Jenlain Bière De Noël | Brasserie Duyck

Jenlain Bière De NoëlJenlain Bière De Noël
88 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 88 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750ml green bottle, corked and caged, with a nice Christmassy label.

Appearance: Burnt orange beer with nice steady, fine carbonation and a dense ivory cap.

Smell: Tart fruit and yeastines with toasty caramel malts in the background.

Taste: Tart earthy fruitiness with toasty caramel notes as well; there's a hint of bubblegum in here as well, but it's somehow tart at the same time.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium.

Drinkability: Pretty high.

Conclusion: This is an ODD, earthy, tart, fruity beer...but it's kind of tasty and unique at the same time. I might give this one another shot next Christmas.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jenlain Noel

A- Deep ruby red with a thick frothy white head.
S- Deep fermented fruits like cherry and plum dominate.
T- Thick syrupy fruits; cherry and plum are most obvious with pineapple appearing. Very sugary.
M- Thick sweet fruits with a mild dry bitter finish.

Overall- The deep robust fruitiness make this a good desert beer.

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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 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 BuckeyeNation
2.33/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The vintage is a mystery, but my bottle looks just like the bottle on the Brasserie Duyck website. My guess is that it might be the Holiday 2007 release. 2006 at the earliest.

After a loud POP! and a lingering wisp of gunsmoke, Noel pours a coppery shade of orange that isn't dark enough to be burnt. The pale orange-ecru crown has a cottage cheese-like texture and is beginning to lay down swaths of Swiss cheese-like lace. No more cheese references... I promise.

The nose is a wide range of things that don't add up to anything good. It's herbal, earthy, musky and very slightly spicy. The (minimal) spiciness has to be emanating from the hops since nothing other than the four basic ingredients are used. If the aroma is an accurate guide, some Christmas spices would have been welcome.

I'm not sure what's up with this brewery, but they can't seem to do anything right. Three of the four Brasserie Duyck ales that I drank prior to this one were close to unacceptable. Saint Druon De Sebourg (French Abbey Ale) was the only one good enough (barely so) to be considered average. My slightly higher hopes for Noel have been dashed with the first disappointing sip. Let's plow ahead.

The beer tastes like a slightly lower-ABV Euro strong ale that uses more caramel malt than usual. I have no earthly idea how this beer got tagged with the 'biere de garde' label. The flavor profile is so embarrassingly simple that describing it accurately is going be tough sledding.

Let's go with... untoasted brown bread, sugar syrup, tree bark, moldy oranges, cold tea and a shot of watered-down lower-shelf vodka. I've said it before in reference to several other breweries: how in the world do these guys stay in business? I have to believe that France has access to most of the good Belgian ales. If so, why a Frenchman (or a Frenchwoman) would buy a Brasserie Duyck product twice is a mystery.

The mouthfeel is crap city. It's both light and slick (yes, that is possible) and is so poorly bubbled that it beggars belief. Here's the rundown: too jumpy early, passes through the sweet spot in one mouthful, nearly flat from then on. Whooeee! We're havin' some fun now.

I'm not sure what else to say. The fact that I spent $7.99 on this '750' makes me want to cry. If you see Jenlain Noel on the shelves, run screaming in the other direction as fast as your legs will carry you. You're welcome.

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Photo of sweethome
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe this to be the 2007 vintage. I purchased at Christmas-time in 2007.

Green bottle with cork. Wow, this was one tough cork to extract.

Slight pop of the cork for all the work. Pours a deep amber with light amber head. Not much lacing or head retention. Nose of dirt, fresh baked bread, and a hint of the orange.
The inital flavor is of the bready malts, right in line with style. A bit fruit (not orange), then the orange essence comes in late. The orange does not dominate. A bit of bitterness on the finish to cleanse the palate.

Overall, a decent bier de garde. The orange adds a nice flavor for the season. I found I had consumed most of the bottle without really thinking about it - very easy to drink.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle date of 09 2006, Sampled December 2007
I am not totally sure of the vintage perhaps 2005, but the label is black with an ornate red trim and has a blue & red neck label with oranges on it; it is newly distributed to my local bottle shop though. Pours with a brilliantly clear, dark, cranberry red color. The head starts out almost two-fingers thick and is a frothy, somewhat large bubbled consistency with a tan color. Definite aromas of citrus (as the neck label shows), almost more like orange juice spiked with alcohol as opposed to citrus zest which is usually used in beer. Underneath the orange is a toasty malt presence with a touch of caramel and a dry, biscuit like note.

Quite sweet tasting, almost in a cider like way. Very thin bodied for a beer of this strength. Citrus flavors play a prominent role, but it mixes in with the cider-like flavors to produce a sort of washed out juice flavor. The finish has a sharp, almost astringent bitterness to it as well as some toasted, malty notes. The astringent bitterness really lingers, it is linked to the citrus almost like a bitter orange peel flavor. In some ways it tastes like a soda.

Despite the flavors, this beer has held up really well if it is a 2005 bottling. Certainly not the greatest beer, and even fresh I have a feeling it was not all that great. It is somewhat refreshing, but a bit too simplistic and a bit to sharp in the finish.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i can't seem to find an expiration date on the bottle but tasted fresh enough.

a: very minimal head sits atop of deep amber brown body

s: light malts with hints of oranges and spice

t: caramely and malty sweet w/ sices; finishes up with hint of hops

m: a little cloying but lightly carbonated and overall enjoyable

d: overall a pretty enjoyable beer with nice spice present but perhaps not the most festive beer on the ,arket in terms of taste. an overall good brew.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2002.

Appearance : clear red amber color, with white foam head.
Smell : spicy aroma.
Taste: soft and slightly caramelized, aromatized with oranges peel.
Drinkability: a good beer in the style Christmas beer.

Review translated from french 5-27-2008.

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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 dgallina
2.34/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml green bottle without dating. Bottle looks quite new and the ale is only brewed once a year, so it's likely the Christmas 2006 release.

Pours clear dark amber with half-inch of thin off-white head. Recedes rapidly to a blanket of foam, excellent lacing. The aroma is peculiar and not very appealing. Musty white pepper notes are dominant, with tinges of metallic hop lurking in the background. Flavor is much like the nose. Lots of musty white pepper all the way through with unpleasant metallic hop notes bringing up the rear. Body is light with plenty of carbonation; somewhat acerbic in the finish. Not good at all.

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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 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 Dukeofearl
3.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am a big fan of the regular Jenlain Farmhouse Ale- great slightly sweet malty flavor, honey, a hint of spice, and ultimately drinkable, while a great price value.

So I bought this one with great interest. Very similar to its sister (brother?) beer. And it definitely is a tasty beer, but to me, the added spices, the higher alcohol content (and associated roughness to the mouthfeel and drinkability) take this down a notch. I like this, it's enjoyable, but not as good.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out a pretty copper body with a steady stream of carbonation coming from the center of the chalice. Not much of a head. Starts with a punch of orange juice in the nose with aromas of vanilla, toasted malty bread, and some alcohol. Again, with the flavors, I get a creamsicle like flavor up front which is followed by loads of toasted malt, dried fruit, and a little alcohol. I get noble hops in the finish and a lingering flavor of raisin bread. Too much orange, though. Mouthfeel is moderate to slightly thick and has a soft carbonation made up of tiny bubbles. Tasty beer, but the orange presence can be a bit much to make this something I'd want a lot of. I got tired of the orange real quick.

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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 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 Westsidethreat
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Paprika colored, fairly clean. Head is tan colored with an orangish tint.

S: Orange peel, cloves and subtle caramel,

T: Ever had orange tea? This beer tastes exactle like that. Like an orange candy with mulled spices, cloves and cinnamon. Really tastes a lot like it smells. Medium caramel backbone balances out the orange nicely. Finishes with a dirty hop aspect which I would consider a negative.

M: Medium body, thin across the tongue with fluffy moments.

D: Interesting beer. Becomes a bit too much after a while but fun while it lasted.

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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 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 cbl2
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$5.99 750 mL 6.80% No best by date.


Pours a slightly hazy ruby-brown with an inch of foamy off-white head on top. Head is slow to settle leaving behind a nice lace along the glass.


Bottle depicts oranges, though the aroma is more a tart cherry with some hints of sweetness.


Aroma may not be orange, but initial flavor certainly is. Develops into a overripe orange flavor that is offset by a weird bitter/rotting sensation. Orange/clementine flavors dominate throughout though.

Not like any saison I've ever had. Not sure I like this one, though I don't hate it either.

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Photo of hunteraw
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: appealing dark orange color, small head, very little lacing. surprisingly, the color is the most orange-like aspect of this beer. Nice color.

Smell: Malt is the big presence here, even though I was expecting orange from the label. Yeasty kind of earthy funk as well.

Taste: Surprising amount of bitterness here - from the strong malt in the nose, and the fruit on the label, I was expecting something overly sweet. I was pleasantly surprised. Orange seemed a little more present on the tongue than in the nose, but still I don't know that you'd find it if you weren't looking. Some of the same earthy, funky yeastiness toward the end. Finishes dry. Really not sure what style this is supposed to fit in.

Mouthfeel: carbonation is tame, light mouthfeel.

Drinkability: surprisingly well-balanced. Not at all what I was expecting (something fruity and sickly sweet), which wound up being a good thing, but not great in its own right, either.

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Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

just a very good balanced taste profile beverage that worked for my friend and I for supper. Orange taste was apparent and not over the top. A nice biere de garde, moderated spicey taste overall , some citrus, not too bitter nor sweet perhaps it was aged some.

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Photo of benito
3.07/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a corked 750 mL bottle.

As the label claims, this is a special biere de garde "ambree" with a "new orange flavor." The citrus is most defined in the bouquet, which has a pleasant orange character. Otherwise this brew pours a light amber and has a light, spritzy body on the tongue. There are fairly pronounced citrus and biscuit flavors too, but they are never quite able to overcome the fizziness of the mouthfeel. It is then, an imbalanced mouthfeel that proved to be this beer's biggest drawback. Drinkability is average, though, I doubt that I would be interested in exploring this brew further to have more than one glass.

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Photo of badbeer
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark reddish color with a quickly disappearing white head. Smell is of orange peel and some spice. Taste is sort of like watered down orange pop, which isn't a good thing. This could have been so much better, but it wasn't. Mouthfeel was thin, with medium carbonation. I didn't really care for this one, I would maybe try it again in a very distant future.

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Jenlain Bière De Noël from Brasserie Duyck
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 88 ratings
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