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YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

736 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 736
Reviews: 303
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 86
Gots: 61 | 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: 736 | Reviews: 303 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flannelman808
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rose amber in color with a medium sized bubbled off white head. Seems like decent retention and lacing though my pour was a bit harsh and I ended up with full on ice cream head. Hard to say if its from the pour or the beer.

S: Pine and orange peel as well as a muted broA wn sugar and caramel.

T: Nutty toffee flavors meet bitter zest and pine. A little bit chalky but over all this is pretty good. Sort of a more balanced version of the summer.

M: prickly and sticky

D: fairly high

Photo of Fillpott
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just had this beer on draft at Coronado Brewing Co. It was poured into a regular pint glass w/ a 1/4" thick, beige head. The beer has a very strong citrus aroma that is very inviting and even refreshing for a Holiday Ale. The beer was very warming and had spice notes on the tongue. The hop spiciness and bitterness was well balanced with the alcohol. The mouthfeel was a little thin for what I would expect of a typical Holiday beer, but this is definitely a beer that fits the Christmas season on the ocean here in Southern California. I will look for this beer again.

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

A whole 22oz bomber into a big ass DUVEL glass filled to the brim. Very fresh bottle here.

YuleSmith Winter pours out a clouded red with a hint of brown in the pour yieldeing a dark brown look in the glass. A healthy pour yielded nothing in terms of even a cap. A nice cap appeared over time with dark tan suds. Some clingy lace. This has a nice musk tyo it. It has a winter feel but is not boggled down with spice. Alot of toasted malt, caramel, rich candi canes, some dark fruits, faint hops. Sweeter as it warms up. While Yulesmith Summer is hop forward, the winter version is all malts, with hops in the back. A spicy hop kick with warming, blending ever so nice with lucious malts goozing with caramel, slight chocolate and fruit taste. Some plum and a candi sweetness. A nice winter red here without the spice to qualify as a winter warmer, I like where it's at. The feel is a big medium that's glidy and more spicy with warming, carb is there but not bitey, no attack on the tounge at all while maintaining life. A nice sweet aftertaste. I liked this, I would not call it a treat but it's damn good beer. I drank the bomber with ease. It satisfied me well. With that said, bring on the SUMMER.

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 mtstatebeer
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle. Pours a hazy, almost completely opaque, dark amber color with a large, frothy, tan head, lacing throughout. Aroma is caramel malts, orange, grapefruit, resin, and spicy. Flavor is caramel, a hint of chocolate, resin, alcohol, dark fruits, and spice. Mouthfeel is medium, creamy, a hint of alcohol burn, nice and bitter. Good beer, pretty good balance, very drinkable.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle with no freshness date. Poured into a pint glass after a couple minutes in the refrigerator.

Appearance: Typical red in color. A bet dull, but with ton of sediment floating around the glass. Big frothy three finger beige head with a ton of retention. Took a very long while for this pillowy head to dissipate to where I could take a sip.

Aroma: Big resiny pine hop notes. Lots of citrus and grapefruit rind as well. Balanced with some molasses and caramel notes from the malt. The hops are definitely the main attraction here.

Taste: The hops assert themselves here too. Lots of pine and bitter cirtus rind. Some caramel to balance out the extreme hoppiness. Long and bitter finish of pine notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a nice bt of carbonation. Leaves a bit of a dry finish at the end. Very refreshing and warming.

Drinkability: At this ABV and with the flavor of this beer so prominent, one is the perfect amount for me. Had no problem finishing the bottle and enjoyed it a lot. The only thing I wasn't a fan of is the price tag.

Overall, a really enjoyable amber ale that definitely quenches your hop thrist. It's very enjoyable, but not particularly memorable. Definitely worth a try though.

Photo of BucBasil
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a large snifter.

A: The beer is a very dark, almost opaque ruby red color. Head is gigantic and reached over 3 fingers with amazing retention. Great looking beer.

S: Very hoppy on first glance, dominated by pine and citrus. There is a noticeable malt backbone in there, thankfully, that is bready and somewhat sweet.

T: Hoppy up front with plenty of pine and floral, but also well balanced. Not at all overpowering on the palate. In the middle, the malt character starts to open up a bit with bread. The hops just take over after that point. Bitter finish with some balance and an herbal and earthy character.

This was a nice beer, and I might pick it up again when I have a hop craving (but more balanced). Solid.

Photo of Docer
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had the summer last year, now finally found the winter today...

- Light mocha tan head... steady finger sticking around over a dark murky caramel and rich dark copper brew....

- Huge citrus and pine hop madness with some spice and sweet malts... brown sugar, and more citrus and floral zest...

- Very festive spiced IPA of sorts... smooth, light chocolate, spruce, herbal, gingery.. floral, and citrus hops... big bitter hopping.. zesty and good!

- Medium bodied, slightly sticky, chewy and drying..

- This is a bountiful and well blended recipe of an ale... very good, and perfect for the holiday. Probably the best holiday ale bottles anywhere around.

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

2010 batch.

Pours a cloudy, amber color. No head, just a gathering of loose, coral colored bubbles. No cap, hardly a ring, with a few spots of lacing.

Potent aromas fill the air. I smell orange, grapefruit, cinnamon-candied-apples, Yukon Jack, caramel-pecan-rolls, and solvent.

At first it taste like a shot of apple jack. After the alcohol fades I taste cinnamon-candied-apples, pine, and pecan rolls.

Lots of body, very little carbonation. It coats my tongue nicely before it dries. It is slightly warm on my lips. It reminds me of a cask conditioned ale.

Bold and worthy of respect. This beer is meant to sip not swill. Not for the timid or beginner.

Photo of beagle75
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Hazy, reddish medium amber color with a thin, patchy residue of cinnamon-tinted foam. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Intense, juicy orange and grapefruit citrus backed up by sugary candy, pine foliage, and a touch of fruity esters. These combine to be suggestive of plasticky resin at times--making the smell slightly less appealing than it otherwise would have been. No alcohol is detected in the smell.

T: Begins off-dry and acidic, with toffee and citrusy hop aromatics up front. These flavors give way to toast as dryness builds in the middle. Rising bitterness becomes robust by the finish, while retaining some grapefruit aromatics. No alcohol is detected in the taste.

M: Medium viscosity, resinous and sticky yet remaining fluid on the palate, with low carbonation. The sensory qualities found here really bring something noteworthy and succeed in elevating this beer.

D: Considering this is an Alesmith seasonal, it should be this good. It is a fine example of style--more nuanced than Oskar Blues' Gordon and very much the imperial successor to Green Flash's Hop Head Red. That said, its potency is high even if not really detectable, limiting enjoyment somewhat.

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

74th review on BA
Bottle to Pint

App- Pours a hazy soft brown with some light golden highlights. Huge 3 finger head with a tanish creme color. Took at least 5 mins for it to finally fall.

Smell- Big hoppy smell with a small tinge of citrus. A small bit of earthy complexion as well.

Taste- The taste follows my nose. Big hop flavors that with this being dry hopped leave a nice finish. I keep wanting more. A good sign.

Mouth- A dry finish that begs to be drank. Just a smooth red ale.

Drink- A very welcome suprise after a highly respected person gave me the recommendation.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off alesmith hands down is the best Brewery is San Diego.

It pours a murky red with very little head. It smells like walking through a Xmas tree park. Sweet malty floral greatness.

The taste is exceptional. Malty-hoppy-malty-hoppy that's the best way I can explain this one from start to finish. Its one of the most intrinsic beers from alesmith. Its everything a winter brew should be.

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - it's a really nice deep brown color that's a bit cloudy, but I've got no carbonation to speak of, even with a somewhat violent pour.

S - from afar, I thought i smelled spiced apple cider, but up close, I get a lot more of citrusy and piney hops. Theres still hints of cinnamon and brown sugar, but definitely secondary to the hops. The malt character in the nose is pretty small and a bit toasty. It smells pretty nice, I think.

T - the lack of carbonation in my bottle is really killing the flavors. There's a spicy sweetness to the body of this beer, and it's actually kind of sweet throughout, but theres a real hop presence on the finish which lingers a bit. It's all kind of dulled though, with this bottle being mostly flat.

M - it's pretty light and smooth.

D - this particular bottle is not really the greatest in drinkability, with the weird carbonation situation, but I would imagine this normally a very good, easy drinking beer.

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

2007 rate- Winter version. Appearance- cloudy ruby colour with a chunky/fluffy head that sticks around. Smell- lots of C hops give it a strong tropical fruit nose. I could smell it all day long.... Taste- the hops were so stiff out of the gate that they tickled my nostrils like a strong serving of horseradish. Impressive! Sweet caramel malts give the backbone to this hop monster. Toffee and caramel with some leather. Almost sweet enought that its on the cloying side, but straddles the line brilliantly. Finish is dry as the hops pucker the mouth and the booze shows up. Fantastic beer all around.

Photo of StephenRich
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

AleSmith is one of my favorite breweries from San Diego - and its a tough choice, San Diego is one of the most densely covered states with craft breweries. I like their style, the branding, the concept, and most of all their beers! I just wish we got more of them across the United States. Recently distribution has increased, but it is still hard to find certain bottles, even in the best beer stores. And don't even think about Canada.

The Yule Smith is brewed twice a year. Once in the summer it is a American Double IPA, and then for the winter it becomes a Double Red Ale. I've been holding onto a 2009 Winter Yule Smith since its release last year. And not for any specific purpose of aging it, but I just needed the right occasion. Well, a week or so ago in Toronto we had about 2 hours of heavy snow fall that scared me a bit, but then was erased quickly. With a couple friends over that seemed like a good enough reason to christen the winter season nearing.

The Winter Yule Smith is a west coast style Imperial Red at 9.5% abv. So you should expect the beer to be rich with crisp malt flavors that edge on caramel, but it should also have a classically citrusy and piney hop flavor. This is all speculation though, because I don't think that I have had a double red ale of this sort. Because it is brewed for the holidays does that mean it will be spicy or fruity?

I opened the Yule Smith at cellar temperature 12C (54F) and poured it into snifter glass. The pour was rich and lively building a tan brown head immediately. A short pour built the same height of head as it did beer; a head with showed the tightest and neatest packing of bubbles you will see. This is classic of AleSmith Beers. The beer underneath was a hazy and murky tawny red. It lay there in silence showing burnt caramel and browns, with hints of burgundy and copper. It was not very pretty, but definitely got my attention.

The nose hit me instantly with a blast of raw hop aromas that linger on resin, pine and citrus. It was richer and more lively than I expected, and I bet when the beer was fresh it was even hoppier. Right under the hops is a smooth and wide caramel and brown sugar malt aroma. The malt is pronounced and cloying in your nose, and actually begins to fade to the front above a fruity and citrucy hop aroma. Overall they work well together mingling grapefruit and tart fruit with melty caramel and spice.

I don't know why, but drinking the Yule Smith reminded me of sticky barbecued meats. The beer shines through at you with thick and lush caramel and toffee flavors that hint at molasses and brown sugar. The malt is deep and wide and shows greater prominence on the palate than it did on the nose. It is sweet right away with the sticky sweet flavors of caramel and rawness of brown sugar. It balances though with a savory and earthy stickiness that I am comparing to BBQ. Its the sweet charred flavors on red meats that coming through here so deliciously.

Although the malt is here playing the bigger role, hops shine through brilliantly bringing sweet citrus and grapefruit peel. Hints of earth and pine tickle against your cheeks and bring a big wave of bitter to the back of your throat. Overall it is a balancing act done well. The hops clean off the otherwise sticky and fruity nature of the beer helping it finish with a quenching freshness and total satisfaction.

The mouthfeel of the beer helps it out a lot - it is smooth and silky with a small crackling of carbonation, but still lets the beer play a syrup-like role. It is a big beer that evolves as you drink it showing complexity, deep malt, earthy hops, and as I said earlier, total satisfaction. I would recommended the Yule Smith on its own, just because there is a lot going on here and it it worth your attention. If you must pair it with something, grab a nice rich maduro cigar. That would be lovely.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2010/11/17/tasting-the-alesmith-yule-smith-2009-winter/

Photo of Chizoad
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amazing pull from the tap. Creamy head on top of a cloudy mass of dark amber. Intriguing looking and extremely inviting.

A strong hop aroma with caramelized sugar underneath. The flavor of this one is bang on the nose, but multiplied in intensity. Really great, complex hops in it.

Pretty dense mouthfeel, but it goes well with the style, and is especially appropriate for a winter beer.

This is the first, and quite possibly the last, beer you would want for the night. Struggled to finish it after already having had a couple of other brews.

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

Reviewed on: 03-15-2008 07:35:29
thanks to jhenry04 for the summer and winter 2007 versions...
same as below, except the following:
color is a slightly hazy deep reddish-amber. lots of caramel and toffee in the smell and taste.
poured into a mcchouffe tulip, this was quite cloudy with no particulates noted. golden to orange in color with a beautiful, thick, super creamy, white head. the head covers the top and sides all the way down. the head and lacing are quite persistent; this beer is beautiful to behold. big bouqet is honeyed, sweet, biscuity, floral, citric, and resiny. a vague buttery note takes the nose down a notch but i'm sure this is phenomenal when fresher (drinking summer 07 version now). very well-balanced taste between the moderately sweet malts and prominent yet super smooth hop bitterness. mouthfeel is phenomenal, has a rich, creamy quality to it with just the perfect carbonation. medium to full-bodied. i don't know the technical aspects too well but i'm guessing this has some unfermentables in it which make the mouthfeel superb. i'd love to try this on tap.

Photo of emagana
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this a few months back. Now the bottle indicates it's a 8% beer but the above discription says it's higher. The letters on the bottle are green and red so I'm assuming last years vintage 09.
Pours a brown light red. A thick white foam of almost 3 fingers.
I get some hints of cinnamon and earthy notes. I can smell some small hints of hops but very subtle. Very inviting. Has some nice sweet maple notes as well.
Taste compare to some pine and burn caramel. Has a dry finish with a balance warming alcohol. I suggest this for those who like strong ales. I wonder what a fresh one will taste like. I wouldn't want to age any longer.

Photo of bs870621345
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My dad picked this up for me about a month back, been backlogged on beers so I finally got to it.

Pours a cloudy amber color with an inch of white head that fades to a collar. Leaves a beautiful lacing down the glass.

Smells like raisons, caramel, and citrusy hops. The hops must have faded a lot recently.

Tastes like dark fruits, citrus, alcohol, and caramel, in that order. Its pretty much morphed into a barleywine at this point.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky. Lightly carbonated, poured it way too hard i think.

Drinkability is high, really no alcohol really present.

Overall it has turned into a great barleywine, could use a little more age to let the hops fade a little more.

Photo of SirRuss
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As an avid English cask ale fan and a novice to the American craft beer revolution, Yulesmith Holiday Ale not only took me back to my homeland, but bridged a gap 5000 miles wide, leading me to a life changing realization: Americans make amazing beer.

A: deep chestnut brown, thick with the sediment produced from an overzealous pour - the way I like it! Thin, barely present head disperses quickly leaving a fragile ring of foam that foreshadows the gentle carbonation to come.

S: the aroma seems somewhat reclusive. Initial impression resembles a classic American IPA with scents of a high acidity hop mix prevailing. Then follows the malt and spice, which -although less forthcoming - creates the first festive allusions.

T: Candied sweetness with toffee notes leads the way on the fore palate, but most of the damage is executed on the mid palate. Winter spices - particularly cinnamon - merge with buttery malt as they bring the bitter hops into perfect check.

M: As alluded to by the head, this beer's low carbonation - presumably largely derived from bottle conditioning - is a superb example of why the Brits are renowned for drinking ""flat, "warm" beer"", and why they are right to do so.

D: Like a wire walker, this beer's beauty is in a masterful balancing act between a precipice of biting hops on one side, and a sticky quagmire of malt on the other. But for me, it's the herbal, almost minty, freshness that provides the twist, and separates it from the the crowd while clearing the way for another jaw-dropping sip.

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 t420o
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Filled my alesmith growler up today, 10/30/10. I love having Stone, Alesmith, Ballast Point, Mission, Green Flash, Lost Abbey, etc., all within 45 minutes of where I currently live. AWESOME. sorry for rambling. On to the review.

A- Orangish-Red when held up to light. Almost completely opaque.Pours with a one finger head that dissipates rater quick. Leaves nice lacing.

S- Fruits (not sure which), slight spice, alcohol. Smell may have been the only offputting part.

T- Very good. Has the taste of a red with more of a fruity undertone. Molasses, hints of caramel. Alcohol is noticable, but not in a bad way. By the way, at the brewery the alcohol % was listed at 8.75 I believe. (could have been anywhere from 8.25 to 8.75, my memory is lacking)

M- Just the right amount of carbonation. Not too thick, not to thin. Velvety. Nice...

D- Very easy for a 8.75 beer. Killed the growler with no issues. A little tipsy though haha

Photo of drumrboy22
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle. Poured from 22oz. bottle into a Delirium chalice. Beer was a clear amber color, with a two-finger, tan head. Heavy carbonation and tons of thick lacing around the glass.

Aroma was malt, moderate pine hops, caramel, some citrus as well.

Taste was malt, caramel, citrus hops and spices. Well balanced.

Thick and syrupy mouthfeel, almost chewy. Drinks like a barleywine. Very nice beer. Would seek this out again.

Photo of metter98
4.17/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the Christmas version of Yulesmith (which Alesmith calls an imperial red ale); 22 oz. bottle with no vintage dating. The beer pours a highly-carbonated, hazed crimson (laced with brown) and topped with a voluminous, four-finger tan head that is almost frothy at the base, fine-bubbled at the apex, and can be teased above the rim of the glass. Loads of aroma hops contribute citrus, pine, and some fruity/woody notes, and are backed by caramel and maybe a hint of chocolate. The flavor follows suit nicely, but adds a light sweetness and some late leafy/green hops, on top of a medium, tingly and dry body. The beer is very drinkable and the hops have a huge presence, but they are not overly bitter. It is actually quite balanced for such a hoppy beer, and I think the lower ABV (for an imperial) helps them to accomplish that. Tasty and highly-recommended.

YuleSmith (Winter) from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 736 ratings.