IrishBoy (3998) - Bakersfield, California, USA - MAY 7, 2013
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bomber from Ratman!!! Nose is pumpkin pie, with all the cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger even lacking the pumpkin. Cherry brown with a small beige head. Flavor is very spicy with a light bitterness.
drjay44 (3086) - Salida, Colorado, USA - NOV 30, 2011
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft at a local. Pours a minimal, short duration, off white head, over a clear brown (SRM 30) body....nose is cinnamon, lighter clove, cardamom, slight dark roast malt (coffee, chocolate) touch of toffee/caramel......taste is dominated by cinnamon, clove, cardamom, with sensation of toffee/caramel sweetness, minimal hints of chocolate....mouth feel on the light of medium, carbonation low. The spices, although a major aroma and flavor component, were done with a lighter hand than in many others, leading to a more nearly balanced malt and spice combination than in many of this genre. BJCP 7/3/13/4/7
RSRIZZO (1905) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - NOV 26, 2011
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
22oz bottle poured into a Tulip at 42į. Color is a deep brown with ruby showing in the light. Carbonation is light with a very small off white head. Aroma is a spicy roasted malt scent. Medium body that gives a smooth mouth feel. Flavor of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and just a touch of coriander then some roasted malt and toffee. After taste is mildly bitter and surprisingly clean with just a bit of the spices hanging on. Overall itís pretty good for a Spiced brew, normally I donít like these Holiday spice brews because there over spiced, but this one is very well done.
jb43 (1650) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - DEC 26, 2009
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
(draft). Black color. Spare tan head. Moderate spice aroma. Strong cinnamon and black licorice flavor. Long duration. Smooth finish. Slick texture. Moderate carbonation. Spare lacing.
wchesser (1576) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 8, 2012
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
2011 bomber. Aroma is bold with nutmeg and cinnamon bark and some toasted malts. Very dark brown with some magenta on the edges. Good carbonation no head or lacing though. Taste is the same as nose, plus some oak. Okay, but didnít leave me wanting another one.
Beaver (1507) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JAN 14, 2013
2.2 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 8/20
22 oz bottle. Pours dark ruby amber brown with a small head that quickly goes to a thin collar.
The aroma is sweet malts and floral, perfumey spices and cloves.
The flavor is sweet peaty malts with a little roast, and more soapy, perfumey spices. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with very low carbonation and pretty watery.
Overall, lots of floral perfumey spices...not really a fan.
GarrettB (1278) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 31, 2013
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: OCT 21, 2015 December 17th, 2013 - I must have really liked Bristolís Christmas Ale, because by the time I had the wherewithal to take a picture of the beer for my records, there was a small centimeter or so left in my sampler glass, barely a flicker left in the candle, with a used, tired top (no head) and a chocolate labrador brown puddle, quivering near the bottom. But the tasting notes were taken when the beer was closer to mint condition, and there I caught heavy scents of pumpkin spices: cinnamon and brown sugar dominate, but thereís some vanilla notes too once I give it a swirl and a cautious shake. Also, and this comes with two-raised eyebrows worth of surprise, I smell some egg egg, the creaminess and the spice combined in a seasonally decadent drink, and evident here in a beer. The beerís taste is defined by the heavy palate, thick and bubbly. Once the carbonation lifts I detect almonds and hazelnuts. Closer study of the foretaste revealís the nose sweeter elements like the brown sugar. Leaning back, it seems that this beer is neither a Christmas Ale nor a pumpkin ale, but something that spans the Autumn and Winter culinary traditions, rounding up a chefís shelf worth of spices and tastefully seasoning a beer with them.
January 1st, 2012 (3.2) - A Christmas beer after Christmas is an instance of poor timing, but the style lasts long after the holiday season. As long as the ground is covered in Colorado snow and the Rocky Mountains are saluting with their snow capped peaks off to the West, these dark and malty beers still make for a great nightcap on a cold night. With its soft, pillow head and light brown color, Bristolís Christmas Ale looks ready for a a quiet winter night, with a fireplace providing the soundtrack. Christmas desserts unfurl from the top of the beer - cinnamon and clove, and a dry banana ester too, giving this a dry and raspy sweetness. The flavor is dry too, reminiscent of the neighboring Venetucci Pumpkin Ale. Itís dry and vegetal, like a gourd that was cut and then regrettably left out on the counter, forgotten for a day. Another strange flavor addition: shabu-shabu dipping sauce. Itís not quite soy sauce and itís not teriyaki sauce either, but itís packed full of umami side, and lends this Christmas ale some welcome depth of flavor. The aftertaste is spicy but short, and that odd shabu-shabu note simplifies down to a simple light soy sauce taste. Vegetal and deeply flavored, this is a brew that is curious for its lack of sugars and sweets. But I like this break from tradition. Indeed, thatís part of why Iím drinking a Christmas beer after the holiday period has expired. The taste isnít spectacular, but Bristolís Christmas Ale isnít typical either.
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 30, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
The pour is a very deep garnet color with an average, beige, pillowy head which is mostly diminishing and leaves minimal lace. The nose is full of pumpkin pie spices; nutmeg, allspice, molasses, some brown sugar, faint rosemary, and maybe some pumpkin? The flavor is similar with light brown sugar and molasses, light roast, still pumpkin notes as well as nutmeg and light ginger, and the same rosemary note. The palate is lively, medium, and velvety. The beer finishes with molasses, pumpkin, and the rosemary note. Actually a pretty nice pumpkin beer. Not sure that is what it is supposed to be being that this is a Christmas beer. Nice malt base with complementary spicing and a decent palate. Odd for a holiday beer but pleasant.
UncleKorm (1140) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - MAR 8, 2013
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bomber poured a clear deep reddish brown w/ a frothy off-white mostly diminishing head and excellent lacing. Med to big aromas of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, caramel, and dried fruit. Initial flavor is a light sweet to a moderate bitter finish. Taste is a spicy mix of Christmas with toffee, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, star anise and toasted cereal. Medium bodied, dry texture, soft carbonation, and a lasting spice in the finish.
DenverLogan (961) - MileHi, Colorado, USA - JUL 20, 2013
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: DEC 28, 2014 From 22oz into a Corsendonk chalice.
Pours a light brown with modest head.
Aroma of cardamon, sage, clover, anise and dark malts.
Significant mouthfeel and modest carbonation.
Flavors of amber malts, burnt malts, sage, cardamon, rosemary, and other herbs. Iíve had this various times over the past six months and thought time might mellow out the spices, and it has a bit, but they are still big! Overall flavorful and tasty but a bit too heavy on the spices and herbs.
DEC 28, 2014 Update ~ OK, this beer is now 2 years old. Some of the spice has mellowed out but itís still big, but now the malts have also been reduced, but the carbonation is still big! Overall Iíd say two years of aging has helped and Iím raising the overall a tiny bit.