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

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)
153 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 |  Reviews: 119
Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -50.4%

Photo of deldad
2.25/5  rDev -44.2%

Photo of mikey711
2.61/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured a bottle into an oversized wine glass. think lacey white head that disappeared after a few minutes. a copper color with some sediment that sifted down to the bottom of the glass.

Not as strong an aroma as i would have liked, got a bit of fruitiness and some biscuit but not as much sweetness as i would have liked.

To be honest i wonder if i had a bad bottle because this beer tasted like i was drinking bread. I was really did not enjoy the taste. all the flavors were just a bit dull and most of it was bready. I expected more sweetness and i would probably not have another.

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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 aracauna
2.83/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

There are things about the beer I really loved and things I hated. It started with the appearance. It had a nice gold and apple juice slightly cloudy body that really set off the gold leaf on the glass. The head, on the other hand, was loose, dry looking and small and short-lived for the style. The aroma was very fruity, roses but also a bit medicinal. The flavor had a nice complex fruitiness with pineapple, grapes and a little melon, but als had that slight medicinal flavor and an aching thin metallic bitterness that cut right through the good qualities. The flavor itself was a bit thin. The beer had potential, but just too many flaws.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.87/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml. Cork was impossible to remove. Took vice grips. When it finally came out the carbonation was so high it gushed for 5 minutes. That stirred up the sediment so badly that every sip was full of floaties. So I gave it a low appearance rating. The head was large, with big bubbles that fell slowly. Initial aroma was very subtle with the smells of grass, earth, burning leaves and rasberry. Palate was thin, with mild sourness and a clean, sweet finish. A good Belgium-lite, but too many floaties in my bottle to get higher marks.

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Photo of TheBungyo
2.87/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

The pour was amber as promised, and the nose was very interesting. The floral notes were immense, and very pleasing. I could also smell a mixture of cedar and perfume. Bleh! Tastes just like it smells. It tastes like I'm a kid and drinking my sister's perfume. Mouthfeel is good, but who cares when it tastes this bad! La Binchoise, meet my drain!

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.1/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a medium brown with a good size head. Smell is fruity, spicy (pepper, heather and clove) and malt. Taste is malt, fruit, caramel and spice. Mouthfeel is a bit rough, not as smooth as expected. Drinkability is just OK, nothing special, nothing bad, strictly middle of the road.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Very hazy orange brew with a large frothy head and a decent number of lacing flecks.

S - Sour tangerine and faint lemon pith.

T - Sour, faint smoke, tart cherries. The aftertaste has a tangerine character and very faint light smoky malt.

M - Thin, smooth in spite of the carbonation. Moderately refreshing, but a bit gummy in the throat.

 350 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep Amber. Solid aroma of tartness, green & red apples, cinnamon, dark fruits, caramel and peach. Less than inspiring flavor profile. Lemons, various fruits, mainly orange and honey. Finishes dry, sweet and yeasty. Body is a little too thin and this is a little too sweet for me.

 280 characters

Photo of dmarch
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The cork was a pain in the butt to get out of this one. Didn't have much carbonation to help me. Pours with a murkey amber color with no head and nearly no carbonation. The aroma is sugary and slightly woody. The taste is very sugary and raisiny with that same woody taste, not exactley what I desired from this beer. I just didn't find anything special about this.

 365 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ML bottle copped caged and corked from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Artisanal Amber Ale" on the front logo sticker with two angels...
An aggressive pour yielded a light brown, caramel color with a minimal frothy head that soon receded, leaving barely any lacing...
A citrus, vanilla aroma dominated this one, not too strong, or with any immediately recognizable smells, but slight toffee and cream...
Very funny, different, medicinal-like taste, a mixture between grapefruits, pineapple, toffee, and vanilla - go figure... It was difficult to pinpoint this one, but the medicinal factor really stood out in my mind as being a predominant characteristic of this one...
Slightly watery, loose mouthfeel, and the drinkability took a hit due to the eccentric flavor and lack of depth...
Hardly a classic beer... average to say the least...

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Photo of halfpgl
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First impressions of this beer didn't overwhelm me. The bottle seemed to have an overwhelming amount of sediment in it. The cork was difficult to extract. This beer unlike many other corked Belgium beers didn't show high amounts of carbonation. You will not get a head when you pour this brew. The first thing that strikes you is the color is an opaque amber hue. Aroma is very nice and it tastes much as it smells. Too much candy taste for my tastes. The 9% alcohol is very light and doesn’t overpower the beer. A smooth clean mouthfeel that doesn’t overwhelm the senses.
-after having another bottle it turns out that the original review beer was too old and lost it carbonation. The new good beer improved the scores.

 723 characters

Photo of CBFanWish
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy orange amber colour with a thick head that had very good retention. This was a beautiful beer with tons of visual character. The smell wasn't too pleasing to me. It had the musty odor of an attic that hadn't been opened for years. There was a strong whiff of apricots, but the musty smell was overbearing for me. The taste was nice. Fruity. Of citrus. If it wasn't so yeasty, it would have recieved a higher rating from me. But, overall a good beer. I haven't had too much of this particular style, but I have had other beers from La Binchoise Reserve and was pretty impressed. I would drink this again, but not in very big quantities.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a beautiful chilled orange like a sunset on a city sky with a firm eggshell head and some lacing. Smell was something akin to pure pineapple concentrate. Tons of sweet fruity flavors both in the smell and taste, however there was not too much in variation. The complexity that abounds in many of the top-shelf belgians just didn't seem to be here. The mouthfeel was nice and creamy and went down nice and easy. All in all it was a decent beer and much more reminicant of fruit juice than anything else. I would probably try it again, but not for the price I paid at the old toad.

 586 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a slightly tart and fruity Belgian yeast finish. The taste is average. It has a slight watery feel. It has a light crystal malt flavor with a very dry finish. It goes down slow and dry and finishes with an earthy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking Belgian. I don't think I'll have this one again.

 524 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.46/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dang, I was cellaring a bottle of Speciale Noel, then someone brings the bottle labeled as Rserve Speciale, and I thought the overused angels on the label was just a coincidence. Well, this pours out a cloudy brown under a thin head. No bubbles visible, but taste is bery fizzy, like champagne laced with whiskey. On a warm September instead of Christmas, it still makes one feel good as it slides down.

 403 characters

Photo of WynnO
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of BT_Bobandy
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of mntlover
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy peachy amber color with bubbles rising to keep a foam cap going that remains after the eggshell 2 inch head falls. Some lace remains but not much.

Aroma is subdued malt goodness earthy some spice noted lightly astringent, overall nice smelling but not powerful enough have to have your nose in the glass to smell.

Taste is lively carbonation amongst earthy bready malt with a peppery corrandier spicey finish some almost minty like spice also present. Overall not bad but for the price was expecting something better.

Mouthfeel is mediumish lots of carbonation in the feel almost too much for me.

Drinkability is ok/good but not special enough for me to lay down about four beans for 11.2 ozs. No alcohol noted at all well hidden in this 9% brew, worth a try you might enjoy it

 802 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap @ Bishop's Collar. Lucky me...the bartender was so cool about the pour erupting with soch a frothy top, he gave me a 2nd on 'da house.

Poured into a wide mouthed tulip, ruddy amber with a beige inch cap that decreased with spotty coating.

Nose is sweet berry and sherbert ice cream.

First swigs: Sour mixed berry and tart lemon-lime juice bite. Belgian tea like, brewed tea and a huge hint towards Long Island Iced Tea that eventually becomes rather bland, yet clean in the finish. Fruity pear sweetness and a quick finish.

Uninteresting cardboard dry and light bodied.

Last swigs: Would try this again. Interesting enough overall.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice little early Valentine's gift from my wife, she must have liked the label (did they need copyright permission)? Said amber ale but the style says belgian strong dark ale, I guess it's more the latter than former. Very nice head retention, carbonation, but too much unfiltration makes it a little shaky in my opinion. Fruitynotes with a bit of medicinal quality to it. Not one of my favorites but okay nonetheless. Didn't have the desire to finish the whole 750 mL bottle in an evening.

 492 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly orangish amber color with white lacing that does a decent job of lacing. Aroma is actually quite pleasant. Nose is sweet, floral and fruity. Malt is present in the taste along with an array of fruits and a spicey hop finish. Overall, I find this an average Belgian. It certainly is not bad, there are just many that I would take in a heartbeat over this.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy, four-finger thick, tan colored head. The beer sits in my glass a darkish, amber colored, red tinted color and shows a brilliantly clear, deep reddish copper color when held up to the light. An interesting mix of spice and malt meets my nose upon the first smell. Fruit aromatics are also noticed and lean towards notes of aromatic, tart apples, touches of plum, pear and even some wine grape like notes (mostly white varietals, but also a touch of berry like red varietals). The aroma is lightly woody, but sharply aromatic with various esters and phenols; spice notes of ginger, white pepper, clove and that previously mentioned wood like note are all noticeable among the melange of aromatics. Malt aromatics of toasted grain, lightly browned soda crackers, dusty malt and a substantial fresh, whole grain bread note really perk up towards the middle and finish. This really has quite an interesting note, the yeast character really shines here, but has a nice backdrop of supporting malt character to hold it up.

Some zippy carbonation provides a touch of fizz as this first hits my tongue. The beer is lightly sweet and fruity with notes of aromatic apple varieties, raisins, and a touch of tart / sweet plum. A back note of malt provides some structure with austere flavors of crushed pale malt, dried biscuit notes and a lingering, lightly astringent toasted grains husk note in the far finish. Pretty light bodied for a beer of this strength, but it does have a medium heft to it; at times (especially with the interaction of light tartness and light sweetness found in this beer) it can even be down right quaffable. The flavor is not as spicy as the flavor was, but there is still a solid yeast contribution here; flavors of clove, a touch of white pepper, some ginger and a hint of a spicy oak flavor. The finish has a certain astringency to it that seems contributed by a mix of alcohol flavors and perhaps some phenolics and additional esters. This provides a bit of sharpness and at times seems a bit like cardamom in the finish.

This is an interesting beer. I really like the nose on this one initially. Somehow the flavor did not quite deliver, though it is still pretty complex and flavorful. The relative light body was also quite welcome, but somehow I just feel that the beer taken as a whole is missing a little something that would make it quite good.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) from Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 153 ratings
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