Brewed by Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg)
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Grimstad, Norway


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 506   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.71   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
13mikey (503) - New Hope, Minnesota, USA - FEB 21, 2010
500 ml bottle from Princeton’s. Very dark brown pour with a big tan head. Aroma is full of spices, I can’t really pick out the individual ones but it definitely has a "holiday spice" feel to it. Mouthfeel is chewy and flavor is sweet with those same spices and it ends in a delightfully flavorful finish with a hint of chocolate. This beer really embodies a holiday ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
danielcurtis81 (1519) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 19, 2010
500 mL bottle from the Best Damn Beer Shop I think. I thought I missed this one earlier in the season. The appearance is a deep chestnut brown with a thick medium brown head. A lot deeper then I remember Stone’s take. The juniper berries jump out first to the nose followed by coriander, sage, and pine-sol. The flavors start with a full rich malt with the juniper hitting the sides to push the beer forward, sage and pine follow to provide a really full mouth.. Some dried cranberries as well. A little better then I remember the first rendition. I am most excited about JP’s soured version if the rumors are true!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
1FastSTi (3344) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 19, 2010
Thanks Chuck. The beer pours to a deep black mahogany/ruby body with a thin but coating off-white head. The aroma is quite balanced. I never would expect that sage, chestnuts, and juniper berries would work together. The sage comes off sweet and blended with the juniper smells almost like thyme and oregano. The flavor seems pretty chocolate-like with a nice sweet herbal compound. The finishing flavor of the beer seems to have some nuttiness which could likely only be the chestnuts. The palate is kind of dry stout like.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
MIBRomeo (2570) - Wisconsin, USA - FEB 19, 2010
Very dark Ruby almost brown pour w/ a short dense tan small bubbled head w/ perfect lacing. Full well coated and lightly creamy palate. Big aroma tons of fresh sage a light juniper berry - fresh & bright light sweet caramel underneath and a bit of an earthy note. There’s a light nuttiness in the aftertaste that I might not have placed as nuts had I not read the description. There’s also a hint of something that comes through as chocolate in the aftertaste as well but I’m not sure that it’s chocolate. An original taste & delicious.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
yespr (35030) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - FEB 19, 2010
50 cL bottle. Pours hazy dark brown with a thick off-white to tan head, Aroma is dark spiced, ginger and cinnamon. Hard roasted malt too. Sweet, ginger fruity and dry spiced. Citric and dry into the finish. Dry and citric lasting impression. Too spiced for my liking

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - FEB 18, 2010
500ml - Initial aroma is strong spices followed by roasted dark malts with a touch of hops. Flavor is doughy chocolate cookies with holiday spices on top. The JP yeast shows in the finish. Palate is soft, creamy and spicy. A very tasty and well balanced holiday brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
sepia5 (237) - Connecticut, USA - FEB 18, 2010
UPDATED: MAR 16, 2013 I really believe Nogne O churned out the best holiday ale I’ve ever had. Pours a fairly deep brown and produces a large head. Tastes of juniper and just the right amount of spices--perhaps a bit of nutmeg, ginger, cloves and maybe cinnamon--this stuff tastes like Christmas. Wonderful beer that, without hesitation, I’d take even over my preferred holiday ale, the Great Lakes Christmas Ale. EDIT: After drinking Nogne O’s second iteration of this brew, I’m downgrading my rating. I still really love this mahogany christmas ale, but find the juniper berry component a bit overpowering. It presents an evergreen aspect that, unlike in a piney IPA, comes across as somewhat Vaseline-like initially, although the aftertaste seems more balanced. I still like it, and it is definitely among the best holiday ales I’ve had, but it isn’t worthy of the high 4.4 rating I initially gave it back in 2008/2009.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Beer5000 (5052) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - FEB 18, 2010
500 ml bottle. Dark amber body with a nice, dense beige head. Well pronounced aroma of sage, ginger, brown sugar, caramel, citric fruit and pine. Flavor is sweet malty, caramel, lots of sage, more spices, dry fruit and a well-balanced bitterness. A pleasant bitterness is also dominating the finish together with warming alcohol and more sage. A smooth and well-balanced beer with lots of interesting flavor. This was sampled together with the Stone version, witch also is very nice. This version is considerable darker, and has more dominating spice flavors, still not to much.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jazz88 (2605) - San Francisco, California, USA - FEB 17, 2010
Bottle. A lush dark brown to black color with a creamy light brown head. Nicely spiced with smooth chocolate an malts. It has an almost creamy texture with a bold yet not aggressively spiced flavor and aroma. It is extremely well balanced and a great drinking beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
bu11zeye (12268) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - FEB 16, 2010
(500ml bottle, courtesy of ilovedarkbeer) Pours a hazy amber body with a small off-white head. Aroma of caramel, pine, allspice, ginger, and clove. Flavor of caramel malt, pine, ginger, clove, cinnamon, brown sugar, and allspice.

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