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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

600 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 600
Reviews: 268
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.02%
Wants: 15
Gots: 59 | 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: 600 | Reviews: 268 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StevieW
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Silver label with a big catfish jumping. "Festive Ale" block letters in green under the fish.

Deep and shiny black color, ruby hints. Foamy beige head, bubbles, then leaves a small lace down the glass. Color fades to a darker brown with ruby undertones as the beer sits.

Smell is a wonderful seasonal combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and chocolate. Taste blends into a nice combination of the mentioned flavors. The nutmeg and cinnamon are very subtle, way in the background, but a positive presence. Medium sweet creamy chocolate malt then rides to the finish. A quick hop snap, leaves your palate dry and ready for another sip. The chocolate malt, medium carbonated, and full body make for a slightly sweet, yet, very balanced seasonal. Slight bitterness, but in no way stout like roasted flavors, instead very smooth, but noticable. Chocolate and cinnamon linger.

This seasonal is in the same class as the Anchor OSA. A rich hearty full flavored ale. Very flavorful, and noticable warming alcohol prescence. I am really impressed with this one, wish I had more. Cheers to Aracauna for the trade and bringing this one to our attention.

StevieW, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of nomad
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep brown color, with no head or anything else despite a strong pour. This beer smelled of sweet dark malt tickling with spices, showing oaky, almost peat-like, and smoky sides. A full bill. Taste is mocha-like chocolate with soft spice surrounding it, deepened by a dark toast flavor with little too-much-roast distaste. Smoky at times, it had bits most noticeably of allspice, and a dry finish from spice chalkiness.

A fair bodied, fair winter beer. Thanks to aracauna for this warmer.

nomad, Jan 22, 2004
Photo of ninaturner
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

ninaturner, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of warriorsoul
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

warriorsoul, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4/5  rDev +4.2%

VaTechHopHead, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of Pens1967
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Pens1967, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of M_C_Hampton
4/5  rDev +4.2%

M_C_Hampton, Oct 10, 2012
Photo of Mistofminn
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to DeaconBluez for sending this bottle my way. Thanks Chip!

My bottle was just a normal capped bottle, not a swing-top like the picture above.

Poured into a tulip glass, this is a dark murky brown color, nearly black, very similar to a stout in appearance. Nice creamy light tan head that not only shrinks, but it changes color to white. Small ring of head is all that remains after only a few minutes, but it does leave some nice lacing.

The nose is very strong on the caramel malt and chocolate malt notes. Also, there is spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon, with a nice floral hop presence.

The taste is pretty much what the nose would lead you to believe, but more pronounced. Chocolate malts and hops are much more forward and stand out more, with the nutiness and spices sort of taking a back seat to the malt and hop show.

Mouthfeel is medium and creamy smooth. Easy drinking, this is a good brew.

Overall, a solid offering from Sweetwater. Not my favorite beer I've had from them (the IPA takes the cake) but it's definitely one of the better ones. Thanks again, Chip, for the chance to try this!

Mistofminn, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of jriggins6
3/5  rDev -21.9%

jriggins6, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of Segelstrom
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Segelstrom, Nov 06, 2013
Photo of ColSanders123
5/5  rDev +30.2%

ColSanders123, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of emottram
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

emottram, Dec 18, 2013
Photo of Backer2004
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this one on tap at the Sweetwater brewing grill at the Atlanta airport. If it was not for a small poster, I wouldn't have even known this was available. Great style to end the holidays with. Poured into a nice goblet, this winter warmer has no faults. Nice spices, easy to consume, and just the right baance of malts makes this probably the best airport beers I can remember

Backer2004, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of aubuc1
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a deep black with a steady light tan head.

Smell is sweet winey, citrusy and strong roast. Very nice.

Taste is a big roasty delight. Not coffeeish like a ris, but very good.

The high alcohol is not even present. This is a great winter beer. I wish it was in FL.

aubuc1, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of superdedooperboy
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a Dogfish Head Signature Glass.

Pours a deep brown that verges on black at first sight, but which upon closer inspection shows highlights of ruby and mahogany. A thick finger-and-a-half of dense tan foam rises and falls gracefully, leaving a sticky web of lace on the walls of the vessel.

Aroma is malt-forward, sweet with notes of brown sugar and molasses and faint dark fruit. A hint of spice shows up as the beer warms, but is difficult to pin down, and some spicy-herbal hop notes show through as well.

Body is somewhere in the range of medium to medium-full, but adequate carbonation makes the exactitude of the measurement a bit off. Sweet malt up front, with maple, molasses, and a nuttiness following, bringing in a nutty-spicy-herbaceous weedlike middle that flows into a mildly astringent finish with a lingering pecan-maple-molasses character on the back of the tongue that holds tight and refuses to fade away. Alcohol is faintly present but mostly very well hidden.

An excellent, malt-accentuated winter brew that fails a bit in drinkability due to the somewhat cloying finish, but that shouldn't keep anyone from heading out and picking up a few -- this is certainly a decent pick in the pack of winter ales, and for a Georgia boy, it's always nice to see such a beauty born so near to home.

superdedooperboy, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of jbphoto88
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

jbphoto88, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of ltdantheman
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

ltdantheman, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of mecmd
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

mecmd, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Enola
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a little better on-tap. There is a spiced taste to this brew and a slight bitterness. The beer is a deep mahogany color with a small head. There is a hint of liqorice in there too. Overall, fair for the style. I could drink this beer again.

Enola, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of MPSTARR
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

MPSTARR, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of EasyReader
4/5  rDev +4.2%

EasyReader, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of hoppymeal
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle is dated 2005. Pours dark brown with some burgundy color as well. Smells of sweet malts, dates, prunes, and caramel. Also some roasty aroma in there. Medium body with sweet malts dominating up front in the taste with some roasty and smoky flavors as well in the background that tingle on the tongue. Good beer, I may enjoy it more during the winter months.

hoppymeal, May 17, 2006
Photo of NCSUdo
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A: Dark brown under a very small off white head. No retention and no lace.

S: Nice roasted, toasted, nutty, malty aroma. Maybe a hint of some kind spice and pine. Good aroma.

T: Again, very malty. Roasted, toasted, nutty, hint of caramel, hint of pine and spice, alcohol is slightly apparent and a surprising level of bitterness in the finish (nothing huge, just more than I thought was going to be there).

M/D: Full bodied, smooth, carbonation is low. Drinkability is very good. A tasty beer indeed.

NCSUdo, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of ethanmc12
4/5  rDev +4.2%

ethanmc12, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of jmich24
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

jmich24, Nov 05, 2012
Sweetwater Festive Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 600 ratings.