Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co. - Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

Not Rated.
Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co.Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

232 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 232
Reviews: 138
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 12
Gots: 21 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S visit their website

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SammyDavisJrJrJr on 11-25-2009

Ingredients: Malted Barley, malted Rye, malted oats, hops, white sage, caraway, Juniper berries, chestnuts, yeast.
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Ratings: 232 | Reviews: 138
Reviews by Dotcubed:
Photo of Dotcubed
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love the collaboration concept.

Random Wegman's purchase that I thought was a good idea.

Clearly a spot on the label for a best by date, yet nothing printed.
And the store had printed their own bar code and placed it over the spot on the label.

Here's hope that I didn't pay too much at 9.50, it looks & smells funky. Super dark, sour cola scent.
Little to no foam.

Sacred to taste, the cola smell is powerful.

Huge malt, molasses, piny bitterness and some smokey dryness. Coffee like qualities.

This is an odd ball, weird cola-ness to it. Off putting as a beer, but likeable in its complexities.

Tasty. Robust.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My second winter warmer/CHRISTmas beer of the season.Poured into a imperial nonic a deep murky chesnut brown with a thinner creamy beige head that held well,aromas are herbal with alot of raw nuttiness,I would say raw fits the nose profile pretty well.A full mouthfeel,it seemed to be lower carbonated,flavors start out sweetish and cakey with juniper, and a sharp herbal note in the finish.A nice cool weather beer here,Iam not a big fan of jupiner berry flavors, but there is a nice mix of other flavors in the profile.

Photo of Beerswag
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz beer aged approx 6 months, poured into tulip hardly any head.lots of big bubbles stuck to the bottom.no lacing. Dark brown root beer colored. Smell of candied ginger, mint, cola, berries. Complex, taste, starts of slightly salty n sweet, menthol laced with a light bodied mouthfeel for a holiday ale, with a chewy/rich taste profile. This beer seems to be a winter aspertif. Herbal and tons of spice notes, cinamon, cardimom, jasmine tea. Starts out rootbeerish, with some gingerbread throught the palate. Mouth is numb with all the menthol or somn. Not my favorite holiday ale, but a unique approach to a holiday style. Cheese paring: pistachio crusted goat cheese, food: lamb stew, pumpkin pie, smoked fish(salmon/trout). Smoked oysters, Cigars too!

Photo of kingcrowing
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip on Christmas night, along with some freshie deadmau5. This is the 2009 version.

Pours a dark, dark opaque brown with a small creamy dark head with some nice sticky lacing. Nose is light, spicy and malty with some iron to it.

It's nice and spicy, I had the Stone version about a year ago and it was much more in your face with all the spices, this is much more mellow (not sure if that's because it's the Nøgne-Ø version or because it's been aging longer). Mouthfeel is really nice and creamy, thick and a bit chewy as well. Overall a good holiday beer! My last one for the year!

Photo of Brenden
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a medium brown that lets some orange-red highlights shine through. A compact creamy white head with a yellowish tint is between one and two fingers tall and stable, dropping lacing thinly at first, but thickening in patches as it falls.
This beer may have the most unique aroma I've smelled; it's certainly one of the most unique. It's difficult to pick things out without effort; this is a thinking beer. There's some nuttiness to it under a very unusual blanket of grains and spices. Malt makes a strong foundation, and it seems there's an earthy spiciness much like rye. There's a breadiness along with sweetness and a smidge of cooking spices. The spiciness is at a great level and complementary to the malt it supports, adding plenty of depth while mingling so things come out indivivually. Sage comes out strongly too, even more than the pie spice note, and something like pine but more like the needles than the cone.
This is one complex beer. As winter warmers go, it's got what it should: a strong malty base and a spiciness that isn't overdone. What it adds is a spruce needle note, rye (I'm assuming; it's pretty discenrable), and something like sesame seeds. Adding in a nice nutty note makes it even better in my opinion.
The body is medium and this one is lightly carbonated. It's pretty creamy and has a bit of richness to it along with a little crispness. It goes semi-dry in about the middle.
As far as Winter Warmers go, being a catch-all style and made for cold weather, it can only get a little better. This is one of the best I've ever had.

Photo of GilGarp
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottling served cool into a goblet.

A deep dark brown color with a slightly hazy appearance. The head is thick and creamy and slow to settle.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with spice notes.

Flavor is complex but balanced. Almost fruitcake-like with mixed fruit, nuts, and spices. Caramel and honey sweetness mixed with a fairly strong hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, strong in flavor with great depth. The alcohol is noticible but not overpowering.

Overall a really great winter warmer, once of the best I've had.

Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, split in Madison

appearance: biblical label...served in a new belgium chalice - garnet-mahogany body, creamy tan lace

smell: wild stuff - spruce, juniper, spice, nutmeg, malt

taste: really enoyed this norwegian offering - heavy doses of holiday spice (cinnamon, nutmeg) and spruce really liven up this winter warmer. a nice roasty malt body, xmas cookies, sage, molasses and rye.

mouthfeel: medium body, interest array of flavor and texture

overall: really enjoyed

Photo of cjgator3
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

16.9oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is pine and juniper berries. There is also an almost minty freshness to it. Almost smells like a cleaning product, but not in a bad way.

T- The taste like the aroma starts out with a nice spiciness that is complemented with juniper, pine, a touch of rye and an array of other spices.

M- The mouthfeel is full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. Very nice!

D- Overall, this is an interesting brew because it is different but I don't think it is outstanding enough to purchase again. Worth a shot though.

Photo of prototypic
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special Holiday Ale pours a dark chestnut brown color. It's moderately hazy. It has nice rust colored highlights with a little light behind it. A creamy tan head tops it off and stands about two fingers tall. It was slow to dissipate and a left a nice, sticky coat of lace trailing down the glass.

The nose isn't bad, but seems just a tad weak. It's interesting and definitely left of center. Juniper berries are noted and probably drive the 'interesting' aspect. Caramel malts are noted. It smells a tad sweet. There's a hint of a spicy side, but I have no idea what it is. It's too subtle for this nose to identify. Yeast is easily noted. Alcohol is blended well and isn't noticeable at all. Overall, it's okay, but nothing really stands out about it.

The flavor is easily a notch better. It has a caramel malt base that's a little sweet and very sturdy. Juniper berries add an interesting twist to the flavor, as well. I've encountered this flavor in a few beers and it still intrigues me. Spices are noted, but they're not your typical 'holiday' spices. They're secondary and I'm unsure of what they are exactly. Nonetheless, they add a little pizzazz and depth. It's surprisingly bitter. Hops are very much in the mix, whatever variety they may be. Yeast is noted on the tail. Alcohol is masked extremely well. I'm not picking up any at all. Finishes a little spicy, bitter, and sweet.

Special Holiday Ale has a medium body that leans thick with a little warming. It's very smooth and creamy. Mouthfeel is easily the strong suit here. Impressive. Drinkability is good. It performs pretty well in all respects, but it doesn't quite dazzle. I like it, but don't love it.

I had the holiday collaboration between Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne Ø last year. Supposedly, it's the same recipe. This release was simply brewed at Nøgne Ø's facilities rather than Stone's. I recall the last release being a little more spicy, but no more tasty. Just a little different. To the best of my recollection, the releases are very similar in terms of quality. The nose could use just a little more strength here, but that's about it. The flavor is good. It's unique for a Winter Warmer. Not what you'd ordinarily expect. I like it. If you see a bottle still around, pick it up. It's good stuff. Perhaps Jolly Pumpkin will do the honors next year.

Photo of MASPuros
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy brown like coffee with just a touch of cream. Tan head.

S: Pine, molasses, spices, like Christmas in a glass.

T: Pine is overpowering. Sweet with a bit of heat. Slight bitterness fades pretty quick in the aftertaste.

M: Creamy and sticky. Nice carbonation allows bubbles to dance on tongue.

D: I am not of fan of the piney and bitterness taste. Not sure but this taste a bit different then the Stone version. I actually like that one more.

Photo of plfahey
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a 12 oz. tulip glass

Appearance-Deep and dark brown with just a hint of reddish highlight when held to the light. Seems to be relatively clear, though is nearly opaque. Thin light tan head with moderate retention and some decent lacing.

Aroma-Some serious spicing going on here, I had to bust into my spice cabinet to do some cross-comparing on this one. The two aromas that seem to define the profile for me are juniper berries and a sort of sweet cardamom scent (it says that they used caraway, but I don't really pick it up in the aroma). Some light roasted malt and piney hops poke through the spice profile, and I catch a whiff of the sage, though I probably wouldn't have identified it as such if they hadn't listed it as an ingredient. For some reason the smell reminds me of holiday mulled cider, and is extremely inviting.

Flavor-Once again, that cardamom/juniper profile dominates, though this time, it fades to allow other flavors to shine through. In the aftertaste, some light nuttiness from the chestnuts and oats emerges, followed by some dark roast flavors (almost a hint of coffee). Wonderfully complex, with quite a long finish.

Mouthfeel-Medium to medium full body is enhanced by the moderately high carbonation. Silky smooth from the oats, and just a bit of smooth, warming alcohol. Awesome.

This is a fantastic beer, but I don't think I could drink a ton of it due to the high spice content. That said, I would be overjoyed to polish off a bottle of this by myself, and even happier to share some with some friends.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown color with a very light tan head that stayed very small through the whole glass.

Smells of a ton of sage. You can smell some nuttiness from the chesnuts. The sage really dominates and I can't smell much else.

Wow. I thought this was going to be a sage bomb. Not that bad. Very nice maltiness and nutty flavor. Little bit of the caraway and sage. The flavor get a little too much after about half a glass though.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Just enough viscosity. Great carb.

Overall it was good to try but half a glass is good for me. It's hard to finish.

Photo of nickd717
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from K&L Redwood City.

Pours dark-reddish brown with a thick light beige head and excellent lacing.

Aroma seems a bit overspiced, with sage, juniper, ginger, and allspice jumping out at you. Also lots of sweet caramel malt evident.

Flavor is rich but very well-balanced, and surprisingly the spices don't overwhelm. Sweet caramel malt and molasses, roasted chestnuts, and all the same spices noticeable in the aroma.

Fairly full body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and appropriate carbonation level.

This is definitely better than last year's Stone incarnation. A great winter warmer.

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Completely blank space follows the Batch nr, Brygget, & Best føre sections on the label, which would be a bigger problem if this wasn't a one-off... This is from the Nøgne Ø bottling of the Special Holiday Ale, so from a 16.9oz bottle. Into the Bruery tulip glass...

A - Very dark opaque mahogany body with a nice two fingers of redish-tan head. Good head retention with no lacing.

S - Yay! it's not overwhelmingly spicy! Already liking this one. Dark sweet malt with definate rye bready/spicey presence. The juniper and sage adds a nice herbal bite, helping the hops balance out the dark malts. I do love balance in a winter warmer.

T - Sweet caramel and cherry flavors are dominate in the entry, with spice and sage notes following. Before the swallow the swallow, I picked up some rye graininess, notes of banana and nuttiness. The juniper seems present throughout, but really shows in the swallow, along with the hops and a slight alcohol bite. The juniper never really dominates the beer, like it does with so many winter seasonals. The hops are balancing, but allow for a very malty and sweet finish.

M - Silky and soft mouthfeel, with just enough heft to feel full bodied. You can tell they used oats.

D - In a world of over-spiced winter brews, this one is a nice respite. Still spiced, but not to much. They did not just throw a bunch of ingredients into a beer, but crafted a brew that utilized all the ingredients to add to the beer. What results is a well produced beer, that yet somehow misses feeling spectacular, yet I can't seem to pin-point why.

Photo of bashiba
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark brown with a thin but long lasting tan head.

The smell was big with tons of holiday spice, I can't really nail down exactly, a bit of fennal, but must be the caraway and chestnuts dominating. Strong and unusual.

The flavor has a nice malty brown character with the juniper and chestnuts balancing it out nicely. Much more mild than the nose.

The mouthfeel is the highlight of this beer, very creamy and full.

Nicely drinkable.

Photo of GRG1313
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with a nice tan head. Nose is all cloves and spice with lavender undertones and a nose "finish" of sage. Nice nose all around;

Mouthfeel is incredible. Rich, "top of the milk bottle" thick creamy character with big body and texture. Nicest mouth of any holiday ale I've tried. Tastes rich and "expensive." The body along with a perfect balance just makes this feel great in your mouth.

Flavors follow expectations at this point. Rich fruity malt, big spices with the sage standing out but not being overbearing. Flavors are big, rich, full and super complex. You can find carmel, toffee, coffee, fruity malts, sage, carroway, winter spices, licorice, espresso and you can even get hints of the chestnuts and junipers if you look for them.

Finish is very nutty and spicy with cloves and allspice.

Quintessential holiday ale for me. Wouldn't drink it every day but perfect for a few once a year treat at the holidays. This can also age a bit which should be an interesting drink.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- A collaboration between Nogne O, Jolly Pumpkin, & Stone brewed with a distinct ingredient native to each brewery's region (Norwegian juniper berries, Michigan chestnuts, & South California white sage) respectively.

A: Poured a rich mahogany with a 2 finger solidy foamy head that was sandstone in color and strong retention wise. A good deal of bubbly action could be detected around the glass's outer edges while tan colored macro size particulate matter slowly settled and accumulated on the glass bottom. A spongey bubbly lacing, about the size and width of a finger snakes down the glass wall in a wavy fashion.

S: The nose was light with the Michigan chestnuts coming through initially which smelled to me like a big bowl of walnut shells. Soft notes of dried cola and fennel could also be easily picked up but not as dominant. There was a bit touch of fresh roastiness closing things out. A fair amount of complexity but the strength was low here making you work for an appreciable scent which would of faired better if amped up.

T: The flavor was spicy cola with a fresh cypress and pine experience (could be juniper leaves) coming through on the initial sip. Warm chestnuts with a sweet and spicy woodys flavor is complimented by a light offering of caraway (licorice). There was a really nice hint of warm evergreen, almost forest-like that concludes with a bit of warm dried caramel and licorice on the trail. I failed to detect or pick up on the use of white sage, but am pretty unfamiliar with its attributes to begin with. Overall an exceptionally smooth and refined flavor, with a wintery evergreen feel and soft warming of alcohol makes this a perfect fit per style.

M: The mouthful is quite lively with a good deal of carbonation presence producing a nice creamy texture. Warm evergreen and soft licorice combine with a soft warming to please on the hold. The body is medium in fullness.

D: Very nice drinking experience with a earthy evergreen flavor makes this delightful to consume. To many holiday ales and winters try to overload on the spice rack, this delivers a earthy wintery feel that seems very natural. At 8.5% it drinks more like a 6.5%. A special collaboration between 3 notable breweries comes together nicely here making for a worthy purchase and something to talk about.

Photo of philbe311
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Slightly more than two fingers worth of a fizzy, slightly airy, slightly airy head... Solid retention gives way to a full creamy lacing... A deep dark brooding mahogany color... An excellent looking brew...

S - Loaded with spices at the forefront that come across a little bit like a medicinally heavy cough syrup... Hints of spruce and pine... Mentholyptus... At first this was a bit off putting, but grew on me over the course of the session...

T - The palette is a more subdued version of the nose... An even mix of spice and piney/spruce notes... Also present are some dark fruits... A slightly medicinal finish...

M - Medium bodied... Smooth... Creamy... Slight carbonated bite... Dense - sits a bit heavy on the tongue...

D - A solid and respectable winter warmer, but nothing spectacular... The aroma takes a bit to get used to, but seems to be lacking a bit in terms of substance and complexity... Perhaps, this one just isnt' for me when compared to my fellow BA reviews...

Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, murky, with a very dense, but soft head consisting of very small bubbles. Looks good.

S: Huge holiday types spice notes coming out of this. Big hit from the juniper and caraway. The caraway is especially strong, and gives off the aroma of spiced meats.

T: There is almost something meat like abut this. Like eating a big sandwich on rye. I don't know if it says holidays, but it certainly is interesting. There is a malty sweetness after the spices fade. As it continues to warm it seems like the spices meld in with the brew better, turning from something a little odd ball and weird, into something that seems to make sense.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is low, and smooth.

D: This is a one off for me, but definitely interesting to say the least. Fine job.

Photo of TheDTrain
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

D Train is headed to Grimstad Norway to try Nogne O Special Holiday Ale. Aroma is crisp of malts, rich spice, and rye. Taste follows with bitterness from the sage and chestnuts. Blends with the sweetness of sugar & berries. Alcohol is pleasantly light & warming. Finish is dry & cedary.

A bit over priced, but a easily drinkable holiday brew.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.5% ABV, 22°P, 50 IBU, no date.

Thanks to TheDTrain for bringing this bottle over!

A - Clear amber during the pour but lightly hazy and muddy pond water in color. A good dense tan head rises to two fingers and lowers rather quickly without very much lace at all.

S - Delectable, complex aroma with spiciness upfront; white sage addition, a peppercorn nose and minty juniper. The chestnuts add a tiny hint of nuttiness in the background with sharp rye and roasted amber malts. Very good holiday ale aroma.

T - Slight spiciness opens this beer up as the juniper comes in nicely. A little minty-like tang plays well with the chocolate roasted malts and cocoa-like dryness. Very awesome holiday flavor blend.

M - Moderate to high carbonation livens the medium-full bodied beer up a little bit. Well-balanced spice and cocoa-like dryness with a mild acrid bitterness and minty balance.

D - A good holiday sipper perfect to share with someone around the fireplace. Very, very mild alcohol warming comes through on the finish of this one.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigDank for this bottle.

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a big ass mug.

A: Pours with a luxurious, roaring, textured head that lasts and leaves a nice coating.

S: Juniper, boysenberries, and nutmeg with chestnuts in the background.

T: Berry marmalade-like, with a hint of cinnamon and a bit of cocoa powder. Notes of walnut, caraway seed, and sage.

M: The best feature of this beer. Rich, creamy, and silky as it goes down.

D: Spot on for 8.5% ABV. I usually can't handle much of a winter warmer because of the cloying spiciness, but this one is an exception.

Bravo. I usually don't care/go for the winter warmer variety but I enjoyed this one. This all-star collab nailed it on the second release of the Special Holiday Ale.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 12/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark red amber. Nice medium head and lacing. Looks viscous and nicely made. Malty, spicy aroma. Mmm. Mellow malts, light and dark fruit, spices. Peppery hop finish. Nice presence of sage and juniper berry. One year old bottle. Wish I had saved more. Did not review this fresh, but this is superb. I will buy again if at all possible.

Photo of np0x
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was amazing to handle, when pouring it into the glass it was immediately apparent that the body was denser than any beer I have had in recent past. It almost refused to bounce, pouring more like honey than water. The smell was full of interesting leathery and rich spice smells many coming from the Juniper and I guess a few coming from the caraway in a way that was harmonious with the chewyness of the beer.

This was a great drink given how little I like holiday beers, I wanted another almost immediately after killing this one.

Photo of Blanco
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

very very dark color with tan head. very strong lacing, albeit from an aggressive pour into my snifter. smell is mostly of roasted malts similar to a porter/stout along with some vague winter spices that are hard to pick out and some dark fruits. very strange caramel and malt flavor right off the bat. there is a flavor in here i'm having trouble picking up. mouthfeel is on the thicker side of things. drinkability is good. it's a decent winter warmer although definitely not worth the $10 price for 500ml

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Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co. from Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S
88 out of 100 based on 232 ratings.