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Sweetwater Festive Ale - SweetWater Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sweetwater Festive AleSweetwater Festive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

596 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 596
Reviews: 268
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.76%
Wants: 15
Gots: 58 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: purplehops on 11-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 596 | Reviews: 268 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Murrhey:
Photo of Murrhey
Murrhey

Montana

3.86/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Expectations are quite high. I received this beer as part of a secret santa gift exchange from a beer-friendly stranger in Atlanta, Ga.

A- One finger khaki head with tiny little bubbles. Retention lasted about 45 seconds, which is alright for the ABV. Ruby red color with low clarity. Very dark. Sliding khaki lacing. Attractive looking brew.

S- Dark chocolate, toffee, coffee and gingerbread. Molasses and deep roasted malts. Rich and dark, with bakery notes. Very interesting and complex beer. Hop profile is negligible at best.

T- Molasses, toffee and deep, dark roasted malts. Alcohol makes its presence felt in the aftertaste, along with the burnt malts.

M- Dry and roasty feel, some chewiness to the thickness. Some slight syrupy feel.

O- Tasty, alcoholic and roasty. I'm glad I got to try this beer.

01-16-2013 03:08:19 | More by Murrhey
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

2005 bottle #6305 of 7200.Quite an impressive 33.8fl oz waxed swing top bottle,poured a deep brown with ruby tint thru out with a nice slow forming off-white head that is gone pretty fast after it forms.Deep roasted malt,molasses and a touch of nutmeg a malt bomb here.A thinner but not watery mouthfeel but I thought it would be a little fuller,flavors start on the sweeter side molasses and brown sugar dominate a touch of cherry as well but not to much spice,a nice dryinf earthy finish shows there is some hops in there.It comes in a fancy package and is a pretty good beer but for $10.00 bucks a bottle I wouldnt buy again.

03-14-2006 02:18:47 | More by oberon
Photo of Hoppin_mad
Hoppin_mad

Florida

4/5  rDev +4.2%

05-03-2014 18:32:19 | More by Hoppin_mad
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.2%

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Happy to see more beefed-up versions of the Winter Warmer style? Do you want a mouthful of pie spices, or do you want to drink a beer?

The beer wants to be black, but in the light, it shows its true color. Good lacing on top. Aromas of chocolate, dried plum and molasses with a hint of cinnamon. Thick and slick full body, carbonation is on the lighter side, which brings a smoothness to the table. Fruity with a heavy rounding of chocolate, nougat, nuttiness, mild spicing and bread crust. Hops are mild, yet push the sweetness down a notch. Alcohol is warming. Hint of burnt sugar and more nutty undertones in the semi-dry finish.

Damn tasty, this Winter Warmer is serious, with a festive back end.

01-03-2011 15:42:55 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of blitz134
blitz134

California

3.8/5  rDev -1%

Poured a nice coca-cola brown with a off-white to tan one finger head on it which disappeared rather quickly to a slight coating on the surface. Aroma was a bit dull to me, not as pronounced as I was expecting. Woodsy smells waft to the edge of the glass with slight overtones of a concoction of spices. No single spice stands out to me though. The taste is rather good and coats the mouth well. The flavor is mostly dominated by toasted malts with a slight alcoholic sweetness. I don't pick up on too many spices in the taste. I could see having several of these in an evening but the sweetness could knock the drinkability down a bit.

11-10-2004 03:39:17 | More by blitz134
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warnerry

Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

12-31-2013 16:06:13 | More by warnerry
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

3.6/5  rDev -6.3%

2004 vintage. 12oz bottle. No freshness date. Pours a very deep garnet, near opaque. Foam is a snapping tan with large bubbles that bust down to a quarter inch lace that has some decent retention.

Ripened fruits and baking spices in the aroma, and a hint of sour sherry. Estery. Alcohols in the background.

Crisp, snapping carbonation the palate lends way to a creamy mouthfeel. Sharp, fruity character of sweet and sour berries, dark ripe fruits of plum, fig and raisin, followed by a sweet malty flavor with notes of caramel and granola cereal, along with ash and some smoke. Bag of mixed holiday-type spices. Alcohol is well-hidden. Very mild oxidation character in the form of cardboard, which lingers in the finish with a slight metallic note and overall drying character with chalk backing.

Aged quite well. Not bad, and a nice winter brew enjoyed in the summer. Screw seasonal stereotypes.

09-07-2005 19:24:30 | More by Todd
Photo of bellce0
bellce0

Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

12-14-2012 01:18:31 | More by bellce0
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

3.68/5  rDev -4.2%

One liter bottle, number 7083 of 7200, $12.50 at the Weinhaus in Asheville, NC. Swingtop bottle sealed in red wax. Pours a dark brown body with a two finger tan head. The body appears a clear chestnut with garnet highlights when held to light. Head retention is excellent and lots of sticky lace is left behind on the glass.

Aroma opens with citrusy orange esters, spicy cinnamon and nutmeg/mace, and some brown sugar. Undertone of caramel and an odd note of vegetal squash.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied, with moderate carbonation.

Toasted grains and sweet malty caramel dominate the taste. Brown sugar is overly prominent and adds a cloying aspect. Hops contribute an earthy bitterness, and the spicing of mace and cinnamon are present, but understated. Alcohol is very well concealed. Very much the winter warmer, but the sweetness is overdone.

Not a bad effort from Sweetwater, but I thought the sweetness was a bit cloying.

11-19-2005 13:18:27 | More by merlin48
Photo of warriorsoul
warriorsoul

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Big thanks to 1hopmonster for this one of many....
Pours a dark brown, almost black with very little light passing thru...a full finger of light brown head that disappears to all but a fine layer. Impressive lacing forms on the side of the snifter glass.
Aroma is very subdued...mostly fig and a hint of smoke.
The taste is where this one shines...a heavy dose of malt, but not overly sweet...the fig is more of a raisin flavor with some spice (cinammon, mild allspice) mixed in to fit the style.
The mouthfeel is thick yet not cloying and the carbonation is delightful...a very nice offering in the style and quite solid across the board, like many of Sweetwater's offerings.
I would enjoy this one all season long if only it was available...the alcohol is totally hidden, but it is so warming you know it is one to respect.
Definitely one to try if you like your winter warmers without the spices being overdone.

12-14-2005 00:48:33 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of henryclay_
henryclay_

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

05-10-2014 16:25:12 | More by henryclay_
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.2%

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, dark brown in color

Smell: caramel malt, figs, brown sugar, alcohol, touch of plum

Taste: caramel malt, figs, brown sugar, black cherry, and spice--maybe cinnamon, small alcohol at the end

Mouthfeel: light bodied, moderate carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: A nice dark holiday seasonal that leans more on dark fruit than spice. This is a sipper and kind of reminds me of a cross between a Belgian dark ale and a dark red wine. I will want another.

01-06-2010 14:58:07 | More by tigg924
Photo of JayEvans813
JayEvans813

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

09-07-2013 03:09:49 | More by JayEvans813
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dankjohn

Georgia

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

09-22-2013 19:01:40 | More by dankjohn
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sammy44

Alabama

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

My favorite beers are always the winter beers and this is my favorite.

I drank this from a pint glass where it had a nice cream colored head that lasted 'til about halfway through the pint. The smell was something like a spice cake or gingerbread. The taste followed this up. The beer was heavy on the tongue and smooth going down. It would be great served with desert.

12-14-2005 20:09:57 | More by sammy44
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wehttam

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +4.2%

04-16-2013 12:20:37 | More by wehttam
Photo of TKEbeerman
TKEbeerman

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

01-05-2014 20:32:31 | More by TKEbeerman
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -9.4%

served in a pint glass at the brewery in 2010. I last had this beer 2-3 years ago and remember a less bold and unusual but more drinkable product; reformulated?

A - opaque; black with brown highlights and tan head

S - roasted malt and spices. Nutmeg(?), cinnamon & ??? (later discovered they use mace). I might guess this was a Belgian beer in a blind test.

T - roasted and slighty burnt malts; the burnt flavoring is undesirable. Spices: nutmeg and mace. High alcohol (8.6%) is somewhat hidden but detectable.

D - one and done

(Slight revision with aged bottle served Feb. 2014)

11-09-2010 02:52:58 | More by chinchill
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Dry-hopped cask served at the Brick Store.

Pours an opaque light brown color with a half-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of caramel malts with hints of chocolate malts along with a bit of spiciness, leafy hops, and a hint of vanilla.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though in the flavor the components are a bit more fleshed out. Caramel and chocolate malt flavors kick things off with a hint of vanilla riding the coat-tails. Midway through the sip a good deal of earthy hops offer up some flavor and segue through to a mildy spicy and bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's a bit on the thin side with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have any problem finishing the glass and could have another.

Overall the hops were a bit more prevalent in this version than the non-dry-hopped version (a big surprise right?), however the other flavors didn't seem as intense. Still, a solid late fall beer that's worth a shot.

10-23-2009 01:51:57 | More by glid02
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DarrellK

Florida

4/5  rDev +4.2%

02-09-2013 21:51:45 | More by DarrellK
Photo of Zachb4au
Zachb4au

Alabama

4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

03-17-2012 17:04:23 | More by Zachb4au
Photo of pwoods
pwoods

Ohio

3.65/5  rDev -4.9%

I believe this was an extra from Exiled. Thanks!

12oz. brown bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a very dark brown that barely lets any ruby through. Not much of a head on the pour with no retention and just a wisp of lacing.

S: Nice malty aroma mixed with just a touch of mellowed alcohol. Strong raisin aroma and a light hint of diacetyl, which I'm not sure if it's appropriate in this style but it's not off putting. Plenty of residual sweetness.

T/M: Nice caramel and toffee flavors. Light nuttiness. More of the diacetyl that's fortified with the residual sweetness. Some spiced cookie flavors. Alcohol is lightly present but tasty and complex. Body is medium full to full with mellow carbonation.

D: Tasty brew but drinkability is limited with the residual sweetness and there might be a bit of a flaw in there with the diacetyl.

01-11-2011 04:27:01 | More by pwoods
Photo of jbphoto88
jbphoto88

Texas

4/5  rDev +4.2%

A 2010 large bottle sealed in crimson wax. The festive pours a deep wet leather color that's brown and clear during the pour but opaque in the glass. The head is egg cream in color, thick and beautiful. A fine looking brew.

The nose is confusing at first with so many scents wafting up from the glass. A few swirls and repeat sniffs reveal an earthy malt scent with hints of chocolate and cinnamon, there is also a slight tartness in the air. This nose suggests malt bomb.

Taste delivers on the scents promise of grains. BAM!!! Like a punch to the sweet pinchy spot by my molars. A ton of roasted grain that has everything from caramel, coffee and chocolate assault my tounge. The spices are present but not aggressive to really distract from the earthy malts. Slight cinnamon mixed in with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a heavier body and light carbonation. It really let's the malts shine and take the warm, snuggly spotlight. Wow, what a great sesonal and cheap!! This one was $4.99, how can the brewery use all that grain and only charge that for a bottle. A great find, I can't wait for next years.

03-25-2011 23:37:42 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of ltdantheman
ltdantheman

Georgia

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

02-27-2012 00:27:49 | More by ltdantheman
Photo of nickthegun12
nickthegun12

Alabama

3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

this beer is jet black with a little head

it smells of spices, maybe cinnamon and some other spices and dark malts

the taste is different from the smell...malty and not much of a warming character from the alcohol

not dry, not creamy but a full mouthfeel...and pretty decent lacing

the drinkability would be better if it weren't so high percentage of alcohol

11-13-2010 00:51:04 | More by nickthegun12
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Sweetwater Festive Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 596 ratings.