Ernest (5627) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 12, 2002
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: NOV 6, 2011 Bottle (2011 vintage). Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly lasting. Body is dark amber-brown. Aroma is moderately malty (toasted grain/bread, caramel, nuts), lightly to moderately hoppy (grapefruit, apricot, resin), lightly yeasty (dough), with notes of black tea and marshmallow. Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, lightly to moderately bitter. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, moderately to heavily bitter. Medium body, velvety texture, lively carbonation. Nice texture, aroma, and appearance, but as always this one is just too tart and unbalanced in the mouth.
sofey (16) - Washington, USA - DEC 8, 2002
3.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 9/20
baobubba (455) - Starkville, Mississippi, USA - DEC 8, 2002
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Dark red-orange in color with a pretty good looking/lacing head. Caramel aroma highlighted by yeast (dough + cereal), and a resiny hop component. Sweet. Roasted flavors come out during the taste. Caramel/roasted finish and a bitter aftertaste. Medium body plus the refreshing bitterness make this brew fairly drinkable.
SaveTheAles (5) - Santa Rosa, California, USA - DEC 5, 2002 does not count
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
2002: Primarily chocolate and caramel malt aromas, along with slight higher alcohol aroma. Reddish-brown with a slight haze. Low carbonation, thin body. Good head with some lacing. Fruit, chocolate, and caramel flavors present up front, with little to no perceptible hop bitterness at this point. Has a slight sweetness, but finishes quite dry, where a lingering, mild hop bitterness overpowers the malt. Sticky hops leave behind a thin film of resiny bitterness on the tongue and lips. Alcohol well-masked. Seems aged already. For an English strong, I would have preferred more body, robust flavors, and alcohol. Seemed more like an underhopped American amber with some chocolate malt.
GermanBrews76 (675) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 1, 2002
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dense, thick head on top of a deep mahogany body. Brussels lace like theater curtains. Sourish cherry or green apple aroma. additional fruits and spices help to fit the seasonal theme well. Also a kind of roasted nutty finish. damn good beer.
ElGaucho (2034) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - DEC 1, 2002
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 25, 2005 2005 - Firstly, we really need to split each annual vintage out into separate beers; they are different recipes and the labels are different. Roasted malt aroma with some type of spice I couldn’t identify, but doesn’t smell overly holidayish. Clear, ruby red incolor with a large, light tan, almost yellow head. Beautiful. Lots of visible carbonation. Looks Christmasy. Excellent lace. A little overly malty, but by mid glass, the hops come out. Initially, the alcohol profile appears too pronounced, but it mellows at mid glass. Some buterscotch creaminess; not sure if its from diacetyl, but it is nicely done, and really essential to its being a solid holiday beer. 2001 - Moderately malty, heavily hoppy nose with hints of flowers and perfume. Small, creamy, frothy, light-brown head. Excellent brussels lace, although the head mostly diminishes. Dark, black-cherry red body. Moderately sweet with moderate to heavy bitterness. Malt tones are also prevalent, making for a very well balanced brew. Vaguely reminscent of a cherry lambic. Great artsy label; a very good beer overall, though not as good as the SNCA. Ar 8, Ap 4, Fl 8, Pa 4, Ov 17, Ttl 4.1
KingPinHead (390) - Des Moines, Washington, USA - DEC 1, 2002
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Aroma is sweet and slightly medicinal with hoppy tones...The color is a fine mahogany with a medium head and fine speckled lace...Flavor is a complex bittersweet marriage of sweet and roasted malts, well-blended hops and a light, aromatic spiciness...Carbonation is kept light, adding just the right amount of sparkle...Body is medium-full...This is extremely well-balanced, with a robust flavor profile...This is in the upper echelon of winter seasonals...
HoppedHead (106) - seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 27, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Delicious x-mas beer, sweet and malty with pronounced hop bitterness with a spicy, floral finish. Changes from year to year, but always pleases
kyzr (1140) - Belgrade, Montana, USA - NOV 25, 2002
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep dark color, with spice aroma. Big hit of molasses, more so than years past. Nice little bite on the end also. I have to say I like it better than the 2001, but not the 2000.
Merc (313) - Pullman, Washington, USA - NOV 24, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Syrupy sweet aroma: corn syrup, molasses, hints of spice and spruce. Flavour is even better - good amount of ethanol, some spice, a bit smokey, nice and malty. Great for the style.