nsquishee (632) - Richfield, Minnesota, USA - JUL 31, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle tagged with "2009". Dark brown/res with little to no head. Smells like brandy and tastes like prunes, dates, oak, hops, lemon, and red grapes. Finishes dry and tannic. Very nice sipping barley wine.
Leighton (14752) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - JUL 31, 2012
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration Tune-Up, London. I think bottle came from the generous Duff, from RateBeer. Pours clear amber with a fine film. Medium sweet flavor with some caramel. Medium sweet. Medium to full in body with fine carbonation. Sweet finish with caramel and mild fruits. Itís fine. Good beer.
Gription79 (2686) - Bountiful, Utah, USA - MAY 21, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
275 ml bottle. Poured cloudy dark brown with a large bubbly head. Aroma of cinnamon, fruity, toffee, malty, and raisins. Flavors of malts, cinnamon, toffee, some fruity alcohol flavors. This is a fantastic beer with the age.
jackl (5919) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - MAY 15, 2012
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle at Scopeyís Pre-CBC tune-up. The pourís cherry red and brown with a tight brown head. The nose is of spicy strawberry jam, shortcake and buttery bread. I get some spicy nutmeg and yule log too. The taste is slightly tannic strawberry jam, dirty orchard fruits and general spice. The bodyís full and sugary. Soft. Overall, not a bad beer.
Scopey (9771) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - MAY 9, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle at my Pre-CBC Tune-Up Tasting, big thanks to the legendary Duff for pulling these Harveys out of the bag.... It pours deep amber, with a thin off-white head. The nose is spice, caramel, dark fruit, citrus peel and maple syrup. The taste is fig, raisin, currant, spice, Christmas cake, tanginess, brown sugar and alcohol warmth in the finish. Medium body and fine carbonation. A pretty good winter warmer.
BiddleBrau (1047) - Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 18, 2012
2.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 6/20
This is an old bottle, at least 5 years or so. I think I have had this for 4 years and I think it was old when I picked it up as the price was marked down.
Very dark, hint of brown at the edges. No head but at the edges. Hugely malty nose, nearly syrupy sweet. This is sooo flat itís distracting. This is just malt, and syrupy as well. cloying and like a sweet liqour but without the alcohol. As I get through this, chocolate and sweet cherry candy flavors become more apparent and fortunate given the typical beer characteristics this is lacking. This is probably a great brew but has not held up well.
bigrond (1499) - factoryville, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 25, 2011
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
ridiculously smooth. Poured a dark copper brown with no head whatsoever. An excellent example of a barley wine, smooth, strong, with a nice warming finish,.
POLK (2219) - HÝrning, DENMARK - DEC 21, 2011
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Brown color with small off-white head. Malty aroma. Roasted and malty flavor. A bit disappointed with this expensive beer.
Chad9976 (1471) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 20, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I poured a 9.3oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Appearance: A pretty shade of dark copper/mahogany/maroon; clear body. Forms a small, tan, frothy head which laces very well.
Smell: Strong aroma of dark fruits and refined spirits - yet nothing overly boozy.
Taste: Harveyís Christmas Ale is probably one of the best defintions of the English barleywine. It has the complexity and flavors often found in American offerings, but without the massive weight. This is a much more lithe palate based on balance and subtlety rather than raw energy and gusto. It begins with a fruitcake-like taste of grape, plum, and cherry along with strong breadiness often found in a doppelbock. Through the middle is spirit-like components of sherry and cognac which impart a slight dryness and gentle warmth. It finishes with a strong confectionary sweetness of caramel and vanilla.
Whatís so impressive about this beer is how itís able to deliver the flavor without making a big deal about it. The fruit and confectionary sweetness are indeed quite sweet, but in an authentic way. Itís not sticky or cloying, but rather just enough to satisfy and impress. The only thing Iíd fault it for is that, despite the complexity and balance, itís missing that certain "wow factor" to put it among the upper echelon beers.
Mouthfeel: For such a bold beer, itís thinner and gentler than youíd think. Noticeable carbonation. Slight candy-like aftertaste.
Drinkability: Itís rare I encounter a barleywine with such drinkability, but Harveyís Christmas Ale is that rare (and welcomed) exception to the rule. The palate is strong, but never overwhelming. The mouthfeel and texture are lighter and cleaner than most beers of the style, and the smooth finish and mostly clean aftertaste are impressive. For 8.1% ABV itís no surprise thereís some alcohol warmth throughout, but nothing the average beer drinker canít handle. A great beer to pair with fruitcake or enjoy as a nightcap.
magsinva (1006) - Virginia, USA - OCT 28, 2011
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle - liquor express - pours a reddish brown with no head. Aroma is mild, reminds me of warm spices and I do get the plum and stone fruit aromas. Taste is a bit sweet and quite boozy. The booziness is less noticeable as you drink more of this beer. Overall, makes me think of winter toastiness.