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YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

306 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 306
Hads: 757
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.73%
Wants: 80
Gots: 68 | 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: 757
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (491 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear yellow in color with some hints of amber. It poured with a finger high head that settled down rather quickly leaving lacy patterns of bubbles. There are no visible signs of carbonation.
S: There are moderate aromas of caramel malts and piney hops in the nose.
T: The initial taste is rather malty and has some notes of caramel and hints of sweetness, while the finish has a mild amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and oily on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of warming sensations from the alcohol.
D: This beer isn't difficult to drink, but it definitely needs to be sipped given the alcohol content and amount of bitterness. (712 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 version thanks to Overlord. Curious to see how this holds up and will make sure to update with the 2010 version as soon as it's released.

Pours a darkened red color with a bit of rust in there. Initial hard pour into a tulip brings up a two-finger light tan head. The foam begins to separate out into large bubbles and is a bit spotty with lacing around the sides of the glass.

Nose brings forward some really nice notes of caramel and spice along with a bit of brown sugar. A pretty good amount of piney hops make their way through as well. This is definitely still fairly hoppy, and reminds me a bit of an American barleywine. Nose also brings some darkened, candied sugar as well as a bit of toffee.

First sip is not a letdown. Resinous pine hits fairly hard right off the bat. Very nice notes of toffee and caramel come through with a bit of spicing. Slight alcohol warmth really rounds out the taste. The whole thing reminds me of a nice fruit cake. A bit of dark cherries make their way in as well. Brown sugar, too.

Feel is a bit creamy with a bit of booze. Medium body and a fair amount of carbonation. Slightly dry and bitter in the finish. Warming throughout. A nice sweetness after the swallow, yet my cheeks remain a bit dry. Really nice and complex, and definitely a surprise that it's this good with a fair amount of age. I'm really looking forward to trying this one fresh, although if it were released just like this, I'd be a happy man and it would sit side by side with Anchor Christmas as an annual winter release that I look forward to.

Amyliz4 adds in that it tastes a little bit like chocolate and a nice barleywine--"it's fantastic." (1,668 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a bold winter beer, possibly my favorite of the season so far. pours rich red in color, and appears to be an irish red all the way. huge lacey tan head and a nose of clove and nutmeg, dry red malt, alcohol, and a majorly aggressive hopping. i taste hops first, and i taste hops last. this might as well be a red ipa rather than a holiday beer, because to me this is very very hoppy for a christmas brew, which i appreciate greatly. the spice doesnt come in until the end, and is relaxed compared to so many winter warmers and the like. the spice also seems to be tamed by the addition of something a little sweet, vanilla, brown sugar, maybe some belgian candy sugar in small dose. it really rounds out the beer nicely, and are nice materials over the red malt foundation. theres a nice full body, enough bubbles, and a warming alcohol sting. a nice bomber to share, or to drink alone on a cold winters night. i enjoyed this as much as any winter seasonal this year. (966 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a really nice looking clear red color with a white fizzy head on top. The retention wasn't too bad and neither was the lacing. T found the aroma of this beer to be really nicely hopped and has no elements of being a winter ale at all. The taste of this brew was a little bit like a Nugget Nectar in my opinion. The mouthfeel was well carbonated and had a light oily feel to it. Overall this brew was good but I like the Summer version much more. (469 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Release '05 (3/24/06)
A tremendously large IPA with great balance and done with a holiday twist. Typical of big IPA's with very bold hop character, balanced with a healthy dosage of malt. Atypical of IPA's in it's cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and alspice flavors. It remains pine-ey and spruce-ey while showing complex fruitiness of grapefruit and oranges. Malts offer a creamy, viscous round sweetness while spiced heavily with American hops and fruitcake. Bready and yeasty despite such boldness. A very good beer to compliment the holiday season...even if the holiday season ended 3 months ago. (594 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on: 10/04/13

Served in a tumbler glass, quick review from written notes.
Thanks to Joe for sharing!

Bright reddish copper, creamy textured surface foam that dissipates slowly to a patchy surface skim. Densely layered drippy lace around the edges of the glass.

Sticky rich malt aroma with light hoppy traces of orange marmalade.

Malty sweetness up front, some light spiciness adds complexity, bitter citrus notes of marmalade again. Dry earthy finish, toasty malt, pine resin, full bodied and sticky on the lips, low to medium carbonation level. Overall this more of an imperial red ale verging on Double IPA territory. Definitely best fresh to get the hop complexity.

Review #3400 (695 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeasty orange-bronze with a beautiful roseate glow when backlit. AleSmith YuleSmith is a gorgeous tropical sunset of a beer. The orangish, pale caramel crown is thick, creamy and sticky in consistency. Amazingly intricate, filagreed lace decorates the glass like frost on a Christmas morning windowpane. Outstanding!

The aroma is superb. A supernova-like hop explosion greets even a passing sniff. Deeper inhales threaten to blow the top off my head with twin cannons named 'Mr. Hop' and 'Mr. Malt'. There's a perfect melding of caramel and candied grapefruit peel, with a modicum of passionfruit for good measure. These guys are more than alesmiths, they're alemagicians.

YuleSmith is bliss in a glass. To approximate the flavor, melt a hug slab of caramel... The rich, sweet, caramel-toffee backbone is mastadon-sized, with big, meaty ribs. Without all that malt running interference, this sucker would be a tongue-shredding hop bomb of the highest order. Each side of the malt-hop dyad continually ups the ante throughout each mouthful.

This AleSmith ale is the quintessential balanced DIPA. That is, malt is given at least as much attention and respect as hops. Only my undying love for unbalanced hop bombs keeps the flavor score from perfection. Each sip delivers a mouthfilling, controlled explosion of sweet, sticky, hop-flecked, syrupy, fruity, bitter, caramel-drizzled pleasure. How in the world can four simple ingredients result in such an amazing elixir?

I don't know if there are any adjectives left to describe what this beer feels like in the mouth. How about full, chewy, syrupy, sticky, velvety... perfect. Any less wouldn't be enough and any more would be too much. I hate to use the word 'sensuous', but it fits.

I respect those who adore subtlety. I respect those who appreciate the nuances that different strains of yeast can provide. I respect those who like funk and those who like complexity. I'm with them on all counts. But if I can open only one present on Christmas morning, make mine a YuleSmith.

Originally reviewed on 9-11-2007. (2,066 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was very big. Lots of dark orange colors swirling about and a good sized head of white reaching up and over the top to around two inches before settling back down again. Really nice layered look to the sides of the glass as it was thoroughly coated all the way down, really good retention here I have to say. Lots of malt in the nose right off. Caramel, sweet notes mixing with a very big hop note, especially as it warms. Piney with a sweet orange rind like citrus touch as it comes close to room temperature. Very thick feel, sticky and full with nice carbonation, definite enough to get it done. Initially you get the piney hop bite as you take the first sip, but it became very well balanced mid palate as the rich, almost scotch ale like buttery notes start to come through and really give it quite a smooth flavor. A bit hot still and a definite big one, it hurts the session ability of it a touch, and by the end you are really pushing it with this one. (969 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A great copper color with a fluffy white head.

S: Piney hops (lots of them), and caramel malt sweetness.

T: Just like you expect from the nose: tons of piney, hoppy bitterness on the front with a great sweetness from the malt on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Very nicely done beer from AleSmith, and one of the better winter ales. (366 characters)

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. This is a 2010 bottle I received as an extra. I'll review it fresh when I get another bottle, but I enjoyed it and wanted to keep track of my thoughts.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger and a half of thick off white head. There is some good retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Just a bit sweet from the malt with some mild fruity notes. There is a citrus hop smell along with some spice as well.

Taste: Good malt and hop balance. Some bready malt and some fruity notes along with what tastes like some rye spice. There are some citrus hops along with the malt. The finish is a bit spicy with some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: This one was chalked full of spice. Definitely a beer that I'll search out in the future. (849 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Several samples of this on cask, via hand pump, from the brewery on 11/14/09.

Pours a fairly clear amber (a good bit of suspended hop oils give this a bit of a lava lamp look), with a finger of frothy off-white/light tan head. Rich and soapy looking retention leaves some heavy foamy lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is strong with floral, piney, and spicy West Coast hops, with an equally hefty backing of caramel, doughy bready, and an assortment of spices. Man, this just has a vibrant smelling festive quality to it. Much like a hoppy Christmas cookie.

The cask smoothes the initial hop bite of this out considerably, allowing that silky sweet sticky tang of the malts to really shine. Those aggressive hops from the aroma strike back in the backend of this however, with resins popping off the tip of the tongue before drying spice lies down thickly on the rest of it. I love the balance between the malts and hops here on cask, so smooth overall, but this stills pops in the mouth with a zesty punch. The mouthfeel is medium bodied overall, with just an outrageously easy and creamy feel to it for an almost 10% beer. Seriously, no trace of alcohol here whatsover thanks to that great balance of bold flavors and ease from the cask. Fantastic feel here.

This beer is one of my holiday favs and to be able to try this on cask was a real treat. While the cask serving did take away some of the aggressiveness of the hops that I like so much and seemed to lessen a bit of the spicy content to an extent (I seem to remember more mint in the bottled version), it more than make up for this with a smooth body and its overall flavors. This is just a great beer no matter how it is served. (1,707 characters)

Photo of mactrail
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely and unusual color, a dark coppery amber in the small snifter. Lots of suds, and the foam lasts well on subsequent pours. Very fragrant of hops and toffee, wine and flowers.

Rich without being overly sweet. Full bodied but refreshing. A tart and woody flavor cuts the sugary taste. A nice mouthful of hops without excess bitterness. Nutty and full of caramel. Tremendous warm, malty flavor. Some hop bitterness and a touch of burnt barley.

I'd call it an American Strong Ale. It has more Barleywine flavors, and it's too good to be any kind of a Red Ale. A classic Christmas beer, whatever the style. From the 22 oz bottle. (631 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was pleased to be able to pick up a bottle of this at Julio's - shared with tenderbranson69, poured chilled into a tulip - the winter version

A - A thick 2 finger light beige cap w/ rocky topography and slightly hazed ruby color w/ rings of lace clinging to glass -sized of the bead is miniscule

S - the smell has an ester reminiscent of cherry and red currant w/ some wood, pepper and light bitter citrus like ruby red grapefruit. There is a subtle alcohol ester in the nose and mild vinous quality w/ bits of sweet grass and light pine

M - The feel while it has slight warmth is very juicy w/ sweetness in the moderate range and light caramel accent on the middl w/ mild acidity and toast components w/a warming spiced dry finish

T - The taste has slight caramel as well as woody/piney hop and bitter rind notes w/ brown sugar tinges and light pepper w/ a gentle berry and red currant as indicated by the aroma previously. The fruitiness comes across as unripened plum in places w/ tartness and mellow orange aspect w/ alcohol flavor emerging somewhere near cellar temps. The flavor of red grapefruit slightly gives way to a maltier and mild peppery toasted note w/ spiced edge and mild tropical flavor. There is almost a passionfruit like sweet and again juicy quality as it ends w/ a dry finish - the gentle caramel malt taste lasts into the final sips

D - A really good Imperial Red and I was very glad to try this again, but a bit high in abv to drink alone - it is for sharing you know the winter, holidaze and all. I found it to have wonderful hop flavor and mild spice even though it was almost 2 months old at the point of sampling, I can only imagine how it would be on draft - A very good beer from a World Class Brewery! (1,740 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.28/5  rDev -20.2%
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. (990 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large, slowly settling head. Very lumpy. Deep amber color and very clear. Chunky lace on the glass.

Interesting blend of crystal malt and bittering hops to the nose. I note a touch of sweet chocolate in the background.

Strong malt flavor upfront--lots of crystal. Is there such a thing as semi-sweet caramel? That's what the initial taste is to me: little sweetness, but still some buttery flavors. The swallow features the hop, lightly bitter. There is a unique balance of caramel and pepper in the aftertaste. The body is rich and slightly oily from the high alcohol content. (579 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2008 version. Reviewed December 8th, 2008. Got both Yules in a trade from Fumner. Served in a pint glass.

A - Murky amber color with ample and creamy tan-brown head. Lacing pattern is terrific, lots of nice swirls.

S - Sweet malt, floral pine, citrus hops all combine together to make a very festive aroma. Reminds me a little of Furious in the way that it combines citrus and candy flavors, but it's significantly sweeter.

T - Malt-heavy, with hop bitterness appearing mid-palate and lingering into the aftertaste. Loses something in the transition from smell to taste - not as much complexity in the floral notes.

M - Creamy, smooth - viscosity is one of my big sticking points, but this one is spot on in that regard. Carbonation is there, but not overwhelming. There's a definite hop resin character that stays in your mouth and complements the bitter aftertaste.

D - The bomber I shared with Dave went too quickly. Even though this clocks in at a hefty 9.5% it drinks just as well as some lighter IPAs and red ales. (1,032 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear, bright crimson hue, , large and long head, puffy, creamy foam, leaving lace.

Aroma: malt-tastic, fruit-ariffic, a touch of vanilla, a whiff of cherry. Cocoa lurks below, caramel, too. A mystical mix. Ever-so hoppy.

Taste: Big fat mix of malt and a generous spattering of hops. Lots of caramel malt and toffee tastes below, with cirtus-y notes up above. yum. Big, chocolately malt, prodigious hoppiness. It's a So-Cal Christmas. Tast-ee. Yum-ee. So terribly complex and delicious. Love it.

there's a lot of red ink on a brown bottle. I can't read it. On the bottom, above the web address it says: "Serve in a pint at 50-55 degrees." I think the temperature is okay, but is a "pint" really what you want to recommend? Whatever, I did it in a "tulip." So sorry. (768 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/8/2013. Pours lightly cloudy reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, orange rind, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, pine, grass, and floral/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and dark malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, orange rind, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, slight pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Slight floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest/ring, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity and well balanced hop and dark malt flavors; with a moderately crisp bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy and fairly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent imperial red! All around awesome balance and complexity of hop and dark malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,506 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (494 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date on the bottle, oh well. Beer poured into a shaker pint. Beer is slightly hazy but red in color. Forms a thick yellowish head of small bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is surprisingly malty sweet and hoppy. Pine mostly, smells great.

Sweet up front, nice midpalate character and an odd bitterness at the back, its not as bitter as I expected. I was almost expecting a DIPA in flavor from the aroma. The malt is there for sure but not the bitter. Second taste, some fruit flavors, maybe sweet apple, overall its pretty good. I can taste the alcohol and the bitterness is growing in my mouth. Its pretty good. I like it. (650 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.62/5  rDev -11.9%
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... (616 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter from 2008. Poured into Ommegang chalice.

Color is a copper hued red, pretty hazy. Hardly any head or retention. Hence not very much lace.

Aroma is the typical imperial red aroma. Big earthy hops, backed up with a ton of caramel malts. It isn't bad, but nothing special.

Taste: Wow the malts are very bready and caramel like. Bit earthy hops. Some citrus flavor.

Mouthfeel: bitter, and more bitter. A little creamy. Ends with a big hoppy caramel aftertaste. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a decent red, it is aged a bit, but still was pretty hoppy. I would have it again, but wouldn't go crazy for it.
Decent drinkability. (669 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (691 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (287 characters)

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