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Holidale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.


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

254 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 254
Reviews: 174
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.88%

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 03-07-2001)
View: Beers (40) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 254 | Reviews: 174 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sinstaineddemon


2.9/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2013 vintage

A - dark brown, yet transparent liquid with a thin white head with a bit of staying power. A light source reveals plenty of busy carbonation keeps that head afloat.

S - A whiff is mostly filled with malty goodness and cocoa powder. At the end there is a slight tweak of spice, the bottle blurb mentions cinnamon and that makes sense. Not sure if I could discern which spice without that hint.

T - this is a sharp beer. It's not quite there yet. The hops have not faded and not let the barleywine greatness through. The cocoa powder adds the bitter. The cinnamon-ness is more pronounced in the flavor and is a nice finish.

M&D - as mentioned, sharp and a bit harsh. It needs a year on it. Makes me glad I got two bottles for Christmas. I will hang on to the second one for a year or so and edit this review accordingly.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 20:17:15 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of MenardMa


2.28/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This really should be broken out into Holidale 2011, 2012, 2013, etc...because last year's and this years have been very different.

I'll start by saying that the 2012 Holidale, if I recall correctly, was a very nice barleywine.

The 2013 one, on the other hand...I could barely choke down. It smelled like weak, watery coffee, it looked like a fairly light brown ale, and it just tasted strange. Like bitter coffee combined with a watery, mediocre beer.

I really like quite a bit of BBC's offerings but this year's Holidale is unimpressive to say the least. Seems like they were going for something very different in a coffee/chocolate barleywine but it just doesn't work here.

Serving type: on-tap

12-26-2013 17:02:00 | More by MenardMa
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.68/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the 650ml. bottle. 2013 batch. Sampled on December 24, 2013

If Beer Advocate would let me do a one word rating my one word would be "Wow!" But I need at least 250 characters, which should be an easy task.

The pour is a foggy dark brown with a lingering tan had that settles on top and stays there. Some lacing as it fades but it never dissipates totally.

The aroma is full of variety with notes of malted barley, cocoa, coffee, fig or plum, and a fascinating woody cellared musk. Hops are minimal but the ones that are there are earthy in nature. No booze.

The body is medium to full and also smooth in texture.

I am drinking this 2013 barleywine in 2013 and one would think that it would have that biting, fresh barleywine maltiness exploding on the palate bu that is not the case. This feels like it has already mellowed with age. Fine malty notes, cinnamon, and spice and coffee grinds. No booze. This one hits the mark.

However, I would respectfully recommend that Beer Advocate set up a new annual listing for this beer. Berkshire acknowledges that the recipe changes every year so someone who reviewed this in 2010 or 2011 is getting an entirely different character in 2013.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 18:45:58 | More by puboflyons
Photo of homebrew311


3.14/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is reddish clear with thin white head. Nose is heavy with cherries, syrup, grenadine, and caramel. Taste is sweet up front with one notes malt sweetness, not enough hops to cut out the fruit. Taste is sweet and oxidized. Out heel is heavy with low carbonation. Overall, not that great. Not really to style.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 00:16:40 | More by homebrew311
Photo of DrinkNewport

Rhode Island

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A mild scent, average carbonation, absolute-match-for-caramel-color...and that's it.

Barley wines make a statement. They're either boozy or have an incredible amount of flavor to cover their high ABV. This beer gives you the hint of booziness or strong flavor...but it's just not that strong.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 07:43:23 | More by DrinkNewport
Photo of TMoney2591


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Alright, but then where's my Holichip? *rim shot* Anyway, this stuff pours a clear sunset bronze-auburn topped by a finger or so of off-white foam. The nose comprises pine resin, light dark greens, rich toffee, and a touch of fruitcake way in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, with the toffee and pine duking it out for my entertainment, creating a decently nice balance; and some mild stone fruits dance in the back, seemingly egging on the combatants. Normally, when I use those terms, it means there's a flavor clash on my tongue, but this time it's just to illustrate the balanced see-saw thing going on instead. The body is a solid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a pretty nice brew, one that brings the hop pain without overwhelming with it. Gotta love balance, eh?

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 21:30:29 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of rudzud


4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared these with JLindros in a massive end of the world party veritcal: 2005-2012

A - The pours are all basically crystal clear light copper hue. All have a thin white head with nice lacing. 2005 has a simply MASSIVE head that never really left. 2005 looks simply outstanding.

S - Fresh has lots of hops with light fruit notes, through the years it changes. '10 smells like dirt and '08 doesnt remotely smell drinkable. '05 though smells almost like Applejack.

T - Starts with fresh bright hops in the 2012 version with nice fruits and caramel malts. '10 has more sweetness without the dirt aroma on the taste. '09 is like the start of an apple brandy, '08 is like cardboard drain pour (weird transition?), '06 is not quite cardboard but close, and '05 is simply unreal with massive amounts of tart apples, malts, and brandy crazy goodness.

M - Very, very nice carbonation throughout the years. Never heavy or syrupy.

O - Overall this was a fun vertical. They really are different beers with each year. '12 is a very nice hoppy barleywine but '05 is simply unreal. The tart apples and brandy qualities make this incredible. Wish I had another bottle of '05.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2013 17:58:27 | More by rudzud
Photo of Gatch


4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


A: Deep, golden-orange with some haze and a soapy, bright white head with a ton of lace and great retention.

S: Fantastic hop presence. Some sweet malt and fruit. Hops are fresh, juicy, piney, fruity, resiny. A bit of spice.

T: Seriously awesome hop flavor. Tons of fruit and fresh, woody resin. Sweet, sugary malt to balance it out and keep this an Am BW as opposed to a Double IPA. Booze is nonexistent. Some holiday spices in the finish as it warms.

M: Super smooth and fresh. Not cloying at all. Incredible bursts of flavor from the hops. Malt balances it well. Refreshing, properly bitter, and dry.

O: Surpassed my expectations. A very impressive beer by itself or based on style. Hop heads will love this well-crafted brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 22:59:56 | More by Gatch
Photo of davey101


3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass. Opens nearly silent. This is the batch brewed with some rye in the malt bill. Reviewed 01-11-2013

A - Surprisingly gorgeous looking beer. Pours a crystal clear amber/red body with some slow rising carbonation. Frothy three finger light khaki head forms and simmers down a bit but really sticks around. Thick lacing and long retention. Each sip just coats the glass in thick foam. 4.5/5

S - Very one dimensional but rich. Gobs of chewy toffee, sweet candy, marshmallow and butterscotch. A touch of pineapple fruit and brown sugar on the end. Seems to be missing some of the elements of a BW, but it is very unique and inviting. No signs of sherry or wet cardboard. 4.25/5

T - Again pretty one note. Toffee, marshmallow, and brown sugar initially. Finishes with a smooth and noticeable rye spice that works with the tame alcohol. The spice and earthiness tends to escalate if you drink it too quickly. 4.0/5

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation. A bit lacking. 3.5/5

O - This has held up amazingly well, so much so that I prefer it to the 2011 and 2010 that I've had fresh. Zero oxidation, no floating protein bits like in other years, and no off flavors. This was a huge surprise for me. 4.0/5
2010 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass. Opens with a loud pop. Reviewed 01-14-2013

A - Similar to the '09. Clear deep burnt orange body with a super creamy and dense and frothy head. This beer however demonstrates something I've noticed in several vintages of this beer. Floaties. Not sure if its chill hazed or what, but although minimal in this bottle there are bits of suspended protein which hurts the appearance. The final pour had so many floaties it looked hazy. 3.5/5

S - Toffee, marshmallow, and alcohol. A bit of brown sugar and raisins but quite one note. 3.5/5

T - Big toffee, rich malts followed by a sweet marshmallow and brown sugar finish. Feels quite large with a nice balance between the richness and sweetness. 3.75/5

M - Medium bodied and slightly syrupy. Carbonation is a bit on the low side. Booze is noticeable but kept in check. 3.75/5

O - More verification that this beer ages well. Although lacking the great rye spice in '09, it retains that simple but tasty marshmallow sweetness. 3.75/5
2011 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a pint glass. Opens with a loud pop. Reviewed 01-16-2013

A - Pours a clear dark orange/red body. Two fingers of off-white foam fizzles away like a soda into a thin cap. Excellent lacing and retention. 4.25/5

S - A hint of sweet caramel malts and brown sugar. A touch of raisins and toffee. A bit boozy. Simple, plain, and boring. Not much going on here. 3.5/5

T - Toffee, burnt brown sugar, and skunky malts. Not a very pleasant taste, simple with a long alcohol warmth on the finish. 3.0/5

M - Thin to medium bodied with low carbonation. 3.25/5

O - Perhaps one year is just an awkward phase for this beer. In its current state, its very unimpressive and boring. - 3.25/5
2012 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass. They used local hops this year. Reviewed 01-22-2013.

A - Pours a hazy burnt orange body. Much paler and lighter than the other years. Sits in the glass like an unfiltered IPA. Two fingers of white foam dissolves quickly into a spotty cap with thick edging Just gobs of lacing and retention. 4.5/5

S - Hops initially. They start off piney and grapefruit heavy. When you stop smelling you're left with a subtle but noticeable dankness. An onion presence that points strongly towards Summit hops. Where are the malts? The glorious and decadent marshmallow sweetness of the past? Not even a notion of caramel? This is an IPA god dammit!!! 2.5/5

T - Starts off with grapefruit and pine. Then a light malt sweetness, then some dank hops. Thankfully the onions are not present. That is it. Everything is washed away by the light bitterness of the hops and you are left with nothing. I'm not even sure what I'm drinking at this point. A barleywine? Not even close. Even the Three Floyd's barleywine retain some characteristic of the style while being total hop bombs. Its not that is a hop bomb, its just somewhat hoppy and that's it. I mean its tasty and all, but not even close to style. I don't even see age helping this out as there is no real malt backbone to speak of. 2.5/5

M - Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden. 4.0/5

O - If it weren't for the fact that I've never had a BBC beer feature this hop profile, I'd swear this was mislabeled. What the hell happened? This is not a barleywine. This isn't even an American Barleywine. Its a lightly hopped, slightly dank, average run of the mill IPA. Not even going to include this in my overall score of the beer because I'm just so puzzled. For the love of god, return to your roots in 2013! 2.75/5

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 03:46:14 | More by davey101
Photo of MasterSki


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think I got this from Reagan1984. 2011 vintage, served in a pint glass.

A - Lightly tan off-white foam settles to a thick collar, a few wisps, and negligible lacing. Mostly transparent amber body.

S - Smells like your typical American barleywine, with a mix of brown sugar and caramel malts and some residual zesty and piney hops. Alcohol is reasonably well-hidden.

T - Taste is similar, with caramel, biscuit, toasted bread, and a bit of brown sugar. There's light residual hop bitterness, but not much flavor after a year of cellaring. No alcohol presence at this stage either.

M - Smooth texture, lighter in body than your typical barleywine; more of a medium. Pleasant carbonation, and light stickiness in the finish.

D - It's a somewhat square American barleywine, which is more than I was expecting as I initially thought this was a spiced Christmas beer of some sort. Nothing wrong here, but not much to distinguish itself from a crowded field.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 03:52:30 | More by MasterSki
Photo of BigCheese


4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed on Nye. 2012 version

A: A deep amber/ruby. large head with tons of lacing.

S: Strong, some 'c' hops with grapefruit and pine. caramel toffe maltiness.

T: Taste follows nose. BIg citrus, pine and grassy/spicey hops. huge malt backbone of caramel, toffee, rasins, oak.

M: Dangerously drinkable sipper, huge flavors, but minimal palate fatigue. Very rich, oily and creamy. High carbonation.

O: Not exactly what I was expecting, almost a DIPA in hop flavor. Great at the pricepoint. HIghly reccomended, bit league flavors, will purchase again.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 03:51:34 | More by BigCheese
Photo of FosterJM


3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1668th Review on BA
Bottle to Christmas Goblet

2012 Vintage
Thanks to MikeReaser for this one

App- This was a very golden orange looking beer. Almost a golden brown color to match on the bottom of the glass. Poured out a bit light in the center and not like most barleywines I have seen. The head was a nice 2 finger white color with some good puffy foam. Not too much cling or lace.

Smell- This was more of a stale DIPA to me. A bit of citrus with some older hops in it. A bit sweet and a bit caramel pine to balance. Maybe a touch of spice on a large pull of the nose. A little bit of whispy booze as it warmed a touch more.

Taste- Its a nice barleywine. A bit off of what I would say the style is. But I have had a few like this where its a big malty citrusy flavor with a small amount of bitter and hops to balance it out. This was fairly sweet and presented with a few other flavors in there. A bit spicy and maybe a touch of vanilla to boot.

Mouth- A larger medium body. A bit of a medium bubbly carbonation like a DIPA to balance it all out. The bubbles created a nice feel to this beer. Was a sipper but hits the spot. Residual malts and deep resiny citrus.

Drink- I opened this on Christmas at 3AM. It was a nice beer to unwind with after a long Christmas Eve day and putting presents out for the kids. A welcome gift from my RS member. Nice flavors and semi balanced. Maybe letting this sit for a year isnt a bad idea either. Maybe i can get another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 16:05:17 | More by FosterJM
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Top Hops during the Westvleteren even today, since this looked like it would be quite smooth and bold for the cold weather. Sure enough, this fit that perfectly and those who had a bit of my beer were amazed at how easily this went down. Even though the aroma wasn't that strong, the whiskey came through nicely and this reminded me of some of the Innis and Gunn beers that I had recently enjoyed.

The pour to this was nice - a rich mahogany with not a lot of head, carbonation, or lacing to be seen. Not a lot of spice here but a good amount of dark fruits, brown sugar, and booze to top it all off. No charcoal or peat here, this certainly felt a lot more toward the Whisky end and less towards a Scotch or Scotch Ale. Quite cloying since it had a bit of a bread/biscuit feel to this but this never felt too full and only the warming effect of the alcohol lingered after each sip.

This was deceptively strong but the alcohol never detracted from the beer and the apricot and cherry shone through nicely without having the sweetness of a Belgian beer. Although it was a bit too dry, it fit the bill nicely on this late fall day and has to be one of the most accessible examples of this style that I've ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2012 23:08:05 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of MatthewWilde


3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample: bottle 2011

A: Pours an off-white strong head that quickly becomes decent lacing, reddish brown in color, minimal internal carbonation, hazy throughout with light sediment

S: Dried dark fruits, hints of vanilla and pepper, slightly herbal, even some cocoa, moderately fragrant, complex

T: Much akin to the nose, perfectly balanced and complex, each element has its own presence and not one element overpowers the others, nice fruit with a hop backbone, just wish it was more flavorful overall

M: Quite smooth and very drinkable, easy on the palate, only slightly drying, mild fruity aftertaste, alcohol not even detectable

O: A great barley wine overall, nice flavor and very palatable, definitely could be more powerful, but still impressive, interested in trying some fresh

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 04:44:40 | More by MatthewWilde
Photo of Masscraft

4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice fresh bottle of 2012 Holdale.
Popping the cap my nose is hit was a nice dose of citrusy hops. Surprising. Poured into a goblet a couple-finger head leaves a smattering of rorschach blots around the glass (the second pour really cakes it on, tight elegant lace rings) The nose is exotic fruit jam, sweet by not cloying. I think this version is more like an imperial english-style ipa than a barleywine so get this while its fresh. The finish is dryly hoppy without any significant bitterness. Really invites the next sip. The alcohol is well hidden. If this is still in the 9.5 - 10% range it doesn't taste like it. Sweetness is quickly cut through with a grainy, rustic bread quality that balances the brew nicely. The blurb on the bottle describes its bitterness as prominent without being aggressive which is about right. BBC has really been ringing my bell lately. This is definitely up there with my favorites. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2012 17:03:35 | More by Masscraft
Photo of PicoPapa


3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. 2011 Vintage. Pours a cloudy dark chesnutty brown with an inch of head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of malts, bread, grapes, and brown sugar. Slight bit of grassy hops. Taste is bready and malty with boozey caramel towards the end. Hints of dark fruits. Lightly carbonated with a creamy mouthfeel. Pretty good barleywine. Looking forward to trying a fresh one.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2012 03:34:36 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of BostonHops


4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 batch.

pours a cloudy, deep amber tone while yielding a 3/4-1" beige head; middling retention, respectable lacing evident. nose is very nice on this fella. big candi sugar presence with some strong fruity and bready malt notes... brown sugar and caramel... not as much in the hops department as i was expecting, being an american barleywine.

more of the same translates to the flavor. big notes of candi and brown sugar, caramel... fruity characters... a touch of spice. not your typical barleywine, has a unique element to it. medium-full bodied with slightly below average carbonation.

no wow factor per se, but really nice; very tasty and enjoyable. definitely recommended - another hit from berkshire. i can only imagine if this were given the barrel treatment.

(originally reviewed: 01-03-2012)

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2012 01:32:52 | More by BostonHops
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage
Pours a deep reddish copper color with a good sized bubbly beige head that shows great retention. Smells of caramel and brown sugar with a hint of ethanol and a touch of oxidation. Taste is a bit on the malty side up front. Lots of sugary sweetness that gets beaten back by and earthy and a muddled buttery harshness. Long lingering sugary and butterscotch sweetness. Medium body and level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. I really enjoy the coffeehouse porter from Berkshire, but most of their other beers strike me as too heavy on the diacytyl. Decent beer, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2012 01:04:04 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of Hopdaemon39

New York

3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an oversized wine-glass. Pours a relatively clear brown copper color with a half-finger of head, minimal lacing, and a few thin streaks of lacing.

Nose is full of thick roasted malts, spice, and a little bit of booze. Smells like a barleywine.

Taste is surprisingly milder and more balanced. Of course roasted barley is pretty much front and center but it's not as chewy as anticipated, has a little bit of nutmeg, and maybe a touch of hops. Booze is not noticeable in the taste. Maybe a little bit of cherry towards the finish.

Mouthfeel is great- very drinkable for this style. Medium to full bodied with mild carbonation of the soft variety. Sweet finish. Good barleywine- not as bold as others but in a certain sense it's nice to have one that's quaffable (relatively of course).

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2012 01:42:30 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of Khazadum


3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A ruby red body, good amount of carbonation visible, a creamy head that has great stickiness, tons of lacing, very very well done in terms of froth. In terms of generation, it was a bit harder than other American Barleywines to get the froth developing. Aggression was required for that full finger.

Smells grassy, herby. Bright hop presence that isn't piny in the bit. Its a fine change up from your traditional American Barleywine. Tons of hop presence. Grassy, vegetation, hack and slash yardwork. Sweet dried cranberry. A sharp character of allspice in the middle... very bright herby hops that almost tickle you to sneeze. Its dried bramble fruits in the middle of it giving it that balancing sweetness.

Tastes... weird. I'm shocked and awed when right at the beginning a sharp sweet character opens up. Its got that dried cranberry nature with grassy and herbal flavors. Like licking italian seasonings... the finish of doing that combined with a trail mix cranberry and raspberry. Its really annoying right off the bat. As you move beyond that opening you feel the grassy nature, the dry hoppy power. Its grainy, its lemon grass, its herbacious... Finishes out with a lingering spicy nature. Not curry or tobasco but chicken seasonings.

Full bodied, thick, creamy, syrupy, velvet silky smooth. Great carbonation middle that lingers and helps it avoid being oppressive. I like the lingering strength as well. Its not long lasting bitterness, but rather long lasting caramels and malt.

Interesting beer, but I'd probably never do it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2012 02:42:23 | More by Khazadum
Photo of ppoitras


4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. 2011 vintage.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head over the slightly cloudy orangey copper brew. Head lasts nicely, with leggy lacing. Aroma is fruits and spices.

Taste is sweet to start, citrus and fruits in the middle, with a lightly bitter and moderately alcoholic close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good for the style. Not much change this year, just a bit more citrus and smoother to my palate.

4.5/4/4/4/4 - 2/8/12
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. 2011 vintage.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy orangey copper brew. Head holds on well, with lasting lace. Aroma is fruity with an undercurrent of spices.

Taste starts with caramel and toffee, fruity in the middle, and spices and light bitterness through the close. Mouthfeel is reasonably smooth, and drinkability is good, esp for the style. Always like to see this one come out each year.

4.5/3.5/4/4/4 - 12/29/09
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. 2009 vintage.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy orangey red brew. Head lasts nicely, with coating, slow-falling lace. Aroma is not intense, but sweet, boozy, with a piney hops component. Taste begins with ample maltiness, shows a peek of fruitiness in the middle, and closes with pine hoppiness and and afterwarmth. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth, and drinkability are quite good. Not as good as I remember past years though.

(4/4/4/4.5/4.5 - 12/22/08)
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. 2008 vintage.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear reddish amber brew. Dense head lasts well, with plenty of slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet, spicy, and fruity. Taste starts sweet, with prominent fruitiness in the middle, and alcohol warmth at the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are excellent. Very smooth, and goes down so easily.

(4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4.5 - 12/21/07)
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. 2007 vintage.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head over the clear reddish dark amber brew. Head is solid, takes forever to fall, with plenty of lasting lace. Aroma is pungeant with fresh hops. Taste starts with ample malt sweetness, and is nicely balanced with the hops character found in the nose. Flavors are balanced but intense. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both quite nice. I think this brew has gotten even better this year. Give it a try.

(4/4.5/4/4/4.5 - 1/16/07)
22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. 2006 vintage.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" beige head over the slightly cloudy reddish dark amber brew. Head fades gradually, holding on well for the style, with ample slow-falling lace. Aroma is hearty grain and heavy sweetness. Taste also has the mouthful of grain husks going on, followed with substantial sweetness and glimpses of the ample alcohol. Mouthfeel and drinkability are right where they should, if not better, and I'm always glad to see this one each year.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 01:32:24 | More by ppoitras
Photo of perrymarcus


4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 batch.

pours a cloudy, deep amber tone while yielding a 3/4-1" beige head; middling retention, respectable lacing evident.

nose is very nice on this fella. big candi sugar presence with some strong fruity and bready malt notes... brown sugar and caramel... not as much in the hops department as i was expecting, being an american barleywine.

more of the same translates to the flavor. big notes of candi and brown sugar, caramel... fruity characters... a touch of spice. not your typical barleywine, has a unique element to it. medium-full bodied with slightly below average carbonation.

no wow factor per se, but really nice; very tasty and enjoyable. definitely recommended - another hit from berkshire. i can only imagine if this were given the barrel treatment.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 04:18:19 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber bottle into a Family Guy pint glass.

A: Hazy, medium copper-amber color beneath a huge, frothy head of dense, beige foam. Left behind nice sheets of lacing and head persisted for the duration of the brew.

S: Rich, complex, candied alcohol aroma with hints of tropical citrus fruits, fig, dates, wet tobacco leaves, earthy hops, burnt candi sugar and spiced booze.

T: Flavor matches up closely with the aroma in that it slowly unfurls a mixture of sweet bourbon, vanilla-oak aged malts and a variety of citrus and berry flavors. Roasted caramel malt leads into layers of tangerine weaved together with vanilla, smoky wood and red raspberries. Finishes up warm and boozy with a piny, lingering citric hop bitterness.

M: Full-bodied, complex, warm and boozy with a lingering hop and alcohol bite.

O: A complex, full and robust barleywine with rich malty flavors and a big time hop wallop. At 9.5% ABV, this 2010 version I cracked open at Christmas could've sat another year, but man, was it worth the wait up til now. Would definitely recommend getting a couple bottles to age and compare.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 00:29:01 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of Krakistophales


4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark red with a bit of a creamy colored head that disappears quickly

S: Dried dark fruit, a grape and berry sort of tartness mixed with a creamy caramel sweetness and a slight twinge of grassy hops towards the end

T: The taste is almost reverse of the smell. Grassy, tart hop profile up front, with the middle turning into a more caramel/sweet malt profile, and just hints of dark fruit towards the end, with a lingering bitterness.

O: Pretty good. Not a goto barleywine for me but still a nice offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 05:43:48 | More by Krakistophales
Photo of abgba121


3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a hazy ruby color with very thin head and a slight lace

S: very sweet and somewhat fruity, a little bready. I don't detect the hops like it says on the bottle.

T: sweet, yeast very present, some alcohol esters and slight hops on the finish

M: medium body, low carbonation

O: an enjoyable barleywine, though I would like more hops

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 06:03:59 | More by abgba121
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Holidale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 254 ratings.