GarrettB (1582) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 31, 2013
UPDATED: OCT 21, 2015 December 17th, 2013 - I must have really liked Bristolís 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 thereís 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 beerís taste is defined by the heavy palate, thick and bubbly. Once the carbonation lifts I detect almonds and hazelnuts. Closer study of the foretaste revealís 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 chefís 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, Bristolís 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. Itís 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. Itís not quite soy sauce and itís not teriyaki sauce either, but itís 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, thatís part of why Iím drinking a Christmas beer after the holiday period has expired. The taste isnít spectacular, but Bristolís Christmas Ale isnít typical either. IrishBoy (4185) - 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. sonnycheeba (5970) - Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 25, 2015
Bottle. Pours copper. Aroma is bready and toasted malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and faint vanilla. Flavor is malt forward with a hefty dose of spices and faint hop character. Medium body. snoworsummer (5624) - 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. zoucrew102 (1816) - - 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.
RSRIZZO (1986) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - NOV 26, 2011
22oz bottle poured into a Tulip at 42į. 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 itís pretty good for a Spiced brew, normally I donít like these Holiday spice brews because there over spiced, but this one is very well done. tennessejed420 (940) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 29, 2011
pours very dark red, almost brown, with small grey bubbly head. Aroma of carrot cake, caramel, cinnamon. Medium bodied, pretty smooth but somewhat thin finish. Flavor of molasses and toffee, overlayed with spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and there is a fruitcake flavor. Pretty nice. drjay44 (3681) - 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 UncleKorm (1315) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - MAR 8, 2013
Bomber poured a clear deep reddish brown w/ a frothy off-white mostly diminishing head and excellent lacing. Med to big aromas of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, caramel, and dried fruit. Initial flavor is a light sweet to a moderate bitter finish. Taste is a spicy mix of Christmas with toffee, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, star anise and toasted cereal. Medium bodied, dry texture, soft carbonation, and a lasting spice in the finish. arminjewell (9585) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - JAN 14, 2013
Pour out of 22 oz bottle, dark brownish red with white head, aroma brought notes of ginger, cinnamon, slight cardamom, nice caramel, toffee, hints of dark fruits in there, slight molasses. Taste is a mix of sweet caramel, toffee, lots of spice with cinnamon, ginger, clove, some hints of cardamom, more spice notes that muddle a bit, finishing fairly spicy, bitter, slightly dry. Eh, much too over spiced but it is fairly easy to drink.