s a light grassy hop compliment as well.

Taste – This is much bigger at the tongue than it is at the nose. There’s a deep, gooey cherry flavor that will knock you out. It is covered with rich milk chocolate that’s not too heavy but still can’t be missed. The thick, heavily-toasted malts are in a league all their own. There’s actually a short bitter coffee ground bite at the finish, too.

Mouthfeel – This is medium to full-bodied and very creeeaaaamy in the mouth. There’s a heavy milk consistency that makes you want to stand up and beg for more.

Drinkability – The supposedly big ABV goes unnoticed to the drinker as this ale goes down silky smooth.

Comments – Thanks to skyhand for lugging this one all the way from a day trip in Portland. GTC is in da house!

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Photo of Thrasher
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't intend to have the only 2 reviews for this beer, but nobody else has reviewed it, dammit, and it's now being offered in 22 oz bottles at the brewpub. I just picked one up. Perhaps it is available in stores too, I don't know. This is potentially the first in a series of Alameda's seasonal brews available in bottles. The tap-to-bottle transition is fine and I don't detect any shortcomings in the new format. In fact, it is damn near perfect in terms of mouthfeel: supple, soft, not overly foamy as can happen with a new bottling line. The flavor is all there, gently smoky, with a slight fruitiness and little of the dark wood varnish flavors often found in winter warmers of this sort. Abv is 7.2 and completely invisible to my untrained tongue. A very porter-like aroma, with traces of pumpernickel, rye, and chocolate milk. A smidge of brown sugar. A slight herbal green hop quality gently tickles the tongue, with little bitterness or astringency (I think I finally know what that word means!) and only just a slight prickle to provide some definition to the beer. Drinkability beyond criticism. It should go perfectly with a steak. An excellent winter beer, one of the finest I've had. While it lacks the astonishing red-wine complexity of Old Peculier (a fav of mine) it's an old ale that satisfies on every level. If you're in the Portland area, you must take the time to pick up a bottle.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.12/5  rDev +9%
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 ElGordo
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Pretty deep amber color with burnt orange highlights. Thick, creamy tan head sticks around for a bit before receding to a thin coating on top. Aroma of dark fruit (cherries), molasses, roasted malt, and a touch of ale yeast. Palate is sweet roasted malt up front, with fruit emerging mid-palate with a touch of molasses sweetness. After the swallow the roasted malt becomes drier, with a nutty quality developing in the aftertaste. Body is nice, smooth and creamy. Fairly low in alcohol for an old ale, this is quite drinkable. A nice changeup from the usual winter warmers this time of year.

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Photo of golden1
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Fatehunter
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

 219 characters

Photo of jsh420
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
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 Docer
3.93/5  rDev +4%
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 Spikester
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
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 hoppymcgee
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of WMbeer
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
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 tjcamm
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of velosuds
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
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 +6.1%
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 Braz
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
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 blurredline
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of constantine_272
3.44/5  rDev -9%
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 bluckbeyes
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of MadeInOregon
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
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 stanale
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of nmann08
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of johnnyboy76
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of artoolemomo
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
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 Kopfschuss
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

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Papa Noel's Olde Ale from Alameda Brewhouse
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 47 ratings