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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

604 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 604
Reviews: 269
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.02%
Wants: 16
Gots: 61 | 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: 604 | Reviews: 269 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msubulldog25
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle sent by my buddy, bluepred, a few weeks back; poured to a pint glass. As we're a couple days into spring now on the calendar, it seemed perhaps 'too late' to drink - then I dealt with snow showers on the commute home and it seemed appropriate on a 'winter'-feeling evening.

This is the 2011 edition, dipped in [extra-thick] red wax. Label shows 8.5%, a 'Catch & Release Seasonal' (from the 'Winter Coat Season')

A: Very dark, a ruby-tinted chocolate brown that pours with a compact tan/ivory head. Head recedes and rings the glass forming a base for drippy lace to fall toward. Most of it sticks. So dark that carbonation can only be seen in the strongest light; it's sleepy, but adequate.

S: Not much initially, even after warming 10 minutes or so. Gradually a nice spicing arises, a rooty gingerbread and molasses. It's similar in ways to Anchor's OSA... although theirs is stronger and more inviting. Kind of surprised that a 'big beer' like this doesn't have more aroma. Shrug.

T: I'm a fan of a sweeter/maltier winter ale - and this fits that bill. A dusty cocoa powder and careful use of cinnamon are highlights. The longer it sits, the more the spice turns to 'ginger', a spark that tingles on the tongue. A little drier in the finish, just enough to balance.

M: For an 8.5% beer, surprisingly devoid of alcohol 'heat'. Very easy to drink, truth be told. I assume that, by mid-March, this beer is 4-6 months since brewing; it's held up well, although carbonation is a little subdued. The end result is that it's thinner-feeling than expected. Smoothness is spot on.

O: I'm happy to have tried this (again), thanks to Mark. I've never reviewed it, but have been the recipient of a couple Festive Ales over the years. It's a better than average Winter Warmer, that does a good job with flavors that match my palate... and with subtle 'warming'. Yum.

msubulldog25, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of Zachb4au
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Zachb4au, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of jlove5
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

jlove5, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of randomjazzr
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

randomjazzr, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of UltimateLivewire
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%

UltimateLivewire, Mar 11, 2012
Photo of OldTime
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

OldTime, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of miga
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

miga, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of carrollmel7
4/5  rDev +4.2%

carrollmel7, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of GTB
4/5  rDev +4.2%

GTB, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of stampfler07
4/5  rDev +4.2%

stampfler07, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of ltdantheman
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

ltdantheman, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of FanofHefe
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 version that pours a clear, deep, ruby red color with a nearly two-finger light tan head. Decent retention but only a little lacing.

The aroma is light and malty. As it warms, I get a little more of the spicy, cinnamon notes and a bit of cocoa.

The chocolate/cocoa flavor shows up more in the flavor than in the aroma. The overall flavor is very malt forward, as expected, and the spicy mix does not overwhelm, but accents.

Light to medium mouthfeel that works well overall. This works very well as a Winter Warmer and does not offend in any way. Just a solid offering altogether.

FanofHefe, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Texasfan549, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of SarahHealey
4/5  rDev +4.2%

SarahHealey, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of DocAJ
4/5  rDev +4.2%

DocAJ, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +4.2%

kjkinsey, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of Slikpitt
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Slikpitt, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of sneth019
5/5  rDev +30.2%

sneth019, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of bhudlow23
4/5  rDev +4.2%

bhudlow23, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of Snapps
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Snapps, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of UAyeroc2425
4/5  rDev +4.2%

UAyeroc2425, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of GaryJR
4/5  rDev +4.2%

GaryJR, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of ZinFanDave
4/5  rDev +4.2%

ZinFanDave, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of CamM
5/5  rDev +30.2%

CamM, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of ZDePaolo
4/5  rDev +4.2%

ZDePaolo, Jan 27, 2012
Sweetwater Festive Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 604 ratings.