ineedbeer (1261) - Oakland, California, USA - JAN 23, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle is approximately 3 years old - Batch 65.Aroma is mostly dominated by the spice, but there are also some dark fruit esters and malt notes. Light cinnamon and chili with moderate to moderately heavy allspice; I wish the all spice was more balanced with the other notes. Some raisin and prune with medium dark caramel notes and a light chocolate character. As it warms the chili is more noticeable. Pours a clear brown with hints of ruby highlights and a thick tan head that has really good head retention. Medium lacing with faint legs. Flavor is slightly to moderately sweet with spice again being the dominant characteristic. This time the chocolate notes are a bit more noticeable, but there is still a lot of allspice with lighter amounts of cinnamon and even less of the chili. Medium light dark fruit notes of plum, prune and raisin. Medium dark caramel and toffee notes. Medium low but balanced bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium to medium full bodied with medium to medium high carbonation. Low astringency and medium low alcohol warmth. Overall an alright beer, but I find the allspice to be overpowering and it hides the more delicate spice notes (unless they disappeared due to age). No signs of oxidation, but a slight faded character to the malt. Could use richer chocolate notes.
GarrettB (1237) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 6, 2014
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
November 30th, 2012 - I don’t recall the where, when and how this ale came into my possession, nor when I drank it, but the timing seems right. Any beer inspired by Mexican hot chocolate needs colder climes to bring out its true intentions. Perhaps due to coming fresh from the fridge, the aroma is blunted, quiet, and what little of it is there speaks of red grapes and overripe strawberries, amply sweet and full of fructose goodness. The taste is much more clearly that "Cup of Christmas Cheer" blend of flavors: tons of cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, gingerbread and other things nice. The body is light, keeping all of these high-edge flavors at bay, and it ends with an especially celebratory finish of chili spiciness. This is a lot of flavors bundled into one ornate gift, and like so many suburban Christmas decorations, where there isn’t harmony, there’s volume and pizazz, and that’s what this beer has in spades.
nealblind (1154) - Seattle, Alabama, USA - JUL 7, 2015
3.1 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Dark red brown color some white head. Aroma big nutmeg, cinnamon some pepper. Tastes only slightly chocolate. tobacco, like a brown. ginger, peppers come though, but it seems like they are trying to bury them in a mountain of other spice (nutmeg). errs on the sweet side. light body for a big beer. Very unique, but probably wouldn’t get again.
BucannonXC5 (1105) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 31, 2011
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured from a 1 pint, 9.4 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass. Color was dark mahogany, closer to black than anything else. Just over an inch of head. Nice amount of frothy lacing on the top, that stayed throughout the beer. The film was sporadic, but stayed. The film always looks better in a pint glass than a pilsner glass, so I’ll take that into consideration.
Initially smelled deep spices with cinnamon and gingerbread the only two I mentioned. Gingerbread is a spice you say? Well it is for this beer. Also smelled cloves, caramel, chocolate and toffee. Good smelling beer.
The taste wasn’t as much like the smell as I would have thought. I got gingerbread first, followed by cinnamon and a deep dark chocolate aftertaste. Spices rule the day here.
Full body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Long spicy finish.
I liked this beer. It was definitely what I could call a winter beer. Too bad I live in California and can’t really appreciate the winter nature of it. Good beer.
ajm (1066) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JAN 25, 2008
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 12/20
Not my favorite. I wish I would have known about the chiles and spices before I drank it, because the finish really affected my enjoyment. I will try it again next year.
Naven (1000) - Poway, California, USA - JAN 20, 2008
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle, shared with Bartzilla. Dark brown color. Trippy spicy sweet aroma. Flavor is cinnamon, clove, toothpaste and bubblegum. A little pepper on the finish, but I was surprised that the chili’s weren’t more prominent. Just not my thing.
daleharshman (978) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 30, 2010
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Corked and caged 750 ml bottle from Holiday Wine Cellar ($6.99). Pours a nice deep dark brown-red with generous three fingers of foamy head. Strong aroma of "holiday" spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) along with weaker aromas of chocolate malt, anise, juniper, wood, and a hint of chili. Flavor is again dominated by the same "holiday" spices found in the nose. The chili taste is weak but there, but the chocolate and malt flavors are noticeably weak. Good carbonation but disappointing finish which is dominated by the spices yet again. This is a good idea -- I certainly enjoyed the Mexican hot chocolate I had when I visited Oaxaca in the winter. There in Mexico the rich chocolate, spice/cinnamon, and chili flavors comes together very well. This beer needs to tone down the spice while increasing the chili and especially the chocolate flavors.
Getbetter (976) - East Palo Alto, California, USA - JAN 23, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
From a bottle,coriander is the strongest flavor on my palate,a great example of a wit for a california beer.
DenverLogan (893) - MileHi, Colorado, USA - MAR 10, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark brown; small head. Funky spice and toasty malt aroma. Absolutely crazy brew here with herbal flavors, pepper and other spices, bitter chocolate, other herbs, mouthwash, we’re talking funky spicy wild!!
mattyb83 (737) - Minnesota, USA - JAN 2, 2012
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
750mL bottle from thome50. Bottle opens with a nice pop, and there is an immediate spice presence emanating from the bottle. Deep mahogany color with a medium sized, barely, off white head. Aroma is mainly cinnamon and all spice. Pretty potent with those two ingredients. There is also a small cocoa and caramel presence. Wow!! That’s a beer filled with all spice and cinnamon. Flavor starts off with a nice dose of cinnamon and finishes with a long lasting, intense, all spice flavor. There is a hint of heat from the chilies towards the finish, but honestly I wouldn’t know it was there if it wasn’t for the fact that it is listed in the description. Don’t get a ton of the malt profile in this, but there is a hint of chocolate, but it is so masked by the spice profile it really doesn’t add much. I guess this would be considered unbalanced due to the extreme presence of the spices, but it is still really enjoyable if you like a good spice presence in your beer.