1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sweetwater Festive Ale - SweetWater Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sweetwater Festive AleSweetwater Festive Ale

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

627 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 627
Reviews: 269
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.02%
Wants: 18
Gots: 72 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater Festive Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 627 | Reviews: 269 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewdude1982
4/5  rDev +4.2%

brewdude1982, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of rcontn
4/5  rDev +4.2%

rcontn, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of CGAR
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

CGAR, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of axeman9182
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Sweetwater Festive ale pours a solid black, with between two and three fingers of khaki colored foa crowning the beer. Head retention is well above average, and there's definitely more of the glass left covered in lacing than not. The nose is disappointingly weak. There are some light chocolaty notes, and a decent amount of cinnamon aroma, but all in all it's a bit muted. The flavor profile is a bit more complex, if still dull. The malt opening features layers of biscuit and caramel, along with a delicate chocolate presence. The back end is cinnamon, which brings an almost pepper like spiciness to bear The mace is more noticeable here, adding a bit of balance to things. The body is a bit thin, and the carbonation is on the flat side, all in all the mouthfeel is a little lackluster. I've found most of Sweetwater's beers to be hit-or-miss, and this one is unfortunately trending towards the latter. I like the concept for the beer, but the execution largely leaves a little to be desired.

axeman9182, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of bjwilson
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First review.
Wow. This beer really is a mouthful. Pours a big head but dissipates quickly. The smell and taste of coffee mixed with winter spices is upfront. The alcohol is warming, but really packs a punch at the end. Overall, a wonderful warming winter beer. I will be seeking this one out over the holidays.

bjwilson, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of harrylee773
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

harrylee773, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of bellce0
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

bellce0, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of Cluker
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Cluker, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of bigfnjoe
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Poured from a waxed bottle into a Dogfish snifter

A- pours jet black with a half finger very light brown head that doesn't stick around for awhile. Disappointing

S- tons of holiday-type spices...cinnamon comes through a lot, as well as some ginger. Not too shabby

T- getting a decent bit of ginger in the mouth....some cinnamon, maybe a little bit of clove. Everything is rather muted overall, but I'd rather have it be muted than to choke on the spices. Not bad

M- body is actually really thin. Stunning, disappointing

O- such a strange beer. Very easy to drink, better than many Winter Warmers I've had....yet not blowaway at all

bigfnjoe, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of psdonnelly
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%

psdonnelly, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of BrkfstOfChmpns
4/5  rDev +4.2%

BrkfstOfChmpns, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of jnance34
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

jnance34, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of muskiesman
4/5  rDev +4.2%

muskiesman, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of FUwolfpacker
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

FUwolfpacker, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of dalepryor
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

dalepryor, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of cheribom
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%

cheribom, Dec 06, 2012
Photo of BigTrubble
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

BigTrubble, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of lupercmda
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

lupercmda, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of justinm4bama
4/5  rDev +4.2%

justinm4bama, Nov 30, 2012
Photo of jucifer1818
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: Dark and black, with little head. perfect for a winter ale like this one

S: Very varible and smelling of spice. With each smell someone can smell a differnt spice or detect something new in it. It is very nice, but could be stronger. A bit of yeasty fruityness in the smell as well

t: smooth for a beer of its ABV, with light spicing and malty backbone. the maltyness comes through in the after taste with some hoppy bitterness.

M: Very light for its dark color and ABV, but still quite nice
but could be stronger

Its a very decent winter warmer and one of the best deals on a 6 pack you can get. Its good spiceing and high ABV make this one a personal favorite, even with its flaws. If it had a heavyer body and a more pronounced spice taste in the body, I might had given it even higher marks
its s 4/5, but it is still very recommended.

jucifer1818, Nov 30, 2012
Photo of BhojanBevGuy
1/5  rDev -74%

BhojanBevGuy, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of SlowWideTurns
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

SlowWideTurns, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of sinistarfab
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

sinistarfab, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of raoulduke25
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a six-pack of this at the grocery store. By the time I got to drinking it, it had warmed to a pleasant 45-50°F.

The beer is very dark, but if you shine a light through it, you can see the amber hue around the edges. After pouring, a nice bubbly (non-foamy) head appeared, but didn't last long.

The smell is enough to let you know that this is something special. Hints of spices and smooth fragrances all around.

Once the head had dissipated, I gave a small taste. It was full-bodied, but not overwhelming. In fact, the taste was highlighted by its subtlety: nothing lacking, yet each sip feels like you're getting just enough.

The mouthfeel was surprisingly non-viscous. I would say "watery" but that's clearly not the word. If you are expecting something like a cream stout or a frothy syrup, that's not what this is at all. It is a dark ale that hangs in your mouth like water.

Overall, the marks on this beer are high. The taste and smell are nothing short of heavenly. I would have preferred a heavier feel, but nothing to complain about with this one.

raoulduke25, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of discdueler
4/5  rDev +4.2%

discdueler, Nov 25, 2012
Sweetwater Festive Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 627 ratings.