Happy Saturday, everyone! A Merry Winter Solstice to all those Druids out there following the Daily Beard, and happy Official First Day of Winter to everyone else in the northern hemisphere. For everyone south of the equator, I’ll mail you a snowball as an early taste of your winter. Niceties aside, today’s post is not only the next Christmas beer review, it’s also the Daily Beard’s 100th post – a milestone I never thought would arrive so soon when I first started just a few months ago. Thanks to everyone who follows, comments, or simply finds a little enjoyment from my rambling! I dedicate today’s review to each and every one of you. And what a beer it is. All the way from Belgium, it’s Scaldis Noël, a 12% Christmas monster. Everyone prepare yourselves, and let’s get to it!
Once the cap is removed, a potent plume of heavy bread malts rises out of the bottle, mingling with thick, syrupy brown sugar and mild molasses sweetness. Notes of plums and raisins swirl around the potent malt profile, as a touch of slightly burnt caramel slides in on top, creating a rich bouquet of dark fruits and sugary sweetness. The savory malt profile anchors everything and provides that full-bodied malt beer aroma that sings of warmth and comfort – perfect for the winter months.
The bottle flavors follow suit, as rich bread malts form a heavy backbone immediately upon touching your tongue. Dark fruits such as plums, currants and raisins show up next, adding a mild sweetness and a drizzle of fruity brightness that wraps around the malts as well as your tongue. On top, rivers of melted brown sugar and caramel pour down over the breads and fruits to create a crisp sweetness as well as a touch of roasty darkness, similar to toffee. On the tongue, it starts creamy before bubbling to the back of the mouth with a potent alcohol burn. This alcohol starts masked, but grows with each taste until your mouth is tingling and a nice heat trickles down your throat. The aftertaste is a rich bready linger with a mild fruit sweetness at the tip of the tongue.
Poured out into a chalice, the aromas spread out a bit. The malts aren’t as heavy as they were from the bottle, but they still retain a rich breadiness that secures the other aromas. A tangy freshness follows the malts – bringing the slightest hints of apples and lemons, before sinking into a mellow cloud of plums and raisins. A gentle nuttiness shows up next, bringing faint pinches of nutmeg and cinnamon, before an almost sherry-like alcohol edge washes over the entire aroma. You can smell the strength rising from the glass. Visually, it pours a fairly cloudy reddish brown, with a touch of visible sedimentation settling at the bottom of the glass. The head starts white and fizzy before quickly dissipating into a thin white ring.
The poured flavors are much like the bottle, except potent on a whole new level. Starting thick and almost syrupy, this beer flows out as a tide of rich, bready malts. The alcohol strength lends a boozy tang and tingle to the tongue, keeping any strong, alcoholic unpleasantness far away from the mouth. Mild apples and strong raisin notes add a touch of earthy sweetness that sinks into the malt backbone, creating a flavor similar to Christmas bread. On top, sweet vibes of brown sugar and caramel drizzle over the rest of the flavors, adding an underlying sweetness to each taste that lasts from start to finish. Though each taste starts rich, the alcohol strength bubbles away until ending as a burning tingle at the back of the mouth. The aftertaste is a full-bodied bread at the back of the mouth, and a fruity sweetness at the tip of the tongue.
A nice way to describe this beer is as an older brother of yesterday’s Adoration. The same rich maltiness mingles with dark fruits and sugary sweetness to create a potent blend of warmth and tongue hugging flavor. Today’s offering is even more potent, with huge flavors and a burning alcohol heat that burns at the back of the mouth. Despite its 12% ABV, it drinks ultra smooth and lingers forever. Go slow with this one to savor the rich flavors. It’s a bit pricier than other craft beers, but it’s definitely worth it.
I recommend this to be enjoyed over a slow evening or a cold afternoon. Let the beer warm up a bit to bring out its maximum flavor potential, and you’ll see why Scaldis Noel earns a wonderful A.
Lasting Strength: 10/10
Overall: 9.6/10 A
Winter Warming Bonus: 11/10