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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: 62 | 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 Kendo
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

[Note: Just this week I bought a bottle of the summer edition for the first time, and discovered that this prior review - of the winter edition - had been entered in the wrong place in March of 2007. So I'm moving it now. ~ Kendo, 10/25/10.]

The 2006 Christmas Red & Green edition, poured from a bomber. . . .

A: Into a Duvel tulip it pours a clear dark orange/copper -- when backlit it looks more ruby-colored or mahogany -- with a BIG light tan head that settles like meringue. Tremendous head retention; it settles very slowly to a pillowy head that leaves good clumps and rings of lacing the whole way down the glass.

S: Very pleasant on the nose -- grapefruit and pineapple hops are the first impressions, but it's quickly clear that there's a solid malt backbone as well, with scents of caramel and even toffee present. As I sniff more deeply, I get hints of spicy spruce or pine as well.

T: Very balanced between the malt and hop juice. Sappy pine and grapefruit juice from the hops, sweet caramel from the malts. Finishes with a dry bitterness and an ever-so-slight alcohol warmth on the way down. As it warms the caramel malt sweetness becomes more prevalent; there's even a slightly nutty flavor to it.

M: Smooth is the word. So smooth, in fact, that it makes the body feel lighter than it really is. Juicy, sticky and even a tad bit oily at atimes, but not in a bad way.

D: For a DIPA the drinkability is over the top. The 8.8% ABV is completely masked in the taste and it's so smooth and balanced that it goes down remarkably easily.

Notes: This beer is VERY close to perfection. My personal preference would be for a tad bit more strength in the hoppy flavors, but that's just my personal preference for hops. I gave a friend a sip and she said "wow, that's a dessert" and that sums up my reluctance to give it a 5 in taste -- it was just a little bit sweeter than I like in my DIPAs. But "balance" really is the word to describe this beer -- balanced and smooth. Highly, highly recommended.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
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."

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Doing some BA book keeping - this review was under the summer version. Tsk, tsk.

Pours opaque grapefruit red with lots of floaties. Attack of the floaties! Huge head with chunky iceberg retention that left an ant farm maze of lace down the glass.

Smells like pineapple and black pepper. Grapefruit.

Dark, hearty caramel malt balanced with tropical (pineapple, mango, etc.) and grapefruit hops. Pleasant alcoholic warmth. Hard to believe something this flavorful can be this balanced. Thick and chunky mouthfeel.

Photo of GJ40
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a hotel glass. Acquired from Sid at the Best Damn Beer Shop in San Diego. Nice recommendation Sid!

A - Starts great right out of the gate. Nice reddish color with good clarity and a moderate beige head that last forever. Loads of well defined lacing as the glass empties.

S - Despite having a bit of a cold, I got hit with the aroma before I even moved my nose to the glass. Nice floral and fruity notes with citrus, orange and pineapple.

T - The hops have likely dulled with age but they're still very flavorful and seem to give the malts a bigger role. They add a nice richness and bready quality to the citrusy bitterness of the hops. There's a lot of complexity to this beer.

M - Thick and chewy with a moderate carbonation of very fine bubbles. This one really sticks to your mouth.

D - Fantastic. I was really surprised to see a hoppy beer do so well with some aging.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Older review transferred from the old, both-in-one Yulesmith entry).

Pours dark red with HUGE light tan head.

Nose of piney hops, caramel malt, some alcohol.

Grapefruit, big sweet toasty malt flavor, big pine characteristics, some spiciness as well. Very Balanced. Dry, bitter hoppy finish, but not overpoweringly so. Alcohol burn and warmth.

Oily, slightly sticky body, with a lively carbonation. medium-full body.

Christmas in a bottle.

Photo of DrJay
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Xmas '05. Placed into the wrong category when summer and winter were split.

Dull orange topped by a dense, cream coloured head. The fine bubbles formed sheets that clung to the sides of the glass. Juicy grapefruit smell initially, followed by a warm pine resin aroma. There's some toasted character in there, but it's overshadowed by the hops. Great balance between big hop flavour and malt sweetness -- pine and orange/grapefruit on one side, malty sweetness and a bit of caramel and graham cracker on the other. Bitterness is controlled throughout and alcohol is just apparent at the finish. Medium to full bodied with very well integrated carbonation -- the fine bubbles create an exceptionally creamy texture. Slight warmth as well. At first, it seems like it'll end up syrupy and palate-coating, but ends up being surprisingly clean and balanced slightly towards dryness. Big hops, big malts, and great balance makes this a winner.

Photo of david131
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed 3-26-07. This review was placed into the summer Yulesmith category when the summer and winter was split.

Christmas '06. Red and green label.

A- A great dark ruby liquid. Very clear. A thick off white head that never settles. Some carbonation visible rising through the liquid.

S- Some citrus, pine, caramel. A little earthy.

T- Same as the nose. It is complex, but it does not knock my socks off. Alcohol is barely noticeable. Sweet with a little cinnamon.

M- Very clean with a good amount of carbonation. Kind of dry. It does build on the palate a little bit, which I found odd considering how thin this beer was.

D- This was a good brew. I don't think this is worth all the hype, but a good one nonetheless.

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

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

22oz served in a red wine glass

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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

Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good stuff here I can already tell...Pours a nice, red-amber with huge head. This is Dirk Diggler huge, chicas....Head is a reddish-tan and very creamy pillowy, like melted marshmallows. Nose is big on piney hops, maybe a touch of vanilla, some allspice maybe too...Beautiful, barleywine like qualities in the flavor...This is fantastic beer. Very rich, but also very sweet. Almost chewy thick....Some really roasty characteristics are evident. Best thing about this beer is the balance...Very rich and malty and gives way to long, bitter hoppy finish, in a good way. Fantastic beer, and at $4.99/bomber well priced. Must find...

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

Picked this up at Save-On, a great beer store in Mentor Ohio. Really dark copper-brown pour with huge caramel-colored head and incredible lacing. Lots of floaties and sediment. Very resiny, earthy, malty nose. Sweet candy-like aroma with hints of caramel and pine and a touch of alcohol. Taste is much the same. Very earthy, resiny, and complex, with a bit of dark fruits, oranges, caramel, molasses, candy, and just a touch of pine and ginger. The alcohol is there as well with gentle warming from start to finish. Thick, chewy, resiny, rich mouthfeel. This really improves as it warms up which helps the drinkability. With that said, it's very rich and sweet and it took a while to kill a bomber. But still a great beer from a great brewery.

Photo of cbutova
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Transferred from the old Summer Yulesmith entry, reviewed last winter:

Picked up this winter bottle of Yulesmith at Julio's a few weeks back, dunno if its weakened at all but I'll hopefully have a summer one sometime to back this review up. Pours a dark amber brown color, dark for a DIPA, with an AMAZING head, this one is creamy and retains for the entire time I was drinking this one. Lacing thick like sea foam is left on my glass. Awesome carb bubbles rising after the pour. Smells of great malts and hops, spices in here too and some sweets. The only gripe with the smell is it didn't represent the full taste very well, but still a great smell. Taste is huge, great hops, great malts, good holiday like spices and a lingering citrus/sweet taste that is great. Mouthfeel is medium, creamy and smooth, suitable for a DIPA that I enjoy. Drinkability is good here, the spices might get to me after a while, they seem like a flavor that would do that, the 9% alcohol is well hidden, never shines through.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was just checking my beer reviews, and this was reviewed on 10/18/2008 and was actually the Winter YuleSmith and not the Summer one so I figured I'd correct it now (review on the Summer YuleSmith was just removed).

22 ounce bottle, Winter 2007 YuleSmith. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a copper/red color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is citrusy hops (pineapple and grapefruit), spicy hops and caramel malt. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some peppery and pine hop flavors in there too. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's rich, a bit slick and has a good amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good too, it's smooth and very enjoyable to drink. Alcohol is a bit noticable, but not overpowering at all. Overall I think it's a pretty good brew, I'd definitely recommend this to others.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2008 release from my old notes before they seperated out winter and summer:

A - Clear, amber-brown color. Incredibly huge head with ridiculous retention. Big chunks of lace all over the glass.

S - Big piney hop aroma dominates the nose. Hints of juniper as well. Incredible aroma on this here beer.

T - Sweet and bitter all at the same time, straight out of the gate. Incredible mix of caramel, toffee, and big piney hops. Often times DIPA's are huge one one side of the hop/malt duo while only being adequate on the other, these guys managed to make it huge on both.

M/D - Full boided and incredibly oily. The hop resins coat your mouth and the sweetnes from the caramel provides the perfect balance to drink this one for a long time.

Photo of GregSVT
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a very hazy brownish red with a small tan head that fades quickly and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose at first is full of hops and malty/toffee aromas. This smells a lot like SN Bigfoot with some age on it.

T: The taste mimics the nose with grapefruit hops, caramel, toffee, and malt. Again much like an aged SNBF.

M: The feel is full bodied and creamy with a thick and oily quality.

D: Pretty good but not what I was expecting. Most holiday beers are very malty but this one has a ton of hops as well.

Photo of arizcards
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber at the Total Wine discount rack at the end of May for $4.99 (regularly 8.99). Have had this several times over the last 6 years, finally reviewing a bottle.

Beer poured a clear dark copper color with a huge billowy off white head. Nose is caramel malt city and northwest hops. Taste is a wonderful balance of the huge caramel malt base, with hints of chocolate, piney and citrusy hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, very smooth in the finish. Drinkability is near perfect, a bit of alcohol warming with the first sip, perfect for the style! Highly recommended if you like imperial reds/strong ales!

Photo of Boto
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber: This one is a clear amber color. There was a huge head on mine. The aroma has both notes of pine and citrus hops. Also some floral, fruit and caramel malt notes. A bit of a bitter bite to the beer (predominately citric), but nicely balanced by the presence of a slightly more than medium malt body. Some caramel malts and fruits peeking out from under the hops. It has a creamy texture to it. Extremely nice.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 6-16-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - 2 fingers of foam, reddish in color, carbonation present a little bit of a lacing ring was present

S - Hops but light on the nose, floral notes, rye and malt

T/M - Medium bodied brew with some sweet malt in the beginning mixed well with some rye and hops. A piney hop bitter taste at the end but wasn't harsh and smooth over quick

D - Not one of my favorites from Ale Smith but still a decent brew. A medium bodied brew with a good blend of malt and piney hops. I probably would seek this brew out again but very glad I tried it.

Photo of sweethome
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle - mine is labeled at 8.5% - not 9.5% - assuming this varies with the year.

Pour is dark brown with an orange hue. A bit of chill haze. Tan head. Retains somewhat.

Lovely nose of c-hops, rich, sweet malts.

Entry is an explosion of rich maltiness, candy sugar, dried fruits and hop backbone. Candied nuts, cherries and raisins. Just a hint of vanilla on the back end.

Love the flavors here - perfect balance for an american style strong ale.

Nice winter warmer enjoyed on a cool late spring night in LA. I wish I could get this back in Chicago for a fire companion.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had last winter, finally getting it in.

A-the beer is a translucent, deep mahogany color that pours two fingers of a thick tan colored head that has solid retention and leaves a great lacing on the glass.

S-pretty big hop nose that brings some pine and grass clipping notes. grapefruit juice and citrus come in next with a light bready malt backbone with a touch of sweet caramel

T-this taste has huge hops but also brings some malt with it. a sweet bready malt with a touch of caramel hits the taste buds first, big tastes of citrus and pine come in next with a hint of grass clippings and grapefruit juice towards the back with just a touch of bitterness to end

M-lighter end of medium body, very slick on the back of the throat with a lot of carbonation, a tad too much for my liking, but is quite smooth throughout and has a decent bite to finish

D-hides the alcohol very well, has a great sweetness to it with big hops and some nice malts to balance an otherwise hop dominant beer. i'm enjoying this quite thoroughly

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

Pour from a bomber poured into a tulip glass

A - Dark amber with some red, a decent head, and little lacing

S - Vanilla malt, oak, and some honey

T - Amber malts, honey, cinnamon, and clove compose the front end, and piny hops on the finish help to balance this enjoyable blend of flavors.

M - Not much carbonation and medium-bodied.

D - This is pretty easy to drink; the heat isn't detectable for me, and the amount of hops helps here as well.

A very good beer and one which I intend to drink in isolation (i.e., not directly after 13% barleywine Founder's Deca) next time.

Photo of alleykatking
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 4/26/2009 moved over here when site split the two.

Had the winter version of this. Poured while waiting in line at DLD with some friends.

A-Poured into a small snifter. Nice golden amber color here with big off white head that took a while to come down leaving nice thick lacing around the sides.

S-The one thing I noticed off the top was it had a nice piney hop smell to it. It was settle but very noticeable to me. Also a little sweet malt smell with spices.

T-Man this beer is great. It has such an amazing taste to it. The malt and hops come together perfect with the hops taking a little bit more in the aftertaste. A little sweet but still can taste that pine to it. Also, maybe a little sweet citrus to it.

M-This was a nice medium heavy beer. It coats the mouth in a sweet/hop taste that doesn't make you cringe or want to lick your hands to get the nasty taste out. Wonderful.

D-This is a great drinker and only wish I could get it on a regular basis. This beer does it all for me and I'm kind of sad now that it is gone.

Photo of dwilson01
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber into my arrogant bastard pint glass, a dark tan to light brown faded brick color. A thick creamy off white light tan colored head, about 2 fingers worth which dissipates and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is piney and citrus hopping, smells much like an ipa to me, the scent is strong and has some power to it, I enjoy it thoroughly. not much maltiness in the scent but you can definitely discern it's presence from the thick look of the brew.

The flavor is as full and potent as the smell, it's bitter pine hops with some citrus which puts it in the ipa flavor profile. BUT at the same time the spices present impart the wintertime blend of a nice amber ale; lots of cinnamon bark, nutmeg, coriander, some vanilla bite in the alcohol presence. The malt backs all this up quite well with a toasty sweet nut profile to it, almonds and pine nuts, and as it warms in the glass the alcohol asserts itself a bit more as well as this maltiness which is not sweet, and I like it that way.

Mouthfeel is great, the malt is the part to do it and it does its job, you need a lot of it to back up the massive hop and spice blend and they do it very well without too much flavor imparted from it, keeps the taste focused on the elements they wanted to emphasize. I would guess lots of crystal malt, it imparts a nice crisp freshness to the brew, but the thick quality of the feel lets you know your drinking something solid.

Quite drinkable, although this is probably mood dependent, if you don't want a huge flavor impact on your palate then definitely don't even consider this brew. I think it would go great with a hot stew, it's too thick a brew to compliment chili or any thicker/creamier soups but a nice piping hot spicey vegetable stew would be great!

Photo of MrDanno96
2.63/5  rDev -35.7%
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.

Photo of Walken
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alesmith: Yule Smith [Winter 2007] (Tasted 02/15/08)
22 oz. Bottle: Poured into a snifter.

(Reposted to correct entry after the split.)

Appearance: Deep ruby with orange highlights, huge bubbly head that has some serious issues with dying. Eventually, it recedes, leaving a mushroom of foam in the center.
Odor: Caramel and fruit crystal malt character mixes nicely with the hops; fresh strawberry & orange aromas take center stage, pine & spice notes in the background.
Consistency: Big sticky malt backbone that borders on syrupy, carbonation smooths the beer out a bit, making it feel somewhat creamy.
Taste: Toasted bread-like malt character with big fruity and candy-sweet caramel notes, as expressed in the nose. Hops are aggressively bitter, featuring a nice pine & spice hop flavor, but certainly on the level with the malt. Finish is balanced as well, hops run more grapefruit and the toasted malt, almost chocolate. Consistency leans towards oily as the beer warms and the caramel becomes even more expressive.

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

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