Winter Ale
Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu

Winter AleWinter Ale
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Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Belgian Pale Strong Ale
Ranked #36
Ranked #10,310
4.04 | pDev: 7.92%
Today at 03:56 AM
Nov 28, 2020
Winter AleWinter Ale
Notes: None
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Photo of dbrauneis
Reviewed by dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
A: Pours a slightly hazy medium golden honey in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate amber + burnt orange + dark golden yellow colored highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense creamy foamy white head that slowly to a medium to large sized patch of medium thick film covering approximately 30% of the surface of the beer surrounded by a large patch of slightly mottled thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of pale + lightly toasted + honey malts with slightly heavier than moderate amounts light fruit (apricot + apple + pear) and candi sugar sweetness along with some hints of golden raisins. Moderate aromas of slightly spicy yeast with moderate amounts of phenols. Light aromas of coriander and light aromas of herbal hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of pale + lightly toasted + honey malts with slightly heavier than moderate amounts light fruit (apricot + apple + pear) and candi sugar sweetness along with some hints of golden raisins. That is followed by moderate flavors of slightly spicy yeast with moderate amounts of phenols. Finally there are light flavors of coriander and light aromas of herbal hops which impart a light amount of bitterness which fades away quickly leaving moderate lingering light fruit + spicy yeast flavors.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Drinks pretty easily considering the strength with well hidden alcohol and a decent mouthfeel. Enjoyable with lots of traditional Belgian beer flavors and aromas.
Today at 03:56 AM
Rated: 4.44 by BlueSpader from Washington

Jan 21, 2023
Rated: 4.09 by jak from North Carolina

Jan 21, 2023
Rated: 3.9 by RochefortChris from North Carolina

Jan 20, 2023
Rated: 4.06 by avisong from Virginia

Jan 19, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by bigred89 from Maryland

Jan 01, 2023
Photo of Hayesbro
Reviewed by Hayesbro from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Pours a light cloudy gold with a frothy head. Yeasty aroma. Mild sweetness matches with a mild sourness, a little surprising, I can see why one would detect apricot or tangerine. Fairly thick mouthfeel, drinks well for the AbV.
Dec 27, 2022
Photo of Craig-er
Reviewed by Craig-er from New Hampshire

4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
One of the finest Belgium Trappist beers I have ever tasted. Obtained from Belgium beers in Cleveland. Poured into a tulip glass with significant head. Luscious smell of bright grass.
Taste is dry with fruity notes, and lovely complex flavors. Medium body. Doesn’t seem to be winter ale ie: cloves, cinn,) but overall outstanding.
Dec 23, 2022
Photo of cjgiant
Reviewed by cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4
This comes as a soft yet bubbly offering with a sweet lean the dries and cleans itself out to finish each sip. A little more fruity, specifically apricot and tangerine to me on the nose than spicy or peppery (light dry grass at most). Flavors are similar to the nose with some presumed yeast-provided bubblegum to something vaguely banana-like mixing in. As it warms, a bitter herbal (maybe minty) accent becomes barely noticeable at those soft edges. Overall, the beer works for me as a well-composed offering.
Dec 18, 2022
Photo of beergoot
Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Partially cloudy, honey colored body; dense, lively carbonation; thick, rocky, white head with a dense sponginess; sticky rings and fingers of foam cling to the glass. Fruity esters greet the nose; apricot and apple; mild spice presence; coriander. Notes of candi sugar and old-world holiday spices on the palate; very light caramel note; dried golden raisins; finishes with a slight phenolic flavor. Heavy body; somewhat sweet in feel and finishes with a mild dryness.

I suspect this is an unfiltered ale based on the appearance (late note: per the brewery's web site, it is unfiltered and unpasteurized and is called 'Noël' and described as a Christmas ale). It looks and tastes fantastic and has a sort of rustic quality about it, very old-world in character.

Pouring temperature: 46 °F: bottling info: 02/08/24 (best before date apparently)
Dec 16, 2022
Rated: 4.27 by xungmound98 from New York

Dec 16, 2022
Photo of puboflyons
Reviewed by puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
From a corked caged 750 ml bottle withy a BB date of 18/08/23. Sampled December 10, 2022.

The pour is brown and foamy. The foam is gentle and puffy and it leaves much lacing.

The aroma is bready, pear, apple, with little in the way of Christmas spices.

Medium, smooth mouthfeel.

The taste is sweet and bready with a bit of apple or pear playing up behind it all. It is a decent brew but I'm not sure if I will drink it a second time.
Dec 10, 2022
Rated: 4 by cozmo from New York

Nov 27, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by mmilyko from Nevada

Mar 25, 2022
Photo of Beginner2
Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Had on tap at The Beer Temple. Correct temp in their chiller for this amber BSPA.
Also interesting in that the aromas of the holidays also refresh the nasal passages in the early spring after a dry winter.
Winter Ale has other complexities that unfold and refold that show mastery. (Beerchitect writes on some.)
I would like Winter Ale again. And it reminds me that I need to double-down on Val-Dieu's offerings and edit my reviews.

Val-Dieu remains on my B list of my BBBL, mostly because it is remote; equi-distant to Aachen and the Flanders "border."
Mar 24, 2022
Photo of jkblr
Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
750mL cork & cage bottle best before 18/08/23 poured into a Duvel glass at 60° Fahrenheit 7% ABV. The beer pours opaque light amber with copious light khaki head. The head eventually settles to an irregular ring and island leaving a few spots of lacing. The aroma is mild with some sweet pale malt, clove and slight earthiness. The taste is semisweet pale malt with subdued clove and banana trailing off into mild to moderate bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation and a semi dry finish. Overall, good. It's a bit basic, but easy drinking, pleasant and unflawed.
Mar 19, 2022
Photo of Alieniloquium
Reviewed by Alieniloquium from Florida

2.94/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5
On tap at Das Beer Garden. Clear deep golden. Smells of strong Belgian yeast, metallic notes, banana and clove. Tastes of strong banana and clove with some spice behind it. No metallic notes here, but has a little bit of plastic. Drops off with a little lingering yeasty bitterness. Medium heavy, but lacking back end flavor. It's ok.
Feb 20, 2022
Photo of GreesyFizeek
Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
On tap at Colter Bay in Buffalo, NY.

This one pours a light amber color, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

This smells like dried fruit, toasted malt, cookie, pear, stone fruit, and caramel.

I didn't really look at the style before ordering this, and kind of expected to be like a dubbel or a Belgian brown ale, or something dark, basically. So when I get a light orange-ish amber Belgian pale ale, I was surprised. It's complex while remaining light and very drinkable, with toasted malt and cookie-like sweetness, with pear, dried apricot, and some grassiness.

This is light bodied, clean, slightly creamy, and very drinkable.

This was a nice surprise, and a nice change-up from the typical "winter ale."
Feb 08, 2022
Photo of BEERchitect
Reviewed by BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
If you're going to drink a lighter profile ale in the winter, then it needs to be a stronger one. There's no better style to suit this session than the Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and the brewers of Abbey Val Dieu knows it.

Their Winter Ale pours with a gusty effervescence that billows over a bright golden-chrome body. Foggy with yeast, the beer glows as its fluffy meringue of a head starts to settle. An appetizing collection of aromas tingle the nose with soothing vanilla and peppery spice with a twinge of white wine, citrus, berry and herb rounding out its very pleasant fragrance. Sweeter with hints of sugar cookie, wafer and honeysuckle, the flavors kick off with a soft and bready taste and texture.

And as the ale unfolds on the middle palate, the estery fruits begin to expand. Pear, apple, grape, lemon and a hint of orange stand out immediately as the sweetness starts to fade. With the drying of its taste also comes the rebuttal of spice what's acute with peppercorn, coriander, orange peel, white wine tannins and a hint of earthy cumin later in taste. Trailing into a balancing bitterness, the last impression is of slightly sweet hay, grapefruit and lemongrass.

Medium bodied and trending dry, the beer's plump and juicy upstart finishes quick with an arid aftertaste that highlights the beer's yeast spices, hop bite and alcohol warmth for a medium-length afterglow of fruit peel, herb and spice.
Jan 27, 2022
Rated: 4.29 by ummswimmin from New Jersey

Jan 18, 2022
Rated: 3.83 by Brushkanna from New Jersey

Dec 22, 2021
Rated: 3.84 by WDJersey from Colorado

Dec 12, 2021
Photo of NeroFiddled
Reviewed by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu "Winter Ale"
1 Pint, 9.4 fl. oz brown glass bottle, corked & caged. Coded "Best before end : 22/07/22 16:02". Sampled 25/11/21.
$9.35 @ State Line Liquor, Elkton, MD

Notes via stream of consciousness: It's poured a hazy deep amber colored body beneath a full head of bright white foam. The aroma is fruity and floral over a basic malt. I'm finding apple, rose, apricot, and just a light hint of golden caramel. The flavor follows with what seems like little variance. I'm definitely getting the apple and apricot, and the floral note as well. Golden caramel, yes, that's there, as well as some sweet cookie dough character. Is there a very light note of vanilla? I'm not finding a lot of spiciness to this, but then again, I didn't even get any in the aroma. It's there though, it's just mild, and I'm going to assume that it's all coming from the yeast. It's subtly peppery and clove-like. The head has dropped by this point, actually a few mintues ago, but it still maintains a solid and somewhat creamy surface covering. The lacing is OK but not great. There's very little bitterness to it, just enough to keep it from crossing the line into sweet, and it finishes mostly dry with some malt fading and grassy and earthy notes remaining shortly. In the mouth it's medium bodied and gently crisp with a very fine-bubbled, seemingly natural carbonation. My conclusion is that this is an excellent beer but it doesn't have a lot of its own character. It's well made, but it lacks some of the magic that the greatest Belgian beers are known for.
Review #7,576
Nov 26, 2021
Photo of dsa7783
Reviewed by dsa7783 from New Jersey

4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Bomber copped corked and caged from Wegmans in Hanover. Pours a bright golden effervescent hue with substantial frothing. Assertive aroma replete with hints of sweet lemonpeel and candied citrus. Similar overall flavor profile. Legitimate taste. A fine depiction of a Belgian Winter ale (although NOT a Christmas Ale - comparative to Corsendonk's version). The beer deviates from a true-to-the-style Belgian Pale - leans more toward a Tripel - but still hits home nonetheless as far as providing an authentic Belgian drinking experience. Good stuff.
May 31, 2021
Photo of russpowell
Reviewed by russpowell from Arkansas

4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Opens with a resounding pop! Pours a slightly hazed & effervescent honey color with 2 fingers of rocky eggshell colored head. Stellar head retention & lacing

S: Appleskins, pears, some perfumy hops as well

T: Follows the nose, Golden Delicious Apple & dryness as well, plus a little grassyness up front. Pears, floral hops & and little bit of funky mushroom as this warms, a little dried candied fruit as well. Finishes dry with green appleskins, a little mushroom & some pear notes

MF: Medium body, lively carbonation, warming

Fantastic nose, pretty good all around
May 09, 2021
Photo of jlindros
Reviewed by jlindros from Massachusetts

4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
How do I not have any reviews from this brewery? Best by 22/7/22 (neat palendrome)

Pours a foamy airy pillowy 1.5 finger head with moderate retention, whispy soapy lacing, hazy med burnt orange color

Nose fair sweet malt character, blond malt, little some light sweet candi sugar, a bit of sugar and candy icing, plenty of fruity esters, pome fruit, citrus, even some dried apricot, then phenol spices, quite floral like a mild soft potpourri, and orange icing, honey, vanilla

Taste brings more of all of the above, doughy blond malt, honey, icing, a little sweet candi sugar, more fruity esters, again pome fruit, citrus with some mild tangerine, more spices as well, some phenol notes, quite floral again, flowery potpourri and a touch of mulling spice, a touch of vanilla spice as well, a bit of sweetness and candy but not a lot, touch of bitterness, drier mild sticky finish

Mouth is med to a bit fuller bod, a hint syrupy sugary, higher effervescent and mild creamy carb, alcohol hidden well

Overall solid Belgian blond with some "wintery" spice characters, nice Belgian yeast profile, nice malt and sugar notes, not too sticky or syrupy just enough, alcohol hidden well, enjoyable during a winter storm
Feb 20, 2021
Rated: 4 by NickThePyro from Washington

Feb 09, 2021
Rated: 4.01 by chiefz1 from New York

Jan 15, 2021
Rated: 4.75 by Vylo from New Jersey

Dec 27, 2020
Photo of Brutaltruth
Reviewed by Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
From the big bottle in a snifter. This solid little BSPA pours a
chill hazed brown tinged copper color with a VERY nice head of
white foam that settles to a thick ring, thick fat layer, and displays
some excellent lacing. Nose of light banana, subtle spicy hops, light
yeasty bread, and faint herbal notes. Flavors expand on the nose with
white pepper, light lemon zest, yeast laden bread, spicy hop touches,
and a touch of grape. Nice mouth feel; medium body, medium
light prickly carbonation, and a moderately dry and spicy finish.

Overall, a solid brew that improves more and more with

Dec 24, 2020
Rated: 3.71 by caffeinelogic from New York

Dec 20, 2020
Rated: 3.69 by shelby415 from Oregon

Dec 20, 2020
Photo of oberon
Reviewed by oberon from North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Pours into a chalice a clear bronze color with a large blooming off white head that melds into a pillow-like mass leaving two broken rings of lace is it settles finally into a frothy top.A bit of chalk and phenolic spice in the nose,I get some some sharp citric notes as well.Medicinal and spicy yeast notes dominate the flavor profile,quite dry in the finish.Not your typical winter/CHRISTmas ale here,more light bodied and not fruit forward,it's ok.
Dec 02, 2020
Photo of Shantzak
Reviewed by Shantzak from Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Great beer except the foam head is off and there is too much carbonation. Lighter winter abv balanced with smooth taste. I’d prefer more boozy, deep winter style but it’s a classic Belgium style beer, which out of Belgium is better than most...
Dec 02, 2020
Photo of Greywulfken
Reviewed by Greywulfken from New York

3.57/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Pours a deep gold bordering on amber, fairly opaque under a few fingers of off-white foam... Presents a something of a blonde ale/tripel hybrid with notes of what I'd attribute to winter warmer-type drinks - medium-bodied, well-carbonated, fruity, and soft... Nothing about it really impressed me, but it's not bad either... Give it a try but don't expect too much...
Nov 30, 2020
Winter Ale from Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 35 ratings