Serafijn Christmas Angel | Microbrouwerij Achilles

very good
101 Ratings
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Serafijn Christmas AngelSerafijn Christmas Angel

Brewed by:
Microbrouwerij Achilles

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by IntriqKen on 11-26-2007

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Ratings: 101 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, fruits, and lots of honey aromas. Taste is much the same with a honey flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some solid aromas and flavors.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i love when i "discover" random little belgian breweries! i take great delight in these unsung treasures, and given my recent perpetual craving for belgian christmas beers, this was an exciting find! some age on the bottle for sure, not sure how old it is though, but its sure held up well. slightly hazy pale amber brew with a nice head on it. quite sweet to the nose and the taste, lots of belgian yeast fruitiness, and an appealing light maltiness. notes of apricot and white wine from the yeast, subtle coriander and honey, as well as a grassy spiciness as well to balance the sweet, which has an almost confectioners sugar quality, but it does not limit drinkability. the alcohol is super well hidden here, and the light spice and fruit from the yeast is familiar, but unique at the same time. quite obviously belgian, but the development of flavors is exceptional. smooth and fuller bodied going down, above average but not effervescent carbonation, and a long mellow finish. clever little beer right here, something a bit different than than the super strong and heavy dark malty belgian christmas types, but fancy and sturdy enough for a holiday celebration, but its christmas in july for me! had this next to their grand cru, which is also excellent but everyone in our group preferred this one. fun stuff from a brewery i had never heard of before!

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy dark golden yellow in color and poured into a snifter glass with a two finger high white head that has good retention properties. A light to moderate amount of carbonation is visible along with some yeast particles floating in suspension.
S: Aromas of malts, spices and yeast stand out in the nose.
T: The overall taste is somewhat complex and has notes of spices and hints of fruits. There is a mild amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and slightly dry on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden and the dryness in the finish leaves you longing to take another sip.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Like Picasso on a blank canvas- Belgian brewers just kinda go at it. Without regard of predetermined style delineation, they simply approach brewing as art and not engineering. This is true for many brewers and for much of the year, but for the Christmas season, their wacky ways kick into high gear.

Its creamy and yeasty pour has a slow separation of ale and foam. Its eventual rise of froth amounts to a tall, creamy and dense column that floats the hazy, deep golden ale with bruised peach low lights through the center.

Succulent aromas are richer than paler Belgian ales because of sultry cookie dough maltiness with caramelized grain and dark fruit esters- plumb, fig and dates offer up a slightly rummy nose especially as the alcohol scents fold into the mix. Lightly spiced with white pepper, orange zest and clove, the beer's aromas balance beautifully although they are muted by its dense meringue that acts as an aromatic barrier.

And that cookie dough character plays a major role in taste as its candied, yeasty and bready sweetness becomes the armature from which the fruit, spice, wine and earthy notes hang. Its malty-sweet early palate soon introduces the rum-soaked fruit notes of cherries, apples, dates, figs and cashew but never really extending into raisin or prune tones. Its soft and sweet spiciness layers on the fruit notes, seemingly making them brighter. A quick finish of spiced rum and earthy straw pulls from the malts and morphs into a sweet white wine finish.

Semi-full in body, the beer's bready-sweet weight lays on the tongue and fully saturates them with flavor and texture as its creamy carbonation never delivers enough sprite to pull the ale from the palate. Making the beer much more of a sipper than a drinking ale, its slow and steady savory tones settle well with the attitude of the Christmas season.

This Christmas Angel ale is sweet, whimsical and offers an aura of comfortable mystery to suit its namesake quite well.

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Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours cloudy orange amber color with a 2-3 finger fluffy off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Slight foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of cherry, raisin, pear, herbal, cinnamon, candi sugar, honey, and light yeast spices. Nice and well balanced aromas with good complexity and decent strength; very pleasant. Taste of cherry, raisin, pear, plum, cinnamon, herbal, earth, caramel, pepper, candi sugar, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of light fruits, herbal, pepper, cinnamon, candi sugar, caramel, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Good balance and complexity of flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly slick and prickly mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian strong pale ale. Good flavor balance and complexity; very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Starts out nicely enough, with bubbles streaming up the amber brew. Decent foam in the Affligem chalice. But jostled by the bubbles are swarms of floaties. Another argument against aging beers. Hint of blackberry and biscuits in the aroma, though not very enticing.

Toasty and fairly dry. A flavor of vanilla wafers. No trace of hop flavors. A little gummy at the finish. Pronounced drying at the finish. Bitterish and dishwatery. This is certainly not one of the better Belgians. From the 750 ml bottle.

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Photo of smithj4
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge, chaulky, long-lasting head. The lace is slippery and doesn't truly stick to side of the glass. The color is light amber and quite cloudy.

Creamy and sugary sweetness; lots of banana esters.

Nice spicy flavor which more than counterbalances the natural sweetness. The alcohol warmth is present but subtle. The liquor is thinner than I would expect for a Belgian.

This is a well-balanced beer without any flaws. There is some complexity that makes it worthwhile to seek out.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ripe kumquat with marigold margins. Although the beer isn't abundantly carbonated, the cap is massive and filled almost the entire glass on the initial pour. The sandstone colored lid is more than capable for a Belgian ale, but it isn't a gobsmacker by any means. Enough lace sticks to ward off disappointment.

The nose is primarily apple fruity, with peaches and apricots thrown in for good measure. There's just enough yeasty spiciness to add an additional olfactory dimension. Still, the beer could be more aromatic and more complex.

Christmas Angel is one of those Belgian strong ales that doesn't have a home on this site where style is concerned. That's because it's darker than a BSPA and lighter than a BSDA. Let's call it a BSAA (Belgian strong amber ale) for the purposes of this review. Oh yeah, it's pretty good beer.

The flavor provided by the malt has a toasted barley, light caramel vibe that fits *exactly* between the above recognized styles. Like the nose, the flavor is less than complex. Unlike the nose, the taste buds actually have something to keep them occupied.

As far as specifics, I'm reminded of overripe apples soaked in sweet apple cider and a small amount of melted caramel. The beer isn't that sweet, though. It's (moderately) bitter first, (mildly) sweet second, and (faintly) tart third. A clove-like spiciness is ever-present without being pushy about it.

Since this is a Belgian ale, I'm obligated to compare it to other Belgians when it comes to the mouthfeel. Unfortunately, it comes up short because of less than ideal carbonation. Enough bubbles are present, but they fizz on the tongue rather than inject the beer with an expansive creaminess.

Microbrouwerij Achilles Serafijn Christmas Angel is a pretty solid offering from a relatively new (and extremely small) brewer. Although I'm enjoying the '750', this BSAA is hardly on par with the heavenly beer created by the better known Belgian breweries. At $12.99 per bottle, it isn't likely to fly off the shelves.

 2,010 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Small 11.2 oz bottle 330 ml bottle, whichever...this one pours a slightly hazed amber color with a fine white head forming thick even lacing patterns. Aroma has tart apples with a grassy earthiness going on with smooth flowing alcohol notes. A smooth hint of caramel in a well constructed easy drinking christmas amber ale, goes dow so esay. Very nice drinking Christmas ale goes down super smooth velvet texture, with even strong flowing carbonation almost effervescent texture going on. Great Christmas biere that I will revisit, when available what's funny is that I've never seen this one in my life.

 604 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fully clouded ruby hued orange. Nose is laden with sugar and also a nutty touch almost. Flavor is thick with sugar and funk. Spice edge on the back side. Nice and even and smooth. Level feel for both liquid and carbonation. A good one to drink.

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle - poured into tulip glass:

POurs deep golden with a very large off-white head that descends to a foamy thin cover. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is floral, herbal and musty. It has apple and grassy notes with a metallic sharpness. Some orange comes through.

The taste is of tart, bruised apple with grainy maltiness. Malt is not as hefty as I expected a winter brew to be. "Well-balanced" (acc. to label) leans bitter in an aspirin-ish way. Something reminiscent of apple sauce lingers in the back. Maltiness picks up as it progresses much along. Something about it makes it "fine", but nothing near "great" IMO. Bitterness is nice in many instances, but here...not so much. There is a musty breadiness underneath, especially in the aftertaste.

It is medium-bodied - a bit fizzy.

"Different" for a Christmas brew. Alcohol is warming, but not hot. I have mixed feelings about this one. This 750 ml was a sipper that sipped well, leans a bit towards bitter - not as complex or rich as I would have liked a wintery Belgian Strong Pale Ale to be. Still, it's a nice bitterish change to the wintery seasonals.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clouded amber appearance, adequate off-white head.

Big aromatics, large, loud yeast, plenty of fruit, apples, pears, cherries, melon, somewhere between sweet and sour...just this side of funky, and entirely reminiscent of the that essence found in the best trappists. Love it!

Tastin'...fairly fizzy in the mouthfeel, a little too tingly on the tongue, but the fruit continues, the funky fresh feelintg in the flavor, and lingers in the finish. A spicy kick drives through the drink. Warm, slightly boozy, bready, plenty of malt and yeast, and everything I look for in a holiday ale.

Nice one!

 597 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

01/19/08- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 750ml bottle with no freshness info to be found. Poured into my La Chouffe tulip.

Appearance- Rust orange in color with a full one inch head upon pour. Settles at a good 1/4 inch through full consumption. Leaves light lace trails.

Smell- Very bready, but in a sweet way. Kinda like walking into a Cinnibon store. Sweet confectioniers sugar with a touch of sweet apple zest.

Taste- Very yeasty and bready in the flavor as well. Kinda like drinking a sugar coated pretzel. Odd, but interseting and good. Apple comes through in the taste as well, plus maybe a hint of figs and definite hops also.

Mouthfeel- A bit creamy with a high carbonation level in the beginning and a medium ratio towards the end. Good hoppy aftertaste as well.

Drinkability- The perfect "4" beer. A bit festive and definitely tasty.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. A little bit of a gusher; pours a cloudy orange with small floating particles and a half finger white head that dissipates to patches with good lacing. Aroma of candi and caramel malt, peach and apricot, dates, Belgian yeast. Flavor is sweet caramel malt, light stone fruit, toffee, hints of orange; starts light and mostly fruity, but the finish is much more full with caramel and dried fruit notes. Medium bodied with light creaminess. The gushing opening caused a rapid initial pour that left this looking muddy and not that attractive (although nice medium to dark color), the aroma is classic Belgian pale ale. I was a little underwhelmed by the first seconds of the taste, then quite impressed with a much richer flavor developing into a great fresh and dried fruit and caramel malt finish. This is a great seasonal Belgian. Glad to find something from this small brewery and will gladly pick up anything else that makes its way into our market.

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Photo of Gavage
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy orange color with a 1" head. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: some yeast, bread, and a bit of spiciness is easily detected.

Taste: caramel, spicy yeast, pears, green apples, some bready tones, and a mild bitterness create an interesting strong ale.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Short but spicy aftertaste.

Drinkability: easy to consume this beer despite the style. Not a bad beer overall.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of AngusOg
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of Eziel
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of biegaman
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clementine orange with the slightest tawny hue. It is a lovely coloured beer, both clear and lambent with an illustrious complexion. A perfectly leveled cloud of off-white head hovers above and maintains perfect shape throughout the tasting. Each sip would invoke wings of lace to glide just above. This Serafijn looks just resplendent.

Now this is a truly Belgian impassioned yeast! It is intensely concentrated and potently aromatic. It streams the nose with hints of soft orchard fruits (pears, peaches, apples) as well as a fervent, exaggerated amount of clove. There also seems to be a very, very intensified amount of bubble gum in each sniff. All in all, this is one profound and piercing bouquet.

While the aroma zigs, the taste zags. It is still good, but it has nowhere near the same intensity or complexity that its scents let on. That candy (almost artificial) bubble gum presence turns out to be heavily subdued, in its place is the faint taste of cream soda and cotton candy. The clove like spice, as with the orchard fruits, are all but lost.

To be fair, it's actually more than good, it just isn't as good as the aroma lets on. I had expected something so phenolic smelling to have more "pizazz". Instead, I found a well balanced, simple and honest Belgian ale, which I can still definitely respect. It drinks especially smooth for a beer of this strength and isn't exactly short-handed in the flavour department.

Serafijn (Christmas Angel) is a wonderful offering from this tiny Flemish brewer. It is, as stated, a plain and honest Belgian ale, brewed with a level of quality I wish all beers were. This is a beer that epitomizes pleasurable drinking. I have no doubt this is capable of making the herald angels sing... too bad I don't have a couple more to get me caroling!

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Serafijn Christmas Angel from Microbrouwerij Achilles
3.8 out of 5 based on 101 ratings.
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