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


on tap

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RATINGS: 502   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
yespr (34581) - 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
Beer4000 (4987) - 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 (2592) - 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 (12112) - 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Heathen (1500) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - FEB 15, 2010
THOUGHTS: Had this on Christmas day and it was great. Very Christmasy. It had a very unique aroma and flavor. Hid alcohol just enough. The part that was noticeable added to its Christmasiness. It was like an even better Arctic Circle Ale. TECHNICAL: Bottle. Poured a very dark crimson and looked nearly brown in the glass with red highlights. It had and average to large, tan head that kept a nice sheet and left fair lacing. The aroma was moderate caramel malt; with a hint of chocolate; pepper, licorice, cola, spices, cherry cola and spruce. The initial flavor was sweet, lightly bitter and acidic; while the finish was rather sweet and lightly bitter with a fairly long duration. There was juniper, spices, toffee, nutty manlts, more spices, more fruit, pine (but not pine hops) like spruce, licorice, pepper, cola; and once the yeast was added there was a little more nutty malts and slight chocolate. The medium to full body was sort of silky and then rather dry with soft, yet tingly carbonation and a dry and slightly alcoholic finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MAP (1133) - Lakewood, Ohio, USA - FEB 14, 2010
Special holiday ale enjoyed on 2-14-2010... its a holiday, but I don’t think it was the one the beer was intended for. Regardless the beer still has the holiday feel to it. The sage and the juniper really come through on this one, very fresh smelling and very festive. The flavor comes off with the same notes, but combined with a helping of caramel malt, roasted candy sugar and nutmeg.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
gam (3526) - brisbane, AUSTRALIA - FEB 14, 2010
Frothy biege head on top a misty brown pour aroma earthy spice bit of pepper flavour spicy chestnut juniper berries bright flavoured ale finish smooth with bright flavours good malt and smooth bitter not bad

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
ryan (3186) - Beltsville, Maryland, USA - FEB 14, 2010
Had this side by side with the Stone one. It was a bit sweeter and I think would have benefited from a little bit more bittering hops. Spices are pretty nice though with the sage and chestnuts being a bit more pronounced that in the Stone. Decent holiday ale.

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