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Zwarte Piet's Christmas - Church Brew Works

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Zwarte Piet's Christmas
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Reviews: 6
Hads: 22
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 15.24%
Wants: 2
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Church Brew Works visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: IronCitySteve on 12-24-2010

Brewed with ginger, cloves and bitter orange peel, this Belgian-style brown ale is a little sweet up front. You should notice some toffee, a touch of caramel, a hint of raisin and a slight little touch of chocolate intertwined with that initial sweetness. The ginger should be apparent, but not overwhelming. Those initial complex flavors will fade into the slightly more pronounced flavor of cloves. The hops were kept low to allow the bitter orange peel and cloves handle the very light bitter finish. The same yeast used in our Trippel is featured in this ale to add its own light clovy essence to the party.

The Vitals:
Original Gravity: 16.3º Plato
Bitterness: 9 IBUs
Grain Bill: Pilsner, Melanoidin, CaraFoam, Carafa II
Additions: Dark Brown Sugar, Ginger, Cloves, Bitter Orange Peel
Hops Used: Spalter Select
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 6 | Hads: 22
Photo of thecheapies
3.22/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Diamond Market downtown.

A: muddy, Belgian chocolate brown. Almost opaque, yet brown. Interesting. Maybe it's suspended yeast. No lasting head. No lacing.

S: milk chocolate, cinnamon, allspice, smells creamy--if that makes sense.

T: spice overload. Almost peppery. Sweet malt, wheat bread, more of the cinnamon, a little star anise and mild creamy chocolate.

M: medium-high carb. Feels a little prickly. Round body.

O: the tap was labeled 'Season Specialty', I was hoping it was Quadzilla. This beer is a decent brown with too many spices. Kind of on par with the unspectacular Cabin Fever.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow only a handful of reviews for this? Glad to be second banana! Had this at D's six packs in Monroeville sampler 5oz pour for 2 bucks.

A - I got a deep brown, almost black with a mild bit of head and little to no lacing as from notes.

S - Smells of a typical brown ale. Malts and a bit of hops with a bit of caramel for good measure.

T - Threw me off a bit. At first, while it was cold, it tasted like a typical brown ale but as it warmed the yeast made itself know and covered most hop taste. It was still pretty good with a nice caramel sweetness but I wasn't really loving it at this point.

M - Light to medium. A decent offering.

D - What a weird beer. At first it tasted like a typical offering and then turned to something else within 20-30 minutes time. I find it weird that D's has this listed as a "Belgium brown ale" while it's listed as a "American Brown Ale" and to me it comes off more Belgium. Still pretty drinkable and I preferred it over the Vertical Epic from stone.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Fatheads Pittsburgh. Says this is a Brown Ale

A: Pours a hazy brown color with a small tan foam head with moderate retention.

S: Some mild spice, bread, caramel and citrus.

T: A nicely spiced brown ale. The caramel and citrus hit the palate first. There is some ginger spice in the middle with some citrus undertones on the backend.

M: A slightly slick but slightly thin taste left on the palate.

D: A very nice beer from Church Brew Works. Glad I tried it while it is out on tap.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Church Brew Works
Swartz Piet's Xmas
2012 edition
ABV listed at 7%

LOOK: Pours a dark brown color with a wisp of off white head.

SMELL: Orange peel and heavy ginger upfront with some clove, spicy cinnamon and brown sugar. The aroma filled up the air at the table making for an impressive nose.

TASTE/FEEL: Dark malts with ginger and citrus notes. Cocoa, black licorice and ginger are the big flavors. Just a bit of dark fruit flavor. Hop bitterness is subdued, as are the spices, which are kept to a low level. Rooty flavors and finishes with a light dry spice. Full bodied feel with a small dryness.

OVERALL: A successful holiday brew from the Church Brew Works. Lively flavors and a great aroma. This is a well done spiced ale.

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Photo of AMiz602
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Seeing that it was named after Sinterklaas's helpers in Holland, I was immediately intrigued. And, as a seasonal beer, it was probably the best out of the bunch this time around.

It is a light brown beer, with just a little bit of head. It was not that thick feeling at all, and went down quite easily for having a high alcohol content. It was chocolaty, yet spicy all in one. Cinnamon, cardamom, and I believe some nutmeg had to be in there, possibly with some cloves. But, the malt really dumbs down the spiciness, and makes for a palatable, forgiving Winter beer.

It's a unique taste, and unlike most American winter ales. Brewed very much to be on par with European tastes. However, I'm not totally sure that it would be good on a hot day in June, but should be relicated to the cold days of January.

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Photo of joecon
4.85/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

We had this on tap at the Church Brew Works. Can't remember the cost--it was so tasty--I don't care what it costs!!

A--Dark brown, but not black. Good head, lacing held

S--Hint of nutmeg

T--Very Tasty--smooth--taste of nutmeg & other spices

M--Perfect--not rough--Very Smooth

D--One of the very best beers that I have had in quite some time--wish they bottled it!

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Zwarte Piet's Christmas from Church Brew Works
- out of 100 based on 6 ratings.