12 Beers of Christmas 2013 – Day 4 – Affligem Noël Christmas Ale

Ah… another “Noel” beer. It’s not the first on the list and it won’t be the last. I just love these beers for a variety of reasons but the main one is that they taste good. On the surface, they tend to be dark, Belgian ales, but the brewery to brewery differences make trying several of them fun.

On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave me…

Noël Christmas Ale, Brouwerij Affligem, 9% ABV

Affligem Noel Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Affligem.

Affligem Noel Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Affligem.

This holiday ale pours out a dark, brown with reddish hues and a beige colored head. The aroma is a combination of sweet dried fruit, like figs and raisins, a bit of light caramel, and hints of gingerbread. There’s also a soft, perfumy alcohol character that is pleasant. The flavor is malty, like toasted bread, there’s also slight caramel notes, and a fig-like fruit character. I’m picking up a noticeable alcohol character in the finish as well. Hop bitterness is low/medium-low. This is a medium-full bodied beer that, as contradictory as this is going to sound, is a little thin in the finish. The carbonation is prickly on my lips.

Noel Christmas Ale sure looks pretty in that glass.

Noel Christmas Ale sure looks pretty in that glass.

When I think of the holidays, I think about enjoying beers like this. Noël Christmas Ale has a malt character that is layered, complex, and opens up as the beer is allowed to warm up a bit. While I find that this beer is “malty”, I’m finding that it’s really a great balance between the malt flavors and yeast character the results in a wonderful beer. The other thing I like about this ale is that the label says it’s “brewed with spices”, yet none of the spices really jump out at me. If anything, the spice character is restrained and allows the beer to still be the star of the show. The ale also tastes like it used some sort of sugar to up the alcohol content, but that’s typical for Belgian ales.

Back label of the Afffligem Noel Christmas Ale.

Back label of the Afffligem Noel Christmas Ale.

I’m a little late with this blog post. I think was inevitable that I would falter as I haven’t been blogging in a while. It was a challenge juggling everything that went on this weekend, especially with the tech issues, but I’m finally back at full speed. If anything, I looked forward to penning this post as it was a way for me to switch gears creatively and enjoy a fine beer.

Merry Christmas!

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