Posts Tagged ‘winter beer’

12 Beers of X-Mas: Capital Winter Skål

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The winter offering from Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin is called Winter Skål. The name is a reference to the the Scandinavian toasting word skål, roughly the equivalent of cheers or prosit.Capital Winter Skål I’m imagining a horde of vikings singing merry songs while warming themselves with mugs of mead.

The Skål pours a lightly ruby-tinted gamboge color, and almost perfectly clear. There is just a bit of off-white head. A rich spicy and malty nose greets you immediately. Cinnamon and cloves are joined by well done toast and the aroma of something caramelizing. A bit of an earthy hop nose is present, and a bit of sulfur slightly impinges.

The “lagery” sulfuric character comes out more on the tongue, somewhat obstructing the malt flavor. Clove spice and some roast malt flavor are present, and an herbal, earthy hop taste comes through as well. The body is quite full, which seems out of place given the other qualities of this beer. Overall the Skål is not bad, but I think it could use a little more time in the lager tank to clean up.

+/-Capital Winter Skål

3.1 (2-7-6-3-13)

12 Beers of X-mas: Goose Island Christmas Ale

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Since my original 12 Beers of X-Mas back in 2008, the idea has been taken up by many others, including Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Peter at BetterBeerBlog, Dan Murphy with the Press-Register, and the guys over at beerschoolblog. Cheers!

Goose Island Christmas AleThis year’s 12 Beers of X-Mas begins with the 2011 Christmas Ale from Goose Island. The reverse label on my bottle of this American brown ale is upside-down. The obverse shows the goose with a Santa hat, encircled by holly and ivy.

The Christmas Ale pours a barely hazy copper brown. The tan head is generous, but not as solid as I would like. The nose is mild but complex. A spiciness is immediately evident, with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A rich nutty and bready malt character follows, accompanied by a slight grassy hoppiness.

The grassy hop flavor stands out, assuring this beer a prominent place among American-style brown ales. The hops lend some bitterness, almost balanced by the nutty malt flavor. A spicy character and alcoholic bite add to the complex richness. An appropriate winter beer.

+Goose Island Christmas Ale 2011

3.6 (3-8-7-3-15)

12 Beers of X-Mas: Petrus Winter Ale

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Merry Christmas.

With my family tonight I shared a bottle of Petrus Winter, the winter seasonal of Petrus beers from Brewery Bavik, brewers of Wittekerke. You can find English-language information at the Global Beer Network. There they note a possiblity I had also considered: that the Winter is blended with a bit of the Petrus Oud Bruin. The dry, lightly fruity, lightly musty aroma and flavor remind me a bit of some old browns I’ve had.

The Winter pours a barely hazy copper caramel color. On top is a thick, creamy, lingering tan head. I poured a bit too fast and the head came at least a centimeter out of the glass without spilling over. Taking a whiff is a pleasure: the aroma is light and complex. It is dry, fruity, and lightly musty. There is the strong aroma of red raspberries, and some caramel malt backing. It is playful and contemplative.

Noble bitterness balances the full palate. The flavor is fruity of mangoes and berries. As it reaches the back of the tongue it dries out, leaving spices, notably coriander and black pepper. Overall, quite dry and lively. The flavor is good, but I must admit that after the incredible nose it is a bit of a letdown.

My father, commenting on the strength (7.3% abv): “…if I have too much of the Tetris.”

+Petrus Winter Ale

4.0 (4-9-7-4-16)

12 Beers of X-Mas: Pickled Santa

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

So while I tasted the beer for last night, I didn’t get around to posting my review. I’m sorry Santa, I didn’t mean to be naughty. I was just busy worrying about other things.

From the Ridgeway Brewery comes Pickled Santa, a Christmas beer commissioned by Shelton Brothers “exclusively for distribution in the United States” (from the bottle). Note that this isn’t the Pickled Santa produced by the Hop Back Brewery despite the similar label art.

The beer pours a amber-tinted gold that is quite clear. The off-white head is creamy and lasting. The aroma is light and dry, with some caramel malt notes and noticeable spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. The flavor is intensely spicy: wintergreen and coriander, with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper. The body is full but not overpowering, with a comfortable thickness. Some lingering sweetness balances the spice and alcohol warming. This is a straightforward strong, spiced, English winter beer. Well executed, but I just can’t get that excited about it. The spices don’t make me really want another one, at least at the moment.

+Pickled Santa

RateBeer: 3.7 (4-6-8-4-15)

12 Beers of X-Mas: Bah Humbug!

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

In early December it is impossible to avoid the crowds gearing up for the holidays. I can’t escape being festive as well, so for the next twelve days I’ll be tasting a Christmas or winter themed beer. Someone will no doubt observe that the twelve days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day. Nuts to you, I’m getting everyone excited to celebrate.

From the Wychwood Brewery in Whitney, Oxfordshire comes Bah Humbug!, their regular Christmas ale. It pours a somewhat hazy mahogany. The head is a creamy wheat that thins quickly but still remains. The nose smells alot like Jack Daniels… malty and boozy, with a little sweetness.

The flavor is a bit off. There is a strong fusel alcohol warming bordering on a bite. There is also a meaty, almost rubbery character I would attribute to yeast autolysis. Caramel malt flavor and some sweetness are present as well. The carbonation is pleasantly low, and the palate round and full without being too thick. Bah Humbug! is close to being quite good, but was fermented much too warm, so it seems very boozy. The noble hops and delicate malt character are hidden behind unpleasant off-flavors.

+/-Wychwood Bah Humbug!

RateBeer: 2.9 (3-6-5-4-11)