Brewed by Nøgne Ø
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Grimstad, Norway


on tap

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RATINGS: 475   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.71   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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This is the second release of Special Holiday Ale, which was first brewed in San Diego in 2008. Each brew is following the same recipe, including Michigan chestnuts, white sage from southern California and Norwegian juniper berries, but differences in brewing and aging practices produce different beers. Cheers to being different! Skål!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
SledgeJr (3577) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - JAN 22, 2010
In the bottle from Beertopia. Pours dark sepia to black with a thick sustained dark beige head. Has an intense aroma of spruce/ juniper. This pours like motor oil. A super thick beer with an astounding body. Full mouth with grape flavors and lots of spruce. Finishes with a mild roastedness and some chocolate toward the end. Now this is exactly what I expect from a Christmas beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mkade8883 (250) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 22, 2010
Smells of brown malt and sage. Color is brown and murky, with 2 fingers quickly dissipating head. Medium to high carbonation, finish is sweet.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
vtafro (3697) - Wayne, New Jersey, USA - JAN 22, 2010
Bottle brought to Paul’s new decade tasting. Hazy brown pour with a slight tan head. Spice bomb, some nut and juniper notes. Very enjoyable. Why this is a seperate rating? Still ISO stone version.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
sneagrams3 (2337) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - JAN 21, 2010
The Dan Journal #321. Tasted 1/18/10. 500ml bottle. Dark with an opaque brown hue. Finger width of khaki head. Wow, big nose! The juniper jumps out first, followed by the sage and a nutty character. Maple and rustic bready malts. Rather full bodied with a lot of varying spices. Solid malt note, but they play second fiddle to the spices. Definitly nutty. Good, tart astringency. Subtle dark esters and a mildly drying rye character. I sense more juniper in the nose than in the palate. Good spicy, but the malts shine initially and then the finish is all spicy goodness. Nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
tgncc (2852) - Bellmore, New York, USA - JAN 17, 2010
Had the previous version of this the year before. The appearance is a nice deep brown, tan head. The aroma is juniper berries, nuts, malt. The flavor is chestnuts, some spicyness, like cinnamon, malty, bready. The finish is purely spicy, cinnamon and nutmeg in particular. Still a great beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 16, 2010
Dark brown color with a bit off hazed as it is held to the light. Slow forming, taller, lasting, khaki colored head. Spices and herbs noted in the aromas, especially sage and juniper berries. Some mace and woody cinnamon as well in the nose. Touches of toasted malt in the background. Thick, rich and lush feeling brew. With all the thickness, I am surprised that it does not get cloying. Light sweetness with a slow moving spice that heats up the longer this one sets on the palate. Rich dark sugars and toasted malt mingle in along the way. A bit of white pepper in the finish. LInger is light, with just a bit of residual sugar. A nice winter/holiday ale.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
JaBier (4989) - Capital City, Ohio, USA - JAN 16, 2010
Sample at the Barley Wine beer tasting at Blacklick Wine & Spirits on 01/14/10. Dark brown pour with a medium tan head. Aroma of cough drops and malt. Some definite herb and spice character in there, but having trouble picking out what because it’s just too much. Not kidding about the cough drops; it really smells like eucalyptus. Spicy and malty flavor with a bit of bitterness in the finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Dogbrick (8507) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JAN 15, 2010
Sample at the Barley Wine beer tasting at Blacklick Wine & Spirits on 01/14/10. This beer pours a muddy brownish-red color with a medium light beige head that dissipates steadily. Stringy lacing. Aroma of cough drops, spice and berries. Medium body with flavors of tart fruit, spices, malt and nuts. The signature Stone hop profile is not omnipresent. The finish is potpourri spices and fruit, with a toasted nut aftertaste. An interesting collaboration overall, and an above average beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 14, 2010
Deep and dark gleaming burgundy with light brown head that quickly turns to thin film. medicinal eucalyptus nose, like cough drops.. with a backdrop of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Seriously, those words hit the nose nail on the head. First impressions are a thin, extremely watery overall feel to the beer with light, almost essence-like flavors of mint, chocolate, roasted barley, halls cough drops, and caraway seeds. The finish has a balancing, crisp, and forward hop presence. This is an extremely interesting beer...The way the flavors are off in the distance with the medicinal edge subtly not so subtle..what I thought was a watery texture at first really isn’t so watery...the body is actually quite medium...its just like a coat of gloss over the medicinal, minty, chocolaty flavors that confuses, yet entices. Seriously, I don’t know what part Stone had in the production of this specific beer...but it could possibly be the best beer they’ve had their name on in eons. I am certainly an opponent of most spices in beer, but every blue moon someone seems to combine the right amount and right kinds of spices to produce something that just plain works. This is one of those blue moon moments. I need to try the one with Stone named first...if they used their own yeast as I have read, I guarantee that it sucks and is the perfect proof I need to show the world.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
SanfordBrewer (1391) - Sanford, Florida, USA - JAN 13, 2010
(br-btl bk-lbl, 220z)

hazy-dk-br, ^thick-dense-tan-head, fine-^eff, solid-lacing, med-full body, med-co2.

aroma: ^bright spicy ^sage/juniper dark-fruit(prunes or raisins) syrupy-alchl.

flavor: bright-sage/juniper sweet-dark-fruit T1, §chclt-malt sage/juniper §hop-bitterness §chestnut-astringency(?) §chrrd-malt-astringency T2, sticky spiced-dark-fruit-alchl(like oraung tua in indonesia or some spiced rums) T3, same through.

spices are very strong, and i have a bit of difficulty telling them apart (at least the sage and juniper, and the caraway and chestnuts) because i don’t have much experience with them in the context of beer.
this beer makes a very interesting and unique special occasion beer, but not something i would want more than once a year.

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