Biere De Noël | Big Sky Brewing Company

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86
very good
37 Reviews
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Biere De NoëlBiere De Noël
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.75%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
35 IBU

Added by GClarkage on 05-22-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
37
Ratings:
77
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
21.96%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
10
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 77
Photo of biboergosum
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

355ml bottle, 10.1% ABV, day 12 of the 2014 Craft Beer Advent calendar - now we're getting down to brass tacks for the Christmas beer goodness.

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with one skinny finger of weakly foamy, bubbly, and generally fizzy beige head, which leaves but a few remote and isolated dots of lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of sweet caramel malt, a touch of drier toffee, brown sugar, somewhat pungent dark fruit - yer typical figs, dates, and besotted raisins, with maybe a bit of saucy maraschino cherry as well - laid-back yeast, a touch of muddled seasonal confection spice, and a bristling, sort of nose-hair twitching, alcohol heat. The taste is doughy caramel malt, toffee pudding, slightly charred simple syrup, indistinct warming spices, a nice black fruitiness - dates, prunes, and plump raisins - ethereal Belgian yeast, and a bit of earthy, weedy hops, ones who inadvertently slipped into a big ol' vat o' booze.

The bubbles are pretty well understated, barely showing some frothy leg for our amusement, the body a heady medium-full weight, generally smooth and mildly creamy, the alcohol the only transgressor here, and it apparently has other things on its mind. It finishes on the sweet side, sure, but the various contributors are aligned in that certain old-world way, one which avoids any thoughts of scraping one's tongue.

A rather enjoyable ode to the Belgian BSDA greats - complex, fruity, and with a big whack of mostly undetectable booze - yup, that's what does it for me during Yuletide. Good on this brewery for reminding me why I enjoyed myself so much in their town a few years ago, even if it was summer at the time.

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Photo of russpowell
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 batch pours an effervescent brown/crimson with a sliver of cream colored head. No head retention or lacing

S: Pears, raisins, brown sugar & apricots, cherries & a bit of Brandy

T: Rich figgy, jammy notes, a touch of cinnamon & brown sugar too up front, plus slightly boozey. A touch of candi sugar, leafy hops & whisper of maraschino cherry, a bit of boozey jammyness, more leafy hops & touch white grape as this warms. Finishes dry, & jammy with a bit of boozeyness

MF: Fairly smooth, noticeable carbonation, warming, a bit of stickiness as well

A super solid Belgian Dark, not sure what this was like young, but 8+ months of aging has done it proud, still a bit boozey for my tastes. I can see this holding up for at least 2 years

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Photo of Bunman3
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Wonderful! This brew is a great representative of the style and the season. This tastes like Christmas Cake in a glass, bread, dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel with a boozy warmth at the end. I'm a big fan of Big Sky and I'm very glad this was part of my Craft Beer Advent calendar this year.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml poured into Stella glass

Appearance: Ruby/brown with a one inch white head. Slightly translucent.

Smell: Brown sugar right away, then bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits, and citrus. Smells nice and complex.

Taste: Plenty going on, sour cherry, grape and toffee start it off and it finishes with some chocolate, spice, and a small hop bite at the end. The taste is just as complex as the smell and that's a very good thing.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Medium bodied so not too much to take.

Drinkability: So-so. I definitely am not cruising through this bottle but I would pick one up again to share with someone.

Overall: Having had a Belgian double earlier in the day it gave me a good basis for comparison and even though this is an American brewery's take on a Belgian double, I enjoyed this more. Pick it up if you can, there's only 1800.

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Photo of DenverLogan
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Corked bottle...poured in a St Bernardus chalice. Bottle 1467 of 3240 (I also drank #1444 and fully reviewed it, but took so long that when I hit "Review" it was lost :()
Small cork pop...pours a copper - brown with small head of various sized bubbles.
Aroma of tropical fruit yogurt, cherry cola, menthol tobacco, dark malts.
Low carbonation...big sweet mouthfeel.
Oooh...malt bomb...lots of malts... flavors of candy sugar, bitter tropical fruit rind, cola, sage, cream of tartar, powdered sugar, figs, raisins, rosemary, liquorice, anise, alcohol, bitter chocolate, caramel, toffee, carob...lots of rich flavors...also something slightly mouth puckering bitter. Let's give it 5 minutes...
OK...head is still there, but minimal, aroma of funky fruit rind, big sweet malt flavors with phenols and holiday spice notes. Somewhat like an English barleywine...strong, low carbonation, big malt flavors, a little hot. I can't call this an easy drinker like, say, many Belgian noels/holiday beers, but not as sweet as a Thomas Hardy or J.W. Lees. It's rough like a Montana winter!
Feb 24...having bottle 1471 of 3240, 2012 batch. The above description holds, with perhaps a bit more mellowness, which is good, but still a big sweet malt bomb. I'll bet a year of aging could help.
May 16...having bottle 1864 of 3240, 2012 batch. I'm upping the overall score as this has mellowed and aging has reduced some of the sweetness.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber with a tan head.

Rich maple and raisin on the nose. Reminds me of a doppelbock with a Belgian twist.

Flavor is a bit of a let down. Sweet plump raisin with some heat, caramel, and maple.

It's rich but unrefined. Shows potential but needs work across the board. So far, the Olde Bluehair is the only beer from this series that I would look forward to trying again.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2012 bottling... ABV is up to 10%... Picked up tonight at Brewforia Meridian for a pricey $16ish on the way home after a long day at work... Bottle# 1816/3240

Poured into my slim tulip... Fairly clear dark walnut brew... short lasting head... no real lacing or cap.

Nose is nice.. fairly rich mix of dark toasty malt.. caramel.. Belgian qualities are a little light leaning toward golden raisin, lighter dried cherries, and some figgy notes.. Nothing is wrong, aromas just lean toward the lighter side.

Flavor is about the same... all nasal notes are amplified, but are still a bit light to be a great BSDA... also seems to be more sweet than should be.. not quite enough bitterness to balance..

Very low carbonation, especially for the style.. needs a lot more bubbles..

Decent brew as it stands... I wonder if more time in the bottle would help... right now, it is woefully undercarbonated and certainly too sweet.

I hoped to like this one more, but this year's Biere De Noel needs to be dialed down for 2013.

I feel bad about writing reviews when the best thing I can give props for is the aroma.. that is this case unfortunately.

3.5/4/3.5/3/3

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Photo of zhanson88
3.19/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Vintage 2012, bottle 809/3240.

Appearance: Pours a turbid ruby color with mahogany highlights. After already having one flat/nearly flat bottle of this beer I gave it a very hard pour that yielded a few soapy bubbles and maybe a light whisp of head. It did not last long.

Smell: Predominant dark fruit smell. Figs, dates, and candi sugar come to mind. Definitely a Belgian yeast component to this as well.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Figs and dates, candi sugar and Belgian yeast. Good alcohol kick on the back end.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Mouth feel is light-medium bodied, and essentially completely flat. Overall, I feel like this could have been a very good beer had it been carbonated. All of the requisite flavors were there, and in the right proportions. Unfortunately the lack of carbonation really did it in the whole way around.

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Photo of hardy008
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle 3072 of 3240. 2012 Vintage.

Pours a crimson color with a one finger head after an aggressive pour. Has fair retention and spotty lacing. The aroma has figs, dates, cherries, and brown sugar.

Tastes sweet and somewhat boozy with figs, dates, cherries, and brown sugar. Two letdowns for me are the fact that the alcohol is not well hidden. and there is very little carbonation. While the carbonation is a mouth feel issue, it does decrease my enjoyment of this beer.

Medium bodied, and as previously mentioned, very little carbonation. Has an alcohol aftertaste. Overall, not very well made. The biggest of the 2 main problems is the lack of carbonation.If the carbonation was adequate, and the alcohol was properly hidden, this could be a nice beer.

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Photo of Crosling
3.16/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pros: Naturally carbonated giving a nice appearance to the ale. Caressing body is very nice.

Cons: Doesn't have much depth or concentration. It's not a complex ale, not a lot of definition, not much to describe.

While a beer of high quality, I feel the brewery could make some improvements on the recipe.

 306 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2012 vintage. Bottle # 1348/3240.

10% ABV per the label.

Pours a hazy dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, and brown sugar aromas. Taste is much the same with dark fruit and super malty flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that has some subdued aromas and muddled flavors that aren't being helped by the lack of carbonation.

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Photo of SrMonkey
2.67/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle 022 of 2012 vintage.

Virtually no carbonation even with a hard pour, and the cork was on tight. Lighter brown in color. Has a nice dubbel aroma, dark fruits, clove. Flavors are muted, sweet upfront with fig, other dark fruit, phenols pop up on the finish. As it warms alcohol becomes more prominent on the finish. For style and abv the body is thin.

Mediocre for the style, luckily it was on holiday clearance.

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Biere De Noël from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.
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