msnelling09 (112) - Beverly, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 8, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
The beer pours a deep golden-orange color, with a big fat and sudsy head of off-white bubbles that leave sticky tendrils of lacing on the glass. The head has a great lasting retention that I expect from such a beer, and the beer overall looks like a classic “ale,” if that makes any sense. The beer’s body is gorgeously clear, and it really sits in the glass as a pretty sight to see. On the nose, the beer smells of sweet malt, almost like apple-juice with a touch of vinous, white wine thrown in. Soft, minerally scents mingle with the sweet malt and further suggest a Pinot Gris or sweeter white wine to the nose. Soft caramel bread and tart green apples hide in the edges of the scent, but definitely add further definition. I enjoy the smell of this beer more and more as it opens up, but I can’t help but think of it more as a sweet white wine. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet and vinous with a solid bitter middle and finish. Tart, malic acid seems to be light but present in the beer and a soft spice mingles with the bitters nicely. The beer is very much a testament to balances, though it gives a nice vinous sweetness as the strongest character. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet white wine, almost in the pinot gris range, with soft notes of green apple and cider. It then suddenly opens into beer with a wash of bready malts and a nice herbal bitterness that balances out the vinous sweet of the beer and carries it into an earthy finish with a touch of generic holiday spices and apple juice. The finish is middling in length, with sweet crackery malt, dry cider, and good-old English hops. In the mouth, the beer feels medium in body with a middling to strong carbonation, a light astringency from the hops, and a thinner, highly drinkable mouthfeel with just enough weight to remind us its beer. The mouth is left dry save for thick saliva in the cheeks and a bitter tingle along the middle of the tongue. Overall, this beer is good. It is far different from other Winter Warmers and Christmas beers that I have had, and initially it disappointed me. Once I got past the fact of its subtlety, however, I was able to appreciate the beer as yet another balanced and superb creation from Sam Smith. This beer nicely showcases what can be done with malts, hops, and a little touch of spices. I’m not wild about sweet white wines, but I found the character interesting. This is a light and highly chuggable winter warmer that is defined by its subtlety and balance. A great execution of the individual parts of brewing.
ESPh (40) - Branchburg, New Jersey, USA - JAN 3, 2014
3.2 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Opened the bottle and it fizzed over, blimey! I poured the remnants into a pint glass and the head disappeared quickly. Nice amber color and faint toasted caramel hop odor with hints of banana. Good carbonation and smooth to drink. Nice classic English ale with a slightly sweet malt flavour. Hunky-dory!
dynamiteninja (1331) - Richmond, North Yorkshire, ENGLAND - JAN 2, 2014
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
2013 - 2014 bottle. Thin white head which doesn’t last long. Gold to amber body. Nose is fruity and quite sweet. Apricots, hops, syrup. Some malt. Bitter followed by sweet. Dry finish. Fairly fizzy mouthfeel. Pretty good for an ESB but not too interesting.
Grzesiek79 (2903) - Radom, POLAND - DEC 31, 2013
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Vintage 2012/2013. Dobre i smaczne, tresciwe i z pianka, koloru bursztynowego. To swiateczne Ale pachnie cytrusami i suszonymi owocami. Tresciwe lekko slodkie i zarazem goryczkowe. Finisz pikantny. Ladna etykieta ktora co roku jest zmienna. Niezbyt mocna angielskie ale bo tylko 6 procentow. Ale na zimowe wieczory to wystarczy w tym przypadku.
Slickysim (8) - - DEC 29, 2013 does not count
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bouteille 550ml de la lcbo. Arôme peu prononcé un peu de caramel, banane. Très claire, belle mousse blanche mais peu persistante. Goût bien équilibré, relativement sucrée mais pas exagéré, goût de miel on goûte l’alcool mais très légèrement. Texture super soyeuse, ronde, surprenant pour une bière si claire! Overall, tres satisfait!
annunz123 (797) - Taunton, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 29, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Malty aroma with some chocolate, cherry, and raisins. Flavor is sweet and fruity with some caramel and nuts. A little fruit bitterness and some alcohol in the finish. Nice, easy drinking winter ale.
freeofthoughts (623) - Raytown, Missouri, USA - DEC 29, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
One year bottle, pours a very attractive gold that depends to an amber red. The aroma is fruity with a pale malty back. The flavor is lightly sweet with a large British pale malt, light amber flavor with a bread like biscuit and light apple peach tree fruit. Lasting malty finish, balancing medium carbonation, easy drinking.
Westmeister (1441) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 27, 2013
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours clear golden with mediumish white head. Taste is clean malt that has a sammy smith characteristic to it. A bit fruity, bready, light caramel malt. Not complex, but this simplistic sweet malty beer does a decent job at making an easy drinker. Ok. Biting carbonation.
hockeybeerguy (532) - Juneau, Alaska, USA - DEC 27, 2013
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
It has a nice amber colored body with a very nice clearness about it. A nice two finger foamy white head appears and lasts for a good minute before gently dieing into some nice foamy valleys. Lots of carbonation is seen rising. The smell has some nice peppery/spicy notes up front backed nicely with malts and light cherry.The flavoring takes those smells and adds a bit of breadiness to it. On the palate, not bad, and nothing harsh on the tongue, a nice gentle smoothness that feels great all around. Overall, a nice winter warmer that has a good smell
Silvan7 (535) - Samarate, ITALY - DEC 27, 2013
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
bottle @ home. birra ambrata, limpida dalla schiuma bianca, persistente e abbastanza fine.aroma poco intenso maltato, fruttato di mela, erbaceo. gusto dolce abboccato abbastanza acida, poco amara. maltata. poco corposa, non molto carbonata. abbastanza equilibrata ed abbastanza armonica.