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French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde) - Southampton Publick House

Not Rated.
French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde)French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

81 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 26
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-17-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gcare02
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

gcare02, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of ThatsThatDude
4/5  rDev -1.5%

ThatsThatDude, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of iatethecloudsfor
3.25/5  rDev -20%

iatethecloudsfor, Jan 04, 2014
Photo of pjkelley82
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

pjkelley82, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of cosmicevan
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Swung out to the brewery to pick up some bottles of this years vintage and grabbed a pint. Brew arrived in a pint. Nice transparent copper color with a thin had that bubbled away quick but left a thin skin of bubbles on the surface. Nice rich color and streaky leaving. Nose is fairly muted but one can detect nice caramel almost buiscit notes. Taste is more if the same but far more toasted. Nice crystallized malt. Really nice body. Very balanced. Really drinkable and enjoyable bdg. makes me really enjoy a style that i otherwise couldn't care much for.

cosmicevan, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of xenjoiii
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Southampton Publick House - 2013 Vintage (brewed and bottled at the pub) bottles are now available as well!.

A: Two fingers of white head that receded to a thick layer of froth.

S: Notes of caramel, and fruit (dried apricot and peach). The yeast shines through, as well.

T: Follows the nose with notes of sweet caramel (maybe toffee?), followed by a burst of fruit and spice (yeast). The fruitiness becomes prominent as the beer warms.

M: a fortified body, moderate carbonation, and despite the sweetness, a rather dry finish.

O: On par, if not better, than last years vintage. Another high quality beer from Evan. This beer is a well hidden christmas treat, for us locals. Cheers!

xenjoiii, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of POTABLE83
4/5  rDev -1.5%

POTABLE83, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of gory4d
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

gory4d, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

yourefragile, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of wertschy
3.25/5  rDev -20%

wertschy, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of pknyc
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

pknyc, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Poured a very hazy yellow-amber colored brew with a one finger just off white colored head. The head faded relatively fast to give a light level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was rather light overall. It consisted of a toast and bready aroma mixed with a lighter fruit and some notes of a spiced aroma of nutmeg, clove and allspice. With these are some light honey sweetness and a good dose of yeasty smells.

Taste – The taste starts out of a toasted bready and yeasty flavor with a lighter orange citrus taste. As the taste advances, more orange citrus and some apple flavors come to the tongue and mix with some light honey flavors. Soon some spiced flavors of nutmeg and coriander as well as a lighter banana and pepper flavor come to the tongue. These flavors bring the flavor profile to its end where they mix with a light herbal and floral note to leave a somewhat light yeasty and fruity spiced flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer was on the thicker side for the abv. with a carbonation level that was on the lower side. The body and lower carbonation made it more of a slower drinker then it normally would be, but were overall very nice for the yeasty and lightly spiced flavors of the brew.

Overall – A decent brew, although nothing really to exceptional for the price. It had a good level of complexity, but in some ways was a bit too complicated and confusing as some of the flavors really did not transition and meld together well. One to try, but not really one I would go to back to again and again.

Darkmagus82, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of joefuzz
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

Super gusher watch out....pours golden orange with a huge white head.

Smells of biscuit malt with a very belgian smell.

Tastes of white grape, apple and peach and a very nice sweet maalt aftertaste with some sort of saison yeast strain

Mouthfeel is light drinking with fairly hight carbonation

Overall another amazing offering from phil-era southampton. I can only hope they can continue this tradition of amazing beers.

joefuzz, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of jfcaa193
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

jfcaa193, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of Beertracker
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Beertracker, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of mltobin
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in Brooklyn last month, from notes.

Appearance is a deep orange and copper tone with an off-white head. Its` nose has spice, honey and some caramel. The taste of this biere de garde contains some bread, light malts, hay and a small amount of fruit. It is all subdue, too much perhaps. Mouthfeel is low, dry finish. One of the better choices from this style imho.

mltobin, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of rfgetz
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazed amber, decent head and retention. Scent brings musty wet hay and spicy yeast before notes of toffee and roasted nuts present themselves. Taste follows scent with an initial push of musty hay, dried grain, moderately spicy and lightly bready yeasts, nice dry toasted nut and toffee flavors throughout. Rustic comes to mind. Medium bodied, lightly grainy on the palate yet smooth. Overall a very nice seasonal offering that doesn't make it all about the spices.

rfgetz, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

GrindFatherBob, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4/5  rDev -1.5%

PittBeerGirl, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of hoppymcgee
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had on tap at The Gate in Brooklyn. This is the 2008 vintage poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Translucent brown with a white ring lining the inside of the glass.

S: A little nutmeg, coriander, and other spices. Nothing crazy, maybe the beer is too cold for the aroma to come out?

T: Malty and mellow. Slight hints of egg nog? Maybe I'm just thinking about Christmas.

M: Nicely done here. Perfect carbonation - works well with the ABV.

D: Awesome. Because of the lower ABV and lack of heavy malts and spiciness, this one can be had all night.

hoppymcgee, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Earth Bread + Brewery...
Appears a semi-transparent amber with a small, off white head that sticks around for nice retention. Scattered traces of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of floral hops, a touch of grass, malty caramel, toffee, and maybe a touch of ripe fruit.
Taste is of the aromas with a standout flashing of apple and earthiness.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fizzy, and chewy in the finish.

weeare138, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of kkipple
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber courtesy of UncleJedi. 2008 vintage.

Cracked the day after Christmas because I was just too stuffed to drink it yesterday. Into my big goblet it goes!

Try as I might, I just can't get much of a head on this one... there's a slight light brown foam that dies immediately and then retreats to the edges of my glass, leaving just a little bit of lace behind. Pity, because most Biere De Gardes can do better... the beer is a fine Christmassy amber-orange, though.

Aroma is interesting - a decent amount of caramel and sweet, dense malt up front; all kinds of subtleties below, but they're tough to tease out. There is some booze and a hint of sourness. Sort of a wassail-ish apple thing going on, some orange and indeterminate spice, a musty sort of fruitiness that's neither easy to pin down nor unenjoyable (got all that?). The end of the bottle brings some yeasty bits that add even more character and roundness. Overall: Quite nice.

Flavor is a mixed bag, sadly. This has all or most of all the components of a great Biere De Garde but they never coalesce into something wonderful. There's a good amount of layered sweet malt with some toasty and caramel flavor: okay. Fruity esters (dates?) and some spicy notes (booze, pepper) work in here, as does some Belgian-barnhouse flavor, but the whole thing never really comes together for me... it's a bit hard to explain, but it's a bit of a a chore to drink. It's doesn't taste "complete" but rather like flavors are being checked off without any idea as to how they work as a whole, drinkable beer. Try it and see for yourself.

Mouthfeel? Medium. Carbonation seems a bit low for what this is. Finish is dry caramel, spice and warm, soured apple. Odd.

I really wanted to like this one, but (like a lot of Southampton Brews) this just isn't doing it for me. French Country Christmas Ale *seems* like this should work, but ultimately does not. Simply a fair Biere De garde, and that's a pity.

kkipple, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of biegaman
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The French are known for having an impeccable taste of fashion - and their beers are no different. This French-inspired bière de garde has a dashing and lustrous amber colour, one readily associated with Egyptian amulets. It is clear and its surface accentuated by a thick white crown and a pond of fizzling bubbles. Christmasy? No. Classy? Yes.

The bière de garde aroma is rarely described as dynamic, so an average example of an average aroma doesn't give a lot to write about. There is some caramelization, a touch of must, but no real hops and only a very low amount of esters. It's a tad spicy and herbal but is really lacking in the richer, deeper aromatics. Still, with warmth it grew on me.

A lot of the distinct charm of this farmhouse French style comes from indigenous yeasts and molds, ones that commercial versions like this simply cannot replicate. There is a notable cork-like, very dry (and almost astringent) character but it's nothing near the must of an antiquated, authentic French example. Think watered-down Armagnac.

The flavour is comprised basically entirely of toasty, toffee-like malts. It is both sweet and dry. The body has a lean, medium-light volume with a slight tartness on the finish. The beer drinks smoothly, with no detectable alcohol what so ever. Its soft water certainly helps to enhance its subtle floral and herbal notes. I like it but have yet to lick my lips.

Southampton Bière de Garde (this brewery's standard release in this style that comes corked and caged) is arguably my favourite example of the style to date; after sitting down to review it last spring it spurred me into a deep, several month long love affair with all things French: their beer, their cuisine, their music, history and literature...

I don't think this bière de garde, although it was good, will have the same kind of effect (which is just as well, because nothing could possibly make me love Christmas more than I already do). Southampton is a great brewery but the best of their offerings come in the 750ml corked and caged bottles; given the option, grab those over the bombers.

biegaman, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The body is a rich copper color that looks like a nice penny. Not a brand new penny, but one that has been around long enough to be handled, although not long enough to be all nasty looking. An off-whtie head rises up quickly but fades rather quickly also, not leaving behind a whole lot of lace.

The aroma is pretty nice, a big sweet malt bill with notes of bread. A big aroma of dark fruits is in there also, with a spiced character in the background.

The flavor is everything one would expect from the aroma. The malt comes through with a lot of bread, but also a lot of caramelt sweetness that is rather nice. Dark fruit with a touch of apple is in there, and a nice hay-like flavor also. The spice character is noticeable also, but it lingers in the background for the most part. There is just a touch of alcohol warming in the back end of this one.

The mouthfeel is pretty good on this one. It starts out medium bodied, just enough to get the flavors, and then explodes ont he tongue like a good saison would.

Overall, I would say that Southampton's Christmas beer is pretty good, and the drinkability follows suit.

Hojaminbag, Oct 09, 2009
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French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde) from Southampton Publick House
90 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.