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Christmas Ale - The Defiant Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

46 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.19%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Defiant Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: dherling on 10-05-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by madmanjf:
Photo of madmanjf
1.95/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Serving was a Cask

(A) Reddish Amber and a little cloudy. An inviting appearance overall. The carbonation was on par with what I'd expect from a cask.

(S) Spiced like many Christmas Ales. It had a ginger/cinnamon aroma that was inviting and reminicent of holiday brews.

(T) Metalic and Sour. The spice flavors barely came out due to the acidity and sour flavor.

(M) Again, somewhat metalic to the point you'd have not choice but to squint somewhat

(D) Not drinkable.

I can only assume by the other reviews that this cask had been sitting around too long. I can say that it was tapped right in front of me, so it was not a vicitim of oxidation from sitting around too long after being opened.

I did have a Defiant Pale Ale on cask once and it was EXCELLENT.

Unfortunately, this was left me very disappointed.

madmanjf, Jan 16, 2008
More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Belgian style bottle, caged and corked, and no bargain at $12 and change. Pours cola amber, under a dark tan head, that does not stick around and leaves minimal to no lacing. Carbonation seems to be on the low side. Some winter spice in the nose. Things continue to go down hill on the first few sips, this beer is quite sour for the style and has an off putting metallic bite. I did get some of the advertised chocolate in the middle, but sour unfortunately dominates. I gave this one a chance to warm up in the hopes of the taste and complexity to improve, but sadly it didn't happen. Not sure what happened here and I don't understand why a brewer would put out a brew like this one which clearly seems off.

Billolick, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of JC333
4/5  rDev +5.5%

JC333, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of JMS1512
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

JMS1512, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of caddybuyer
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this is categorized as "Preview". 2009 bottle, caged and corked 750 marked with 7.5% ABV on the side.

Poured at cellar temperature into a tulip glass.

A-Dark brown cola coloration with ruddy highlights when held to light. Brown head that settles rapidly within a few mintues of the pour.

S-Malts and Belgian yeast, dark fruits (figs, plums, dates) and perhaps a hint of spice in the background. Not overpowering, but pleasing overall.

T-Nose is well represented in the palate, with sweet yeasty rich malts carrying the dark fruit backbone of this brew. Some light spicing is also present, largely anise and a touch of clove but not overpowering at all. Alcohol is present in the finish, as is a mild hop tingle and a slighly sour apple finish which by no means diminishes the experience and adds to the character. I'm really enjoying this one and am bummed that it was a lone bottle on the shelf.

M-Just shy of a full bodied ale, with a smooth creamy mouthfeel that isn't ruined by the high carbonation present in so many of the Belgian styles.

D-Extremely drinkable and enjoyable brew. I'm thinking that this may be a tad higher than the 7.5 ABV listed on the bottle and its richness is sure not going to help my waistline, but this is damn good.

Kudos! Please brew this again next year guys...

caddybuyer, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of zillo043068
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

zillo043068, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of scootny
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle. A opaque dark brown with a brown head of respectable size, retention, and lacing. Smell is almost a dead ringer for Aventinus. Are they sure this isn't a hefe dopplebock? Big overripe banana with raisins and figs. A bit more alcohol vapors than the aforementioned. Taste is much the same with a bit more heat. Still not what I would call a "Hot" beer. A lovely light Belgian dark maltiness. Adding the yeast gave the feel a creamier texture but also introduced a metallic bitterness so I would keep it out. In both cases,( nose and taste ) the wheat like facets aren't really pronounced there so I guess it is a BSDA. Like Aventinus meet Corsendonk Brown. Feel is smoothly carbonated and nicely dense. Pretty drinkable as I finished this rather quickly.

scootny, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Matt73
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Matt73, Apr 11, 2013
Photo of bonbini26
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

bonbini26, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of Skibum211
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Skibum211, Sep 22, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is relatively clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down, but has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of Belgian yeast and dark fruits are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark fruits along with notes of Belgian yeast and hints of a metallic taste.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Unlike most holiday ales, this beer isn't heavy on the body or is dominated by a multitude of spices that are overpowering.

metter98, Feb 02, 2014
Photo of kkmiller76
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

kkmiller76, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of claspada
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of dark caramelly malts and Belgian yeast cloviness, some dark fruits (figs, plums, dates, the usual) and perhaps a hint of spice in the background. Not overpowering, but pleasing overall. I am pleased so far.

The taste follows the nose to a tee with sweet yeasty rich dark caramelly malts accompanied by the dark fruit backbone. Creamy and smooth with robust flavors of burnt caramel, plum and nutmeg. Slight chocolate and coffee flavors creep into the finish. Mouthfeel is fairly thicker for the style but not to its detriment, still has a nice viscous dryish Belgian finish. Overall a very pleasant brew for this smaller brewery, haven't been a fan so far but this could sway me going forward.

claspada, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of Tpsauer
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Tpsauer, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of CHickman
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Stout in NYC; pours hazy copper brown with a creamy 1 finger tan head that left OK lacing after the head faded on the fast side.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, floral hops, toasted grains and cinnamon or other spices like allspice; spicy nose that is on the mellow side.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, floral hops, toasted grains, dark fruit (plum, raisin, etc.), brown sugar and cinnamon or other spices like allspice; a little too malty as the spices take up a chunk of the flavor and leave a strange aftertaste.

This is a good beer, not a great beer, and typical for a holiday beer with that pine cone or earthy taste. Alcohol level was not present at all.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a smooth feel on the tongue, mild carbonation and a spicy bitter finish. Medium drinkability, as this was OK and I think that most Christmas Ales are just not my thing because of the spices in the mix.

CHickman, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of ConorGolden
4/5  rDev +5.5%

ConorGolden, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of benz08
4/5  rDev +5.5%

benz08, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of maddogruss
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very similiar characteristics to the porter except this baby tastes like Christmas! I am a huge fan of Neil's brewing capabilities and he has yet to let me down. The appearance of this beer is beautiful with a great head and a great smell. Tastes like he brewed it with gumdrops and has a great fell in the mouth. A little bitter like most Belgian dark ales, but still another great brew. Drink it up!

maddogruss, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of ONN8
3/5  rDev -20.8%

ONN8, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of Ozzie1111
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Ozzie1111, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of brandnew711
5/5  rDev +31.9%

brandnew711, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Ron860
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Ron860, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

DrunkinYogi, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Defiant Christmas Ale, bottled version (750 ml), poured into a Sierra snifter.

Appearance: Solid two-finger head that recedes soon into one, then into a rim with a bubbly mantle. Deep brown color, auburn, like expensive wood. Not much lacing.

Smell: Soaking raisins and other dry fruits. Sugar, sweetness all around. A bit of must/grape juice. Booze as it warms up. A tang of whiskey barrels/oak, even though it was not aged.

Taste: More sweetness and raisins. Moonshine rotgut. Very earthy, a bit too heavy and filling. Yeast and some sweet bread, sort of french toast. Alcohol at the end. Some spice.

Mouthfeel: Huge feel, sticky, chewy, a tad cloying. Too sweet

Drinkability: Unquestionably heavy and boozy despite being only 7.5%. Hard to drink, despite the great smell and taste.

This is one of my favorite Defiant beers, despite the drinkability and mouthfeel shortcomings. I love how it is so different from your typical suave Christmas ale with tons of spices.

DoubleSimcoe, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with a hood and wire cap over a cork served into a nonic pint glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high, me mate (thanks Adam!) brought this for me from New York.

A: 1.5 finger head of fair cream and thickness, and great retention for the relatively high ABV. Very dark caramel-amber colour.

Sm: Heavy caramel, some spice, cream, chestnuts. Yeast and spice are the dominant and most appealing flavours. She lures you in.

T: Some spice is certainly impactful on the profile - heavily so - but the foundation tends more towards biscuity barley, full in a way rarely experienced in beer. Malts are de-emphasized in favour of barley. Interesting. Some light, uncertain candied sugar. The brewer was a bit timid with that flavour, but it complements the others nicely. Chestnuts make their way in, alongside some sticky fruit esters that subtly die as they approach the midpoint. They're welcome nonetheless. Cream is present but never definitive; it emerges as a tone but not a note. The strength here is the subtlety, which takes forefront over complexity - but this isn't to say that it's simple. It's masterfully balanced and near-uniquely built. I wish that it was structurally "longer", i.e. that the flavours didn't truncate so early. I do enjoy it above all other criteria, and no alcohol comes through, aiding the drinkability.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with a hint of increased thickness, largely suiting the flavours. I don't find the mouthfeel obtrusive, but it also isn't particularly unique or helpful. I wouldn't go so far as to call it generic, but it leaves something to be desired.

Dr: Quite drinkable. A lovable little Christmas Ale, and certainly an enjoyable one. I feel greedy to be enjoying it alone. I'd like to try this on draught. Every beer lover should give this one a try. I'm glad I did.

kojevergas, Jan 06, 2012
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Christmas Ale from The Defiant Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.