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YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

746 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 746
Reviews: 307
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 84
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: 746 | Reviews: 307 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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!

YuleSmith (Winter) from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 746 ratings.