1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

216 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 216
Reviews: 137
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.71%
Wants: 12
Gots: 19 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S visit their website
Norway

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Ingredients: Malted Barley, malted Rye, malted oats, hops, white sage, caraway, Juniper berries, chestnuts, yeast.

(Beer added by: SammyDavisJrJrJr on 11-25-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 216 | Reviews: 137 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Trueant1
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

STYLE DESCRIPTION FROM BEER ADVOCATE:

Winter Warmer

Description:
These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap "Winter Warmer" on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the "wassail" tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief "spice" in beer. American varieties many have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 5.5-8.0% [ ? ]

---

Opened the bottle and it fizzed out for a good 90 seconds.

Pours into glass dark dark red/brown. Off white head.

Smells like wet mesquite that covers a desert after a rain with menthol cough medicine. Sage, and cherries also. The "menthol factor is overwealming in the smell."

Tastes of sage, acai berries, and sweet sugars. Very interesting. As the style indicates the spices overrule the hops. But, there is a notable bitter presence from hops. Not a lot of booziness.

nicely carbonated and medium body. Sweet on the pallet as well. The intence spice flavor inhibit my abilty to finsih this one.

A nice different brew with sage. This works, but no 5's for this one.

Trueant1, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

BeerFMAndy, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of wknight167
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Apearance - Pours an opaque dark brown with a 2 finger tan head, good lacing and medium staying power.

Nose- Lots of spices. Sage, mint, spruce?

Palate- Caramel, ginger, allspice, coriander, sage minty after taste. Lots going on and a little overwelming.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation

Drinkability- A little too big on the spices for me.

wknight167, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Pours a syrupy deep brown with a skim of tan swirling head. Nice retention as the beer is swirled.

Has a rich, buttery yeasty aroma, like a warm biscuit. Some molasses, dark fruit and earthy tanins are present.

Tastes of dark fruit, grapes and currants, with mild toffee and spice present. Buttery smooth, despite a mild tart fruitiness in taste. Nicely complex, this is one of the better holiday ales I've had this year.

Full bodied, smooth, and pleasant. An excellent sipper.

Highly drinkable, it is too bad this beer is as expensive as it it. At $8.99 for a pint, this will be my only time enjoying this beer this year.

TheHoppiest, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark reddish brown, almost plum tinted. Less than a finger of off-white head.

S: Smells just like Christmas: dried fruit, spruce hops, and spices- most notably ginger and juniper.

T: Taste is fruity and sweet, much like an Abbey Dubbel (in a blind taste test, would have bet money on this being a dubbel). Quite a bit of roasted malts and berry sweetness (a cherry flavor comes through, even though I don't believe cherries were used in the brewing), alongside flavors from the aroma.

M: Medium to thick body; quite syrupy, especially on the finish. Soft to moderate carbonation.

D: The alcohol is well hidden, but this beer is just a bit too sweet to have high drinkability. Beyond that, I'm not sure that this one is worth the high price tag. If you're really invested in any of the three collaborative breweries or spice beers (or hell, if you're into dubbels), it may be worth checking out.

AwYeh, Jan 01, 2011
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.

TheDTrain, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a foamy light tan head.

Smell of ginger, some interesting spices that remind me of rosemary, sage? Taste is also very similar, there is a slight menthol bite which is either from the yeast and the juniper berries. roasted malt flavors, some sugar carmelization, a slight chalky feel, and a bit of charred roasted malt.

Medium body and a relatively hefty carbonation level.

All of the spices create quite an interesting beer, and one I would recommend, I just probably would not drink more than one of them. Happy holidays

alpinebryant, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of kingcrowing
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
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!

kingcrowing, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of claspada
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma is very spice heavy and herbal. Some underlying malt sweetness, dark fruits, and alcohol warmth add interesting undertones.

The taste is exactly as the nose leads you to expect. Strong herbal quality dominates (caraway?). Then dark fruit qualities of brandy soaked cherries and caramel malt sweetness makes an appearance. Earthy and nutty. Finishes with fennel and dry cedar. A little too heavy on the herbal/spice qualities for my preference. It's almost like a meal/savory beer; would work better with some food accompaniment but kinda struggles as a beer.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Pleasantly viscous. Overall an interesting and flavorful warmer. Spice character is initially intense, but seems to mellow as it warms. I can't recommend based on the $10 price point for only 500ml and there are much less "intense" spiced winter warmer offerings which are easier to find and less expensive.

claspada, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of JohnnyP3
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special Holiday Ale batch number 528, brewed 5 Aug 10, best before 5 Aug 15. Poured from a 1 pt .9 fl oz bottle into a belgian beer glass, new from C&B! Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, with a foam head of about one finger in width. Some lacing present as the beer goes down. Smell is of ginger, some sage, nutmeg, chestnuts (Michigan at that), a little bit of roasted coffee beans for some bitterness? This one is a bit of a puzzle!

Taste is very interesting. More bitter than I expected, but a good bitterness it is. I can taste some of the ingredients specified on the bottle, such as the juniper berries. Not sure about the chestnuts--there seems to be a chestnut taste towards the end that gradually fades out. As I smell again, the chestnut seems to be more noticeable in the nose of the beer. As for the sage from California, also detect notes of that as well. All blends together nicely, to create a body and taste similar to an imperial stout, but with an added holiday/seasonal dimension. As noted with respect to the smell, I can also taste a roasted/dark chocolate bitterness. Leaves a lingering ginger taste.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. The oats are a definite plus for the mouthfeel. Very smooth and pleasing. Drinkability is a plus here. There are some unique flavors thrown in here, but they all tend to compliment each other well. A very enjoyable holiday concoction.

JohnnyP3, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of July2Nov
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought from Tamura's in Kailua @ $8.99.

Appearance: Dark brown with a slight ruby color on the edges. Slight lacing at first, then nothing.

Smell: Spices which remind me of cinnamon and clove spike up. Also an undercurrent of plum rises to the top. Maybe some licorice too! Nice and wintery!

Taste & Mouthfeel: Wow! Tastes like some fresh cream with the mouthfeel. So smooth and a bit chewy. Full-bodied but not extreme to the taste which makes it a pleasant beer. Aftertaste has an ever so slight taste of warming alcohol that lurches forward. Really quit good! The taste is very hard to describe, but it's so good...just don't have the words for it.

Drinkability: With the combo of Nøgne Ø, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, and Stone Brewing Co., how could you go wrong. This is truly a concoction made from the three wise men. Bravo to this great collaboration.

July2Nov, Dec 23, 2010
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...

philbe311, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of plfahey
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

plfahey, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of AdamBear
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A-very dark brown, thin tan head that fades quickly

S-smells a tad spicy and like syrup. some vanilla extract is there as well. its not an entirely strong scent

T-hmmm now this is a good brew! I finished a Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale last night which I was not a huge fan of. It made me unsure about having another Winter Warmer but I'm glad I did...because this...is good. its a very heavy beer that hits with a grand amount of holiday nutmeg spices. there's pineness to it as well. the ending is less memorable but the holiday spices stay for awhile. Overall this is a fairly complex and decent beer.

M-medium carbonation with a good creamy finish, very thick as well

D-the alcohol hits fairly quickly. its a quite filling beer as well. the taste stays well but this might be a good beer to share with someone special on a cold winter night.

AdamBear, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of Vdubb86
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a wine glass

This beer pours a dark brown color with a tan foam lining the top of the beer. The smell is out of this world. It's like there is a pumpkin party in my nose and everyone is invited. I am told that in addition to the other ingredient it is the juniper that is making me go wild for this aroma. The taste however doesn't seem to really match the intensity of this beer. The spices exist that you'd find in a pumpkin pie, but I find them to be more biting on the tongue than helpful in the flavoring of the beer, still a pretty good mix. The mouthfeel is a little on the syrupy side for my liking. I don't think that I would ever turn this beer down if it were offered to me.

Vdubb86, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of Seanibus
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Like a crisp, rich holiday ginger cookie in a bottle.

Pours a deep black with a tight off white head that lasts and lasts. The aroma is a sharp blast of holiday scents - ginger, juniper, cinnamon, and clove. The flavor is roasted and sweet, with a rich malt backbone, spices, and a firm juniper edge, like a great gin. There is a delicious milk sweetness that spreads across the tongue, but is not cloying or unpleasant. The bitterness is definite but subdued. There is a clear burn of alcohol, but it is restrained and appropriate, given the gin-like quality. The mouthfeel is assertive and creamy.

A delicious winter warmer, if a little odd and unexpected.

Seanibus, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of Blanco
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
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

Blanco, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of FosterJM
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

72nd review on BA
bottle to pint

1 of 2 on Turkey day

App- Dark chesnut brown with some minor amber highlights. Had a one finger head that didn't last very long.

Smell- Huge smell of the sage notes. The juniper brings a very special aroma that made this one of the best smelling beers I've had.

Taste- A big helping of spicy malt. The taste follows the nose of the sage as well as the after taste

Mouth- Medium carbonation with a balance of spices with a slight citrus note on it.

Drink- The perfect way to end a 25 hour car ride from CA to KS on Turkey Day '10.

FosterJM, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of PenguinBeerFan
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was an interesting one.

A - Cola black, nice fluffy tan head that petered out quickly.

S - Typical dark ale smells, lots of roasted malt with a the juniper berries coming through behind it.

T - A thick syrupy malty brew, with a little citrus behind it. Nothing really stands out to me.

M - Highlight of the beer. This is unbelievably thick. Mouthfeel is like a taking slug of heavy cream.

D - After one bottle I don't think I'd go for another one.

Overall impressions are enjoyable and this is a beer worth trying, but nothing I will seek out next winter. Might shelve my other bottles, this one strikes me as an ager.

PenguinBeerFan, Nov 29, 2010
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.

Beejay, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of Blakaeris
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark mahogany brown with ruby highlight. Off white head is creamy and dense.

Aroma is very spicy and herbal. Underlying malt sweetness, dark fruit, and alcohol warmth add interesting undertones.

Taste is exactly as the nose lead me to expect. Strong hebal quality dominates (caraway?). Then dark fruit qualities of brandy soaked cherries and caramel malt sweetness makes an appearance. Earthy and nutty. Finishes with fennel and dry cedar.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Pleasantly viscous.

Overall an interesting and flavorful warmer. Spice character is initially intense, but seems to mellow as it warms. Definitely worth a try.

Blakaeris, Nov 17, 2010
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.

bashiba, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

oberon, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown that is transparent when backlit with early morning sun, has cherry and orange highlights, and is capped by three fingers of ecru colored froth. This was one of the most creamy looking/sounding pours in quite a while. The only minor negative is an almost featureless head. Lace is scarce at first, then comes through in the end.

The brewers decided to use ingredients indigenous to each of their areas, so they added Michigan chestnuts, SoCal white sage, and Norwegian (actually Italian) caraway seeds. This brew also contains 25% rye malt and oats. Finally, this should be the same basic recipe as Stone Special Holiday Ale, although this ABV is 0.5% lower.

The aroma is tremendous if you're a fan of herbed and spiced beer. Chestnuts and rye malt aren't appreciated, but sage and caraway definitely are. The beer also smells like spruce boughs and cardomom, although neither was used. Pungent and perfumy and more than pleasant.

Nogne SHA is at least as good as my memory of Stone SHA. This is in-your-face ale that blasts the taste buds with flavor and makes no apologies for it. However, it will most likely become slightly palate fatiguing over time, especially since the boys from Grimstad upped the bottle volume to 500 ml.

Pumpernickel toast and seeded rye toast hold down the bottom end with a granite-like solidity. Still not feeling the chestnuts, but then I've never eaten one. The spices are pinging and ponging all over the damn place and making sure the mouth party never winds down for an instant. Great choice of ingredients, perfect proportions.

The mouthfeel almost earns the next highest score. It's closer to medium than to light for the ABV, is incredibly lush, and pampers the mouth from beer entry to beer exit. Not sure how Stone's version has it beat, but then opinions can change from day to day and beer to beer.

Nogne Special Holiday Ale is what happens when three talented brewers put their heads together and start experimenting. It won't be for everyone, but this stuff blows Anchor Our Special Ale (which it resembles) out of the water.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of dgilks
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an interesting beer. It pours a nice dark chestnut brown colour with a mall, tan head. Fair head retention.

Odd, herbal aroma with a powerful medicinal note. Mild Christmas spice note. Weird.

Smooth and malty with a nice sweet note. The herbal strangeness continues with odd juniper notes continuing onto the palate.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. This is really good with a nice creaminess coming through.

An interesting beer to be sure but the flavour is somewhat compelling.

dgilks, Oct 18, 2010
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 216 ratings.