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2005 Christmas Ale - Sly Fox Brewing Company

Not Rated.
2005 Christmas Ale2005 Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

11 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 11
Hads: 11
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MaltyGoodness on 11-23-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 11 | Hads: 11
Reviews by rajendra82:
Photo of rajendra82
3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as part of Secret Santa 2005 from BA Riggsy, this 750 ml. handsome bomber was corked and caged, with a label appropriate for Christmas. Uncorking it revealed a first one in this king of packaging with the beer filled all the way to the top, and a moist cork. I guess they must have wanted to avoid oxidation at all costs.

I liked the way the beer looked in the tumbler, with rapidly formed tall foamy head capping a orange-amber colored clear and fizzy body. The aroma was very spicy and pretty much screamed out Merry Christmas. Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Clove were present in incredibly strong quantity in the nose. Since I am generally a fan of these smells, I enjoyed the experience quite a bit. If you are one of those spice haters, you might find the smell over the top.

The taste was dominated by the spices as anticipated with some sweetness provided by the sweet malts. The spices made this a very drying beer on the palette. There was faint orange peel citric note in the end. The body did not feel very thick, and at 6.5% ABV the alcohol was a non-factor in the taste. The floral and spicy taste got a bit trying by the time I reached the end of the bomber. It would have been better packaged in 12 oz. bottles, where the palette would not get fatigued. Not a bad beer, but a little more depth in terms of malt or hops would have helped. (1,367 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 mL Bottle, labeled as Brewed & Bottled in Royersford, PA

Pours a fantastic crimson brown with a super fluffy gingerbread colored head. Head does not fade.

Smells like a spicy holiday bread.

Taste is nice and spiced up front, but finishes with a rather dry and bland malt base. A sweet malty backbone would have accompanied the spices much more evenly.

Body seems thin. Would have liked something fuller on this gal.

Overall easy to drink and a nice brew from Sly Fox. Just could have used a little more umph in the maltiness. (545 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
3.61/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle from BeerBeing as part of UTBIF. Thanks for the opportunity... Corked and caged.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 2" tan head that quickly grows even taller and snocones over the top, necessitating some foam slurping, over the clear garnet brew. Head settle eventually to a meringuey pile of foam, with big hunks of lacing sticking everywhere. Aroma is buttery spices. Taste is lightly fruity malts, with a smooth butteriness, sprinkles of spicing throughout, and a light alcohol warming at the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both pretty good, smooth over the tongue, but sweetness and spices could get a bit cloying by the end. Enjoyable spiced holiday brew. (691 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BeerBeing for the 750 ml. from BIF 25**

Appearance: Pours a huge head when done aggresively. Body is medium/dark brown, clear, with lots of carbonation.

Smell: Various spices and sweet and roasty malt.

Taste: Very spicey, with nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Hops are bold in the backside, different for this style. Rich and approachable, roasted malts and slight coffee.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Easy to sip in the cold of a rainy april night here in MN. The spices work in harmony, none overdone or harsh. A very drinkable beer. (549 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not a bad seasonal offering, but nothing to go out of your way for. Pours out to a cherry / burnt orange color with a nice long lived head of foam. Medium level of carbonation. Some lace noted. Aromas are laden with spices and herbs, very appealing. The taste was a touch too heavy on spices and peppery notes, but still drinkable; lots of malts and spices, some cooked veggie elements, and a strong dryness toward the finish. Mouthfeel was fair, the dryness was a different twist toward the end. Fair drinkability. Special thanks goes out to MaltyGoodness for the sample.

THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: Both muts were rather apprehensive about this beer, and neither got into it, but both tasted it and seemed indifferent. Guess they weren't in the holiday spirit. (760 characters)

Photo of whartontallboy
4.22/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a reddish-cola brown with a big, bubbly tan head that holds pretty well and leaves a fair amount of lace in my mug.

Smell is quite spicy, big aromas of gingerbread, cinnamon-toast-malt, with a little bit of nutmeg in there, too.

Pretty spicy as it hits the mouth, with the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors coming together to give it a little Christmas-cookie flair. It stops just short of being another overspiced winter warmer-type brew, and the dry, toasty finish and lingering aftertaste go a long way towards making it surprisingly drinkable. Mouthfeel is a bit light, but still chewy enough to stand up to the spices.

Overall: Wow, this is the first of the much-anticipated Sly Fox bottles I've tried, and I'm pretty impressed. Spicy enough that you wouldn't want to drink it every night, but a nice winter treat that's a steal at around five bucks for a 750. (890 characters)

Photo of mentor
2.91/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml caged bottle provided by BeerBeing as part of BIF33. Thanks for the opportunity. Pours a 7 finger light brown head over a thin sliver of actual beer. Really overcarbonated...you should have seen the cork fly! Almost clear light brown liquid is quite inviting. Smells earthy herbal with honey. Nutmeg and bulk coriander (not the fresh stuff from my garden). Clean sugary with cinnamon. Malt is very low beneath the aromatic herbal and is accompanied by almonds. Doughy sugary gingerbread-cookies.

Tastes malty sweet with an interesting mix of spicing. The smell prepared me for a spice bomb that I wasn't looking forward to, but this is a balanced treat. Allspice laced gingerbread cookies. Not nearly as gingerbread cookie-ish as Cold Mountain (by Highland Brewing). Nice underlying malt sweet is sugary, but not overbearing. Quite in balance with the spicing. A touch of alcohol sting mixes with the aromatic portion of the spicing. A light acidic of lemons or oranges. Heartburn here I come.

As the beer warms, the spicing becomes more prominent. I sense that a brown ale is just dying to show itself, but is strangled by the spices.

Medium (yet dry) mouthfeel with strong carbonation. Honestly, a bit tough to choke this one down near the end, and I've still bot 1/3 of the bottle to go. I'll finish it tomorrow, pawning some off on my wife. (1,360 characters)

Photo of yelterdow
2.89/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to EPseja for sharing this bottle the day after Christmas, 2006. Fully a year old in the bottle, I await the experience on the tastebuds.

Served in a Duvel tulip at just over fridge temperature.

Appearance- Pours a beautiful, light caramel brown with a similar colored head... four full fingers high. Small, soapy bubbles make up this incredibly well structured beer. Skyrocketing carbonation from the base of my glass.

Smell- Cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg... the spices are in the driver's seat. Nothing in the way of hop or malt notes.

Taste- Interesting... I get ginger easily, then a yeasty doughiness almost to the degree of a dunkelweissbier. Someone spilled the contents of the spice rack here... it's all over the place and out of balance. After the swallow, the eternal yeast bitterness overtakes any other attribute and throws it out of whack.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Outrageously explosive and gassy, the mouthfeel is way too active. As the beer comes closer to temperature, the texture improves slightly. Overall, an average at best winter offering. (1,087 characters)

Photo of Higravity
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red orange with a small white head in my DT snifter. Smells like cinaamon, ginger, and some fruity sweet malt. The taste is bready with a big cinnamon taste that pulls back with a clove-ginger flavor a touch of dryness. There was also some yeasty flavors that added to the enjoyment. Nice well rounded body and easy drinker as it isn't too spiced out. (351 characters)

Photo of assurbanipaul
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark amber with a massive tan head. Aroma is well-spiced, sweet with cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Taste is equally well-spiced: Malty sweet with lots of cloves, allspice, pumpkin flavors, bready and yeasty. Not a lot of sweetness, sort of a cola caramel-syrup base to it, rather dry but not unreasonably so. You may think it is overspiced, but it comes just short of that.

Mouthfeel is medium, lively with carbonation. Nice winter brew, but not outstanding. (478 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Massively carbonated red-orange-copper with tangerine edges; a festive looking beer (what I can see of it that is). The orange-accented, light caramel-colored cap is frothysoft and is still filling more than half the glass after several minutes time. Another pour contributes to the immense rockiness of the head and I'm beginning to be reminded of a few Belgian ales that I've poured recently. All in all, a very nice look for a holiday beer.

I love Christmas spices and once I found out which 'mulling spices' were used, I was sure that I'd love the aroma. Not so fast. It isn't a bad nose, but it doesn't do the ingredients justice in my mind. There's no way that I could pick them all out, so I'll just list them: ginger, clove, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. The beer smells like a toasted, sweetly malty red ale with a nutmeg and ginger infusion.

The flavor is more to my liking than is the nose, but I'll require a lot more beer to come to a decision between pretty good and unquestionably good. Good thing that it's a 750 ml bottle. My first thought is that the beer lacks subtlety. It's full of flavor (many different flavors in fact), but it tastes muddled and run together rather than having that multi-faceted, separate-yet-works-well-together complexity that all good, boldly flavored beer has.

The malt base is solid and reminds me of toasted brown bread soaked in melted caramels. It isn't as sweet as that sounds however. The bitterness of the hops and the rampant spice load have seen to that. As in the nose, nutmeg seems to have been added with the heaviest hand. My suggestion to Sly Fox would be to either cut back on the number of spices (three well-chosen ones should do) or to cut back on the total amount. A sledgehammer isn't needed where a ballpeen hammer will do.

The body matches the ABV more than the flavor. This really is a light-medium beer, not a full, syrupy sipper. Come to think of it, it might be better at 8% with a generous mouthfeel and a seriously restricted amount of carbonation. More to consider Sly Fox; I'm only trying to help.

2005 Christmas Ale looks good--both the bottle itself and the beer that exits the bottle--but doesn't quite measure up to my expectations. I hope that the brewery changes thing up each holiday season, because with a few tweaks this one could be a contender. (2,347 characters)

2005 Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 11 ratings.