New Norcia Abbey Ale | Malt Shovel Brewery

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New Norcia Abbey AleNew Norcia Abbey Ale

Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Cs1987 on 01-18-2008

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 34
Photo of doktorhops
3.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew was recommended to me by a customer when I was working in a bottle shop not too long ago (best way to get cheap craft beers, many of which I reviewed here). He told me if I liked Belgian beers this was an awesome attempt by an Aussie brewer, with that in mind my comparison will be directed at some of my favourites (Duvel, Chimay, La Chouffe... et al).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chalice.

A: Body is a mildly cloudy golden colour with a almost no head to speak of (which I've noticed in a few dubbels).

S: Hints of bubblegum, cloves, and a sweetness from candi sugar are detectable, with an undertone of bread yeast throughout. Classic Belgian brew aromas at play here.

T: The first thought is one of how subdued the flavours are, which is not a good sign. Expected flavours from the aroma are there; bubblegum, cloves, candi sugar and yeast, but where most Belgian ales would be light on the aroma and amped up in taste this brew is quite relaxed (perhaps to accommodate our hot Australian climate). Its got the right flavour balance, it just needs to turn it up a notch.

M: Medium bodied with an excitable champagne fizz carbonation.

D: A decent enough stab at a Belgian dubbel, probably the best I've tried that has been brewed outside Belgium (though admittedly my experience is limited in this area). My biggest qualm is with the flavour being too subdued, however it is fairly easy to drink and sometimes this is what you want from a beer... though not at this price point.

Food match: Belgian fare; frikandel with chips, lettuce and mayonnaise or Kip met frieten en appelmoes.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle: nice 330mL brown bottle, not bad label. Looks like it's meant to be classic stylish Belgian.

Appearance: slightly hazy amber colouring. Reasonably thin yet creamy head, webbed lacing.

Aroma: some good-quality yeasts with biscuit malts and very ripe fruits. There are some champagne yeast flavours, and in fact a soft white wine underneath, somewhat like a viognier.

Taste: the flavours of the aroma come through good and strong, along with a touch of alcoholic warmth.

Aftertaste: pretty good follow-up, the flavours linger nicely. The alcoholic warmth brings a secondary wave of flavours. Very nice.

Mouth feel: light body with a moderate-to-high carbonation. Could have done with a backing off of the carbonation.

Overall: fairly decent Australian-made version of the Belgian Pale Ale. I still don't think it is worth AU$90 per case though (2012).

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Photo of bylerteck
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from Dan Murphy's. From notes.

A - Poured bright with mild to medium carbonation. One finger of white fluffy head on a golden sorta body. Minute retention and no lace. Oddly not bottle conditioned.

S - Sugar, yeast, fruity, mild spice, pretty nice combo going on.

T - Yeast, bubblegum, candy, sugar, spice. Nothing really jumped out. Decent.

M - Good carbonation, medium to full body and a touch of spice in the finish with dryness.

O/D - Not bad. Not really authentic but enough flavour to get by. Good but not exactly what I imagine for the style. Not bad but sorta hard to take seriously for the style.

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Photo of heygeebee
2.87/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy straw colour. The head just dies. Half finger at best. No lace Looks like apple juice.

Aromas of yeast and mandarins.

Taste is better. Spritzy mandarin and citrus leap out of glass. Belgian yeast in the mix. Very tart finish.

Mouthfeel light, very well carbonated, so where is the head???? As beer goes down, sparkling mineral water effect takes over and kills overall taste. Not good.

Overall, not sure about this one. Quite refreshing but not too complex. Average. And in a crowded market.

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Photo of dansmcd
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Light clear amber below a creamy head and good lacing.

S - Quite Belgian in character here with a prominent yeast aroma, along with sweet fruit bread, and white wine.

T - Follows the nose with the yeast and grape characteristics, with some brown sugar thrown in.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O - Not bad at all, I would pick up another one.

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Photo of ADZA
2.86/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear see through light golden copper hue which leaves a fast vanishing one finger head and no lacing i def remember this looking way better,the smell is bready malts,light herbal hops,a tinge of bourbon and brown sugar,the mouthfeel is lightbodied and different to before it really is and has boring tastes of bready malts,a touch of sticky date pudding,white grapes and finished with a touch of raisin bread and overall i think Malt Shovel have ruined this drop as i have memories of being way better and honestly if u want a nice Abbey Ale avoid this as its bordering on Macro crap wheres the love gone MSB cheers.

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Photo of Kulrak
3.91/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very light straw color with very little in the way of head, and what is there disappears pretty quickly. Smells fruity, orange and banana, and also a little yeasty. The taste is very light, but well balanced. There's banana and a little passionfruit, barely enough bitterness to finish clean. The mouthfeel is also light, without much carbonation. Not creamy, but not watery. Overall, it's very drinkable, kind of a light take on a belgian pale, but tasty anyway.

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Photo of Stew41
3.06/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Attractive beer; very clear dark golden body and some chunky lacing. Very sweet nose with simple tropical fruits and a chalky / minerally hint. Flavours are quite authentic - sugar malts, a little heavy and cooked, some spice, and aniseed to finish. Palate weight is just too light to be taken seriously.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.83/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my St Bernardus chalice

A - Pours a nice clear Golden colour with a hint of Orange. White head that dies quite quickly.

S - Aromas are sweet and spicy, with a little malt.

T - Some biscuit up front, that ois followed by some balance spicy sweetness. A little syrupy though and detracts from the beer overall.

M - Light to medium body with full carbonation

D - I love to see Australian breweries having a crack at Belgian styles, and this represents a pretty good attempt.

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Photo of philphilphil
3.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Underated beer.
Appearance is clear amberish colour, similar to leffe blonde but lacks the head.
Smell is good with smells vaguely reminiscent of wits and tripels.
Taste is similar to smell, good, it's not great but it shines in comparison to many australian beers.
Mouthfeel is medium-thickness.
Drinkability is decent for the price, hopefully this beer will take off so it will be a decent option when in resteraunt or bar situations where only macro's and such are served.

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Photo of danieelol
3.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

A: This is definitely not the right colour for a Belgian and lacks head, although the lacing is nice. 3.5

S: spices, coriander, sort of general fruity smell like a perfume, definite peach. Some red apple. This is nice actually. The nose has a genuinely rich and sophisticated bouquet. 4.5

T: Keeping with the theme we get peach, red apple and some alcohol. A bit of bitterness. 4

M: I find this highly undercarbed. If there was more carbonation it would be a lot better. If you're going to brew a beer similar to Duvel you need to emulate the carbonation too. 1

D: The lack of carbonation stops it competing with a real man's Belgian like Duvel :). Not a bad try from an Australian brewer though. 3

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Photo of JohnW
2.96/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured pale copper colour, with an initially lively head, which disappeared in about 30 seconds! Looked inviting, though the aroma is very subdued, more candy sweetness and malts, hint of dried fruits and light spicing.

Taste was initially sweet as you may expect from a Belgium Abbey style ale, with hints of dried fruits and spices, but little depth of character - the finish being 'spritzy' from the 7% alcohol and natural carbonation - but very thin and any flavours quickly disappeared leaving you feeling a bit let down. No hint of bitterness at all from any hops.

Initially tastes pleasant, but with little after taste or character makes it rather bland overall. The bottle labelling hints at Benedictine Monastic Ale - but presumably in style not origin! I suppose it's a decent Australian stab at a traditional Belgium Abbey Style Ale, but regret it falls far short of the real thing.

B'ham UK Nov 2010

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Photo of Finite
3.57/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark Golden colour. Small stream of carbonation is visible leading up to a quickly thining Head which leaves small remnants of lacing on the glass.

S- Banana and some underlying sweetness. Slight alcohol Phenols present but strangely for a malt driven beer this smells very much like a wit or Kristalweizen.

T- The taste, as in most cases reflects the aroma. Obvious sweetness and banana flavours, clove, fruity sweetness of orange peel and peach. A malt undertone becomes more obvious as the beer warms and the fruit flavour becomes equally more pronounced. Very little Hop flavour to speak of. Some lingering bitterness but its not huge.

M- Really improves the beer. Fine carbonation, spritz-like lingering of carbonation on the tongue. A smooth almost creamy body which I think really helps enhance the beers over all character.

D- Another very nice aspect. This beer, assisted by a terrific mouthfeel, goes down very easy despite its 7% ABV.

I was sceptical but a tasty beer overall. The beer develops much more character and body as it warms and this is how it should be experienced. I was impressed by its developing flavor and drinkable. For a 7% beverage this could easily be a session beer. A Hoegaaden-Duvel cross with a little less polish.

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Photo of WHROO
3.24/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep golden, little short lived head with only a hint of lacing.

A touch fruity in smell, & little spicy...taste was a little one dimensional...not too complex at all, & given the alcohol strength this really lacked the true belgian spicyness of a strong pale ale.

Not too carbonated...& a little medium stickyness in mouthfeel...

Drinkability is not too bad, but the interest level waned very quickly...

For an aussie its not too bad an interpretation...but sadly not that good..give me a real one!

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Photo of Macca
3.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a clear dark golden colour. A finger of head which drops away.

Sweet tropical aromas dominate the nose. Nice backbone of spiciness in there as well. Very Belgian.

Yeast comes through stronger on the palate. Some alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied.

I don't mind this but it's not really a style that I enjoy.

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Photo of juju7
3.92/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bit of a surprise. I honestly didn't expect a Belgian style beer from Malt Shovel to taste as Belgian as it does. Radiant orange with a lacklustre, weakish head. The aromas are the real deal; candied orange, spice, cloves and bready yeast. A little hot maybe but it tastes (again) pretty close to a Belgian pale. Worth checking out and defintely one of the better Aussie-Belgians around.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange/amber with a large persistent head.
Aroma is very authentic, lots of wheat, peaches, oranges, white grapes. Has a white wine character, very light.
Flavours let the beer down, at first it seems to be going well with more of the above fruit, and light sweet malt, but then a harsh, cringe-worthy solvent-like character comes through and makes up most of the unpleasant finish.
Mouthfeel is on the right track, nice high carbonation.

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Photo of dgilks
3.46/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Burnished orange colour with a big, fluffy white head. Good head retention.

Sweet, with slightly musky and spicy notes. A bit one dimensional.

There isn't a lot going on here, especially for a Belgian-style ale. Some sweet biscuity malt with a hint of citrus and spicy yeast character. A moderate dose of bitterness is okay but there is a staleness which isn't great.

Medium body with moderately high carbonation. It's good.

A beer that is pleasant enough to drink but isn't a great beer.

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Photo of mulder1010
2.92/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass.

A-- Poured a yellowish gold. No head at all, not even a layer of film. Once swirled got a bit of head but it went away pretty quickly. This style is supposed to have a fairly large head so a bit unimpressed with it and thinking not very carbonated.

S-- Sweet. I get carmel, bread , some candied sugar, and some figs and a little bit of dark fruits. Do smell a little alcohol but not that much. Smell is soft and I would say muted.

T-- More of a sweet nose than taste. I think a little more on the bread side in the taste. Also get figs, and carmel.

M-- Good carbonation in the mouth. It is a bit heavy though to me and does get a little bland. Finishes very dry and taste does go away pretty quickly.

D-- 7% ABV is hidden quite well. Does though lack a bigger nose and taste. As a cheaper alternative to Belgian Pale Ales it does work. Worth trying at least once. Will give Malt Shovel credit for doing this style.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish-golden colour, almost rosé in hue, with a modest head of off-white foam that hasn't stuck around, but leaves a thin cloud over the top. Steady carbonation keeps it afloat. Leaves a good, if a little thin, trail of lacing around the glass. Pretty good-looking beer.

Nose is quite delicious and Belgian. Rich fruit characters; cranberries, glacé cherries and a slight hint of something tropical - possibly papaya or something. Fruit is nicely balanced with a more earthy, grassy smell of hops which pervades the nose without annexing it. Sadly I'm serving it a bit cold so it's not as aromatic as I could imagine it to be, but the characters produced are very nice.

Surprising flavour given the smell. First taste is very earthy with very little of the fruit suggested by the nose. There is a hint of a sort of brandy character on the front palate but it dissipates quite quickly, leaving a more gritty finish. Has undertones of a nuttiness, and the palate overall - in spite of the earthy back - is more sweet than bitter or tart. The finish is clean enough not to leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Alcohol is fairly well hidden although it is kind of apparent on the mid-palate. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, kind of feels watery and thin when it goes in but it coats the mouth nicely when you leave it in for a while.

A bit different from what I expected, but the flavours are certainly pleasant and it's actually a lot cleaner than I would expect from an ostensibly Monk-brewed beer. Drinkable, certainly but a bit less than delicious.

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Photo of brendan13
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this bottle at Swords at South Melbourne market, the first time I've seen it in Melbourne.
A - Clear dark golden, orange beer poured into a tulip glass with an inch of fluffy white head that slowly falls away.
S - Sweet tropical fruity esters & a lot of powdery yeasty notes. Herbal and floral hoppiness.
T - Along the same lines as the smell but with a soapiness that just doesn't go down quite right.
M - Light bodied with a fairly low carbonation. Lingering herbal and floral taste.
D - Quite a nice beer actually. I was a bit skeptical at first but I would probably buy this again.

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Photo of koolk
2.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ultra clean golden in colour with a fluffy white head that persist.

Tons of sweet white fruits on the nose - predominately banana, pear and tinned pineapple. Maybe even some bubblegum - there is something NQR that I just cannot put my finger on.

The palate is dominated by a green spicy flavour, more like Jagermeister than green hops. Some white fruits in there as well. Tons of sweetness that tries to cover the alcohol. Alcohol is noticeable but not aggressively.

Cloying, overtly green/bitter and considerable out of whack. And that Jager-ish aftertaste just lingers and lingers.

What is this? Highly filtered non bottle conditioned "abbey ale"? Doesn't even come close to matching the complexity, body and balance of quality BPA. Perhaps I am being a little harsh due to its origins. Either way, not impressed.

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Photo of vancurly
2.66/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a clear golden colour, frothy white head, medium bubbling. Good start.

Aromas of herbaceous hop, slightly soapy tone, with subtle stone fruit as well.

Firm fruity esters. Light flavours of caramel, soapy again, with a strong herbal finish. But, there are signs of oxidation in the form of wet paper.

Overall I think the beer is disjointed, and faulty. The flavours are a collection of individual dimensions, and not integrated as well as could be expected.

I also think there is a lack of malty or candy sweetness, with a too-heavy reliance on yeasty esters to define style.

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Photo of foles
3.67/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My previous review was based on the sublime tap version at the New Norcia hotel. I bought a carton of the stuff and it appears this beer is only at its best when fresh. Little to no head and not quite as flavoursome. Still very nice though. The use by date is Jan 09.

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Photo of Lukie
4.7/5  rDev +37.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Had a bottle from the cellar, stored from the same batch. BB Oct 09. Big caramel nose, and not much else. Massive malts. Massive. Big honey. Possibly starting to get affected, from the aroma. Smooth as hell, and just malty honey, and biscuit. Nothing else. It's actually quite watery. Amazing how subdued this has become.

Drink fresh!


Deep Golden honey with a modest head and slick lacing on the top. Almost looks like liquer in appearance.

Honey, peach, and some slight medicinal qualities from the alcohol. The spice character lingers with the sweet honey malt and sugars giving off a delightful aroma.

Sweet honey is quiet noticable, soft fruity flavours, sweet green apple, and hints of bitter orange. The alcohol is un noticable. Amazing.

Moderate mouthfeel and low to moderate carbonation. This goes down like smooth honey, and could easily rival some of the Belgian Ales available in Australia at a much cheaper price.
Good job Chucky.

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New Norcia Abbey Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
3.42 out of 5 based on 34 ratings.
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