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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

67 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 67
Hads: 80
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 29
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-17-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 80
Photo of cosmicevan
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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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!

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
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.

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Photo of joefuzz
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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Photo of mltobin
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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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.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of kkipple
3.59/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

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Photo of biegaman
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.02/5  rDev -1%
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.

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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.

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Photo of magine
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

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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.

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Photo of damienblack
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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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!

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Photo of daliandragon
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of gfreed
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of John_M
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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French Country Christmas Ale (Biere De Garde) from Southampton Publick House
90 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.