ElGaucho (2285) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - DEC 16, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. 2006. Sweet honey, alcohol and nutmeg invade the nose...in a good way. Very holidayish. I love making up new words. Dark, muddy, orangish brown body. Large head that settles quickly to an off-white ring with an oil slick of a head whose light color contrasts starkly against the dark body. No lace. At 9.5% ABV, alcohol is quite apparent, and again, in a good way. This is one of the better holiday beers I remember having. Key word: remember. Quite sweet, but never cloying. Full bodied and delicious. Not a flaw to be found. Some aspect of pumpkin pie. I was in Binnyís in Glen Ellyn when I saw this brew. Called my wife who gave me the average rating over the phone which was high enough for me to go for it. Trust me; this brew is underrated. Perhaps the lower ratings are due to previous versions that might not have been as outstanding? In reading the recent ratings, it appears only the last 3 are this yearís vintage. With all due respect to those three raters, they have underrated it. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on some of this. As far as domestic Christmas beers go, it doesnít get much better than this.
Tmoney99 (11678) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 7, 2006
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Poured brown hue with a large creamy off-white head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Heavy spicy pumpkin pie aroma. Medium to full body with a creamy texture. Heavy sweet spicy pie in a blender flavor and an average sweet finish. Interesting drinkable spicy brew.
ehhdayton (1188) - USA - DEC 1, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours a dark amber with a white head and an aroma that is stronly spicey. The flavor has a slight malty sweetness and is predominately spicey with ginger, cinammon, and orange peel.
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 29, 2006
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Sampled at the Richmond Beer Industry Gathering 2006. Clear dark amber body with a small white head. Sweet spiced aroma. Strong spiced flavor with some light apples in the end.
Ofortuna (322) - Grafton, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 11, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Now, this is based on a 3 year old aged version. First off, points for the fact that it even held up. Second, that some funky bacteria didnít appear over time and kill off the three of us who wearily tried this non-sedimented lager. Heavy spice profile with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Weak body and a slight cloying character to it, but drinkable. Poor head retention. Hold on........Santa, is that you? Dammit, you screwed me last Christmas! Gimme some Darklord or Westy and get that damn elf out of here. How the hell did you get in anyway!?!? Freakiní elves always steal my hops!..................................wait, that must be some bacterial funk thatís tripping me out. Damn, non-bottle conditioned beers. Whoa........sleepy time. Better not forget to leave the cookies and milk out...........I better get some good beer this year or itís venison cooked over the planks of a certain "sleigh"...........ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz
hopscotch (9996) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - SEP 12, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle... Murky orange lager with red highlights and a mid-sized, fizzy, beige head. The nose is of fruitcake and gingerbread. The flavor is sweet honey and toffee with ginger snaps. Lightly bitter and mildly acetic. Full-bodied and chewy with gentle carbonation. Finishes spicy and sweet. Thanks to headbanger for the bottle!
DarkElf (3038) - La Jolla, California, USA - AUG 31, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
(12 oz bottle: Obtained 27-Jan-05 in trade with CaptainCougar, thanks Tom!) When they say "Holiday Spice Lager Beer", they mean it. Lotsa spice in this one, and itís the usual assortment for the holidays: plenty of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. Despite the significant spicing here, the underlying malt isnít lost. Itís mildly sweet and somewhat bready, but also dark and earthy, the earthiness probably a product of the 18-month aging process. And with this beer going strong after 18 months, it could probably help you rock around the Christmas tree 18 months from now. Bitterness is mild to moderate, mostly due to the spices I presume. Modest tartness helps keep the sweetness in check. The nose is quite a bit sweeter than the flavor, but also very spicy and fairly malty. The dry and well-carbonated mouthfeel of this medium-bodied beer hints at a bit of dusty apple skins, and that comes through in the flavor as the beer warms up. Bright-amber in color and fairly clear in appearance. The off-white head pours fairly small and settles to a smattering of filminess encircled by a wide ring atop the beer. A few small spots of lace remain on the glass. Overall, the spicing seems a bit forward to me, but itís still a pretty good beer that apparently ages wonderfully.
walleye (1073) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - MAY 9, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
thanks goes to ughsmash for this beer. poured a brown copper with a small off white head that left no lacing. aroma sweet cinnamon, honey, ginger, alcohol got most of that before it got close to my nose, than got raisins, caramel. flavor honey just jumps out there in 1st place than all those spices the alcohol is well hidden, nice dryness good beer, wish I had this at the holidays
Gurst (338) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - FEB 28, 2006
3.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Drinking this is kind of like putting a few juicy oranges into an old sock (for that spicy kick!), pouring in honey until it begins to ooze out the heel, and then smacking yourself with it in the face. This is the most extreme over-the-top OMGíd bloody saccharine beer Iíve ever tasted. In order of noticing: Orange, honey, nutmeg, licorice, alcohol, molasses, raisin, apricot, cinnamon, ginger, pine. Smells awesome, though.
frankenkitty (1971) - Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA - JAN 25, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
A huge head is creamy & tan over a rich, vermillion body. Aroma is soapy and piney, spiced with cinnamon and clove. Caramel holds the flavor together but there is a spicy sweetness that can overwhelm like an intense potpourri. Sugary-honey mouthfeel. This is better than many holiday beers in the fact that it has some real personality... many Iíve tried this winter have been standard IPAs or weak winter warmers.
<font size=-4>Single bottle from <a href=http://www.worldmarket.com/costplus/findstore Plus World Market, Orland Park, IL 60462<font size=-1>