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Christmas Ale - Sly Fox Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

133 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 133
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 14.82%
Wants: 6
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 11-24-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 133 | Reviews: 34
Reviews by doc17325:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from Sly Fox pours a deep red with some copper tints with a real nice fluffy head that leaves some nice lacing on its way down,aroma is of allspice and cinnamon with some light metallic hints.A real fine tasting brew cinnamon is the dominant taste I get with some light allspice notes a nice malty/bready backbone to makes it very appetizing.Gotta growler of it and now enjoying at home.

Photo of Billolick
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can, Best By 03/24/14 printed on the bottom of the can.

Pours darker amber, minor khaki head, leaving a smattering of fine bits of scattered lacing.

Cinnamon dominates the nose as well as the palate. Hints of ginger but mostly cinnamon and more cinnamon. Too much cinnamon. Meh, not my favorite winter warmer, over spiced and under malted.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't had a beer that's really turned my head in a while, but this is one of them. The body is a clear auburn topped by a thin, creamy ivory head that holds quite well and leaves some lace throughout the glass. The aroma entices you with a combination of lightly sweet biscuity malt & gentle spices (cinnamon & ginger) that's reminiscent of gingerbread. The body is medium with a very fine & moderate carbonation that leaves it smooth & creamy in the mouth. The flavor is very similar to the aroma, starting with a soft biscuity malt that reveals some sweeter caramel/toffee and light chocolatey notes as it warms and the mild spices start to appear. But the true spice character appears just as you swallow, with a vast array of flavors bursting forth including cinnamon, ginger, all-spice, nutmeg and clove. This is where the beer offers some complexity - certain spices will appear more clearly to you with each further sip. The spices continue to swirl about the mouth in a gently lingering aftertaste that generally dries with some clove character. Hop bitterness is well-heeled to allow the spice to do its job. Amazingly well-done for such a difficult style. The spice is fresh and vibrant, yet delicate. Restrained balance is obvious, and the way that the spice flavors play-off of the malt character is exquisite. An exceptional holiday treat. I may have to find myself some holiday shopping to do in Phoenixville so that I can get another growler before it's all gone! Absolutely worth seeking out.

Photo of PatDreadful
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my Sam Adams Snowflake Pint.

Appearance: A very nice copper color with an ENORMOUS head that rises up to almost four fingers. Very nice job.

Smell: Strong yeast aroma with overwhelming spice notes. Ginger, plums, nutmeg and cloves dominate the nose as one is instantly transported to a Christmas kitchen filled with cookies and and fig pudding. Very welcoming!

Taste: Follows the nose with the addition some black licorice notes lingering in the background. There is a very strong maltiness that serves as a wonderful canvas for all of these flavors. The spice is a tad bit harsh and would benefit from some age.

Mouthfeel: This is where the this beer really shines. A milky body that is very enjoyable. Perfect for sipping by the tree.

Photo of Goldorak
2.32/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2005 Bottle

Appearance: Festive brownish red, with a head of compact bubbles.

Smell: DMS Buttered popcorn aroma, you'd think this was brewed by Orville Redenbacher, if he were also baking banana bread.

Taste: Gingerbread men, pumpkin pie, banana bread. Don't get me wrong, I love all of those things, but just maybe not all blended together in liquid form. The spices were way too harsh and I just couldn't get over the smell.

Photo of waddellc2
2.75/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

why does BA require so much critieria when rating? Guys keep making this site worse while Untappd kills you!

Photo of VeganUndead
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A little to heavy on the nutmeg

Photo of logicalparadox
3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nice spice bouquet, malty profile, with not a lot else going on.

Photo of weeare138
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas in July! Woo-hoo!
I don't even know why I ordered this. I know they were still trying to get rid of this nearing February and this seems to be the final attempt to salvage some bucks. At least they didn't just try to call it something else and hope that no one noticed. In any case...
Appears a dark amber with a tan head that fizzles out within a minute. Tiny lacing is left behind.
Smell is of a red ale that has lots of gingerbread, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice.
Taste is that of the smell with a malty sweetness complimenting the spices.
Mouthfeel is decent. Medium bodied and warming.
Drinkability is good. This is obviously much better suited for a winter offering. This makes me think of wearing a sweater in the Northeast cold and warming up by the fire.

Photo of Billquirk
2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not the type of Christmas Ale I was hoping for. The mouthfeel was extremely thin, and the taste was overpowering in the nutmeggy-ginger side, but not at all in a good way.

Photo of SeamusDoyle
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color from a cork finish 750ml bottle. Large sized white foamy head. Aroma is ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. A medium bodied ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Lots of brown sugar and molasses flavors, as well as all spice. Malty and fairly sweet, but kind of balanced by the spices. Lively carbonation. Nice Christmas beer. Mouthfeel is full and the finish is clean and smooth with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

Photo of woodychandler
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another Xmas in July Beer, courtesy of Scoats.

This had a huge, foamy tan head above a deep caramel brown color. It had an odd nose of malt, but underlain with a vinegar sharpness. It had a light to medium mouthfeel. It ws very malty in the mouth, but with a spicy bite like cinnamon and nutmeg, and perhaps allspice. As the beer warmed, the spices became more prevalent, both in the mouth and on the finish. This was very reminiscent of a pumpkin ale, with all of the spices going on.

Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Christmas Ale version

Impressive four finger head.  Settles rockily.  Appears clear.  The color is light brown. Despite holding the head exceptionally well, there's very little lace. 

Smells a little earthy, light yeast bite. 

The spice really shows up in the flavor (I didn't notice it in the smell). There's some earthiness and darker malt flavors. I can't detect any hop, but that's okay given the style. 

The body is as expected. 

Overall a classically, highly spiced winter ale. 

Photo of brewpig
3.37/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this review is for the 2011 version.

picked up 750ml

brownish-orange w/very little light brown head.

almost has the consistancy of coca-cola. no lacing really, high carbonation.

this is almost like punch as opposed to beer. light mouthfeel, subtle hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and those sweetzle ginger snap cookies you see in the fall at the grocery store.

slight alcohol burn at the end.tasty.

i like this for the holidays and would buy again. 1 750ml is enough though. a little pricey @ 8.75.

Photo of magnj
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Someone picked this bomber up for me, not sure what to expect. This was the hardest corked beer to open I've encountered yet.

A - Deep amber bordering on brown in some places. The body is clear, huge head is dirty white and leaves stick lacing as it falls.

S - Spices dominate an otherwise malty brew. Smells like a gingerbread cookie.

T - Mostly spice up front, followed by a bocky malt character. Not real sweet, somewhat starchy vegetable flavor.

M/D - Somewhat thin mouthfeel, I expected it to be a bit bigger and sweeter(sticky). Easy to drink for the style @this ABV but gets boring. Wouldn't pick one up myself but I'm not a huge fan of the style.

Photo of kilo_005
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Version - Poured from a can into a pint glass.
A: Reddish copper color - the color is nice. Small head, some lacing.
S: Obviously a lot going on here given the style. It's just various spices you would use in Christmas baking - cinnamon, ginger, etc. I think the strongest smell is ginger.
T: The key to this beer that makes it good is that even though there's tons of, well, adventurous winter flavors, the beer itself is not overwhelmingly sweet. You get hit with the flavors initially, but the after taste is just like a slightly bitter ale. I think this is good, because I don't want a really sweet beer like some are of this style.
M: Good - light carbonation and good slightly bitter aftertaste.
O: If you want a beer in this style that isn't too cloyingly sweet, this is the way to go. Plus the cans are certainly festive !

Photo of micromaniac129
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at Pizzaria unos last night and came out kinda of bland and flat. A clear copper color but a small head and no carbs.
Aroma was bold spices that was pretty assertive. Lots of cinimmon nutmeg ginger brown sugar and that sort of thing.
Taste is similar with a bold assertive spice over a malty rich base. To me it's abit over spiced.
Feels thin on the palette and a bit dry.
Good and easy drinking but all those spices would limit me to a few probably.

Photo of Cylinsier
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Tap

Pours clear reddish brown with a yellowish head. Retains as a film.

Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and biscuit malt.

Biscuit malt with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.

Medium to thin body with tingly carbonation on the tongue.

Pretty tasty winter ale with good spice flavor and aroma, worth a try but could stand to have a fuller body.

Photo of pezoids
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear and bright ruby-cherry color without any noticeable head. Cherries and sweet fruit in the aroma with an apparent nuttiness. The flavor is spicy and dry and not that overly sweet. There’s some light cocoa and roasted notes along with a bite of alcohol. Dry finish and easy to drink. Not bad at all, but not overly complex.

Photo of Foxman
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It came to me a lightly hazy ruby brown, with a finger of light tan head that settled in its own time to a thin frothy bed. Lacing was plentiful and graceful.

The aroma carried an initial brace of malt, sweet and with caramel, before there arrived a busy mix of banana, toasted nuts, and pie spice, notable for cinnamon, clove, mace, allspice, and nutmeg.

Upon sipping, the malt again came first, sweet with caramel and light berries. An edge of spice took over promptly, bringing forth all that was promised in the aroma, with the nutmeg and allspice a bit more prominent. A touch of vanilla cropped up, lending a nice step down from the savory spice character, before a pleasant, rounded bitterness lingered smoothly at the finish. While perhaps a but too autumnally spicy for some tastes, it still delivers a warm, seasonal flavor.

A touch south of medium bodied, the malt sweetness and present spiciness combine to give more weight on the palate than originally anticipated.

OK, so I'm going to confess right upfront that the spices I found to be a bit busy, and not necessarily an unconditional asset, but they were kept in check just enough to make the entire presentation a fun enterprise. Granted, I might not rush out to find more, but what I had went down smooth, and it was a nice departure on a hot summer night. So kudos again for a saucy Sly Fox offering.

Photo of Hired_Goon
2.92/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I really liked the 2013 version of this beer. I picked up a six pack of cans of the 2014 version. I'm hoping that maybe I just got unlucky as it was not very good. Kind of tasted like Budweiser with a hint of cinnamon.

Photo of Stunner97
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 edition seems they change every year

Appearance- amber red with thick tan foamy head,

Smell- really getting alot of all those holiday spices, cinnamon ginger and nutmeg, certainly smells like xmas

Taste- this beer is very true to what it claims to be which is a christmas ale, you just taste all those afformentioned spices so much, tons and tons of cinnamin and ginger all day, one could argue maybe its slightly overspiced but i think for the style its where it should be your not blindly searching for the flavors,

Mouthfeel- medium bodied yet very smooth and creamy, nice feel with low carbonation

Drinkability/overall- this beer is not really one i probably would say is extremely drinkable only in that the spice is so strong but i would say its very enjoyable and I did like it, its one i think I would visit again ocassionally

Photo of Glennlawless
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Tulip glass.

A - Deep amber with an inch light brownish velvet textured head.

S - Cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice. pretty much smells like your typical pumpkin ale haha.

T - Very mild notes of everything in the nose, some earthy hop bitterness at the end.

M - medium carbonation, super smooth.

O - This beer really didnt have much to it, but the flavors were nice ( what i was able to get from it ) just a super mild almost session like beer. average.

Photo of ccrida
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 version of the 750 ml corked and caged bottle, poured into my new Steelers shaker pint for xmas. Appearance is caramel brown with a light tan head leaving light sticky lace.

Smell is sweet malt and mulling spices, exactly as advertised.

Taste is pretty good, surprisingly! I find spiced beers tend to be heavy handed, especially with the strong nose, but the integration and balance are pretty good. Somewhat lithe in fact.

Mouthfeel is light and very dry.

Drinkability is pretty good, a solid Xmas beer with just enough spice to bring the cheer without the pain! Still, one 750 is enough for me, for the year.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a reddish brown color with a two finger off white head. The head has a good level of retention, eventually fading to leave a spotty amount of lacing.

Smell- The aroma is sweet and of Christmas cookies. It has smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mixed with these are some lighter notes of vanilla and a moderately strong sugary smell.

Taste – The taste starts out with a somewhat bready and doughy sweet taste. There is a strong brown sugar and caramel presence up front that are mixed with some flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. These flavors are soon joined by more spice flavors of ginger and clove with the sweetness seeming to increase ever so slightly. In the end a pastry like spiced cookie flavor are left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is slightly light in creaminess and chewiness with the carbonation level being just a bit above average. Something a bit more chewy may have been appropriate for the taste profile, but overall it wasn't too bad.

Overall- A good easy drinking brew with a nice flavor. It is worth a try if you have the chance to give it a go.

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Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.