Heathen (1444) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - FEB 2, 2012
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
THOUGHTS: Not as nice as the 2010, but still an incredible beer. Less spices and a lot more orange in this one. Hid alcohol fairly well, but the alcohol did cancel out some of the other aromas.
TECHNICAL: Bottle. Poured a very dark red that nearly opaque black in the glass except for the edges. It also had a large, rocky, almost meringue-like, light brown head that slowly diminished and remained a decent sheet and left excellent lacing. The aroma had moderate to heavy grain, roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee and chocolate syrup; spicy yeast; cherry, vanilla, alcohol, wood, smoke, some Christmasy spices, orange and orange peel. The initial flavor was moderately sweet; while the finish was mod to heavily sweet and light to mod bitter. The flavor was like one of those orange flavored chocolate candies that are shaped an actual orange that breaks into slices. There was oranges, chocolate syrup, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, orange peel, a little coffee, candy sugar, spicy yeast, dusty yeast, sort of doughy yeast, soy sauce, a little smoke, roasted malt, something sort of bourbony, cherry, alcohol, vanilla, and some holiday spices. But mostly it was orange, chocolate and dusty yeast. The medium to full body was silky and then a bit dry with fiarly soft carbonation and a lightly alcoholic finish.
Arborescence (29) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - FEB 11, 2012
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Black. Pours a very thick head that develops quickly, pour gently!
Dark chocolate, alcohol, burnt coffee, malt.
Strong malt attack with coffee and chocolate flavours, develops into an aftertaste typical for barley wines; warms you up on the way down. Not your typical Christmas Ale flavours, although they do claim to have added some spices to it. Plenty of sweetness too from the added sugar and syrup. Very thick and soupy!
Interesting! Mikkeller, which is a very productive and experimental brewery, has gone to Belgium to brew this year’s Santa’s Little Helper (not that I’ve tried the previous ones) and they have produced a fine Belgian Strong Ale. This one has elements similar to Rochefort 8 or 10, which are among my favourite Strong Belgian Trappists — Mikkeller’s version is much sweeter though. The sweetness is a bit much after a few sips, but I guess it’s ok given that it’s a Christmas Ale. The high ABV helps to balance the sweetness a bit though, and makes this a beer to be enjoyed slowly. Certainly worth looking for.
ExpendableHero (709) - Florida, USA - DEC 2, 2011
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
This beer rocks. Dark brown, with some reddish hues. Strong aromas of spices, and dark chocolate. Tastes of dark fruit, toffee/caramel, dark chocolate, some coffee, and lots of malt. A bit thick, with some warming booze thrown in. Sweet, chocolaty finish. This stuff is great, words do not do it justice. I strongly recommend this to anyone.
Furseth (1904) - Kungälv, SWEDEN - DEC 11, 2011
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle: Clear red/Brown colour, big creamy brown head. Aroma was dominated of iron,fruits,caramelly,raisins,vanilla and brown sirup. Flavor was almost the same here Medium body, and a long fruity/raisins finish! Well done!!
Beerheart65 (801) - Pori, FINLAND - SEP 10, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Aroma has dark sweet malting, licorice, herbs, citrus, pine. Lots of character and nuances. Looks also great. oily black, creamy frothy long head is beige. After aroma taste is surprisingly crisp, noppiness more in front. Good taste. Dry coffee and elements from aroma. Crisp roasted, dry finish, full. Great Christmas beer for dessert or just to enjoy.
ken1 (718) - DENMARK - NOV 3, 2011
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
A very good christmas beer. Taste fantastic with roasted flavours and nice bitterness. Tones of chocolate.
thewolf (10551) - Kolding, DENMARK - NOV 27, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, bought @ Skjold Burne, Roskilde.
Deep brown pour with a firm, staying, creamy, beige head. Nice lacings. Aroma has lovely complex caramel, toasted, light chocolate, plums, raisins, holly, light cloves, milky, some piney hops. Highish carbonation, lovely creamy mouthfeel. Flavour is elegant, some ginger and cinnamon mixing in with the chocolate and dried fruit. Cocoa nibs, piney hops, vinious and warming. Soft malty bitter and milky notes in a quite bitter finish. Really lovely this year!
kalervo (547) - FINLAND - NOV 25, 2013
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
I have tasted this about two years ago, just mentioned I’ve forgot to rate it. Don’t remember exact notes anymore, just remember the feeling that it was wonderful beer.
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 13, 2011
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
The pour is a very dark, mahogany color with a full, tan, creamy, pillowy head which settles to a creamy froth and leaves tight, Belgian lace. The nose is seemingly young with spicy alcohol notes, lots of spruce and cedar, dark breads, some cocoa, and faint anise. The flavor is much richer with still the sprucey notes, but adding dark chocolate, rich cocoa, some vanilla beans, still a light anise hint, a faint raisin, cinnamon underneath everything, and a very earthy tone moving into the finish. The palate is full, round, soft to lively, coating, and quite warming; another year might make this one perfect. The finish is long with earth and cedar, cinnamon and warmth, and lingering dark chocolate and faint anise. I can only assume anise and a spicy addition were part of the spice involved in this brew. The hop notes were present but did not interfere withe the spicing or the malt richness. The warmth was overwhelmingly originally but after an hour or so, really becomes more complementary, which leads me to wonder how this will be be in a year or so. I read that anise was an overwhelming note in many ratings and certainly did not find it this way, only a complement to the beer. Certainly unique and still challenging the ever-so-broad BDSA category. Will put at least one in the cellar to try next year. Mikkeller is awesome.
41cubs (249) - , New Jersey, USA - DEC 24, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Aroma is lightly toasted rye bread, chocolate chocolate chip cookie and some five spice with a hint of anise. Flavor is awesome. I get pumpernickel snappiness up front followed by some spice and then back to the brown bread, finishing with a slight hop resin note. A luscious mouthfeel that comes off not heavy or oily at all, but rather air infused and dense like whipped cream style. Great beer. Thanks Mikkeller. 2011 25.4 oz.