La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) | Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)

very good
152 Ratings
La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)

Brewed by:
Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 02-08-2003

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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 152
Photo of flyingpig
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle from BeersOfEurope website (£2.49):
Great stuff with nice floral flavours, touches of fruits & a few bread malts. Nothing was overly pronounced giving the beer a nice balance with strong carbonation & a dry, fresh feel. It falls just short of some of the best Belgian ales but it's still a nice one & well worth looking out for.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Best before 09/2013 in the bottle. Perfectly conserved.

A: Pours a dark and cloudy amber color which is also dirty with many particles floating inside the glass. Forms a huge and bubbled light yellow head leaving some lingering and molasses lacings in the glass

S: Very fruity in the nose. Strong notes of plums and raisins. Toffee, caramel malts, crystal malts. Belgian-style bready yeasts. A bit spicy. Some alcohol can be felt in the very end

T: Follows the nose. Sweet upfront: Very malty and fruity. Strong notes of plums, raisins, caramel malts, crystal malts and bready yeasts. A bit spicy. Mild hoppy bitter end. In overall, a sweet beer with a Belgian bittersweet profile. A bit of alcohol can be felt in the end

M: Heavy and bit molasses body. Medium carbonation. Bittersweet aftertaste: Mainly fruity and malty

O: Good drinkability. Solid Belgian Strong Ale

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Photo of 2Cents
4.91/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle has been aged for a long time, according to the bottle date, over 5 years.

LOOK: Pinkish amber with lot's of yeast swimmers, a thin, off white,
head and lacing that really sticks around.

SMELL: Sour Cherries, caramel, bread dough, yeasty esters and some phenols.

TASTE: The sour cherry taste really stands out. There is a, non cloying, candied malt flavor that comes through along with a slight hop bite; it's very nicely balanced. The Alcohol is present but not over powering.

FEEL: Kind of chewy with a medium mouth feel. There just enough carbonation and alcohol to give this a pleasant crispness.

OVERALL: This really tastes more like a strong dark then a strong pale ale, maybe the aging has something to do with that. Either way, This is an outstanding beer.

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Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy amber orange in color and has some fine yeast particles visible near the bottom of the glass along with a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that left large wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a thick collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderately strong aromas of fruits are present in the nose—apples and pears seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has complex flavors of fruits and also has some hints of malty sweetness and yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The complex fruity flavors in this beer make it seem quite unlike any others in the style and more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, except that the overall beer is lighter-bodied in nature and doesn't have any cloying sweetness. It is quite drinkable because no traces of alcohol are present in the taste.

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Photo of VoodooBear
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz. stubby brown bottle, served in a 5 Rabbit tulip glass.

Appearance: Frothy one finger head that goes down a bit but then stays there. It's a deep amber color and leaves some great lacing.

Smell: Very complex, with some fruit sweetness, spicy coriander and some citrus hop notes.

Taste: Just like the smell, a great, complex combination of flavors can be sensed. Nothing is really dominant or overpowering, everything is balanced and the end result is fantastic. There's some citrus fruit notes, complemented by warming spice and a hint bitter hop notes. An herbal taste with an alcoholic finish wrap everything up.

Mouthfeel: It feels full bodied and strong with some good carbonation. Goes down smooth.

Overall: This is a very well made and complex beer. Despite the wide variety of scents and flavors, everything is balanced really well, so it doesn't feel messy or like it's trying to hard. It's a spicy and alcoholic beer (9% ABV), so it goes better with cold weather, but a great beer like this can be enjoyed at any time.

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

Poured into an Ommegang flute glass. Pour a clear orange amber with a half finger off white head that dissipated quickly to a thick ring around the glass and patches of foam. Interesting aroma of fruit; apple, pear, grape and orange, estery with light sweet malt. Flavor starts out with similar sweet ester fruit, apple, pear, apricot and orange, supported with sweet malt with a hint of toasted malt. Finishes with drier, spicy flavors, slightly bitter. Some holiday spicing here, cloves and cinnamon, but well integrated and no spice stands out. The flavor is complex and hard to parse into flavors. bit fruit and spices dominate. Medium bodied. A very flavorful and interesting Belgian with a unique and pleasant taste. I hope to find this again.

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Photo of mlazzaro
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was one of the oldest beers in my cellar. 750ml cork and cage - label indicates 2007.

Solid carbonation, very little head. Amber color body as advertized. Quite hazy despite aging, chilling and a gentle pour.

Smells awesome! Candy and spices. Caramel aromatics. I have never smells anything like it. Just a hint of tart in there too.

Taste has that candy flavor as well. Not sweet, but very similar to caramel hard candies. It also has a very unique menthol thing going on. Spice flavor most likely from yeast and not actual spices. Very simple flavor profile. Tasty stuff.

Thin body. Minimal sweetness. Alcohol was well made. High ABV but a smooth mouthfeel. Warms the esophagus.

This beer was nothing like I expected. Other reviews mentioned fruitiness. My beer is not fruity at all. I imagine there is serious variation bottle to bottle. Especially after 5-6 years in different cellars. But quite good!

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear deep amber color with a huge bubbly beige head that takes forever to get to a manageable level. Smells fruity and syrupy sweet with lots of light sugars and juicy fruits. Sweet oranges, cherries, light brown sugar with a hint of earth to it. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Lots of lighter sweet fruits with hints of light sugar, and butterscotch. There is a touch of warming alcohol but that adds to the experience rather than detracting. Light spices and a bit of a quick finish. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. I've seen this a hundred times and never though twice about picking one up. Thanks Jeff for turning me on to this, I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of BierStein711
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into snifter

Reddish brown beer with off white head, that goes from four fingers to lacing in less than 30 seconds.

Smell: Malts, Belgian Candi sugar, and hops

Taste: Apples, Raspberries, Cherries, hints of raisin, followed by Belgian Candi Sugar

M: Moderate

This is a beer for special occasions. Pursue it for a moment of merriment or celebration.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out with a big foamy off white head. The color of the beer was a reddish brown color with some sediment floating around in it. The smell of the beer has plenty of Belgian yeast aromas comin off of it, there is also a spicy note as well as a subtle sweetness on the nose. The taste was pretty good, there was a semi-sweet caramel flavor to this one. There was also some mild spice in the aftertaste along with some fermented fruit. The mouthfeel of the beer was pretty nice, it was well carbonated and had a typical Belgian softness to it. Overall it was a pretty good holiday brew.

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

A: Exploded out of the bottle and foamed up into my tulip glass into a massive 2" tan coloured head which dissipated over about 3 minutes and left minimal lacing. This was all over a reddish-amber liquid.

S: Yeast and spice.

T: Cherries, caramel, and spice; with a somewhat acidic finish that is reminiscent of some amber ales, but is quite a bit sweeter.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: A good drinker that is somewhat sweet. A better than average Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

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Photo of polisanl
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle.

Pours a burgundy brown in color. About a finger worth of white head. A lot of floaties in this. Smells really sweet. Tastes like caramel or cotton candy. Some fruit jumps into the mix as well. Dangerously smooth, medium bodied and easy drinking for the ABV. The ABV is actually barely noticeable.

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Photo of boudreaux
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy, marmalade orange/honey color, with a solid, frothy 2-finger head; leaves marvelous, sticky lacing and looks like a witbier with a punch

S: aromas are similar to a witbier as well, but even stronger; orange peel, citrus, honey, floral notes, spices, and a dry, hoppy note

T: the aroma flavors are strong up front; as the beer warms, a sweet caramel maltiness becomes noticeable; also, the spicy notes become enhanced, as the alcohol comes through

M: bold and velvety, with a sticky sweet warmth on the back of the throat at the finish

O: a great beer; in typically wonderful Belgian fashion, a complex and deliciously sweet/bitter combo

 656 characters

Photo of impending
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a hazy honey orange. Dense head subsided fairly quickly, nice lacing.

Aroma rich in white bread yeast atop orange peel, the skin of light fruits and spices, quiet coriander. Hop aromas abound.

Tangy taste, literally, a hint of Tang. Minor hop bitterness contributes to the mildly dry lingering aftertaste, pleasant . Alcohol appears absent. Thin yet creamy mouthfeel.

The best Noëls are dominated by strong darks, this is a superior take from a strong pale brew. Not the typical Noël spices but it works well !

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Photo of crossovert
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml stubby abbey style brown bottle.

It pours a murky reddish brown. There are a few floaties and a thick off-white head that recedes decently quickly with some very nice lacing.

The smell is pretty good. It smells like a mix of candied orange peel, nutmeg, and corriander. There is also a hint of raspberry and caramel.

The flavor is sweet and caramally with a ton of fruity esters. It has an almost fruity pebble-like presence. There is a hint of ginger that seems very apparent along with some other spices.

It is sweet, but not overly decadent, it is supremely drinkable for the abv, a solidly crafted brew.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL Belgian, cork and cage presentation, with D 7 07 notched. This "artisanal amber ale" is brewed with direct fired kettles, neither filtered nor pasteurized, and bottle-conditioned. Popping the cork releases a wonderful bouquet and a lively, nearly crystal-clear chestnut brew, capped with a half-inch tan head that leaves a bit of lacing. Its beautiful hue is marred only slightly when a few floaties get into the second glass. Smells of fruit cake, rum bread, cookies and orange zest, backed by light caramel malt and yeast - it's a holiday in a glass. Miscellaneous sweet spices on the palate - notably orange zest - along with cherries and other stone fruits. Mildly bitter, with a dash of caramel malt, cork and a lightly yeasty finish. Very tingly at first, with a medium body and a fairly dry, spicy finish. This is a very nice ale that makes skillful use of the spices - they are quite noticeable, but (other than the orange) none stand out too much. It is also deceptively smooth. Nine percent? It drinks like a six at most. And you can sense that this brew can age for years more quite gracefully. Definitely worth a try.

 1,136 characters

Photo of ThaCreep
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish clear enough beer for a very strange Christmas. Citrus nose that also think the drug or the candy by the subtle blend of yeasts. Easy to drink, like other Binchoise but with a lot of spices that enhances the sauce, which is almost typical of artisanal Belgian beers. The finish is somewhat reminiscent of alcohol, which really did not feel as input, and a somewhat syrupy.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy dark copper color with a large, foamy, rocky off-white head. About average retention leaving a very thin layer of lace with a bit more sticking to the sides of the glass.

S - Good amount of malt with a fairly strong caramel aroma. Strong fruity aroma as well with apple being strongest and some orange and other golden fruits in the background. A bit of musty aroma and some yeast.

T - Pretty strong fruity flavor with apple being the strongest and some other golden fruit. Also a good amount of caramel and pale malt. Pretty strong musty flavors with a touch of earthiness. Some yeast and candi sugar flavors as well.

M - Medium body with a lot of carbonation. Fairly smooth and creamy, but a little on the light side.

D - Pretty easy to drink. Flavors are pretty good, but not great. A little too musty. Nice to drink, especially for the ABV, but it wasn't necessarily making me want more.

Notes: Not exactly sure what style this is, but it is fairly tasty. Not an amazing beer but alcohol is well hidden and flavors aren't bad (not great either though). This is decent and I would drink it again, but I wouldn't seek it out. For the right price, it would be worth getting.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a two-fingers thick off-white head into a tulip glass that left thick lacing with a light sheet. the body was a hazy and dark copper color. i poured it slowly but got a little sediment in the beer.
s - sweet and malty with a little fruit.
t - caramel, juicy fruits like peaches and apples with a slight phenolic touch and just a hint of spiciness.
m - slick and slightly thin.
d - nice sipper and a very interesting, delicious brew.

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Photo of Rayek
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: Hazy amber with active carbonation. A soapy copper tinged head starts out very strong, but recedes to a ring at the beer's edge fairly quickly. Leaves a little lace.

S: Quite vinous, with strong red grape, raspberry and plum aromas. A light pepper spice and a strong dose of alcohol rounds things out.

T: The vinous theme continues with dark fruit flavors. A light chocolate flavor adds some needed complexity. Gets a little thin in the middle. Bitterness is mild and adds a pepper bite. Alcohol adds an extra layer of flavor and warmth going down.

M: The body is quite light given this much alcohol. Very active carbonation is right for this style.

D: This beer was a nice match for the cool and dreary evening I drank it on. Not one of the best beers of this style, but quite solid on its own.

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

Poured from 750ml bottle into Orval chalice.

A. Poured a fizzy 1 finger head. Color is dark orange copper. Average head retention. Decent lacing.

S. Fruit, pears, plums, yeast, sweet malt. A very nice fruity smell. Maybe a little peach.

T. Tast is good. Nice spicy hop punch. Pear, a little peppery spice flavor. A very well done BSPA. ABV is not apparent.

M. Well carbonated. Crisp smooth finish. Mouthfeel is right on par.

D. Very drinkable. A well crafted very delicous beer. Lots of complexity.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Substantial covering foam, but not a big head, beer is pure dark amber, cloudy, lots of floaties

S: Mild, but very distinct, spice, but sweet too, clove, allspice, but not harsh like some

T: Super good flavor, never overpowering, orange zest, clove, maybe some cinnamon, bittering done more by the spices than hops, but accentuated by the hops - can still taste them, long flavor profile, last forever, could use a little bit of something sweet or malty to balance the bitter spice

M: Nice and light, carbonation makes it feel less than medium

D: Good, but could use more substance to balance spice

Notes: Definitely a good winter beer. I love all the spice. They do a good job of mixing all the flavors together into one coherent note. However, it could use a bit more sweet maltiness, especially in a winter beer. The spice bitterness is a little over powering.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My dad actually bought this. Certainly wasn't expecting him to buy something I hadn't reviewed!

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Cloudy gold-orange. Excellent head persistence. Adds up to a very nice-looking goblet of beer!

Aroma is pretty standard per style. Some light pepper, honey, clove.

On the palate, I get a lot of the typical BSPA flavors. Pear, honey, a little pepper, a little hop, little candi sugar. Pound cake malt. Even more than a little coconut. As it warms, There's nothing oddball about this brew. What it is, however, is extremely well-done. The above flavors meld together very well, and come to a dry finish. As per the very best of this style, the 9% alcohol is nowhere to be found, buried well underneath the various flavors. Extremely well-done, I'd have to say. I really like it.

The mouthfeel is right up there with tbe best Belgian artisanal breweries, even the Trappists...well carbonated, but smooth and soft. Wow. I'm really impressed.

Like the very best examples of this style, this is quite drinkable, and would pair well with many foods. I'm convinced that this is *among* the best examples of this style. And my dad picked this out? Becoming a regular Beer Advocate, he is.

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Photo of bjezierski
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Have to say I was a bit disappointed in this. At first taste, it stopped just short of being sour. It slammed me with a wall of grapefruit-like hoppy bitterness. As it started to open up, the essence became more balanced, but the taste began to fade. Eventually, it faded all together into a slightly citric aftertaste, with slight notes of tangy bitterness.

The nose is hot, with a dry, mildly acidic tinge, expressing hints of carmel.

This is a very delicate beer, and not for those who prefer a heartier fare.

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Photo of sophisticated
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A) Appearance was lovely. Very thick with sediment, a deep amber color, off-white head that briefly stuck around leaving thick lacing.
S) Mild smell, cherry/raisins/crackers.
T) Taste was not overwhelming, which to me was a good thing for this style. It was tasty: dark fruits, cherries, bread, a bit of spice at the end. The spicy tang is what stood out to me.
MF) Medium to chewey, well-carbonated.
D) Very good! Sometimes these styles can be too intense for me, especially the dark fruit tastes and high alcohol levels. But with 9% ABV, this was well-balanced, pleasant, and lovely to drink.

This may be my favorite Belgian strong pale ale yet.

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) from Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
4.03 out of 5 based on 152 ratings.
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