GarrettB (1599) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 5, 2007
UPDATED: MAR 12, 2010 Every Christmas my family puts away all the sissified soda, milk and, yes, even my precious tea to make way for good old fashioned wassail. A hundred pounds of citrus, a lot of alcohol and a big stock pot and in no time flat we’re giggly as a bunch of schoolgirls. Clearly it has become a rich and bountiful tradition. Sadly, this last year I was abandoned at college, left with no recourse but to sit about and sigh as the certainty of my far away family’s happiness was insured by warm liquor. I had even left my one year old bottle of Full Sail Wassail back in Denver. I was certain to go Wassail-less. One night I chanced upon the Delirium Noel, completely oblivious to the fact that it was essentially a brewed version of wassail. The first line of my notes before I had either smelled or taste the beer read “Wassail red color, dissipated white head”. It portended a very nostalgic experience. The smell was redolent with grape juice blended with cranberry and some hops. The cranberry was the second tip off, and took this beer one more step to becoming an appropriately flavored beer for the season. A sip brings something of a ruddiness to my cheek as I instantly recognize it for what it is. The beginning has a dark and cheesy flavor, but it shifts into a dry savory hoppiness. Within that hops there lurks the core and crux of the wassail character. That focal center of energy is the pomegranate. No good wassail is complete without citrus, but pomegranate is what makes it a drink firmly tethered in the season of good cheer. The Delirium Noel is not as heavy as genuine wassail, per se. It’s very light and foamy in the mouth and expands a bit with a good swilling around the teeth. But in a pinch it gets the job done. A half glass later and I was lifted back home, lazily sitting by a warm fire and clutching a large ceramic mug of wassail. For the time being, then, this Noel is absolutely fitting. Hopefully it too will become a Christmas tradition, but had in any other month of the year I’d be much more lukewarm to find it in my glass. kepano (278) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JAN 5, 2007
Continuing the series of Belgian Christmas Ales, Delirium showed a beautiful effort - not the best of the bunch but truly reminiscent of the holiday itself. Its clear sanguine body is topped of a lasting white foam, a sort of upside-down Santa hat and the first indication of a not-quite-winter attitude that suits Christmas so well. Oddly, red Swedish fish are featured prominently on the nose, waxy and sweet, accompanied by white and red grapes, cranberries, red currant and lingonberries. A rubicund aroma, so to speak, to which hints of Camembert and apricot are loosely attached. This light aroma translates gently onto the palate with plenty of red and white currants, cranberries, cherries and pomegranate seeds. A medley of these tiny red fruits, lightly sour and bitter, overlaying a base of burnt honey, white pepper and banana. The palate is fairly neutral, lacking any sort of influence, but apt to support these volatile flavors. Though it wasn’t a spectacular beer in itself, Delirium epitomized the spirit of Christmas in liquid form and that is worth much more than what may transpare from my score. doubleipa (224) - Georgia, USA - JAN 4, 2007
2004 bottle. I was worried that the cork had gone bad since there were dried brown drops runnig down the neck. Cork released with a reassuring pop. Light brown head that fully vanished. Hazy and murky, dark amber. Heavy yeast, but also some barnyard and mold aromas. This is a bit skunked, me thinks. There was still some good carbonation. Could taste some dried fruit. I guess this one is best drunk fresh. It was properly stored since I bought it in 2004. MattShizzle (613) - Bernville, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 2, 2007
Bottle. Copper color, clear. Quite rich and strong. Spicy flavor. No hops to speak of. Doesn’t taste as strong as it actually is, though. Whorst (15) - Huntington Beach, California, USA - JAN 1, 2007
Taste like bad homebrew. Dry finish I’m assuming is attributed to the use of copious amounts of Belgian rock candy sugar. Not for everyone.
browner (41) - Delafield, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 1, 2007
A romantic cloudy and deep warm brown color with a beautiful light off white head. While the head does not stand long the light effervescent clings to the glass.Quite a bit of carbonation but not as much as sister Delirium. Aromas of malt are masked by an under layment of caramel and spices. Nice finish and while similar to a variety of Belgium Ales it is a nice seasonsonal surprise and more complex than trendy. nimbleprop (8382) - SouthWest, Washington, Washington DC, USA - DEC 31, 2006
Poured a opaque nut brown color with a foamy medium bodied slightly off white head. Strong aroma of apples and alcohol. You can just tell this is gonna burn the palate. Flavor is similar, warm and tingly on the tongue with a bitter sweet bite to it. Main flavor is apple but with a nutty finish. I can never tell the Belgians apart but this was drinkable. ford9719 (371) - Vilseck, GERMANY - DEC 31, 2006
Bottle. Poured a murky brown color with very little head. Aroma of citrus and bananas. Taste like any other belgiun ale. tomciccateri (1034) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - DEC 30, 2006
330ml opaque bottle. Very dense dark amber color with a lasting head. Mellow spicy/malty aromas. Big body and full mouthfeel. Intense malt and estery flavors. Big malty flavor starts slightly dry and then tilts toward the slightly sweet, with the alcohol presence building into the finish. Complex and well done. LyndaNova (532) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - DEC 30, 2006
Cold 25.4oz corked bottle: Pours a cloudy dark orange color with minimal alabaster bubbles around the edges of the glass. Aroma is of sweet malts, alcohol, caramel and fruit. Medium bodied, crisp and well carbonated. Ending is of alcohol burn, sweet malts and fruit notes.