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Prairie The Beer That Saved Christmas - Prairie Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Prairie The Beer That Saved ChristmasPrairie The Beer That Saved Christmas

Educational use only; do not reuse.

64 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 64
Hads: 365
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 32%
Wants: 21
Gots: 62 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Prairie Artisan Ales visit their website
Oklahoma, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Cowboys9 on 11-10-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 64 | Hads: 365
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly sour malt, caramel, and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but the slight tartness is unexpected.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

very cool packaging on this, white wax, funky red label, very cool, very holiday, not cheap, but a darn good beer inside too. barrel aged old ale, cool stuff. light brown color, thick and hazy, with a red tint, looks like a big English barleywine, without a ton of head. nose of sweet bourbon, rich caramel malt, oak, and brown sugar. its sweet for sure in taste, but about midway through comes a flash of tart fruit, maybe cranberry or raspberry, before the bourbon woody dusty old ale finish we all know and love. its a short burst, but a memorable one. it confuses the mouthfeel between sweet and tart, and between heavy and light, and this is a rather tough beer to classify as a result. it also has a slightly wild yeast element, indicative of other prairie beers, and it sort of shakes up the old ale conventions, but not so much as to render it out of style. sweeter in the finish too, with brown sugar and a little holiday spice hanging around after the swallow. a good beer, but a little to much going on to be fully cohesive, even in light of the bourbon barrel, which is usually unifying. prairie is starting to price their beers out of reach for me to have them regularly, I took a chance on this and don't regret it, but not something I will revisit at this price.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ok, if you're a beer... and if you're going to save Christmas, there's a short checklist that must me achieved. Let's look at this a bit closer, shall we? 1) You've got to give me enough alcohol to make it worth while- those "Mom" voices aren't going away on their own. 2) You have to go well with those harvest fest-type foods- turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy and potato. ...and 3) You have to help me outlast all those kids!

This uniquely named Prairie beer pours with a dark rusty-brown color that carries a significant yeasty haze. Its unadulterated appearance follows with a creamy, dense but short-statured head to cap the beer. Its long staying power is easily rejuvenated with a gentle swirl and its slim lace.

Sweetened with elements of brown sugar, light molasses and sorghum, The Beer That Saved Christmas shows up with drunken fruit- figs, dates, cherries, apples and grapes all slumber in a blanket of molasses and spicy, rum-like alcohol. (Its just like that uncle that shows up that you know will be fun, but he's not quite right either.)

Its taste is rich with taste but surprisingly shy on sweetness. Where I get the taste of brown sugar, its sweetness is replaced by dry malt. This makes the beer drinkable and balanced, it also exposes many other benefits and consequences. What ensues is the fruitiness of fruitcake-type apples, cherries, dates, figs, raisins and prunes. Yet without the concentrated sweetness, its middle palate is lightened considerably. Finishing with a coffee cake-type sweet breadiness, its taste finishes rummy, spicy and with vinous-like acidity.

Mid-heavy in its mouthfeel, the beer simply has a lighter tone for its style, but its impressions of sweetness remains intact. All that dissolves off the tongue relatively quickly to ensure a finish of spicy booze, earthy hops and slight stale-aged tang.

Ok, so to recap- the beer made your mother's voice reconcilable. It did just the trick with that wide range of foods. ...but dealing with all those kids- It just might make you want to join right in!

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a Flanders-inspired wild ale, despite the base of an old ale. Souring bacteria and wild yeast were used, making it a wild ale.

Reddish brown pour, dark brownish black in the glass. Light tan foam with a creamy surface texture, intricate irregular lacing that sticks well around the edges. Long lasting surface skim that eventually breaks after awhile.

Woody aroma with notes of dried cherry and chocolate.

Full bodied and vinous, creamy feel with a welcome mellow tartness. Light roast in the background, coffee, chocolate, and cherry. Dry woody tannin in the finish. Slight clover honey traces. Virtually no trace of the base old ale, it's defined by the barrel and expressive wild yeast/bacteria. Tastes a lot like an Oud bruin with amped up chocolate and cherry elements. Enjoyable slow sipper with a well hidden double digit abv. Recommended to fans of Noel De Calabaza/Madrugada and top tier Oud Bruins.

Overall a great wild ale that sadly appears to be misunderstood here.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours from a 500 ml, white waxed and capped bottle brown with reddish highlights under a 1 finger thick dark tan head which fades to a cap and rim leaving spotty lace.

N: Leather, plums, dark fruit cake, spices, brown sugar, candied glaze, rum raisins, and wood.

T: Some boozy spices, dark candied fruits, vanilla, complex roasted grains and malts, earthy, red wine, cranberries/cherries.

M: Semi-full body and moderate carbonation. Robust finish.

O: Lots going on, but in somewhat different directions. Not focused, but interesting.

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Photo of jlindros
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to rudzud for sharing/splitting.

Light creamy head, decent lacing, dark murky molasses brown.

Nose lots of bourbon, barrel juice, toasted oak and light vanilla, sweet molasses and brown sugar, dark fruits, nougat and dark sweet malts. Torn between a 4.25 as it's pretty nice and good bourbon with other good malts, but the malts are a little meh for what they should be and bourbon destroys.

Taste stats with sweet malts, candy, molasses and brown sugar, dark fruits little fig, brown crystal malts, caramel toffee, mild bitterness, but quite sweet. Lots of bourbon, barrel juice, sweet bourbon and toasted oak. Finish is bland, little bourbon, little brown sugar. Fairly bland overall in flavor, mostly just washed bourbon.

Mouth is med bod, decent carb, mild warming booze.

Overall meh, pretty bland and one trick pony esp for so much bourbon.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint .9 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and white/silver wax-ed over pry-off pressure cap acquired at Argonaut Liquor in Denver, CO and served into an Odell stem-tulip/snifter hybrid glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given the brewery, though I'm not sure I've had a past beer of theirs that would suggest they could handle an old ale well. Reviewed as an oak-aged old ale. 10% ABV confirmed. Distributed by the Shelton Bastards.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of light khaki colour, nice creaminess, and nice thickness. Head retention is average - about 1 minute. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Nice even consistency. Fairly soft complexion.

Body colour is a dark opaque brown (or burnt caramel for the pretentious). No floating yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it doesn't look like much. I'm beginning to have my doubts.

Sm: Cream, raisin, caramelized sugars/fruit, brown sugar, dates, plums, prunes, brown malts, and biscuit malts. Rum-soaked stonefruit. Sugarcane. A bit of oak wood. Bread crust.

A pleasant aroma of moderate strength.

No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol is detectable.

T: Rum-soaked stonefruits, dates, prunes, plum. Bready malts, biscuit malts, brown malts. Cream. Light raisin. Sugarcane. Oak wood notes come through, but I don't get any toasty character or refined barrel notes. Maybe some faint vanilla? Marshmallow. Faint grape. Fruitcake.

Alcohol presence is noticeable but forgivable at this ABV. No hop character really comes through. Vague biscuity yeast character comes through.

On the sweeter side, for sure.

There's some fair complexity here, but not a whole lot of subtlety. Not particularly intricate or nuanced. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour for the style.

Mf: Nicely creamy. Smooth and wet, with some dryness and coarseness emerging on the climax, to its detriment. Thick and full-bodied. Coating on the palate, with a decent presence. Bready and filling. Unrefreshing. It's a meal in glass.

Not oily, astringent, hot, gushed, or astringent, though it does have some rough and harsh patches in the structure. Suits the flavour profile generally well, but doesn't complement/highlight specific notes and doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to the taste. It facilitates full delivery of the flavours, but could be improved.

Dr: A nicely executed little old ale with nothing unique or special going on. Pretty middle of the road but enjoyable and drinkable for what it is. I wouldn't get it again, though it might be interesting aged. ABV could be better hidden. I won't say that Prairie/Krebs should stick to farmhouse ales, but I will say they execute those types of beers better than they do heavier styles. Likable but unremarkable.

Develops a bit as it comes to temperature. Serve chilled.

Drinks great from a tulip.

High B-

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Photo of russpowell
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours chestnut/mahogany with 1 finger of cream colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Christmas pudding & brandy, plums & vanilla & smokeyness

T: Oaky dryness, plums, boozeyness, a touch of leafy hops up front. Slight smokeyness as this warms, oak & plummyness too. Finishes dry, with a bit of toffee, boozey with a bit of plum & leafy hops

MF: Fairly thick, slight carbonation, warming. Thins out as this warms

Not bad, but certainly came up short of expectations. I'm sure this will age well, but very rough on the edges now. Maybe my least favorite beer from these guys. If I buy any more it will be to age

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Photo of mdfb79
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 12/15/13 notes. Big thanks to Nugganooch for bringing this one out; thanks Dane! 16.9 oz. glass poured into a tulip.

a - Pours a murky, dark brown color with one finger of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, vanilla, caramel malts, cream, sweet chocolate, oak, light dark fruits, and toasted malts. Nose is nice, more fruit as it warms up.

t - Taste follows the nose but much lighter. Tastes of more dark fruits, roasted malts, cream, figs, plums, raisins, brunt malts, and toasted malts. A step down from the nose for me.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. No heat, doesn't feel like 10% ABV.

o - Overall a decent old ale, though I was hoping for more having heard great things about their other beers. Nose is nice but the taste is light and a lot of dark fruits and burnt malts. Decent but looking forward to trying their other stuff.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from craftshack.
Pours a solid dark brown bordering on black with a decent sized off white head that shows great retention. Aromas of caramel and brown sugar, a hint of oak and higher spirits, a bit of papery oxidation, and a light lactic cherry fruitiness. Light chocolate comes out especially as she warms. The flavor is sweet and dark sugary up front. Alcohol, tart cherries, tobacco, and chocolate fly in midway through. Finishes with a lingering caramel and fruity tartness. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sugary but somewhat tart mouthfeel. Decent brew I enjoyed it.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Fine bubbled, khaki colored head. Ok retention and nice lace. Light saddle brown body - muddy and hazy.

S - Cherry, raisin, port wine macerated berries, oak, caramel, wet leaves.

T - Lots of dry cocoa, red wine, oak, currents, allspice, caramel, gingerbread, leather.

M - Creamy, medium-light frame. Well balanced carbonation.

O - Incredibly dry finish. Interesting flavor profile, but not necessarily may favorite holiday brew.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured a murky caramel color with a nice dirty white cap. decent head retention and moderate lacing

S: Muddled fruitcake with toffee, wood and an Earthiness

T: Initial old fruitcake with raisins, bread, cranberries, toffee and a woody Earthiness to it. The finish is dry, sweet and Earthy with lingering flavors of caramel and toffee

M: Medium bodied, carbonated well, a mild sweetness but muddy on feel and flavors

O: Not a bad beer but the beer seems to be a hot mess of flavors sordove running together.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three-finger cream/beige head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Deep opaque brown color, ton of yeast left in bottle. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit and oak nose. Flavor is dark fruit, oak, vinous grapes; high ABV is mostly hidden. Decent old ale. Pricey at $13.50 for a 500ml bottle from a Tully’s Beer & Wine Wells, ME. And first bottle from Oklahoma after 3400 bottles.

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Photo of rudzud
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared with JLindros poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Poured a nice dark rich hazelnut hue, thin light mocha tan head that leaves nice lacing.

S - Aromas of super sweet toffee, loss of bourbon, sweet malts, rather one dimensional.

T - Taste is sweet brown sugar, bourbon, toffee, caramel. Again, rather one note.

M - Mouthfeel is nice for the ABV, more carbonation than I expected.

O - Overall this was a relatively disappointing beer. Rather one note.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

: Pours dark chestnut crowned by a persistent 2” creamy tan foam collar with a very fine bead. S: Prune, dark malts, some dark sugars, spice T: Starts creamy, foamy fruity and then finishes with a dry, very long lingering complex layering of malt loaf and caramel flavors laced with some alcohol heat. The dark sugars, some traces of anise to cola, a dash of pepper and a little alcohol dominate the finish and the aftertaste. F: A medium body leaning to saftig, very creamy, above average carbonation. O: A big, tasty, complex old ale.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 11.26.13

A - Pours a dark cola brown with a frothy, light tan head that has great retention.

S - Raison, oak, malty.

T - Tart and oaky, some dark fruits. Blah.

D - Good carbonation with a light body.

O - Mild flavors, but boozy and dark fruits try to show. Not that great.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a half-litre bottle into a Firestone Walker tasting glass. Bottled 2013.

A: Pours a sludgy brown with good but brief head.

S: Spicy, but dull.

T: Hm! Interesting. Unexpectedly bright and fruity. Dry endtaste. The "wild bacteria" (description on the website) is evident and explains a lot of the contradictions here.

M: A tad thin. Sourish and astringent.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this! I would have again. Tangentially, there was a touch of cap rust, but nothing bad.

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Photo of popery
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown, shaded with magenta. Opaque. Probably cloudy but it's too dark to really tell. Small light beige head. Decent lacing, retention for a beer of this strength. Stewed berries, cocoa, brown sugar and apricots in the nose. I think there's some barrel presence, but it's kinda hard to tell what's what. Possibly some spirit and oak knocking around. It smells like sugar cookies, fruitcake and rum (that's more a function of the alcohol and fruitiness, rather than any sort of guess at the barrels used). The taste also has lots of fruit and heavy sweetness. A tad medicinal. Some definite booze. Light chocolate. Berries and apricots soaked in caramel, wine and booze. Thick feel. Never gets too sticky, though. Interesting stuff. Definitely more legitimately old ale-ish than I expected, which is fun. It's not a barleywine, and there's a whole bunch of stuff going on. Good for a cold winter night, but this beer might catch some off-guard.

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Photo of cbutova
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased on-sale at Coaltrain Liquors in Colorado Springs, CO over the summer. Consumed and fully reviewed at night on Christmas.

2013 bottle.

A- Super dark red around the sides with a deep brown body from the 500ml to a few glasses. A large cap makes it up to over one finger with a very foamy, fizzy texture; the bottle opened with a LOUD hiss. The cap dies to a large puffy ring and haze all atop the beer. Massive chunks of swamp things suspend throughout with some spots of lace here and there.

S- Probably the most pleasant part of this beer for me. Most of the roasty Old Ale part of the beer comes out here with a well aged vanilla toasted oak and woody buffer. Notes of raisin and aged caramel leading to cocoa and slight roast, lactic and slight acetic bacteria, figs and hints of sweets. Bacteria really opens up with time and it is probably more pleasant when there is more Old Ale feel before that.

T- More of a balance at this stage. It takes character from the deep malty base beer, the rounded out oak barrel and the tart and slightly fruity funky bacteria. Strong notes of cherry, lactic acid, red wine vinegar, raisins, figs, general spiced dark fruits, toasted wood, oak vanilla and musty caramel. The tartness and fruity bacteria gets pretty bold with time drowning out the Old Ale in the end.

MF- This is where things kind of get thrown off. The body is incredibly foamy as hinted by the noise when opening the bottle. Massive fizzy foamy carbonation fills up the entire mouth immediately as it feels like a champagne or sour. This does not suit a lot of the flavors for me.

This beer has all kinds of potential. I think the Old Ale notes are quite good when they shine through and I really like the amount of oak and barrel flavor. The mouthfeel really hurts it for me and the bacteria also take away from the good aspects of the beer after a few sips. I would like to try a non-soured version of this. Just lacks a total melding of the flavors presented.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally $13.50 for a 500 ml bottle, but 20% off because Tully's was unloading some Christmas beers. Still on the expensive side.

In a snifter the beer was dark brown. The thick tan head persisted to the end, and left a smattering of lace.

A sweet fruit and caramel malt aroma.

Plums and prunes, toffee, a little oak.

A nice, medium-bodied old ale. Enjoyed it.

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Photo of mhaugo
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

16.9oz bottle decanted into a snifter. 10% ABV. Served at 55F and allowed to elevate to room temperature.

Appearance: Deep chestnut, pours brilliantly clear until you get into the dregs, relatively fat bubbles make up a pretty firm head (3.5/5).

Aroma: Wood, leather, molasses, bourbon, Cherry Coke, and a touch of sweet vinegar (4.5/5).

Taste: I’m initially struck by an interesting sour note that I did not expect. That flavor crescendos pretty quickly, and then it thins out and clears with only a soft touch of oak left behind. A little research has informed me that Prairie spikes the beer with a “mixture of wild bacteria”, so I’m glad to see the infection is intentional. I also get some tobacco, cherry, vanilla, and chocolate. As it warms, the cherry flavor comes marching into the forefront. God… what an interesting beer (4.75/5).

Mouthfeel: Rather thin with a touch of astringency from the oak (3.25/5).

Overall: Man, this is great. It’s an old ale, aged in bourbon barrels, and inoculated with wild bacteria. I’m (nearly) speechless. It certainly isn’t traditional by any stretch of the imagination, but I love what they have done with it (4.25/5).

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a hazy maple syrup color that gathers into a deep brown in the glass. Two finger tan head foams up pretty nicely and shows decent retention.

S: I've been getting a lot of different things since I poured this. Booze soaked fruit of some sort with a spicy oak backbone, but I can't decide if it's rum or brandy or maybe even bourbon. Toffee, caramel, dark fruit and a touch of a slightly sour raisin smell.

T: Dark malt and fruit flavors upfront, with a surprising sour edge. Raisin, mild toffee, red grape skin, rum barrel, sour plum and some tingling alcohol on the finish. Not that this says much, but this is probably my least favorite of their beers so far. Still digging it though and I'd love to see what this is like in a few years. Feels like it needs to round out a bit. It's not ready to save Christmas just yet.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The absolutely darkest of brown colors this ale holds a creamy thick head that sat atop the ale throughout the entire glass.

The aroma is filled with cream, marshmallow, Graham cracker, slight bourbon and barrel.

The flavor improves as it warms as there's a lot bourbon whiskey creaminess, coffee, malt and light char. There's a strong malt backbone that isn't sweet but more grain and barley with a pinch if kilned toastiness. This is not a barrel aged beer and I would assume it should not have this bourbonesque flavoring but that is simply what my palate interrupted.

The feel is creamy, not entirely thick but very smooth.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.26/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in Minneapolis and brought home in luggage (Oct 2013). Waxed top. $12.99 Poured into a chalice.

A very enjoyable beer. A nice sipping beer for a good book in front of the fire. Super complex aroma. Many win-like characteristics. I love old ales but this one is not at the top of my list. 4.25

A – Pours a cloudy rusty opaque (dark brown in the glass) with a one-finger rocky but dense tan head, good lacing, minor alcohol legs. 4.0

S – Alcohol, some sourness, tobacco, a bit of sour cherry, very port-like qualities. 4.25

T – Some lactic sourness, malty, molasses, a bit metallic, alcohol evident but not prominent. 4.25

MF – Medium-bodied, semi-dry finish with a bit of creaminess. 4.5

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Photo of beergoot
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Brownish body, with some copper-like hues; thick, creamy head. Massive nose of booze, figs, dates; caramel hidden in there, too. Big alcohol flavor notes; soured cherries; slow-building hop bitterness at the finish; vinous. Heavy bodied; smooth; semi-dry finish.

An eye-popping beer that immediately reveals its wild yeast heritage and high ABV. The overall taste may be too phenolic for some, but if you're looking for an old ale beer on the wild side, this one may peek your interest.

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Prairie The Beer That Saved Christmas from Prairie Artisan Ales
84 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.