2008 Christmas Ale - Sly Fox Brewing Company
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Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Foxman:
3.9/5 rDev -3%
It pours a clear and carbonated dark tea amber brown. Two fingers of very light tan fizzy head settle quite slowly. Fingers of lacing tickle the inside of the glass.
In the aroma, underlying grain breathes caramel and molasses, while esters uncork a crisp, general spice blend that teases to a hint of complexity.
Upon tasting, the grain is toasted and sweet, mildly of sugar, caramel, and toffee. Here the spices separate in stages, first with clove boosted by esters and aromatic allspice. Ginger and nutmeg precede a soft but credible swath of alcohol. Baked bread and sweet residual grain are laced with cinnamon, prompting a display of crisp dryness that slowly fades into a muted, lingering bitterness. It's fairly creative and certainly Christmas-y.
Medium bodied, the carbonation peps, the grain slinks, and the spices scrub to a glow.
The spices come way forward in the flavor, a surprise considering their subdued presence in the aroma, but it's better for the assertion. Still, it could use more behind the spice to give it some semblance of balance and heft. The ABV is lithe and rangy, but it's workable and makes it a warm holiday quaff. This mulled ale is worth mulling over, from time to time.
02-03-2009 23:02:55 | More by Foxman
More User Reviews:
4.45/5 rDev +10.7%
A-Beautiful deep red brown with a huge light tan head that lasts forever
S-Malt and ginger with some clove in the background.
T-Spices come through with a malt and cherry sweetness that really shines when this warms a bit. The finish is dry and clean with an excellent hop balance to offset the sweetness. This is one tasty brew without being overpowered with seasonal spices.
M-A tad bit lighter than I was expecting, but that is not a bad thing. Above average carbonation, but overall very well done.
D-This is a very drinkable seasonal, and of everything that I have tasted yet this year...this is my hands down favorite when it comes to the spiced beer warmer variety. The cherry backdrop adds a very interesting twist to this, and while it sits behind the spices, it is a welcome and tasty addition.
I just had the opportunity to re-review this as somehow my local distributor just got a case of the 2008 version in from the brewery. The 2008 is far superior to the 2009 version, with a marked cherry character. Very nice, and a year has toned down the effervescent character that marked this last year.
12-22-2008 01:34:57 | More by caddybuyer
4.43/5 rDev +10.2%
Bottle from the brewery in Phoenixville & also had it on tap at their other location in Royersford.
Aroma is exceptional, even better than it tastes. Scents of nutmeg and cinnamon. Smells like Christmas. Lighter w/a lower abv for a Christmas Ale but still substantial. Very nice beer, drinkable and uncategorizable like a good winter/X-mas ale should be.
A standout from an underrated brewery.
12-16-2008 03:41:01 | More by fuzzylogic
4.15/5 rDev +3.2%
A lovely light tan-chestnut colored ale that pours with a thick but not foamy off-white head. It leaves a thick lacing and remains a skim atop the brown ale.
Poured into a goblet.
The aroma has elements of slightly smokey malts and a vanilla sweetness.
On the palate there is a hint of chewy vanilla, a nutty bitterness, a bit of clove, cardamom and perhaps some dark fruit (prune/plumb/raisin). It is not cloyingly sweet. warming and refreshing at the same time. The vanilla is present and there is also a vague candy-cane mint.
The mouthfeel is nothing exceptional but it is also not bad. It is a bit fizzy but this doesn't offset the flavors. Neither does it particularly enhance this beer.
Slyfox 2008 is very drinkable. It goes down quite easy and leaves a clean sense on the tongue. Despite its dark richness it at no time becomes syrupy.
12-19-2009 01:59:24 | More by Minotaur
4.25/5 rDev +5.7%
P- Knickerbocker in Altoona, PA.
A- a nice root beer like color. Decent head that does hang around for bit. gorgeous black licorice highlites.
S- cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, figs and ginger. The cloves are in the forefront and dominate the smell.
T- taste mimics the smell. Alcohol is also present in the taste moreso than in the nose.
M- feels like xmas all over again. I feel like i should be opening presents. I nice winter warmer that goes down smooth and warms the trachea.
D- a great beer but it is a lil heavy that could take it down a notch ot two in my rating.
01-25-2009 20:26:56 | More by Dodo2step
4.08/5 rDev +1.5%
Big thanks to my Santa this year for providing me with both the 2007 and 2008 versions of this monster. This one was passed around during xmas dinner. Served a little below room temp and poured into a wine glass, this one was consumed on 12/25/2008.
The pour was very nice with a rich dark brown with mild light red hints on the side. Some sediment was visible in the bottom of the glass but nothing too extreme here at all. The head was beautiful though. Hige two inches plus of towering tan foam that refused to sit down, coating the sides and the bottom in tons of lacing and foam.
The aroma was top notch as well. Rich notes of cinnamon, spices, nutmeg, hints of vanilla and a light pepper like aroma all very clear here. Very earthy and warm, with only a hint of alcohol coming through. The flavor was more of the same. Rich with lots of anise and cinnamon leading the pack here. Smooth, mellow and subtle dark fruits as well really giving quite a bit of depth. Lots of carbonation and subtle flavor on the finish led this to be a fine sipper that really set off dinner quite well
Overall I thought this was great. Having been able to have the 07 and 08 in the same week, I have to say I am quite impressed. Really top notch stuff coming out of Sly Fox as usual.
12-27-2008 02:17:51 | More by mikesgroove
4.2/5 rDev +4.5%
In a nice little Christmas beer sampling in the middle of the spring, cracked this one open and poured it into my long-stemmed tulip glass.
The pour produces a garnet-hued body capped by a thick fluffy white head. There is no lacing to speak of, though after each sip, a few spotty bubbles linger on the walls of the glass and slowly slink back down into the beer.
Ginger, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are all evident in the nose and balance nicely with the Munich malts that provide a nutty backbone. The taste tracks almost directly with my initial impression of the aroma, as the beautifully balanced spices really just serve to highlight the actual body of the beer itself. The only addition is a touch of caramel in the finish that lingers on the palate with cinnamon and clove.
Creamy, but light in consistency. Carbonated like a Belgian, but it doesn't overwhelm the palate and take away from the beer. This beer is very nicely done. The spice is clearly a focal point, but Sly Fox hit it right on the nose with the balance.
06-19-2010 20:43:14 | More by NittanyBeerFan
4.5/5 rDev +11.9%
Finally getting to some reviews before my notebook bursts.
I got my holiday spirit from this beer. No joke.
The beer pours a deep brown with ruby hues. Creamy head fizzes out but allows for lacing in the glass. The aroma is very malt forward with subtle hints of spices. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla. Hints of yeast in the background. Allowed to sit some alcohol comes thru but is only very subtle.
The flavor is rich with malts. The spices are present but none are overpowering. This is where many spiced beers fall apart--inbalance with the spices and other ingrediants and its either to spicy or too thin in the body. I cannot find anything that is out of place in this beer. The spices are crisp and clean. No bitterness anywhere. Subtle hints of sugar and vanilla come thru. Some caramel. All balanced out nicely by malts. Solid medium body with a slightly warm finsih. In the mouth its nicely carbonated, smooth, and again finishes clean. It all adds up to a very drinkable beer. And I drank a good portion of the keg.
01-10-2009 16:40:35 | More by LunaChick
4.05/5 rDev +0.7%
If u do happen to come across one make sure u got a glass ready; this gushes out in a hurry. Pillow-y light tan foam but quickly subsides. Dark auburn type color; a bit redder when held up to light. Smell of cloves and nutmeg, cinnamon, spice and all those things nice. Smells like some yummy type of spiced Christmas bread or cookie (as has been mentioned). A bit past medium mouthfeel that seems around where it should be; maybe the carbonation is a bit too much though. Spices are apparent in the taste but not too sweet to become cloying; I like the balance of this: not too over the top.
Hop bitterness on the backend. A sipper as any good Christmas ale should be. Overall, pretty solid.
01-22-2010 20:21:32 | More by billyshears
4/5 rDev -0.5%
On the growler station at Bellport Beer in early December. Appearance was great, dark amber color with a perfect head. Wonderful and powerful aromas of holiday spices. Taste is much of the same but very well balanced. A quintessential "Christmasy" beer. Overall a great beer to drink during this time of year. Had a bottled version later and was also excellent. Bellport Beer also has some bottles from 2007 that I havnt tried. The ABV is not high so I'm curious to see how it holds up.
12-22-2008 01:05:06 | More by lehows
4.2/5 rDev +4.5%
Poured into a tulip glass. Clear dark mahogany color with a tan head and minimal lacing. Heavy spicy aroma in a very pleasant way. The clove cinnamon and nutmeg really standout to me here. While the spices are strong here they are not that sickly type of strong. I enjoyed this beer, to me it was almost like drinking and not so sweet Christmas cookie.
12-26-2009 15:36:20 | More by bob3701
3.85/5 rDev -4.2%
750 ml cage-corked bottle -
Best by 10/30/10:
Pours hazed reddish amber with a fluffy light brown head that descends and stays. Some trailing lace sticks.
The smell is Christmas-y - nutmeg, cinnamon, honey, ginger - pumpkin-pie-ish spicing with a touch of pine sap and a caramelish backing.
The taste is of Christmas spicing - nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, honey, etc. balanced by caramel candy sweetness that is slightly roasted to give more balance. Just a slight hint of warmth in the finish.
The body is medium with carbonation that is just a bit towards harsh.
A nice spicy sipper to have during the holidays, or as a holiday reminder. Enjoyable even "out of season" when looking for a spiced, but reasonably balanced, brew!
06-15-2009 00:16:46 | More by jwc215
3.98/5 rDev -1%
$2.99 on sale right after Christmas :). Pours a claylike brown color with a big rocky head (almost too much head). Pretty dark but with nice clarity. Aroma of lightly sprinkled cinnamon and metal. Taste starts a little weak. Begins a lot like other winter warmers out there. Nicely balanced cinnamon and malt with a peppery hop finish subdued by the rest of the malt and spices. If it weren't for the hop flavor at the end I'd say this was a little boring but they definitely bring out a little more of the alcohol and spice. Mouthfeel seems pretty dead on- nothing unique in itself but very right for this style. This beer has a lot of moderation in every category. Nothing leaps out as terribly amazing or unique but each aspect of it comes together very well with the others. Overall it's a very nicely put together beer, although it takes a few sips to realize it.
01-07-2009 01:49:58 | More by wiseguy142
4.1/5 rDev +2%
I am a fan of Harpoon's Winter Warmer because I'm big on cinnamon, so seeing that cinnamon was on the label got me pretty excited. Pretty brown-red color...burnt sienna? Smell is OK, some cinnamon in there. Much more balanced taste than the Harpoon. By that, I mean there is a hop flavor, and it is not just a sweet cinnamon bomb. Hearty mouthfeel, but not oily. Carbonation was good, but didn't help me out when I was opening the bottle (took a full 5 minutes or so). A pleasant beer to drink, but could go down a little easier.
04-12-2009 02:57:52 | More by dborginis
3.95/5 rDev -1.7%
A: Fantastic and frothy dark khaki head resting atop a very dark brown brew with specks of red.
S: Lots of spice, exactly like stated on the bottle. Prevalent ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg along with cookie-sweet malts that come in just after the onrush of holiday baking spices.
T: A spicy little number, all the holiday spices galore with a peppery kick when the back door closes.
M: Dry with just a touch of warming alcohol.
D: A very flavorful and enjoyable spiced brew.
I definitely have an affinity for beers that are brewed with these spices, so I definitely enjoyed this superb beer brewed with them. That being said, the beer reminded me alot of some pumpkin ales, DFH Punkin Ale in particular. This obviously comes from the use of the same barrage of spice, so while the beer was very good, it wasn't a standout simply because of the profile similarities.
12-19-2008 23:55:33 | More by phantomwyse
4.3/5 rDev +7%
Appearance: pours a copper color with a two finger head. Some mild lacing develops.
Smell: nutmeg, cinammon, and malt sweetness comes through.
Taste: malt, nutmeg, cinammon, pepper, red apple sweetness, and a nice bitterness. This is great on the spice level, not overpowering and enhances the flavor.
Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Medium bodied. Aftertaste has spices lingering for a few seconds.
Drinkability: very nice winter beer that does not blow away the tastebuds with overdone spices. Pick this one up.
12-28-2008 19:08:55 | More by Gavage
4.05/5 rDev +0.7%
Very good this year. A deep dark brown color and thick head that lasts throughout the beer. A definite cinnnamon and nutmeg taste as advertised. A beer I usually like to try once or twice every holiday season and as usual did not let me down. I suggest enjoying quickly, however, as I just tried a 2007 botle and thought it was a bit past its prime.
12-17-2008 02:13:46 | More by lessthanhadley
3.85/5 rDev -4.2%
Received from sholland119 in Secret Santa 08.
Poured into a snifter. Reddish Brown with a 2 finger chestnut head.
Smell: Faint smells of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. I'm not too impressed here.
Taste: Maraschino Cherries, Cinnamon, and Ginger. It's a little on the sweet side and highly carbonated.
It's weird, but it works. The spices are perfect. Nothing stands out too much and it's not overspiced.
12-11-2008 02:16:40 | More by TheBlackMallard
3.53/5 rDev -12.2%
The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a mild mlat scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts along with a moderate dose of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The taste is decent as well. It has a dry, cinnamon and ginger flavor that's balanced with crystal and roasted malts. The spicing is a bit much for me. It has almost a medicinal feel to it. The mouthfeel is above average. It is a full bodied beer with too much CO2. I'm burping after every sip. This is a pretty good brew. I would like to see some more warmth and malt complexity with just a hint of spices. Not bad.
01-11-2009 23:38:15 | More by WesWes
4.1/5 rDev +2%
A solid christmas brew. Pours a deep brown/red with a tan head that defoamed rather quickly and left little lace. Tons of christmas spice in the nose and mouth, with nutmeg the predominate offender. Interesting cherry like notes in the taste, which was pleasant and kept me guessing. Great malt profile, with a nice hop bittering agent in the finish. The alcohol was well hidden. If not for the large spice presence, I could have gone for a second bomber. As is, one by myself was just right.
01-03-2009 14:36:03 | More by jwjon1
4.5/5 rDev +11.9%
A: 750 ml corked and caged bottle served into an Imperial Pint glass. Beer is a clear deep, rich burnt sienna color that borders on dark red. 2-3 fingers of fizzy khaki-colored foam that recede to a nice, rocky, well-retained cap top the glass, leaving some fine lacing around the meniscus, but none clinging to the sides. Active carbonation and some floating particulate are evident throughout.
S: This one is all about the spices. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves sit heavy on the nose, with the ginger being especially fresh and pungent. A slightly sweet caramel malt base is there. A hint of wild cherry becomes evident as the beer warms, and the nutmeg opens up at this point as well.
T/M: This is definitely spicy, but surprisingly well balanced. Much more spice-forward that last year's offering, the underlying caramel malt flavor supports a medium-bodied brew with a silky smooth mouthfeel and spot-on carbonation. The cinnamon and nutmeg are most prevalent on the palate at first, but as the beer warms, a previously undetected vanilla flavor comes out and tempers the spice. An ever-so-slight peppery hop bite greets the finish, which lingers and builds as the drink progresses.
D/O: I was really blown away when I had this on draft at a promo event, and am glad that the bottled version lived up. As I mention above, this is definitely a spicier version over last year's batch (the only other year I've tried), but not so much to the point of being overdone. It's complex and tasty, and the vanilla was certainly a treat I wasn't expecting to find. In my mind this is the epitome of a winter warmer: rich, malty, and flavorful with loads of traditional holiday tastes. I look forward to seeing how the 3 bottles I have left develop with time over the next couple of years.
Here's a thought if you're reading this Brian O'Reilly: how about a "Reserve" version of next year's offering with a higher OG and some barrel conditioning? I can only imagine what the spices and vanilla would do on wood if it had enough body to hold up to the aging. This year's release seems like a perfect candidate flavor-wise if it were a high enough ABV.
01-13-2009 00:08:21 | More by Phillyduke
3.63/5 rDev -9.7%
Saw this sitting in my local beer haunt for $6 and thought I'd give it a go.
The pour is on the pretty side of the spectrum. Attractive, deep red color with a pillowy tan head that I can draw shapes into with my finger.
Scents are probably the most appealing part of this, pretty as it is. Very fragrant with nutmeg, allspice and clove. A hint of banana bread/pumpkin bread going on.
Flavors are very top-note sweet. Some of those spices do linger on the palate but overall the profile is dominated by a sweet tea type of effect. References to eggnog. The only real bitterness to be found is from the spices.
Mouthfeel seems a little on the fence to me. I think it could stand to be either be lighter or denser. At the moment it feels a little bit undecided to me.
This would probably pair very well with a holiday themed meal. With fruitcake, squash soup, perhaps even something in a curry, the resonance would be nice. Worth a try.
12-07-2009 06:48:10 | More by ommegangpbr
3.73/5 rDev -7.2%
A- pours a really nice dark brown with some red undertones, some red light gets through
S- gingerbread, cinnamon, cocco
T- cocco, holiday spices in general, def can taste gingerbread
M- really nice, good carbonation
D- good, but a very full flavored and spiced beer, it would be hard to have more than one of these
12-27-2008 17:22:58 | More by gdfan47
2008 Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.