snoworsummer (6285) - baltimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 27, 2015
From a bomber. Pours nut brown with a fizzy beige head. Tastes like mild spice, sweet roasted malt, some chocolate, and dry toast. Light body and low carbonation. Smells like sweet roasted malt, nutty, light spice. notalush (5955) - Lakewood, Colorado, USA - DEC 14, 2011
Bomber - pours a clear amber - nose is full of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger/gingerbread - medium bodied, full carbonation - fairly dry and Biscuity, which is a relief, since the label says it is made with molasses - cardamom is showcased well up front - the tail end is spicy ginger and cinnamon - fairly crisp maltiness throughout - a solid Christmas brew. IrishBoy (4255) - Bakersfield, California, USA - MAY 7, 2013
Bomber from Ratman!!! Nose is pumpkin pie, with all the cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger even lacking the pumpkin. Cherry brown with a small beige head. Flavor is very spicy with a light bitterness. drjay44 (3893) - Salida, Colorado, USA - NOV 30, 2011
Draft at a local. Pours a minimal, short duration, off white head, over a clear brown (SRM 30) body....nose is cinnamon, lighter clove, cardamom, slight dark roast malt (coffee, chocolate) touch of toffee/caramel......taste is dominated by cinnamon, clove, cardamom, with sensation of toffee/caramel sweetness, minimal hints of chocolate....mouth feel on the light of medium, carbonation low. The spices, although a major aroma and flavor component, were done with a lighter hand than in many others, leading to a more nearly balanced malt and spice combination than in many of this genre. BJCP 7/3/13/4/7 zoucrew102 (2247) - - FEB 12, 2016
Bomber, thanks Dad! Spicy aroma with notes of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with some caramel and nutty esters as well. Pours caramel brown colored with a thin tan head that had ok retention and lacing. Starts with with nutty and caramel flavors. Finishes smooth with the above spices with ginger being the most prominent that lingers on the palate. Pretty good Christmas ale.
wchesser (2163) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 8, 2012
2011 bomber. Aroma is bold with nutmeg and cinnamon bark and some toasted malts. Very dark brown with some magenta on the edges. Good carbonation no head or lacing though. Taste is the same as nose, plus some oak. Okay, but didn’t leave me wanting another one. RSRIZZO (2034) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - NOV 26, 2011
22oz bottle poured into a Tulip at 42°. Color is a deep brown with ruby showing in the light. Carbonation is light with a very small off white head. Aroma is a spicy roasted malt scent. Medium body that gives a smooth mouth feel. Flavor of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and just a touch of coriander then some roasted malt and toffee. After taste is mildly bitter and surprisingly clean with just a bit of the spices hanging on. Overall it’s pretty good for a Spiced brew, normally I don’t like these Holiday spice brews because there over spiced, but this one is very well done. Beaver (1870) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JAN 14, 2013
22 oz bottle. Pours dark ruby amber brown with a small head that quickly goes to a thin collar.jb43 (1695) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - DEC 26, 2009
The aroma is sweet malts and floral, perfumey spices and cloves.
The flavor is sweet peaty malts with a little roast, and more soapy, perfumey spices. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with very low carbonation and pretty watery.
Overall, lots of floral perfumey spices...not really a fan.
(draft). Black color. Spare tan head. Moderate spice aroma. Strong cinnamon and black licorice flavor. Long duration. Smooth finish. Slick texture. Moderate carbonation. Spare lacing. GarrettB (1694) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 31, 2013
UPDATED: OCT 21, 2015 December 17th, 2013 - I must have really liked Bristol’s Christmas Ale, because by the time I had the wherewithal to take a picture of the beer for my records, there was a small centimeter or so left in my sampler glass, barely a flicker left in the candle, with a used, tired top (no head) and a chocolate labrador brown puddle, quivering near the bottom. But the tasting notes were taken when the beer was closer to mint condition, and there I caught heavy scents of pumpkin spices: cinnamon and brown sugar dominate, but there’s some vanilla notes too once I give it a swirl and a cautious shake. Also, and this comes with two-raised eyebrows worth of surprise, I smell some egg egg, the creaminess and the spice combined in a seasonally decadent drink, and evident here in a beer. The beer’s taste is defined by the heavy palate, thick and bubbly. Once the carbonation lifts I detect almonds and hazelnuts. Closer study of the foretaste reveal’s the nose sweeter elements like the brown sugar. Leaning back, it seems that this beer is neither a Christmas Ale nor a pumpkin ale, but something that spans the Autumn and Winter culinary traditions, rounding up a chef’s shelf worth of spices and tastefully seasoning a beer with them.
January 1st, 2012 (3.2) - A Christmas beer after Christmas is an instance of poor timing, but the style lasts long after the holiday season. As long as the ground is covered in Colorado snow and the Rocky Mountains are saluting with their snow capped peaks off to the West, these dark and malty beers still make for a great nightcap on a cold night. With its soft, pillow head and light brown color, Bristol’s Christmas Ale looks ready for a a quiet winter night, with a fireplace providing the soundtrack. Christmas desserts unfurl from the top of the beer - cinnamon and clove, and a dry banana ester too, giving this a dry and raspy sweetness. The flavor is dry too, reminiscent of the neighboring Venetucci Pumpkin Ale. It’s dry and vegetal, like a gourd that was cut and then regrettably left out on the counter, forgotten for a day. Another strange flavor addition: shabu-shabu dipping sauce. It’s not quite soy sauce and it’s not teriyaki sauce either, but it’s packed full of umami side, and lends this Christmas ale some welcome depth of flavor. The aftertaste is spicy but short, and that odd shabu-shabu note simplifies down to a simple light soy sauce taste. Vegetal and deeply flavored, this is a brew that is curious for its lack of sugars and sweets. But I like this break from tradition. Indeed, that’s part of why I’m drinking a Christmas beer after the holiday period has expired. The taste isn’t spectacular, but Bristol’s Christmas Ale isn’t typical either.