davesarman (159) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - OCT 22, 2004
Beautiful aroma of spices, baked stone fruits, plum pudding, malt. Complex and not overly agressive. So far so good! Deep copper color with mild carbonation once poured, but it doesn’t take much to produce a huge tight craggy head. Sometimes this means a beer that has expired. Lets hope it does not in this case. Taste is mild, subtle. Almost like having a cask beer in a bottle. This is very satisfying. Nice subtle complexities of malt, fruitiness and spices. A bit overly carbonated, as I pour the bottle bit by bit I keep getting a head like a root beer float. But the finish is subtle. Makes you search for the flavors and they are there if you look for them. Not unlike a Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome. Nice beer. MillStreetMan (152) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 20, 2005
Quite frankly, I don’t really see why the overall rating is so low. I really enjoyed this beer, as it is really one of the closest approximations of a cask ale I’ve got out of a bottle. It pours a lovely dark reddish-brown, with some sediment in it. The scent is of Christmas pudding, with ginger and cinnamon and cloves. The flavour is essentially the same, with a dry sweetness of raisins and candied ginger. Fantastic. PorterPounder (7970) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - APR 13, 2005
500 ml bottle, Habersham Beverage Warehouse, Savannah, Ga. Pours a orangish copper with a thick, frothy off-white head and thick lacing left on the glass. Spicy, nutmeg-like aroma - very fresh. Flavor has some spicy elements to it as well. Pick up a bit of cinammon and nutmneg with a trace of spearmint. God overall bitter flavor with a nutty undertone. Palate is thick and creamy. Really enjoyed this one - could see spending a loing night in an English pub nursing several of these. Lou18 (1353) - West Paterson, New Jersey, USA - JUN 16, 2005
Orange body, white foamy head. WoW! the nose on this screams winter spice beer. There is cinnamon and clove and a good bit of pine-hops. Taste was spice all over the place. Mouth feel was full, and milky smooth. Come winter, I will be looking for Ale Mary. henry3r (586) - Wichita, Kansas, USA - JAN 30, 2006
The bottle poured a clear reddish amber beverage with an average sized creamy off-white head that lasted throughout the tasting and left beautiful lacing on the glass. The aroma was quite complex. My first impression was that of 12-year old scotch. The grains were represented by a light background of caramel and chocolate, the hops, by the light presence of flowers and herbs. There were notes of spices such as pepper, coriander and cinnamon represented as well. Wow, this was a real nose banquet. The body was medium-full with lively carbonation and a creamy texture. There was a moderate alcohol warmth in the finish. The flavor started off lightly sweet with all the spiciness mentioned in the aroma plus a slight oak wood cask edge and tawny port presence. The finish flavor was moderately bitter and long lasting.
larsga (7542) - Oslo, NORWAY - FEB 6, 2007
Creamy medium white head. Chestnut brown body with strong carbonation. Powerful wooden aroma with light cloves, cinnamon, and acidic touches. Reminiscent of a lambik, but without the metallic severity. Deep, sweetish wooden acidic cloves and cinnamon taste with metallic, nutty, fruity notes. Dry wooden, spicy aftertaste. Very powerful spiciness to this one; really enjoyed that. (0.5l bottle.) Gary (1999) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2010
UPDATED: DEC 28, 2010 (bottle conditioned) the aroma was singing with festive spices ...very upbeat ..alcohoic ginger breadmen and frosted raisin bread...boozzy corriander similar to Hoeggarden.JPDIPSO (6223) - Wauwatosa, USA - MAY 15, 2002
Huge creamy head that lasts an age above glowin murky straw. I like this , its not generic or sickly in showcasing spices in a pale ale. Sweet and dry , with nice tart acidity... festive spices are rich . this beer is not ott ,maybe a bit contrived , but good fun.
A chistmas ale. Spices of ginger and cloves. Almost a rum cake flavor. Definately one to sit and relax with. Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 7, 2004
The color a beclouded deep copper with a Brobdingnagian head that is light tan in color, the texture creamy and as it ever so slowly degrades the resultant lace a thick and sticky sheet to obscure the glass. The nose is all malt, sweet, clean and fresh, quite crisp, snappy if you like, start is nicely malted, sweet with the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is stinging in its acidity, the hops very English, staid and subdued, quite pleasurable in their sublime spiciness, very dry aftertaste, quite quaffable this one, and I enjoyed its mildness, its palate pleasing freshness and quite a thirst quencher. Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - SEP 13, 2004
"Ale Mary", eh? I’d been preparing myself to brainstorm some faith-based jocularity, until I realized that this beer comes pre-punned. The label is adorned with a portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots, the 16th century princess who lost her life for her crimes against Elizabeth 1. Around her likeness, this slogan circles: "A beautifully executed bottle conditioned ale." Oh, ho, ho,ho, ho!
I tried to avoid the rest of the label’s text in order to form my own personal judgement. And so...
Color is hazy, dark amber, and the head is huge with foam, lacey and fluffy. The nose is abuzz with citric hops, as well as some stronger and sharper flavors, that push this winter warmer a little closer, but not quite, toward a barleywine.
"A little vinous, more raisiny, plummy flavors arrive on the palate, with sweet associations of brandy and rum. On the palate, quite sweet, in fact, perfectly so. Never cloying, not a touch of bitterness, either. Hops show up a bit before too long, and display a delightful play upon the tongue. Quite a bit of yeast here, too, and it contributes largely to the taste and mouthfeel.
Full-bodied, malty, tangy, toasty, and delicious. A British Winter Warmer I fully enjoyed.
If I’d read the label beforehand, I’d have been watching out for the "warm and sweet aroma of cloves, coriander and ginger." And "the palate provides touches of rum, raisins and sultanas." I got some of that, but what is a "sultana"? Webster’s defines it as a "small, seedless raisin." So, we learned something new today, thanks to beer labels! Hail Ale Mary!