Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas AleSaranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale

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162 Ratings
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Ratings: 162
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.18
pDev: 16.04%
Wants: 3
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kell50 on 10-13-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 162 | Reviews: 32
Reviews by MichaelStoutBeard:
More User Reviews:
Photo of generallee
3.4/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a quick fading off white head over an orange amber body with a light haze.

Smell: I don’t get much here, just a light spiced maltiness.

Taste / Palate: There is a mild bready malt base with some dry spice notes like clove and coriander. I am also picking up a touch of bitter orange peel. It’s palate feels light and the finish is quick and somewhat boring.

Photo of Brenden
3.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Rudy's is a bright, clear medium orange. While I know it's a Winter Warmer without having to read the label, the look isn't typical. That's no difference to the beer except to say it doesn't have the usual similarities to porter that the style leans toward. The white head is slightly more than wispy and somewhat weakly constructed, but decent once it's settled. Lace is dropped in moderation.
This beer is fairly simple. There's not much sweetness from spice, being more of a "kitchen spices" blend, slightly hot and more earthy than anything. There is a light sweetness not from spicing, likely from caramel malts, and the typical Saranac house yeast strain is easily distinguishable.
Crispness is foremost in the feel, and it seems like it's focused on a bit too strongly, but there's about a medium body to this beer with plenty of activity. it fades a little at the end, though, and it seems it just bites too hard and may be covering up that there's not much else to the mouthfeel.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Best by March 31, 2014.

A: Pours a golden amber with a dense slightly yellowed head. A little under average visible carbonation. Leaves some decent lacing on the glass.

S: Spice is immediately noticeable upon first whiff. Heavy on the cinnamon, certainly allspice and nutmeg in there too. Does smell like a christmas cookie.

T: As with the aroma spice is dominant. Isnt overpowering or cloyingly sweet but certainly the focus of the beer. Is a mild drinkable blend when it comes to some of the heavy hitting winter warmers. Aftertaste

M: Medium body that is perhaps a bit light for a winter warmer. Finish is clean and not too sweet.

Overall its a tasty winter warmer that is focused on the spice. Doesnt overdo itself and compromise its drinkability.

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.34/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, semi-clear, golden color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with strong notes of piney hops, slightly toasted malt, giving off notes of slightly toasted rye bread, caraway seeds, and some caramel and brown sugar.

Taste: Similar to the aroma, only reversed. Strong notes of toasted malt up front and caraway seeds, like freshly baked rye bread, followed by some black pepper, caramel-like sweetness, finished by some pretty strong, but not out-of-balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.0%, there is alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty decent beer. Not bad, but not great either. Pretty enjoyable as your drinking it, but totally forgettable once it’s drunk. Worth a try, but not really worth going back too. I wouldn’t pass it up if offered, but I’m not seeking it out either.

Photo of TheSixthRing
2.68/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours clear and golden in color with a white finger width head. Fair retention leads to a thin, broken layer of suds across the surface. Fair lacing with decent stick.

Smell - Hmmm... lightly smells like a fruitcake.

Taste - Not much to it. Light notes of bread, fruit and 'Christmas' spice. Watery aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. Watery finish.

Overall - Not impressed. Probably one of the lightest winter warmers I've had, both in flavor and mouthfeel. Not good. My third Saranac brew from this variety 12-pack, and none have been impressive thus far. I don't expect big things from the other three.

Photo of HalfFull
3.26/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle from mixed winter 12 pack poured into a pint glass. Pours a light copper with good clarity and a somewhat resilient cap of very light tan foam. Lighter than expected for a self proclaimed amber for sure.

Very light on the aroma and a bit steely. Faint hint of cinnamon/nutmeg and with no real hop presence initially, emerging faintly with warming. Rather neutral in flavor with fullish pale malts up front, turning to a somewhat oily sweet then spicy conclusion. Notes of nutmeg and peppermint sprinkles linger fairly well. Full feel is pleasant and supportive given other parameters and expectations. Decent balance in that light spicing fits a light bodied brew. In line with brewery experience in the end, predictably ok. Not really a Winter Warmer per se, yet that's as good as any other style bucket for it.

Photo of puboflyons
3.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle no. BB-Mar 31, 2014-2703-0925. Sampled on November 21, 2013.

The pour is mostly golden yellow with a short-lived white head but consistent carbonation.

The aroma is of toasted and muffins, nutmeg, and other mellow spices. Not a noticeable hop aroma but a kind of cardboard like feel too.

The body is light to moderate with a touch of acidity and the texture fades to bubbles quickly on my tongue.

Ant spices and malts on the nose tend to step forward in the taste momentarily to be swept away by an earthy and bitter hop finale.

Photo of beerthulhu
2.71/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A: Mesmerizing rise of carbonation ascends like beads on a string within a pale orange body. Topping is a bit thin, skimy, dirty white in color, with no holiday dressing on the vessel.

S: Spicing is light, smells a bit like fresh mistletoe, light sugar cookie, lacking much of a holiday festive appeal. boring.

T: Flavor of sugar cookie, dry, grainy, a bit of nutmeg dusting but really low key lager like offering. Touch of mistle toe greenery, without the poisonous effect of course, leaves with a strange aftertaste that is hard to pinpoint.

M: Syrupy mouthful, decent body, carbonation feels relaxed.

O: Overall unexciting, lacking much holiday spirit and spicing. Nose is virtually non-existent, flavor is rather bland, unfestive with a six pack being a non-recommended factor. Falls below average regards for me, a snoozer that never leaves the gate or defines holiday spirit. bah humbug.

Photo of bluejacket74
3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, stamp on bottle says best before March 31, 2014. Got this bottle from a friend 2 weeks ago so I didn't get a chance to try it fresh. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both decent. Aroma is light but nice, the brew smells like caramel and toasted malt, and light sweet spices. I think the taste is the same as the aroma, but the flavors seems stronger in the taste as compared to the weak aroma. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit coating with moderate carbonation. It's not one of the better winter warmer/spiced ales I've had, it's really low on the amount of spicing that's in this brew. Not that it's a bad beer, but I think it's a Christmas ale that doesn't have much kick to it. Maybe I'll try it again next year if I can get a single somewhere.

Photo of metter98
3.36/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: Moderately strong aromas of ginger and nutmeg are present in the smell.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the nutmeg seems to be a little stronger and lingers through the aftertaste.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little thin and watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a lot lighter in body compared to most other beers in the winter warmer style but is easy to drink. It's not a bad selection if you really like ginger and nutmeg.

Photo of devilben02
2.6/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours from the bottle with a brilliant orange color and a full, pillowy, eggshell-white head. It's all downhill from there, though. The aroma provides dull, musty hops, some lemon rind, maybe some clove, and a little honey-like sweetness. The flavor is similarly muddled, with a combination of earthy and peppery hops flavors, some semi-tart lemon acidity, and an attempt at balance from some bready malts. The fine, prickly carbonation seems to accentuate the dull bitterness, resulting in the finish having an unpleasant mild astringency. The best-before date on the bottle is more than three months away, but this beer drinks like it is well past its intended freshness.

Photo of fx20736
2.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a single12oz bottle from Beers of the World on 11/16/13.

Poured into a nonic, served cool.

Appearance: light amber with a thin white head. some lacing.

Aroma: initial aroma is dirty diapers which is what several Saranac beers smell like to me. This is replaced by a faint aroma of ginger and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel: ok

taste: this is a boring pale ale with just the faintest taste of spices.

notes: blah, humbug. another disappointment from FX Matt.

Photo of plaid75
3.78/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a medium copper hue with a two finger foamy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured light wisps of ginger and nutmeg atop an earthy caramel.

The taste consisted of the same ginger and nutmeg with a moderate sweetness and lingering earthiness.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a vigorous carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall a tasty and user friendly spiced ale.

Photo of spinrsx
3.23/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz Bottle from Wegmans Dewitt NY for $2

Appearance - Clear gold colour with an average size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, apples/corn, all-spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and all spice. There are also some basic lager flavours like hay/corn etc

Overall - The scent is boring but the taste is acceptable. An xmas beer to appeal to the masses I suppose. Not something I'd pick up again.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light amber color with a white head that laces well. Aroma of light spices and caramel. In the taste, cinnamon, toffee, gingerbread, citrus, and cardamom. Light malt body and a fair amount of spice. Dry cinnamon and all spice.
Lighter bodied, decently carbonated ale but too thin. Still a good drinkable brew.

Photo of Brad007
2.91/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden blonde with a huge, frothy head into my glass. Looks very good for a winter warmer.

There's some spice in the nose, though it's nothing like a christmas cookie. Perhaps a touch of nutmeg. Otherwise, a boring amber ale.

Taste is a little too odd for me. Very little actual spice or flavor. Crisp and easygoing otherwise.

Mouthfeel isn't too favorable either.

Eh. They could have changed things up more than this.

Photo of TheMarkE
3.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear amber with a thick foam that disappears quickly. A hint of carbonation.

Smell: Bready malts, spice, and adjuncts.

Taste: Bready malts, spice, caramel, and adjuncts.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, with a slight spice aftertaste.

The Verdict: Meh. Tastes like a Miller Light with some allspice sprinkled in. Not impressed.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.05/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best before 3/31/14.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, and Christmas spice aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet malt and Christmas spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer with decent spice qualities, but nothing stands out about this one.

Photo of Kendo
3.5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is honey-amber (more golden-orangey when backlit) with a small white head.

S: Bready malt and a touch of spice - maybe nutmeg.

T: Overall impression is one of sweetness. Caramel malt with a hint of ginger and nutmeg, maybe some allspice. Modest lemony taste at the finish. House Saranac yeast taste is noted.

M: Light-to-medium in heft, carbonation is good; maybe a tad bit slick in feel.

O: Inoffensive, but hardly anything special. Got it as part of mixed twelve-pack; I certainly wouldn't buy it as a stand-alone in a six-pack, that's for sure.

Photo of watermelon
3.54/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Date on the bottle says best by 3/31/14

A: Pours a clear copper color with a white head. Head has alright retention with ok lacing.

S: Smells malty with some spices, perhaps nutmeg. A little bit of grassy scent.

T: Can taste both pale and toasted malts. Nutmeg is present in taste. Slight medicinal flavors in taste.

M: A little lighter then I would prefer for a winter warmer. Very crisp carbonation I would prefer less carbonation, body leaves a malty stickiness on the teeth.

O: Decent winter warmer, spices could be more pronounced, the mouthfeel felt off for the style.

Photo of beergoot
3.3/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Golden yellow body, little apparent carbonation yet with a thick, sticky, white head. Nuty and dried grass aroma; light toffee. Warm malt and vaguely spicy flavor, perhaps some juniper and rye; dry and slightly metallic hop bitterness. Medium bodied; crisp and dry finish.

A drinkable if rather boring winter warmer. The malt warmth and bread-like qualities are the high point for the flavor yet leaves one wishing there was something more to the beer to perk it up. There's some bitter/sweet interplay going on, too, but doesn't really ignite any excitement. Good but a lackluster offering.

Photo of stella77artois
3.68/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours a very clear and bright amber. Bright orange when shown to light. Very small head appeared which dissipated quickly. Ever so slight amount of carbonation rising from bottle. Pretty color, but I wish there was more carbonation and head retention.

S - Dankness like an Oktoberfest (weird, as this is an ale) and toasted malts up front. Very little sweetness up front. A bit of cinnamon is noted as well. Not much going on, but a nice smelling brew.

T - Toasted malts up front, along with a slightly fermenty taste. A general bitterness is also noticeable, but it's not really hoppy, just kind of an earthy bitterness, perhaps a very small touch of coffee. Small touches of cinnamon and other spice, and even smaller hint of vanilla. Not a bad tasting beer, but I like Winter Warmer's to have a little stronger flavor.

F - Thinner than most Warmer's, but not in a bad way. It's certainly more drinkable and easier on the stomach than it's thicker relatives of similar styles. A little sticky and dry. Carbonation more noted in the feel than the look. Could drink more than one.

O - Not a bad Winter Warmer. I like mine tohave a bit more flavor, but the mild flavor of this brew is a good one. Not mild in a weak or watered down way. Good malty flavor, and a very nice blend of spices. Not overpowering, but you know they're there. Also nice to have a Winter beer that isn't overly sweet. Not an outstanding beer, but I will certainly sample this beer again.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.14/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a clear amber color with a one finger of pure white head. The head relatively quickly leaving a very light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is mainly of a bready and malty smell mixed with some caramel sweetness. Along with these smells are some notes of spice, being mainly of a cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a rather sweet and bready flavor with the sweet being mainly of a caramel taste and the bready having a slightly doughy flavor with some biscuit notes. Some spice flavors quickly come to the tongue, with a good deal of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice all present. The flavor seems to sweeten as the flavor advances, with it also gaining a doughier flavor at the expense of any biscuit. Some light fruit and citrus hop flavors then join the tongue at the end of the taste, leaving a rather sweet and malty, lightly hopped, and decently spiced flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average side. The body and carbonation are a rather nice blend for the sweeter caramel and fruit flavors of the beer all while maintaining the spice, malt and lightly hopped flavors of the brew well.

Overall – A decent spiced holiday ale. Nothing super outstanding, but very drinkable. A good holiday party brew.

Photo of barczar
3.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Christmas beer found in April, so...

Pours a clear deep copper with a frothy cream head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Aroma is initially dominated by toasted malt, slightly sweet and caramelly, with perhaps a hint of cinnamon and clove. Fairly subtle.

Flavor reveals ginger at the base, which lingers throughout. Cinnamon is another dominant flavor. The toasted, slightly sweet, grainy caramel malt backbone has a sour note to it. Reminds me of cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

Body is moderate, with carbonation a touch high. There's a bit of a bite.

Not overly spicy, which I appreciate. Good malt backbone. The cinnamon dominates, overall. Wish that sour note weren't there.

Photo of ItalianPisces84
1.76/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a light caramel with decent head which faded quickly but left decent lacing in its wake. The smell surprised me, especially for a Saranac and for one that wasn't even a lager: it smelled almost like a Busch light wounded soldier from the night before, or more like several all next to each other. It tasted only a little different (better) than mass produced beer (eg, Busch lite), with some faint floral and herbal notes in the aftertaste. Carbonation was just enough to make it not feel flat, which for an ale is one thing, but this beer quite frankly tastes, looks, and smells a lot more like a lager. Overall I was very disappointed, especially since I really wanted to like this one! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not ranking this with Anhueser-Busch flagship and similar products (those I would never waste time reviewing or ranking), but this is, in my opinion, a very disappointing beer. Look elsewhere for a winter/Christmas/etc beer.

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Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.