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Christmas Ale - Shepherd Neame Ltd

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
77
okay

45 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 45
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 3.31
pDev: 16.92%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Shepherd Neame Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by travolta:
Photo of travolta
travolta

California

2.73/5  rDev -17.5%

Appearance:
Gold/apricot and scotch in color with a sticky, bubbly and light khaki head. Nice retention with spotted lacing.

Nose:
Fig, malt, light caramel, candied fruits, sweet.

Taste:
Clean light carbonation, easy caramel, yeasty aftertaste, crisp on the finish, smooth on the palate.

01-13-2008 00:25:34 | More by travolta
More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
beerhunter13

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +20.8%

11-22-2012 11:49:33 | More by beerhunter13
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev +5.7%

Single 500ml bottle from the LCBO, part of the 2012 holiday release. The bottle is quite nice, big Christmas wreath with hops.

Poured into a nonic. Light copper-amber, clear, decent head of foam that survives as a sturdy ring.

Nose is English pale with a little extra spice and earthy hops. Some citrus as well.

Decent pale ale taste with earthy hops, a bit of fruit (orange peel), tea, caramel. Standard stuff, but balanced and not bad.

Light bodied, easy to drink, mild carbonation.

Not bad, actually - classic case of the reviews setting me up for disappointment, but being pleasantly surprised, though this might just be this years' edition doing the talking. Might be a good stocking stuffer, but I'll stick with my usual holiday fare this year.

11-27-2012 01:02:59 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of TheBrk
TheBrk

Sweden

3.25/5  rDev -1.8%

11-16-2013 19:11:06 | More by TheBrk
Photo of djcreepshow
djcreepshow

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3/5  rDev -9.4%

11-23-2012 03:32:43 | More by djcreepshow
Photo of mintjellie
mintjellie

Ontario (Canada)

2.35/5  rDev -29%

Medium amber colour, brilliant clarity. Small, poorly retained off-white head. Almost no lace. Weak aroma, primarily floral with lighter notes of toasted cereal and diacetyl. Malt-forward flavour up-front with a nutty toasted malt note, followed by light butterscotch and an earthy/spicy hop note. Light-bodied with low carbonation and a thin, greasy mouthfeel. It doesn't taste bad, just overly plain and boring. Lacking in depth and complexity of flavour. Unpleasant mouthfeel. A disappointment.

12-05-2012 04:40:07 | More by mintjellie
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev +8.8%

Slightly spicy light orange tinged bodied beer. Decently drinkable. Understated, medium bodied. Drinkable with supper, somewhat more fruity and spicy (mild cinammon heat)than your average English beer. OK, but nothing outstanding or worth seeking out twice.

11-26-2012 01:26:36 | More by Sammy
Photo of beerluvr
beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.69/5  rDev +11.5%

2012/13 edition

A - Off white head, clear light amber

S - Sweet malt, brown sugar, fruit

T - Biscuity malt, slighty tannic, mild spicy hop bitterness & yeast fruitiness

M - Smooth gentle carbonation, medium bodied with a spectacularly balanced finish

O - An excellent example of an English Xmas ale, very flavorful and balanced, with both hop and malt in check without either overpowering. Very well made.

11-15-2013 03:30:50 | More by beerluvr
Photo of DaveBar
DaveBar

Ontario (Canada)

1.74/5  rDev -47.4%

Thought this one would be interesting... wasn't really.

A- Pretty good! Nice dark amber colour. Ok head

S- Not much there at all. Was hoping for a lot more

T- Not so good. Cross between a scotch ale and a chocolate malt. Horrible aftertaste. Thin, thin, thin. No aging at all it seems. Alcohol is right forward but the whole beer is unbalanced. Just a hodge podge of characters strewn together and branded a Christmas Ale

M- Silky smooth

O- Not so good. Would not buy again.

Wow this thing just gets worse as time goes by. Pouring it down the drain it's that bad.

Thx for reading

11-16-2013 21:51:04 | More by DaveBar
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4/5  rDev +20.8%

Bottle: Poured a bright copper color ale with a relatively large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of fruity ester with candy like notes with light caramelized malt notes. Taste is also dominated by some very nice candy like ester with some refreshing fruity notes and some medium caramel malt notes. Body is light with good carbonation. Nothing extreme in this beer but well balance with nice work around the ester.

02-09-2014 20:57:00 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3/5  rDev -9.4%

Christmas Ale 2006. Clear 500ml bottle, 5.5%.

Best before end of September 2007, drank early November 2007, so just out of date.

Poured into my bateman's straight half pint sleeve glass, twice.

Light amber in colour, with an off white head, plenty of bubbles rising through the beer. Head shrinks too fast.

The label claims it has an aroma of tropical fruits, it did smell fairly sweet, but I thought caramel (I often do) and flowery perfume.

For a special Christmas brew it falls well short of a top winter warmer in my eyes, this is a good solid ale but it doesn't carry enough taste, power or umph to make it stand out. I detected oak within the aftertaste and I enjoyed the beer, but not enough to buy another if I see one.

11-08-2007 22:40:57 | More by BlackHaddock
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vinicole

United Kingdom (England)

4/5  rDev +20.8%

12-18-2013 20:16:47 | More by vinicole
Photo of beerdrifter
beerdrifter

Germany

3.53/5  rDev +6.6%

Picked up a bottle of this at the Mondial Bier Fest in Strasbourg, France. Clear light copper-amber pour with two finger head, good retention, and great lacing. The nose was a bit skunky at first, but quickly faded and gave way to banana bread, tea, caramel, and toffee with just a touch of dark fruit. The taste pretty much follows suit with hints of fruity tea, caramel, herbal hops, banana bread, and a bit of butter and metal as well. The balance is good and the 7% ABV warms slightly and makes for a pretty drinkable beer. Fairly dry mouthfeel with a nice bitter finish. Not really what I think of as a Christmas beer, but still pretty solid.

11-02-2011 18:13:22 | More by beerdrifter
Photo of Globetrotter
Globetrotter

Virginia

3.45/5  rDev +4.2%

Found in a Moscow grocery store - in April. Clear half liter bottle with "1698 - Britain's oldest brewer" etched on the glass. Silver and red label indicating 2005 vintage. No ingredient information. Best before end of September 2006, I opened it on 4/26/06.

Pours a clear pale copper under a one finger beige head with big bubbles but decent contour and good retention - albeit very little lace. The nose is strong and spicey, raising initial feas of skunk, but then unfolding as more syrupy and crisp. The mouth is light and very well-carbonated. Strong hoppy flavor, but weak on malt balance. The hops are very dry and quite bitter, like espresso. The dryness lingers long into the aftertaste. A touch of fruit emerges as it warms, this brew remains pretty one-sided, but pleasantly so.

04-27-2006 03:25:04 | More by Globetrotter
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev +6.6%

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 3.50$

Appearance - Reddish copper colour with an average size fizzy and frothy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, butterscotch

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts and some butterscotch. There is also some raisin/cherry flavour and a bit of a fruit cake like taste. There is also a light amount of all-spice and the beer ends with a malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall - It's better than the previous reviews lead me to believe. The alcohol seems well hidden and while it isn't the most exciting winter warmer I've had this year, it has a nice well balanced flavour. Not something I'd buy another bottle of this year, but something I'd buy again next holiday season.

11-22-2012 01:36:08 | More by spinrsx
Photo of RedAleMan
RedAleMan

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -1.8%

11-17-2013 04:36:35 | More by RedAleMan
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +8.2%

500ml bottle from the LCBO, into a tulip.

Translucent dark red, thin off white head with mild retention and some spots of lace. Nose is sweet, some bubble gum, some gentle spicing, and some bready character. Not the most complex nose, but not bad. Taste has some grainy bread character, obscure fruit notes and some peripheral spicing. Bitterness in the finish. Medium feel, medium low carb. Ok, nothing exciting.

12-14-2012 01:26:01 | More by liamt07
Photo of stjarnflikka
stjarnflikka

Sweden

2.2/5  rDev -33.5%

Pours a clear, red beer with a thick white foam that directly brings your mind to CHRISTMAS :D

The first dissapointment though comes quite quick with the first sniff. There is some malt, a citric fruity trace and a dry alcoholic smell. Weak smell however.

The second dissapointment comes when tasting the beer. Once again there is malt and some bitterness that quickly dissappears. The beer has some undefinable flavour that doesnt belong there that together with the generally weak taste really makes this a winter warmer.

Really not a winter warmer, and even so not a good beer. Ill try it again though, to see if its better next year.

01-11-2005 18:41:17 | More by stjarnflikka
Photo of EmperorBevis
EmperorBevis

United Kingdom (England)

3.05/5  rDev -7.9%

A reddish brown clear body with a tidal wave of foamy white head that stops you pouring a 500ml bottle into a full pint glass that soon goes

Muted aromas of mince pies and gunpowder

Some crystallised fruit and some warmth but it feels more like boozy heartburn than Christmas spice and just then lies flat no depth, no

Just so thin for such a strength ale and too fizzy

not a good winter warmer

almost enough to convince Clarence it isn't a wonderful life

12-12-2013 01:39:56 | More by EmperorBevis
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev +2.1%

500 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO, served slightly chilled. One of several English winter warmers I picked up during my last trip, which I have either not seen or neglected to try until now. I generally enjoy UK takes on this style, at least in comparison to domestic examples which I find tend to have the living shit spiced out of them.

Pours a bright, clear orange-amber colour, generating two fingers of frothy, resilient off-white head that gradually seeps away. Gobs of lacing are left sticking to the glass as it recedes into a thin, creamy cap and collar. The aroma is a little too sweet for my liking - lots of dark fruit and caramel, toffee, baker's chocolate, with a hint of spice and fig newton. It's not really off-putting, but it smells more like a confection than a beer.

After my first sip I really want to like this, but I just can't find any compelling reasons to. There's lots of bready malts, with toffee and fruitcake as well, and it doesn't get any less saccharine from there. Toasted nuts and earthy, spicy hop notes remain hidden until the finish, with the ethanol providing some warmth - I appreciate it on a cold night like this, but truthfully it doesn't blend well with the flavour profile, and the resulting syrupy mouthfeel does not help matters much. Medium-bodied, leaving a slick, unappealing sensation behind on the palate after each sip. Not that difficult to drink quickly, and otherwise I can really only say 'meh'.

Final Grade: 3.38, a B-. Shepherd Neame's Christmas Ale is serviceable, but compared to some of my favourite English examples of this style it just seems dull and forgettable. It's not bad - it's just plain, with too much alcohol for such a sparse, unvaried flavour. Worth a try I suppose, at least if you're a fan of stronger English ales, but the next time I want a warmer I'll probably stick with Samuel Smith's or St. Peter's.

11-14-2013 03:49:27 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of Reidrover
Reidrover

Oregon

2.78/5  rDev -16%

Very attractive packaging. Nice Olde Worlde bottle in a nice red octagonal box. Amber colour, nice sized light tan, bubbly head. Pretty feeble aroma, grassy with a little watered down malt, unimpressed. Smooth ,weak malts, a little spice and some fruit..boring taste Thin mouthfeel but reasonable. I found this bland but ecause of its supreme blandness could probably drink a couple. This was very very dissapointing. This was very weak ,tasteless stuff compared to the Scottish Ales I had been drinking. Back to the drawing board on this one
2006 version

11-22-2006 16:59:08 | More by Reidrover
Photo of cfalovo97
cfalovo97

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -9.4%

12-06-2012 01:10:16 | More by cfalovo97
Photo of GreenCard
GreenCard

Oregon

3.1/5  rDev -6.3%

Appearance: amber hue, a chincy layer of off-white suds that quickly fades to almost nothing

Aroma: pineapple, cotton candy, faint almonds, touch of malt

Flavor: mild malt sweetness, some guava-like fruitiness, mild floral hop flavor, a pleasant drying hop bitterness, slight roast in the aftertaste, dryish finish

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, minerally, somewhat astringent

Overall Impression: If it weren't for the festive packaging denoting Christmas, this beer would be not much different from most pale ales. Still, it has a nice nose and a "more-ish" afertaste.

12-26-2003 19:13:01 | More by GreenCard
Photo of windypete
windypete

United Kingdom (England)

3/5  rDev -9.4%

12-24-2013 18:26:11 | More by windypete
Photo of DenisKolkin
DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

3.54/5  rDev +6.9%

500 ml bottle purchased for $3.50 CDN from the LCBO. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - 1 finger of frothy white head rests on top of a bubbly copper red beer that is transparent. Head subsides a bit then lingers for the remainder of the beer. Very festive looking.

Smell - Beer and bready smell with a few spices thrown in and a butterscotch note that is a reminder of Christmas. I'm also picking of something that reminds me a bit of a rum soaked fruitcake. Very pleasant smells, but they are not terribly strong. Smells do come out a bit more as beer warms.

Taste - Boozy and sweet which transitions into a bit of a bitter flavor with slightly metallic elements. Also a bit of the aforementioned fruitcake flavor doused in alcohol. I enjoyed this this but I can see that the very upfront alcohol (especially given that its 7% we're not talking a 12% Christmas Ale here) could be a distraction to some.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated and fairly smooth, but even a bit thin despite high ABV. Also a bit on the gassy side.

Overall - Nice winter warmer that i enjoyed more than the Wychwood offering, but still not super enamored with the style. However a beer that will certainly warm you up especially after a short walk on a cold November's night in Canada.

11-14-2013 03:55:46 | More by DenisKolkin
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Christmas Ale from Shepherd Neame Ltd
77 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.