PhillyBeer2112 (2641) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - DEC 1, 2000
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 3, 2004 This is for the 2000 Christmas release, labelled as Our Special Ale.
Interestingly spiced with definite hints of nutmeg and ginger. I also imagined a trace of ginseng, but it was probably the nutmeg.
Interesting complex beer good for sipping
and studying on a quiet cold evening. Aging may
be order for better flavor integration.
Addition: 1998 bottle sampled in February 2004! Very dark brown, reddish tinge, dark enough to be near opaque in the glass. Creamy tan head, fading quickly. Aroma modest but there's a dense complexity: mostly unchanged from fresher samples, dark chocolatey/nutty malts with a cardamom quality. Flavor is dark and slightly burnt/woody,with the malt continuing to be chocolatey and walnutty. Spices come through quite clear, I get nutmeg first and foremost. Ginger may also be present, as may be ginseng, cardamom. Any juniper flavor, if its an actual ingredient as hinted by the label, is pretty hard to notice, but I'm less than 100% sure what it tastes like. Finish is light, generally clean, with the aforementioned spices lingering all over the palate in the aftertaste.
I've raised the numbers for this after rating the 6 year old bottle. I think this beer really does get better with age, so this rating will now reflect "aging" quality.
mike mcneil (660) - St Augustine, Florida, USA - OCT 30, 2000
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
If you enjoy spiced holiday ales, this is one of the best. A slighty different recipe year to year, 1999 being their 25th issue. Beautiful balance between the malt profile and spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice to name a few). A relaxing sipping beer to be served about 60-65 degrees. Rich and fulfilling. Like biting into a Christmas tree!
jamidwyer99 (49) - Oregon, USA - MAY 31, 2000
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20