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Santa's Secret - Carolina Brewery

Not Rated.
Santa's Secret
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very good

29 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 29
Reviews: 11
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carolina Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-23-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 11
Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives at bar with a clear amber color and a modest head that dots the pint glass

Smell: Spicy aroma of orange peel, coriander, cinnamon and allspice

Taste: Opens with a fruity/biscuity element with is followed by a burst of holiday spices that are dominated by the orange peel; after the swallow, there is a bit of spice confusion with just too much orange peel in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Plenty of flavor but I can't say that I really liked it very much

Photo of oberon
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been to Chapel Hill to the brewpub a few times,here in Greensboro Roger over at Bestway has some growlers of their stuff,I havent had a good winter warmer yet this year so I picked this up today.Poured a lighter amber shade with a billowing two finger white head atop that stuck like glue to my standard pint glass.The clear growler let in some light and the slight skunk showed thru in the nose,it didnt overpower the aroma but it did stand out,some cinnamon did show thru but obviously it is probably better fresh.Flavors dont have the skunk intruding on it,nutmeg,cinnamon, candied orange,and toasty malt flavors mainly,a toasted sweetsh cereal flavor lingers nicely.I would like to try this straight from the tap,the skunkiness does hinder wich is a pretty good beer for the style.

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Wine 101 in Wake Forest

A - orange with a soft, off white head that has great retention

S - cinnamon, nutmeg, pie spice

T - cinnamon, nutmeg, pie spice, pie crust

M - medium bodied, smooth, perfectly carbonated

This is a fantastic beer. This was like drinking pie. It has a crust-like malt presence and a spice character that would compliment any apple or pumpkin pie. This is one of the better winter warmers I have had. This is definitely worth a try.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of DmanGTR
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 5th beer sampled at the brewpub. No, I'm not drinking full pints of the other ones (except the oatmeal porter), so I'm not bombed by 7:30pm haha.

Poured a clover honey shade of amber, quite clear, with a scant and unhappy head that died shortly after conception. Slick trails of bubbles sit atop the beer. It's not a glassware issue. I saw it being poured multiple times and they all looked the same. *sigh* One must not judge a book by its cover...

But the nose, my dear Watson! It's the nose! Holy crap on a stick yo! This is a burst of Christmastime happiness! Huge cinnamon, clove, allspice, candied orange peels! And talk about flavor. This beer seems like it stole all the other beers' aromas and flavors. Caramel and honey start the experience, followed by a touch of biscuit. Then come a parade of spices mentioned above on my palate. The slight citrusy flavor adds a whole different level of "interestingness" to it, but in a way that works very nicely. Sweet finish with the tiniest bit of esters. I feel like a 4.5 isn't quite sufficient, but it's not a 5. Maybe a 4.65 in the flavor department.

Anyway, the body is lighter than expected for such a flavorful beer. I feel like it needs a bit more to support all that it's carrying. Crisp carbonation that needs to be dialed down just a tad. But, it is so delicious. I think if the aforementioned changes are implemented, this will easily earn a higher grade in my book. And maybe do something about the lack of head too. Perhaps some carapils?

With that said, a very well made, interesting, and intriguing beer.

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Medium amber beer with a one finger khaki head receding to a slight layer on top.

smell and taste: Apparently spiced with coriander, orange, allspice, and cinnamon. Almost immediately, this beer reminds me of Great Lakes Christmas Ale. The spices are tastefully blended, with nothing really overpowering. Plenty of sweet malt character to support the spice, tending towards the pale and caramel side of things. Possibly a touch of vanilla.

mouthfeel: Low carbonation with a smooth body bordering on full.

drinkability: A pleasant winter sipper

on-tap at the brewpub last night

Photo of ncstateplaya
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of atsprings
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Cherry Bomb Grill served in a standard pint glass a crisp orange with a decent off white head that leaves slight lacing on the glass and leaves decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is caramel malts in front of mild spice. The taste is a nice amount of crisp spices such as cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg and mild vanilla in front of sweet caramel malts. The beer is quite light and smooth with decent carbonation. This is a very enjoyable Winter Warmer, not the best I've had, but one I would certainly have again.

Photo of UltimateLivewire
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of woodchip
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of BigGingDrinker
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of gpblackgt
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.64/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maybe I had an infected batch, but all night I was geting a lactic sourness from their beers.

Pour was dull orange, minimal head. Not very impressive.

Smell was even slightly acidic and lactic. I like the touches of ginger and brown sugar. The spices are like a gingerbread cookie.

OMG this off batch is fantastic. I talked to the manager of both the Chapel Hill and Pittsboro locations, and he said the sourness wasnt intentional to his knowledge. There is a decent earthy malt backbone, but the highlight is the spices. They hit their idea dead-on. Then comes the sourness. I definitely feel lactic/acidic/vinegar sourness. I think it adds another layer of complexity that is abnormal and makes it amazing. Too bad its not intentional.

I know it wasnt intentional, but the beer is still phenomenal.

Photo of AmitC
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of EasyReader
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of andy1701
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of mklinger
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Amedlin18
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of brewdude1982
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was on tap at wine 101 in Wake Forest.

This beer pours a burnt orange color. Reasonable clarity. Smells like possibly ginger and then the usual Christmas spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, et al. Tastes strongly of ginger and then the usual Xmas spices. Pleasant taste and I would recommend to others. It has a decent mouth feel. Decent carbonation.

Photo of discdueler
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of fscottkey
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: [4.50] Nice copper color. Beer is very transparent with no bubbles forming on the glass. There is a small amount of head that provides a full white cap for the beer. The can lists the ABV at 5.9% and the best by date 3/24/15.

S: [4.00] Caramel, bread and bananas. I am getting hints of all 3. And I am getting nutmeg of cinnamon. The nose is a little like a batch of warm Xmas cookies.

T: [4.00] Tastes a little like a Snickerdoodle in a glass. The malt backbone is great and really brings forward the sweetness. The spices are playful and nice. I am getting very little hop bittering. The flavor is similar to the nose. Sweet Christmas cookies. Nutmeg, brown sugar, caramel and toffee.

M: [3.75] The body is really smooth with a low carbonation level. The finish is sweet and there is no dryness.

O: [4.00] I got this as a birthday present. It is a one off beer. I couldn't drink more than one in a sitting but it is really nice. Carolina went out on a limb to make something that is very unique. It is sweet and delicious. The can says "Christmas in a glass" - I kind of agree. I love snickerdoodle cookies and this spice blend reminds me of that very much. The smells of spices became more prominent as the beer warmed up. I would love to get more of these next year to share!

Photo of ewright
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I picked up a growler at their Pittsboro location this past weekend. They released this beer on 11/13, so it couldn't have been very old!

A: A fairly standard ruddy amber color, but absolutely no head. Not sure what happened, but there was practically no carbonation.

S: Large amounts of spices were evident. The bartender said they use cinnamon, allspice, coriander and orange peel. I definitely noticed the cinnamon and orange.

T: The taste was pretty decent, given the lack of carbonation. The spices showed up without overpowering the maltiness.

M: Low due to virtually no carbonation. I was really disappointed, as I thought it had a chance to be a superb Christmas ale.

D: Again, the carbonation problem dropped this score a bit. My wife and I still drained the growler over the course of the day, so it wasn't a total waste.

This is the first time I've had problems with a fresh, flat growler. Hopefully it will be the last!

Photo of dave317
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of abernethyj
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of willardt09
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Santa's Secret from Carolina Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.