Gription79 (2536) - 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 (5598) - Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - MAY 15, 2012
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle at Scopey’s Pre-CBC tune-up. The pour’s 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 body’s full and sugary. Soft. Overall, not a bad beer.
Scopey (8790) - 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 (1018) - 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 it’s 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) - Hørning, 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 (1385) - 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: Harvey’s 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.
What’s so impressive about this beer is how it’s 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. It’s not sticky or cloying, but rather just enough to satisfy and impress. The only thing I’d fault it for is that, despite the complexity and balance, it’s missing that certain "wow factor" to put it among the upper echelon beers.
Mouthfeel: For such a bold beer, it’s thinner and gentler than you’d think. Noticeable carbonation. Slight candy-like aftertaste.
Drinkability: It’s rare I encounter a barleywine with such drinkability, but Harvey’s 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 it’s no surprise there’s some alcohol warmth throughout, but nothing the average beer drinker can’t handle. A great beer to pair with fruitcake or enjoy as a nightcap.
magsinva (956) - 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.
dantheman278 (1361) - SCOTLAND - SEP 8, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle courtesy of cgarvieuk - rich copper pour with a creamy tan head. Beautiful nose - Christmas spices but a definite plummy note too. Rich toffee palate, figs and plenty of raisin flavour. Warming but not boozy finish. Lovely stuff.
berkshirejohn (5090) - Bracknell, Berkshire, ENGLAND - AUG 16, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
275ml bottle picked up in Hastings for rating #2600 Copper coloured with a thin cream head; rich, fruity, Christmas Cake aroma; thick in the mouth with flavours of treacle, plums, apricots and cinder toffee; giving a dry, burnt sugar finish with warming alcohol. A beautiful sipper.