bb (6784) - Alamo, California, USA - NOV 30, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. A dark brown and reddish beer with a medium beige head on top. The aroma is of good pine mixed with some sweet malts. The flavor has strong hop bitterness with a bit of a roasty malt base. Definately more in the grapefruit and pine taste than a balanced beer, but there's enough of a complex malt backbone so that it doesn't seem out of place in this dark beer - well, maybe you need to be a hophead to think that. As you keep drinking there is some spicey flavor to it, but very subtle and can easily get lost with the hops. The hop flavor just stays forever.
VAYankee (327) - Virginia, USA - NOV 29, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Dark reddish brown brew with an offwhite head. Strong pine scented hoppiness. Initially flavor has a very mild maltiness that quickly disappears. This is followed by a sharp spicyness. Aftertaste is a bitter and piney.
haddon90 (1439) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 29, 2003
3.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Cloudy copper/amber/ruby pour with a thick tan head. Aroma full of hops, spice, and fruit. Bitter taste. Not the greatest, but it was decent. Could work on the balance a little bit. Too watery as well.
carboloader (673) - Houston, Texas, USA - NOV 25, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours a transparent dark amber with thick foamy yellow head. Excellent lacing. Aroma of cascade hops with spruce and some pine. Some malt tones as well. Flavor is same -- some initial malt and then serious quick hops followed by quick bitter finish. Seems very well balanced to me, for a hop-infused strong ale. Not too sweet, unlike some Christmas brews. I'm thinking this would be a great regular IPA (or even a double IPA). Am wondering what makes it a Christmas brew. No spice or added sweetness. One of my new favorites.
drinkbeer (281) - Redondo Beach, California, USA - NOV 25, 2003
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 29, 2006 2003 reserve. Awesome dark clear ruby-red color, sparkly tan head. citrus hop aroma. a hop-heavy beer without much spice. bitterness lingers on sides of tongue.slight roasted malt flavor. Reminds me of a less piney arrogant bastard. However, I would prefer more spice and alcohol in this christmas brew.
2006 bottle. Same as before, but let it warm some. Got it? Ok, now check out the subtle peach notes. I kid you not. They are in there.
Yankovitch333 (612) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 25, 2003
3.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin tan head. Not much aroma, but perhaps my allergies are acting up. Very hoppy and bitter, but perhaps a bit bland for a seasonal brew. It's not exactly what I was expecting.
guzzler67 (1491) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - NOV 23, 2003
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Reddish brown appearance with a small head. Aroma is mostly hops with some citrus. Hops dominate the taste, too, along with a lot of carbonation. Bitter finish. Reminds me of some IIPA's.
papajohn (1249) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - NOV 21, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Ruby burgandy color with an average tan head. Slightly sweet barley wine like nose. Sharp tangy dry stout like bitter taste overpowers the malt. There is a hint of grapefruit and a long dry lightly bitter aftertaste.Kinda weak palate. O.K but not great.
TChrome (1415) - Bedford, Texas, USA - NOV 21, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Nice spicy, hoppy aroma. Beer pours attractive ruby red color with off white head that is dimishing. There is some lacing. Flavor is very hoppy and that strikes me just right. Akin to SN Celebration ale. Thank you Rogue!!
LordHedgehog (144) - Westminster, Maryland, USA - NOV 21, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Does a good job of balancing hops and malts, something not common in seasonal brews for some reason. I had trouble finding any reason to complain about this beer, but it just didn't reach out to me, either. Nice set of quality hops, and a good malty mouthfeel. Not the spicyness I was expecting from Santa, but Santa never did give me what I wanted anyway. Santa, if you're reading this, I still want that Radio Flyer.