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Special Holiday Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Special Holiday AleSpecial Holiday Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

317 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 317
Reviews: 290
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.94%
Wants: 21
Gots: 6 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A collaboration ale between Jolly Pumpkin / Nøgne-Ø / Stone with chestnuts, juniper berry, white sage & caraway seed and 25% rye malt.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-23-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Special Holiday Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 317 | Reviews: 290 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hellpop65
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of I_BYE_MI_BEER
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of bobv
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Drknight
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of moonknight31
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of jvillefan
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep amber/brown body with a off white lacy head.

S: There is a bitter bite in the beginning of the aroma. There is a deep caramel and sweet aroma.

T: A nice balance between the bitter hops (citrus and pine) and the malty notes. There is sweet caramel and toffee.

M: Perfect body and carbonation.

O: Great beer. It's a shame it's not going to be brewed again.

Photo of FalconA
2.5/5  rDev -36.4%

Photo of jzeilinger
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to alelover for sending this one.

A - Pours a cloudy chestnut brown color with a thick, creamy, tan lacing ring and tons of carbonation.

S - Juniper, caraway seeds, mint, mild molasses, plumbs, raisins, and figs.

T - Complex flavor with several layers going on. Juniper and juniper berry stands out the most and is present all the way to the end, light chocolate caramel, caraway, light molasses, dark fruit, and some alcohol effervescence. Everything plays well together and they all hit the palate in layers. Light juniper bitterness plays throughout.

M - Thick, full bodied, rich, and velvety.

O - This one grew on me as I worked my way through the bottle, nice complexity.

Photo of beagle75
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque medium brown color with no foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Molassses and juniper work together to suggest decayed resinous foliage. Minty sage is mild and complementary. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins dry, with volatile sage, some unctuous chocolate, and distracting saccharine sweetness that builds toward the middle. Roast emerges in the middle before more typical winter spices dominate the finish with an astringent quality. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, oddly numbing on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This well-aged winter beer is a clashing juxtaposition of brewing skill and misguided ingredient selection. At its best it is suggestive of Unibroue/Trader Joe's Vintage Ale. At its worst it is merely confused.

Photo of tectactoe
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

When I first had this beer long ago, I didn't care for it very much. I recently found it again in the store and decided to try it one more time to see if my tastes had developed at all. Pours a dark, murky brown and slightly ruby color - muddy, cloudy, opaque. Almost looks like a strong-ass Belgian quad. Thin tan head that recedes almost immediately. Very thick on the pour, looks like maple syrup coming out of the bottle.

Aroma is HUGE. Whether you like it or not, the aroma is as powerful as they come, super herbal, super malty, and full of spice. Ginger, toffee, caramel, sage, juniper berry come to mind (of course, a few of those are written on the bottle). Ginger seems to be the most powerful at this point. Upon tasting, I was right - almost gives a gingerbread like flavor, followed up both other spices; sage, cinnamon - very spicy. Sweetness comes alive in the form of juniper berries, dark fruits; plums, raisins, hard to pick out other specifics. Bitterness plays a roll about three-quarters of the way through, all the way to the end - hops are leafy and herbal in character, dry and slightly harsh, almost like a strong earl tea. After the beer is gone, my mouth is left with hints of pumpernickel or rye bread, most likely due to the combo of rye and yeast - it's quite nice. Alcohol shines through quite a bit, adding a nice warming effect. Thick and syrupy, juicy mouthfeel, leaves the mouth feeling kind of sticky and coated, low carbonation.

This beer is way better than I remember it, so I'm glad I had the chance to try it again. My tastes have certainly evolved since that time and now I can appreciate a beer like this. Very aromatic and full of unique flavor, this beer would be a nice choice for a holiday meal or sitting by a campfire.

Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black, little head. Easy drinking, subtle x-mas spices,everything blends well together,toasty chestnut, dry finish and understated carbonation. Tasty no sourness at all, only a tad of wood and a mellow bitterness and glad I caught up with it.Liam's bottle.

Photo of liamt07
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Steve, 12oz into a tulip.

Browned red, with a beige head - good lacing and mild retention. Sage/thyme in terms of spicing, berries are quite present with some caramel and chocolate. Taste has spice, caramel, seedy bread notes (caraway likely), cinnanmon and some earthy and chocolatey flavours. Sweeter, light bitterness and a tad drying. A really nice winter/holiday ale, a lot of what I look for in the style here.

Photo of Nickfellow007
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Photo of ms11781
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Rizalini
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Stone tulip. Received this one in a trade with scottfrie a while back.

A - Pours a hazy burnt mahogany color, with almost no head. Even when swirled, the head is just a thin cap.

S - The smell is very herbal. Almost menthol like. The sage is definately present, as well as the caraway.

T/M - The taste is more complex than the nose. On the front is the sage and caraway. The middle gives way to a smooth nuttiness, and a slightly sweet maltiness. Then a get a hint of, possibly, red licorice. The back finishes with a thick molasses. Very different how this beers flavor profile unfolds. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy mouthfeel.

O - A very unique brew to say the least. I've never had a brew like this before. Multi-dimensional. The 9% is very well hidden. An amazing brew for sure. Not your average holiday ale. Thanks Scott for sending this one my way. Cheers!

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of kojevergas
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 snifter in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm as consumption progressed. Not paired with food or anything. Expectations are high; I trust Nogne quite a bit and Stone tends to be hit and miss. I'm hoping she's a good one; it's been a long day. Winter Warmers are one of me top five favourite styles.

A: Pours a one finger head of good cream, pretty good thickness, and good retention. Colour is a nontransparent solid black.

Sm: Chestnuts, heavy berry esters (I don't know that I'd necessarily detect it as juniper), and spices. Toasted malts, chocolate, and caramelized malts. Chocolate and berry are dominant. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Chocolate, heavy berry, lovely spices, chestnut, caramel, cream, and underlying toasted malt. Balanced quite well, with impressive subtlety. It doesn't fully commit to its flavours, leaving it feeling a bit muted. Quite enjoyable and pleasant. I like it. It's complex. Rich and delightful.

Mf: Silky smooth, wet, and creamy. Quite lovely, especially for the ABV. The most impressive aspect of this beer. Not too thick or too thin. Exquisite. Almost perfect. I'm extremely impressed.

Dr: Very drinkable - especially for the high ABV, which is well hidden. I'd have it again, preferably either aged in the bottle or on draught. I don't know that it'd get much better, but I do like it. I just wish it was more forward and confident with its flavours.

B

Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of SpdKilz
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A long time want (read tick) for me though I never really tried that hard to get it. Picked up this summer during a brand new Binny’s opening in IL. Such a random place to finally be able to pick some bottles up!

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a ruddy burgundy color. There are definite floaties in the beer. Slight head is achieved with a moderate pour.

Smell – Still plenty of spices and juniper in the beer after a few years in the bottle. Sage, chestnut, and malt.

Taste – Maltier than expected. Slight spices with the juniper coming through at first. Just a hint of the sage is there, along with chestnuts. Heavy caramel and toffee at the end.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, mild carbonation.

Overall – Have a few more left in the cellar…but honestly don’t know how much “better” this will do with age. Glad to tick it, though not a spectacular beer by any means.

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Special Holiday Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 317 ratings.