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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: 229 | Ratings: 431
Photo of Hhawk06
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my 2005 Christmas beer of choice, based solely on my affinity for the XX Bitter and Guldenburg. Not being home with my usual drinkware, I was forced into using a standard wine glass. The instant after uncorking, a mountainous fizz overflowed and consistently did so until the pour. It poured a lighter caramel color with an off white head that's dense and frizzy with very good lace. The nose is woody, clovish and pale...enticing. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a slightly acidic grit to it. The flavors are many; appley and cask-like up front with lingering clove spiciness, all tied neatly with a citrus hop character that is hardly subdued. The finish is peppery, with hints of oaken wood and a dryness that is there, but not overwhelming. This is a wonderfully complex beer that would be well served to lay down for a year. In fact, I may grab myself another one today for next Christmas' offering. Prosit!

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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 maggotbrain
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is a deep orange with a thick white head that leaves thick sheets of lace.

It smells lightly fruity and floral.

The flavor is very delicate: I can detect a general fruitiness with hints of peach and mango and a hint of fresh cut green peppers. The subtlety of this beer is nice—it is a very mellow beer, a nice change of pace from the world of American micros where sometimes to be considered good, a beer has to be in-your-face big and brash and bold.

The mouthfeel is good—nice and creamy body with a moderate level of carbonation.

The drinkability is very good, very smooth and complex.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy yellow orange with decent fluffy white head. Light sweet fruit notes with a light spicing. Not much else maybe a little yeast stands out as it warmed but it was a very mild aroma. More fruit with the flavor that was also backing with a light dusting of spices. A nice subtle grassy hoppiness melds in well. Ends with a dry spicy finish. Decent enough body and easily drinkable. It wasn’t bad it just seemed a bit too mild for its own good.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/21/05- On tap at the Toronado during Belgian Beer Month

Presentation- From the tap into a standard tulip.

Appearance- Golden-rust-amber pour with a nice 1/2 inch head atop my tulip. Very nice lacing as well.

Smell- Another sniffer. Some hops come out with a spicyness as well. Maybe a bit of pepper too.

Taste- I guess De Ranke is known for their hoppy brews. This is the second one I have had where the hops really come through. A nice fruity sweetness mixes well with the hops.

Mouthfeel- Higher than moderate carbonation, leaves the mouth somewhat dry.

Drinkability- Yummy brew that makes one think of a Belgian IPA if there is such a thing. Glad I got to try it. I'll have to keep my eyes open for it again.

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Photo of maxpower
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle with a cork and cap pours a cloudy glowing orange with a huge creamy off white head that leaves a sticky lacing in my glass. Flowery , musty lemon aromas. Apple, pear, citrus and spicy pepper flavors, medium bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, almost perfect. Finishes dry and bitter, very drinkable.

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Photo of Crotor
4.46/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly, hazy, orange-tinged gold. There are some floaties and three fingers of pillowy, dimpled head with substantial staying power.

The aroma is not unpleasant, just incongrruous with this otherwise majestic beer. The slight hint of sourness, faint but sharp esters, and touch of oak do not even begin to hint at the massive flavor explosion that awaist the drinker.

In no way did I expect a belgian to feel like this. Or taste like this. Not that it seems "un-Belgian." No, this is the beer I was waiting for, the beer I have been dreaming of. Assertively bitter (for a Belgian) and only slightly spicy. There is an impression of dryness that is characteristic of Belgian Strong Pale Ales, but there really is an assertive malt backbone and an underlying fruitiness. Nay, the malt and the fruit are one. Whereas before I have encountered caramel malt flavors in beer, and toffee flavors, and coffee flavors, and grain flavors, and cookie dough flavors, never before have I encountered such a fusion of fruit and malt. Simple incredible.

The mouthfeel on this thing is creamy, magical, caressing. Simply amazing. Overall, the beer is insanely drinkable. Now I can only thank God that there are still 6 ounces or so left in the bottle for me to enjoy.

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Photo of nogoodreason
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, I let this one settle for around 6 or 7 hours... apparently, that was not long enough. This is cloudy as all hell, but that's my fault, not the beer's. Nice head though, with perfect and attractive lacing down the sides of the glass.

Nose is of gentle spices, a woody character and a sweetness that's both fruity and bread like.

Medium to full-bodied, with a pleasant tingling carbonation. Taste is spicy and laden with woody notes... sandalwood kinda. A lovely cookie dough and star fruit sweetness underlies the whole thing. It finishes with a slowly building bitterness and yumy spicy hop burps.

This was a gem. I was enjoying it too much to take good enough notes.

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Photo of Gavage
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was a gift from a friend. The bottle was wrapped in a green paper wrapper stating this was lot # 000012. The bottle itself had no labels at all.

Slight hazy orange color with yellow highlights. The 1" head sticks around a while. The aroma is of spice, mellow fruit, and yeast. The flavor has nice spicy tones like pepper and coriander, along with apples, yeast, mild bitterness, hint of grass, and soft alcohol.

The mouthfeel hit me as exceptional, as the start was crisp and the finish was lightly crisp and smooth on the tongue. The spices last long on the tongue after swallowing. This is a really enjoyable holiday brew.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bottle, nip cap and cork. Surprisingly, I picked this up at the Class 6 in Ft. Polk, LA. Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This beer poured a hazy golden-orange color. The head rose up huge in the tulip and, for the most part, stayed fairly coarse and spider web-like. There was a dense patch in the middle that remained for quite awhile. There was a significant amount of lacing.

Smell: A combination of sweet and sour on the nose. Sweet malt and sour cherries provided the bulk of the aroma. There were also some lighter fruit notes, as well as light hops and some smoke. It picked up some pretty rough sour notes as it sat in the glass

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with a lot of carbonation, though the beer never came across as rough.

Taste: A light, airy fruitiness gave way immediately to a sharp hops bitterness that really dried out the beer in the middle. Some sharp, acidic fruits rose up on the finish. These became a little sweeter in the aftertaste, where they were joined by a light amount of roasted malt. Overall, dry with the bulk of the flavor being bitter and sharp.

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Photo of paterlodie
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before september 2008 so about 1.5 years of aging. Pours in perfectly clear with good head and a nice bronze colour. Smell is delightingly fruity, mostly yeast but still litle hops there. Most of the nose though is very creamy orange & peach. First sip makes you notice the used hops in high amounts and still present. 2 nd sip made me get the nice and fruity arome that reminds me of good tripel. After that I found also litle malt and hops& hops. Great brew, also to lay down for a bit.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage, tasted Christmas day 2004. $12.49 for a 750 ml bottle. Good through 8/09. Light green paper wrapper with a drawing of Father Christmas (Pere Noel) hugging his tulip of beer. Not pasturized, corked and capped bottle with no label under the paper.

Pours a slightly cloudy tea color with a medium white head- quite pretty, the head drops to about 1/4 inch- this sticks around a good long while.

Aroma is subtle hops, lime, and some spice. Flavor is slightly sharp, with obvious hops, not as flowery as the XX bitter. Some spicy profile, but not pronounced.

This is not a bad beer, it's good. But compared to the XX bitter, which absolutely blew me away, this one didn't grab me. And on top of it, I can't feel good about it when compared to the price. There's much better flavor values out there.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery for the style.

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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 GCBrewingCo
4.7/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the tulip glass (Duvel glass actually) a hazy golden amber with a very frothy and white long lasting head that coated the glass as the beer was consumed.

The aroma was a belgian farmhouse aroma like that of a musty cellar. The aroma permeated through the dense head and eventually a light spice and fruitiness emerged. With that came earthy hop aroma and more fruit as the head continued to fall. Later as the beer warmed a citrus note emerged.

The flavor was initially bitterness with a intense farmhouse flavor and a well executed balance that was fiercely complex and extremely interesting. The flavors further melded as the beer warmed and gave a distinct caramel impression with slight spice and a fruity character with some resinouse tendancies.

The finish was dry with a lasting complex hop bitterness. The body was medium and creamy from the carbonation.

750 ml bottle opened on 12-25-04. One of the most complex beers I have had in awhile, an excellent treat for Christmas night.

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Photo of bditty187
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Best by: 10/06

The first pour produced a liquid that is very clear; there is just a suggestion of haze. (The second pour produced a much hazier beer. The third pour was murky.) The color is gorgeous, amber-gold in hue with a tawny highlight. Lazy animation was found dancing to the head. The foam was off-white in color, almost two fingers in height. It faded fairly quickly to a bubbly cap. Subsequent lacing was minimal, very disappointing for a Belgian Ale.

The nose had a whiff of cork, green apples, and Sprite-like zestiness (lemon-lime). It was spicy like candy. Spicy like hops. Earthy. The malt offered a bready note with the occasional cracker hint. It was musty like a basket of ripe fruit sitting in an old barn. Airy (there must be a draft in the barn). Champagne-like at times. This is lovely stuff I have here. The potency is moderate but I can smell every individual detail and that is all I can ask for. Inviting.

The palate is amazing. It is Duvel with extra hops and more fruit. Damn this beer is devilish! Dry, hoppy, alcoholic! Mellow fruit comes in many shapes, melons, citrus (limes and lemons), peaches, pears, and apples. It becomes spicy towards the finish, candied sugar, leafy too (like I randomly plucked some herbs from a garden), piney, peppery. The alcohol heat is moderate but so fantastically appropriate. Yet another layer of flavor is added. The finish is so soft, like dried apricots sprinkled with a thoughtful blend of spice. The warmer it got the juicer it became. This beer didn’t slap me in the face; it gracefully spoke its mind. I listened intently. This beverage is quite hoppy, quite flavorful, and quite delicious. However the best part of this beer is the delicate hand it wields. I am impressed. The aftertaste is melons, grass, pepper, and pear juice. Fucking awesome. Could an American brewery produce a beer like this? I wonder if they’d have the balls. Damn good stuff. The next time I quaff this I will have a fruit/cheese/cracker plate handy.

Medium/medium-full in body, lively, creamy carbonation helps produce a lovely mouthfeel. Relaxing. Carefree. The softness is pillow-like. I’d snuggle up with a bottle any day.

Drinkable? I’d say! God I love Belgian Strong Pale Ales, this offering isn’t as forceful as most. In this case that is a good thing. Liquid gold. Amazing. I purchased a 750ml in Burnsville, MN. One bottle was not enough.

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Photo of cokes
4.62/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazed apricot with an explosive bundle of beige head.
Nose of baked apples, vanilla cream, chalkboards, and twiggy herbs.
Begins broad and sweet-leaning, full of sugar cookie dough and vanilla wafers. An interval of caramel nougat and grain follow. Then generally fruity with apple sauce and pear. Yeast adds white peppercorns and sage. Rock-like later on, full of granite, slate, and limestone mustiness. Tempered flashes of spiced rum. Ends with a dessicated flower and stem hop exclaimation.
This sets itself apart in its feel, full of both sparkle and substance, as this clocks in pushing full with a levitating carbonation.
As drinkable as it gets, guzzleable throughout as it twists and turns with each additional sip. This is a true miracle give how huge it is in every direction.
Holiday brew? This is liquid Jesus.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was my reason for going to Rich-O's today. It poured a nice hazy golden color with one finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is sweet fruity strawberry and caramel with a nice peppery background. The flavor is great. Wonderful sweet caramel balanced with a spicey pepper and a great spicey hop on the finish that sits on my tongue. Good good beer. The feel was moderatly thick and velvety smooth. Drinkability is awesome. So easy drinking, sweet and balanced. I really liked it a lot.

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Photo of Skidz
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml with festive green tissue paper wrapping, capped and corked.

Pours out pale straw and sits a hazy golden amber in the glass with a large creamy white head. Big thick lacings run all over the glass, nothing stoping them from giving a good coat of christmas white. Slow to fade, but settles down to a good, thick skim.

Smells inticingly fruity, filled with citrus and light fuity aromas. Oranges and grapefruit mingle with crisp apples, nectarines and grapes. Hopping is definately a big player, adding a nice light piney aroma. Malts lie beneath, providing a smooth balance filled with caramel and whipped topping and a nice toasty core. An absolutely, hands down, mouth-watering aroma.

Tastes mildly sweet and oddly blank. Yeast intrusion coats the mouth giving off flavors of sugar cookie dough and introduces a light spicy character, built up by the alcohol. Hopping adds a nice, full bitterness that carries on well into the finish. Mild flavors of tangerines and grapes mix with a dry leafy flaovor that comes through and works its way into the bitter finish with lingering spiciness and streams of yeasty flavors.

Crisp in the mouth with nice, full carbonation in a medium body. Floats on the mouth and sticks to the sides.

Definately refreshing, a big changeup in the christmas beer lineup. I enjoyed the full hop bitterness and fruity nose, but can't help but think that the flavor could have been better. Definately one to try out again next year, or even let another bottle lie for awhile.

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

Had this at the Moan and Dove's 2nd Birthday party. What a fun time. Pours with a fairly big head, nice and puffy. Clearish light amber color. Soft looking. Smells a bit funky. Definate wheat presence, with a tad of dirt in there, also with a nice malt backbone and a floral hop profile. Tastes almost watery, but not in an bad way. It kind of tastes like a beer with a shot of wheat grass thrown in. Very musty and yeasty indeed. Sweet malt notes here and there, with a bitter dry hop finish for the mouthfeel. Drinkable yes, but you probably want to take your time with this one I'd say, as it's pretty complex.

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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 Wildman
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle seem to contain quite a bit of foam just waiting to flow out the top one the cork was out. It formed a very murky light amber color with a bubbly white head that dispated quickly considering all the foam that flowed out of the bottle. The aroma was of yeast, hops and some spices. The flavor was of citrus, spices, hops and some bread/dough aspects. The body was fairly light and the finish was complicated, with aspects of spices with a small bit of astrigency.

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Photo of drewbage
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a nice 1.5L bottle at Lucky Baldwin's

Strong sour start to the aroma with a good malt and spice combination coming in behind it to soften the nose from a metallic sourness

Pours into the glass intensely reddish with brown touches lurking in the shadows of the brew.

Initial flavor is malty with cinnamon and clove forming a christmas pudding flavor in your mouth until a growing hop bitter comes to smush the pudding on the floor and forcing you to reach for that next bite... er sip.

Very light finish

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, wrapped in paper without a label on the bottle. The first pour from a long-standing 750ml bottle is surprisingly clear, and its amber body displays orange and gold highlights beneath a magnificent pillow of soft and creamy white foam. The second glass becomes murky with the lees, but the brilliant head remains and it holds exceptionally well, leaving some very nice rings of lace about the goblet. The nose is fresh, exciting, and enticing with a combination of lightly fruity, earthy, and mildly musty yeast; delicately sweet malt; and bright, grassy hops. In the mouth it's very fine-bubbled carbonation is not as effervescent as might be expected, but rather median; and it's medium body combines with it to leave it just lightly tingly and then velvety smooth across the palate. The flavor is not overwhelming... to the contrary, it slowly draws you in, bit by bit. Some light, juicy and subtly tart fruit appears up-front, immediately backed by a soft, delicately candyish malt that wraps it like a blanket as a pillow of grassy, lightly floral, and somewhat spicy hops appear. Or are they spicy? Bolder peppery notes appear almost at the same moment. And a flick of alcohol is present as well; so is the peppery spiciness coming from the alcohol, spices, hops or a combination of all three? Who knows? Who cares? It finishes dry with some lingering pepper and a combination of citrusy and dried-apricot-like fruitiness that leaves you only partially satiated and wanting more. Raspy, pine-like notes and a bolder bitterness develop at the back of the throat as you progress through the glass, almost begging you to go back to the supple, juciy and citrusy fruit found at the start. Wow! What an enticing beer! It's certainly not what one might expect of a holiday ale (think bolder & spicier), as it's so much more the seductress. Refined... elegant... regal, perhaps. A brilliant pale ale that should be available year-round, and welcome on the dinner table at any time. Very nicely done!

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Photo of GreenCard
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before date: 11/2008

Appearance: reddish amber, quite hazy (though this might be chill haze... my fault), not much head developed even on a vigoruous pour, just a thin crown

Aroma: malt, hazelnuts, slight coffee, apples, minty hops, alcohol

Flavor: slightly sweet, pear-like fruitiness in the palate, an overlying peach-pit bitterness that builds with every sip, peppery finishes semi-sweet with a lingering bitterness and spice

Mouthfeel: medium body, crisp carbonation, alcohol warmth

Overall Impression: I guess I'm just not sure what makes a Christmas beer a Christmas beer. To me, it should be quite different from the norm: more flavor, more spice, more color, and some "archivability". This just seems like a usual Belgian beer. It's good though.

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Photo of Shiredave
4.31/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Expire date: 10/ 2006
Clear, orange / amber color , the off white head foams high above the rim. Spatters of lace speckle the glass.
Aroma is musty hay and flowers - spritzy like club soda with lemon.
Lush and fruity, creamy and nutty up front with lots of chewy grains and caramel flavors. Hot, peppery hop rushes in, flooding the mouth w/ fizzy carbonation that explodes in bitterness, sucking all the moisture from your mouth.
Very dry finish with lingering peach notes and puckering grapefruit.
I love the tongue clenching bitterness in back of the throat.
Hops still mellowing in this - I think another year wouldnt have hurt at all. 3 - 4 years in a bottle might be best for this Gem.

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De Ranke Père Noël from Brouwerij De Ranke
3.8 out of 5 based on 431 ratings.
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