St. Feuillien Cuvée De Noël

Reviewed by on December 1, 2016 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brasserie St. Feuillien

  • Origin: Le Roeulx, Belgium

  • Rated On: December 1, 2016

  • Best Before: July 26, 2017

  • ABV: 9.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

‘Tis the season around here, as Yankee Thanksgiving has passed, so it’s time to begin the craziness. We’ve got mandarin oranges already, but no snow – that should change soon.  Here, we have a seasonal offering from the Belgian brewery St. Feuillien, which is in the style of a big, dark warming ale.

This 750ml, caged and corked bottle pours a clear, dark red-brick amber colour, with a veritably glass-filling tower of puffy, finely foamy, and creamy beige head, which leaves some thick and sudsy forked lightning lace around the glass as it gradually sinks away.

It smells of gritty and grainy caramel malt, some edgy and musty Belgian yeastiness, a clove, nutmeg, and metallic cinnamon savoury spice character, muddled overripe pome fruit esters, brown sugar syrup, a further indistinct dark orchard fruitiness, and a sense of not quite alighting alcohol astringency.  The taste is vinous fruit (cherries and red grapes), bready and doughy caramel malt, a lesser biscuity toffee sweetness, treacle, estery Low Countries yeast, a reduced spice contingent from that in the aroma – nutmeg and cinnamon, mostly – a still hovering and lurking booziness, and some really hard to pin down generic (ok, ‘old-world’) hop bitterness.  The bubbles are quite active in their supportive and tingly frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and generally smooth, with maybe a slight yeasty and spiced intruder gently treading on the rose bushes here.  It finishes off-dry, but not by as much as one might have been expecting – lots of off-setting measures duly lingering.

Overall, this is a pleasant enough example of one of my favourite styles, especially as the coming holiday season (session?) rolls around.  Not too sweet, and with a deft application of the usual suspects, not to mention the essentially hidden 18-proof wowee sauce quotient.  I could see grabbing another of these for Christmas, er, whatever!

Brady White

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