Monday, December 12, 2011

Scaldis Noël (Bush de Noël)

It's winter, Christmas time is here, so let's start a new season of Chad'z Beer Reviews! I decided to start out my annual Christmas beer run with a big one: Scaldis Noel (also known as Bush de Noel). I shot this outside on the front porch at night so you can see the Christmas lights. I hope it sets the mood well.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (589) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 12, 2011
I poured a 250ml bottle into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Dark amber/copper color, very clear. Forms a large, white, frothy head that retains and laces very well for such a big beer.

Smell: The nose is rather strange since it’s closer to a strong European lager than a Belgian strong dark ale. Slight vanilla, honey and rum fragrances to be found underneath a strong grainy presence. No overt booze in the nose, though.

Taste: They say looks can be deceiving, but aromas can be too. Scaldis Noel appears to be a pretty standard amber ale, that is until you take a taste of it and discover its true strength. Massive syrup-like sweetness hits the tongue immediately. Pure honey and caramel flavors, combined with a hint of a strong cinnamon round out the first half of the palate. Piney, almost resiny hops appear for a moment as the palate transitions to its stronger side. The second half has the strong alcoholic taste of straight rum or gin.

For a Christmas beer and for a Belgian beer, Scaldis Noel does not seem to taste like either of those styles, much less both together. There isn’t much spiciness to the palate, nor is there the traditional Belgian flavors. So in one aspect it’s a little disappointing, but in the end you still get a strong, flavorful beer. I think this is for experts only, as newbies would likely be overwhelmed by the sheer energy.

Mouthfeel: Thick, soft and tepid with noticeable warmth throughout. Slightly dry aftertaste, but remarkably clean considering how sweet and boozy it is.

Drinkability: Maybe it’s just because I have experience with bigger beers, but I think Scalds Noel is a very drinkable brew considering it’s 12% ABV and its palate is full of chutzpah. The mouthfeel is quite comfortable and while there is significant heat in the mouth and in the throat, it’s not distracting. Not the kind of beer you want drink in large amounts or very often, but a single serving will suffice.
Grade: 7/10

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