Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - DEC 14, 2003
2.3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 8/20
UPDATED: JAN 20, 2005 2003 bottle. VERY bitter. Amber in color. Did I mention bitter taste? Not my cup of tea.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 14, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 21, 2004 Re-Rate 12/21/04: Not quite as aromatic or flavorful as I recall - maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled by other well hopped brews. This reminds me a bit of Yulesmith, but not so much of either the hops or malts. A good brew for sure, but I’m going to have to downgrade it from my original 4.1 rating. Original Rating: Bottle. Pours dark red-brown with a small off-white head. Aroma of hops, pine and citrus with rich malts, oak and earth. Flavor is a wonderful balance of sweet maltiness and tart, bitter hops. Really nice grapefruit finish. Medium body with light carbonation. Good west coast style strong ale - thanks Santa (and Rogue).
michael-pollack (4960) - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 13, 2003
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 10, 2004 Wonderful Spruce finish. Very hoppy and spicy. Great dark color. A real winter treat. Nice bitter finish.
eraserhd10 (226) - new haven, Connecticut, USA - DEC 12, 2003
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Ho! Ho! Ho! This aromatic holiday offering pours with a formidable head and is a delicious-looking copper-golden-rust color. A+ for presentation. Smells of a rusty swingset in late December and of spruce. The taste is most unusual. Nice for an X-mas ale, but a little too astringent and spicy for my tongue. Complex and abrasive. It starts our sharp and earthy with pine needles. It winds up with a waxy, cinnamon, nutmeg burst with some cloves, ashiness, citrus and rind-iness. Overall, worth trying once but there's a lot of other Holiday Ales out there to sample and there's never enough time. (Ok... there's always time!)
npdempse (934) - St. Petersburg, Florida, USA - DEC 12, 2003
2.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 1/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Red/brown with a tan head. Malty, grapefruity nose. Tons of cascde hops (correction--TAR points out these are Chinook & Centennial)--bitter citrusy flavor with some musty malts. Buttery diacetyl notes.
CapFlu (4651) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 11, 2003
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
(650ml bottle) Santa reddish body with a thin, white head. Cascade hops nose. Grapfruite taste. Somewhat of a disappointment after the nose and for this brewery.
DiamondD (38) - Sammamish, Washington, USA - DEC 10, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz bomber. Pours a deep red tawny. Very hoppy nose. Aromatic.
Taste is definitely a hopped up red, as the description says. A fairly decent bittering in the finish(more than I care for). Body is very nice. Almost full. This a very well thought out beer. Quality abounds. Extremely smooth and rounded. Good value for what you pay.
joeycapps (1468) - Waterdown, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 10, 2003
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Ruby-chestnut. Tan head. Fresh, hoppy nose w/ good chocolaty malt sweetness. Medium body. Good malt character w/ some solid earthy hoppiness. Long finish.
unclebleen (620) - California, USA - DEC 9, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a nice ruby color with a medium light tan head. Aroma is wonderfully hoppy. Great citrus and pine notes. This is not what I expected at all so far but in a good way. Flavor is balanced quite well between the hops and malt. Bitterness on the swallow. Very dry, champagnish finish. Better than I expected.
Nexxus (261) - Apple Valley, Minnesota, USA - DEC 9, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Hazy reddish amber with a large, lasting off white head. Very hoppy aroma with grapefruit, pine, grass and a hint of dough. Medium creamy palate with low carbonation. Flavor begins sweet with caramel, and then the hops kick in to give a nice citrus and pine bite. A pleasing hoppy woody dry finish. Not a memorable beer, but still enjoyable.