Brewed by Duyck
Style: Bière de Garde
Jenlain, France
Serve in Stem glass, Tulip


on tap


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RATINGS: 232   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.18/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 204   ABV: 6.8%
The festive season just wouldn’t be the same without this speciality beer whose arrival is always long-awaited. The tradition of Christmas beers is particular to northern Europe. In the years following the Second World War, the breweries used to sell an original, richer and stronger beer at the same price as year-round beers: this was their gift to their customers. The Duycks have perpetuated this custom by creating a special beer sold at the usual price. Produced with more malt than Jenlain Ambrée (3 different types of malt made from French grown barley and 3 varieties of the most aromatic hops from Alsace), this top fermented, unpasteurized beer, best served at between 6 and 8°C, has a rich amber glow, a denser head and stronger alcohol content (6.8% alcohol by volume). Darker than the traditional amber beer, its torrefied undertones are reminiscent of flowers and caramel. And the 2002 Christmas beer had a hint of orange.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
iwantalambic (1478) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - MAR 2, 2005
750 mL bottle, corked & caged (6.8%): pours deep clear garnet with a very soft, tan cream. Unique and wonderful aroma of the freshest orange zest mixed with rich earth, a touch of both iron and honey, along with a complex spicy yeast. Sweet, malty complexity exists throughout the breadth of the palate: apples, spicy, coriander laced orange peels, fresh flowers, and delicate yeast texture. The flavours turn a bit sour as the liquid warms and at this point the alcohol sneaks up and I can’t help but think that I am experiencing a beer from ages past…

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
TAR (2676) - Marshall (Asheville area), North Carolina, USA - FEB 10, 2005
UPDATED: JUN 25, 2009 Rich rufous. Broken off-tan foam with some rockiness. Earthily aromatic blend of cork, hops, and toffee malt. Quite fruity. Hints of hazelnuts, candied orange peels, and spice cake. Fuzzy textured carbonation. Soft body touts an initial twang of fruitiness and medicine, which soon scampers into a lightly-toasted husk center. Subtle oxidation. Caramelized sugar-dusted malts stiffen the body and gain support from a rich fruitcake expression and rooty malt overtones. Flash of toasty nuttiness (Vienna?) eventually becomes muffled by the overt huskiness. Dryish effect from the alcohol. Zippy candied fruit notes tighten the flavor profile as they collide with herbaceous, anise-accented hops. Finishes with a dry malt edge, but wetly bodied, still, with rounded acidity fused with lovely notes of fruitcake over a Brewer’s Gold snap. The aroma is wonderfully unique, and while the rusticity is fairly evident, the artificial sweetness kills much of the flavor.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
DYCSoccer17 (3630) - Woodland, California, USA - FEB 5, 2005
GREEN bottle. Aroma is lots of DMS right away...I should have known better than to buy this green bottle situated on the top shelf...there are some roasty notes in the nose, but I dont get too much of the barnyard funk. There are citrus "clean" notes almost of a cleaning solvent present as well. Transparent light garnet color with a fluffy off-white head. Mildly sour to start with citrus orange notes. Sweet sweet candy sugars late finishing with a small roasty note. Poor on carbonation and very thin. This doesn’t really jive. Too sweet.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Metalhead (643) - Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - JAN 30, 2005
Fresh bottle 2 mos old.The first couple whiffs of this were pretty good. Mandarin oranges,some spice and candy like fruitiness. The first couple sips were the same. Within 10 mins or so everything good about this beer just faded out and it ended up tasting like a slightly sweet amber beer with some of those St. Joseph orange aspirin tossed in and a too dryish finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DarkElf (3051) - La Jolla, California, USA - JAN 27, 2005
(750 ml bottle: $10 at O’Brien’s in San Diego, CA) I can safely say this is absolutely one of the most unusual and complex beers I’ve ever tasted. The aroma tells you that right off. It smells somewhat like a sweet malt liquor, but with a fairly strong orange scent. In the flavor, I get orange peel, bubble gum, a sugary sweetness, gummy bears, spices, and light bitterness. However, as the beer warms, I think the beer’s character really comes out. And I mean warming to room temperature. It’s a bit bottle, so I have plenty of time to actually finish it. At this point, a really nice English fruitiness and caramely maltiness emerges in both the flavor and nose, and adds a degree of familiarity. The palate is sweet, but the light bitterness keeps it from becoming cloying. Dark amber or light brown color, it’s hard to tell because I’m outside the bar and my only real source of light is from the car lot across the street. Clear in appearance. Off-white head is somewhat bubbly and gradually fades to a dimpled sheen. No lace. I think this beer takes some getting used to as it’s just so odd, but with an open mind and a little patience to let the beer open up, you’re rewarded with a pretty nice beer with a flavor that will stick in your mind for a long time.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Sickboy282 (1114) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 27, 2005
thak you to the mighty DARKELF for sharing this bottle at o’briens. Pours an amber hue with no head. Aromas of orange peel, colve, spice, and a little mint. mmmmm...this is unique. Mouthfeel is medium odied with flavors of oranges, spice, cinnamon, and hone. The finish is slightly bitterm but the sugarary sweet, and bubblegum flavor mellows it out. This is one of the most unique brews I’ve had yet.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
joergen (25926) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - JAN 12, 2005
Golden colour with small white head. Malty aroma with notes of oranges. Flavour is dominated by oranges with notes of malt, hops and spices. The oranges is too dominating for my liking.

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
Pjones6738 (500) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 29, 2004
Orange, with a smaller head. Unpleasant aroma. I certainly taste some citrus, probably orange. Kind of like a bad orange soda. Not very good.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheDean (786) - MIlwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 29, 2004
Smells like skunk, but a nice pour. VERY interesting flavor. Taste like orange candy. I like. Crazy french people!

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 6/20
Ernest (7322) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 23, 2004
Head is initially small, frothy, off-white, mostly diminishing. Body is clear dark amber. Aroma is moderately malty (cereal), with notes of DMS, vegetation, detergent, and orange. Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter, unclean. Medium body, watery texture, lively carbonation. Ugh...man oh man, what a shitty sample this was. Smells like someone dumped a can of Miller into an already bland French beer. Will get a second crack at this at BJ’s Winter Beer tasting, so we’ll see if this was a bad bottle...sure hope so, but frankly this just seemed like a poorly made beer.

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