RateBeer
overall
98
99
style
Brewed by Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg)
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Grimstad, Norway

bottled
common

on tap
available

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 480   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.71   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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!


3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Vas19 (313) - Maryland, USA - JAN 25, 2010
Pours dark brown with thick off white head. Aroma is very spicy, definitely can smell the juniper and chestnut. Flavor has a lot more spice but its well balanced with a rich creamy mouthfeel. Definitely get more juniper. A well made beer.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Brigadier (3095) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - JAN 24, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 13, 2010 500 ml bottle
The second of three releases this is on par with last year’s release. I look forward to the final contribution to the series to see if the one sitting in Dexter lives up to its previous two counterparts. Check this out while it is still on the shelf. Despite being a little on the pricey side it is worth the cost even if you only buy a single bottle.

Aroma / Appearance - The nice off-white half finger head lived for a few minutes atop the maroon base. Infused with a black darkness it glowed in the firelight. Yeast, cherry, nutmeg, and junipers give this a kick that makes one feel as if they are under a Christmas tree. It does pack a punch so be prepared.

Flavor / Palate - Juniper and sprig starts the show but before long it turns into a completely different beast. Licorice and anise come along for the ride. There is a slightly medicinal tinge to the finish that is distracting. Otherwise this is solid, well rounded, and it was a disappointment when the bottle finally kicked. If I did have another bottle I would probably give it another six months to mellow out before opening it.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
notalush (4991) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 23, 2010
It is interesting how different this beer is from the one brewed at Stone - the hops are definitely more subdued, allowing the other spices and herbs to become more prominent - the nose is loaded with sage and juniper - the chestnuts are very potent in the flavor, and the sage really produces a minty, cooling quality on the tongue - juniper sits on top of moderate caramel maltiness - a touch of tartness on the back end, and some roasted nut quality - lingering sage and mint - much more subtle than the Stone version, but still full of flavor - I like it!

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
kitschy (326) - Nebraska, USA - JAN 23, 2010
An Epiphany classic. In bottle from Beertopia. A rich, thick spiced beer. I especially enjoyed the thick palate. A good amount of chocolate flavor, but not drying. Fruity and spicy as well - very nicely done. I started thinking how it would be good on pancakes and over ice cream, and then decided that nothing could make it better.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
after4ever (6251) - Brier, Washington, USA - JAN 22, 2010
500. Pours a nearly opaque mahogany with some nice creamy dun colored head for a while, then absolutely nothing. Leggy and still. Emperor, the juniper is strong with this one, I can sense it. Lord, you can almost feel it--it’s like midichlorians rampaging through your nostrils. Juniper and anise all over the nose. It’s like a ginger snap martini with no vermouth. Creamy, thick, sticky, nearly still body. Anise, ginger, roast, a little coffee, and tons of juniper on the mid-palate. Long dry finish with lots of tingling spice from the yeast and the juniper. DId I mention the juniper? ooof.

4.2
   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.

3.2
   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.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
vtafro (3794) - 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.

3.9
   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.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
tgncc (2878) - 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.


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