Brewed by John Martin
Style: English Strong Ale
Genval, Belgium


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 432   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.46   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 264   ABV: 8.8%
Created in the thirties, Gordon Xmas initiated the tradition of Christmas brews.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
hughie (3996) - Bedford, Bedfordshire, ENGLAND - FEB 8, 2007
Dark Brown with a chunky, lasting off-white head. Liquorice in the aroma, developing notes of sweet fruit and alcohol. Taste is rich and warming: plenty of alcohol, cognac, Christmas pudding, plums, muscatels, treacle toffee, candied orange peel, English custard, coffee, tiramisu, Seville orange bitterness. My Ratebeer #1000, and a very wonderful Christmas Ale worthy of a Dickens novel.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jacobwennbom (353) - Uppsala, SWEDEN - JAN 13, 2007
Dark brown with medium head. Sweet with lots of bitterness in the finnish. Caramell, toffee, chocolate in the flavour.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
fonefan (38880) - VestJylland, DENMARK - JAN 13, 2007
Bottle. (Alc. 8.8%) Cloudy light brown (copper) color with a large good lacing ligth brown head. Aroma is heavy malty, mild coffe, milk chocolate, ( a bit like a very sweet irishcoofe with almost no whisky). Flavor is moderate to heavy sweet, light alcoholic. Body is medium to full, texture is creamy.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
anders37 (19296) - Malmö, SWEDEN - DEC 31, 2006
Bottle. Pours a clear dark reddish/brown colour with a longlasting off-white head. Vinous aroma with some hints of caramel. Sweet malty caramel, toffee/chocolate flavor. Sweet warming finish with some spicy bitter aftertaste.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
Mungo (2471) - Southampton, Hampshire, ENGLAND - DEC 22, 2006
Bottle (from Bitter Virtue)> There are some pleasant christmassy flavours here rich malts, toffee liquorice and a little spice with hints of roast. Unfortunately all of this is quite well hidden behind the sweetness and alcohol.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
MesandSim (7117) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 18, 2006
A Mes rate: 33cl bottle from Lowlander. Great looks, just about black with a head that vanishes just a little too swiftly. Lovely delicate yet complex beer. Almost tarty but with everything Xmas like that you would want. Good beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
yespr (34982) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - DEC 16, 2006
33 cL bottle. Pours almost black with white short lasting head. Smell of dark roasted notes. Taste is dominated by roasted malts, elements of chocolate/coffee and liquorice. Has sweet notes and bitterness beneath the roasted taste. Very nice beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
altonbrownd (3752) - Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA - DEC 13, 2006
Bottle at home. Nice tangy ale. Dark amber color. Strong taste of bread. Sweet and bitter flavor. Quite bitter in the finish. Enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
AceOfHearts (1374) - Mountain View, California, USA - DEC 10, 2006
Bottle. Nice dark amber and I must confess to being a bit swayed toward a 5 in appearance by the handsome glass it was served in. The aroma seems at 1st like it should be stronger but upon closer inspection it has some nice complexities along the lines of pine, maple, and brandy. Lightly spicy gingerbread flavor, pretty nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
bruale (7) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 1, 2006 does not count
UPDATED: DEC 14, 2006 Bottle dated 1973. The story of this beer is more interesting than the how it tasted. I gave this beer ratings near what others thought given the advanced age of the bottle. An actual rating would be an anomaly. The story starts with a couple who owned a bar in Algoma, WI for decades. They have both since passed on. He emigrated from Belgium, regularly vacationed there and likewise his relation would visit Algoma. My in-laws were good friends of the couple and would invite them and the visiting Belgians for a local tradition – a trout boil. Undoubtedly, beer flowed and a good time was had by all, although my in-laws aren’t beer drinkers. We would go to the couples’ bar every Christmas Eve for Tom & Jerry’s and appetizers. Sometime over the years, whether during a trout boil, Christmas Eve visit or whenever, this bottle was given to my in-laws. They recently discovered it and 30+ years later was finally opened. The label states “brewed by Scottish Brewers LTD, Edinburgh – Scotland. Imported and bottled by John Martin LTD. Everaertsstr.105 Antwerp. It poured dark brown with no head or carbonation, sour tasting wine flavor, definitely past it’s prime. It had a ring of residue at the surface inside the bottle, not a good sign, and ended up down the drain.

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