Brasserie Dubuisson produces one of my favorite Christmas seasonals, Scaldis Noel. When I saw Scaldis Amber on the shelf at a local retailer, I had to grab a bottle to try out.
The beer pours a slightly hazy amber with finger-thick white head that lasts a few seconds before reincorporating into the beer.
The aroma is a strong malt and caramel one, with a bit of boozy warmth hidden in. This is not surprising for this 12% alcohol by volume ale.
The flavor starts with a malty alcohol burn which intensifies and lingers. Some hops bitterness is present at the middle and end, too. It’s a bit too much for my liking.
In the end, it’s fair to say that I like this beer, but it’s not one that I love the way I do Scaldis Noel. Noel has more complexity, less of a boozy burn to it, and less bitterness. It’s just a more-pleasant beer to drink all-around. When I compare it to other 12% beers like Victory V Twelve, Scaldis Noel, and Rinkuskiai Before and After, it doesn’t hold up well. Before and After is much cheaper ($2.69 a bottle vs. $7 for this one), a tiny bit more complex, and doesn’t have quite the burn to it. V Twelve is better still, with more malt and more flavor, and also a much lower price ($6.99 for a bomber vs. Scaldis at $7 for an 11.2 ounce bottle).
All this said, I do plan to buy a couple of more bottles of this beer when I encounter them. My goal will be to cellar those bottles for at least a year, maybe two. I think the cellaring of this beer would mellow out the flavor, smooth out the hops, and maybe increase the complexity. This is the kind of beer I think needs to be cellared to really reach its potential. More on this in, oh, two or three years…