lumikuuro (26) - British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 7, 2009
1 litre bottle, known as Father Johnís Winter Ale in bottles and as both Winter Ale and Christmas Ale at their brewpub.
Appearance: Fairly opaque, brownish mahogany colour with fairly white head receding to a ring. Head was monstrous when previously enjoyed in a ceramic stein; this time minimal when poured into tall central European style half litre glass tankard.
Aroma: A wonderful blend of nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, distant cinnamon, rich sugars and malts. Alcoholic nose blending in with the spices like a true winter warmer.
Taste: One word: phenomenal. The nutmeg, vanilla, and the sugary blend of honey, treacle, and yellow sugar added to this beer work in perfect harmony with each other. The added ginger blends into the warming alcohol taste, while the added cinnamon is barely noticeable but surely helps round the spice flavours. There are also hints of black cherry and even orange in here, showing just how well this beer is brewed: there are port notes here as a result. The blend of the honey, treacle, and yellow sugar add a rich sweetness that reminds the drinker of Christmas, without overpowering any of the other flavours and nuances; everything is in perfect balance. In fact, this beer is also known as Father Johnís Christmas Ale at the Howe Sound brewpub.
Mouthfeel: Fairly full bodied, wonderfully silky as the beer seems to explore the mouth without any effort from the drinker.
Drinkability: A true winter warmer that entices the drinker to have more, but is so complex and rewarding that it also begs to be savoured. Easy to drink, but not as a result of thin body or light flavour; this beer is in a much higher class.
The best winter ale in British Columbia by a country mile. And there is plenty of countryside in this part of the world. Absolutely fantastic beer.
Powertrip (1000) - Calgary, Alberta, CANADA - DEC 27, 2009
Foggy light red colour (like a winterís fog settling in on a town) with medium head. Huge nose bursting with cherries, plums, sugar cane, lime and exotic spices. I could smell this one all day long! Rarely do I come across such a lively and rich nose. The taste starts off exactly the same, with gigantic malt and more cherries. Mid palate shows a hint of pepper and some salt water taffee, with a finish thatís surprisingly short but quietly rich in citrus. An extremely well-crafted beer which should be in everyones fridge at some point or another, a real gem! MrRoss (646) - Delta, British Columbia, CANADA - JUL 14, 2009
UPDATED: JUN 10, 2010 Love those wonderful one-litre swing top bottles so favoured by Howe Sound! A creamy tan head started out at perhaps two fingers in depth, and then fell away, slowly, to a quarter-inch, all this taking some five minutes. The body was a lovely dark amber, and the aroma was malt, spices, and a suggestion of dark fruit. Much the same for the taste, along with a mouthfeel I can only class as "solid". Finished smooth with just a hint of sweetness. THis is my new favourite Christmas season beer. yogibeerra (30) - KAMLOOPS, British Columbia, CANADA - APR 12, 2011
four different malts and two different hops plus a cornucopia of spices and other goodies. at this point, this is my favourite Xmas season offering. TimInBC (16) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - FEB 2, 2016
A very nice winter beer. Like the best fruitcake you ever tasted. Smooth, a bit flat. Malty, fruity, but generally a very pleasant, enjoyable beer. Not up there with the top-quality specials, but this is the affordable beer you drink in between. I got the litre bottle, which makes for a nice pint on two consecutive days.
georgekessel (68) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 1, 2008
Tall, 1ltr fliptop bottle. Deep amber colour with a small off-white head. As any winter beer should be, it had a delicious spicy sensoral of cinammon, coriander, orange peel and nutmeg. This beer was surprisingly drinkable as the spices were not too strong. I found myself easily finishing the bottle and opening another thereafter. Lagerboy (2189) - British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 24, 2011
Unclear dark brown, minimal off white head. Sweet malt and baking spice aroma. Sweet caramel malt taste, lots of festive spices and dried fruit. Softly carbed, low hopped. Dry spiced fruit finish. Awesome Christmas beer! LF (Lagerboy Friendly) Bierdimpfe (640) - Quebec, CANADA - JUN 22, 2017
Clear copper color with almost no activity. Slightly creamy and bubbly dark beige 2 finger head, lasting around 5 minutes, with decent legs. Flavors of cinnamon, dark grains, toffee, nutmeg, light walnuts, rye, herbal spices. Pleasant gingerbread feel, not overwhelming, quite sugary but ends with bitter Christmas spices (feels more than 18 IBU). Slick and milky medium to full body with soft crispy carbonation. Strong finish, candy like, burnt brown sugar and cinnamon bread, molasses, liquorice, vanilla, ginger, and leafy hops. Very nice taste, good balance, very festive but still enjoyable. Holds up very well, itís smooth while bold and having decent freshness. Good accessibility. Though I wouldnít drink this for all year long. Overall very good quality craft. tiggmtl (4545) - East York, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 7, 2008
Strong caramel malt base beneath dense rich warm spicing in the nose. Notes of cinnamon and orange are especially apparent. Clear, deep brown-amber coloured body is topped by a decent off white head that recedes to a lasting cover. Quite sweet, round and malty flavour showcases the spices but never seems cloying. Some light lingering dark malt character is notable in the aftertaste. Bitterness is just enough to keep the sweetness in check. Medium full body with wonderful, soft bubbled carbonation that engages the tongue and cheeks. Quite a nice winter warmer. Too bad yesterdayís snow didnít stick around... Tulip glass. Cellar temperature. 1L swingtop bottle (Brewery Creek, Dec-07). rwgould (331) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - APR 1, 2011
Had one of the 1L bottles from the liquor store. Aroma smells strongly of vanilla, nuts, cinnamon. Quite nice. Appearance: Transparent brown, small frothy head, no carbonation. Palate: Medium bodied, bit of a dry finish. Taste: medium sweetness, slight bitterness, very savoury. Probably one of my Howe Sound favourites.