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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Ratings: 449 |  Reviews: 232
Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Tap and Table. Got a very full tulip glass for $8 with very little head. The beer was tasty enough, however, that I was happy to have the headspace filled. The was a spicy, almost herbal cherry aroma (probably from the licorice) and flavor with a little apricot and pear before a peppery, borderline grassy finish. It was fairly drinkable for the strength, but it was also complex enough to leave me satisfied to slowly sip. This is one of the better Belgians I've had lately and completely worth checking out. The character is like that of a cleaned up farmhouse ale, not a standard spiced-up Christmas beer.

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Photo of Idler
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My wife and I had some of this beer on draught, in a pub called the Waggon And Horses in Halesowen, West Midlands, in England's "Black Country".

The beer was cloudy, amber-orange. Not a good look. But the beer tasted exquisite, spicy, with citric hops, and a great long bitter-sweet finish. Yum.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this one last night at a Christmas party, and enjoyed it. Poured a nice dark golden color with a big, fluffy white head. Aromas of Belgian yeast, citrus and spices. Light to medium bodied, nicely carbonated and drinkable, with a light sweetness, a hint of spice and a mild bit of tartness.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in an 11-ounce De Ranke glass goblet at the Publick House in Boston, Mass.

A: Deep golden, orange tinged, amber in color with a frothy, one-finger head of white foam. Retention was decent and the brew left some lacing.

S: Very fruity, floral and spicy, with citrus and herbal notes. A slight alcohol aroma along with some graininess and candied fruits.

T: Specialty malt sweetness up front with caramelized brown sugar and toasted wheat. A very fruity, floral and alcoholic flavor comes through mid-palate, washing to a spicy, full, bitter finish with some cloying sweetness.

M: Full-bodied and quite effervescent, this brew was a bit more filling than I had hoped for, possibly due to the carbonation levels.

D: A decent Belgian pale, possibly regarded as a winter brew because of the ABV elevation, clocking in at 7%, and the darker, fruity, sweeter flavors generated as opposed to other Belgian pales.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

De Ranke Père Noël | 750 ml. | 7.0% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Brouwerij De Ranke
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Glass: Duvel tulip

It's a hearty tangerine orange. Frothy head, great lacing.

Minty aroma, with herbs, yeast, hay and a pine coney smell. Unusual and quite nice.

Herbs dominate; white pepper, Belgian yeast, and a very bitter, grassy finish.

Powdery and desiccating, surprisingly enough. The body is medium, and carbonation is about right.

It's all the way on the bitter, herbal side of the spectrum. The aroma is interesting, but I find the taste too harsh.

Would I get it again?:

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

Hazy/cloudy orange body. Thin head that fades away into a faint ring that coats the glass as I swirl it around. Aroma is similar to that of a saison - hay, lemon, earthy hops; also has aroma of biscuit and Belgian yeast. Flavor follows the nose with sweet honey/caramel malt backbone. Also getting some pepper/spice. Rather dry finish. Bubbly on the tongue.

Overall an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first Pere Noel...

330ml into Orval chalice at 45 degrees.

Forgot about potential sediment (it's a wee little bottle, after all) and dumped the whole thing in. Cloudy golden body with just a faint off-white head, that hangs out as a film forever.

Very minty aroma, with really nice accompanyments of herbs, earth, yeast, lemon, and hay - WOW, what an unexpected combo.... esp for a 'holiday' ale. My wife commented on its uniqueness from 4 feet away (although she did not like the aromas).

Very powdery on the palate ... flavors are very herbal - the most I've experienced since Saison du Buff. Lots of white pepper - almost too much of that quality. Some lemon zest, Belgian yeast, and grass. This one would've been awesome mid-Summer. Mouthfeel is crazy dry and clean, but there's a slightly bitter film left on the palate due to a surprising lack of carbonation.

Drinkability is ok, but just not my style. Speaking of style, this one is about as odd of a Belgian Strong Pale as you'll find... it seemed much more like a Saison, or Herbed/Spiced beer.

This is one of those really delicious, and complex beers that I simply can't score highly in the BSPA category.

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

Pours a hazy golden color with a frothy white head. Lots of lacing left behind. The smell is of noble hops and light malt/bread. Exceptional taste. Noble hops up front, followed by malt and a dry crisp finish. Mouthfeel is bubbly and delicious. I just can't get enough of this beer. Give me more!

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Photo of phishgator
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 75 cl into a tulip glass. Big head with a deep golden, hazy hue. Mild carbonation. The aroma is of an old farmhouse, grassy and earthy. The flavor is a drying bitter bite all the way through to finish. There is touch of spicy hops, but the drying effect is dominant. The body is full for 7% and I find myself thinking that this is a great hopped ale from Beligum.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With massive hop bitterness and otherwise strong Belgiany character of dry fruit flavors, spicy balance, and vinous note, this Christmas Ale foregoes the common holiday spices for the spices of hops and well brewed Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

The pour brings a mildly hazy, strong golden color with a froathy coat of foam with fair staying power- only reducing to an intermitten sheet mid way through the session.

Aromas don't show the breath of hops, but rather display a balanced blend of bready/sugary malts, fruity esters, and spicy pepper and alcohol. A fairly standard scent from Belgian Strong Golden Ales.

Flavors start out similarly with a soft powdered sugar sweetness that seemingly disolves in the mouth, along with esters of green apples, pears, and under rippened berries. As the beer progresses, it gives the impressions of orange zest, corriander, white pepper, and mint. Eventually the beer intensifies toward sharp grassy flavors, lemon grass, peppermint, and resiny bitterness.

Creamy, rich, and full early, the beer shows a quick transition towards dryness, crispness, and a hoppy-sharp astringency. Alcohol warmth gives more of a spicy note than heat.

Overall, the beer has the same progression and intensity as Achouffe Houblon Dobblet IPA but with slightly different flavors throughout. Still this beer is on par with the better hoppy Belgian Ales from that region.

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Photo of CaptainPiret
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, cloudy orange with a thick head that -- though it decreased a bit -- remained until the final sip. I would almost prefer to smell the beer than drink it. A brilliant aroma of hops, fruit, and something that I could not trace (and will bother me for a while). That "something" -- maybe sugarcane? -- really stands out. The taste, primarily the aftertaste, was a bit too grassy for my liking.

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Photo of Shakujin
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle at Delirium Cafe Reserve in Akasaka, Tokyo 2008 bottle

Appearance: Sort of a murky orangeish brown. Poured hard into De Ranke glass, but head was small. However lacing was good.

Aroma: Barnyard, hops, lemon, pale malts

Taste: Lemon comes through strong, followed by the funk, and a strong bitterness for a Belgian. Minor oxidation. Some light undefined spices in there as well. Tastes basically like a imperial version of their XX Bitter, which is not a bad thing.

Mouthfeel: Medium light.

Drinkability/Overall: Lemony and slightly funky/spicy Belgian IPA. Tasty! don't particularly want another glass of it though. I could see it going very well with something in the middle of a meal. Maybe steamed muscles, a heavy salad, or some well spiced chicken.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Having the Cuvee de Ranke last week made me feel a bit foolish for not exploring this breweries line-up. I grabbed this at State Line yesterday.

Pouring a mildly hazy amber with a few yeasty floaties thanks to user error, this beer is capped with a dense, off-white head with great retention and lacing. Almost like an IPA, if you ask me. The nose is rather hugely hoppy as well. I'm not a fan of Belgian IPAs, especially the ones that combine the West Coast hop profile with the spicy yeast character. This beer avoids that pratfall quite majestically, with a big green, lemongrass hop aroma, along with a nice grassiness. Moderately earthy as well. A mild sweetness is present, a little honey-like, along with a moderate yeasty spice character, a little peppery? Solid stuff. The hop character really reminded me of the Cantillon Cuvee des Champions/Cuvee St. Gilloise, and looking at the De Ranke website, I find that they use Hallertau hops in this beer, much like the Cantillon beer.

Despite being close to a year old (maybe closer to 8 months?), this is still an aggressively hoppy beer with a big, green, grassy hop character that's moderately earthy as well. Coupled with a little citrus, it makes me think of a pot of wet earth with a squeeze of lemon on top. Yeasty spices are prominent too, a mild cinnamon and allspice like pungency. Mildly herbal too and just a touch soapy. Malt character is very low, I really don't get too much apart from a light honey-like sweetness. Drying and bitter on the finish, the hops really linger with a blend of an earthy, herbal and grassy character. Light in body with medium-high carbonation, this beer feels just a touch watery. The hops make this a bit of a bruiser, but I'd love to try this fresher.

**Edit 23 Dec 2011**
Nathan shared a magnum of the 1998 vintage last night. What a delight! Clear amber with a dense, white head with excellent retention and lacing. The nose is fresh, fruity, mildly hoppy, mildly musty with a damp cellar character. In no way would I guess this is 13 years old. Mildly spicy, Bretty even, with cloves. A little thin, but pretty excellent otherwise. The surprise of the night. 4.5/4/4/4/4.5

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange with some haze (you can see the unfiltered sediment streaks in the body of the beer). Big fluffy white head, lots of lacing.

Odd medicinal scent. You get hop leaf and some yeastiness, but there is a funk that I cannot describe. Not off-puttng, but not enticing.

Huge hop punch, so much that it dominates the other flavors in the beer. Some spice and yeast and sweetness/fruit in the malt, but the pine dominates. Finish is surprisingly clean.

Medium body, with enough carbonation to keep it just alive. All appropriate.

Overall, Good, but unbalanced. Without the mild Belgian funk, you'd think this was an American IPA. I had no trouble drinking this, but it isn't special enough for me to seek again. A one trick pony.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle.

A light orange, honey brew topped with a rather large, fluffy white head. Semi-dense and good initial lacing, which fades to filmy as it drinks.
At first open, I smell the malt and it surprised me. The "hoppy christmas ale" term threw me off. But i suppose since it is a holiday brew I should have expect the malt and other spices; like coriander and pepper. Those come in on the big whiff.

The taste seems confused. A malt backbone with some spices, a bit mediciney. then the hops come it to add another type of spice and bite. The bready finish is complicated. This seems almost like a saison, but not as light.

Good beer...not sure about an Xmas brew, though. Would do well in the summertime.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Full gold. fairly clear. Huge eggshell head.


T-Firmly bitter. More Saaz (or at least they taste like saaz) hops. Sweet bready malt. Sweetness takes over as the carbonation drops away.

M-Medium bodied, medium carbonation. No alcohol heat.

D-Nice beer. The sweetness starts to take over as the beer warms and the carbonation blows off. But still a good beer.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pe're Noel, from the well regarded De Ranke Brewery. Served at near celler temperature. Best by August 2013.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful hazed orange, almost pinkish. A tightly beaded head forms and remains for a few minutes. No lacing on a clean glass, strange.

Smell: Bursts of euro hop goodness. Theres also a fruity ale character too.

Taste: Yeasty, light fruits. Some wheaty/hay like barnyard notes but very subdued. A little bit of acidity and citrus (lemon) going on. Good malt background and everything is very balanced and quite good. Brown sugar and a slight spiciness to the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a chalky, drying finish.

Drinkability: A good example of a belgian strong pale ale with moderate strength. The 7% doesn't make itself known. Pretty delicious.

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Photo of becktone
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From Notes 1-25-10

This Magnum is vintage, we'll see how it has held up. Best before date is October 2006...less my reading of cognatives and context clues are wrong. First of all let me say that I've never pulled a cork out of a beer or wine bottle that has been this saturated, I mean this cork is wet. The smell of it is great, beautiful, smells like the cellar of a old winery, the old used oak barrels that still have wine in them. Real nice. I'm thinking that this has aged excellently.

Eye: One of the best pours I've seen in a long time. Head retention is stable at one finger. Its texture is foamy and color is bone white. Body is cloudy and is golden orange-copper.

Nose: Some tart and sour tones come through, I'm sure that these are from the aging process. Nothing more than that, perhaps some small malt underneath, but hard to detect. Mainly just some tart and oaky tones. Smells good, nothing turning me off to it.

Tongue: Huge malt flavor, but also in there is the cork. Really that, woody corky flavor is dominant. too bad....This isn't undrinkable but I'm thinking without the corkiness it would be a nice beer. I'll drink the rest of this bottle but would really enjoy it more if it weren't corked...still it adds character to it some dryness. Actually its a pretty nice mix. That corky, woody flavor balances out the sweetness. Still good in my book. I guess its aged well, I mean I'm sure this is much different than it was when first bottled but I like it. Very dry, and woody and corky tones compliment the dryness.

Feel and Drinkability: Medium body with what seems like it used to be higher levels of carbonation...I think they've dropped over the years. Carbonation is very very fine, tiny bubbles that don't attack the tongue but add to the beer's feel and flavor. All in all I'll most likely finish the bottle...wouldn't want to have paid for this bottle being the way it is now....Still, aged its something that I can drink, I'm positive that its better without any age on it.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A – Golden, slightly cloudy and effervescent with a creamy white head, and foamy retention.

S – The aroma is of pears and apples and great hop spiciness. Just a very pleasant, well-rounded aroma.

T – It tastes lively and funky; it has a pristine malt character punctuated by ripe fruit, both sweet and tart, discriminate spicing, and hop bitterness. There is also a bit of astringency akin to that found in the finish of Orval or Duvel. This is a great beer, exceptionally delicious and yet widely palatable.

M – Nice effervescence, on the refreshing side of medium-bodied, a solid feel.

D – This is exceptionally drinkable.

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

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a snifter glass. Best before date of Oct 2015 is etched on the label. Trying to finish up the holiday/winter beers before the spring releases hit the shelves.

The pere noel pours a hazy orange color with a very nice 1 finger head and some lacing along the glass. The pour is very pretty. Smells of citrus, spices and hops. Quaff surprised me a bit. There is a distinct red wine dryness to the taste. A little alcohol is noted as well as a base of malts. Mouthfeel is dry and slick. Drinkability is pretty solid. A good belgian ale and an interesting take on a holiday ale. Good work De Ranke.

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Photo of TeeCee
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Quick Review - this beer should be sold in cans so I can take it everywhere.

Appearance - honey orange and a little cloudy. It poured with a high head that dissipated to minimal lacing.

Smell - lightly hoppy with something faintly malty behind it.

Taste - same as the smell. You would never know this was a 7% beer by taste. This Christmas ale could be enjoyed nicely in the middle of summer.

Mouthfeel - medium in the mouth. A little foamy as it warms up.

Drinkability - highly.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 330ml brown bottle with a best before notch on the 2013 so this is still fresh.

Poured into my Watou glass, Pere Noel has a very hazy orange color. This beer has been left to settle for almost two months so most of the sediment was left in the bottle. The head is fizzy and short-lived with no lacing left behind.

Aroma is evident and enjoyable even from a distance. It has a very nice sour citrusy smell with some of the character of a Belgian wheat beer. Slightly funky yeast just adds to the experience.

The flavor is strangly just not that good. It has some initial sweetness but quickly makes a turn for the worse. There is a strong bitter spicy flavor that follows and it's not pleasant as all. Nothing about the spices is easily distinguished and they mix with a variety of hops with a failed result. The finish is lemon and grass which is probably the best part of the beer's flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. It's bitter/spice makes it pretty potent in flavor but the alcohol is hidden well.

Overall this beer is all over the place but mostly not that good. Aroma is the best part but everything else is average or just a bit above. So, interesting but disappointing.

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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 peabody
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a cloudy burnt orange to grapefruit color. One finger of off white suds and some lacing.
Smell is clean with lemon peel and corriander.
Some pumpkin pie aroma.
Taste is bitter for the most part. Hoppy is where it's at. Not a lot of sugar here even though this is a 7%er.
Aftertaste and mouthfeel are very clean.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-Tap at Teresa's in a tulip glass.

Pere Noel looked much lighter than I was expecting for a 'holiday' beer, it was light golden in color and when i saw it I thought BSPA, and i was right, because the spices are severly lacking, even on tap. A small amount of lacing that's pretty dull for this style.

Musks include all that you find in a BSPA. Yeast, some earthy hops, a bit of a malt backing. Some fruits in the distance under all of that. Spices, well, they are hard to come by, severly lacking. The smell is light and somewhat earthy but does not fit this beers name.

Taste is very similar to a bunch of Belgian Pales i've had with a little spicing on the tounge after all is said and done, I cant place it though. Pale malts and toasted bread with some yeast and a bit of ol wheat in the middle. Some fruits with light apples and bananers and a sprinkle of lemon. This needs to have more spices or the name needs to be changed without noel in it, it's misleading.

The feel is smooth though, I give it that, very easy going down with the feel of light but rightly proportioned carb. There is some spicy alcohol throughout this though that somewhat kills it for me. I'd say this is close to being on the medium side. I would not get this again, If I wanted a BSPA, I would of ordered a fucking Duvel.

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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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