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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 WesWes
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a copper color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet crystal malt scent along with a slight, dry mustiness. The taste is good as well. It has a dry, musty flavor that goes down easy and finishes with some caramel sweetness. It's moderatly bitter with little in the way of yeast esters. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking Biere de Garde. It's true to style and full of character. Nice work.

WesWes, May 11, 2009
Photo of magine
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this brew into a Duvel glass.

Pours a nice dark amber, with small carbonated head and minimal lacing.

Smells of sweet fruits and yeasts, some floral undertones. Spicy.

Taste sweet and spicy and has a nice balance of malts and yeasts.

This is a good winter beer with good drinkability.

magine, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, no date. poured into tulip.

clear, rich amber, on the darker side. silky off-white head soon fades to wispy layer and ring. lacing soon slides back down after each sip and doesn't stick.

ripe apples and caramel in the aroma, with dried orange peel, and maybe faint clove or anise. hops are mildly herbal.

flavorwise, light apple and malty caramel are met by a quick flash of acidity, then a gentle, herbal hop bitterness, further accentuated by mildly spicy phenols and carbonation. off-dry finish with lingering hints of apple, malts and phenols all together.

pretty smooth, but borders on thin towards the finish. moderate carbonation that doesn't provide much for body, but does accentuate the flavors.

not the most complex or robust, but the gentleness of the phenols and the lack of overly cloying sweetness typical of many bieres de garde, help with this beer's drinkability for sure.

tai4ji2x, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" light beige head over the clear copper brew. Head recedes gradually, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is moderately sweet, with spicy yeast character. Taste is sweet upfront, lightly spicy in the middle, which kicks up towards the end. Mouthfeel is clean, and drinkability is good. This one was discounted for being a "leftover" of the Xmas season. I'll a 20% discount on this any day.

ppoitras, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler into chalice.

Pours cloudy dark copper with a big, foamy, long lasting off-white head.

Nose is a bit bready, spicy yeast, sweet.

Taste is sweet, bready caramel malt and candy sugar, balanced by a spicy, peppery bitterness with just a hint of tart fruit. Finish is clean, mildly bitter spicyness, and with a lingering big, round, yeasty bready malt note.

Carbonation starts out crisp, becomes creamier as the beer warms, with a nice, medium-full, creamy body.

Excellent beer.

JohnQVegas, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Farmhouse in Emmaus. This isn't far removed from a Belgian pale ale or amber, but there's a little something extra in the flavor. It's a literally flowery, like rose petals. Beyond that, the beer has an array of subtle flavors that range from dry biscuity malts to light citrus rind hops, and fruity caramel. This beer is not the richest, but the mellow complexities are quite nice. Certainly worth a try.

tempest, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of damienblack
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich medium brown the shade of dirt, or tree bark. Billowing lace making for a very lively looking beer. Scent is heavy of malts, with traces of tart berry (think raspberry, maybe a bit of strawberry).

Rich and malty, billowing to encompass the taste buds. A lot of people taste this as dry, it doesn't seem overly dry to me, but it does seem nice and crisp. Not too overly sweet even though there is a strong malt component, with not a lot of hops on the other end of the spectrum. A little thin in the middle, not much to bridge the gap after the initial malt. Tastes some of strawberry, peach, mild fruit. High drinkability as expected, it all blends together fairly well. I had no expectations going in to this, but now that I've tried it, I'm impressed. It isn't amazing, but what I presume to be a pretty good representation of a dry, yet sweet ale.

damienblack, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up a few weeks back to have during the holidays. I hadn't felt that well in recent weeks, so it wasn't until last night that I finally got around to having this. I wasn't sure what to expect from this but since it's a Southampton beer, I figured that it would be well-crafted and enjoyable. This was a bit too mellow for my tastes, but there was no doubt that this brew lived up to the aformentioned qualities that I anticpiated from it.

This had a great pour - an opaque, copper hue, rich head, and decent lacing were all seen, along with some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The smell, taste, mouthfeel, and aftertaste could all be summed up in one word: mellow. I was expecting some heavy alcohol and spice to make themselves felt, but this was not that type of beer. If the beer you're looking for is smooth, malty, leathery, and only has hints of fruit and alcohol in the mouthfeel, then this is up your alley!

I thought the ABV% was a bit higher than the actual 6.60% of this beer. Maybe because it's a holiday beer and I expect them to be a bit stronger and celebratory in nature. No matter...this is very easy to enjoy on a night like this and worth a try once for someone who wants to celebrate the holidays witout overloading on spice or alcohol. A great beer to start the new year off with!

JerzDevl2000, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of daliandragon
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was everywhere back on Long Island when I went home for the holidays. I picked up a growler on tap at St James Beverage and carted it down here to Carolina to try. This pours a light orange amber with little but a tiny cap for a head. The nose s malty and sweet with caramel and a hint of dark fruit.

I remember taste testing this against the Harpoon warmer with the owner's brother at the filling station. I liked the texture of this one as opposed to the spiciness of the Harpoon. This one has a thick, syrupy coating and a smooth, warm, fruity finish. This improves as it warms, with hints of apple and grapes but a light, delicate flavor, in contrast with the mouthfeel. A touch more carbonation would probably help but that could have been lost in the growler fill or the four days it took me to open it. Very good, not great but worth trying.

daliandragon, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of gfreed
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Handsome malty-brown color with a bubbly head; quite malty in the nose with definite overtones of peach and strawberry, maybe even raspberry. The taste had less fruit than the aroma but was still very fruity with apples and plenty of malt before a light but sharp hops whack at the end. Decent body with light carbonation; very brisk and tangy. Despite the ABV, I didn't find the alcohol to be particularly present. A decent find, not spectacular but quite nice, especially the berries in the aroma.

gfreed, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of Rainintheface
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: mostly clear amber with a short lived 1 finger white head and high carbonation

S: malt, of the faint caramel kind. moderate fruit aromas, twine and some very mild cellar aromas.

T: malty, yeasty fruit, spicy and earthy hops

M: moderate body, crisp, dry and lightly tart

D: quite good. i hope there's some left.

Rainintheface, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of DrJay
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear copper with a fizzy beige cap that settled into a solid collar and thin skim of bubbles. A bit sticky with decent head retention. Biscuit malt aroma with a hint of caramel, stone fruits, and light hop aroma. Very mellow. Low bitterness with light caramel sweetness and some grain character, less fruitiness than in the aroma but still with a nice peach undertone. Hops and a bit of spice appeared in the finish, perhaps a hint of warmth too. Lingering herbal hop notes. Medium bodied yet just short of a sticky, viscous texture. Ample carbonation gave it a lightness without the fizzy rush of overcarbonation. Very well balanced, quite elegant overall. Very drinkable and quite tasty.

DrJay, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Gregc for sending me down this growler as part of growlin at the moon. I served this one tonight for my sons birthday party and it seemed to be a hit all the way around. Served chilled and poured into several pint glasses, this one was consumed on 12/20/2008.

Nice pour here with a medium amber color that had a slight bit of haziness to it. Intresting tone here for sure as it was bordering on being a bit brighter. There was a nice head of white that came up over the top and settled down gradually into a little pillow.

The aroma was light, hints of grian, light hops and a touch of light peach and pear fruit notes. Subtle would be the ideal word here. There was a very nice flavor here, nothing really huge, just very light and drinkable. Nice touches of light grains and small doses of light fruit, mixing well and with subtle yet adequate carbonation, the whole thing seemed to come together quite well.

Overall a very solid little beer here, something I would have no problem at all enjoying a little more often. Quite nice and a winner at the party tonight.

mikesgroove, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of John_M
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Drafting Room the other day.

The beer pours a copper amber color with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just some sweet malt and underlying spice. On the palate however, this beer is just terrific. The beer is almost viscuous and is fairly sweet. I get lots of cherry, vanilla, apple and orange, with maybe a hint of chocolate and vanilla. The flavors change/develop as it warms, and each sip is different then the last. The mouthfeel is fairly full, and frankly the beer seems more boozy then it really is. Maybe it's the sweetness, as this beer is quite rich and seems somewhat alcoholic (not in a bad way).

A little bit of this goes a long way, but have to say I really enjoyed this one. It reminds me a bit of the Mad Elf, though there's not as much cherry flavor. This is a great beer for the winter. Very good stuff.

John_M, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of AaronRed
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The guy at the beer store told me this beer was flying off the shelf. I decided to try it since I like trying local brews. Pours a nice amber in to a tulip glass, shwoing off it's clarity as well. Not much in aroma, mostly bready, but not offensive. Sweetness dominates at first, but becomes more structured after the first few sips. Hints of some kind of herb. Very well made, shows it's a substantial brew by the way it sits on your tounge, with a nice long aftertaste. Highly recommended and a bit different.

AaronRed, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a relatively clear amber color with a decent head that drops to a film and leaves a bit of lacing here and there

Smell: Cereal grains, orange peel and a hint of clove

Taste: Opens with a orange peel and holiday spice flavor that is joined by an herbal bitterness at mid-palate; after the swallow, there is an underlying sweetness that joins the herbal flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: The version I am drinking is a contract brewed bomber that says "French Style Christmas Ale" on the label; perhaps the recipe has changed over time but I view this more in the Winter Warmer camp than a Biere de Garde, despite what the label says; having said that, I really enjoyed this beer

brentk56, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of ccrida
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Southampton French Christmas is a ruddy bronze, with a large, creamy, auburn tinged off-white head that has long last leaves lighter, foamy lace. Recently received in trade from Beerisheaven (thx again!) and served at cellar temp, I'd planed to bust this out for Thanksgiving, but never got around to it. A few days later, it paired very well with a plate of leftovers.

Smell is soft, sweet cereal grains, oranges, cinnamon and mint, with light, clean alcohol vapors.

Taste is very nice, a light caramel / toffee maltiness, citrus esters, herbal hops and a drying, sharp, bitter finish. Wow! At first sip it was a bit underwhelming, but once I had a few more, I was super impressed, and really appreciate it's subtle delicacy. This might be the best BdG I've ever had, out of quite a few!

Mouthfeel is dry and creamy, but with a medium body.

Drinkability is extremely good, with a great taste, lighter and dry, it goes down very easily. Still, it's got enough depth that pondering is rewarded. Refreshing and satisfying, it paired well with the left-over turkey - perhaps not perfect (a bit to brawny), but very tasty. I also tried it in direct comparison to an at least 1.5 year old bottle of Sans Culotte, it was so vastly superior I couldn't have another sip until I had savored the last drop of this.

ccrida, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of gdfan47
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at "The Note" in west chester... they had a pretty good beer selection

it poured a coppery orange color with a little bit of head, that took a bow early

it smelled piney and of holiday spices.. really hard to nail town

it tastes alot like it smells, only not as sweet as you think it might be

its pretty smooth , easy, and enjoyable to drink

really good beer, def suprised to see it at this place and I enjoyed it

I will try as much of this as I can

gdfan47, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of treyrab
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was surprised to find this one on my way back to Pittsburgh. Poured into my chalice...

A: Pours a hazy orange copper with very minimal head. There is ample carbonation floating up the glass, but this is nothing special to look at.

S: The smell is rather bland with minor spices. Tons of cinnamon and nutmeg, but really not malt to back it up in the smell. Some clove also comes though...very spicy.

T: The taste is similar to the nose. Very spice, but not much malt to back it up. Reminds me of the Southampton Pumpkin which had the same problem. Not much malt in here at all to balance all the spice.

M/D: The mouthfeel is not too bad, and is adequately carbonated.

Overall, this was an interesting beer that I may just need to get familiarized with the style.

treyrab, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of Nickls
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(From notes)

A - Beautiful ruby red color, with a quickly disappearing white head

S - Very muted aroma, with suggestions of fresh fruit and maltiness

T - The fruitiness of the brew was right up front with a good degree of malt sweetness. Pretty complex tastes, and hard for me to nail down everything to be honest.

M - Medium to thin MF, and a little viscous.

D - Hugely drinkable even though there are some complexities.

Thoroughly enjoyable brew, and I will definitely seek this out again.

Nickls, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of Gmann
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of the 22oz bomber. Pours an exceptional clear and pretty copper color, nice fluffy egg shell colored head that settled fairly quick into a light ring. The aroma is fairly light, a sweet toasted malt with a touch a hoppy spice. The taste is of a toasted malt with a sprucey hop bite, lemon rind and a tart cranberry like fruitiness. The brew sits well on the palate, slightly chewy, prickly carbonation, finishes with a spicy sweetness. A nice and spicy biere de garde, more of a hoppy spice than yeasty spice.

Gmann, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into an oversized wine glass.

A--I should have reviewed this yesterday, the first day on the growler. Because today it's flatter: the head goes from about a finger and a half to a fingernail, although you do get some decent off-white skim that lasts, and even some lacing from it! This beer is no quitter, and the body is a beautiful almost pure caramel, with only a hint more red.

S--Not terribly complex, some floral hints and an earthy, almost root beer smell. Weird, and kinda intriguing, to be honest.

T--Incredibly satisfying. I'm getting plenty of toasty sweetish malt holding up behind all sorts of grain: whole-wheat, more molasses-like pumpernickel, even a touch of spicy rye. There are also hints of pepper and poppy seed that propel themselves (how's /that/ for allieration?!) out from what is mostly a mellow, almost toffee, malt backdrop. Hops aren't much here but I think that's normal for the style. What sticks out as uncharacteristic for the style is the minimal yeast presence. That may be what robs the nose.

M&D--Expert stuff here. Lively bubbles lighten the load of the barley and the alcohol is well-masked. Perfect beer for a fire!

TheycallmeTim, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of Lexluthor33
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper color with a golden touch. Medium sized head and thin lace that holds up well.
The aroma of fruits,caramel and malts. The taste is sweet,malts with a spices and apple hints.
The feel was smooth yet crisp in the finish. Creamy going down and medium body with moderate carbonation.Dry finish.

Notes: I got a good beer for my money. No complaints here as it was easy to drink and a pleasure to have. I felt that style wise they got a little creative,but it was done well and I enjoyed it.

Lexluthor33, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They did not nail the style, likely intentionally. A fine Belgian near sticky yeasty ale with good malting and a significant but not bold spiciness. Fairly easy to drink after a warm (finally) day and went well with the food. Lightly orangey with lots of foamed bubbles. In a word, sweetish Belgian yeast.

Sammy, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of BeerLover729
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Huge thick fizzy head that fades to a thick creamy lacing?/head. This copper auburn beer is downright gorgeous.

S: Caramelized and biscuity malt flavors tickle my olfactory nerve.

T: Creamy caramel beer but with a dry astringent finish. Very mild malt sweetness that is very pleasant and palatable with biscuit malt carbo's that are particularly yummy. Yeasty character is mild but complex and notable despite no real phenols or esters.

M: This beer has a heavy light body with pleasant dextrin character despite the dry crips character of this highly attenuated beer. Medium to sharp, vigorous, carbonation.

D: This is a drinking beer. Its smooth crisp character is enticing enough to keep the desire constant but simple enough to not hold you back from drinking this beer as a session beer. In fact I personally could drink this beer all night long.

Notes: Not the most complex beer that I ever feel in love with but this is an amazing brew none the less. The toasty caramel malt character reminds me of and rivals the best octoberfest style beers I have had. Definitely the best winter sessonal I have had all winter 2007-2008. An excellent beer. Thank you Phil.

My bottle is in a 750 mL bottle. It has a red label and it says Joyeux Noel 2007 French Country Christmas Ale a Biere de Garde-style Stong Ale. Just thought I'de mention that since there seems to be a lot of variety.

BeerLover729, Jan 31, 2008
French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde) from Southampton Publick House
90 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.