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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

228 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 228
Reviews: 138
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 13
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 228 | Reviews: 138
Photo of JoeMayo
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown with a khacki head

S- The nose is very complex and herbal. The first things to hit the nose are juniper and rosemary, followed by sage, ginger and other spices. Hints of clove and allspice come through after the initial wave of herbal aromas.

T- Mildly malty with a good, clean bitterness. The herbal and spicy tones found in the smell are almost nonexistent in the taste. There's hints of cooca and walnut in the finish.

M- Smooth with a dry finish

D- Overall, very drinkable and a good beer. Previous reviews say that this beer is hot, but I think that now this beer is drinking very nicely.

Photo of Intelligentsia
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a trifecta of breweries that put this wonderful idea together! This year it's Nogne O's turn to do what Stone did last year. This one pours a very rich mahogany with a slightly off-white head that clings to the edge of my snifter. No noticeable lacing.

Great smell that is dominated by spice. Very little else is discernable. And that's perfectly fine, considering the quality of the nose.

The tongue picks up where the nostrils left off, and immediately get spice, mild alcohol, and very, very little hop sensation. They claim 50 IBUs on the bottle, but it feels like even fewer. A prominent malt presence lingers.

There is almost no carbonation to speak of. A pleasnant, medium mouthfeel for an 8.5% beer.

Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from a bottle into a snifter. Beer is brown and hazy. Forms a white head of small bubbles that falls away leaving some lacing on the walls.

Beer has a spicy almost soda like sweet aroma to it. Lots of nutmeg and other spices -- maybe a slight alcohol.

Medium bodied beer. Lots of spice up front with a definite roast character in the back. Beer is a little "hot" with the alcohol. Second taste, finishes nicely, overall pretty drinkable and the mouthfeel is fine. I'm not sure I would get it again but I'm learning again this year that I'm not a fan of the winter warmers. Take a look if its your style, otherwise skip it.

Photo of Patrick999
4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm generally not a fan of winter warmers, but knowing this is the Nogne O version of a killer trifecta of breweries, I just had to pick it up.

Appearance is rock solid. Poured into a DFH glass, it shows a very dark brown body, and some thick creamy head that settles to an ever-present cap.

"Botanicals" in the nose, no doubt. Juniper and wintergreen....like a mint chocolate aroma. Smells like one of those organic chocolate bars with herbs and other interesting adjuncts thrown in.

This is excellent. It doesn't taste like taking a bite out of a Christmas tree like some other winter warmers. Each of the ingredients contributed by the three breweries comes together beautifully. I don't know that I've had sage in a beer before, but the sage Stone contributed here really contributes an enjoyable herbal menthol/wintergreen flavor, and the Scandinavian juniper comes through clearly as well. Jolly Pumpkin's Michigan chestnuts tie the beer together, with a general "nutty" flavor. Tasty backbone of chocolate malt as well. It sounds like a bunch of disparate ingredients, but it works beautifully. I'm deriving a ton of enjoyment from this one. So much for not being crazy about winter warmers!

Feel is one of a soft creaminess. The softness almost provides a cask-like feel.

The exquisite taste and feel here add up to very high drinkability. Nogne O outdid itself with this one. It's also clear that all 3 breweries contributed high-quality ingredients. This is a great beer.

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

Picked up a bottle of this to do a side-by-side tasting with the old Stone version.

A: Fairly similar to the previous version in that it's a dark brown with some reddish highlights and a tan colored head.

S: The sage seems to be the most dominant of the flavorings in this beer. The juniper is also quite present and overall the beer just has a very "spicy" feel to it. There is a bit of sweetness hiding in there as well.

T: Despite the nose, the flavor is a little more restrained in terms of the spices. The rye does lend its version of spice to the beer, and the sage is still there as well. A nice sweetness and a mild (hop) bitterness.

M: Fairly full bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Like the Stone brewed beer before it, this one is good, but "different". I enjoy it for the creative ingredients and being able to make a pretty decent beer, but definitely one of those winter time only beers.

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 HeyItsChili
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up on recommendation from Scott over at CBX.
Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep murky brown shoepolish color with faint brick-garnet highlights and a thin khaki head.

S - Smells like a Christmas centerpiece. Juniper, sappy fir bristles, brown sugar, holiday spices.

T - Pungent juniper bite wrapped up in sage. Chestnuts underpin the entire flavor profile. Lingering mild, sweet alcohol flavor.

M - Velvety, above medium bodied, sticky and coats the tongue.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special Holiday Ale (2009, brewed by/at Nøgne Ø) poured dark reddish brown with a massive tan head. It left a fair amount of lace n the glass.

The smell and taste were sweet, syrupy a,nd rooty, similar to root beer and licorice. It improved as it warmed, with the sweetness becoming more subtle. The feel was smooth, at first, with a slightly bitter finish.

I had Special Holiday Ale after a burger and fries, on New Years Eve. It perfectly washed down dinner and had a festive feel that went perfectly with the occasion.

Photo of cvfish
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer poured a chestnut brown color that produced a fluffy off white head that had good retention and laced the side of the glass very nicely

S - The aromas of this beer were a collection of things, caramelized malts, nutmeg, clove, very spicy, some yeast on the back end, as well as dark fruits

T - The taste of this beer is one to remember, sweet caramelized malts, nice bit of clove and nutmeg, pine trees, a bit of juniper berries, and a good finish of yeast

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium to heavy body with a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This was another great Christmas beer, wonderfully done by three hard hitters of the brewing world

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle poured into a standard pint

Pours a ruddy brown with mahogany highlights and a fluffy, creamy head that leaves behind some spotty lace.

The aroma is of dark cherries, nutmeg and cinnamon with cocoa powder and some light roast.

A dark cherry like tartness from the yeast lends a nice flavor to the body of this beer. Nutmeg and cinnamon are there to bolster the spice profile along with some cocoa powder.

Medium body with a dry finish. I like the way the spices don't overpower you and work together in this formula. Makes it much easier to drink.

Photo of m1ked
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My awesome wife bought me a 22 oz bottle for a stocking stuffer, way to go. Poured into my 8 oz NYC Craft Beer Week sampler glass...it was clean.

A- Pours a dark walnut color, but once it all collects in the glass, it almost looks black. A quick hold up to the light reveals a ruby glint in the center, with cola colored edges. good 2 finger espresso foam like head that slowly recedes down to a mere skim. No lacing, but some clinging around the edges.

S- Some all spicey, clove, nutty, cola....maybe its just the holidays, but I get some snickerdoodle cookie too. Smells like a cross between a fall and winter warmer. Nice spice aromas here.

T- Rich maltiness with the familiar spice profile, but much for subdued. I get the allspice, cola, cocoa,and nuttiness. Overall a good balance, with rich flavors.

M- Full, rich and creamy. The carbonation is present, but in the background low and prevents and lingering of the heavy flavors.

D- I give this a 4.5 on the basis of Holiday drinkability. I enjoyed last years Stone based offering, and was not disappointed by this years. While it is similar, there is noticeable difference. I can't wait til its JP's turn.

Photo of NoLiberty
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank this with GrassrootsVT over a Christmas dinner. Cheers!

Pours into Mikkeller glassware a dark chestnut ruddy brown with soft cloudiness. A simple toffee colored head beams up and resides into a spotty cap that retains for the full drink. Very little to no lacing. Oh, and I must say that the label design is beautiful and a definite attribute to this beer.

Smell is absolutely dominated by spice with light underlying sweet dried fruit. The spice reminds me of coriander but the label says otherwise. Sage perhaps is where the dry, earthy note comes from. A light biscuity graham cracker aroma pops up subtly underneath and blends the sweetness with spice. Very nice.

Taste is much less spice-focused than I anticipated and this is a welcome surprise. Flavor is very well balanced between round sweet malt, slight rye spiciness, plumy fruit notes and the spices that give the beer some angles. Finishes very smooth with light residual sweetness that's not cloying but gives the beer an aftertaste that welcomes another sip.

Mouthfeel is wonderful: full, round, smooth and soft but definitely not syrupy. This soft character may come from the water but most likely from the malted oats. Also very nice.

Overall a very good beer and one of the only spiced winter beers that I would come back to again. Well done folks.

Photo of cwps48
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Virtually no head. Reduces to a brim. Minimal lacing. Nice legs. Opaque orange-ish brown.

S: Sage. Slight piney taste (juniper I suppose). And a little nutty. Small amount of booze in the smell. Smells sweet, but not malty. Perhaps from the oats.

T: Large sage presence. Not as sweet as the smell. Slightly bitter hop character, but very well weaved into the complex of spices. Hint of nut on the back end.

M: Nice, moderate carbonation. Wet finish that begs for another sip.

D: This beer is very smooth. Very smooth. Any alcohol noticeable is actually nice, and slightly warming. Glad I got two of these...

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a Tank 7 tulip. Bottle conditioned. Poured a dark brown with about two fingers of tan head. Very fragrant. Juniper, spruce, eucalyptus. Also some dark malt as it warms. Medium bodied. Dark fruit, chocolate malt and more spices in the flavor. Spruce and Juniper. Very long finish of spices. Very interesting beer. If you like Anchor OSA, this would be up your alley. You wouldn't want to make a night of it, but fairly drinkable. Great holiday brew.

Photo of jampics2
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bottle procured by Adam for his excellent holiday tasting. Poured carefully as to avoid the milky white sediment, served cool. A cloudy brown with a tiny head, looks good! Last years Stone version was a holiday fave, so let's see where Nogne O can take this.

Smell is amazing, bringing back memories of last years holiday parties! Juniper, ginger, spruce tips, amazing nose.

Taste follows - ginger, bitterness, light pine. Sage and caramel malt as well. This tastes good, perhaps a bit more intense than last years offering!

Mouthfeel is nice - good carb and body. Significant without being heavy, nice feel for a sweet and spicey beer.

Drinkability is good. It can be a little overwhelming if you don't dig the juniper flavor, but I do and I enjoyed this. My sample was gone way too soon!

Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the last bottle at Max's today. Very glad to be able to try this one. Interestingly, the version I'm drinking has the Nogne label on it, showing three wise men (or perhaps three wise guys), with the Nogne O superimposed on it. In any event....

The beer pours an interesting cola color with pretty good head retention and lacing. Don't get a lot on the nose, just some light spice, sweet malt and something of a cola aroma. On the palate, my initial impression was "wow." The beer is fairly sweet, but there is so much spice in this beer, and all of it works well with the base beer (IMHO). I get ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon... all interwoven with some nice dark fruits and chocolate. Mouthfeel is pretty full, with a long, fairly soft, spice infused finish. Drinkability is pretty good, though with the 8.5% alcohol (according to my bottle), sweetness and spice, this isn't exactly the sort of beer you can pound down all afternoon. Still, this is just the perfect, fun beer for the holidays. Excellent stuff.

Note: Can't verify this, but was told that the version made at Stone (was told this version was made at Nogne) is very different from this one. Supposedly, this one has much more spice then the Stone version... so that's something to keep in mind I guess. Regardless, I really did enjoy this particular version.

Edit: Realize now that I posted my review under the wrong beer (hardly surprising given the various collaborative efforts involving these breweries), and so have now moved it. Hard keeping track... :-)

Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a clear dark brown color with a 1" tan colored head. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: a nice aroma here as nutmeg, yeast spiciness, and malt sweetness are easy to detect.

Taste: big malt presence with plenty of spices such as nutmeg and sage, along with rye, berries, and a mild nuttiness. Floral bitterness is mild overall. Alcohol is barely noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly dry throughout with soft crispness at the start and a smooth finish.

Drinkability: this is a bold flavored beer and great for the cold weathe, but one bottle is enough in a session.

Photo of RedBrewer83
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter...

A: Pours a very dark chocolate bordering on black with a huge frothy khaki colored head that is very thick and creamy and hangs on forever!

S: Huge aroma of sage and juniper with a menthol mint background aroma. Very faint caramel malt is barely detected as well. Not sure what to think at this point. The nose is huge but very different....and very one note...herbs.

T: Roasted caramel malt upfront that is quickly dominated with sage, juniper and mint flavors, a little spicy and floral hop note is detected on the finish that lingers long after the swallow. Good, but a little too minty and floral for my taste...Need more malt to balance things out.

M: Smooth mouthfeel of a medium body, carbonation is right on.

D: Too floral to be highly drinkable, very smooth and the abv is well hidden but too many herbs get in the way of this one.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At this point in time, this is the one beer you can get in Minnesota with the name Stone on the label.

A: Hazy mahogany in color with a cream-hued head that retains itself very nicely. The foam coats the glass.

S: Very unique aroma. malty at first, with caramel and slight fruitiness, but then overpowered with juniper, herbs and floral hop notes.

T: Malt is present up front, with caramel, honey, and dried fruits. The herbs and spices are almost overwhelming in the middle, while the hops take a back seat to everything else. That I find to be just a bit dissappointing.

M: Medium bodied. I would'nt have minded a bit more body on this one. While the flavors are strong, the finish is rather short-lived.

D: This release is very good, and easy to drink. It could have used just a bit more assertive hopping though. That would have bumped up my score.

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 Jmoore50
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have had this twice, impressed both times I tried it.

The appearance is dark rust. Nice one finger khaki head with medium lacing.

The smell is superb. Juniper and sage are overwhelming characteristics, along with some sweet caramel notes.

The taste is so pungent in the beginning that it takes you back a bit. Juniper berries are such an interesting flavor in this. Sage paired with Juniper make a dry flowery taste, but the Juniper berries sweeten it up a bit. Towards the end your palate starts getting used to the tastes and a mild caramel malt characteristic shines through.

Delicious brew, dry in the tastes but sweet in the end. More people need to drink this one.


Photo of gford217
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark, dark brown out of the bottle and sits almost black in the glass with hints of mahogany around the edges. There is a tight, thick beige head that shows very good retention and some legs on the sides.

The aroma is dominated by the spices and juniper, with an almost minty character in the nose. There isn't much of the underlying malts or rye.

The taste is much better and shows a complexity that I think the aroma lacks. The initial taste is dark roasted malts with the juniper coming out right after. The finish starts with a smooth spicy rye with some sage as well.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of things and extremely smooth with the rye doing its thing. The carbonation is soft but full of tiny bubbles on the palate.

I think this is a tad better than last years version, though they are certainly very close. The aroma is a bit spicy for me but the taste is excellent, as is the super creamy mouthfeel. Creative and tasty.

Photo of WeisGuy
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - pours a deep dark brown color with burgundy highlights, big frothy khaki head with great retention and lacing

s - big aroma, lots of spruce and juniper berry, as might be expected, light chocolate aroma underneath the spruce and spice

t - big burst of sweet maltiness up front with strong juniper berry flavors, mid-palate is dominated by the spruce, finish is lingering pine with the chestnut addition coming through, alcohol is evident but not overwhelming

m - medium-to-full bodied, medium carbonation, well-balanced on the finish, nice alcohol warming

d - the flavors are intense though not that complex and interesting, not all that harsh on the palate

Photo of jmw141
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving: 1pt, 9 fl. oz. bottle. Three wiseman art in the background behind the Ø. Quite a collabo from these three brewers. Served in trappist glass. I allowed the beer to warm for 15 minutes after removing from fridge.

A: Pours syrupy, very thick dark brown, thin tan head, smooth head looks like melted marshmallow. As the head dissolves is leave a pattern on top of the beer that looks like tons of rice-sized cells. Quite a sight. Give the glass a twirl and the head reforms and begins to dissolve in a new pattern like a Twilght Zone spiral. Then after a few minutes the cell-shapes appear like ghosts dotting the head (they aren't craters from popped bubbles). I think this head is a living organism!

S: pine, blast of pineyness, lime, spice. I've never smelled anything like this. It makes me feel like I can clean with it and drink it at the same time. UNIQUE!

T: I'm very anxious to taste this one. Sweetness is there but subdued in the beginning. It almost feels like it should taste much sweeter than it does. Its like unsweetened molasses in the mouth. The spices kick in at the front and taper off all the way to the end. Slight finishing bitterness.

M: Thick, very syrupy. Goes down easy and the alcohol at 8.5% is not very noticeable.

D: Drinkable. Perfect nightcap (I'm having mine as an after dinner snack while I watch some Mythbusters).

Overall: One of the best I've had in a while. Truly is a winter warmer and probably the best I've had this season (I feel ashamed for not rating the last many beers I've had, so I start again here).

Photo of jdklks
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours a good looking dark brown, gleaming like caramelized brown sugar with a dark tan head. smells of many spices. pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and, most of all, JUNIPER. some nice hoppiness and some dark, very roasted maltiness.

the flavor is huge on the spiciness up front. again, lots of juniper. some brown sugar sweetness through the middle, and then a blast of roasted malts in the finish and aftertaste that pretty much wipes out any hint of what came before. this beer would be better if it let up on the roastiness a little.

the mouthfeel is average at best. too thin and over-carbonated. three titans of brewing worked on this beer but give me a jubelale instead. still, a pretty good beer.

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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 228 ratings.