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The First Snow Ale | RJ Rockers Brewing Company

79 Reviews
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The First Snow AleThe First Snow Ale

Brewed by:
RJ Rockers Brewing Company
South Carolina, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 10-12-2005

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 196
Photo of kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: very large head on a clear golden with amber hues. nice lacing.

S: spices, gingerbread, hint of cinnamon. very much the seasonal spices heavy.

T: again heavily spiced. The base beer is hard to work out with this one. more gingerbread, lightly sweet and hints of peppermint

M: high carbonation and light to medium body.

Overall: definitely a nice beer for the season. This one tasted decent even after 9 months of storage. The base beer cant really be commented on.

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Photo of metter98
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
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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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.77/5  rDev -24.1%
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 nickfl
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a huge, overcarbonated head of off white foam on top of a clear, cooler body. The head settles slowly and leaves good lace.

S - A spicy aroma of nutmeg, caramel, and allspice.

T - Sweet toasty malt and caramel up front. Some clove and nutmeg in the middle. Finishes with sweet toast, allspice, and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad. After seeing the ridiculous level of carbonation I was afraid that it was infected, but it turned out to be clean. The spices are relatively well done, but it isn't anything special.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Sonny's in Spartanburg tonight. Poured a pale amber with a decent head. The smell was full of spices and grain, as was the taste. No real hops to it. Very earthy grainy flavor, almost gritty. Had some suprising fruit undertomes to it. Went down very easy and could easily see myself drinking more of these. This was my first offering from RJ Rockers but I will be trying more

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. pint - $4.75 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, coppery body with a small, white head and some meager lacing.

Smell: Aroma of pale malts with a very light hint of grain. Big pop of spices in the nose. As it warms a bit, some dried orange peel joins the scene.

Taste: Pale maltiness with a mild, crystal malt-type sweetness present. Plenty spicy, with distinct tastes of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves. R.J. Rockers must have a hook-up with an online specialty spice retailer. Just like the aroma, the orange peel really only joins the party upon warming. This is all appropriately matched with some spicy hops and a medium bitterness. Drying finish with a lingering orange peel flavor, maybe even some perceived ginger, too.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Nice array of spices set against a lighter, more drinkable pale ale. Did R.J. Rockers brew up a pleasant winter beer? Yes, yes, they did.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First Snow pours a hazy amber body with golden highlights beneath a short-lived head of creamy white.

Cinnamon is apparent in the nose, but there are other spices there as well, and a bit of caramel-laced malt too.

The flavor is just as spicy as the aroma, and it's easily on par with a pumpkin ale (cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, ...?). The spicing is a little bit different though, and it's a bit softer. I taste ginger in the finish, although I'm not sure if that's where it's coming from, it could be a combination of spices; perhaps some citrus zest as well. The malt is pretty basic, appearing bready with some medium caramel notes. It supports the spicing really well, but doesn't stand out on its own. Some mild grassy hops are also present, making themselves known across the middle, and then within the background during the finish. Surprisingly, the spices fade rather quickly given the strength that they show up front.

Overall, it's a pretty nice spiced ale that displays good balance. It could be a bit more rounded, but at the same time I kind of enjoy the slap of spice upfront, and then a soft finish. In fact, that's probably actually better than having everything a little bit more integrated throughout.

Worth trying, but I disagree with the label that suggests you "chill the mug" (or glass) before drinking - this was best after it warmed a touch and the malt was able to balance the spices a little bit more.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.79/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pours a rich, somewhat hazy pale amber, with barely half a finger of white head that disappears to the edges quickly. The nose teems with sweet spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. An undercurrent of hoppy bananas is also detectable. It's as though a pale ale were crossed with a rich apple cider (in a good way, believe me). The taste doesn't quite follow this formula, though, with the spices taking a distinct back seat to the hoppy, pale ale flavors, though they are still there. The banana is forced into a sideshow, something only appearing (and seemingly appealing) only to those looking for such a thrill. Luckily, the body is quite moderate, allowing this warmer to maintain the drinkability established by its nose.

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Photo of Jason
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

Hazed amber with a healthy looking off white lace. Toasted grain and spicing in nose. Smooth and semi-slick medium body. First sip the taste buds get pushed around by the spicing and hop bitterness. After that settles more of an orange rind and dry toasted malt take over. A little fruity with a faint warming alcohol ester in the back. Maltiness mingles with the nutty yeast which both linger with some fading spiciness in the semi-dry finish.

Good balance for this spiced Winter Warmer, a little rough around the edges but I dig that. I find with spiced beers if they are too clean the spicing immediately takes over, not the case here. Give this one a go.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
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"; "Frothy (the Snowman)"; Drink smart"; "Handcrafted every [as rebus clues:] bottle[,] drop[,] time[.]; "Know Your Beer [-] Ale brewed with honey & spices"; "As the chill of winter breezes in, this face-warming brew is sure to lift your spirits. Infused with honey and a flurry of spices, it's the perfect libation for a day of hibernation. Say hello to our frothy friend and settle in. It's time to toast the snow, man."

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 tdm168
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark orangish amber with a thin lacing of off white head that has little retention

S - pie spice, bread, nutmeg, cinnamon

T - nutmeg, cinnamon, bread, pie crust, all spice

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a decent brew. If there was a hint of pumpkin here it would make an excellent beer. There pie spices and crust-like bready notes are pretty damn good. I really liked this beer for it's drinkability and it's spice character. A few of these will definitely warm you up in the late autumn.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden with a fair head that settles to a ring. Smells quite sweet and somewhat spicy, with nutmeg, mace, and cinammon, as well as perhaps a bit of clove and orange peel. The taste is still a little sweet, but not as much so as the nose would have you believe it is going to be. There is a nuttiness and a creaminess here as well that goes pretty well with the sweetness and the spice. Pretty clean and a little light, not thick or heavy at all, and thus fairly easy to drink for the style. Not bad at all- a lighter interpretation of a winter-spiced beer, with a nice nuttiness that almost reminds me of pralines.

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Photo of tone77
3.59/5  rDev -1.6%
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 stevoj
3.16/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Super fluffy, rocky head, on hazy orange/gold body. Mild sweet, spicy aroma, gingerbread, fruitcake, etc. Taste is more of the same with a lean towards the sweet side. Slippery mouthfeel. Getting too close to spring to enjoy this style.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Holly crap did I let this one age! Purchased from my second order at Halftime beverage about 2 months ago.

A - My guess fresh it would have been a nice clear yellow but about 8 months in I got sediment yeast floaties and a minimal amount of head but nice lacing.

S - My god does that smell good. Rich spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander along side of pale malts and mild hops.

T - Taste is a nice balance of spice with chalky yeast and mild bite in the finish from the hops. Mostly sweet and enjoyable.

M - Light to medium good for a pale winter warmer.

Overall a very interesting spin on your typical dark thick bodied winter warmer. Would love to try this again fresh to see if the spices are more pronounced in the flavor.

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Photo of avalon07
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a hazy texture. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A big, enticing aroma of malt and a lot of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.).

T: Tasted of malt, light hops, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The taste doesn't quite live up to expectations built by the aroma. A little on the thin side.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this beer is drinkable, it is wildly uneven. It has some good qualities and some mediocre ones.

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Photo of drpimento
2.62/5  rDev -28.2%
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 Cyberkedi
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a clear, darkish amber with an average head. Aroma is strong and spicy as well as somewhat malty; spice is mainly cinnamon and cloves. Flavor is fairly strong and malty, and the spicy component is mainly cloves and cinnamon. There is also just a hint of hops. Texture is fairly smooth and tingly, and nips at the tongue.

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Photo of Suds
3.12/5  rDev -14.5%
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 thagr81us
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a Dogfish Head shaker. Poured golden yellow with a one and a half finger bone white head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, cinnamon, corriander, cloves, and candy cane. Yes, candy cane... The flavor was of malt, cloves, corriander, cinnamon, and a slight banana note. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was quite a nice brew. Given that it was a winter brew and I had it in the early fall really says something about this one. I am still in shock even after the next day that I got candy cane on the nose... This is definitely a nice and smooth drinking beer with no harsh flavors anywhere in sight. I will definitely be drinking more of this in the coming winter months for sure. This is a definite must try on tap.

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Photo of argock
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into an overssized wine glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $1.60.

A: Pleasing slightly hazy amber with persistent 1-2 fingers of creamy, off-white head which leaves a nice band of lace.

S: Nutmeg and cinnamon with orange are the strongest aroma components. The mid-range malt base is a little flat and cardboardy.

T: The flavor is a subtle mix of a light bodied ale with mild winter spicing and a medium malt presence. The spices are most evident up front and mainly include ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg with orange zest. This equates to citrus-tinged gingerbread cookies. The malt sweetness passes quickly and falls flat like in the flavor leaving a cardboard aftertaste.

M: The mouthfeel blends spice tingle with a light, creamy mouthfeel that is really pleasurable to drink.

D: Usually I don't like spiced beer much and wouldn't have bought this had I read the label closer, but in the end I'm glad I did as this brew kept the spice in check and matched this subtler spice profile with a light bodied ale. A little more attention to the malt bill, and this brew could be a real winter staple.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.74/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 FL OZ bottle
Served in a becker glass

This beer pours amber with golden highlights. Suspended yeast is clearly visible. It is topped with two inches of beige head that leaves a little lacing.

It has a fruity aroma. I get some cinnamon and nutmeg.

The taste is a nice combination of malt and spices.

Medium mouthfeel

I wasn't expecting much, but this was a pretty tasty winter warmer.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
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 MacQ32
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a vibrant, slightly cloudy golden ORANGE with a nice finger of dense near white head, great lacing, good retention too.

S - Malty with lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, honey, hotball type aromas too. Maybe some orange?

T - Malt and honey, followed immediately by a solid kick of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc). Orange rinds are more distinctive in the taste as well. Maybe a little yeasty/

M - A less than medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. Definitely a warmer with the spices.

O - This is a very nice winter ale, unlike many other brews of the same style the spices are very balanced and not so in your face. (Definitely there, just not overpowering). solid brew

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the table clear amber golden with a white low and persistent head which laced the glass.

The aroma was spicy phenolics with cinnamon, clove, ginger and allspice. Also present was a light bit of caramel and some citrus.

The flavor was light caramel with a moderate level of spice, again cinnamon, clove and ginger with a slight sweetness on the palate and a nice bit of grassy bittering to balance.

The finish was dry with a lasting bit of muted spice into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a moderate level of carbonation. A nice beer with a subtle spice character.

Pint at CW's in Columbia, SC.

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The First Snow Ale from RJ Rockers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.