TheAlum (5530) - Lisle, Illinois, USA - JAN 17, 2010
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
22 oz bottle from Binnys. Pours a very dark reddish brown, just a touch of haze, a tannish head that is moderate, dies to a film, laces ok. Aromas are a blast of cinnamon and nutmeg, some vanilla and a pretty big feel for caramel and toffee, sweet slanted. Ginger, creme brulee, well spiced. Initial is a moderate, lighter side of body for that, a fairly spiced brew preaching ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, a typical Christmas styled brew with caramel, toffee, and vanilla. The beer gets spicier further in, a decent bitterness towards the finish, the spice and bitterness leave a lingering flavor, with caramel and vanilla sweetness remaining beneath. The bitterness gets stronger further in, the spice is a little overbearing, the sweetness ok, the bitterness in the finish really does a decent job of balancing. Not bad, for a heavily spiced Christmas styled beer.
Butters (3725) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - JAN 17, 2010
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUL 24, 2012 Bottle from Maniac’s Richmond Tenth Gathering. Dark orange pour. Gingerbread spices. Tasty stuff. Rerate: better than I remembered. Very good spicing on the nose and flavor. Nutmeg, gingerbread, some vanilla. And unlike so many of HF beers, this one isn’t horribly overpriced!
Kinz (3251) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JAN 16, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep amber brown, clear, no head really. Richmond 10th, courtesy of Butters. Nice frosty sugar gingerbread aroma. Flavor matches, with notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and mace. Nice.
Drake (8030) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - JAN 16, 2010
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
22 ounce bottle courtesy of Butters, who has very strange tendencies regarding this brewery. Pours a clear brown color with a thin head. Aroma is overly spiced... big, big sweet cinnamon with a bit of soapiness. Taste is cinnamon, nutmeg and bready notes. Some subtle malty notes as well. Medium bodied. The taste is a bit better but the is generally over the top and overly spiced.
Frank (2735) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 15, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
As much a gingerbread cookie as it is a beer. Amber brown in color w/ a quickly diminishing head of unever white bubbles. The nose is all about the spice and Hoppin’ Frog does a really good job of making sure the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg all come through and are easily identifiable by a casual nosing. There is not much beer in the nose, however, aside from maybe just a bit of bready malts. Thankfully, once this Christmas ale is tasted, there is a lattice work of sweet malts which seem to be balanced more by ginger than by hops. The mouthfeel is light and effervescent or maybe just lighter than expected. Overall, a well done spiced ale that perhaps could have benefited from maybe benefited a more distinctive yeast like a Belgian strain or some other means of bringing out the beer over the spice.
Ughsmash (7090) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 15, 2010
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bomber. Poured clear, coppery-amber with a short-lived cap of off-white head. The aroma was a major spice bomb with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar leading.. nutty and caramel notes backed it up.. enough sweetness to balance the spicage.. warm and inviting. The flavor was along the same lines.. hot cinnamon and nutmeg was all over the place with sweet caramel and some fruity notes at the core.. warm on the edges and finish, but never hot.. dry spices caked onto the back of my teeth on the finish. Medium-bodied and too far skewed toward the spices as indicated above.. beyond that it was a nice winter warmer.
hopscotch (8783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JAN 14, 2010
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle… Clear copper ale with a small, creamy, khaki head. The aroma is a comforting blend of warm ginger snaps and freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies. Medium to full-bodied with an oily mouthfeel and subdued carbonation. The flavor is sweet and full of winter spices. Modest, minerally bitterness. Bittersweet, Novocain-like/ tongue-numbing finish.
Ibrew2or3 (6767) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JAN 10, 2010
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bomber pours clear amber with a moment of an off white head. The aroma is spice with robust cinnamon and modest levels of roasted malts. There’s little else making it through the veil of cinnamon spice. The taste is much the same with bold up front cinnamon, much lesser amounts of coriander, clove and all spice carving out enough space to be heard. Eventually the spices give up enough ground for thin layers of roasted malts, malt sweetness and then caramel to be sensed. The malt notes don’t hold up to the spices for long and completely succumb into the finish.
oteyj (2130) - New Hampshire, USA - JAN 10, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pure garnet pour with tons of carbonation in the body and a one finger beige head that dissipates into a veneer rather quickly. The aroma is bready biscuit and caramel with tons of malt sweetness and cinnamon-nutmeg spiciness. It actually has the aroma of cake frosting believe it or not. The flavor is super sweet- much like the aroma, but with a more roasty character. Lots of caramel and brown sugar up front with molasses and the slightest burnt sugar character subtly making its way in as well. The spice character is also quite definitive and sticks with me the whole way. Nutmeg and cinnamon are prolific- ginger is quite subtle. Again, the malt character takes on a cake frosting like taste. The palate is medium to full bodied with lively, pillowy effervescence and a chalky-roast finish. I’m delightfully impressed.
Miver (609) - Silver Spring, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 10, 2010
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bomber bottle thanks to Axilla for sharing. Poured a clear mahogany color with a thin off white head. Aroma of strong spices. (ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, etc.) Tastes of a ginger snap Christmas cookie. Tons of spices, caramel malt. A little too over spiced for my liking.