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YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

306 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 306
Hads: 760
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 79
Gots: 69 | FT: 0
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 306 | Hads: 760
Photo of Ek0nomik
1.73/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured In: Snifter
Attained through a trade (Thanks Nick!)

Appearance: Another non careful pour is invoked to stir up a few fingers of head. The beer pours a dark copper and amber color with two fingers of head. A few swirls in the snifter doesn't produce very much lace. Just a streak or two that trickles its way back into the beer. When held up to the light there is very little effervescence making me think that I'll enjoy the mouthfeel quite a bit. The beer really is a beautiful color.

Smell: The nose isn't as pleasant as I was hoping. Some alcohol is shining through on top of some sweet dark candy malt. The malt smells like caramel and toffee, all with a slightly toasted aroma to it. There is a little bit of hop aroma coming through, I think it's a mixture of citrus and pine, but the hop aroma isn't complimenting the sweet malts and alcohol at all. In fact, it's rather unpleasant.

Taste: The flavor isn't that much better than the nose. The palate first picks up sweet candy like malt including caramel and toffee. The malt flavor disappears and is followed up by some warming alcohol, diacetyl buttery flavoring, and then a little bit of herbal hops. I see a lot of people mentioning how hoppy this is in their review. They must have gotten the Summer version. The Winter version is not a hop bomb by any means. It doesn't have to be a hop bomb to be enjoyable, although it is what I was expecting going in. The palate just isn't pleasant on this at all. The malts that were used on this just didn't agree with me. I think dark malts and hops can play nicely together. I absolutely loved Southern Tier's Iniquity Ale. But, sadly, this was a drain pour.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It's a medium to full bodied beer with a nice level of carbonation right off the bat. There is a nice coating of oils on my teeth after each sip.

Drinkability: I wish I had liked this one more. It's really not agreeing with my palate nor my stomach. Perhaps I'd like the Summer version better. The diacetyl and alcohol that shines through just ruined this one for me.

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Photo of AwYeh
1.85/5  rDev -54.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish brown, looks like apple cider with touches of brown sugar and maple syrup. Very little head even after an aggressive pour and lots of swirling in the glass; no lacing.

S: Caramel malts, lots of butterscotch, heavy alcohol presence. Pine hops only make a brief cameo here.

T: Not particularly enjoyable, the taste of this beer is primarily composed of two elements: alcohol and butter/diacetyl. There are bits of sweetness early on, and a mild hop bitterness in the finish, but not nearly enough of either to balance the alcohol/butter flavors.

M: Thin-medium body, somewhat smooth; very light carbonation, almost flat.

D: Not an enjoyable drink; don't know what I'm going to do with the second half of my bomber and I did not enjoy the glass I had.

I'm wondering if this bottle had something wrong with it, but seeing as how it recently showed up on my beer store's shelves I can only assume it was produced for this Christmas season. I am drinking it about a month after Christmas... but that doesn't seem long enough for this beer to go so bad. I did send one of these out as a trade extra a bit recently, before I actually gave it a try... hope he was able to enjoy it more than I did.

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Photo of veinless
2.38/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a deep garnet with great translucence and and one -finger head that laced decently and retained not that well. Very fine bubbling.

Smells tropical, with mango and jackfruit coming out pleasantly with lots of caramel malt.

Taste, however, is totally unbalanced, with WAY too much sugary malt for the fruit. Perhaps my bottle is too old, or I'm not having this fresh, or whatever, but this is sickly sweet. The little bitterness that exists is dominated by the sticky malt and is killed off quickly. I've had fresh mangos in India, and for such a stereotypically sweet fruit, the best ones have a bit of tartness to go with it. This beer bring the sweetness but, sadly, doesn't bring the tart counter to balance it out. Pineapple is also evident, but I wish it was way more sour than it turns out to be.

Mouthfeel is fine, as it isn't too thin and is full-bodied enough to bring out all the flavors involved. Carbonation is well done too, not too strong and not too weak. Drinkability is directly linked to taste in a lot of cases, and here it suffers due to the lack of balance. The abv of 8.5% is masked well, but there is no denying the fact this beer is tough to down sip after sip.

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Photo of MrDanno96
2.63/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a cloudy amber color with about a finger of off-white head. Moderate amounts of sticky lace.

S: Very sweet malt and some citrus and pine hop aroma. A little holiday spiciness.

T: Dominated by cloying sweetness and strong spiciness: cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Strong sweet caramel, some butteriness, and decently strong alcohol. Not very enjoyable, I wonder if this bottle is starting to go bad.

M: Fairly full bodied, sticky, and cloying with some alcohol heat.

D: Sadly, this was not enjoyable at all. It was way to0 sweet and the alcohol flavor was too strong. The spicy butter flavors in the taste make me wonder if this bottle has started going bad. As it stands now, however, I did not like this beer at all.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
2.75/5  rDev -32.9%

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!

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Photo of Franz4
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- poured into a glass looking a light like fresh apple cider, bubbly head with not a lot of retention, an appropriate amount of yeast clouds the glass.

S- some pine comes through in the smell, but other than that seemed pretty non-descript.

T- followed with the pine, but also had a fresh cidery note to it.

M- heavy residual carbonation and a distinct lingering aftertaste.

D- I was hoping for more from this as I really enjoy the summer version. I'll probably pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 22 oz bottle (winter version) into a rochefort chalice.

The beer pours medium brown with a very light tan head that has no head, retention or lacing.

The aroma is very hoppy with a muted maltiness.

The taste is very interesting, but not sure if that's a good thing. There is lots of hoppiness here but there is something else to, that just brings a weirdness to the beer.

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Winter version. Draught at the Red. Dark amber-red with not much of a head. Aroma of pure butterscotch and a bit of caramel. The flavor is very butterscotch dominated with a some green, oily hops and modest bitterness. Pretty sweet and malty. This just tastes weird, like a couple shots of butterscotch liqueur got dumped in my imperial red. The hops struglge over the sweet, candied body. Quite a let down. I've got a bottle that I'm going to save for new years; hoping that its different than this odd tasting keg.
(2.9) Rerate: 22oz bottle. Better beige head over a rich dark red body. the butterscotch is gone, but this is still too sweet and alcoholic; the hops are there, but they just get clobbered by all the sugar and alcohol. I'll bump it up a bit, but I still feel that this is way overrated.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this last summer, but now there is a different spot for the winter one.

Big head, reddish amber glow, orange highlights. Like Rudolph doing lines of oxyclean off santas suit.

Sweet dark malt smell, hops, caramel, smells like a barleywine.

Sweet burnt sugars, caramel, spicey, hoppy. Alcohol noticeable. Like deglazing a pan with mulled brown sugar hoppy cider.

Mouthfeel is almost chewy, like a christmas fruitcake. Bitter hops.

Did I mention alcohol present?

After having Stone 13 and looking back at this beer, imperial red's are a tough style to get right.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fluid ounce brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into De Molen stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a two finger head of fair cream, great thickness, and great retention - especially for the high ABV. The colour is a dark amber; semitransparent.

Sm: Light toasted malt, good cream and pleasant well-handled hops. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Toasted malt meets with well-handled hops for a very pleasant effect. The mild cream helps tame the bitterness of the hops whilst retaining the flavour. I dig the simple but supportive toasted malt foundation. It's not horribly complex, but I dig it. Very well balanced. All around a pleasant and flavourful beer.

Mf: Caramel-smooth, wet, and just the right thickness. Well handled and suitable for the flavour.

Dr: Drinkable for the high ABV, though alcohol does unfortunately come through. I'd like to try it on draught. It does lack a clear focus, but I enjoy drinking it.

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Photo of MikeRa
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz Bomber to a Pint Glass
Winter 2010 Variety

A: This ale has a cloudy browish color with a 1" head and laces the glass

S: This ale has Grapefruit hops with citrus and grass notes, caramel malts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a light clove/pepper note to it

T: This ale has nice caramel and citrus taste, with a hint of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to it. This ale also leaves an aftertaste of spice to it.

M: This ale goes down smooth

D: This is a nice ale that I would drink again, only if they would release a 2011 summer version.

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Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

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Photo of claspada
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aromas of a lot of pine coupled with a lighter citrus; adequate amount of toasted malts and caramels emerge as this warms. Think Pacific coast hopped amber.
The taste is intially caramel malt but quickly takes a side-step to the extreme bitterness. Resinous pine and citrus hops attack and coat the tastebuds and linger. Creates that typical west coast sticky coating in your mouth which I despise but numerous others love.
This brew is medium to full bodied with not enough carbonation for my liking; slightly syrupy to be honest but I guess it's escusable considering the ABV here. Leaves a bit of a dry finish at the end.
Overall, a decent Imperial amber ale. It's very enjoyable, but not particularly memorable. Worth a try or the price tag, eh, probably not considering how forgettable it is. The Summer YuleSmith is exponentially better if you ask me.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes, 11/27/10. 22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pretty brown. Lots of yeast suspended. Not a very atractive beer. Small tannish head, that receeded quickly and left little lace.

A: Very hop forward, as expected. Good notes of citrus and pine with a hefty malt backbone.

T: Hops and alcohol here. I get some spicy notes along with the high hop content. Sweet and malty. Almost tastes like a barleywine. Finishes hot.

M: Medium body, but rather slick.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is low. Overall, this is too sweet and the alcohol is overpowering. Combine this with how bad the beer looks, and I will not be seeking again. Skal.

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Photo of telecomz
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.46/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received in a recent trade... This has been a Want for a while now and I'm finally getting around to trying it...

I noticed quite a bit of suspended yeast in the bottle when I unpacked this so I let it settle for several days before cracking it.. Careful with the pour and... Damn...

I'm not quite sure that I've ever seen as much yeast in a beer nefore... This is the 2010 version so I know its pretty fresh.. Murky reddish brew topped by a nice ample head but the amount of yeast here detracts from the appearance for sure... A bit doesn't bother me too bad but even with a very careful pour, this is loaded...

Sweet caramel raisin-like maltiness battles an earthy pine hop note for dominance with neither one asserting itself... There's more of a rum soaked raisin aspect to this than I was expecting for sure... Brings to mind an aged barleywine...

The sweet malts dominate the flavors of this beer with the hop notes riding along on the coat tails of raisins and plums and a sweet characteristic reminiscent of a several year old barleywine... It just doesn't feel like a fresh red ale although I know it is... A sipper for sure as the booze is fairly evident on the finish and feels hotter than the ABV would indicate...

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try this beer but I'm not sure I'll trade for it again... Unremarkable brew from an otherwise outstanding brewery...

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.47/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Time for an interesting review. I originally bought my first Winter YuleSmith in 08, but then I forgot about it. Then I decided I didn't want to drink an old bottle by itself, so I figured I'd trade for an 09 when it came out and drink the fresh next to the year old vintage. I did make that trade, but then I left the 09 in the cellar for too long as well. Rinse and repeat, I traded for a 10 and now I'm drinking a three year vertical of a beer that should be consumed fresh (or so they say).

To be fair, the review scores will be from the most recent vintage.

10 poured into a snifter, 09 and 08 poured into pint glasses.


3.5 A: Hazed amber brown color. Two fingers of thick creamy beige head with average retention and lots of lacing. Also lots of suspended yeasties throughout.

4.0 S: Definitely digging this aroma. Great mixture of hops, malts, and yeast. Lots of citrusy hops with emphasis on orange and pineapple. Grapefruit and pine are secondary. Malts offer a pleasant portion of caramel and toffee. There's enough residual sweetness to give an almost barleywine-esque vibe. Good amount of yeastiness that is not overly bready.

3.0 T: Like the nose, the three components are all evident, but they don't mesh well in the taste. The hops are once again citrusy with orange and grapefruit strongest. Pineapple, pine, and a touch of spiciness are secondary. Toffee is the strongest malt component with caramel next. The malts are a bit too sweet for the hops to be enjoyable, but not strong enough to give a good barleywine vibe. Bitterness is comparably low. Yeastiness is pretty good though.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess and slightly chewy due to the yeast.

3.5 D: Not bad, but this beer is right in the middle of a hoppy dry DIPA and a BW sweet DIPA. This needs to pick a side.


4.0 A: Pretty much the same as the 2010, but has a bit better retention and a decent amount more lacing.

4.0 S: Borderline 4.5. Time has done this beer well. The hops have subsided, but not completely. This now smells like a pretty damn good barleywine. Lots of prune, candied plum, and date fruitiness. Strong toffee and caramel maltiness. Hops are citrusy and focus on the orange aroma.

3.5 T: Tastes like a weak barleywine as opposed to a DIPA. The flavors are less muddled than the fresh version. Prune and date fruitiness with again lots of toffee and caramel. Orange citrusy hops and a bit of grapefruit. Not bad and definitely better than fresh. Good amount of yeastiness, but not too much.

4.0 M: Pretty much the same here.

3.5 D: Better than fresh. More barleywine than DIPA at this point.


4.5 A: The best of the bunch. This had way more carbonation than the other two. The yeast must have had a good time over those two years. Anyway, same general color and appearance, but the head has by far the best retention and TONS of lacing.

4.5 S: Straight up barleywine now. Lots of date here with some candied plum secondary. Toffee is stronger than caramel, but the fruitiness is way stronger than both. Hops are even more subdued, but still contribute a decent amount of orange and pineapple.

3.5 T: Tastes a lot like the 09, but more mellow.

4.0 M: Same again, which I think is the result of getting to this one last (all poured at same time) allowing the carbonation to dissipate.

4.0 D: Like the 09, but a bit more drinkable due to the mellowing out.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and some herbal and dank hop aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and medium hop 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 strong and quite dank.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Winter 2011 vintage. The first year of force carbonation. Snifter.

A: Dark crimson with two fingers of beige sea foam. Very good retention and lots of lacing.

S: The aroma is a even blend of pine resin and caramel malt. There's a bit of bread in there as well. There's some earth and a touch of grapefruit.

T: Bread blends with caramel and there's a low sweetness. Citrus is more noticeable here than it was in the aroma, imparting notes of candied grapefruit and some orange, but pine is still the dominant hop note. Bitterness is at a moderate level. Alcohol is slightly detectable in the resinous finish.

M: Medium in body with upper moderate carbonation.

Overall: A solid hoppy Red Ale from Alesmith, though at $9 a bottle I don't think I'll revisit this format.

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Photo of BB1313
3.61/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage. There was a bottled on date clearly on the bottle, but it smeared off. 22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a clear copper with a slight haze; fluffy off-white head that fades and leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of sweet caramel malts. There are hints of pine along with grapefruit and some orange. There's a nice amount of citrus. The flavors are sharp and crisp. It has a strong malt backbone, but the hops still shine. It's slightly resinous with a nice amount of pine. More citrus. It's bitter, but not over the top. Mouthfeel is full-bodied. It's slightly slick, but smooth with active carbonation. Alcohol goes unnoticed. It's easy drinking, but makes a nice beer to just chill with.

This is a pretty solid offering from AleSmith. It's not too flashy and it's pretty traditional for a hopped up red ale. It's fitting for the cold weather. It was nice to revisit this one.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark amber to brown with little visible carbonation and a finger tall tan head. There is good head retention in this beer and decent amounts of lacing.

S: The aroma of this beer includes hints of pepper, piney hops, citrus hops, and sweet malts.

T: The flavors are much more in the piney hops and citrus hops up front followed by a nice maltiness. There is some bitterness but it is not overpowering.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation and a little dry on the finish.

O: A nice beer on a cold day but not something that I would put in my regular rotation of favorites. Pleasant but not fantastic...

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Photo of boralyl
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - I gave it a pretty vigorous pour and got a quarter inch of tan head that settles pretty quickly. The little bit of head that was produced leaves behind some nice lacing. The beer has a murky deep amber appearance.

S - The nose has a nice assortment of sweet malts with a spicy hop bite. Caramel sticks out the most among the malts.

M - Medium in body. It feels a little under-carbonated. Hop resin oils are detectable.

T - The malts hit first with caramel and butterscotch. The malty flavors quickly intertwine themselves with citrusy and piny hops that leaves a medium bitterness in the finish.

While it didn't knock my socks off like the Summer version, it's still a decent beer. The citrus/pine hops flavor paired with the malts produces a nice winter brew. I probably won't seek it out again, but I'm glad I got to try it.

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Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Not a big fan of reds so I'm trying not to be biased. Bottle date was a while back and the hops I'm sure have faded quite a bit. Nice body but just too sweet.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into cervoise

This beer pours a beautiful dark brown giving way to lighter brown edging. A yellowish to off white head is present. This beer smells very sweet, like candy. I don't get that much bitterness but lots of malt. It tastes about the same. Very sweet malt, lots of caramel and some sugared dates. Not sure what the end design was but I expected more hoppiness. It is ok just very malty and sticky mouthfeel. I would have this one again, just not my favourite.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle sampled in late 2011. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a deep, somewhat murky red brown amber. Thin off-white head leaves a little lacing. Aroma is herbal hops, caramel malt, some citrus. Flavor follows, with citrus and piney hops, sweet and caramel malt. Alcohol is quite noticeable. The hops are somewhat muted, perhaps because this is six month old bottle. Medium to heavy bodied and creamy. Nicely made, but the hops seem tired and aged. Worth checking a newer bottle.

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YuleSmith (Winter) from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.