I’ll admit to a little slacking when it comes to the Christmas Beers this year. Compared to all of the Oktoberfest Beers and Pumpkin Ales we’ve tried over the recent Fall season, The Brew Club’s Christmas beer review list is pretty lame in comparison!
Still, there is some hope and some time to get a few good Christmas beers under the belt for 2009, and so I thought it would be cool to check out Delirium Noel from the Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium.
Delirium Noel is my first beer from these guys, so why did I pick it over other Christmas beers? Well, for one thing their funky packaging is hard to miss on the shelves. Complete with pink elephants in Santa hats, the black-speckled white bottles certainly stand out as different! I’ve also read many good thing about their other popular beers, Delirium Tremens and Delirium Nocturnum, so it seemed like a safe bet.
Delirium Noel pours into the glass a bit darker than I had expected for some reason. It was more of a brownish color and it seemed to be just slightly less-than-clear. It created a slight foamy head that didn’t last too long.
This interesting looking beer had an even more interesting smell. I’m not well versed in Belgian ales, so to me there was a lot going on here! Considering this is a 10%ABV beer, I have to say one of the things I had a hard time picking up on was the smell of alcohol! I did get a sense of mellowed candy-like sweetness, and perhaps some fruit scents like banana and strangely prune!
With great anticipation, my first sip really brought a smile to my face! Delirium Noel seemed to be very complex, yet at the same time I found the overall taste to come together quite nicely in well balanced, spicy way!
The taste does follow the aroma, you get a mellow sweetness that reminded me of apple, caramel, that plum (and cherry?) which blended nicely with a touch of spicy bite! Again, for a 10%ABV, there isn’t much of a dominant alcohol flavor which to me is a good thing. You definitely get some of that ‘warming’ sensation when it goes down, but it’s well done in the flavor. The beer does come off as a little flat, and the mouthfeel is on the thin side and the mouth is left feeling a little sticky, but these things didn’t bother me in the least.
So, what’s my overall impression of Delirium Noel? Is it my favorite Christmas beer? Perhaps for 2009, I’d say its my favorite Christmas beer, but as I mentioned I’ve been running a little behind on my Christmas beers this year! (We’ve only checked out Southern Tier’s Krampus so far!) Still, I thought this was a very good Christmas beer that I would definitely buy again! The flavors, as I mentioned, seemed to be rather complex, but I found that overall it came together wonderfully and so I’m giving Delirium Noel a rare-for-me 4 stars!
I’m looking forward to trying their other beers!
Have you tried Delirium Noel, or any of the other beers from Brouwerij Huyghe? What did you think?