Chad9976 (1137) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 19, 2012
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
I don’t know what Fegley’s Brew Works was going for with Rude Elf’s Reserve, but they definitely nailed it. A lot of people might scoff at this as being a hot mess, but I think that’s what makes it so good: a robust, complex palate that tastes delicious despite the low drinkability.
I received a 12oz bottle as a gift from friends (thanks Alex & Marissa!). I poured it into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Gorgeous shade of clear burgundy/orange. Forms a fairly small, off-white, soapy head that almost completely dissipates but not before leaving some lacing on the glass.
Smell: Strong banana, clove, and cinnamon notes as soon as the cap is popped.
Taste: Sometimes I don’t even understand my own palate. Normally I dislike "spice rack bombs" that are so many Christmas beers, but for whatever reason, Rude Elf’s Reserve is a shining exception. It does have the usual flavors of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, but they’re in the "proper" ratio here (whatever that may be). The beer is also brewed using three Belgian yeast strains which definitely imparts a classic banana and dark fruit flavor as well. It’s Chimay White meets Scaldis Noel.
Right away there’s a strong warmth of ginger and cinnamon as soon as it hits the tongue. Followed by spicy clove, nutmeg, hot apple cider, and a banana sweetness towards the end. Because it’s such a big beer the alcohol is a major flavor component, but it works wonderfully with the palate. Slightly spiced rum with a hint of vanilla complements the natural Belgian character well. It finishes with a cinnamon bread or gingersnap cookie malty aftertaste, though it’s not cloying. This is a spicy palate I can really get behind.
Drinkability: The only thing holding Rude Elf’s Reserve back is the fact it’s a sipper. The tastes are very strong and the alcohol is prominent as well, so it’s not a beer for newbies. There’s distinct warmth in the mouth and in the throat, but it’s tolerable. The mouthfeel is not spastic, though, in fact it’s on the tepid side which is interesting considering its use of Belgian yeast. At 10.5% ABV it’s best enjoyed as a nightcap or on a special occasion. A vintage bottle with some age could only make it better.
boxofrane (2056) - Spring City, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 16, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle at lucky lab. Pours hazy copper with minimal head, and minor carbonation. The aroma Is sour cherry, nutmeg, cinnamon. The taste is sweet cinnamon, cherry, and a little booze.
coldbrewky (1418) - Hippetown East, New York, USA - DEC 13, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle via UDBeernut. A few years ago, Art gave me this bottle during one of his visits. It has been hiding amongst the salad dressing and ketchup for so long it was nearly forgotten. Lofty sugary nose of cotton candy and candi sugar. A wavy si9ngle strand of oily lacing remains as head settles upon the murky brown volume. Rich and rolling super sweet body does allow some whispy spice thru. Malt hopelessly surrounded by sugars, much like the Russians at Stalingrad. Malts must surrender.
ben4321 (3798) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - DEC 2, 2012
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Location: 12 oz bottle from Oak Tree, 12/2/12
Aroma: The nose has a ton of winter-style spices, with some sweet malts, and fruity notes
Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber color with a small off-white head and spotty lace
Flavor: It tastes fairly sweet and fairly spicy, with minimal bitterness, and a bit of booze on the finish
Palate: The body is medium-plus, it feels somewhat tingly, fairly sticky, and with a light heat to the finish
This one was a bit strange, but not in a bad way. The spice dominates the nose, but somehow it becomes much sweeter in the flavor, with the spice showing up mid-palate, and some booze coming through at the very end. The sweetness is so pronounced that the flavor didn’t totally work, but it is still a decent beer, and an interesting offering.
BREWMUSKCLES (2200) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 2, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
sweetness and spice blended well with mellow candied fruit appropriate for the season. nice kick to it but not overbearing with alcohol. not really slick in the body and low head. body still moderate enough and flavors waft in and out well.
vtafro (2996) - Wayne, New Jersey, USA - NOV 24, 2012
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Amber brown pour with beige head. Spice, fruit, and belgian sugar like aromas. Spice, yeast, fruit and sweet flavors. Nice seasonal brew.
Jow (2016) - New York, USA - NOV 19, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Tap the brewpub as i my free pick as part of sampler. Pours browinsh ruby red with nice head. Great holiday nose, not overpowering spices but just enough to get you in the mood. Tastes of all spice for sure, and you also get nutmeg, cloves, and coriander. I also tastes some leather, cherries, earth, raisins, plenty of malt, and some spruce. Enjoyable end to my lunch at Bethlehem Brew works
EithCubes (4729) - New Jersey, USA - NOV 7, 2012
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle, nose is heaviest on the allspice with heavy cloves and cinnamon, lesser coriander and nutmeg -- quite inviting, evocative yuletide treat. Pours a lightly hazy amber with lazy carbonation and a short tan head. Full body, some residual sugars and lots of alcohol, though it’s not harsh or hot, herbs and there but mushy and blended into the mid-ground, malt is week but brings balance. Not all that sweet and minimal bitterness. A pleasure on the palate and the flavor’s pleasant enough to warrant another bottle.
swoopjones (5644) - Buffalo, New York, USA - APR 19, 2012
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
ruby colored pour, heavy on the nutmeg, allspice holiday spice thing. Cinnamon abound. too much of it IMO. Hides the 10.5% pretty well. overly sweet. OK
JFGrind (1837) - Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 19, 2012
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Last day of Winter calls for a Christmas beer. Rude Elf Cellared for three months did not change much of the flavor. Mahogany mediumed bodied STRONG beer with spiced aroma and alcohol aftertaste. My palate can’t get past the medicine flavor. It’s a Rock Hammer of a Winter Brew.