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The First Snow Ale - RJ Rockers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The First Snow AleThe First Snow Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

74 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 180
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 21.86%
Wants: 7
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
RJ Rockers Brewing Company visit their website
South Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SaCkErZ9 on 10-12-2005

This hearty American pale ale contains a rich blend of spices that warms the soul on a cold winter's night. Chill the mug, stoke the fire, and savor this quality seasonal brew. Available only during the Winter season.
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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 180
Photo of StarSAELS
2.4/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I don't get it. Maybe I've been spoiled by other, stronger-tasting "winter" brews, but I find this offering boring (just like the Bell Ringer).

Color's nice -- and promising -- but the enjoyment takes a dive from there. I get a light carbonation tingle on the tongue, and the body's okay (light, I think). But the flavor's all nutmeg... maybe a little cinnamon. At least the alcohol is working. Another Rockers brew I'm mostly disappointed by.

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Photo of drpimento
2.62/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Best part was the smell. Poured with a small to medium sized, fine, off white that settled down to a ring after a bit and no lace. Color is a hazy pumpkin pie amber (which is a nice coincidence the same spices used to brew with) with some bubble trails. Aroma is mainly those spices, beer, and later a little funk. Flavor is likewise, but without much malt to balance, which also proly leads to my view that the body is a bit light too although good carbonation. Finish is like flavor and of average length for a spice beer. I'm not finishing mine. Wish I had some cheese or something to neutralize my mouth.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.77/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Aroma of malt, spice, citrus, faint hops. Taste spicey cinnamon, nutmeg, bready malt. Harsh bitter hop and spice in the flavor. Couple dots and bits of lace. Medium body. Soft, kind of smooth carbonation of moderate strength. Ok!

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Photo of rangerred
3.02/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy medium orange with a small half finger white head. Poor lacing and not really any head retention.

Aroma is heavily spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and apples. Almost cider-like.

The flavor is quite heavy with the spice as well, a bit too much i'm afraid, but it isn't completely awful. Loads of cinnamon and allspice with more of that spiced cider quality. Somewhat of a chalky mouthfeel with a mild bitterness to wrap things up.

Overall, a pretty standard winter warmer that could use a bit of cleaning up. It is totally drinkable, though, even if it is a bit rough around the edges.

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Photo of Sipchue
3.02/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As a winter warmer, this falls short of my expectations for the style. Thin head with very little lacing. Smells nice and spicy, reminiscent of red cinnamon heart candy. Just out of the fridge, this tastes like a summertime beer with some cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg thrown into the pot for good measure. The ABV is not evident here. The flavor is tart, like a lemon zest (in the back of the tongue) sprinkled with cinnamon (in the front, sides and middle). Not at all the characteristics of warmers in my memory. As it warms, the flavors and aroma remain the same, but fuller and rounder than before. Five minutes after the last sip, I feel like I sucked on too many lemon balls and my breath is fresh. Interesting? Yes, but just kind of odd.

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Photo of matty
3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange beer with a rapidlt fading head .Aroma is spices(smeels like those spice wafer cookies).Taste is the same holiday spices that you would find in an egg nog.Overall an average beer nothing less nothing more.I doubt I would recommend or purchase again.

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Photo of Suds
3.12/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is a golden liquid, slightly hazy, with notable yeast 'floaties'. Slim white head. It's not an brilliantly attractive beer...average. The aroma is nice: spice is the first thing that's noticeable. Cinnamon. There's a little nutmeg, pale malt, and earthy hops. It's a Christmas smell for a winter brew; appropriate. The taste is middle-of-the-road. There's a decent balance...semi-sweet. The spice is notable in the taste, and gives a peppery sensation on the tongue. Hops have a mid-taste bite that give a counterbalance to the malt. Not bad. Firm in body, but not quite as hefty as the beer needed. All in all, this is drinkable and good, but not very interesting, and really rather ordinary for the season.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first beer from RJ's, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall it wasn't too bad. Granted, it wasn't great either. It had a very light spice to the smell, but the spice taste was more up front in the taste. To me, it kind of tasted like a light pumpkin beer. I do look forward to try other brews offered from RJ's.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A--Light amber/medium orange body with a single finger of fizzy white head which dies quickly and leaves no lacing. I have a feeling that's the glass's fault, though, not the beer's.

S--Apple pie--clove and cinnamon, with a hint of ginger. No malt or hops come through.

T--More of the same, with a bit of basic pale malt biscuit backing in the middle of the profile. Mostly it's the same spices as the nose, in the same proportion: clove and cinnamon, followed by finger. Hop bitterness but no hop flavor really. Kind of blah.

M&D--Mouthfeel's fine. Again, like a pale ale: somewhat chewy but light. Lively carbonation that's welcome. Drinkability? Meh. You've seen this before. Reminiscent for me of Smutty's Pumpkin Ale, without the pumpkin and without the great hop finish, or Hooker's Nor' Easter, except less clean and smooth.

Son of a Peach was better, but I'm interested in this brewery.

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Photo of Sallerj
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma here is pure spice, but from the aroma I can't tell if it's a winter ale or a pumpkin beer. The taste is closer to what I expect from a spiced winter ale, but there's still an awful lot of pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg or allspice) in here. It's a perfectly good, perfectly forgettable winter ale.

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Photo of Damian74Shensky
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.
A- Pours a coppery amber color. 2 finger white head, little retention. Little lacing.

S- Light toasted malts aroma mixed with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove

T- Toasted malts , cinnamon, caramel malt, clove and nutmeg.

M- Carbonation is good, Spices is what comes out of this beer.

O- Not a bad beer will have again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I feel guilty for having amassed as much beer as I have in the last year or so, but I am now determined to get caught up. I do not mind drinking "seasonal" beers out of season, however, as I am not always a fan of some seasonals, especially Hefeweizens.

From the bottle: "This hearty American Pale Ale contians a rich blend of spices that warms the soul on a cold winter's night. Chill the mug, stoke the fire, and savor this quality seasonal brew."; "Malt beverage brewed with honey and spices"; "Seasonal Beer".

As soon as I popped the cap, I began to get foam coming up through the neck. This precipitated the pour, but negated anything more than gentility. I was getting loads of foam as the result and it quickly became obvious that this one was going to be time-consuming. Pour, wait. Pour, wait. No problem, since the French Vanilla-colored head looked like the top of an ice cream cone, plus I can always open something else in the interim. The density and retention of the head was almost worth the price of admission in and of itself. The nose was quite strong, especially of cinnamon, but also perhaps nutmeg and the honey lent a dull, not cloying, sweetness. Color was a slightly hazy golden-yellow (SRM = > 7, < 9). The lacing that began to form in the interim was beautifully sticky. The taste was a bit sharp for my liking, as if they might have used too heavy a hand in the addition of the spices. Cinnamon was quite evident, to the point of being overwhelming. Finish was dry, very spicy and really more than I would want at any time of year.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for the bottle.

A- Pours a coppery amber color. One and a half finger white head shows poor retention. Specks of lace left on the glass as the streaks tended to fall back into the glass.

S- Light toasted malts aroma mixes with nutmeg, cinnamon, and hints of clove in the front of the aroma. Very spice forward. Light darker fruit seem to be in here...nothing else is really in here. Just a lot of spice forwardness to the nose. Alcohol really doesn't show at all.

T- Toasted malts with a hint of darker fruit in the front end. The toasted malts dominate over the darker fruit which lets the cinnamon come out as the first spice. Middle of the beer shows a light caramel malt with clove and nutmeg. The ending of the beer shows the trio of spicing with a light alcohol hint in the ending.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Spicing is mostly all that is left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly light alcohol and spicing. Flavors are spice forward which is kind of what I expected. No off flavors were present in this beer. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was nothing special but a nice one time beer. The ABV doesn't show at all which I liked. A little spiced forward which I thought could be tones down a little. Overall I would try again but wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again.

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Photo of MayLattimore
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich dark amber, with not much head that disappears fast. The is spicy. The taste doesn't quite hit the mark in my mind. A little strange in the mix. Luckily, the body and mouthfeel are good. But, while I was okay with drinking one, I switched after. I'm not quite sure what they were shooting for. But, maybe it's just not for everyone. It seems most of the people are split on this one.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler filled at Grapevine (Fort Mill, SC) poured into a Catawba Valley pint glass.

A- Medium orange body with a single finger, dense white head which dies quickly and leaves no lacing.

S- Smells of strictly spices.

T- All spices, in all honesty way too much spice in this beer. Other than the spice, the beer is very bland.

M- Light but chewy. Not bad, but not great. Pretty high carbonation.

D- I don't know, the carbonation is really getting to me.

It's not terrible. I would drink it if it was given to me, but I don't think I will be purchasing it again. I was a little disappointed because I do like RJ Rockers.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.37/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

RJ Rockers brews this each year. Although the name implies the first snow, the first snow in SC is once a year.

Sampled this brew at Terry's in Spartanburg. Nice pale color with an unsubstantial head that dissipates rather quickly.

Nice hoppiness. Great balance with the malt. Very nice hop aroma. Smells cascadish. Fruity. Great aroma.

Fairly bitter. Well balanced. Very good body. A nice beer and a perfect accompaniment for the First Snow in SC (which may be three years from now).

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Photo of jabocu
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This comes a light pale yellow-goldish color with a thin cap off tap. Sparkles a little, and the cap dissipates to some lacings. Smell is very spicy right off. You can smell cloves, cardamom, and some hops. Smells very clean and refreshing. The taste is initially sweet, then the spices smack your tongue around like a speed bag, and the hops follow to lock it all in. I had a Belgian buddy have a pint with me, and this was WAY above the level of taste he was used to. Mouth feel was medium with a little carbonation. It's spiciness really leaves you wondering what just happened, but hops brings it all together nicely. This is definitely a winter beer full of flavor and warmth. I hope they bring this back next year.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

R.J. Rockers The First Snow Ale has a thick, off-white, spongy head, a somewhat hazy, orange-gold appearance, lots of bubble streams, and moderate lacing left behind. The aroma is very much like a spiced candle- wax, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin?, and white bread. Taste is the same, with an overriding spiciness, which seems to be white pepper, but it's hard to say, really. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and R.J. Rockers The First Snow Ale finishes semi-dry, refreshing, and spicy. Overall, this is interesting and good.


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Photo of Treyliff
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass, bottled 10/13/14

A- pours a deep golden color with a ruby hue, small fizzy white head quickly reduces to a film floating on top

S- lots of holiday spicing on the aroma with an emphasis on cinnamon & allspice, there’s some fruit aroma reminiscent of fruitcake, slightly sweet from the honey

T- initial honey sweetness up front eventually gives way to spicy flavors of cinnamon & clove, dryi-ish finish with lingers of spices

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and finish

O- a nice winter warmer that has a good blend of spicing

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orange/gold color, with a thin white head. No expiration date on this bottle of Winter ale consumed in early May. I'm getting a shitload of spices with the glass just sitting there about 18 inches from my nose.

Yeah this is a spicy one, the usual Christmas spice blend. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice even. Not a lot else to smell here, the taste is big on the spice but more mild, and it does fade quickly to reveal a decent malt character and even some hops coming through. Mildly bitter finish, with only a bit of lingering spice.

Medium body and a decent smooth moutfeel. I have not had this fresh but it does not seem to be any worse for wear at this point.

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Photo of Mojo
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle -> World Market tulip.

This beer pours up a medium cloudy amber with a one finger off white head, some retention, and plenty of spotty lacing left behind. Smell is cinnamon, honey, and yeast. Taste is very dry with a kind of spicy finish and a yeasty taste. Mouthfeel is sort of unappealing. Not horrible, but not my type of beer either.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got a six pack of these while pciking up some other beer and my local store a few weeks ago, evidentally they wanted to clear out some old inventory but I wont complain

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-cloudy apricot colored with about a 2 finger head

S-light spice and a int of orange

T-spices come through but are not overpowering like some others

M-good medium body

O-no complaints about this one, especially for free

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Photo of tone77
3.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is full of spices, cinnamon coming through strong. Taste is lighter than the smell, some spices, malts, a touch of honey, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall, while not spectacular, is a solid beer.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

"This hearty American Pale Ale contains a rich blend of spices that warms the soul on a cold winter's night, Chill the mug, stoke the fire, and savor this quality seasonal brew." Brewed in the style of a Winter Warmer. Available as a fall/winter seasonal in 12 oz. 6 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Gusher alert! Pours an explosive fizzy foam head of an eggnog white complexion over a copper amber body with ample, lively carbonation and high clarity. Retention is very good and lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) Malt notes of pale and soft biscuit caramel with a modest sweetness and light body, amplified with spiced notes of clove, ginger and allspice, delicate cinnamon, perfumey hints of cardamom. Yeast notes generate a delicate roasted fruitiness with hints of cider fruits, cherry and cranberry essence. It's a peculiar amalgam of aromas but it manages to work fairly well. Potency is moderate-high. 3.75

(Taste) Pale malts with a light biscuit body and moderate sweetness meets fruity notes of cherry and cranberry, almost a roasted pumpkin squash adding thickness and depth to the body. Drinks clean and moderately-bodied, light to no hop profile and bitterness, with the majority of bittering agents in the dryness of potent spices including nutmeg, clove and dry cinnamon. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) The texture is silky, lightly chewy and moderately dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a moderate frothiness and a medium crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is slightly fruity tart and spicy bitter over sweet. Alcohol presence is low and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) I can best characterize First Snow as the transitional step from Pumpkin ales to delicate early winter warmers. I get a peculiar flavor of fermented pumpkin alongside cherry and cranberry that doesn't get mentioned on the label, but an ample and effective, yet appropriate spicing places this beer comfortably in the late fall to early winter seasonal slot, even though Georgia's first snows don't commonly happen until mid-February. I enjoyed this beer and didn't find that the spices overpowered the malt profile but complimented them appropriately. A tasty winter beer and worth a try at the right price. 3.5

RJ Rockers Brewing Company's
The First Snow Ale

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Photo of metter98
3.61/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense and creamy off white head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of yeast and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of spices (cinnamon and nutmeg stand out in particular) and pale malts along with some hints of honey.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink compared to others in the styles. Although it doesn’t have enough alcohol to produce warming sensations in your mouth, the body is strong enough to keep you warm on a chilly fall night.

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The First Snow Ale from RJ Rockers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.