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Harveys Christmas Ale - Harvey & Son Ltd.

Harveys Christmas AleHarveys Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

164 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 164
Reviews: 151
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.92%

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-18-2001)
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 151 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of NilocRellim


2.79/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle.

The beer poured with very little carbonation.

It was hazy and auburn in colour.

The beer smelled strongly of figs and spices.

The taste was like drinking alcoholic raisin/prune juice with a few spices. It was also a bit slimy on the tongue.

Would I buy it again? No. I just do not care for those types of flavours.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 19:27:46 | More by NilocRellim
Photo of kaufmaal


3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one sloshed out of the bottle, virtually no carbonation other than some off-white bubbles around the edges. Undated bottle, so perhaps an old one. It has the color of iced tea. Smells like Coca-Cola: sweet, some ripened fruit, raisins, vanilla. The taste is a real let-down: sweet, a bit malty, some more vanilla. The alcohol is well hidden, but it tastes like flat coke mixed with some orange soda. I'm willing to try it again as this may be an old bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 04:09:30 | More by kaufmaal
Photo of BraveUlysses


2.3/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Truly a let down. After seeing the high reviews on BA, I had very high expectations for this brew. It poured with little to no head (maybe due to a bad pour) and the color was fine, but nothing particularly appealing. I drank this out of a Perfect Pint glass, but didn't really experience much nose on the beer after pouring (related to my imperfect pour, perhaps?) But the taste was the biggest disappointment - I can only compare it to flat soda. Sweet, with little carbonation and just a mediocre sugary taste. Couldn't even finish it.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 21:43:46 | More by BraveUlysses
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a hazy ice tea brown color; the head is a mass of large bubbles that quickly fade away, leaving a salting of lace on the tulip glass

Smell: Burnt brown sugar, leather, cream sherry and a hint of soy

Taste: Soy sauce infused toffee, on the front end, with leather and caramel apple flavors in the mid-palate; the finish is somewhat boozy, with cream sherry notes; a touch of lactic sourness in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation; a bit of warmth in the gullet

Overall: Though I bought this bottle the other day, I have no idea how old it was; given the price mark-down, I am sure it was not this year's edition and it may not have been last year's either; as I look through the previous reviews there is a distinct downward trend and reduced number of reviews over the last few years so it would not surprise me if this beer hasn't been imported for a while; trying to account for all this, I find that there are some pleasing aspects to the beer but the soy sauce, in particular, really detracts from the overall enjoyment

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 18:21:55 | More by brentk56
Photo of Beerenauslese


3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Body is dark reddish brown, head dissipates rapidly.

Smells malty sweet, raisins and honey, a little fresh tobacco.

Tastes very malty sweet, with notes of raisins, prunes, and other dark fruit, a little coffee. Has a slightly bitter finish.

Body is medium and carbonation is low, not quite flat but close.

This is a winter warmer that is very malty, fruity, and pretty sweet, but not very spicy. It is just OK and lacks complexity. It doesn't hold my interest and I would not have another glass of this.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 04:31:09 | More by Beerenauslese
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Caracole small snifter. Pours a somewhat cloudy dark, ruddy brown amber. Very slight head formation on pouring that disappears quickly, little carbonation. Aroma of dark fruit and sweet malt. Flavor is moderate dark and dried fruit and sweet malt with light holiday spicing. Medium body. Pleasant, but nothing to bring me back next year. Kind of wanted to like this a bit more. No date on the bottle, from the source, it could have been an older bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2012 03:28:37 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of metter98

New York

3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy brownish amber in color. It poured with a very thin head that quickly dissipated, leaving lacing on the surface and a thick ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of port wine in the nose, which become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of port wine along with notes of figs and a bit of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink compared to others in the style because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. It almost seems to taste more like port wine instead of beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2012 00:35:18 | More by metter98
Photo of Suds


3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is flatter than normal...a still-ish amber liquid with a nearly non-existent head. A ring of white suds. The aroma is all fruit and malt. Cherry, grist-mill, apricot, grape-skin, and lightly toasted bread. The flavor is now what was expected...intense sweetness to begin with (nearly sugary), followed with a bit of booze and enough balance to even things out. Some gristy, malty characteristics. English hops. This is a traditional strong English ale all the way (over the top, really). Full body. To be enjoyed in sips, not a gulps. I enjoyed this beer more than expected.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 03:50:43 | More by Suds
Photo of warnerry


3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure when this was bottled. Label says there is a best by date on the cap, but I don't see one.

A - Pours a clear amber/copper with almost zero head.

S - Lots of caramel malt, a bit of fruit, mostly apple, and a bit of candi sugar. Pretty nice.

T - Alcohol is quite noticeable, along with sweet caramel malt, some sugar and brown sugar, and some tart fruit. Has a very faint burnt flavor, and some spices leading to a dry finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel s initially quite syrupy, but finishes dry and with some bitterness.

O - A pretty good winter warmer, but not one I would go back to.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 03:23:52 | More by warnerry
Photo of garymuchow


4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Several year interest in this. Not sure why I pulled the trigger this time, but so I did.
Great deep fruity aroma with dark fruits like fig and dates, but malt. Also nice sweet candy like caramel, toffee and a little molasses. Really nice aroma.
No head to speak of, with a small rim of white carbonation. Darker amber with tints of red, yellow, orange and slightly cloudy.
Nice fruit flavors again - closer to cherry. They are a little sweeter and are tinged with the alcohol. Finish has a drying quality, but it's not a dry beer, in fact it's more rich than anything. Must be just enough hopping to balance it off.
Heavy feel, with richness, low carbonation, higher alcohol make this a slow sipper. However, the rather shorter finish limits it some.
I like this beer. It's not through the roof, but it is a good, and complex beer with some really enjoyable fruit flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 03:04:41 | More by garymuchow
Photo of DaveHS


3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A couple years on this one. No bottle date.

A-Pours clear dark amber with a thin, milky coffee colored head. No lacing.

S-Candied fruit, figs, leather, toffee.

T/M-Flavor profile is in line with what I expect from a vintage English strong ale for the most part, but it's just kind of flat. Cloyingly sweet. Fruity/musty flavors all muddled together.

O-Don't care for it

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2011 03:49:04 | More by DaveHS
Photo of Knapp85


1.95/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I feel bad but I really didn't like this brew at all. It was very flat and some of the flavors were not agreeing with my taste buds. Perhaps it was an old bottle and it lost some of it's kick over time. The beer has a nice appearance but that's about all I could see as a plus for this brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2011 00:22:38 | More by Knapp85
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

2.38/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Aromas are initially sweet with dark fruitiness throughout; plums and dried figs. Dark maltiness lingers with cocoa and dark toffee notes. Alcohol is detectable, but it keeps getting pushed into the background as the fruits dominate my nostrils.
Extraordinarily sweet brown sugar maltiness. Cloyingly overpoweringly sweetness; please some hops anywhere; please.. uh no, can't find em. Mouthfeel is also miserably less than substantial. Dark fruity maple syrup is the only way to describe this. Wow avoid, miserable beer; tastes like sweet mead with added brown sugar. Thus is not beer; period, gross wow pass, not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 01:37:38 | More by claspada
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

From bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/11/11

*I'm performing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts, and finishing off the holiday beer in and around my home - this being the last of them (Thank God!)

A: Slight ruby in hue. A hard, forceful pour leads to zero head. None. Nada. I Bobby Brown'ed the hell out of it, yet nary an ounce of froth or even a smidgen of lacing appeared. Quite dissapointing.

S: Simply lovely - sugar sweet plums and dried figs. I also notice a trace of mild alcohol, but it keeps getting pushed into the background as the fruit flirts with my nostrils.

T: Wow, this one is really, really sweet - it feels like my teeth are rotting. Oddly though, the flavor is wonderful: there isn't any hop presense, but what's there is freshly baked fruit cake and juicy prunes.

M: Blech! It's flat. Literally flat like a tall glass of water. I don't know if this is to be expected or if it is strictly my bottle, but it's extremely unappealing.

O: As you'd assume from reading the above, the drinkability is limited. Leave a can of soda open on the kitchen counter all night, and have it with tomorrow night's dinner and you'll understand. There is too much residual sugar and fruit in this one not to find some semblance of balance in even mild carbonation.

The nose and flavor are there. Sadly though, there are signifigant pieces of this brew that seem to be missing, and therefore I cannot give it my recommendation.

Might I also add that I'm thrilled to be finished with my Holiday catch-up. Now on to one last pumpkin ale, then back to the IPA's!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 20:00:07 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of aasher


2.35/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer pours a burnt, dark brown with amber accents. It has virtually no head but some light foam does lace the glass. This beer smells exactly like spicy raisins. It's strange and is a total malt bomb. It tastes like melted brown sugar mixed with raisins and figs. It is syrupy sweet. It drinks smoothly but it's way too sweet. This beer is near undrinkable. Not quality whatsoever.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 04:28:14 | More by aasher
Photo of Halcyondays


3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

9.3 oz. nip bottle, nice to see this back in the Southland after a 4 year absence, it's back like Goudenband, great label,

A: Pours a dark amber with a mild white head. Lighter than I expected it to be. Good head retention, no lace.

S: Very malt, has a booze presence. Caramel and molasses, with a hint of soy sauce.

T: Brown sugar and soy (though this goes away as it warms a bit) with a fair amount of hoppiness for this style. Really more an old ale or a barleywine than a winter warmer. Cracked grainy finish.

M: Full-bodied, smooth, solventy at times, very light, soft carbonation character.

D: It's a warming brew, it doesn't lie. The flavour is nice, not great, there are better English beers for the price.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 21:10:05 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of rtepiak


4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a english malt bomb with a subtle bitter kicker to its otherwise arrange of malts. pour is rich amber with a yellowish off white head. nose is caramel and toffee toasted malt. palate is that sort of sweetness with a hint of mild citrus note. toffee, toasted and burnt, a bit of a pineapple candied sweet, persimmon, and a assam tea bitter at the end that gives it a much drier note than expected. although i must say that the abv is evident. definitely made the bitter burnt quality more prevalent. but still quite nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2010 08:35:24 | More by rtepiak
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a ruby color and a cloudy texture. There was a small amount of quickly dissipating, foamy head. Almost no lacing at all.

S: A nice aroma of malt, toffee, some spices, and a bit of alcohol.

T: Tasted of malt and toffee more than anything, with a slightly spicy finish. Alcohol wasn't quite as noticeable as I would have thought. A generally good flavor.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, this is a solidly made, drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 14:37:09 | More by avalon07
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on 12/25/09. How appropriate :)

A - Poured brilliant deep ruby red, perfectly clear, with a 3/4" light tan bubbly head. Small streams of bubbles continuously sustained the head for a bit, then it diminished to a nice ring around the glass. No lacing. 4.5

S - Strong notes of cream sherry, caramel, and raisins control the aroma. Mild oxidation and maybe a touch of prunes as well. The nose bouquet is wonderfully balanced and rich. 4.5

T - Deliciously sweet and fruity. Very malt forward, rich toffee and plum flavors. My tastebuds are attacked by lots of caramelized malt, black currants, and sweet plum. Again, the oxidation brings out some more cream sherry notes. Quite the complex beer and finishes forever, with lots of lingering sweetness. 4.0

M - Still well carbonated and very smooth. Mildly thick bodied, slight warmth of alcohol in the finish. For only 8.1%, the alcohol is a bit pronounced. 4.0

D - Pretty good, definitely a dipper. I'd rather have this one over many other Christmas ales. As a winter warmer, it definitely warms your throat. I would buy this again. 4.5

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2010 04:11:25 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of hoegaardenhero


3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: very limited amount of white head quickly fades away leaving one splotch of white floating on top of a burgundy-brown body

s: it is very fragrant; coffee scent; toffee; sweet spices; some wine/whiskey; sweet plum;

t: warm abv; sweet malts; light raw wheat; a light tartness at the end of the sip; there is a lot here--thick with flavor; spice and brown sugar

m: smooth and velvety; a little cloying; thick bod very mild carb

d: an interesting beer that is definitely worth a try and begs to be enjoyed in front of a fireplace

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2010 04:48:30 | More by hoegaardenhero
Photo of jgasparine


4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note: This bottle has been sitting in the fridge for at least two years. Don't know the date of production, but I DO know that it wasn't temperature abused.

A- Poured from the bottle almost completely flat. No head, nor lacing, and only the faintest visible traces of carbonation where a collar would normally form on the beer. The body was an attractive opaque ruby-tinged brown, but the lack of any head was dissapointing.

S- A rich nose comprised of caramel, dark fruit, leather and madiera aromas. A little oxidization here, but not off-putting. The oxidization may be from the age on my bottle...

T- Starts off sweet on the palate with candy malt and the anticipated flavors of caramel and dark fruit. Some very subtle spiciness emerges in the middle. The finish exhibits a mild hop bitterness and fades quickly with faint traces of butterscotch and oxidation left behind.

M- A medium body. Not very viscous, but there is a little slickness to the brew as it coats the mouth. The carbonation is extremely soft and delecate.

D- Very tasty and very drinkable. The alcohol is undetectable on the nose and palate. I could make a night out of this quite easily... especially in the colder months.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2010 02:58:56 | More by jgasparine
Photo of clayrock81


4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a claer brown with ruby tints that gave a good head and lace on top of a sweet smell with some spiciness and minor hop bitterness. Really sweet and mellow, medium body, beer passes easily while giving off caramel, cinnamon, bread, minor hops and other sugary sweetness but all so subtle. ABV complements beer with warming sensation on backend and this one is real enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 15:28:59 | More by clayrock81
Photo of ShareANevada


3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Christmas beer for Christmas night. Shared with Tonybrew,
Happy Santas birthday everybody!

Into a stemmed tulip, the beer is dark brown and rich, you can almost see the sweetness. Decent head forms, thin layer stays.
Dar fruit like plums, figs, dates breathe richly from this one.

On the tongue, it actually seems fairly thin. There is some sweetness here, but I think this beer has mellowed out with a little age, with a year on it in my hands.

A nice sipper, not too rich, and respectively, not too sweet. Pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 05:37:04 | More by ShareANevada
Photo of likethetaste


3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a medium brown with little head. Smells of christmas spices. taste like prunes with some nutmegs spicing. High alcohol content gives this a warm but sharp after taste that some may not like. I usually do not like high alcohol beer but this one was ok. Not bad, just not great. Definately a winter warmer because you feel the alcohol warm you.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 01:15:35 | More by likethetaste
Photo of indiapaleale


3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour - dark, murky brown. Low carbonation levels, almost like a cask pour. The head is reminiscent of an oil slick. Bubbly froth clings to the inside walls of the glass while islands of oily looking foam cover the top of the beer.

Aroma - wow. I can smell this a good 2-3 feet away. Strong dark, dried fruit smells and oxidization emanate from the glass. It also provides some medicinal aromas along with strong alcohol.

Taste - plums, figs, prunes and raisins galore. Tons of dried dark fruit flavors. Sweet concentrated flavors. There is also brown bread, toffee and an essence of brandy. This is sweet but not cloying, thankfully. The oxidization I smell did not translate into this beer being bad either.

Overall - Warm and smooth with a good deal of flavor. This is one to sip by the fire and/or enjoy with a nice dessert. Great for a cold winter night and definitely a good candidate for sharing.

Would I buy more of it? - yeah maybe, not totally sure. There are way too many other beers out there that I'd love to try before I go back to this one. It would make a nice gift for any beer lover on your Christmas list!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 14:36:19 | More by indiapaleale
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Harveys Christmas Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.