Jenlain Bière De Noël | Brasserie Duyck

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Jenlain Bière De NoëlJenlain Bière De Noël

Brewed by:
Brasserie Duyck

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Dantes on 04-27-2004

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Ratings: 88 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of woodychandler
4.79/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

C'est La Nouvelle Bière d'Hiver Dimanche et je suis dans ma tasses! I bought this 330-ml./11.2-fl oz. bottle over at Hunger 'n' Thirst a while back, but today is the day.

From the bottle: "Brassee a Jenlain"; "Brasseurs Depuis 1922"; "Brasseurs Depuis Quatre Generations Duyck"; "Brasserie Duyck"; "Each year, to celebrate the holiday season, Brasserie Duyck brews a single batch of this very special ale as a gift to its loyal customers. Slightly different than the classic Ambree, Jenlain Noël is produced with three French barley malts and three varieties of the most aromatic malts from Alsace."; "This fine, unpasteurized ale has a rich, amber glow, a classic head, and a delicious floral nose, with suggestions of caramel and citrus fruit in the palate, but unlike many holiday ales, Jenlain Noel is brewed without the addition of any flavorings or spices. Enjoy and best wishes for the holidays!"

No spices?!? Sans epices? Tres bien! If you have been following today's reviews, you may have realized that my palate is beginning to flag after all of the spiced holiday ales. This is a welcome relief.

I Pop!ped the cap & performed one of the gentlest pours of my recent memory. Once in the glass, a swirl raised a ginger of foamy, light-tan head with decent retention. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with filament brightness. Nose smelled like a Christmas cookie! Anise, molasses and dark bread all were present. Mmmmm. I loved being a pastry chef-in-training as a high school student & this was reminiscent of the holidays. Mouthfeel was full, thick & dense, like a hunk of dough on my tongue. Swoon! The taste was very doughy, initially, but then a sweet, dried fruit taste began to kick in, followed by a light smokiness. I felt like putting this in a greased pan and throwing it in the oven to bake! It was like a loaf of Christmas bread in liquid form. I almost fell to my knees in thanks for a reprieve from the onslaught of spiced ales today. This just made me happy. Finish was semi-sweet, very bready, slightly fruity and absolutely yummy. The fact that it can be enjoyed in a 330-ml. bottle makes it all the more attractive.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.57/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 purchased at total wine roseville.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy light amvber with about 1.5 fingers of head. Dissipates moderately, leaves some nice lacing.

S/T - Light breadiness, followed by hints of mint, clove, peppermint, and light belgian funk. Hoppy bitterness is minimal to non-existant.

M - Very light in body and well balanced between malt and spices (70-30). Carbonation is moderate to high, which adds a little more body to the flavor.

D - Fantastic. This is one of the best balanced spice beers I've had in a while. I also appreciate the use of a lager yeast that adds lightness to the body. Great job on this one jenlain!

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Photo of filabrazilia
4.43/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant clear copper with a nice off white head that leaves patterns of brussels lace on the glass. The clarity and vibrance of this amber brew is amazing.

There is a predominant bready smell that is balanced by fruit and sugar. A hint of spice asserts itself as well.

Wow. This beer tastes like a filtered saison. The mild sweetness is accenuated by a crisp smooth finish. Orange and pepper swirl around on my palate like a dervish. The lingering sweetnes is a nice exclamation to the fhinish. There is a bready quality as it warms.

The carbonation leaves a lasting impression on the mouth. The body is fairly thin--not as portly as some saisons. Very nice.

This is a great beer that I would gladly serve to family and friends. A complex beer that has some lager characteristics. What a wonderful drinking experience.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.42/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged one year. This is an ever so slightly hazy beer of deep amber color with a fizzy head that disappears almost entirely. The nose is earthy and spicy with sweet malt aroma and wisps of orange. Inviting and warm. The taste is a great mixture of high-pitched sugary-sweet malt, orange juice character, cranberry notes, a deep nut tone throughout and the occasional alcohol warmth. Earthy hop flavor comes up at times and there is an extremley subtle spiciness. No real yeast characterisitics to speak of.

I saved this beer for Thanksgiving and man was that a good call on my part. This beer goes very well with everything at the traditional table from salad to pumpkin pie. In fact, I think it may have matched the pumpkin pie the best. I was really amazed at the versatility of this beer at the table. I'll definately be picking up another few bottles of this for next year. It is hard to say what the aging did for it since I never had it young, but I suspect that orange flavor might have been a tad much when fresh.

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Photo of Dantes
4.38/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: Thick, green 750ml corked and caged bottle. Label is brightly colored, purple label, with a red border decorated with stylized holly leaves and chased in silver. Very festive, befitting a holiday brew. 6.8% ABV. No date information, but I don’t believe this has been sold since 2001.

Cost: NA

Presentation: Jenlain goblet at ~50°

Appearance: Deeply rich, reddish-amber with some cloudiness. Generated an impressive, pillowy, dense white head that clinged stickily to the glass. Thick coating of lees at the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: Generates a rich bouquet of herbaceous, crisply fruity, and malty scents. Refulgently floral in aroma.

Taste: Sweet and full, with more complex flavors than the aroma suggested. The herbaceousness resolved into lemongrass, new hay, and meadowy flavors. The fruitiness was composed of Macoun apple and tart citrus peel. The sweet maltiness was moderated by some bitter nuttiness and some toasted malt flavors. This is a bit sweeter and less complex than the offerings from 3 Monts, but still a rewarding beer, at a somewhat lower ABV. Had a moderately long, malty finish.

Mouthfeel: This has mellowed beautifully in its bottle-conditioned state. Carbonation was very fine and tight, without any noticeable loss. I poured this carefully, as I expected it to produce quite a lot of head. Silky smooth.

Drinkability: An excellent representative of the bière de garde style. While a somewhat heavy, filling beer, the lower ABV makes this something one can enjoy in quantity along with a holiday meal or afternoon hors d’oeuvres leading up to one.

Backwash: I was quite surprised (and happy) to come across this at the bottom of a crate of miscellaneous wines. Although Shelton Brothers is expected to bring this back to the USA, along with some of Duyck’s regular offerings, I haven’t seen the Christmas version of this beer for a long time. I hope this does return, as it’s probably Duyck’s best offering, improving upon the already good “regular” bière de garde. Although only 0.3% stronger, this is a much richer, warming beer, with a great deal more complexity than the standard expression. I don’t remember what I paid for this, but I don’t think it was much more than the $3.49-$3.99 that the regular 750's sold for. This price is likely to go up with the Euro and the passage of time, but I’m sure this will remain a bit of a bargain. This was one of the earliest Christmas beers I can remember being readily available, and it’s still one of the better ones. Now if only Sheltons' would bring in the minikegs...

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.34/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep clear amber with a dense khaki head. Head dissipates to a wisp but leaves some soapy looking lacing. Smell is wonderful. Spicy and citrusy hops. Terrific aroma. Can't say that I've had much that smells like these hops. Popperings Hommelbier smells similiar but not exactly like this.

Taste is a nice biscuity malt followed by the unusual floral hops. Far less dominant in the flavor the hops. Finishes surprisingly clean with a crisp hoppy finish. Mouth is medium. Only faint hops in the aftertaste. Really good and really drinkable. I could recommend this beer for the aroma alone.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Revist: 9 Sep 15
750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a very nice slightly cloudy golden amber color, very nice carbonation, nice one-finger fizzy/creamy off-white head, at first there was a very nice medium size island, once gone there's some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, nice touch of floral. The taste is sweet, malty, with some yeast, very slight citrus. Medium body, ABV barely noticeable. Very drinkable, this brew goes down very easy, highly recommended.

750ml Bottle

Poured into my Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass a nice cloudy golden amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy/creamy off-white head, there's some nice sticky/creamy lacing left behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, nice touch of floral. The taste is sweet, malty, with some yeast, very slight citrus. Medium body. Very drinkable, this brew goes down very easy, highly recommended.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A - clear, deep amber color with a thick head that settles a bit, retained in a fine lacing

S - malty sweet with a touch a yeast fruitiness

T - wow - sweet malt with caramel notes, hops on the finish; fruity yeast character

M - medium body, moderately-high carbonation

D - This is really an exceptional Bière de Garde. I'm always found of the continental approach of making stronger (imperial is perhaps an inappropriate descriptor though) versions of their standard beers to be interesting. This one doesn't disappoint. While I've had other tasty Bière de Garde from other French breweries, Jenlain is the international standard and it is rightly deserved as exemplified in this beer.

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Photo of cokes
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear cherrywood with a large, frothy, bleached beige crown.
Nose of black cherry, corkboard, and cedar with a lightly sulfuric hop bite. As it warms, a big, encompassing bitter orange scent gains clout.
Begins with a notion of candied maltiness that mimicks chocolate-covered cherries...the ones that burst with an oozing caramel-vanilla goo. It disolves into clementine peel, musky red apples, toasted grain and carob before drying in the midsection with loud notations of rye bread, then into an even louder, parched maple and cedar woodiness. Rosemary, orange rind, cork, and thyme hop quotient, but with an exaggerated bitterness that rides on balsam and burnt rose petals.
Moderately rotund in the mouth with a stunted carbonation. This is a fantastic biere de garde, nearing the standards and subtle greatness of the Jenlain original (in that it sacrifices jaw-dropping attributes for a round tastiness and all-togetherness), if perhaps lacking its anytime, any place drinkability.

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Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: After an explosion upon removal of the cage, the beer pours a cloudy amber color with a brobdignagian head with tremendous stickage

Smell: Rather fruity indeed, with plum and cherry esters and a biscuity undertone; Christmas pie, anyone

Taste: Sweet, but not cloying, up front, with caramel, plum and cherry flavors joined, at mid-palate, by a tart, zesty aspect; after the swallow, the sweet and tart flavors balance each other out nicely; slightly metallic aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: A very unusual beer that, while both sweet and tart, is nicely understated; other than the aftertaste, this is quite nice

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Photo of Gusler
4.17/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer upon its pour from the 750ml green caged and corked bottle sets in my glass a luminous dark copper color with the head mastodonic in size, semi-creamy in texture and the color a nice light tan, after its destruction, a velum like sheet of lace surrounds the glass. Nose has a hint of chocolate and over ripe black cherries, also a touch of mushrooms, pleasant and appealing with the start sweet and the grain profile adequate with the top light to medium in feel. Finish has a disturbing acidity with the hops prickly in their spiciness, somewhat vinous, dry as a bleached desert bone, and a nice change of pace for me.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very,very nice reddish color. Almost looks like a pale burgundy wine. Good sized head and a very nice carbonation level. Great aroma of orange and a hint of chocolate. Theres a somewhat cork aroma-almost wet cardboard like. Malty flavor again with the orange. Slight oak flavor. Theres some spiciness as well as a vinuous flavor in the backround. Nice bright mouthfeel-almost has a refreshing feel to it. A very drinkable holiday beer. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After trying the Jenlain Blonde and pouring out half of it, I was skeptical of this at first. Fortunately I had the chance to try it at a tasting, and it was memorable enough to pick up later.

Pours a pleasing deep amber tone, that glows when backlit. Ample foam, that settles to a ring and skim later on.

Smells like orange candy and subtle malt.

Taste is balanced and even, orange candy kind of floats in and isn't too sweet or cloying. Nice malty backbone, even mouthfeel. A butterscotch/diacetyl taste rides through in the aftertaste. A bitter/metal note is the only element out of place, otherwise it's a great seasonal quaffer.

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Photo of ccrida
4.08/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/25/08 - updated review of same beer from below (9/2006) after a couple years in the cellar. Big improvement!
Nice frothy head left decent lace. Smell was still heavy on the oranges, but with some caramel notes. Taste was the biggest improvement, the extreme orange juice flavors have subsided substantially, while there's still some orange, the caramel is really coming to the fore, with some spice, like a holiday fruit cake. Super tasty, it went great with ham. I got a bunch of these on clearance in early 2007 and am glad I still have a few more in the cellar. I tried one last winter and it hadn't really changed much after only a year, but two years in it's doing great, a very pleasant surprise indeed. Scores bumped up to reflect this current tasting.


Original tasting of 9/2006 stamped bottle on 2/17/2007:

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into an imperial pint glass, the Jenlain Noel was an orangish amber with a slight haze and 1 finger creamy, off-white head which quickly subsided to a skim, with no lace.
Aroma was bright but a touch musty, orange and sugary.
The taste was a rich, tart orange, with caramel and the slightest hint of butterscotch. It was crisp and refreshing, a little minerals, with a nice easy finish with no aftertaste. It was a little boozy - gran marnier comes to mind, from the orange of course, but the brandy aspect is accurate as well.
The Mouthfeel has the perfect amount of carbonation, very nice light, refreshing body.
The drinkability of this was not that high, the orange got to be a little much. I'm not sure if they used artificial flavor or some type of rich orange variety that I'm unfamiliar with, but it was a little syrupy tasting after a while (though not in body) Still, a good experience and nice change of pace for a Noel. I'll cellar one to see if time tempers the orange.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.07/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At $4 a pop, you can't really go wrong with a 750mL of this beer. Hell of a deal for a great beer. Pours to a clear golden amber color with a nice thick effervescent head that crackles like a bowl of rice krispees. The carbonation is quite vibrant. Lacing doesn't seem to want to stick.

The smell reminds me of a freshly peeled orange. Of course, there is also a bit of a malt smell as well as some candi sugars. Very zesty. Lacks any of the funky farmhouse saison aromas, but this is great!

The taste is a great mix of the citrus orange zest with the sweet malts and sugars. Also a bit bready. Only a slight bitter in the finish. I am usually not too fond of fruity beers, but this one really seems to hit the spot for me.

The mouthfeel is the weakest link here. This doesn't really seem like a saison in any way, shape, or form; but I still think it is a hell of a good, drinkable beer. I will surely buy more of this before stock runs out. It is too good of a deal to pass up.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear amber with an off-white and frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a definite farmhouse yeast presence. The aroma was fruity and peppery. The neck label showed oranges, but the aroma was not that of citrus. As the beer warmed some caramel aspect became noticeable with a slight graham character.

The flavor was earthy with a strong caramel impression and a tannin character that was enticing and interesting. The flavor did contain some citrus fruit flavoring and a nice peppery spice. Also present was a light biscuity flavor and a decent bittering.

The finish was dry with a lasting light citrus and pepper into the aftertaste. The body was medium and the carbonation was relatively high. The earthy hop bittering and flavor lasted long in the aftertaste and the tannins added interest to that flavor. Sort of a tea character with the citrus, the tannins, the caramel and the earthiness.

750 ml corked and bailed green bottle. $6.75 at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA.

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Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a clear orange copper color with a thin head that quickly falls to surface foam. Some moderate lacing developed.

Smell: orange citrus and spices were most detectable, with some caramel candy sweetness in the background.

Taste: ripe fruits, oranges, caramel, winter-type spices, and a mild bitterness. Definitely leaning towards the fruity / citrus side of things.

Mouthfeel: crisp from start to finish. Very short aftertaste as the flavors leave the tongue quickly. Medium bodied brew.

Drinkability: I found this to be enjoyable and a bit different from the other xmas beers on the market. Worth giving it a try.

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Photo of kvnstfrd
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of corby112
3.96/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft at the Farmers' Cabinet in Philadelphia.

Pours a dark golden amber color with a two finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.  The glass is left coated with soapy lacing.

Slightly spicy aroma with a nice balance of dark fruit and biscuity malt.  Hints of pepper and cinnamon along with some cherry and dark berries followed by biscuity caramel malt.

Fuller bodied than expected with a nice balance of zesty spice, funky yeast, earthy hops, dark fruit and sweet malt.  A touch of bitterness up front followed by peppery spice that lingers over a slight medicinal character into a dry finish.  Hints of dark cherry with a nice malt backbone coutering the fruit/sweetness.  Hints of caramel malt and biscuit toward the finish.  Complex and much more flavorful than expected.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.93/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle opens with a *thwip* and pours into a tulip with a vitreous polished copper penny auburn hue topped with a light airy ivory cap settled to leave pillowy spider web lace in the glass.

Light spicy scents of Earthy thin floral scents. Some perfume and a tad leafy. and lightly malty.

First swigs: Easy red apple and gingersnap. Some dryness from the hops. Light caramel and a mix of cherry, red grape and a touch of honey. Fast ephemeral aftertaste.

Thin feel with a soft carbonation leads to a fast clean drinkability.

Last swigs: Goes great with my little fruit and cheese platter thrown together in my hotel room.

Beer is good. Happy French beering.

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Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a solid gold color with OK head retention and lots of sticky lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose, just some light clove, light cherry and a slight sweet ice tea aroma. Flavors replicate the nose for the most part, though this beer has an interesting pilsner component (pepper and light honey) that is attractive. Otherwise, the beer delivers a fair amount of moderatly sweet flavor without coming across as heavy or tiring on the palate. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and drinkability is pretty good. Alcohohl is not at all noticeable, making this a pretty easy to take X-mas biere de garde.

Nice stuff. Would likely order this again.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750ml green glass bottle which has a very different label to that shown on BA – mine has a dark green background with a large Christmas Tree shiny red Bauble with a black band across it which has the word ‘Jenlain’ in white text set against it. Sealed with a small thumbed cork with the code H-5 on it, this is held is held in place with a silver colored cage and gold colored steel cap which has the word ‘Brasserie Duyck Depuis 1922’ on it. Neck and main label are similar in design. Labeled as, ‘Jenlain Noël’ and listed at 6.8% Alc.Vol. No discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Shining copper body with dark amber notes. Off-white head has speckles of brown eggshell and rises tall on the pour. Middling levels of conditioning try hard to support the head but it soon breaks down to a familiar looking thin covering, broken in places, with a thicker ring around the edges. Very light lacing but it does have a crusty texture. Solid appearance.

Nose: Crystal malt shines through. Earthy hops and spices add some organic hue to the aromas. Some plum and dark fruits. Simple profile but it has some depth which draws you in.

Taste: Lots of herbal malts, spiced hops and a deep fruity ‘toasty-roasty’ middle. Very dry, perhaps a bit too much, but the caked fruits and a delicate dark cherry background add some flesh and balance the dryness. Alsace and Hallertau hops blend well with the Plaisant, Carambi and Prisma malts. Soft spices and charismatic herbal highs are slashed by a clean cutting bitterness. Lots of Bière De Garde traits here but they are all amped up to add a Turbo-charged dimensions – bigger is not always better – but for once it does works.

Mouthfeel: Very dry with a kicking fruit angle to add some hydration but this one has a dry, almost powdery malt finish. It all seems to round out overall to lend a very healthy feel that supports throughout.

Drinkability: A pleasant partner for the night, it went down all too quickly whilst watching the day’s matches from the English Premiership League followed by the History of Metal on VH1. I could really go for another bottle of this one right now.

Overall: Brewed only once a year and pretty much the Jenlain Ambrée with a little supercharging on the malts and hops. Very nice though and great value at $6½….for once.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Look – ruby-colored body with about a finger’s worth of khaki-colored foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell – it does indeed seem to be brewed with any additions. It gives a somewhat dry aroma. Interesting smell.

Taste – Immediately an interesting taste as well, but one that I can’t quite pin down. It doesn’t have this kind of texture, but it almost tastes like an animal oil (what actually comes to mind is duck for some reason). Not quite as dry as the aroma, but bitter in the late middle/finish.

Mouthfeel – it’s pretty well balanced, but leans just a little more toward the watery side.

Overall – very interesting brew, more intriguing than I thought it would be. Not a bad taste either.

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Photo of bmwats
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a tulip.

A: Oaky medium brown with something of an amber tone. Pours about a 2 finger bubbly white head which quickly settles leaving a smattering of bubbly carbonation. Light spotty lacing remains.

S: Nose is sweet iced tea with a little lemon citrus, and some lightly bitter malt.

T: Tastes like it smells. Not as sweet as the nose gives off, and a little more bitter than it does. Not complex, but nice balance.

M: A really carbonated brew. Light and sweet. A little dry in the aftertaste.

D: Decent combination of sweet and bitter. The syrupy sweet does get a little noxious through time.

Pretty solid atmosphere on this one. Appearance is better than average, and the nose is really pleasing although I could see how you could get too much of it quick. Good thing this is only a Christmas brew. Flavor is pretty basic, nothing overwhelming, but nice combination of flavors it does sport. Overall, this is a pretty solid quaff.

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Jenlain Bière De Noël from Brasserie Duyck
3.52 out of 5 based on 88 ratings.
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