Brewed by Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg)
Style: Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Grimstad, Norway


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 553   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.71/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
This is the second release of Special Holiday Ale, which was first brewed in San Diego in 2008. Each brew is following the same recipe, including Michigan chestnuts, white sage from southern California and Norwegian juniper berries, but differences in brewing and aging practices produce different beers. Cheers to being different! Skål!

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
JulienHuxley (5658) - Trois-Rivières, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 18, 2010
Dirty brown pour with floaties, nice ring though. Aroma is minty, spicy (cloves, cinnamon) and candied cherries. The taste reminds me of gin. It is also vinous. The alcohol is quite apparent which isn’t a bad thing. Full palate, soft carbonation. It’s not the best beer I’ve had but it is unique and very fun to drink. Nice sipper.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Kestral (506) - Årnes, NORWAY - SEP 12, 2010
Cask@Håndverkerstuene. Black with a thin layer of big airy o/w bubbles. Odd aroma of salty liquorice, cough syrup, evergreen, some alcohol, a bit soapy. Sounds terrible, but isn’t. Coffee comes through in the flavour, bitter spices. Well balanced, if a bit on the dry side. A bit flat, but it’s cask. Medium bodied. Actually quite chuffable. This was wierd. Definitely christmasy. Not as wierd as Underlig Jul/Peculiar Yule though. I enjoyed it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - SEP 9, 2010
Bottle: Pours an amber color with a nice white head. the nose is very spicy with lots of juniper and malts. Nearly medicinal with a fruity and spicy flavor and a thick sweet yeasty body to accompany. A little out there, but it works for the holiday beers. The finish comes together and it’s still quite quaffable, it’s just that middle part that gets in the way for me.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Mjollnir (400) - Canberra, AUSTRALIA - SEP 9, 2010
500mL bottle. Pours a viscous, murky dark mahogany with a small, dense and persistent tan head. Reasonably complex aroma as expected from a beer with so many ingredients, the strongest being dried fruit followed by juniper and a hint of the caraway. A bit of roast in the flavour, quite sweet, a little spicy and with low bitterness. The alcohol is noticeable on the nose and palate. Full bodied and quite thick, very creamy with a fruity and spicy finish.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
slowrunner77 (10458) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 7, 2010
UPDATED: OCT 5, 2014 a touch more spice and less hops than the stone version. nearly identical and just about as awesome.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
lusikka (7744) - Tampere, FINLAND - SEP 5, 2010
UPDATED: MAR 7, 2012 Tap @ Olutravintola Pikkulintu. Rated on 5.12.2009.
Deep red colour with a creamy head. Very spicy aroma with notes of gingerbread, coriander and licorice. Rich flavor has the same elements with caramel, nuts and wood. Full bodied, oily and smooth texture. Very well balanced and pleasant for the holiday season. 9-4-8-4-16 4.1

500 ml bottle, batch #526, bottled 3.8.2010, BBE 3.8.2015.
Pours a very dark brown colour with very low on transparency. Small off-white head. Aroma of strong anise, pepper and licorice. Strong flavour of cough drops, salty licorice, pepper, anise and nuts. Some light sweet and ripe berries as well. Medium bodied, very smooth mouthfeel. Strong and long finish of sweet ripe fruits, anise and licorice. What a lovely spicy soup. Ages well, it seems. Could use some bite, which the tap version had. 8-4-8-4-16 4.0

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
MartinT (9499) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 29, 2010
My Bottom Line:
Raisins, juniper and spiced bread notes adorn this full-bodied yet effervescent dessert brew.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A veil of foam floats atop the cloudy dark brown. There is too much yeast in the bottle to my liking.
-Mild citrusy tartness is found in the last half of each sip.
-The finish is not cloying at all, which often happens in these Christmasy spiced ales.
-The yeast gets in the way of the flavor even if you are careful not to include any in your glass.


   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
bluevegie (3073) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - AUG 29, 2010
Deep dark brown body with tan head. Lots of spice notes on the aroma and taste, medium body and moderate carbonation, alcohol hidden and easy enough to drink.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
rbrazell (1698) - Florida, USA - AUG 16, 2010
Pours a deep brown with a smooth tan head. Nose is spicy, sage, ginger, toffee and caramel. Silky mouth feel, sweet malt, bitter chocolate with lots of spices.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
sayravai (4707) - Helsinki, FINLAND - JUL 26, 2010
([email protected], sampled 2009-12-05) Very dark brown with medium, firm head. Mild aroma of licorice and eucalyptus, plus dried fruit. Roasted-malty flavor with Xmas spices, anise, dried fruit, some caramel. Quite full body, low on CO2. A quite pleasantly balanced Xmas brew, especially when warmed up a bit.

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