Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve) - Bethlehem Brew Works
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Ratings: 166 | Reviews: 93 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Dantes:
4.18/5 rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Package: 12oz. brown, longneck, crowned bottle. Label depicts Santa astride a somewhat fearful reindeer, with saddlebags filled with beer. Blurb describes beer as a “Belgian style ale brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet gale (?), cloves, coriander and allspice.” No date or ABV information, but I just bought this directly from BBW and their website confirms it at 9.5%.
Cost: $10 per 6-pack; $30 per case at Shangy’s
Presentation: Snifter at ~50º
Appearance: An absolutely beautiful beer with a densely creamy bonewhite head and clear, coppery, auburn body. Rita Hayworth, eat your heart out! Super-fine beads replenished the head continually, which left nice lacing. Instantly evoked Autumn.
Smell: A wonderfully complex aroma topped by a definite whiff of alcohol. There’s a lot happening on the nose, but it combines well and is reminiscent of baking cinnamon buns or stöllen. Cinnamon is prominent but not dominating, with the other spicy notes mixing well with the bready bouquet and fruitiness.
Taste: Similar to the nose, alcohol warms the mouth first, but is backed up by the cinnamon and other spices. The Belgian candi-sugar is also detectable, but I think this also shares some similarities to British winter warmers, with its malty, bready body. Despite all of the malt, spices, and candi-sugar, this has a pretty nutty, dry, finish lengthened by the alcohol warmth.
Mouthfeel: Although I’m pretty sure this isn’t bottle-conditioned, it has a fine carbonation. Very mouthwarming and comfortingly “heavy.”
Drinkability: I think this is pretty drinkable, although the alcohol is apparent and the spices can be a bit rough, at least when fresh. Something that I think will be even more pleasant with age.
I first had the opportunity to try a few samples of this at Shangy’s. At the time, it seemed on the sweet side to me, which someone who worked there echoed, comparing it to “Coke,” which I thought went too far. Because I didn’t want to commit to a case, I didn’t buy any. However, a friend had some business not far from Bethlehem, so I went a long for a ride and we stopped at BBW, where I tried some on draught and picked up a 6-pack. I’m glad I did. Neither the draft nor these bottles were cloyingly sweet. It makes a great after-dinner beer as ammunition against the Winter chill.
Backwash: Worth seeking out or trading for. An interesting take on a winter warmer style beer that comes off well.
Serving type: bottle
12-01-2003 23:47:10 | More by Dantes
More User Reviews:
3.78/5 rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Pours a brownish copper with a finger of off-white head. The head dissipates rather quickly. The most pronounced note in the nose is nutmeg. Spices and malt blend together in the flavor profile. This offering finishes with a definite and not altogether pleasant essence of alcohol. The alcohol becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. The body is a touch light for the style.
I have sampled this offering over many Christmas seasons and it has seemed to have gotten lighter with a slightly muted flavor profile as the years go by. This is still a good holiday treat, but certainly not the best Christmas ale available.
Serving type: bottle
12-26-2013 22:19:28 | More by 57md
Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve) from Bethlehem Brew Works
85 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.