bluemeow76 (693) - Lewis Center, Ohio, USA - DEC 6, 2002
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
The aroma and flavor of this beer overwhelmed me with the sensation of burning incence. I couldnít get it out of my head! There is a decent blend of typical holiday type spices, i.e. cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. But that burning incense smell is overwhelming, it almost makes the beer taste smokey.
Dogbrick (6859) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 6, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
I have really enjoyed trying all of the deifferent holiday beers I have been finding lately. This beer pours a dark amber color with a thin light beige head. Aroma immeditattely reminded me of cinnamon-flavored dental floss. Orange smell was also present. The flavor consisted of spices, hops and honey and while slightly unbalanced it was still enjoyable with a rather dry finish.
Ringo (963) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - NOV 28, 2002
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
I forgot that this was 9.5%, and I kept wondering why I was getting a warming in the belly while I was drinking it. Otherwise the ABV is very well hidden. I donít think that I could drink a lot of this, it might get cloying, but my one bottle was nice.
Aubrey (3356) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - NOV 23, 2002
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sweet & spicy aromas wafted as I poured this sucker. Dark and meaty color with a foamy, tightly packed head. Nose is heavily spiced, as if you plowed your head into a spice rack. Smooth mouthfeel. Extremely complex flavors exude upon the first sip. Cinnamon, allspice and ginger take the forefront, with many others following suit. Malts are rather complementing. Hops seem to take a back seat. Alcohol notes are very evident, which I enjoyed. Quite the rich and tasty winter warmer.
Ernest (5920) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 20, 2002
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 6, 2013 Bottle. Head is initially average sized, frothy, off-white, mostly diminishing. Body is dark amber. Aroma is moderately malty (caramel, cookie), with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, honey, alcohol (slightly fusel), orange peel. Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, watery/syrupy texture, lively carbonation, moderately alcoholic. First off, Iím embarrassed at my notes, considering I practically list the exact same spices that are listed on the front label...but I swear I didnít read it prior to writing up my aromatic notes. And in a sense that is one of the reasons I rather admire this beer...the spice blend is in such perfect harmony that an amateur like myself can literally detect every single addition...the honey is obvious, the clove is obvious, etc. None of them stick out above the others, nor do they clobber the malt nose. I canít say that I smell hops or yeast, but thatís ok considering the type of beer this is attempting to be. The alcohol is maybe a touch fusel, but thatís expected from the honey and high ABV. Iím not a fan of sweet-and-boozy kinds of beers, but for what this is setting out to be, it performs quite well.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 18, 2002
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2002 version. Dark amber with a light cream colored head. Toffee and spiced aroma. Nice dry maltiness, cinnamon, light ginger and mild bitterness. Warming alcohol as you continue. Drier than previous years with a touch more maltiness and also alcohol. Nice end of the holiday night beverage.
kmeves (1098) - Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 9, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
This is the perfect beer for the holiday season. Spices are well balanced with sweetness of the honey. This is similiar to Lakefronts Pumpkin Lager.
VENOM (941) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 26, 2002
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Hazy amber with some tiny specks suspended. Foamy off white head, very noisy. Light carbonation, with bubbles sticking to the bottom of the glass. Aroma of estery alcohol, peppermint and cinnamon. Light body, definately a lager. Also definately spiced with notes of cinnamon, a light sweetness and mild bitterness. Alcohol is tasted in waves but never overbearing. Not very malty. Tastes like a melted candy cane more than anything else, with a light burning hotness from the spices. Clean finish, with no sticky, cloying taste clinging to the roof of your mouth. Not overly spicy as well which is a welcome change of pace. A decent seasonal brew, that packs a wallop and really sneaks up on you, but you must like cinnamon to fully enjoy this. Would go well after a large holiday meal.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 25, 2002
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 16, 2003 Jan 25: Rating is for a 1998-9 bottle, sample Jan 1999. From my notes: incredibly strong orange/honey/date aroma and flavor gives this beer the distinction of being the closest thing to fruitcake I"ve ever drunk. Nice orange-red color, large but quickly-diminishing head. Could have a stronger body, and perhaps a more assertive ending. 2002-wish I could get this in Vermont! Judging from the way other Lakefronts have held up as I"ve resampled them, this could be my favorite holiday brew out there. Very very strong in recent years -- 2001 was 9.5%. 9/4/8/3/16
2002: 2002-3 edition. Dark brownish/brick color, medium fast-dying head. Strong clove/orangepeel spicy nose, cinnamon, malt, slight alcohol. Just wonderful íholidayí flavor, not as thick or spicy as Anchor, but very creamy and full-flavored, with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves prominent but not overpowering. Great warming finish. The only beer from this brewery that has improved on a recent tasting; I"m hopeful, though it is no longer my favorite US brewer.