Saint Arnold Christmas Ale - Saint Arnold Brewing Company
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Ratings: 454 | Reviews: 210 | Display Reviews Only:
3.55/5 rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Appearance: Pours a medium clear reddish amber with a thin off-white head, not much noticeable lacing.
Smell: Spice, caramel malt and a bit of pine. A nice balance of spices and what I'd expect from a Christmas ale.
Taste: Some cinnamon and spice, but more malty with some piney hop character. Not too spicy which I like, a decent balance with the malt.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and bitterness. Creamy feel and goes down easily.
Overall: A pretty solid beer here from Saint Arnold. Not the best, but definitely worth a try.
Serving type: bottle
11-25-2013 02:14:59 | More by Mikecap
3.88/5 rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
First thing I noticed was the carbonation. Almost like drinking a soda, minus the sugar.
A - Nice medium dark color
S- Almost none
T- Some spice although not overwhelming as read in other reviews. Malt over hops
O- I look forward to this release in July (brief) and late Oct/Nov each year. This is a good (well priced) everyday brew, when I am looking to knock a few back without tapping into the reserve/rare/hard to find/expensive bottles on shelves in the fridge.
Just as I remember it from past bottlings. Great go to all round beer when available
Serving type: bottle
11-15-2013 02:09:18 | More by bigdavid77433
2.99/5 rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard Saint Arnold label art (mainly green in colour) and a red branded twist-off pressure cap acquired at me local HEB grocery as part of a mixed 6er and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery. 2013 vintage. No ABV is listed on the bottle, but Saint Arnold's website confirms it as 7.0%. ABW is 5.6%. Reviewed as an old ale because Saint Arnold's website identifies this beer explicitly as an old ale, and it's won medals in the old ale category.
Served cold - straight from me 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 I pour.
Pours a half finger wide head of off-white colour, which recedes so fast - inside of 15 seconds - that there's no time to note its thickness or creaminess. Hopefully needless to say, I'm unimpressed with the head. 7% ABV is a bit high, but I've seen many an old ale that holds up for at least 2 minutes.
Body colour is a semitransparent rich copper/auburn. It's on the lighter side for the style. It's glowing, but I'm reticent to call it vibrant per se. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible.
Overall, it's not unique or special, and falls within style conventions. There are no egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it.
Sm: Caramel/caramalts. Hints of toffee. Plenty of Christmasy spices - nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Brown sugar. Cidery notes/apple fruit. Green grapeskin. Hints of spruce wood and nectar. Hop character is floral and fruity, but none of the notes therein are particularly evocative or distinct and are hard to identify as a result. Almonds. Slightly bready. The spices seem to play well with the dominant caramel sweetness. It evokes a Christmas ale character, primarily because of the spicing.
No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.
A pleasant aroma of average strength. I'm looking forward to trying it. It's quite approachable, but I wouldn't say it's real welcoming or inviting.
T: The body is comprised of toffee and caramel/caramalts, with some pale malt and amber malt in there too. A spruce note emerges at the end of the first act and stays through the latter two acts, lending the flavour profile a guiding cohesion. Complementary spices are present but insubstantial: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg. I get a fairly medicinal note I can't quite place, but it accompanies the caramel-induced sweetness. The brown sugar from the aroma never makes an appearance in the flavour profile. The hop profile mostly matches the aroma: there are plenty of fruity and floral hop notes, but also some unexpected herbal notes.
No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Yeast attenuation ought to be higher given the style. It could use a higher ABV and less of a hop presence.
Generally cohesive, but the build isn't a gestalt one. There's some mild complexity here, but nothing too impressive. Subtlety is wanting as well. It has a loose balance to it. Below average depth and duration of flavour. Average intensity of flavour.
I'd like to see some darker malts used in the grain bill. It strays a bit too far from the style for my tastes.
Mf: Sticky, smooth, wet. Medium bodied. Somewhat nectary. Slightly syrupy. Thick to style. Decent presence on the palate. I wouldn't quite call it chewy.
Not astringent, hot, gushed, boozy, harsh, rough, oily, or creamy.
Dr: Drinks pretty decently for the somewhat high ABV. I love that it doesn't feel like a poor man's barleywine like many (subpar) Old Ales, but it does go too far in the Amber direction - it's overly hopped for the style, there's not enough complexity/subtlety, and it's just all around unremarkable. You could do worse than to end up with a 6er of this in your fridge, but having tried this as a single I wouldn't buy it again or recommend it to friends. It could do with the warmth and added flavour of a higher malt, higher ABV build.
Devotees of traditional old ales will likely be disappointed, but the price point here makes this worth trying. Saint Arnold has put forward an inoffensive brew with Christmasy spices and above average alcohol. At the end of the day, this beer will get you drunk. Without effort, I was able to to kill the bottle inside of 15 minutes.
On the high side of average. Not worth aging. Serve cold.
Serving type: bottle
11-13-2013 21:05:31 | More by kojevergas
3.14/5 rDev -14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3
12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(365-366/FX100713 printed on bottle on top line; 17:52 printed on bottom line)
L: red, clear ... very interesting look, and standard Saint Arnold clarity -- it's as if all of Saint Arnold's brews are made following the German purity laws, pretty impressive. very soapy head, tannish on top of the brown/amber brew (red) that doesn't last long, doesn't stick, doesn't lace
S: that old ale pumpkin, cantaloupe kind of smell ... it's sweet but that muted sweetness. an obvious malt takeover and a unique mix -- not bready, not sweet biscuits, not prunes, not raisins ... it's NOT a lot of things you expect from malt, but there's no doubt it's malty. reminds me a lot of the pumpkin ales out these days.
T: follows the nose with a little less sweetness ... again, pumpkin, cantaloupe. it has a bit of a nutmeg taste to it, too, but this brew is all beer -- no additives to the holy quartet of water, barley, yeast, hops.
F: not bad considering how weak the head appeared ... enough carbonation and weight to feel good enough
O: i can see, smell and taste plenty of unique notes and good things to tell it's a solid brew, but this profile is so hard for me to describe other than to use the word "off." it's definitely got a bit of a christmas feel with the pumpkin and nutmeg notes, but my guess is if you're looking for a winter seasonal (which this is regardless of style), you can find other brews you like better, Saint Arnold's Winter Stout being a possibility.
winter warmer or old ale -- either way, it's not my favorite style, so my numbers will be off by 0.25 to 0.50 or more. i personally wouldn't recommend trying more than a single brew or two of this ... i made it through a 6-pack fine, but i won't touch this one again.
Serving type: bottle
11-09-2013 09:30:32 | More by Premo88
Saint Arnold Christmas Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 454 ratings.