Frank (3270) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 5, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUN 2, 2010 I am drinking this in June which is something like six months too late but this says its cellarable for two years so my rating it is still fair, right? This business pours garnet amber w/ a huge head or mixed bubbles that dissipates fast. The nose is nutty, lightly sherry-like and oxidized--quite nice. W/ a medium body and slight stickiness this might come across as too heavy but for some very vigorous carbonation, perhaps too much so. Fruit and coffee-like notes come out as the beer warms. I wish more Christmas beers were like this. I like spices fine but I like beer better. This is a nice, strong winter warmer and a beer through and through. My rating from years ago happens to be the same but the individual number have been adjusted.
Original rating: Dark garnet with a creamy ring of off-white head. Wonderful nose with a bit of malt, toffee and pine. The flavor comes across as slightly woody and astringent with an odd earthy note. Despite this the mouthfeel is creamy and full with carbonation like some of the best Belgians. Alcohol is very apparent and with some of the rough bitter notes makes this much less drinkable than it would be otherwise. It does also add a pleasant warming sensation though. 3.6
Metalhead (633) - Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - DEC 3, 2004
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2005 Not bad. Mild malt sweetness with some nuttiness,hints of pine. Not that big a deal tho. Breckenridge Christmas Ale blows this way,IMO.
2005 Rerate. Malty,mild nuts,spice goes great with choco covered almonds. Bump it up.
meathookjones (245) - Sterling, Virginia, USA - DEC 3, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
This one pours a dark mahogany color with a good-sized tan head. The head retains for most of the beers life and leaves rings of lace around the glass that melt away. Sweet malts are in the air with this, dark fruits, caramel and molasses are the main contributors to this sweet aroma. There is also slight earthy hop notes appearing here and there as this one was put down. Taste mimics the aroma in most ways with the sweetness hitting you first and strongest with the same fruity and caramel malt flavors with an earthy hop tone keeping it from being overly sweet. As this one warms and you consume more subtle complexities start coming out with various spices and flavors coming forward. There is a slight bitterness to the finish and a pleasant lingering taste as well. Excellent mouthfeel here with every sip covering your mouth with a thick, rich and creamy taste. Drinkability is high as well as only trace signs of the high alcohol content can be found in this. Highly recommend for the strong ale lovers out there. Another surprisingly great brew from Avery, but at this point in not as much a surprise.
PorterPounder (6046) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - DEC 2, 2004
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Had in the bottle at the Ginger Man in Austin, Tx. Pours a dark brown with a tight khaki head with good lacing. Aroma has some slight chocolately notes with a slight nutty bent as well. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy and the highlight of this one in my opinion. Flavor has some sweet cotton candy sugar sweetness to it underlying the piney citrusy back end that makes an onslught at the end to redeem this one. 8% ABV is hidden extremely well. Quite a nice effort from Avery, as expected.
dolemike1 (1288) - Jeannette, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 30, 2004
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
On tap, dark brown, tan head, aroma of caramel, roasted nuts, and coffee, flavor is less impressive, some malts and caramel but just didnt all come together for me, decent and drinkable but not a favorite
Dorwart (2424) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - NOV 27, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Good sized head that reduces sl;owly. Very frothy and reduces to a fine but thick foam that coats the glass as you drink it. Rich aroma of pine, burnt grains, dark chocolate and as it warms some sprucy hops. Color is a dark mahagony red. Very Nice! Flavor is a little bit lighter than what I expected. Bit of roastyness, more pine and hops. Very well balanced and very easy drinking. Hardly notice the 8% at all. Finish is smooth with good bitterness. A very good seasoal ale. Not like the traditional spicey holiday ales. Bravo!
Tejas (909) - Dallas, Texas, USA - NOV 24, 2004
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
A better Avery brew than I’m used to. This one isn’t overdone like the others. Very smooth & well balanced. Nice frothy tan head. Hoppy at first then gives away to malty/roasty coffee flavors. This one would be a good one to cellar. Alcohol is hidden extremely well making this one easily drinkable. I’d definitely drink it again.
jasonp (1556) - Ashburn, Virginia, USA - NOV 23, 2004
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours a very dark clear ruby red with a thick off white head. Aroma was lightly malty with a hint of sourness. Alcohol very prominent in the taste which has notes of chocolate/mocha, roasted malt, dark fruit and nuts. Leaves a slightly burnt aftertaste. The body was disappointing - medium light with very subtle carbonation. Decent.
notalush (5271) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 21, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This is a most impressive rendition of an ESA - deep, dark amber hue with off-white lacing - yeasty aroma, with spciy notes, plums, figs and christmas cookies - strikes the balance between roasty and sweet qualities that all the great ESAs do - full-bodied, quite chewy - toffee, caramel and a slight nuttiness - bready malts and dark fruit - peppery and spicy near the end, finishing with some nutmeg and a touch of chocolate - I’m going to get plenty more of this stuff for the long, north-east winter.
mamradskoda (9) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 20, 2004 does not count
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
This one grows on ya. A very earthy taste, great for staying wam on a snowy night.