Kasteelfreak (341) - Fallbrook, California, USA - DEC 9, 2003
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The best holiday ale I've had so far. Nice full body, and nothing too weird about it. Color is a nice clear, deep copper-amber-brown (mahogony?). Aroma has some spicy notes to it, but again, not too crazy. Mouthfeel is full. Nice malty flavor with a spicy finish. It's the balance and the full body that I like about this.
Nuffield (3981) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - NOV 30, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
I've had two bottles of the six-pack so far and I'm warming to this. At first blush it has a hoppy profile, but in fact it is a more robust spiciness that begins to transcend style descriptions. Dark brown color, moderately large bubbles of carbonation in my glass. Undistinguished palate--mostly wet. The aroma/flavor profile is most deeply coffee-like to me, with some sweet, nutty, caramel, and nutty notes. Increasingly interesting as it warms. Though some edge on it still keeps me from giving it especially enthusiastic support.
Beloved Beer (278) - California, USA - NOV 28, 2003
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Deep dark brown. Malty hoppiness blends together well. Very characteristic flavor pattern in these seasonals.
bu11zeye (12576) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - NOV 25, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
(Bottle) Pours a dark mahogany color with a very thin white head. Good hoppy flavor with hints of spice (cinnamon and nutmeg).
Rockinout (966) - Kent, Ohio, USA - NOV 24, 2003
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
2003 bottle. Dark cherry/mahogany color, thick head around edge, some lacing. Nutty and spicy (cinnamon?). I know none were added but I taste them. I guess it could be the hazelnut. Medium bodied. Nice for a cold night, we'll have plenty of them.
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 22, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: OCT 14, 2004 Commercial description of mahogany color is right on. Also contains some pulpy floaters. Nice aroma of nuts, wood, and fruit. A tasty beer with a rich palate and notes of fruit, coffee, peat, and chocolate. Perfect maltiness. This is an excellent winter seasonal that is fitting for a fire and some nice tunes. Much better than expected. Ages very nicely; vintage bottles are fantastic.
ClarkVV (5210) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 8, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: JAN 29, 2004 2003 Bottle. Yes, your winter ale does have a gorgeous mahogany hue, but it would be better if your winter ale didnt have a clear mahogany hue. What does Avery have against bottle conditioning??? Well anyways, it smelled pretty good, a mild cherry aroma, some drier nutty flavors and a touch of alcohol. Almost no head, but ends up with a ton of lacing. I really enjoyed the lack of spices, it was a nice change on the winter beer. Didnt know what to expect (which is a feeling I love having going into a beer). Opens up with a big flavorful cherry-caramel malt that is soft, and very balanced. Some dry nutty flavors make their way in, I wouldnt have guessed hazelnuts, maybe walnuts, but whatever, it adds a nice element of complexity. Finish ends with a dry roasty appeal and some alcohol. Aftertaste was a bit odd, that weird avery hops thing coming in, with some acidic/bitter hops. I could actually see the flavor melding together better after another year or so. Body is medium and has a soft/lightly syrupy, chewy texture with a good amount of carbonation. Dosent have the complexity of some of the best English Strongs and the flavor thins out a bit, but it's still above average.
edden (925) - cow- lumbus, Ohio, USA - NOV 8, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
roasted malt aroma. deep brown body with hints of red. good amount of almond colored head which quickly diminishes to a thin ring of carbonation. some lacing. roasted malt flavor with a slight amount of sourness. minimal amount of a bitter hop finish.
bender (293) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - NOV 7, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Nice dark red-brown body with a thin, tan head. Lacing.
Roasted malt aroma dominates. The other aroma which I can't figure out must be the hazelnut.
Sweet and malty. A little bit of hop flavor and some oxidation. Lingering bitterness is a bit unusual for the style but could mellow with age. Alcohol is well-hidden.
Full-bodied and very smooth.
Steib (613) - Queen Creek, Arizona, USA - NOV 6, 2003
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Deep dark amber brown. Fragrant aroma of malts with subtle hints of toffee, citrus, and nuts. Full bodied with a sweet bitter mouthfeel. Flavors linger into the dry aftertaste. A superlative winter warmer. Avery hits the target again.