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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

314 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 314
Reviews: 290
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.94%
Wants: 21
Gots: 7 | FT: 2
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Special Holiday Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 314 | Reviews: 290 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +1.8%

rab53, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of BrewinHeadBanger
5/5  rDev +27.2%

BrewinHeadBanger, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of bigdaddypolite
4/5  rDev +1.8%

bigdaddypolite, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of StarRaptor
3/5  rDev -23.7%

StarRaptor, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of whatthehull
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted oct. 27th 2011 (from notes)

Tulip

A - deep swampy brown, no head and no lacing

S - lots of malts, toasty, funk, flowers, hops, fall weather, pie spices, flowers and crisp everything

T - hoppy, sour, tons of roasted malt, pumpkin seeds, flowers, citrus, fall spices, earth and maybe a slight pumpkin pie

M - full bodied, nice complexity, well balanced, low acidity and medium finish

D - very nice easy to drink beer. Tastes like the holidays. Reminds me of fall and relaxing watching football with a nice fire

Final thought - stone colabs never disappoints. Get it and get a couple if you like holiday ales

whatthehull, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +1.8%

brandoman63, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +1.8%

jerz, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of adamant1912
4/5  rDev +1.8%

adamant1912, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +27.2%

kkrez, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of AlexM
4/5  rDev +1.8%

AlexM, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of armock
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA.

A - Poured a muddy brown color with a thin tan head that leaves some lacing behind

S - Has a spicy herbal nose with some sweet malt scents

T - The juniper and rye are very noticeable right away then fades to a sweet malt finish

M - This beer has a full body with higher carbonation to it

O - While this isn't a bad beer I'm just not into it all that much and I think its the junipers fault but if your into that this would be a decent beer to check out if you can still find it

armock, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9/15/2011

Bottle poured into a snifter. This has been in my cellar for 1127 days.

A: Dark brown and opaque with an inch of tan cream that lasts for half a minute.

S: Caramel blends with earth and a rich bready malt profile. The juniper berry makes itself known immediately, and it lingers in the foreground at all times. Rye accompanies caraway and a touch of chocolate. Sage is pronounced. This smells nice.

T: Lightly spicy rye and caraway with caramel, bread, and a whisper of chocolate. The juniper is present but not near as strong as it was in the nose. The finish is rich with malt and lightly spicy, with just a dash of alcohol.

M: Upper medium in body with a creamy moderate carbonation and a sticky, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: I don't know why I waited so long to open this, it's a nice Winter Warmer.

HopHead84, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich cloudy red-black color with a finger of frothy off-white head atop. The head fades down leaving behind some spots of lace.

S - The aroma is a wonderful mix of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg with a balancing amount of sweet caramel malt in the background.

T - Starts off with the spices from the aroma with the addition of some clove and again a nice balance provided by the sweet caramel malts. Through the middle, the caramel malts get a bit stronger and richer with some brown sugar jumping in as well. The finish is a mix of sweet and spice elements that linger.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and just a bit syrupy. The spices provide a nice dry mouthfeel, especially at the finish.

D - Very drinkable. The spices are very nicely balanced with the malt flavor and they never get too strong.

ngeunit1, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark murky brown with a 1 finger off white head

smell: holiday spices, caramel, malts,

taste: holiday spices, caramel, malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: pretty nice winter warmer. to bad I will probably never see it again.

Cheers,
The CPJ

THECPJ, May 24, 2011
Photo of abar22
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz, DFH Signature Glass

Dark, murky brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. Spotty-white cap with average lacing.

Smells fantastic! A multitude of spices meet up to make a mouth-watering scent. Alcohol takes a peek here as well.

I really don't know what juniper berry, white sage, and caraway seed tastes like but I know they combine with chestnuts to make a damn good Winter Warmer. Spices show early and nutty alcohol shows late. I get that nice warm feeling in my belly from this beer which puts it over the top. I wish I could buy this every winter.

Dry finish and a silky smooth mouthfeel. One would think this was an oatmeal warmer with that smoothness.

Too drinkable! I look at what is very likely the only bottle of the best Winter Warmer I'll ever have and it makes me sad. This beer is fantastic. The spices are perfectly balanced and it gives me the warm feeling it's supposed to. Beautiful.

abar22, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a thick brown (sludge) with a one finger foamy tan head that seems to rise out of nowhere and stays as a nice cap with some not so pleasant looking suspended yeast clumps.

S. Strange; smells like a mixture used to baste a chicken in - sage with fennel and juniper - very herbal with some almost citrusy bright notes.

T. Some dark fruit notes with a touch of citrus. I don't really get the rye, but the chestnuts are quite apparent (I only recently tried my first chestnut). I think I'd like this with a sage roasted chicken.

M. Thick body with a high level of creamy carbonation.

D. An interesting complex brew. I'm interested and I like the dark fruit flavors that continue to come out as it warms.

BeerAndBourbon, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of beerhan
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle. Little over a year on it. Dark ruby color with a thin head that stays throughout the glass. Smells very spicy. The sage really stands out as well as a lot of bread, malt, and citrus notes. This tastes very hot with a lemon pepper burn. Quite an odd beer and not all that balanced. The spices are all over the place and nothing really goes together that well. I found there to be too much alcohol and it was not the most pleasant to get down.

beerhan, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Ambiorix
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Small Bar, San Diego.

A: Dark brown pour, very active, foamy tan head.

S: Spicy malt nose, hint of juniper.

T: Gently spiced, malty, hint of alcohol. Very nice.

M: Medium, nice dry finish.

D: Really nice. I'm glad I had a chance to try this retired beer and to have it on tap was even better.

Ambiorix, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of macktbone
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was one of many colaboration bottles picked up at Ledgers in Berkley. Cellered for two years and enjoyed just after the 2010 holiday season. Kind of a hold out since my tree is still up and the lights are still shining brightly outside my house.

A- Mulled and dark caramel like, no discernable head.

S- Lots of caramel and Christmas like spice, (nutmeg), and bread , maybe a little soap and nut.

T- Wholesome and winter sturdy. Nuts, nutmeg, well balanced hop backbone.

M- Creamy and well done for a winter warmer.

D- Nice example of a multicultural conglomoration of beer. Enjoyable but not something I would go out of my way to get a hole of again.

without having a basis for Nogne-O and Jolly pumpkin its hard to say who wore the pants on this beer. Definately a sepatation from Stone's normal hop forward style and tastes, feels, and looks like a NATO compromise.

macktbone, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of mentor
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cellared one year by me. Foamed over when opened. Pours a four finger light tan head over a red-brown liquid. Smells wonderful. Fruity, spice, malt, and light alcohol. Pine, lemon, coriander, cherry, dry chocolate.

Tastes piney, lemon and oranges, sage, mild cedar wood, baker's chocolate, heavily toasted bread, and some alcohol zip. Drying overall with a lemon balm finish and what comes across as a hop bitter and light astringency. Md thick body and sharply carbonated. Pretty good beer.

mentor, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of corby112
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Pours a very dark ruby/chestnut brown color with mahogany edges and a thin tan head that quickly fades leaving no lacing.

Very bland aroma with hints of peppery spice, hazelnut and caramel malt.

Medium bodied with a heavy spice flavor profile as well as hints of dark fruit, medicinal syrup and a slightly dry, sweet finish. Lots of peppery zest as well as hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove along with sweet candy sugar, cherry, berries, raisn and toasty malt. Decently balanced with a well masked ABV and slight hop profile.

corby112, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of mothman
1.85/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured into Stone Old Guardian glass.

Pours a half finger of beige head. Color is a mahogony brown. Hazed.

Aroma: Potpourri, juniper berries, figs, brown sugar, spices, and malts. Not bad.

Taste: Way more malty and boozy than the nose would suggest. Juniper berries, figs, plums, raisins, toffee, and other malts and spices.

Mouthfeel: Spiced and dry. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and spiced again with some booze showing.

Overall, it is an alright beer for how much spiced was used in it. It is somewhat of a sipper, but I am slowly getting through my glass.

Edit: Review #2

Pours a half finger of beige head. Decent retention. Color is a murky caramel brown.

Aroma: Just a massive amount of spices. Coriander, cloves, cinnamon, herbal florals. It also has a decent amount of malts. Chocolate and caramel.

Taste: More spices. Just like in the nose. Too much spice. It also has the same malt profile. Not very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Spiced and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with more spices.

Overall, this wasn't a very enjoyable beer. I could hardly drink it. Just not for me. Way to much spice.

mothman, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a on the light side darker brown that collars around the glass in a wispy head. The aroma is, well, kind of bad and reminds me of sticking my head in an aquarium to clean it. Swirling gives it some life with notes of spice. Thankfully the taste is WAY better than the nose. Notes of candy, spice, and herbs intensify this brew. Man, the nose kills me but I'll keep drinking. Nuts and berry make themselves present as this warms a bit. Booze shows slighlty. No lace. Ends with a lingering spicy and booze note.

kbutler1, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

A collaboration ale between Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne-Ø with chestnuts, juniper berry, white sage and caraway seed, plus 25-percent rye malt. Check out stonebrew.com for the full story.

Pours a dark garnet with deep ruby hues, dressed in a creamy beige head, which drops to a solid lace that sticks to the glass. Nose is full of spice and herbal notes. The sage is soft, but dominant. Spicy notes from the caraway and rye pull through with a fruity, berry base, and a finish of alcohol and esters. Suggestions of lilac, too. Mouthfeel is a blissful surprise. It's creamy up front as the carbonation hits the palate, but dense beneath, with a chewy viscosity that melds into a silky-smooth palate and the formation of a malty, sweet base with chestnuts making a slight appearance. Some bready, toasty and charred flavors, too. Zesty punch of lemongrass. Herbal sage follows and dominates again, but the caraway sneaks in a spicy jab here and there with a nice rye snap. This segues into a prickly and spicy alcohol note that has some very distinct gin-like characters, thanks to the juniper berries. Some berry esters, hints of blood orange and warming alcohol, though the 9-percent ABV is fairly well hidden. Finishes dry with some residual spice, sage and rye.

Delicious. A unique take on the Winter Warmer style that pairs some very distinct and unusual ingredients and makes them work. For us, this is what the whole extreme beer movement is all about.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown with 2 inches of off whit head and moderate carbonation evident. Little bit of rentention and lacing.

s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, juniper, spices, pine, alcohol, and a hint of coca cola.

t - Tastes of pine and juniper berries, as well as roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and nuts.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, smooth and very easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a pretty good winter warmer. I think the juniper berries have a very distinct smell and taste. It's very interesting but enjoyable. If you don't like that smell/taste, you might want to skip this one, otherwise definitely worth checking out. I would try again.

mdfb79, Sep 13, 2010
Special Holiday Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.