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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 306 | Hads: 760
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown, with an ample, rich, head that lasts a few minutes, resolving into a thin layer of foam while leaving lots of lace on the glass.

Smells of chocolate and hops, some wet hay, candied citrus--as in a Christmas pudding, raisins, and a little wet horseblanket. Astringent and complex.

Tastes very green-hoppy and IPA-like, bitter, but with flavors of milk chocolate, coriander, ginger, raisins, prunes, cola. Sweetness at the beginning mixed with a little bitterness, resolves into a lasting tongue-numbing gingery bitterness, though still with a bit of sweet milk chocolate powder. This is a sweet/bitter arm wrestle, and, overall, I can't decide which is winning. It's decidedly bipolar and leaves a numbing taste sensation, which might be good with Asian Indian Christmas food, if that exists.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Delivers the goods nicely.

Overall, if you want to have a hoppy, hoppy, Christmas, along with some nice yuletide flavors, this is a worthy, challenging entry.

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Photo of nycwinter
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was expecting more maltiness, whereas this was more like an IPA. 750 ml bottle shared between two mugs.

A= Yellow-orange. Not very red at all. Good head.

S= Citrus peel and mild sweet fruit notes.

T= Very tasty, but simple. As noted above, most like an IPA.

M= Medium bodied and moderate carbonation

D= This one was great to share. We moved on to a milder IPA after this one.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. 22oz. bottle served in my Bruery tulip. Poured a murky plum color with a creamy two inch, off-white head. Head eventually settles into a foamy/frothy/bubbly, thin cap with thick slashes of lacing exposed during the tasting. Nose reveals sweet grapefruit initially, with a malty character forming the backbone (perhaps caramel malt). Taste follows nose, with a little bit of resinous bitterness coming out at the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light with an oiliness that coats the tongue and an assertive background carbonation that leaves a bit of burn and astringency at the finish, as well as a residual heat that coats the esophagus. A very good beer; however, the $10 price tag was a little steep. Also, seems closer to a DIPA than an American Amber. Still, I would enjoy the opportunity to try this side by side with the Summer recipe.

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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 LewBrew
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big beer with every attribute screaming IMPERIAL. This beer as an hot alcohol, hop, and malt nose. Its a full bodied beer with sweet molasses/caramel, dark fruit (plum/cherry), accented by a slight roast & nutty flavor to round out the profile. True to its Red Ale roots it is malt focused with the hops equally balanced. Though not hidden the alcohol is cleverly disguised behind the big flavor in this beer.

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Photo of morimech
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark amber with a large tan head that had excellant retention. The head settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass.

This beer offers an aroma full of rich caramel malt and pungent hops. Hints of caramel, over riped fruit, pine, spice, and stale milk. The high ABV is suspected but not in your face.

The flavor is sweet. The malt is very rich and decadent. Flavors of caramel and spices. Then the bitterness of the hops takes over with citrus and pine flavors. Thirdly, the alcohol hits in the finish to help clean the palate. Thankfully the alcohol is not that hot.

Full and rich body. Just enough carbonation to give some lightness to the body. Nice soft texture.

As a big beer that is also sweet makes this not the easiest beer to drink. The high ABV does not help matters as well.

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Photo of vacax
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at Beachwood BBQ, poured into a nonic pint glass. Ah, AleSmith casks. Rare to see them at all actually, any time I do I know I am in for a treat. Winter Yulesmith poured out a dark amber-red with one finger of somewhat soapy looking head. Good retention, though little lacing. Aromas of orange peel and perfumey hops dominate along with some evidence of the 9.5% alcohol. Taste is highly floral with some syrupy malt balance and a good amount of orange to it. Finish is slightly alcoholic with cookielike malt and pine hops. Feels chewy, low-medium in carbonation and sticky. Some more bubbles here would probably lighten up the body, increasing drinkability and improving the appearance as well. As it is, I have to say I prefer Yulesmith from the bottle, which is a rare occurrence for an AleSmith cask.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw that there was a distinction between this and Summer Yulesmith now (although the bottle in the other picture is the winter version...thats ok) My review from the 07' Winter Yulemsith...


22oz bottle of '07 Winter Yulesmith poured into a snifter. Really excited to have this one-I loved the summer '07 and couldn't wait to get my hands on the winter version. I am reviewing this one because the winter is a completely different beer from the summer.

A- This is exactly what a beer of this style should look like. Body is a translucent fairly cloudy medium red/amber hue. Pours with a beautiful 2 finger creamy white head that eventually fades to 1 finger and has excellent retention. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- The nose is soft-but it is not weak. Mellow citrus hops come through with a big spiciness.

T- Taste is pretty mellow upfront. Light citrus hop flavor with a substantial pale and caramel malt background. A bready yeast flavor also makes its way through for the initial flavor. The initial flavor fades to the background for the finish-which features a big spiciness that is essential to a Christmas beer. Spiciness and breadiness linger on the palate wrapped in a warm alcohol blanket.

M- The yeast from the bottom of this conditioned bottle makes the mouthfeel superb. Medium carbonation and mouthfeel is smooth and creamy from the yeast. What would make this a bit better is if there was a more oily-hoppy presence to it.

D- I absolutely love this! It is certainly not as bright and hoppy as the summer version-but it is much spicier and mellow. Perfect for the winter season. The alcohol is apparent in this brew and I found it to be a very enjoyable slow-sipper. Too bad this brew only comes around once a year!

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark amber/auburn in color with reddish highlights. The head on this is thick like batter, it really is impressive how "chunky" it is, my guess is that it would stick to the inside of the glass for a good 2-3 hours.

Aroma - sweet, citrusy and hoppy! Lots of tropical fruits come to mind (papaya and pineapple) as well as green apples, grapefruit and oranges, super fresh pine and loads of West Coast hops. It sure smells like a Double IPA.

Taste - piney, citrusy, sweet, bitter and dry. A boat load of flavor comes to shore in your mouth after one big sip. Prepare for a good dose of fresh hops, pine needles, pineapple and grapefruit along with a good deal of maltiness. Quite balanced I must say.

Overall - This is THE holiday beer for any hophead. Not an ounce of spice but a sleigh full of hops galore. This may not be a Double IPA but it sure tastes like one. This is a super well-balanced hoppy delight that I wouldn't mind getting as a gift this holiday season.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely, no question about it. I hope to try the 4th of July version this summer.

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Photo of billab914
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter version poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. Pours a dark amber mahogany color with a one finger head that settled to a covering that stuck to the sides. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very floral with citrus and grapefruit being present as well as a little sweetness. Taste is very hoppy and citrusy up front but also has a nice sweet caramely maltyness to it.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation. Drinkability is very good, this glass went down very easily. I really enjoy most things Alesmith but really enjoy both Yulesmith versions. Always a treat when I get my hands on one of these.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of OatmattStout
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

big rocky hear and a bit cloudy reddish orange color

big hop nose with citrus rind

huge malt sweetness with hop slam right in middle.

must say this beer had a mild sweet lingering aftertaste

mouth feel full and drinkability good for such a womper of an american red

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Photo of jdense
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Green and Red bottle, '08 vintage, poured into shaker glass at office christmas party (no, I wasn't sharing this)..

Brown body, dark tan head, slow dissipation with nice lacing. Pretty sweet nose, hops may have mellowed a bit, but some floral hop presence. Taste is a bit syrupy, floral hop presence on back end, a bit of toffee. Mouthfeel is ultrasmooth. Very drinkable for this ABV. Not sure this is a good beer to age, looking forward to trying the '09 vintage and editing review. I suspect there will be more hoppiness in the more recent vintage. In any case, a very tasty beer for the style. Did someone mention the need for an imperial category for this popular style?

EDIT- 2009 vintage sampled 9.18.2010 during UCLA football romp, poured into pint glass. The head is a bit more liight tan than '08 version, smell of hops has faded a bit, but still a very tasty beer. Not up to standards of Nugget Nectar, but certainly one of the better (once again, need to modify style guidelines) Imperial Amber/Red Ales.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Dark, clear, red-amber color with a foamy white head that looks like its going to stick around for awhile. Lacing on the glass.

Lots of bitter, citrusy hops on the nose with sweet gummy bear fruits. Some good malt body rises up from the glass as well.

The taste is at first malty, then a quick burst of bittering hops comes in, followed by sweet, chewy, bready malts. Hops are definitely there, but the bitter kick doesn't last very long as the heavy malt base smooths everything out. The hops themselves are somewhat citrusy and tart. Overall, this is a nicely balanced flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, a bit chewy, but not sticky like some IPAs and DIPAs. Good body.

Drinkability, is pretty good on this one. Decent hops, but not over the top, which I think makes this a bit more drinkable for the majority of people.

Overall, a nicely crafted Imperial Red. I'm guessing that if you want more hops then the DIPA version of this beer has got what you want. However, this guy still has a nice punch of hop flavor and is also very smooth. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a strong Red.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It confuses me to no end that this beer has two entries. Looks like an amber/red ale, but smells like an imperial IPA...

Poured into a pint glass. Modest dense custard-colored head over red amber body with nice bubble action. Smells very fragrant and like floral hops with grapefruit (from across the table even), notes of fresh-cut pine sap. Very good smelling. Decent lacing.

Tastes fresh and sweet. Carbonation is nice: a little piercing at first, very filling, but gives way to a great malt profile and some serious fresh citrus character. Sort of like sweet grapefruit juice. Bitterness is not at all overwhelming, just enough to be present. More acidic than bitter, really, and that at the beginning where the carbonation is nucleating all over the tongue. Mouthfeel is also nice with a medium-bodied creaminess and slight chewiness. Highly, highly drinkable. Very well-balanced. If this is a red ale, it's my favorite. The finish is not too dry, but that makes it more thirst-quenching.

Good deal. I'd try this one again.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber that I had shipped to me straight from the brewery thru a buddy. 2009 Edition and day of release fresh. Was a dark orange amber color with good carb streams. Had a good sized beige head that whittled down to a thin foam and thick collar. Good lacing.

The aroma was really good on this one. Doesn't smell like your typical amber/red - it's more like a maltier ADIPA. Pine, grapefruit, oily hops balanced with caramel malts. Really liked the aroma and balance on this one. The taste followed the aroma and again was a maltier ADIPA that I found to have great balance. It's still mainly a hops show but the bitter finish is leveled off which sets you up for the next drink. Mouthfeel is creamy with good carb and smooth finish.

Overall, an excellent beer that I highly recommend. I'd had the summer several times so was glad to get the winter one finally. Yet another excellent offering from Alesmith. Rotation - not avail in TX so had shipped in. If here, would be several per season. As is, I'll try to get a couple shipped each year.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +9%
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.

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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 tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle at 42 F. Poured clear dark amber color with medium frothy off-white head that was that lasted with excellent lacing. Solid complex sour citrus and pine hop aroma. Medium to full body with smooth texture with soft carbonation. Full citrus, malt and spice flavor with a sharp bittersweet finish. Good brew that is a standout.

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Photo of hoptrip619
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My love affair with YuleSmith began on a brisk December night in 2004. My then roommate bought it for me as a gift because he was intrigued by the promise of holiday cheer in a bottle.

A- Poured into a Duff pint glass, this beer has a brownish/auburn color with a fluffy/sticky 1.5" head.

S- This beer has an excellent aroma of sweet caramelized malts with an assertive resinous and zesty hop aroma.

T- The full and complex flavor of YuleSmith makes one forget about not getting what they wanted from Santa. After a few sips, the firm pine and grapefruit-like hop flavors mingle nicely with the caramelized malts and fruity esters; making a sack of coal and a bag of sticks look like the gift of the decade.

M/D - With a full body and warming finish, YuleSmith is the ideal accompaniment to any and all family gatherings. This festival ale will provide balance and peace of mind to the most unsavory situations.

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Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark, chocolatey brown, mostly opaque, but has reddish highlights when held to the light. A thick, 3 fingers of dense, light tan colored head sits atop this beer and hangs around for a good, long while. As it slowly fades, it leaves good, sticky lacing on the glass.

S - Nice, sweet piney aroma...hops are very fresh in this one. Some grapefruit mixes in, but majority of the aroma is pine. Hops overwhelm any malt presence in the aroma. Smells really good. Looking forward to the first sip.

T - Rich, full flavored beer. Hops are prominent in the flavor, but not to the same extent as the aroma. Flavor is more balanced...still tons of hops here - piney and citrusy. Malt is much more present in the flavor. It has a couple layers of complexity too. Sugary sweet and some caramel on one level and a more burnt, darker, roasty character as well. It's almost a coffee like roastiness & bitterness to it. Hop bitterness and alcohol round out the flavors here.

M - Medium bodied and medium-high carbonation. Alcohol gives quite a warming sensation in the mouth too. Feels slick on the tongue.. Bitterness pervades the entire mouth and lasts well into the aftertaste.

D - Pretty high in alcohol at 9.5%...goes down pretty smooth. Not at all a sipper, but if I had more than one bottle by myself, it would be a problem. Really good winter beer - just strong enough without feeling excessive. Body is really medium, but the overall feel is of a heavier beer. Heavyness limits drinkability a bit, but overall pretty smooth for a beer this strong.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Thick looking one finger off-white head with good retention. Color is a deep burnt umber brown with very little carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a decent film with a thick ring. Splotchy film remains until the end and leaves some good lacing down the sides. Nice color as well.

SMELL: Decent strength nose of pale and toasted malt, biscuit, with hints of caramel and toffee notes. A good hop presence with hints of grapefruit, pine, and some sweet citrus fruits as well. Nice.

TASTE: Taste follows the nose very nicely. Pale and toasted malt again, caramel and toffee notes with the same hop profile; grapefruit and pine flavors. Some really nice spiciness at the end, clove, coriander, and tyme perhaps, as well as some spicy alcohol at the finish. A bitter ending to the story, leading into a long and bold aftertaste of bitter and spicy hops, and a sweet and malty biscuit finish. Just fantastic.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness on the palate. No bite at the end and the ABV is not noticeable. Good here.

OVERALL: An outstanding beer. I've only had a couple from Alesmith, but they've been very impressive to say the least. Like the bottle says, this really is deliciously malty and hoppy; a very drinkable and enjoyable balanced brew. One of the better beers I've ever had. Recommended.

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Photo of bminor7
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz from Westmere in Albany, NY.

Dark amber color and a nice foamy head. Smells rich like a barleywine. Barleywine taste is there too. Strong wheat component like Weyerbacher Fourteen. Chocolate and caramel notes. Strong ABV in the aftertaste. Sugar is biting at the enamel on the teeth. Nicely put together, and complex. Extremely delightful on the olfactory and tasting fronts.

My bottle is from last holiday at least, so the hops have faded, but I still find this very well done. I would seek out all available bottles immediately!!

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Photo of davod23
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Happy holidays, everyone. Poured from the bottle into my Bruery tulip.

The beer pours a medium-bodied, deep orange honey color into the glass. A two-finger light khaki head develops and sticks around a while... in truth, it never completely disappears, and is easily roused with a swirl of the glass. Sticky lacing. Beautiful.

Smell is excellent. You can tell that this won't be a tongue-shredding hop bomb (though I love that kind of beer too). Sweet caramel and toffee play with a strong citrus and moderately floral hop component. Very nice.

Taste is similarly good. A bit of sweetness up-front, mostly caramel and toffee goodness. In the middle and finish, the hops make their presence known. Both sides are amped up pretty well, so it winds up being a very flavorful, yet balanced, brew.

Mouthfeel on this is as good as it gets. Syrupy, between medium- and full-bodied, sticky, with ample carbonation... this is just about perfect.

I could drink a lot of this. And I just might.

Another great beer from Alesmith. There's very little these guys don't do well. So glad to live in SoCal.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Beer Friday # 2!

Appearance - Poured into my Bell's sniffer with a deep mahogany color. Over a finger of dense, thick foam floats on top of the beer and is slowly dissipating, leaving chunky lacing all along the sides. Looks appetizing!

Smell - The nose consists of massive amounts of pine, citrus, and hops. After this initial waft the fragrance consist of a bit of caramel/toffee, roasted malts, and a hint of spices. Smells appetizing!

Taste - Immidiately I can taste caramel - it reminds me of when I was a child and use to sneak the little plastic wrapped caramel candies from the pantry. I have never before tasted such a rendition of my beloved childhood candy in a beer. Bravo. This initial flavor is followed by a somewhat bitter (but not overly) hoppy taste and ends on a very sweet, malty backbone note.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. Extremely smooth/creamy feeling in the mouth and ends with just a slight bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability - Extremely so. This is pretty damn good and something I would expect from the "Winter" version of this beer. I'm not going to lie, however, when I say that the summer version was better than this. I still have one of those left which I need to drink ASAP. Overall, a very nice winter offering form AleSmith and fitting. It is a bit chilly outside right now and this is doing the trick to keep me warm.

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