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2009 Christmas Ale - Sly Fox Brewing Company

Not Rated.
2009 Christmas Ale2009 Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

16 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 16
Hads: 19
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 7.65%
Wants: 0
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TheFightfan1 on 12-06-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 16 | Hads: 19
Reviews by TheFightfan1:
Photo of TheFightfan1
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby color with a heavy large bubbled light brown heading. A little lacing is left after a few sips.Does leave a thick bubbley heading throughout the tasting.

Smell is all malt.Very subtle allspice, ginger , and maybe some clove. A bit of a metallic detected. Some slight chocolate as well.

Taste now flexes it's muscle. Heavy ginger at first invades the mouth as well as some cinnamon. A nice spicey finish.

Mouth is medium bodied with some lively carbonation maybe a bit overcarbonated. Ginger sticks on the palate for a nice lingering finish.

Drinkability is good. Easy going and heavily bubbled. A nice Christmas drink that I looked forward to every year now. (681 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of caddybuyer
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting for this one all year. Poured from a caged and corked 750 into a tulip glass.

A-Deep clear garnet ruby with a massive creamy tan head that craters nicely as it settles down.

S-Pretty subdued overall. Malt with a hint of cinnamon and some cloves in the background.

T-Nose carries through to the palate but in a more pronounced way. Subtle cherry taste behind it all and a hint of clove and some hops in the back end to round it out. A nice solid brew. Not as good as I remember it from last year, but I still enjoy it alot.

M-Medium-light mouthfeel and higher carbonation than I would like, however a heavy handed pour will bring this to where it should be.

D-Good drinkablity on this. I have a number of these and will look forward to cracking them open.

I wish this was a tad bit more spice forward, and I'd love to see a big beer version. Othewise, another seasonal that I look forward to every year.

Do yourself a favor...this one really shines as it warms. I'd say ideal temp is cellar, or slighly chilled from cellar, but don't drink it straight from the fridge. (1,091 characters)

Photo of asabreed
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

Appearance: Huge head on this one, almost like a Belgian. I wonder what yeast is involved. Massive rings and sticky lacing. And a nice amber body with good raucous carbonation surging to the top.

Smell: A lot of spice and pepper and what you'd expect. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Vanilla. Some coriander. A bit of citrus and possible maple syrup and cookie dough. But good citrus hops balance things out, making it not so Christmas-y as some can be, just like some over-spiced Pumpkin Ales.

Taste: Good initial mix of malt and spices. Some cinnamon and nutmeg. Some vanilla and caramel and pepper. But nothing's too crazy, and the malts seem just right too. Enough good fruit esters to balance things out, along with the hops at the end, just adding a bit of citrus nuance to the mix.

Mouthfeel: More spritzy and carbonated than I'd originally thought it was going to be, but it makes sense considering the head on the top of this thing with each poor. Still manages to be nicely medium bodied without the carbonation taking too much away from the body being coating.

Drinkability: I was very impressed with this overall. Subtle and nuanced, not too sweet or spiced, and priced very well at around $7 a bottle. I wonder how well it will age, but it's drinking great now as a fresh bottle. (1,335 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

- Consumed on Christmas day 2009.

A: Poured a deep brazilian cherry-cola with a beige head that occupied a greater majority of the glass volume upon the initial pour. The head was firm at first, and slowly eroding around the edges eventually leaving a towering center piece of foam standing in the middle. Retention was extraordinary, taking forever to fall while a medium dense showering of carbonation rains upward. The head never falls entirely while the lacing provided foamy, bubbly splotches that stuck fairly well.

S: The nose was sweet caramel and baked sugar cookies with a spicing of cinnamon and nutmeg coming through. Soft hints of ginger and cloves are also well noted here. The overall sense was one of light-medium strength but delivered enough so to give you a good appreciation and holiday feel without an overwhelming feeling of being tortured by a spice rack. A nice soft christmasy feeling of evergreens is also detected.

T: The flavor had a overwhelming sense of caramel and sugar cookie dough sweetness. Cinnamon and brown sugar notes come through at first along with all spice and cola notes. A fruitiness comes in compliments of the yeast in the way of apples and peaches. The finish rounds up with a blended sweetness of wort, holiday spices and fresh apple pie with crust.

M: The mouthful is creamy, medium bodied with a good deal of carbonation. Malty and sweet with a gentle holiday spicing and warming works well here.

D: good drinkability with the spices being nicely balanced with none really standing out more so then the other, but each with their own subtle contributions. The malting is usually sweet which may limit drinkability a bit where-as it is usually the spicing that holds a drink like this back. A good holiday beer to share and one that should put you in the mood. (1,820 characters)

Photo of mindlucent2007
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This early Christmas gift to myself poured a dark copper/red with incredible head and lacing that sticks to the side of my chalice. Smells of spices and I am definitely catching some pine needles also. The taste is crisp and clean with nutty and piney notes. The ingredients really compliment each other in this 1 year aged baby. This ale is not heavy at all and I cannot taste any alcohol. I will have no problem drinking this to the dome, but it's a great Christmas brew to share. Good job by Sly fox and I look forward to comparing it to this year's batch. (559 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
3.24/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served on Christmas Day at lunch, part of my tradition to open a 2-year old vintage of Sly Fox Christmas Ale. Poured the 750 ml corked and caged bottle into a pint glass.

A: Holy gusher. Instantly foamed out the bottle, all over the floor until I poured some in a glass to create enough space in the bottle. I vaguely remember this happening last year with the 2008, so I'm not sure if it's a prolonged aging repercussion or what (the newer vintages do not have this issue fresh). Dark brown with a huge foamy, bubbly and fizzy off-white head. Nice retention and lace, but damn did the foam over hurt things.

S: The spices are still going strong - cinnamon, clove, ginger and slight faint caramel malts towards the end. The nutmeg I think is overwhelming in fresh bottles seems to have disappeared, it's still spicy and definitely has a slight booziness towards the back.

T: Nice and mellow - lots of cinnamon, caramel and dark malts with some very ripe dark fruits. Some fig, prune and more clove towards the back end. The finish certainly has an alcohol twinge present but it doesn't detract from anything.

M: Way too carbonated as evidenced from the opening and pour. Really too much, overly fizzy and a bit too scrubbing. The bottle conditioning just drove this one crazy over the past two years - simply over the top.

Still nice at the two year mark as the spices have mellowed and blended nicely. Some may have fallen off but it's still flavorful enough to be enjoyable. Watch for the gushing! (1,504 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish brown with a thick head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of the usual Christmas spices with a toffeeish maltiness and gingerbread.

The taste is of wintery spices that balance each other and the firm sweetish malty backbone well.

A bit slick, medium-to-full bodied.

I don't know that this one changes much from year-to-year. Spicy but with a firm malt backing that keeps the spiciness from being overdone. A nice winter brew! (438 characters)

Photo of JohnK17
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of rfgetz
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Porting review from December 2009 originally posted to wrong Sly Fox location...

Pours a crisp, clean and clear lager like brown. Decent frothy head, minimal lacing. Smell is of medium carmel malts with a wonderful bouquet of mulling spices ( strong presence of ginger with allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, anise and dried orange peel). Taste follows the scent exactly. Medium bodied, slighly oily feel. Wonderful winter warmer if your all about the spices, could use a better malt background though. (504 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear reddish amber color with a 1" head that lingers around a while.

Smell: cinammon, nutmeg, and ginger are all easily detctable. Some milder caramel sweetness is harder to pull out.

Taste: caramel with loads of spices like cinammon, ginger, clove, allpsice, and nutmeg. There is some mild fruit sweetness in the background and bitterness is mild.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth to finish. Long aftertaste as the spices linger on the tongue for a while.

Drinkability: this is a solid ale that hits the spot for the holiday season sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold day. (636 characters)

Photo of mattgreger
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Christmas brew poured a burgandy, with a few specks of red and orange when you hold it to the light. It was a bit lighter then the 2010 version of the brew. This brew too had nice heavy head and lacing that lasted throughout the glass.

This brew had a nice aroma to it. I can tell there is a big difference from the 2010 and the 2009 ales. This version of the brew has some nice spice aroma, like its 2008 and 2010 versions, but its missing something. They spices still blend real well, it still has a nice caramel malt presense, but the spices just don't seem as strong as they have been in the other versions of this brew.

I would still have to say this one of the better winter warmers of the season. It was a smooth drink and was super crisp. The nutmeg and spices, do blend together, to make a great holiday brew. There is a touch of citris in there as well, not quite sure what it was though.

The mouthful is slightly less carbonanted on this version on the brew. Might have been the aging of the brew, but it was still good. It was very smooth and went down very well.

This 2009 Christmas Brew was good. This brew was nice and warming, but still didn't keep up once I had the 2010. It was a great drink and I would surely do with another bottle to see if it was any different. A great brew none the less by Sly Fox. (1,332 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pale and crystal malt scent along with a very nice spice arrangement. The cinnamon and ginger really stand out. The taste is decent. It has a very dry and lackluster malt character. The spicing is adequate although a Belgian yeast would work a little better to compliment it. It goes down easy and finishes dry with a clove/cinnamon character. The mouthfeel is decent as well. This beer is an easy drinker, but IMO it could use a bit more alcohol and body. It only comes out once a year. Make it count. (638 characters)

Photo of prisdefer
1/5  rDev -74.5%

Photo of russwbeck
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: This beer exploded out of the bottles. Head foaming out all over the counter. Clearer brown pour, hints of red and a big white head.

S: The winter warmer spices have remained and seems to have mellowed nicely. Cinnamon and booze are most noted. A bit medicinal.

T: I was worried this had turned for the worse, but I don't think it has now that I try it. Cinnamon, booze, caramel malts. Not as over the top as most winter warmers I've had, much more mellow and developed.

MF: The carbonation is honestly a bit high, which surprised me. The alcohol is surprisingly noticed for it only being 6.5%. Not terribly drinkable.

O: I'm glad I got to try this. It was very interesting, on to the 2010 version next!. (713 characters)

Photo of deapokid
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of krisandajt
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Christmas beer courtesy of my wife.

Appearance: Sharing with family, the first pour was incredibly foamy and flowed freely out of the glass. Oops, my bad. I slowed my pour down, and was greeted with a clear, deep dark amber colored brew with (still) an ample amount of off-white foamy head. There is also some generous lacing that doesn't quite stick to the side of my Sam Adams glass as it slides slowly down. Probably the best looking winter warmer beer I've ever had.

Smell: Ripe with spice, ginger stands out the most to me. There's a bit of allspice and some nutmeg mixed in. Overall it's a very sweet smelling beer. Interesting indeed.

Taste: Whoah, very heavy on the holiday spice. Like the smell, ginger is what stands out the most to me, with allspice taking a close second. Again, just as the smell indicated there's a bit of nutmeg throughout. Virtually no hop presence in this bad boy, it's sweet the whole way through.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, nice medium to full body, great texture on the palate. This is just an all round good beer.

Drinkability: I had doubts going into this one as holiday beers usually don't do much for me. This one was a very pleasant surprise in that it's actually very tasty. What makes it even better is that it's from a PA brewery...and it's always good to support your local brewery. This is my first sampling of Sly Fox's Christmas Ale, but this one will be a staple at my home every Christmas from now on. Well done. (1,472 characters)

Photo of stonelis
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber, tons of head..it overflowed my glass. Didn't take long until I was able to pour more, settled to a nice lacy head.

Smell: Cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Nice.

Taste: Heavy spice was my first impression, it faded to a nice balance after the first swallow.

Mouthfeel: a touch too much carbonation for my likes but it didn't detract from the overall feel.

Drinkability: I only had one 750ml bottle. Purchased at Royersford brewery/Reataurant for $6. Wish I had more! (488 characters)

Photo of curlykate
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the first holiday beer i had this season that smacked me in the face with christmas. The ale is a beautiful red, with nice foamy head. It smells like my grandma's kitchen was poured into the glass with the beer, maybe i'm being a bit hyperbolic, but the aroma was just so warm and pleasant. The holiday spice i smelled (and tasted) most was nutmeg, although ginger is also prominent. Smooth and very drinkable this is my favorite beer from sly fox, the only thing disappointing about this beer was my inability to find it locally in bottles, i really wanted to bring this with me to holiday parties. (607 characters)

Photo of Pinto21
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured out a ruby amber with large light tan head. Head sticks around and leaves nice lacing

S: Cinnamon, clove, ginger. A bit of malt as well. very spice forward.

T: Ginger up front, giving way to medium malts. The ginger sticks through the entire time. Ends with the other spices. Pretty solid.

D/M: finish is pretty nice and dry. pretty light to drink, but taste buds may get tired of the spices.

A good winter warmer. not too much malt or spice. the spices are a little heavier for, but still very good. I think last year's batch had more hop pressence to it. I think some nice earthy hops pressence would have been great. Still solid brew though (657 characters)

2009 Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.