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Ale Mary - RCH Brewery

Not Rated.
Ale MaryAle Mary

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

72 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
RCH Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 12-10-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by GCBrewingCo:
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned spice ale with light brownish red color, but a slight bit hazy. Nice head upon pouring which fell, but laced the glass. The smell is spicy and fruity, notably cinnamon and cloves with a spicy note. The label lists cloves, coriander and ginger. The flavor is malt and subtle spice. The finish is very, very dry. The body is very full and mutes the spices in the flavor. Not being a huge fan of spiced beers, the drinkabilty is a bit lower.

Nicely balanced beer between malt and spice.

GCBrewingCo, Nov 14, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My celebration brew for Sparty,pours a nice clear copper with a fluffy two finger head that settles into a nice creaminess,awesome aromas of cinnamon,raisin,I aslo picked up some plum and a touch of rum all great aroma attributes for a winter warmer.Taste ahas a ginger bread quality along with some cookie dough up front but a big firm dry rather abrupt finish wich was different(in a good way).Maybe a tad thin in the mouthfeel department but has alot of other great qualities (aroma,flavor,drinability etc...)to make this a real winner.Likely my last "winter brew"of the year was a big hit.

oberon, Mar 28, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a foam monster, so be careful at the pour. Once it settles, which takes a while, the glass is covered with a beautiful lacing. The body itself is clear (if you avoid getting any sediment in your glass) and a light orange in color.

Smell – This aroma has sharp, yeasty sour notes along with some big clove. This smells more like gluhwein than beer.

Taste – Ah, much better in the mouth. This is actually much milder than I had thought. The sharp spicing relaxes and compliments well the nice yeast base. No hops to speak of, but there’s an abundance of fruit in there that’s hard to name because of the spices. I think I sense some raisins as the label promised along with a dash of 151.

Mouthfeel – This went down well for a spiced beer, which usually is not my style of choice. I thought the alcohol tinge was a bit strong for a 6.0 ABV, but overall this medium-bodied ale was quite pleasant.

Drinkability – I had no problem sipping the night away after a very cold Seattle day that included sleet and some snow. I think this would be a nice bottle to introduce someone to the style. Well done!

RoyalT, Jan 25, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pint,.9 oz bottle--Be careful with the pour! A hazed, pecan nut colored body is topped by a titanic, rocky, offwhite head that deposits huge chunks of lace all over my imperial pint glass.

Aroma begins with an odd, vinous, alcohol note, unexpected for a 6% brew. Coriander and ginger spices kick in, shortly thereafter, then give way to a tart, slightly acidic fruitiness. As noted by a previous reviewer, there is a definite, floral air freshener scent picked up in the nose here. Odd!

I like the mouthfeel, which is teasingly tart, dry, acidic, spicy, and medium bodied. Medium carbonation.

Taste is complex, with caramel malt having its hands full trying to deal with all that's going on here with the nutmeg, ginger, and other spices, explosive, floral hops, and dry, cherry fruitiness. Very interesting combination of a variety of flavors and ingredients, but somewhat overwhelming for my palate.

This winter warmer seems to put forth its moderate alcohol content up front, like a badge of honor, and its warming quality does work as such. All the spices, tart cherry, and dry alcohol character just get a bit overly complex for me. This is worth a try, and I look forward to having one of these in the dead of winter. "Ale Mary"!

merlin48, Sep 14, 2004
Photo of ADR
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great bottle conditioning, head on a careful pour is rocky and specked with yeasties. Hazy, dark yellow, just a little less than amber. More sediment than the Mississippi...Deep spice and cinnamon aroma, along with a little caramel. What a great holiday flavor, very raisiny and with a changing ginger snap and molasses impression. Lots of coriander in the aftertaste, almost straying toward basil. If these flavors were any more pronounced, they would be too much for me, but as it stands, this warming brew is like a fruitcake you actually want to consume. This stuff rocks!

ADR, Aug 05, 2002
Photo of rastaman
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Massively foamy, especially for an English ale.Yeasty, bready and dry, medium citric bitterness, with some salt and nail polish remover, the nail polish thing tends to go as the beer opens up a bit, nice soft palate. Finish is slightly bitter and spicy, an all round nice, interesting sort of beer.

rastaman, Sep 25, 2003
Photo of DESTRO
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

made some waffles this morning and thought, what the hell...im a having a beer with my waffles. (insanity!) anyway this pours out a slightly hazy copperish with a decent off white head. off the nose you pull in a very strong aroma of spice (clove, cinnamon, more clove) that makes one think christmas time. lightly fruity with a noticable hop presence. smells different, but interesting. taste wise it is once again "different". light bitterness from the english hops go pretty well with caramel like malt. strong spicing runs rampant and at first seems to be "off". but as the beer warms and the palate grows fonder of the spices, it becomes alot more enjoyable. ginger up in here. some faint alcohol fumes and some light rum notes show up and in the end everything comes together. full bodied and well carbonated, this has no problem going down the hatch, but after one, im fine moving on to something else. good while it lasts, but one is enough for now.

DESTRO, May 18, 2004
Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent amber with 3+ fingers of cream colored head. Hazes a bit at the bottom of the bottle, good head retention & lacing

S: Oakyness & some dark fruit as this warmed

T: Oakyness, slight grapefruit hops, plums & leafy hops up front. Herbal hops & brown sugar as this warms, along with dates & a touch of cinnamon. Finishes with dark fruits & leafy hops & slight warming booze

MF: Medium bodied with minimal carbonation & good balance

Drinks easy, an alright take on the style

russpowell, Jul 26, 2008
Photo of Gmann
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden brown color with a pillowy off-white head that left a wall of lacing as it dissipated. The aroma is sweet and tart, light coriander and ginger goes along with a floral/tropical fruit. The taste is of a sweet bready malt, some honey and brown sugar, and a kick of grassy/spicy hops. There is a light spicy sweetness, probably the coriander and ginger. The brew has a moderate body with soft carbonation which gives a smooth feel, finishes well balanced between sweet and bitter with just a subtle spice. A nice subtle winter warmer. Main focus is the bready malt with hints of hops and spice.

Gmann, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of fattyre
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium brown/orange with a moderate clingy off white head with a syrupy mouthfeel. The smell is sharp cedary/spicy with a malty undertone. The taste is of very slight bittering hops and a round somewhat sweet creamy finish. A very pleasant full bodied ale.

fattyre, Mar 25, 2003
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a very large, lasting head and lots of lacing.
Nose shows lots of spices, I'd take a guess at ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Underneath is lots of sweet malt and hints of brandy and raisins.
The spices transfer through stongly as flavours, but unfortunately not much of the malt does. Prominent grainy notes, alcohol and astringency detract from the experience.
Carbonation could be higher and the body feels watery.

CrazyDavros, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of LJWalker
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

LJWalker, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

jaydoc, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy caramel in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that died down rather quickly, but left lacing down the sides of the glass, a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and a thin layer of bubbles with some foamy patches floating on the surface.
S: There are aromas of fruity yeast in the nose—apples seem to stand out in particular.
T: The initial taste has flavors of fruity malts while the remainder and finish is dominated by ginger with some hints of cloves.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No alcohol warming is noticeable.
O: This beer is quite unlike any other beers in the style but it is interesting and relatively easy to drink. The bottle conditioning makes this taste similar to a cask beer.

metter98, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of Brent
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned Christmas seasonal. Pours a dark caramel with a substantial head of tiny foam bubbles. Nose is sweet, with a hint of burned plastic. Solid mouthfeel - malty with some nondescript spice. An ale reminescent of older styles of craft beers. The rather stodgy Queen Mary depicted on the label is appropriate.

Brent, Feb 10, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The color a beclouded deep copper with a Brobdingnagian head that is light tan in color, the texture creamy and as it ever so slowly degrades the resultant lace a thick and sticky sheet to obscure the glass. The nose is all malt, sweet, clean and fresh, quite crisp, snappy if you like, start is nicely malted, sweet with the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is stinging in its acidity, the hops very English, staid and subdued, quite pleasurable in their sublime spiciness, very dry aftertaste, quite quaffable this one, and I enjoyed its mildness, its palate pleasing freshness and quite a thirst quencher.

Gusler, Jan 08, 2004
Photo of Cizauskas
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

RCH is a fascinating little brewery in Cheddar country north of Dorset, England. (The initials stand for the name of the hotel in which the proprietors began the brewery before outgrowing the digs.) Their cask ales are consistently well-made and stellar even on this side of the pond.

The fun begins with the label, where an inscription wraps above the portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots: "a well-executed bottle-conditioned ale". At 6% alcohol, this is stronger than the average bitter from the UK. It was awarded Bottle-Conditioned Beer of the year at the 2001 GBBF.

Pour the beer into a LARGE glass and allow a minute or so of anticipation for the great mass of goo-goo eyed bubbles to escape and form a prodigious spumous head.

Then...what an aroma! It's like the smell of a fresh-from-the-oven fruitcake wafting in from the NEXT room with a vase of long-stem roses nearby. That is, it's there but not cloying. The brewery says Ale Mary was infused with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and pimento(!). The exclamation point (for that last ingredient) is mine.

The flavor and finish return to the Bitter verities: a shortbread maltiness and a bracing bitterness. For all the spices used, the beer is quaffable and well-balanced.

Cizauskas, Nov 27, 2002
Photo of Zorro
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear medium brown brew.

Smell is mildly sweet with a bubble gum scent.

Taste is dry and fruity and mildly spicy like a Belgian brew. A strong bitterness shows up after a while.

Mouthfeel is OK.

An OK drinkable brew, but I think I have had better.

Zorro, Apr 21, 2004
Photo of marc77
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ruddy bronze in hue, with a light haze. Impressively thick, stiff, seemingly static, Belgian esque cream white head leaves rough, sticky lace. Waft of ginger laced heat hits the nose at first. It quickly tapers to allow mellow, sweetly herbal coriander to surface concomitantly with figgish esters and rounded, dark caramel. Becomes lightly buttery as it breathes. Understated and sapidly spiced, but intriguing aromawise. Stately toffeeish, tracely roasty dark lovibond caramel malt sweetness upfront in flavor leads into a combination of floral, perfumed, perhaps crushed clove and hop derived bitterness. Tempered woody hop flavor combines with the lingering coriander and faint roasted malt presence to lend a judicious singed sandalwood impression mid palate. Relatively well calculated in attenuation, with a softly dextrinous mouthfeel a notch shy of urbane. Spicing progressively diminishes and becomes more integral, allowing agreeable sweet biscuit and mild diacetyl in the clean, simple malt driven finish. Ale Mary, although well spiced, exhibits a firm malt and ester character, especially as it breathes and oxidizes. Taken as a whole, it is a well rounded brew reminescent of a spiced Youngs Special London Ale, albeit with a subdued ester profile. Quite tasty, and highly drinkable.

marc77, Jul 14, 2003
Photo of geexploitation
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very reddish amber color -- so red that it's almost red-gold instead of -amber -- with a lacy off-white head. The nose is sumptuous and rich, with huge ginger and coriander notes that scream juicy fruits. No hop or malt aroma, it's all spice. On the palate, spicy coriander and ginger comes up first, before the cloves assert themselves. Things smooth out a bit for the mid-palate, with some orangey esters at the forefront, before morphing into a spicy-bitter finish. Mouthfeel is rich but light with those juicy flavors. Very full carbonation contributes to the full feeling. Overall, this is an excellent beer, but not all that malty or warming. It might actually be best in a transitional season between summer and colder weather, as it's actually pretty light and the coriander reminds of a witbier. Regardless, it's a tasty beverage.

geexploitation, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of meathookjones
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a clear copper color with a huge off white head. Lots of webs of lace are strew about the glass and the head keeps its rocky form for quite a while. Aroma has a strong spiciness to it with a backing of sweet fruits. It’s a bit sweet and has and underlying warmth and alcohol notes you wouldn’t expect from a beer this small. Some cherry notes do stand out as well. Sweet warm cinnamon apples is what the first sip reminded me of. Plenty of spice and fruits here that both come out strong. As it warmed to room temperature the spice really came out in full force. It leaves a spicy fruit taste lingering after each sip. Mouthfeel was a little lighter than I would have liked, but with the low alcohol that is expected. Good drinkability here as well, I could sip on a few bottled of this. Quite an unexpected treat here that I would gladly revisit.

meathookjones, Mar 03, 2005
Photo of Lexluthor33
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange with a bubbly lace and a small head.
The aroma of spices,cloves with citrus hints and fruit tones. Some alcohol was also picked up,but it was mild.

The taste started with a cinnamon/spices taste that followed by very light malts and subtle hops. A cask ale taste. Ginger,coriander and some fruits were also a part of this beer's taste. It was a little tart.

The feel was light body,low carbonation with mild bitterness.A spicy feel and a watery feel to the finish that had sour notes.

Notes: This was really different and interesting. It got better as it warmed up and had the cask ale vibe to it. Good for winter and a good choice for early spring too.

Lexluthor33, May 03, 2009
Photo of cncbofh
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Holy Fizz.

The carbonation is fizzier than a shaken up Sprite and lingers leaving a very thin film on the glass. The beer smells like the cherry air freshener I just bought for my car. It's a sweet aroma with a spicy cinnamon and strong clove scent.

I expected a fruity mellow taste, but rather it was a strong complex mixture of pepper and rye bread - it has an unpleasant alcoholic bite that quickly dissipates and leaves you with a bitter aftertaste, with a little fruity ester that remains.

It's definitely a winter warmer - it warmed me up after the first few sips. Just one for me.... A good brew but it won't bring me back for a second.

cncbofh, Aug 14, 2004
Photo of Sigmund
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml brown bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. "Hand brewed" by RCH Brewery, but bottle conditioned by Branded Drinks. ABV is 6.0%. Contains coriander seed oil. Deep amber colour, just a slight haziness, low head. Enticing and very special aroma - coriander, cloves and ginger, rum-drenched raisins, fortified sweet wines and herbal shampoo. Flavour is very spicy - one of the spiciest beers I’ve had so far, initially sweet and vinous, but with a ferocious attack of coriander, dry ginger and bittering hops in the finish. Dry aftertaste. I’d say they could with advantage have gone a little easier on the spices here, and we’d have a softer and more drinkable beer. The ale "base" seems decent enough. As it is, this is an INTERESTING beer, to say the least. Not for people who hate coriander and ginger.

Sigmund, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of granger10
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Holy crap! What happened to the pour? All head, I must wait for long time before I drink, not good. Foamy, foamy, and more foamy. When I finally got to drinking this beer it actually foamed in my mouth. But I did detect a lot of spices and this is a well crafted brew that seems hard to make. I definitely taste the ginger in here along with coriander and maybe nutmeg and it seems as if new spices keep coming forth. Not bad by any means, it just didn't hit the spot completely for me.

granger10, Oct 11, 2003
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Ale Mary from RCH Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.