Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 181
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 21.86%
Wants: 7
Gots: 16 | 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.
View: Beers (47) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The First Snow Ale Alström Bros
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 74 | Hads: 181
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle this beer was a murky amber color with one finger of eggshell-white head. The retention of the thin collar was not bad and the lacing in broken streaks. The aroma had a strong note of cloves along with sweetbreads, caramel malt, nutmeg and a little cinnamon. The flavors were very similar to the aroma with an emphasis on the cloves and caramel malt plus the addition of a bitter, slightly woody finish. The mouthfeel was creamy and slick, the body medium and the carbonation a bit prickly. A nice example of a Winter Warmer and definitely worth a try if you are the type who enjoys spiced beers.

 612 characters

Photo of MacQ32
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
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

 690 characters

Photo of czfreeman
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

MY hometown brewery.
Im normally not a huge fan of the style, one winter malty bomb after another...but
First snow pours a lighter tone than expected. Amber tone, thick head, looks great.
Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, apple cider yeast, sour dough yeast, funky,more tart than most overly-sweet winter warmers.
Tons of sourwood honey, nutmeg, all holiday spices to name.orange peel, cloves in there. Really nice, not a sweet malt bomb on the nose.
Flavor..very well spiced. In perspective this is a great holiday beer.Big on pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, orange, malt, honey cider, apple.
A combination of all thst is good in the winter-No bias this is very good even great. Spiced more heavy than some may like n=but really focused on the whole winter spice profile.
Very good, makes me even more homesick!

 800 characters

Photo of chodinheaven
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy and bubbly white head sits on top of a hazy orange beer that doesn't let too much light shine through. The head dissapates down to bubbly patches. Some nice aromatics in this one, ranging from clove and ginger to cinnamon, wheat malt and a hint of spruce. Very pleasant on the nose, nice wintery feel to it.

The taste is a decent mixture of the same wheat malt and spices, but not as pronounced. The clove is present, as is the ginger, giving a nice spice to the foreground. The cinnamon can be briefly detected in the back, but then gives way to a slightly bittering finish. This beer lacks in the middle however, showing a sort of watery feel and lack of character and body where this beer could shine. There is a slightly off flavor in the aftertaste that is a bit sour, but not too distracting. Finishes dry but smooth, not much alcohol presence to be detected.

Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable winter warmer. Could use maybe a bit more heat, but does fine as it is. Would have liked to see a bit more character in the spices. Really not a bad little beer though.

 1,084 characters

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.

 718 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 544 characters

Photo of AshleyMiller
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to Msquared2 for this extra. poured into a snifter.

a - pours a golden orange with a fluffy generous thumb-width head that resides quickly leaving some patchy lacing on the glass

s - smells of xmas spices and some orange. i get a little cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon(?)

t - tastes almost like a belgian yeast with plenty of holiday spices, the honey adds a nice sweetness to go along with the spices

m - plenty of carbonation, on the lighter side of medium-bodiness

o - not too shabby, really quenched my thirst and was a nice beer to drink while watching national lampoon's christmas vacation

 602 characters

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.

 263 characters

Photo of 57md
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Cloudy yellowish orange in appearance with a finger of head that has little retention. The nose is clearly x-mas spices and the taste is quite spicy as well - cinnamon takes the lead here. There is a pleasantly dry finish, but it is a bit thin. An interesting brew, but maybe overall too light for a winter beer.

 312 characters

Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed alongside Summit Winter Ale.

A: Hazy, light orange-amber with two-finger, off-white, rocky head that lasted a while. Great lacing.

S: Toast and spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Nice.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Light toasted malt and spice. Spice overpowers malt a bit.

M: Light bodied with soft carbonation. Slightly dry. Kind of warm.

O: Looks and smells great, but I thought the malt should pop more in the flavor and the body was a bit too light for a winter warmer. I liked the Summit Winter Ale better.

 543 characters

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.

 608 characters

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.

 1,381 characters

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

- from the notes
12 ounce bottles.
A - hazy amber full of fine particulates topped with a thin head.
S - lots of malt and spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.
T - warm spices not overly done and nicely balanced with the malts.
M - could use a little more carbonation to round out the medium body.
D - not a session beer but you could have more than one before the flavor wears you down.

 383 characters

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

A: Solid copper color with a one finger white head that dissapeared quickly. No apparent sediment.

S: Incredibly spiced but not as malty. Cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, light hop scent. Plum or fig?

T: For as potent as it appeared to be, this has a light-medium body. It is not overly spiced, hopped or sugary.

M: Medium carbonation but not too heavy for this ale. No bite or sugar after the swallow. If anything, it finishes a bit dry.

O: A good taste for the season, but I doubt I will search for it again.

 511 characters

Photo of jsprain1
4.55/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Slightly hazy oranged tan with a cream colored head. Retains head well. Some lacing.
S- Smells very much of spice. Cinnamon, some clove. Actually a bit like a pumpkin ale.
T- In terms purely of taste, this may be the best Winter Warmer I've had. A bit of pumpkin, there some cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, and then there is just a nice citrus flow to it. Well balanced. Splendid.
M- Creamy, full bodied, just a touch undercarbed is the only complaint I have.
D- Top to bottom, this may be the Winter Warmer I've had to date. A really splendid beer.

 557 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at Rooster's Beak.

A: The pour is a slightly clouded amber color with a finger of soapy, dirty-white head that holds and laces very well.

S: Orange peel, coriander, caramel, and toast. It smells like an American Pale Wheat Ale with a bready edge.

T: Strong citrus, coriander, biscuit and caramel malt, and faint grassy notes. It tastes like the coming of Spring.

M: The body is medium with lots of creaminess and a very smooth finish.

D: This very good but not what I expected with the name "First Snow Ale" because it is quite light and citrusy for the style.

 578 characters

Photo of argock
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 1,185 characters

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.

 396 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours cloudy amber and short bubbly white head that gathers around the edges on the glass. Aroma is very spicy! Lots of cinnamon, ginger, and clove along with caramel and sweet malts. Taste is gingerbread cookies, caramel, cinnamon toast, and sweet malts. Bit of nuttiness and dried fruit notes coming through as well. Body is medium with moderate carbonation. Finishes with more strong spices - cinnamon and ginger, mostly - caramel, light nutty flavors, and sweet malts. Dried dark fruit as well. Very good winter beer. A sleeper out of the bunch I was evaluating for my winter/christmas beer review.

 645 characters

Photo of Tilley4
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow... Very nice winter brew here... This is like gingerbread cookies in a glass and isn't overly spiced like some others are... One reviewer mentioned candy cane aromas and I'm getting them too... Lots of gingerbread spices with cinnamon and nutmeg and the like... Toasted malts with lots of sweetness... I'm digging this quite a bit...one of the better winter brews I had this year...

 386 characters

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.

 625 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

 813 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honey gold pour with faint carbonation and 1-finger head. Faint retention and lacing.

Honey all over the nose. Corriander backs that up, with a bit of lemon.

Sweet hit and spicy, spicy finish. Honey up front with pepper kicking in at the end. Very sharp finish with lots of spice.

Feel seems about right. Pepper walks all over the feel at the end.

One of these is plenty, even at 6%. That peppery finish brings it down a tad.

 430 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

Pours a hazy deep golden-amber with a half finger of frothy off-white foam that recedes slowly to a thick crown, leaving some thin legs of lace down the walls of the glass as it empties.

Cinnamon and nutmeg show up in the nose, with what seems like a hint of ginger, clove and a faint whiff of anise, as well as a touch of brown sugar-like sweetness. A little DMS seems to hide in the background -- perhaps a little Pils malt was in the grist? Here's hoping, though it could be a misplaced aroma.

Medium-bodied with a moderate carbonation that seems perhaps a little high. A nice toasty, honeyish sweetness shows up front and carries through well into the middle and back, balanced only, it seems, by the holiday spices thrown into the mix; no real hop profile is noticeable, but things seem nicely in balance nevertheless, if a bit on the sweet side. The finish is a little sweet and a touch grainy; things dry out at the very end, though, with a little spice moving forward and leaving me wanting for a nother draught.

I first sampled this at Columbia's World Beer Festival and have since had it several times. Overall a nice and drinkable Winter Warmer, with quite an appealing spice mix in the aroma; the honeyish notes must indeed stem from the use of honey in the brewing, which is indicated on the label. A nice interpretation for the style; not the best out there, but definitely a go-to choice when it's available.

 1,486 characters

Photo of showbob
4.87/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My favorite winter ale! The First Snow Ale is an American-style pale ale, moderately hopped. It also happens to have 15 pounds of honey and almost every spice in the cabinet thrown in: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange peel and allspice. Nice! With the 6% alcohol makes it even better!

 283 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The First Snow Ale from RJ Rockers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.