Holidale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

295 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 295
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 32
Gots: 28 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 03-07-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Holidale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 295 | Reviews: 179
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22oz brown bomber bottle with a nice painted gold label. No bottled on date.

Appearance: Medium amber, fairly clear with a nice slightly off-white creamy head.

Smell: Rich aroma of molasses, raisins, caramel and fruity esters.

Taste: Incredibly luscious syrupy and smooth mouthfeel, with a full-body. Rich and malty upfront with a high level of sugary sweetness with strong notes of treacle (aka golden syrup). Malt flavours include plenty of caramel, tropical fruit, raisin, chocolate, touch of blackstrap molasses, coffee, oaky/wood and vanilla bean. A spicy, coarse and leafy hop character follows and balances the malty flavours just enough. Bitterness is mild, but present. Alcohol is extremely warming and contributes to the overall spiciness. Finish has some sweet biscuit flavours, eventually turning dry.

Notes: A stellar barleywine. Unlike others that lean towards either the malty or hoppy extremes, Holidale 2001 is pretty damn balanced. Definitely at the top of my all-time favourite barleywine ales.

Photo of Jason
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2007 on the label.

This beer is not shy to froth and it pushes up three fingers of head and some sticky head it is. Slight chill hazed brassy brown color. Fresh herbal, almost minty, hop aroma melds well with a faint solvent alcohol and caramel maltiness. So creamy smooth, full bodied. Big caramel and biscuity breadiness up front. Hop bitterness lays in with a think but dull herbal blanket which balances for the most part. A tad husky with some vague tropical fruit from the alcohol and mint from the hops. The 9% abv is not really noticeable until several sips are taken, then the warmth sets in. Semi-sweet finish with some lingering hop.

A bit raw and in your face with flavor, but I love it because of that as it sets its self apart from other winter seasonals and barleywines alike. Tag it as a sure pick.

More User Reviews:
Photo of puboflyons
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
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.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. Pours from the bomber into my Delerium glass a nice deep red amber that's fairly cloudy with a half inch of light tan foam on top. Aromas begin with sweet caramel covered fruits alongside a hint of oxidation. Green apple, grape and banana with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. Slighty spicy overall. Nice aroma that sets it apart.

First sip brings sweet caramel maltiness upfront that's awash in fruit flavors, apple, grape, banana and cherry. Cinammon spiciness follows through in the flavor as well. Finishes with a touch of hops. A nice brew overall. Good sweetness that never gets to be too much.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a blast of bubbles that dash across the tongue. A bit lighter than I was expecting for a barleywine, while still making itself known. Goes down pretty easily, one of the more easy drinking barleywines in its current state. Overall, an interesting barleywine that just seems to be a bit past its prime. I'll have to snag a fresh bottle this year and try it again. Thanks to warriorsoul for passin this my way..always love some new Berkshire brew!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 22oz bottle from Kappy's in Malden (very nice beer selection). This was a dark red-brown with a small head. It had a great fruity aroma, with a little spiciness detectable. Sweet, dark fruit taste, a little bread, some alcohol. A very smooth beer, maybe a little thin. Really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of Billolick
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my friend Keema, for supplying this tasty holiday morsel. Bomber bottle, poured amber and somewhat cloudy, moderate carbonation. Not much of a nose was detected. It left respectable lacing. As this brew warmed it exhibited a nice soft mouthfeel, definitly British in attack. Soft notes of vanilla, grapefruit and plums shine through. Low key, mellow B.W., alcohol well hidden, easy drinking pleasant, but not over the top stuff.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My second offering of the evening...sharing a bomber with my wife...the feeling is mutual...solid beer.
Pours a cherry copper color with a full finger of bright white head...soft lacing forms on the side of the glass and eagerly works its way back into the brew.
A nice mixture of raisins, cherries, and rock candy.
Very nice taste...black cherries, bubble gum and a slight alcohol twinge in the finish.
Nicely balanced...subtle sweetness with enough hops to bitter it up...finishes dry.
Mouthfeel is thin for the style, but perfectly carbonated...I'll be cracking open bomber # 2 shortly. Very drinkable in it's class...a solid offering from Berkshire...go local!

Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Union Brewhouse

Appearance: minimal head, clear, dark amber in color

Smell: toasted malt, cinnamon, and raisins

Taste: toasted malt, cinnamon, raisins, clove, and a touch of cherry

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweet and spicy

Drinkability: An above average barleywine with a small holiday kick. This is a nice malty beer that is a sipper. I would order this again, but will not be in rush to get it.

Photo of far333
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed and burnished orange color with a thick inch high head of fine foam that lingers long and slowly settles down to a low cap and rises up on the sides of the glass. Sheets of lace rise up as I drink.

Low aroma of ripe fruit and honey. Subtle flavor of marshmallow and grainy malt, straw huskiness, some fusel alcohol notes. Slight cherry tang, mild bitterness, subtle citrus hops, plus caramel and toffee. Surprisingly not rich and not complex. Even and full mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Becomes tastier as it warms, but could have more depth of flavor.

Photo of pwoods
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cburian(I think, lol) for this bottle in the great Secret Bunny '08 box that he sent me.

22oz. brown bomber poured into a snifter. 2007 release.

A: Pours a glowing ruby color. 1ish fingers of light latte foam colored head forms and holds for some time. Good lacing throughout

S: Boozy with plenty of hops kick left. Sweet malts make up the backbone of the aroma. Some juicy, citrusy fruits come through, maybe pineapple with a mango backing.

T/M: Though I have not had this fresh, it feels as though things have mellowed out pleasantly. The bitterness is much lower than an average barleywine. The citrus from the American hopping is much less acidic and has taken on that juiciness that age sometime brings. The malts aren't nearly as sweet as I would have thought them to be and don't feel chewy. There is a big tea like character that was not detected in the nose. Body is medium to maybe medium full and carbonation has held up. Doesn't finish too dry or with much lasting bitterness.

D: Pretty drinkable for a 9.5% barleywine.

Photo of mcarroll10177
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 addition

A- copper with tight off white head and tons of lacing

S- hops and malt followed by alcohol, some flowery smell from the hops Tons of nose on this beer

T- this was the real surprise. This is a very balanced beer. Not overpowering as far as hop bitterness is concerned and the HUGE alcohol content is very very well hidden. This is the first barleywine that I would catagorize as refreshing. Tons of flavor, tons of complexity and way too easy to drink.

M- balanced just the right thickness

D- any easy drinker that everyone has to be careful with. The massive alcohol in this beer is very sneeky and hits you like a ton of bricks. A wonderful beer enjoy it. BBC is the best.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most anticipated Barleywines every year is Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot...mainly because it is distinctively Pacific NW 'hoppy'.
Berkshire Brewing has them beat hands down with their 'Holidale'.
This is the 2007 vintage I am sampling just before Christmas, 2007.

Pours a dark mahogany amber with a half finger of off white that lasts quite a while in the glass.

Aroma is very, very fresh pine and pine oil hops.

Taste is sweet amber malts with sweet bitter citrus hops (an oxymoron?. Not anymore than a sweet lemon or sweet grapefruit would be). Pine comes through in the flavor as well as the citrus hops and everything stays bright, clean, balanced and fresh.
I don't notice the alcohol until deep into the glass and by then it is no doubt too late.

Mouthfeel is not syrupy at all but not watery either. I find both the mouthfeel and slightly sweet citrus aftertaste very pleasing.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark amber with a large white head. Great head retention and sticky lacing down the inside of the glass.

S: Very spicy and toasty. Very aromatic, get a little bit of hops, but they are masked by the malts. There is some caramel and a little bit of darker fruit, mostly raisins.

T: Lots of caramel on the flavor profile. Lots of malts here, with a slight hop kick (little hints of floralness). The raisins come through a bit more here. Has a really nice sweetness from the malts and a little booze kick as well.

M/D: Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation. Overall, very happy with this beer. Went down very easy and I was a bit disappointed that I decided to share this bottle. A great beer for the winter with the slight presence of the alcohol, but not in a bad way whatsoever.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber > chimay goblet

A deep red-copper color, really very nice color with a lively body and large 2" head, tons of froth, very well retained, leaves a huge amount of clumpage kicking around.

layers of hoppy madness!! fruits galore with some garden veggie like greens and radishes. Candy apples malt with some brown sugar. strawberry rhubarb pie!!! black pepper in the heat with a slight tingle. zesty and herbal, fruity and malty...wow.

The balance of flavor's is sublime here; dry, earthy and herbal flavor's helf down to a mdeium to full feel, very copmlex in the malt and hop department. rye and wheat bring a wonderful dryness, grainy earth effect from the fuggles and mild but wild flavor's from the northern brewer hops. Semi-bitter effect, well within the balance spectrum though. not sure of the abv% here but it's very well hidden and pretty mellow. This is not a thick, and heavy malty feel, it's full but with a lively, young effect.

A strange american barleywine with a more earthy hop balance and not so much big-bitterness, which i know people love but i'm down with more gentle hoppy barleywine's and stouts for that matter.

Photo of jmz62565
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep ruby red with a large head. The head disapates quicky leaving almost no head and no lacing. The smell isn't as strong as other b/w's,but you can make out dark fruit and a bread aroma. The taste is powerful with a strong dark fruit presence. Dark cherries,alcohol,dark fruits,winter spices,hops,and a "bisquity" flavor make this a complex and very good tasting beer. The taste is better than anything else. The m/f is medium with all flavors mixing very well. This is a very good beer that shouldn't be missed.

Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage.

Bomber served cool into an imperial pint glass.

Holidale is a hazy copper red with thin head but good lacing.

Aroma is sweet, malty, caramel with a little apple or plum. The hops are very subtle but then again, it's nearly two years old.

Flavor is very nice. It's not the bitter hopbomb that many barleywine tend to be. A great balance of malts to hops, nice spice notes, orchard fruits, caramel, and bread.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and low in carbonation. Again great balance and the alcohol is very well-hidden for being nearly 10%.

Overall a very good version of the style, maybe my favorite.

Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tastes more of an American winter warmer. Cloudy grapefruit colour with white head.Lacey. Funky aroma. Big yeast, sugar, ginger, almondy nutty. A bit of licorice. Very good drinkability for what should be a sipper. Alcohol well hidden. Thanks Dr.Jay.

Photo of alovesupreme
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark scarlet red when held to the light. An offwhite head of 1 and a half fingers sits for a few minutes before dissipating to a pleasant foamy ring, with nice lacing.
Medicinal, Scotch with alcohol and bread. A hint of sweetness.
Alcohol, some fruits, maybe apple? A little caramel with a bready finish.
A full body but not as syrupy and thick as I prefer my barley wines.
A pretty good barley wine.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I apparently got a good deal on this... $5.70 at Charles Street Liquors in the heart of Boston. The Imperial Stout cost me $5.99 and it doesn't even have the fancy painted label!!! Maybe it was because it was "old"... 2007!

Anyway, it pours a beautiful copper body with deep amber highlights beneath a frothy head of orange-yellow tan. The head retention is good and it leaves some nice lace behind.

Spice is clear in the nose over caramelish malt. I'm guessing it's got some cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all-spice but it's kind of muddled.

The flavor displays the spice prominently as well, and I feel that perhaps it's a bit too much. It overpowers the malt that's there within a few sips, leaving it one-sided. Beyond that, there are some nice caramel-malt notes, and a very nice fruitiness that combines dark fruits and sweeter, more juicy and citrusy fruits. Perhaps some orange peel was added to the boil. It starts spicy, reveals it's richly caramelish malt, becomes bitter, and then smooths everything out into the finish with a wash of citrus that fades to leave its grassy and leafy hop flavor and bitterness behind. Occasional flickers of orange appear as you wait for your next sip!

Nicely done, and fairly well balanced despite a fairly heavy-handed spiciness, this is sure to satisfy as a slow-sipper with a good book or historical drama on the telly. The John Adams mini-series might be good.

Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, obtained from someone "out east" as people in wisconsin would say...not sure from whom, but let me know

2005 edition

appearance: poured into a snifter...glowing bright amber body, fizzy carbonation leaves a foamy beige head with no retention....when it all settles, this is a crystal clear brew that is interesting to say the least

smell: fruit punch jolly ranchers, light oak, light booze, sweet and tropical fruit, light citrus hopping...peppery spice, holiday seasoning - pretty good

taste: This a sweet and fruity barleywine with many subtleties but lacking a strong punch...boozy fruit punch, light oak woodyness, comparisons to yeasty belgians, syrupy caramel-malt structure. Interesting but particularly memorable

mouthfeel: rather smooth, light boozy traits, light bitterness

drinkability: pretty nice

Photo of Hopdaemon39
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
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).

Photo of bditty187
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, coppery-gold in hue with tawny-bronze influences. Lazy appearance. The head didn’t form properly, at the most the off-white head barely covered the liquid and then it quickly dissipated to a thin collar. In my glass this barleywine has a sad, sluggish appearance. The lack of subsequent lacing contributes to the image. There is nothing truly odd or flawed about it, just too normal looking. Am I being picky? Maybe, but I try to be consistent. The nose is sweet. Strong notes of banana dipped in caramel sauce, lightly drizzled with chocolate pine needles, which is the strongest of the secondary aromas, this “balances” the sweetness rather well. Weak hints of butter. The malt fails to say much. The nose lacks complexity. It needs more malt. It needs a hop bite; the hops do offer some spruce notes. I like that. The nose isn’t great, it’s kind of soft and there are more things about it that needs improving than things that are excellent. With that said the bouquet is still good. Inviting. The palate is more put-together than the nose. Bananas flambé. Caramel dipped dark fruits, chocolate covered cherries. Pine needles are juxtaposed. This is a sweet barleywine. It might be hop poor but its malt rich. Hops offer spruce notes and some aforementioned pine. Bitterness is moderate but it fails to supersede the malt. I assume this is intentional. Sweet from start to finish, it could use some toasty qualities. Again, I’m nitpicking but when it comes to barleywines they better shine in every aspect or I’ll say what I wish was happening. Now, don’t let these comments fool you, this is a damn tasty beverage. I’d gladly drink this beer again, especially with cheese or a chocolate muffin. It’s a solid offering. Basically full in body, heavy from the low carbonation and tons of residual sweetness. Healthy mouthfeel. Sometimes big and lumbering works, in this case it does. It is also plenty drinkable, like I said, I’d surely be happy to quaff this one again but I wouldn’t drink more than one or two a winter. Thanks ppoitras for the bomber, this was a great addition to Secret Santa 2004.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holidale 2006.

Berkshire continues to produce unique beers, that have a slighty different twist. Holidale 2006 follows this practice. Slightly different from last years version, actually, it's alot different. The first ABW that has virually no hop profile. Almost all malts. Very tastey, green apples, oranges.

Very easy to drink, not sure what the ABV, it's well hidden though. I keep wishing BBC would come up with a truely BIG beer. This one is, but not to the level I had hoped for.

Photo of edchicma
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light copper with a short-lived head. Smell is of malt, molasses and alcohol. Taste has a syrupy sweetness with a definite alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is smooth with initial sweetness accented by alcohol and finishing in a dry, dry finish...very nice. Very drinkable for a barleywine....good winter offering.

Photo of alleykatking
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle. 2009 bottle.

A- Pours a dull looking amber color with some light orange tint on the sides of the glass when held to the light. One finger off white head shows light retention. Some specks of lace left on the sides of the glass when I drank this one down.

S- Darker bready malts in the front with a hint of fig or raisin in the front of the nose. I get a strong underlying sweet crystal malt in this beer throughout the entire aroma. Some light caramel malts show up toward the ending and once this beer warmed I picked up a little alcohol along with a sweet cherry aroma almost a little artifical smelling.

T- Like in the aroma the darker bready notes kind of played the front of the beer with a hint of raisin more than anything else. Middle of the beer showed off more caramel malts with a underlying sweetness that I always get when stuff is brewed with a lot of crystal malt. The backend once wark showcases a strong sweet cherry flavor that is not off putting at all. Alcohol only shows up for a split second before it is gone.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style I thought. Crystal malt, cherry, and light bready notes are left on the palate. Aftertaste shows off more alcohol, cherry, and crystal malt more than anything. Flavors were a bit stop and jerk although it seemed to be better put together than most other barleywines like this. No off flavors were present in this beer at all. Medium alcohol drying on the palate with each sip.

O- This beer struck a soft spot in my heart. I thought the aging on it did kill off any hops that were in here but I thought it gave way to a nice cherry forward barleywine. Alcohol is high making this a beer to split with someone else but it was wonderful for what it was.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Holidale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 295 ratings.