YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

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YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

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756 Ratings
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Ratings: 756
Reviews: 309
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 81
Gots: 68 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-01-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 756 | Reviews: 309
Reviews by MattyG85:
Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on 10/07/13.

Appearance: Pours a deep and somewhat hazy amber red with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid three fingers of off white head which slowly fade into a thinner creamy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing clinging to the glass.

Smell: An earthy and fairly hoppy red aroma with a big caramel malt balance. Upfront earthy, floral, and herbal hops with hints of wet grass and spicy pine resin. Subtle citrus hop hints of orange peel, lemon, and grapefruit. Big balance of toasty bready malts with hints of sweet caramel, biscuit, grains, toast, toffee, yeast, and subtle roast. Also some sweet hints of brown sugar. A pretty solid and balanced red ale aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a big and balanced taste of earthy hops and sweet caramel malt. Upfront taste of earthy hops with notes of wet grass. Floral notes and spicy herbal notes of pine resin. Citrus hop notes of orange peel, grapefruit, and lemon. Solid balancing presence of bready malts with notes of sweet caramel, biscuit, toasted bread, toffee, yeast, and a little roast. Sweet taste of brown sugar as well. A well balanced and good imperial red taste.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the fuller side of medium. Carbonation is moderate. Very chewy and oily. A little booze heat is felt but it still goes down fairly smooth.

Overall: A very solid imperial Red Ale. Big oily mix of earthy hops with a big sweet malt presence.

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a pint glass this beer was a hazy red/brown color with a medium-sized tan head. It had a fruity aroma, as well as some biscuit. Cherry/dark fruit taste, bread, and a bunch of hops. Nice balance, sweet up front and hops bitterness at the end. Great beer.

Photo of Beaver13
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle. Pours clear ruby amber with a huge fluffy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts with piney, fruity hops.

The flavor is sweet caramel malts and some fruit with a lot of piney hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, an amazing well balanced DIPA with sweet caramel malt, fruit and a ton of piney hops.

Photo of stevegerl
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A very interesting balance of malt and hop flavor. Usually, a beer has one or the other, but the Winter Yulesmith has both. Orange/Red/Brown color is interesting. Awesome mouthfeel. Hoppy and dry aftertaste. Spicy aroma.

I would recommend this beer to beer enthusiasts that have never drank it before. But if you're thinking about getting it for someone else, ask if they have already had it. You'd be better off spending your money on a Founder's six-pack, but it's worth a shot.

Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: one inch head, medium/high carbonation, hazy, amber in color

Smell: caramel and floral hops

Taste: floral hops and sweet caramel malt--some toffee on the finish-and alcohol

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium/light carbonation, nice mix of bitter and sweet

Drinkability: An above average amber where the alcohol hits hard. This is the first AleSmith offering that has not totally blown me away however. Not a bad beer, just one that I am not likely to pick up again.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending this bottle to me.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is strong orange and citrus with some caramel malts. The flavor is bitter orange peel with a nice caramel malt backbone. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of ehammond1
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2010)

Liquor Stop
San Marcos, CA

A deep orange and amber with a huge, growing, stiff, persistent off-white head. One of the larger heads I've seen on a beer. There's also large chunks of sediment floating throughout the beer.

Relatively sweet aroma with some piney hop elements as well. Brown sugar sweetness and caramel mixed with the pine make for an above average aroma.

A tasty, relatively bitter amber ale. Lots of pine flavors from the hops as well as some candied, burnt sugar sweetness. Pleasant.

Medium to thick mouthfeel. Feels right.

A tasty, somewhat bitter and piney amber ale. A wonderful holiday treat.

Photo of chinchill
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle of Yule Smith "Winter Holiday Ale", 8.5% ABV, believed to be 2012 vintage served in a pint glass.
Pours a deep, dark reddish brown color, clear, with a large, frothy, creamy and durable head.
Very hoppy aroma, with some pine. Hoppy flavor too, but with a load of rich malts nearly counterbalancing the hops bitterness and adding a rich, sweet roasted grain flavor.

M: Full bodied, with ample and soft carbonation.

O: this exceptional beer may be as good as Imperial Reds get.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split and poured into a tulip.

A: Pours an opaque ruby with a full 2 finger head. Can see a good amount of carbonation when you hold it up to the light. Head sticks around for quite a while and leaves a solid lacing.

S: Has a fruity hop aroma, loads of grapefruit and citrus. A sweet malt backing and a hint of booze.

T: Much maltier than I anticipated, but certainly not in a bad way. Hops balance it out nicely and linger in the aftertaste. Malts come through as a sweet and carmel

M: Fairly full bodied with ample carbonation. Isn't too sticky instead rather clean. Is certainly a warming brew.

Overall certainly a beer that would be great paired with a meal. Has the malt and body to combine with meats and cheeses but also a pleasant hop that makes it very drinkable.

Photo of Jeffreysan
2.75/5  rDev -32.8%

22 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, clear, golden amber color, speckled with red highlights and an eighth of a finger of off-white head that quickly dissolved into a lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very hoppy. In fact, the only aroma I’m getting is an intensely floral note of hops. I hope the flavor isn’t as hoppy.

Taste: Unfortunately the beer tastes very hoppy as well. Lots of hops up front, imparting quite a bit of, in my opinion, unpleasant bitterness. I get some faint notes of toasted malt, brown sugar-like sweetness, and some black pepper, but mainly I get hops and hoppy bitterness. Not my kind of beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with quite a bit of carbonation. With an ABV of 8.5%, there’s just a touch of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: I’m not a fan of this beer, really, as it is way too hoppy for me. The hoppy bitterness totally overpowers all of the other flavors of the beer. Sorry AleSmith, this beer is not for me. Hop heads should love it though!

Photo of caddybuyer
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Gabor of Penn Station for this rare (at least here on the East Coast) nugget.

A-Bright veiled cherry copper pour with an AMAZING dark eggshell head. You could shave with this head, rocky, creamy, clumpy, lacy...and the coloring is exceptional.

S-Huge c-hop and malt presence here. Sugar coated pink grapefruit and rich caramel malts.

T-Delicious slighly resinous grapefruit c-hops begin the palate, and are quickly balanced by the creamy toffee and caramel malt backbone. Clean dry, slightly astringent finish. This packs a powerful hop and malt punch, and is remarkably well balanced. 9.5% ABV? You would never know.

M-Smooth, creamy, and a bit slick in the finish. Well balanced carbonation. Utterly superb.

D-Hands down, the best beer I have been introduced to in the past 6 months. I'm not sure what an "Imperial Amber" is. I'd call this a fine DIPA with an extra push in the malt department, but it in no way kills the hop fix that it delivers in spades.

While there is nothing particularly "Yule-like" about this, it certainly is one exceptional beer. I wish this were more widely distributed on the East Coast and I am tempted to rate this with 5's across the board.

A truly outstanding brew...I can't wait to try the summer version.

Photo of McD0uche
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a beautiful crimson orange with coppery bubbles. Retention isn't pronounced, but lacing becomes apparent after a couples minutes. A nice looking beer. Festive.

S: Initial whiff reveals hops and a vague sweetness (licorice?). Curiosity sets in.

T: Smoky malts and toffee. Hops are there too. And wait, there it is! Black licorice! Heavy black licorice aftertaste. Crazy. That's a first for me.

M: Light-bodied, which is unexpected for something with flavor this powerful. Carbonation seems a tad too high. Finishes bitter and crisp.

O: Pretty good. A nice little holiday piece. I normally don't like black licorice, but it worked well in this beer. Recommended.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes 2/25/11.

A: This beer is a ruby/brown color with a one finger white head that slowly reduces to a layer of very fine bubbles on top. Average lacing down the sides.

S: Has a lot of caramel and toffee, some citrus, and some spice - mostly cinnamon.

T: The malts dominated the flavor for me. Lots of caramel and toffee flavor. There was a little bit of floral citrus, but mostly malt here. There was a breadiness at the end. The spices from the aroma did not return however.

M/D: Medium bodied with a slightly thicker mouthfeel. No alcohol presence, but left my mouth slightly dry. A solid beer, I do like Summer better, but thats probably because I prefer hoppy beers.

Photo of tastybeer
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown with a reddish hue to it. A woody kind of color with a very pleasing looking soapy foam tan head and clingy sheety lace. Aroma is just the right amount of sweet; Caramel encrusted graham crackers, cinnamon and nutmeg. Festive aromas for sure... Flavor is a bit more serious than the smell. By that I mean its more direct. Sweet and spicy but also assertive. The high ABV is not completely hidden and reminds you that you are in fact celebrating the holidays. There's a nice fresh pile of malt under the hops and seasonings but this beer doesn't take on a heavy character at all. It's apparently strong but light and swirly in flavors. Flavors include grapefruit pulp, coniferous vegetation, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey graham crackers, and perhaps a dusting of molasses. Very pleasant drinkins... Mouthfeel is soft around the edges...smooth, finely carbonated, easy and delightful to consume.

Photo of Stigs
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*copied/pasted this review form last winter, wrong beer*

22oz served in a red wine glass

A - about two fingers of tight and dense light khaki foam on top of a dark burnt amber. one of those lovely looking meringue consistencies. laces nicely the whole way down, looks a bit "festive"

S - strong nose of piney hops offset nicely by some doughy and caramel malts. not flashy, but spot on balance.

T - hop attack for a split second then the massive amount of malts kick in before the bitterness can really take hold. pretty straightforward as it tastes exactly like an East-Coast DIPA.

M - again, body like an Eastern DIPA. thick and syrupy but with ample carbonation. flavors stick around for a long, long time without developing further.

D - not really a holiday beer, except maybe a gift for the east from the west. almost a spot on clone of some of the higher ranked eastern DIPA's. good overall, not great.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-25-2009 04:17:29

Photo of Metalmonk
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep burnt red/rust color, not much head but, curiously, a healthy gathering of lace strings and dots form with each little tilt of the glass.

Sherry, glazed donut, red licorice, caramel, herbal tea and tobacco in the nose. Interesting.

Similar to the aroma on the tongue. Start to take on a barleywine-ish quality, with tobacco, pine, grapefruit, red licorice, caramel, vanilla and sherry notes all nestling up cozily together. A nice resiny hoppiness lays on the tongue during the long finish, which will please hop lovers and all but disgust non-hopheads.

While the hoped-for amount of roundness and heft is present on the tongue, it has a kind of watery character that would be improved with a more present carbonation. I'm usually wanting less carbonation in my beers, but this one leaves me wanting a little more. Not disappointing, however.

Somewhere between double IPA, barleywine and American strong ale. I remember liking the summer version much more, but this is pretty special too.

Photo of augustgarage
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Body is an interesting gradient, ranging from Persian Red on the bright end to a rich sangria on the darker side. Relatively clear, though this is bottle conditioned and unfiltered, and I'll sacrifice a bit of clarity for flavor any day. Small buff head that remains floating with decent retention. Billowing columns of lacing look like trees frozen in a tempest. Faint legs.

Caramel-tinged hops, with tons of citrus in the nose. Blood orange, a bit of grapefruit, a few drops of lemon converge with mountain air backdrop. Light specialty malt as well.

Tart bready entry with elements of citrus again intermingling with a slight grain flavor. Hearty almost savory bitterness as the hops assert themselves mid-palate, though a brown-sugar like malt note fights back for balance. Pine and mint into the finish which is dry and faintly suggestive of evergreen and maybe cocoa.

Creamy, smooth, not quite medium-bodied mouthfeel. A bit prickly from the hops and alcohol.

Straight-forward, tasty amber ale, which works well as a Winter Warmer. I'll return to this later as I've still got an '08 that may have some interesting changes in the bottle over 2 years...

Photo of zaphodchak
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy tan head, about one finger. Reddish brown body.

Nose is sticky hop-malt coalescence, basically an American Barleywine.

Taste follows the nose, the finish is grassy, piney (resiny?) hops. Large amount of malt to balance, but ultimately this is hoppy. Not too rough, but not exactly balanced.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard.

Decent beer, but it drinks like an American Barleywine, not an amber/red.

Photo of dirtylou
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber

appearance: festive silk-screen label, poured in a hilliards can-pint, dense ruby body, thick sticky foam with great retention

smell: pungent - sticky pine resin, gooey caramel, malt

taste: oh my - nice punch of tropical fruit, festive pine resin, thick caramel malt structure, sugar-glazed ruby red. I like this a lot - no surprise, though. Alesmith is solid stuff.

mouthfeel: light biterness, nice coating mouthfeel

overall: very nice winter seasonal

Photo of telecomz
3.45/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Murky orange-to-copper. Tan head that settles quickly.

S: Non-citrus fruit is the top note followed by underlying grapefruit and pineapple hops as secondary aromas. I want, but don't sense, the malt-caramel-toffee that others have cited. There are underlying hints of rye and pine.

T: Hops predominate. Some pine but citrus is king here. The non-citrus notes provide an excellent sweetness. While there is some sweetness, the beer finishes dry.

M: Smooth.

D: Balanced and easy to drink.

Photo of prototypic
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2006 release (reviewed long ago)

Appearance: Very nice copper-bronze color. Two finger head that stuck around for a while. Left a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Hops, hops hops. Hints of vanilla, orange, pineapple (?), and pine. Very nice citrusy smell.

Taste: Hops dominate in this one. But, they are buttressed by the hints of citrus and vanilla. The hops are great, but they don't overwhelm. Extremely delicious brew.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: This one goes down so smooth. I've just polished off a bomber and feel that I could go for another. This is an outstanding winter release. One of the best easily. You won't be disappointed. Very strong offering from Alesmith.

Photo of MrKennedy
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ADZA for this bottle in a trade. Bomber poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip.

Has a brown-amber appearance with the odd bit of red shining through. Hazy, muddy, but the head is creamy and enticing and laces ok.

Smell is of fruity citrus and piney hops, some caramel as well. Plenty there, especially for a beer that i'm guessing is heading towards 12 months old.

Taste has plenty of hops in the mix, lots of citrus that blends in well with the solid malt backbone in this one. Some caramel as well comes through to work well with the hop flavour.

Mouthfeel is creamy to start with and then the hops take over adding bitterness with increasing levels as you swallow. The high ABV is very well hidden while sipping though mid-way through you get a bit of a buzz and realise that this is no low-ABV beer.

Nice amber ale, plenty of hops, that's for sure. Easy to drink, consistent and no scrimping on ingredients.

Photo of loving44
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I missed out on the summer version of Yulesmith due to some procrastination on my part, so I was happy to see the winter version hitting the shelves. This beer is so good...

A: deep amber red, like Eucalyptus sap with dense off-white head.

S: Rich bready malts, tangerine, grapefruit, cherry, watermelon rind.

T: Great grain profile, rich malts with a tough of tangy sourdough, lots of hops citrus, with a very slight powdered aspirin and alcohol bitterness in the finish.

M: A lot like a cask-conditioned ale, fine carbonation, lush thickness that's not oily. The mouthfeel on Alesmith beers sets them apart from so many other breweries, this one is perfect.

Just a great beer. I thought I liked the summer version better, but this is certainly giving it a run for it's money. The beefier malt presence makes this the perfect beer for cold winter nights.

Get it while you can!

Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to Nick3 !

pour is deep ruby copper, almost cola. light fluffy creamy head

huge floral and fruity scents. lots of tangerine, pineapple, red grapefruit, and light pine.

big bready malts really hold this down. hops are more bitter with a strong pine resin presence. pine dominates. a little bit of booze pops up here and there. a dry malty finish with a sweet tangerine flavor.

thick as hell, very chewy

i have had this the past couple of years and i have to say i like this years the least. too much malt and i miss the more citrus and floral hop flavors with lights malts. the booze really comes out of this.

Photo of nickd717
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review dated 12/19/2008. Bottle at Hop Devil Grill in NYC, then later from K&L Redwood City.

Really solid winter beer. They did not spare any hops on this one. Amber/red color with medium carbonation. Nice aroma of big citrusy hops, maybe some pineapple notes, with caramel malt and maybe some spice. Complex flavor profile with spices, citrus and pine, spices, sweet malt, and bitter hops. Fairly full palate. Excellent.

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YuleSmith (Winter) from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 756 ratings.