muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - NOV 23, 2002
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: NOV 2, 2004 2002 (like they actually change the recipe every year these days). Slightly darker brown than the Vienna I had a couple of hours ago, similar nice creamy head. Almost opaque. Nose malty/nutty, brown-ale like, no ’wintry’ spicing to speak of but pleasant nonetheless. Flavor has maybe just a hint of licorice, a touch of ginger, but on the whole this tastes like an average brown ale to me, with a medium body and very little hops. Undistinguished but tasty.
This is one of those beers that brings back great memories. One of the first ’Christmas’ beers I had, originally in the large bottles, sharing it with my 2nd girlfriend in our apartment in Evanston IL, cats, the one good Christmas we had together... I wish the beer today was half as good as the memories (and only a few of those are good). Still, this one’s for you Kathryn.
Choke (96) - Massachusetts, USA - NOV 20, 2002
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I AM A SAM MAN AND THIS STUFF IS THE BEST THEY MAKE,,,,,NICE BROWN, SMOOTH HEAD, AND BEST OF AL IT TASTES GREAT
beerguy101 (5244) - Newark, California, USA - NOV 19, 2002
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark brown color, large head. Spicy and sweet aroma. An ale brewed with ‘orange, cinnamon and ginger”. A nice malty brown ale, spicy. Good malt flavor, slightly sweet. Spices are noticeable, but add to the flavor. Mouthfeel is full and round Finish is crisp and clean. Aftertaste is malty, and slightly bitter.
estoppel (1028) - Buffalo, New York, USA - NOV 19, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: NOV 12, 2003 I wish I could still get this in the big bottles they had five or six years ago. RERATE 11/19/02: Not nearly as spicy as I remembered it. Red body, small offwhite head receding, malty nose, malty body, sweet, pretty good but not spectacular. RERATE 11/12/2003: Much spicier and dryer than last year's bottles.
UnionMade (621) - Connecticut, USA - NOV 17, 2002
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I wait all year for this beer. It’s one of my favorites, particularly as far as christmas ales. Dark, roasty, very gingered, and an amazing head. Great complexity, too. My only complaint is that it only comes in the 12 pack.
Rockinout (966) - Kent, Ohio, USA - NOV 17, 2002
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
2002. Full bodied, thick head, nicely spiced but not overdone. Toasty nose, ginger. Couldn’t drink more than two in a session.
daalamar (405) - new albany, Indiana, USA - NOV 12, 2002
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I really enjoyed this one. Alot like a porter in texture and flavor, with a bit of spicce thrown in. Translucent brown in color with a tan small head that leaves a thin sheet on the side of the glass as it goes down. Very warming in the mouth and as it flows down the pipe. Flavor is a good burnt chocolate and malts, with some spice in the finish. A good overall brew and one I will enjoy the remainder of this winter.
PhillyBeer2112 (2474) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - NOV 12, 2002
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: NOV 9, 2003 Nov 2003: Bleh. Overly spiced, cloying and unbalanced. Hard to finish this one, and I've been starting to like spiced beers more and more.
Nov 2002 update: The new one is really nice, and I'm upping the numbers on it this year: V. dark garnet with small sticky beige head. Rich malty chocolate and spicy aroma - like baking cookies or spice cake. Notes of ginger and cinnamon. Clean malt with caramel and chocolate flavors, hint of ginger and pepper. Lightly fizzy mouthfeel. 2001: One of the more characterful brews from SA. Rich spicy aroma and flavor with plenty of malt depth. Spice flavor is almost nutmeg, but there's none of that in here. Background of orange peel is nice. Balanced bitterness is appropriate. Main drawback is overcarbonation. It has a nice lasting head and coating lace, but the sharp prickly mouthfeel hurts this beer's warming, sipping quality. Nice brownish red color.
HighGravity (926) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 8, 2002
1.8 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 5/20
(Best by 3/3) Dejavo. Looks great, but it taste strange. This is just overly sweet and spicy, not much else. I guess Jim Koch believes more (except hops) is better.
jedimasternick (96) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 8, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Nice dark apperance with an excellent flavor and nice aftertaste. Excellent overall.