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YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

712 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 712
Reviews: 300
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 83
Gots: 57 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-01-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 712 | Reviews: 300 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

Photo of popery
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Winter, 2008. Well, let's see what all the fuss is about. The beer looks great. It glows amber with hints of red-orange around the edges. This version is definitely a Double Amber Ale, and I'm not quite sure why BA doesn't split the Summer and Winter into separate entries but what's done is done. The head clings to the sides of the glass in great gobs. Even a sip of beer leaves enough lacing to make me a bit confused as to where I'm drinking from on the glass. The aroma could be a touch stronger, but I enjoy the subtlety and the depth of malt balancing out the enormous hops. The hops are more orange than grapefruit and slightly piney, as well. The flavor shows off the enormous amount of sweet, caramel malt used. It gets a perfect score more for balance than any particular incredible flavor. Alesmith manages subtlety in an enormously hoppy beer, which is quite a feat and deserves its recognition. Neither the hops nor the malt are the best in the world, however the balance and subtlety are striking with such enormous flavors. This beer is not what I expected. It is distinct in a world crowded by nearly indistinguishable enormously hopped San Diego-style hoppy beers. I dearly love many of these beers, but very few of them possess YuleSmith's subtlety. I'm thankful that I've had a chance to sample many big California DIPAs because, without that experience, I'm not sure that I would appreciate AleSmith's efforts. That said, experience is also a detriment; this beer would receive a perfect taste score if Russian River and Port didn't exist. The hops are excellent but could be slightly more complex. I lean towards the floral side of hops, like those in Pliny the Elder, over these citric-pine hops. I know little about the technical side of these beers, so I'm probably misstating things. On the other hand, YuleSmith has one of the best malt characters of a hop-bomb style beer that I've ever tried. It's a truly great beer and deserves the fuss, but living in California has made me enormously nit picky about hops. Ultimately, this is great, great beer and a must for all hop lovers.

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

A: Hazy copper-amber with a very light tan head, good retention & lacing.

S: Piny American hops, citrus rind, toffee, cotton candy fruity esters.

T: Resiny, piny hops; grapefruit rind, toffee, caramel, cotton candy, solid bitterness, slight alcohol warmth.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has some hop acidity.

D: Incredible for its weight!

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

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with orange hue and a huge stiff head that leaves 3D lacing in its wake. The smell is aggressive sweet malty with a fruity citrus character. Full bodied, the mouth feel is really smooth. A nice balance between the malt and hops. Full flavored, it tastes very similar to the nose. The citrus is well pronounced and blended well with the sweet malt. A really nice drinker. The 8.8% ABV is well hidden; 22 oz is just the right size. Previous 8/24/07 entry of the Summer Yule.
12/26/07...The appearance of this Winter Yule is very similar. A huge stiff head that settles in a rocky pattern to 3D lacing. The color of this one is darker; a seasonal redness. The smell, mouth and flavors are very similar. Cheers.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a pint glass this beer was a hazy red/brown color with a medium-sized tan head. It had a fruity aroma, as well as some biscuit. Cherry/dark fruit taste, bread, and a bunch of hops. Nice balance, sweet up front and hops bitterness at the end. Great beer.

Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: one inch head, medium/high carbonation, hazy, amber in color

Smell: caramel and floral hops

Taste: floral hops and sweet caramel malt--some toffee on the finish-and alcohol

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium/light carbonation, nice mix of bitter and sweet

Drinkability: An above average amber where the alcohol hits hard. This is the first AleSmith offering that has not totally blown me away however. Not a bad beer, just one that I am not likely to pick up again.

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

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

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

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

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending this bottle to me.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is strong orange and citrus with some caramel malts. The flavor is bitter orange peel with a nice caramel malt backbone. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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

To further my review of YuleSmith (I reviewed the summer earlier today), here's the winter...

A brown/amber color with a very light brown head... good retention and lacing with a good deal of sediment falling to the bottom of the glass.

A lot of roasted malt aromas followed by a citrus and pine hoppiness. An alcohol aroma in there too.

Good mouthfeel with the malts dominating the flavor with hops playing second fiddle... citrus, pineapple, and a nice bitterness.

I like the summer version a bit better, but it was an aged summer version, so fresher is probably definitely better with either version of this beer.

Photo of kegger22
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

AleSmith YuleSmith Holiday Ale was an amber color with a beige two-finger head that displayed good retention.

The aroma was strong pine hops and a pretty big malt presence too. The aroma gave the impression that this was going to be a beer with very strong flavors.

The taste did not disappoint. It was a malt bomb and just the opposite of the aroma; the hops were second banana, but one hell of a banana. The malt was caramel sweet and the hops were citrusy instead of pine bitter.

The mouth feel was medium bodied, oily and sufficiently carbonated.

Drinkability was pretty good; the price made it more of a special occasion beer rather than a go to beer.

I've heard all the talk about Nugget Nectar being the best of the reds, and I have tried it this past month. However, YuleSmith Holiday was the best red I have tasted, and I will be happy to pay nine bucks per bomber to taste this again. Well done AleSmith.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(transfered on 3/20/10, originally reviewed on 4/9/07)

This is the winter release.

Before I go on, let me just say I thought their single IPA was great. I heard some people thought THAT was a DIPA, so I had to see how they strengthen that up. And here it is, one of the last bottles I found at Vendome, costing me $5.99 for a bomber. I can't wait for this moment, so let's get it on:

Dark orange in appearance, blended in with some red hues. The head is incredible and wouldn't stop rising; it was so thick I had to shovel some of it out of my glass. The smell is very hoppy, but the malt profile keeps it from being overpowering. Nice sweet citrus flavors arise too.

The taste is so awesome that I'm giving it its own paragraph. How much smoother can you make this beer? So this is the kind of brew that brings me to BA. Malts and hops are blendeed together perfectly, not one profile dominates the other. They go together like cookies and cream. A big dose of tropical fruit and hops makes the meat and potatoes of the beer. It's then chased by semi-sweet chocolate. Alcohol is faint and creates a third dimension of flavor: spicy. Sweet, bitter, and spicy. My tongue is in bliss! Feels very thick and syrupy.

Notes: I now know what my purpose for living in SoCal is, to drink YuleSmith Holiday Ale! Drink it with pride, and spread it with joy to friends. After all, the back label states, 'tis the season.

UPDATE: I popped another winter release as of July 1, and it still kicks ass! Anyway, supposedly the winter version is an Imperial Red style. But I don't care, I love this stuff.

Originally reviewed on: 04-09-2007 18:49:18

Photo of dasenebler
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber of what I think is the 2009-10 winter bottling.

Pours a sexy dark amber with a modest, but dense off-white head. Great lacing, both in the glass and bottle.

Complex malty nose punctuated by piney hops.

Flavor is super malty but well-hopped, making for a deliciously balanced strong amber ale. A spicy caramel toastiness envelops the taste buds. Finish is pretty bitter, with plenty of resinous and piney hop flavor. It's basically a very well-hopped malt bomb. Reminiscent of certain Bear Republic brews. Mouthfeel is superb. Perfectly moderate carbonation and big maltiness makes for a velvety texture. Not super drinkable because of the abv, but well-balanced and a joy to drink.

My previous Alesmith experience was the IPA, which was unfortunately over-carbonated but nevertheless delicious. Yulesmith was a much better drinking experience.

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

Reviewed on 10-12-2009 copied and deleted from old "Yulesmith" that was all inclusive. Now there is a distinction between the two and my review shall reflect it.

Thanks a ton to iconoklaztor for sending me this sweet extra! Thanks Don!

Winter 2008 version I think.

This one was a gusher...as soon as the bottle was cracked, it drooled foam all over the table and the floor on the way to the sink. It didn't settle down until I poured a glass.

Poured into a pint glass, it's a murky orange brown color with a huge thick and chunky tan head. Excellent retention and leaves some nice lacing.

The nose is completely void of all hops and has a very complex malty nose. I get caramel and nutty malts, almost an english barleywine type maltiness. Very sweet. Alcohol is only present in a warming sense.

The taste is similar to the nose, very sweet and malty with a nice complexity. The taste deviates only slightly, and I get a slightly fruity taste, possibly a glimce at what the hops once were like. This is tasty for sure, but I would love to try a fresh bottle to compare.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice carbonation. Kind of sticky, and the taste stays with you for a while.

Drinkability is good, I can definitely see this as being a nice holiday beer.

I'm very glad I got the chance to try this. This bottle is at least a year old, who knows it could even be a 2007 for all I know. There was no hops left whatsoever, which allowed the malts to come forth and combine for an excellent complex mixture. Great stuff. I would love to try a fresh bottle to see what this was like in it's prime, but I'm happy with this bottle as it is.

Thanks Don for a mega want! Thanks for the chance!

Photo of Lunch
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz. bottle purchased from Julio's Liquors in Westboro, MA into my DFH snifter at the appropriate temperature (03/04/10).

A: Pours a darker shade of amber with a nice ruby hue. Capped with one finger of an off-white head with better than average retention leaving behind patchy lace.

S: Interesting aroma that seems rather metallic with some citrus and pine hops as well as mildly sweet caramel malt.

T: The metallic scent does not really transfer into the taste. Lots of malt and hop resin with pine and some citrus flavors. Some of the 9.5% abv. is apparent as well.

M: Very full-bodied and quite syrupy with low and somewhat creamy carbonation.

D: Drinkability suffers from the booze and the fact that this beer is so thick and resinous that it took me quite a while to finish the bomber.

Overall this was a nice beer from AleSmith and a rich and full-bodied American Amber, but the aroma and complexity left me wanting a bit more out of this beer. Worth a look.

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

Winter 2009 release

Live review. Poured from the 22 oz. bomber that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage for $8.99 a few weeks ago into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale goblet. No observed "best by" date. I noticed AleSmith's politically correct dancing all of the way around Christmas without actually mentioning it. I find that very weak. What would be wrong with "YuleSmith Christmas Ale?"

A Light brown creamy head over a dark caramel body. Lastly, I like the yeast sediment at the bottom of the glass! 4.5

S Strong smells of sweet malt, obvious hops which border on a rubbing alcohol smell and also a rather obvious ABV presence as well. It has the smell of a beer which the brewers turned up all the dials and kept them there. There is a nice, full fruit like smell too that creates interest in me and makes all of this bigness ultimately inviting. 4.0

T Big malt, big hops, big ABV. The big sweet malt is significant, creating a syrup/honey like bigness along with what is likely some "holiday spices." The hops are a grapefruit tart that linger well into the aftertaste. The taste of alcohol is not very well hidden and starts as a spike but then finishes as a warmth of alcohol. The taste, consistent with the smell, is of a huge, far reaching beer with sweet, sour and the ABV to back it all up. To me, this is like a Christmas version of Arrogant Bastard. 4.5

M As suggested, this is a huge beer. I think that the feel matches the tastes and is quite appropriate. 4.0

D Not that good since it is such a big beer but there is enough interest created here to keep me coming back for more sips. 3.5

Notes: Merry Christmas!

Photo of DaveJanssen
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Transferred from summer version after the two were split. Winter release. Split a 22oz 2 ways poured into globes.reiewed 11/26/2009.

Ar: Resinous hop, rich caramel, toasty malt, aggressive hop bitterness, strong bitter/resin, light chocolate, roasty malt, rough alcohol

Ap: clear red, light tan head, good retention, light lace

F: Sweet caramel, chocolate, orange, rough interaction between sweet malt and hops, pine, resinous hop, aggressive but smooth, strong malt presence but hops still slightly stronger, similar hop quality to the alesmith IPA but the IPA is better, vegetative hop, rough grainy malt,raisins, rough alcohol, dark malt and hops clash

M: Medum/full body, peppery high carb, smooth and thick, resinous, alcohol warm/hot

O: great malt, great hops but they don't work well together, sweet and hops clash, has similarities to the stone 13th anniversary but this is way better (compared to small pour of stone 13 and it makes similarities more apparent), if it were spiced instead of the hop presence i think the different tastes would work better together.

Photo of josefnewsong
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


A - Brownish orange color with an inch of foamy/frothy head
S - Big piney/resiny smell
T - Pine resiny hops up front with caramel malts in the back
M - Sticky medium bodied maltiness with a serious hop bite
D - damn good.

Overall an uncommonly well-balanced beer with that piney flavor I love. Warms as it goes down, very sticky in the finish. I love the characteristics of the malts as well and the alcohol is at a perfect level for the brew. Beautiful.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of pnkRed
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is supposed to warm you up on those cold winter nights when the blizzards have snowed you in, your heat and power is out, and you have no food in the fridge. What are you going to do to fill you up and keep you warm? Bust out a Yulesmith of course! This is a big beer! Very malty. Very hoppy. Very delicious. This one you gotta sip through. Keeps you warm every step of the way.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brent (Swimsum) brought this one up from Long Beach to share with Trevor (lynx1245) and I. Late fall/early winter 2008 edition.

Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours out thick and oily (for the style anyway). A creamy tan head forms on top of a cloudy, red-clay body. Fantastic retention and very nice spotty lacing. "Yeasties" float about within the body.

Smell: Pine, metallic hops, handfuls of toasted grains, spice, and caramel.

Taste: Toasted grains, lots of oily hops, caramel, honey, toasted bread. Really wish this review would've been more in-depth, but I was pretty buzzed at the time. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation produces a cool rolling effect across the palate. Creamy, oily, and medium-bodied. Delicious. Very smooth. Aftertaste is long lasting.

Drinkability: Awesome. What a gorgeous beer!

Photo of FreshHawk
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Tawny orange color with a slightly below average size head which has decent retention and nice lacing.

S - Malt and some hops with citrus/grapefruit and pine scent.

T - Really nice balance of malt and hop. The base is a sweet caramel malt that is fairly rich. On top of that is a healthy dose of pine and grapefruit hops. Lots of Christmasy spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, etc.) Alcohol isn't overly present, but it does provide a warming effect.

M - Rich and creamy with a medium to full body. Fairly chewy as well.

D - Really drinkable. With the multitude of flavors, but without one being dominant, each sip brings a new taste. The body and creaminess also helps.

Notes: Really nice beer that definitely has a winter/Christmas feel to it, but would be wonderful anytime of the year. So many flavors that mix and mingle so well together.

Photo of hophead247
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a large foamy beige head. The aroma is sweet caramel malt, citrus hops, and pine. The flavor is a wonderful mix of the chewy sweet caramel along with the citrus and pine hop flavors. The finish is bitter and long lasting. The 9.5 % is not noticeable in the beer at all which makes this one dangerous, as it is so easy to drink. I'm glad AleSmith is going to ship to the Bay Area.

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

2009 Vintage. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Body is an interesting gradient, ranging from Persian Red on the bright end to a rich sangria on the darker side. Relatively clear, though this is bottle conditioned and unfiltered, and I'll sacrifice a bit of clarity for flavor any day. Small buff head that remains floating with decent retention. Billowing columns of lacing look like trees frozen in a tempest. Faint legs.

Caramel-tinged hops, with tons of citrus in the nose. Blood orange, a bit of grapefruit, a few drops of lemon converge with mountain air backdrop. Light specialty malt as well.

Tart bready entry with elements of citrus again intermingling with a slight grain flavor. Hearty almost savory bitterness as the hops assert themselves mid-palate, though a brown-sugar like malt note fights back for balance. Pine and mint into the finish which is dry and faintly suggestive of evergreen and maybe cocoa.

Creamy, smooth, not quite medium-bodied mouthfeel. A bit prickly from the hops and alcohol.

Straight-forward, tasty amber ale, which works well as a Winter Warmer. I'll return to this later as I've still got an '08 that may have some interesting changes in the bottle over 2 years...

Photo of craytonic
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad these have been broken up into two different beers on BA, as they are certainly distinct. Both have an excellent grapefruit/hop aroma. I prefer the summer version (see my review), the winter version is much more mellow on the hops and much heavier on the malt. A bit syrupy.

Photo of gameface23
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper in color with an offwhite/light tan head. Lacing is pretty decent.

S: The smell is probably the best part about this beer: Honeyed grapefruit rinds, caramel and alcohol. There's a nice citrus vibrance to it, but it still has tons of malt to balance it out.

T: Citrus hops, caramel malts and alcohol. It finishes with a small amount of brown sugar. Slightly warming.

M: Medium-bodied.

D: This is an above average beer. That being said, I would put it second behind Nugget Nectar in the Amber/Red Ale category. I can buy Nugget Nectar for $2 less per bomber (and save even more by buying NN in six pack form), so it suffers in rating because of that fact.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, Christmas '09, served in a standard pint glass.

Murky, deep amber color with a small beige head that thinned to a layer with some clumps that left some globs of lace on the glass.
Citrus hop aroma, orange rind, with some alcohol scent in the background.
Very good flavor of citrus hops all the way through, with a slight taste of alcohol, more so pronounced after it warms.
Medium/Full bodied, chewy, lightly carbonated.
Somewhat heavy, but a good, drinkable Dub/Imp IPA for the winter season.

YuleSmith (Winter) from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.