De Ranke Père Noël | Brouwerij De Ranke

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De Ranke Père NoëlDe Ranke Père Noël

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Père Noël is a Christmas ale, though very different from any other Christmas ales you might know. While most Christmas ales are rich & sweet, this one is amber-coloured, 7% vol. Alc. strong and tastes quite bitter. The complex taste is completed with the addition of liquorice. In the recipe we can also find pale malt, Munich malt, Caramel malt, Brewers Gold hops and Hallertau hops.

Added by stcules on 12-04-2001

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Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 449
Photo of scruffwhor
2.02/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance- A rusty apple cider amber greets my eyes. Good two finger head, ad strong bubbling. Let's you know this a highly carbonated ber.

Aroma- Soapy hops and Belgian spices. Not a good combo.

Taste- Soap!!! I poured some of this beer into a different glass to make sure there wasn't any soap residue on my end affecting the flavor of this beer. Yep, the beer just tastes soapy. Must've got a bad bottle I guess. Tatses like hoppy soap with coriander and anise

Mouthfeel- Very soapy and overly astringent. Hard to drink.

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Photo of AdamBear
2.08/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A-dark orange gold with just a very thin white head that disappears except around the edges.

S-smells like spoiled pale belgian spices. its a strong scent. definitely smells tart...the scary thing is i didn't think this was supposed to be tart, so now i'm wondering if this beer was spoiled by accident or on purpose. definitely does not smell right.

T-comes in with a very, very off flavor of melted plastic and some pale belgian malts. this beer tastes horrible. it honestly tastes like a chemical of sort. there's no refuge in the after-taste. this is just off.

M-medium to high carbonation, difficult to even notice due to off flavor.

O-i'm usually hesitant to purchase Belgians i haven't heard of. sometimes i'm met with a great surprise, but there are times when the beer scares me. they scare me because i think about how this bottle has possibly been on the shelf forever since most people will just walk past something in a bland label that they've never heard of. this bottle though clearly states it is drinkable until mid i'm left to believe this is just truly a terrible beer that i'll never give another chance. tastes like a science experiment, a bad science experiment.

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Photo of Ego
2.22/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

super high score except for the head, the appearnace is of a great apple cider just made in front of you (of course due to non filtered/non pastuerized), the lace isnt much to comment about, so no 5 here. carbonation seems ok on looking.

citrus grain, sharpness in the back end of the smell, nothing amazing or apparent at all, a slight tinge of apple at best, no alcohol or sweetness too omnipresent, pretty underwhelming for an ABV of 7%.

rotten fruit-ish. like a pear that had been in the fridge too long. got the bottle from a good trusted source as well ($10.99 for a pint), it had a decent sharpness on reflection but nothing to write home about, subdued tones of citrus and apples. no real warmth to ring in the holidays.

good, but nothing exceptional, in between cream and bite, smooth but the taste is a detractor. carbonation seems right on the palette.

eh, 3 of us didnt care to finish our goblets after we let it sit. it isnt heavy, it just doesnt taste all that good or provide any sort of warmth in the gullet.

got this is the dark brown bottle with the tissue wrap, the cork was very dry (almost broke off into the beer when opening), very unimpressive, looks like a beautiful unfiltered gem, but doesnt back it up in the taste. Only recommended for purists looking to sample it all.

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Photo of EPseja
2.38/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Shared a $10.99 magnum bottle of this with two beer-tasting friends of mine. Light green wrapped dark brown bottle; capped and corked. Cork was so dry that it almost disintegrated upon opening.

Appearance: Very cloudy, oxidized apple, caramel orange color. Looks much like carbonated apple cider with sediment in suspension.

Smell: Sharp, metallic Farmhouse Belgian nose with not a hint of spice (odd for a Holiday ale?), and a subtle hard-cider overtone. Aged grains, distant floral hops.

Taste: Almost nothing going on here. Weak nondescript taste. Dry, phantom hop finish that winds up being slightly unpleasant after a few gulps.

Mouthfeel: Rolls around nicely in the mouth, decent and pleasant carbonation. The only saving grace of this beer, if there were any.

Drinkability: There really isn't anything about this beer that makes me want to keep sipping it let alone finish it. This is one of the very few beers that I've actually poured down the sink due to it's lack of presence.

In conclusion, this beer was unimpressive and overpriced by about $9.99 - money better spent on something else... Such a shame for a beer with a great picture on the label.

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Photo of Fatehunter
2.55/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Three fingers of head on a cloudy, dark straw colored body.
The aroma is barnyardish with some wet hay and grapefruit. Tough to really like.
The taste is a mixture with a sourness throughout. There’s some lemon bitterness.
A fairly crisp and light texture with a nice fizz.
The mixed up flavor profile really set this back.

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Photo of Chambic
2.59/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12.23.09 at City Beer Store, served in a tulip.

A: golden, hazy, big-hole lacing

S: mild, understated, maybe citrus and some unspecified spice

T: a bit of a metallic finish

M: fizzy, a bit crunchy

D: not my favorite style of Christmas beer, but wouldn't turn it down

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Photo of taez555
2.74/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750ml, best by 2010 on the wrapper.

This beer poured a hazy orange/yellowish body with a big thick off-white head.

Nose was a mix of malt, subtle spices and peppers.

Medium to full bodied. There's a bizarre hop taste. Very present and very bitter with a strong woodsy, natural root, pepper, green pepper, jalepeno pepper and black pepper taste. Malt balance isn't overly distinct, basic run of the mill Belgian. Seems more like a saison, but it's really the hop that dominates and makes this beer very unique.

$15.45 for a 750ml, don't get me wrong, I've paid 3 times as much for much less interesting beers. But interesting doesn't make good. The hops are distracting and give it an almost undrinkable natural earth flavor. I'll pass next time, even if it's on-sale for $1.50.

12/26/05, update.

My brother picked up a bottle of this for X-Mas as well. At first maybe I thought I had a bad bottle, but nope. Tasted exactly the same. He couldn't even drink it and he's just as much a beer nerd as me. Again, I could maybe undersand it, but... thought the flavors just didn't meld.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.82/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pere Noel had some nice champagne-like qualities in its flavor and mouthfeel, and an interesting aroma, but there wasn't really enough flavor to it to really peak my interest.

This beer poured an opaque orange-pink with lots of fine head. Aroma contained lots of earthiness, isoamyl acetate (banana/circus peanuts), and ethyl butyrate (bubble gum). There was a champagne flavor and mouthfeel, but not much in the way of flavor. Mouthfeel was a bit thin.

I wouldn't recommend this beer.

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Photo of MrMonkey
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy amber with golden highlights around the edges and a 1/4" off white head that fades to a ring and a small floating cap. No lacing.

Smells of grassy, floral hops, Belgian yeast, a hint of candied sugar, doughy malts, and an underlying spiciness.

Something seems off right after the first sip, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It's kind of sour, acidic, funky...yeast gone bad? I don't know what it is. It's grainy and watered down like a massed produced US lager. The finish is nice and dry though, and the hops really try to come out in the end, but don't quite pull it all together.

Thin and watery mouthfeel with light carbonation.

Despite the nice look and pretty good nose, the taste just isn't balanced. Maybe it was a bad bottle, maybe not, but it's not one I'm itching to try again.

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Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -21.1%

12/19/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. On tap. Not sure what I have here. No distinct aroma, good lacing, some hops, but not much, nice body but no distinguishing character. In the spirit of the season one might expect some warm spiciness. Not here. So what's left? Meh!

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Photo of thequeen711
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice Belgain Winter Ale, well balanced malts and hops. The malty flavours hit the palate initially, then ends with the bitterness of the hops. Light mouthfeel, easy to drink, not a heavy winter ale like most winter ales. Suggest this for a change to a light winter ale.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a medium 'almost clear' orange with a nice frothy white head of an inch and a half.
Head melts at a pretty 'normal' rate to leave nice lacing in it's wake.

Aromas are typical Belgium yeasts and candied sugars, a little amber malt, and surprisingly corn....I think it is made up of the combination of spices but it comes across to my nose as corn.

Flavors again are pretty typical for a Belguim but finish with lots of bitter citrus hops not normally found in one.
Interesting, yes.
A bit of a disappointment in what I would hope to be the brewers best effort at a festive ale.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep orange-gold with fairly heavy haze. Large cream colored head is dense and long lasting. Lots of sticky lacing left behind.

Aroma is caramel malt and Belgian yeast. Nutmeg, earth, and cut grass. Some hops which I think contribute to the earth and cut grass. Green apple and pear towards the end.

More caramel malt on the tongue to go with a weird licorice flavor. Pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Grassy, earthy hops with something floral as well. Belgian yeast throughout along with a soapy undertone.

Medium body with medium carbonation. Fairly dry with some metallic notes. Licorice seems to linger, bitter and unpleasant.

A weird beer that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Is it a Belgian Pale? a Christmas beer?, a hoppy Belgian? It really doesn't quite get it right for any of those categories. Nothing seems to blend well or complement.

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Photo of Dunkelganger4
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Gold in color with a large white billowing head
Aroma: Cracker malt with a small cheesy note
Taste: The taste follows the nose with less isovalerlic character and with more depth of the malt character along with an interesting melange of minerality, oxidation, and a grassy/floral note on the finish
Mouthfeel: Medium-light mouthfeel with high carbonation
Overall: This beer is past its expiration date and the degradation of the flavors show that quite clearly and seems to be lost between a pale ale and a Christams ale

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- pours a hazy warm honey orange with a thick and creamy eggshell colored head. The foam has that hoppy look to it and there are chunks of lace stuck all over the glass.

S- nicely fruity and somewhat spicy aroma with plenty of yeast character. Melon, pear, banana, woodsy notes and peppery spice. Hops are lemony and grassy with a noble aroma. Kinda smells like a very yeasty pilsner.

T- interesting flavor. Almost chocolatey in a way so I'm wondering if there is any spice added to this beer. After a few sips, I also start to notice an odd flavor transition. The flavor isn't very fruity and it starts off with this weird sort of carob flavor, then on to some woodsy possibly grainy notes intermingled with what seems to be a combination of hop, yeast, and alcohol bitterness with some peppery spice. Finishes with a weird spice and slight tartness.

MF- feels almost watery although its not, and even thought there's plenty of carbonation it feels strangely flat and one-dimensional. Somewhat dry and clean on the palate.

D- I don't know about this one. It's not a bad beer but it seems all mixed up.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this bottle up at West Lakeview in Chicago. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours a golden color with a creamy, dense head that reaches several fingers high. Lots and lots of lacing though not necessarily the best retention. The nose is pretty plain with some mild spicing--maybe a spruce-like character. The taste is a bit astringent and harsh, really. There is an odd bitterness in the finish. Body is medium with moderate carbonation. Really dry finish. This is pretty odd overall and I'm not quite sure what they were going for.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This bottle was a Christmas gift from my Mother-in-law. I am just now finally getting around to trying it.

Pours a fairly clear orange color with the classic big white, puffy head I expect from a Belgian. The head quickly recedes leaving only a few spots of lacing.

The aroma follows the's hoppier than many Begian pale ales. Some grassy floral hops, dried fruits, yeast, spices and a musty scent towards the end.

The flavor isn't what I had hoped for. Herbal, grassy hops; traditional yeast; light tobacco, and that mustiness. I'm somewhat disappointed in this one.

Almost flat feeling medium body. Carbonation isn't where it should be. I made it through about half of this 750ml bottle, but have no desire to finish it. It's a shame, really, because I was looking forward to it.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pallid pumpkin with bumblebee colored highlights. Slightly more than half the glass was filled with sandstone colored froth following the pour. Although it shrinks in fine fashion, not as much lace as expected sticks to the glass. Second and third pours look a little better.

One doesn't see too many spiced holiday beers in this particular style. I was unable to find the spice bill anywhere and the nose doesn't give up its secrets easily. Pere Noel smells like a typical BSPA with typical Belgian yeast esters (with the exception of more pepperiness). Typical does not mean average.

The flavor is anything but typical. Whatever spices were used are clashing with my palate preferences. It tastes like a ton of white pepper was added, along with cardamom and maybe a little citrus peel. The beer tastes somewhat hot, though not in the unmasked alcohol sense. 7.0% won't warm anyone up.

Malt doesn't contribute any flavor and the hops have surely faded in the several years since bottling. So why so much bitterness? A lack of sweetness doesn't make PN taste or feel much like a holiday ale. For what it's worth, the 'best by' date on this 750 is still more than one year away. The only flavors left are the spices and a woodiness that tastes out of place. Unfortunately, the flavor profile is more cacophonous than harmonious.

The body/mouthfeel is too thin and is too underbubbled. Given the healthy POP! on cork extraction, I was expecting something a good bit more lively. Oh well... even a picture perfect mouthfeel wouldn't have been able to bring the flavor up to snuff.

On the strength of XX Bitter and Kriek De Ranke, I was all set to bestow legendary status on Brouwerij De Ranke. Pere Noel tempers my enthusiasm by a fair amount. It's possible that it's much better when fresh, but I seriously doubt it. And at $13.59 per, I'll probably never find out. If you run across a small bottle, try that first.

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Photo of acrawf6
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark orange amber with some haze. Head is a pillowing tan that drops to a small thick later on top.

Smell. Sweet, but also has a waxy yeastiness to it i'm not really caring for. Smells tame and sugary.

Taste. Sweet with a very light caramel, but I think is more on the dryer side compared to others. There is a small tartness to it that is citrusy. The flavor is on the lighter side, and even has a lager character to it. Aftertaste has a little alcohol in it, surprising to me with the relatively lower alc. content.

Mouthfeel. Its crisp and light...a little too light for my likings. Carbonation is at a good high level.

Overall, not really a bspa i like. It's not bad, but its leaving me wanting a fuller and sweeter beer. I dont hate it, but i wouldnt think about getting it again.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy darker orange color with a thin but attractive off-white head. A little cherry, berry fruit in the nose with some yeasty dashes. Flavor is slightly acidic, sour and a little more hop bitterness than usual. Sharp bubbles in me mouth and the feel was a bit on the thin side. Nothin very winter holiday like for me here. Maybe this should be an Easter beer.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden copper with your typical big, foamy white Belgian head. Definite scent of Belgian yeast, light spice, nice malts.

Light bitterness in the taste, with some definite spiciness to it. Light malts, faint candi sugar. Quite dry on the finish, but not too bitter.

Good, zesty carbonation. Nice mouthfeel. Decent beer, but a bit hard to drink a whole one unless you get a 330ml bottle.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Puts up a big, inch and a half, fine, white froth over a clear amber that clouds once the yeast drops in. The head compresses and lasts for the duration, leaving nice lacing.

Peppery with fresh hay and coriander. The promised hops seem to be hiding in my Dogfish Head snifter, but this tasting is about four months after purchase.

Spicy white pepper is about all I can perceive. This is enjoyable, but well off the style of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. The finish is peppery and very long.

Medium body with alcohol as expected. Carbonation is light. This is super dry and a bit solvent.

This one lacks the special qualities one normally seeks in a holiday beer. However, it is satisfying on a rainy spring day.

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Photo of stcules
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Oranged colour. The foam is average in compactness and cream, beige color.
In the smell malty notes, and light fruitiness, yeast, and a grassy hop, quite fresh.
The taste starts with a good malty base, but aftert that, it is quite bitter, grassy, with peppery and spicy notes in the aftertaste.
Fresh, well hidden alcohol, pleasant. Some yeasty and fruity (pineapple) notes, but not cloying.
Average body, good drinkability.

(edit 13/01/11)

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Amber colored beer with white head, 3/5" in depth. Actually comes off unexpectedly hoppy. But the yeast phenols are no slouch in this one and they still beat out the hops in the aroma, although they gave it quite the go. More phenolic than spice rack.

Taste was a big flavor beer, those hops and phenols are still duking it out. It doesn't really taste like anything that makes me think of Christmas. I thought I was getting into a belgian winter warmer. Instead I got a belgian tripel ipa or something.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wrapped in lime green paper. Best buy 09/2011. Capped and corked.

A: Pours a cloudy dark orange almost amber color. Big two and a half finger puffy cloud like head that leaves amazing lace. Whirlwind of fizz rising from the bottom and middle of the glass.
S: Wheaty notes with a big spicyness in the nose. Wheaty notes are a bit harsh. Hop notes are definitely present but not overly abundant.
T/M: Fruity hop notes coupled with a yeasty belgian notes. Extra dry finish, no seriously dry, with champagne like esters. Biscuity aftertaste also with the champagne notes. Medium body, but feels light.
D: Easy drinking, but I'm not sure that's how one would like to start out rating the "drinkability". I wasn't wowed by this brew. It wasn't bad, but nothing amazing or out of the ordinary. Spicy in the nose, but nothing in the taste. Although this is a belgian strong pale ale, I would take out the "strong". Noel? No Christmas spices here! I'd pass on this as it's not worth the $12-13...

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De Ranke Père Noël from Brouwerij De Ranke
3.8 out of 5 based on 449 ratings.
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