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YuleSmith (Winter) - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

306 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 306
Hads: 762
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.37%
Wants: 79
Gots: 70 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-01-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 306 | Hads: 762
Photo of illidurit
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Winter release.

Poured into a snifter, this beer takes a dark auburn color with a fluffy, dense, off white head of 3 fingers. The retention and lacing are absolutely insane here, the glass is nearly covered with sheets and streaks of foam and the head maintains a half finger of height the whole way through. It looks like a beer that was left out during a tan snowstorm.

Aroma explodes out of the glass: plum, honeydew, caramel, earthy and floral hops, grapefruit, sap, spice, everything you can think of. Amazing and intriguing.

The taste here just reinforces the perfection of the aroma. Delicious caramel/brown sugar malt contends with an interesting floral hop flavor for dominance but this fight ends in a draw. The balance is impeccable; the sweet malt is never cloying and the hop presence is never too bitter. Each sip demands the next. Perfection.

Mouthfeel is exemplary. The carbonation and body are so perfect you don't even notice them. Everything is precisely engineered in such a way that it allows the flavor and aroma to shine through without distraction. Unbelievably smooth.

My only regret about this beer is that I didn't buy every one the store had. This is a beautiful beer. I could drink these until I collapsed. Bravo, AleSmith.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint @ O'brien's on Alesmith night during SD beer week

A - A caramel red with a finger width of head. It disipates as the beer warms up. There is minimal lacing on the glass.

S - Roasty malts and hops mixed with tones of caramel and toffee

T - Caramel, toffee, roastiness, with some biterness on the aftertaste

M - Light bodied with easy carbonation. It's smooth in the mouth, but packs a little bit of biterness on the back of the pallet as you swallow

D - very nice; packs a little punch at the end

This is Evil Dead Red's big brother. Similar taste, but it'll kick EDR's butt, as EDR only has a 6.66% ABV. A very quality beer.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a 24 oz mug.

Pours a dark copper color with 3+ fingers of plush, rocky foam. Head retention is outstanding, and there's beautiful lacing stuck to the glass.

Bold citrusy hop aroma. Sweet and lightly fruity, with a touch of pine. Very nice.

Flavor is outstanding. Huge caramel malt balances the hops nicely. Pleasant ending bitterness. Despite its simplicity, there's still a pretty complex flavor...each flavor component shines equally and blends together perfectly.

YuleSmith's mouthfeel is perfect. If the body isn't full, it's damn close. Smooth, ridiculously easy drinker. ABV is never noticeable. Just a phenomenal beer.

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Photo of ccrida
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, this year's version, poured into an imperial pint, the Yulesmith with slightly hazy amber with a huge, meringue like khaki head, which is slow settling and rocky, leaving lots of foamy lace. Head is so thick (over 1/2 the glass) it forms a hocky puck like hunk of foam in the middle of the skim from the carbonation streamers 1/2 way through the glass! The color is darker then I'd like for a hoppy beer (although I don't mind amber), otherwise I'd give it a 5.
Check that, I just had two hunks of foam close like pincers on my lip when I took my last sip, and I'm really not that intoxicated, this head is unreal!!!!

Smell is sticky citrus hops for sure, but mainly lots of sweet and spicy biscuit malt, like fresh gingerbread. I really dig it, and see how it works for the holidays, but I can see it being way to rich for some.

Taste is very rich malt, and not as bitter as the nose suggests, lots or sweet caramel malt, with a spicy, super boozy, albeit clean finish. It's funny how much I normally find DIPAs to be to light on the flavoring and heavy on the bittering hops, but this one can use a *slight* more bittering. I'm drinking this fresh, I'm sure it really falls apart with a few months under it's belt. Still, it's pretty good.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker, syrupy side, although not as heavy as it may first seem, but with a fair amount of chewiness.

Drinkability is rather high (keep it cold), it's an interesting seasonal but a nicely done west coast red. If you don't mind them to fruity, rich or hoppy, merry xmas!

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Photo of scubazook
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a half pint glass at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

Appearance: Copper almost light brown with ruby highlights. Slightly hazy. White thick head.

Smell: Brilliant citrusy hop aroma. Slightly piney. No Diacetyl.

Taste: Big citrusy grapefruit-like hop flavor with a strong malty backbone.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied well balanced Imperial Red. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent. A very delicious well balanced Imperial Red with juicy grapefruit-like hop aroma and rich malty flavor.

I tried the winter seasonal Imperial Red version but I'd love to try the YuleSmith summer version DIPA as well.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2007

A: Dark ruby/amber body with a giant offwhite head.. lasts for days (well not literally)... excellent lacing...

S: Piney and citrus hops... caramel malts... fruity malts (berries)

T: Lovely piney and citrus hop blast up front... softer roast malts with caramel and chocolate tones ... some softer fruits in there as well...

M: Well balanced and smooth transitions.. coats the mouth... nice delicate bitter hop finish

D: Excellent... this has easily become one of my favorite beers... hats of to AleSmith

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

Winter 2008 version, consumed 12/30/08.

Dark caramel/reddish colored beer, pours very clear with a three-finger frothy tan head. Many small bubbles rise slowly throughout the glass.

Aroma has some piney and citrusy hops notes. Slightly sweet caramel malt as well.

Flavor - This is one hoppy beer. Fresh, flavorful hops are the first and primary flavors. Spruce, grapefruit and a bitter finish. Slight woody character. Slight malt presence reminds me a little of low-salt Ritz crackers (?!?).

Moderately astringent, a little thick. Leaves a slightly oily feel behind.

A big, hoppy beer for those that love them. For the rest of us, a bomber might be too much to finish solo.

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Photo of jdskinns
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly cloudy amber color with thin offwhite head. Smelled sweet and like dark fruits, plums and raisins. Tasted much like it smelled, dark fruits and sweet malts. Not a huge alcohol taste, but definitely present. This was an excellent beer. Did not have it fresh, but with a few months on it and it is still very enjoyable. A little syrupy as I get to the end of the bomber but nothing unpleasant going on. Very good and highly recommended.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle into a tulip; Winter version reviewed December 25th, 2008

P: Pours deep copper from the bottle, and looks to be a deep amber color with a deep burgundy tint in the glass. Tall, healthy tan head is thick and rocky with the bubbles tightly packed together. Showed good retention, settling to form a halo on top and left rings of lace while doing so.

A: Freshly toasted biscuity malts, citrusy and piney hops, yeast, and some caramel. Deliciously appetizing aroma!

T: Clean, toasted malts and caramel start things out on the sweet side. But, hop heads rejoice, here comes a cavalry of our citrus and pine-flavored buddies soon afterward to put things on an even keel. The awesome balance that is achieved as a result is magnificent! There is a bit of a spicy kick on the back end. The finish is dry and leaves my whole mouth tingling from the barrage of flavors, while the sneaky alcohol warms the chest on the way down. The best Imperial Red I've had yet!

M: Medium-full bodied, smooth, slightly sticky, and carbonated to perfection.

D: Hell yeah! Perfect beer to snuggle up with on Christmas night.

Notes: Tremendously well balanced DIPA that hits all the right notes for me. Great holiday beer to enjoy while basking in the glory of such a magical season. Damn, I love the holidays...and Alesmith! Highly recommended

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 4/20/08. Winter bottle. Pours a red/amber with a huge light tan head that lasted. Aroma primarily of floral hops, also some piney hops, grapefruit, other citrus fruits. Flavor of piney hops, citrus with a malty finish (also got some sweetness and alcohol in the finish). At first this beer was very smooth to drink, but it got heavier and more syrupy as I continued to drink. A very good ASA (but not my favorite).

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Photo of Murchmac
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this last summer, but now there is a different spot for the winter one.

Big head, reddish amber glow, orange highlights. Like Rudolph doing lines of oxyclean off santas suit.

Sweet dark malt smell, hops, caramel, smells like a barleywine.

Sweet burnt sugars, caramel, spicey, hoppy. Alcohol noticeable. Like deglazing a pan with mulled brown sugar hoppy cider.

Mouthfeel is almost chewy, like a christmas fruitcake. Bitter hops.

Did I mention alcohol present?

After having Stone 13 and looking back at this beer, imperial red's are a tough style to get right.

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Photo of JayQue
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copied over. I made this review in the wrong place in early 2009.

Winter Bottle. Great looking beer!!! Reddish amber, big pillowy off-white head with good retention and heavy lacing. Looks like a beer commercial in my pint glass. Smell is spicy and hoppy like Celebration Ale. Very pronounced and pleasant smell.

Taste reminds me of Celebration Ale as well but with more citrus than pine/resinous flavor. It is spicy like Celebration Ale with strong bitterness. The difference is a strong sweet malt presence in the middle of the taste experience. Strong hops up front and in the finish, but almost like a Barleywine in the middle.

Mouthfeel is rich and oily, with a crisp spiciness. Drinkability is good, but this is a big beer, a sipper not an all night guzzler.

Very good!!!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2008 version. Reviewed December 8th, 2008. Got both Yules in a trade from Fumner. Served in a pint glass.

A - Murky amber color with ample and creamy tan-brown head. Lacing pattern is terrific, lots of nice swirls.

S - Sweet malt, floral pine, citrus hops all combine together to make a very festive aroma. Reminds me a little of Furious in the way that it combines citrus and candy flavors, but it's significantly sweeter.

T - Malt-heavy, with hop bitterness appearing mid-palate and lingering into the aftertaste. Loses something in the transition from smell to taste - not as much complexity in the floral notes.

M - Creamy, smooth - viscosity is one of my big sticking points, but this one is spot on in that regard. Carbonation is there, but not overwhelming. There's a definite hop resin character that stays in your mouth and complements the bitter aftertaste.

D - The bomber I shared with Dave went too quickly. Even though this clocks in at a hefty 9.5% it drinks just as well as some lighter IPAs and red ales.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now that the YuleSmith was finally separated into 2 different beers I am moving this one to it's correct profile...This was Reviewed on: 12-04-2007 01:48:10

This review is for a 2007 Winter YuleSmith. Last time I had this one it was not as fresh as it could have been so I'm anxious to try this one fresh since the summer edition is one of my favorite beers.

Pours a rusty brown color with hints of red and nearly three inches of foam that almost overflowed in my pint glass. Sure takes its time to settle down to a thick, almost half inch of foam, and leaves little traces of lacing on the glass.

Great hop aroma. Lots of citrus and grapefruit, pine, caramel, and toasted malts. The aroma gets less intense as it sits in the glass, and I'm wondering if a pint glass--as the bottle recommends--is the appropriate glass for this type of beer.

The taste, oh so good! This one has a bigger malt presence than the summer edition, bread and toast flavors followed by some bitter grapefruit and citrus zest and finally finishes with some pine needles. As it warms up the pine flavors and huge malt bill take the stage. Hints of toffee detected as well. Real good taste but had to knock off half a point because the pine does get to be a bit too much after a while.

The beer is very well carbonated and even though it's a big beer the mouthfeel is quite refreshing.

As good as this one is I'm not sure if I like it more than the summer version. Still, this is one fine crafted beer.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seeing that there now is a listing for this beer, I shall move my review over.

22oz bottle, Winter 2007 version.

A: Deep amber-red with a dense, 4-finger off-white head. Tons of carbonation with the receding head leaving sticky lace in its wake.

S: Tons of malt here - caramel, toffee, brown sugar, figs. Hops are present with tons of pine.

T: Full-bodied malt-monster this is with tons of caramel right up front. The pine from the hops is present, assertive and delicious. Reminds me of the Stone Double Bastard in some ways. There's tons of residual sweetness in this one (just a hair too much, maybe?) Hints of raisins in here too

M: As mentioned, full bodied with tons of carbonation.

D: The sweetness of this one does me in. I doubt I'd drink more than one. Oh, and at 8.5%ABV, I doubt I'd want to!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-08-2008 22:17:07

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Photo of prototypic
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2006 release (reviewed long ago)

Appearance: Very nice copper-bronze color. Two finger head that stuck around for a while. Left a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Hops, hops hops. Hints of vanilla, orange, pineapple (?), and pine. Very nice citrusy smell.

Taste: Hops dominate in this one. But, they are buttressed by the hints of citrus and vanilla. The hops are great, but they don't overwhelm. Extremely delicious brew.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: This one goes down so smooth. I've just polished off a bomber and feel that I could go for another. This is an outstanding winter release. One of the best easily. You won't be disappointed. Very strong offering from Alesmith.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A great copper color with a fluffy white head.

S: Piney hops (lots of them), and caramel malt sweetness.

T: Just like you expect from the nose: tons of piney, hoppy bitterness on the front with a great sweetness from the malt on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Very nicely done beer from AleSmith, and one of the better winter ales.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From my notes of March 1, 2008 moved from the Yulesmith beer before it was split between Summer and Winter.

Another Alesmith brew to try. :^) This is the Winter 2007 version.

It pours a clear copper with a 2 finger head of billowy foam that grows in my glass but, happily, no over flow. Hey, it looks like a mini version of Devil's Tower. Fact is, the head retention has to be seen to be believed and there's no shortage of lacing.

The smell has notes of caramel malt, pine, fruit,...smells very holiday-ish.

The taste is yummy. Beautiful caramel malt hits my palate the same time as a very nicely done (not overly done)batch of piney hoppy goodness. Talk about a smooth but very tasty brew, this one epitamizes that and the alcohol is no where to be seen err...tasted.

Further sips in and I'm getting some citrus flavour that adds just a bit more bitterness but the overall flavours are still working in perfect harmony. It has a pretty fullish mouthfeel because of the perfect amount of carbonation and it finishes both sweet and bitter with the edge going to the malty sweetness. Man, the malt is working some magic here and *really* makes this brew stand out and the end result is a really outstanding DIPA that deserves nothing but praise. I love it!!

Bottom line: An exceptional DIPA that I hope every BA gets to try. Get it any way you can!!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeasty orange-bronze with a beautiful roseate glow when backlit. AleSmith YuleSmith is a gorgeous tropical sunset of a beer. The orangish, pale caramel crown is thick, creamy and sticky in consistency. Amazingly intricate, filagreed lace decorates the glass like frost on a Christmas morning windowpane. Outstanding!

The aroma is superb. A supernova-like hop explosion greets even a passing sniff. Deeper inhales threaten to blow the top off my head with twin cannons named 'Mr. Hop' and 'Mr. Malt'. There's a perfect melding of caramel and candied grapefruit peel, with a modicum of passionfruit for good measure. These guys are more than alesmiths, they're alemagicians.

YuleSmith is bliss in a glass. To approximate the flavor, melt a hug slab of caramel... The rich, sweet, caramel-toffee backbone is mastadon-sized, with big, meaty ribs. Without all that malt running interference, this sucker would be a tongue-shredding hop bomb of the highest order. Each side of the malt-hop dyad continually ups the ante throughout each mouthful.

This AleSmith ale is the quintessential balanced DIPA. That is, malt is given at least as much attention and respect as hops. Only my undying love for unbalanced hop bombs keeps the flavor score from perfection. Each sip delivers a mouthfilling, controlled explosion of sweet, sticky, hop-flecked, syrupy, fruity, bitter, caramel-drizzled pleasure. How in the world can four simple ingredients result in such an amazing elixir?

I don't know if there are any adjectives left to describe what this beer feels like in the mouth. How about full, chewy, syrupy, sticky, velvety... perfect. Any less wouldn't be enough and any more would be too much. I hate to use the word 'sensuous', but it fits.

I respect those who adore subtlety. I respect those who appreciate the nuances that different strains of yeast can provide. I respect those who like funk and those who like complexity. I'm with them on all counts. But if I can open only one present on Christmas morning, make mine a YuleSmith.

Originally reviewed on 9-11-2007.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter from 2008. Poured into Ommegang chalice.

Color is a copper hued red, pretty hazy. Hardly any head or retention. Hence not very much lace.

Aroma is the typical imperial red aroma. Big earthy hops, backed up with a ton of caramel malts. It isn't bad, but nothing special.

Taste: Wow the malts are very bready and caramel like. Bit earthy hops. Some citrus flavor.

Mouthfeel: bitter, and more bitter. A little creamy. Ends with a big hoppy caramel aftertaste. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a decent red, it is aged a bit, but still was pretty hoppy. I would have it again, but wouldn't go crazy for it.
Decent drinkability.

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

22oz Winter version bomber purchased from liquid solutions

Appearance: Pours quite an attractive amber brown but looks more like a red w/ honey corners when put up to light. The body is ever so slightly hazed and the crown is white. Some retention and lacing but not too much.

Smell: Loads of caramel malt, lots of piney resinous hops, and a hint of citrus.

Taste: Same as nose. Huge dose of hops and some caramel. Slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium bodied and a touch chewy.

Drinkability: Just fine for a 9.5% DIPA

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

Release '05 (3/24/06)
A tremendously large IPA with great balance and done with a holiday twist. Typical of big IPA's with very bold hop character, balanced with a healthy dosage of malt. Atypical of IPA's in it's cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and alspice flavors. It remains pine-ey and spruce-ey while showing complex fruitiness of grapefruit and oranges. Malts offer a creamy, viscous round sweetness while spiced heavily with American hops and fruitcake. Bready and yeasty despite such boldness. A very good beer to compliment the holiday season...even if the holiday season ended 3 months ago.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter Yulesmith '08, 8.5%.

Pours a slightly hazy copper amber into a pint glass. A thin off white head surrenders to a surface cap in a few minutes yet offers decent lacing throughout.

Muddled hops on the nose with some roasted caramel malts, bit of cinnamon and orange. Opens up nicely with a bit of warming yielding some pine and wet peat notes. Alcohol leaves a bit of a barleywine sense on the nose as this is likely beyond its prime.

Taste is smooth and slightly rich in malts with a bit of a spice on the close. Medium body with a slightly chewy yet not overdone finish. Hint of apple cider and some orange peel in back with a return of lingering orange/cinnamon spice. Slightly coarse in feel and with a decent carbonation for the body. Reasonably drinkable for its ABV, pretty well balanced and never overpowering.

An interesting ale and worth a try though surely better when fresh. I look forward to the pending release of Summer Yulesmith next month.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color is a nice reddish brown with a 2 finger bubbly off white head. The head clung to the sides well. Aroma smelled spicy, some banana bread, and some orange. Taste was tangy, slightly peppery. Felt very smooth and creamy in the mouth. Tangy aftertaste lingered for a while. ABV hit a bit fast definitely a sipping beer.

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Photo of schroederm
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a snifter:

Pours a dark opaque amber with some copper coloring, with a thick and soapy 1.5 finger off white head. Aromas include citrus, grapefruit, pineapple. peppery, and a ton of allspice. It's got a great hoppy bitter with tons of citrus - specifically
grapefruit - that leave a wonderful aftertaste on the palate. Overspiced for me, just too much on the palate. Good body and carbonation. Drinkability is reduced for me by its bitter and spicing, but overall above average.

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