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RATINGS: 543   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 258   ABV: 8.6%
Well, the temperature is dropping and the days are getting shorter. You know what that means don’t you? It’s time for our WINTER BREW… A full-bodied, high-octane brew capped off with our use of cinnamon and mace. This beer will warm you all the way to your bones. Brewed only one day a year. We only bottle 4200 liters, 550 12 oz. cases, and a handful of kegs, so get it while you can.

Malt: 2 Row, Munich, Chocolate, Black, 30/37 Carastan, 70/80 Crystal, Spice, Cinnamon, Mace

Hops: Centennial, Golding

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Gachupines (1248) - USA - NOV 12, 2005
Dark brown, with a tan head. Taste is malty with a slight spice taste. Fairly thick and subdued, the spice appears in the finish. A little dry, it lingers on the tongue. Fairly pleasant, could possibly benefit from a somewhat stronger bite in my opinion.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
SuIIy (1983) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - NOV 11, 2005
12oz bottle from Goldtwins..thanks larry! Pours a dark brown color with a small fizzy/foamy light tan head. Nose is kinda smokey, some spices involved, def quite a bit of smoke goin on here though. a pretty good thickness to this brew as well. Very thick taste, a hint of chocolate at first, then becomes bland and fizzy, a slight bitterness, followed by a dry mouth. my mouth feels filmy. there are some hints of winter spices, no smoke in the mouth at all, quite a bit of oily, velvety ness though. good palate but lacking tastes!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
doubleipa (224) - Georgia, USA - OCT 25, 2005
Just picked up the 2005 rendition of this wonderful seasonal. This beer had a slight toasted aroma mixed with nutmeg and clove with a hint of coriander. There was virtually zero head. I could just get the head to cover the surface, but it disappeared instantly. The body was a clear black.brown. Initial flavor was midly sweet that finished long. Body was medium to full with a syrupy texture. Virtually no carbonation. The finish was only slightly alcoholic. Surpisingly little for a 8.9% beer. Seems to taste a little less spicy than last year’s model.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Yard (45) - Senoia, Georgia, USA - OCT 24, 2005
UPDATED: OCT 21, 2006 Very little aroma with an almost flat appearence from the head. Strong spice taste more so mace than cinnamon. fading aftertaste not too overpowering but noticable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jrob21 (3433) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - OCT 21, 2005
looks fabulously thick and juicy. tastes not so thick and juicy. well balanced nonetheless. spicing is nice and too overpowering like some of these other pumpkin beers this season.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
SSSteve (4006) - - OCT 20, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 7, 2010 Opaque black, small minima brown head. Hops, alcohol, coffee, and dark fruit aroma. Roasted malt and hops with spices. mild cinnamon and raisins. some coffee as well. Slightly flat with full complex aftertaste. 2009 - what happened to this beer? no spices...all chocolate malt, tootsie roll flavors...light carbonated body. no more cinnamon/mace that i used to love. 2009=disappointment. 2010. murky light brown under small, frothy, tan head. aroma is chocolaty with no spice. light/medium body with moderate carbonation. spices may be a little kicked up, but still far from what it used to be. mostly a sweet fudgy chocolate malt flavor. better than 2009. 8.6% is incredibly well hidden. i kept the orginal rating although it probably doesn’t deserve it.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
TheBeerOrg (2145) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - OCT 6, 2005
2004. Pours dark brown with a fully receding tan head. Aroma of cinnamon, molasses, licorice, and dark matls. Quite malty but also impressively subtle. The alcohol is hard to detect, I’m not sure I believe that it’s 8.6%. The spices help round out the finish. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Feels heavy and sticky, slighty spicy. Pretty enjoyable, some more hop interaction would have been nice. This is a big bottle when drinking by yourself.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
monty (39) - Dallas, Texas, USA - AUG 11, 2005
5 August 05. Sweetwater Brewing Company Festive Ale. Whoa – malts everywhere… and spicy. Very dark brown, approaching black. Lots of sepia head, which sticks around for quite some time. I think I get some cinnamon and lots of candi sugar. Needless to say, this is way different than the 420 or the Pale Ale, but it’s nice to see something so different and adventurous from Sweetwater.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
JDiddle77 (12) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - AUG 2, 2005
The Festive Ale is amazing. It’s Sweetwater’s high gravity Christmas brew. This is an absolute must try for any serious beer drinker.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
notwoohoo (109) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JUL 22, 2005
2004 edition. Spicy, winey, a good beer in general. Perhaps a little too much cinnamon for me, and maybe a bit thin.

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