Santa's Swallie
Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

Santa's SwallieSanta's Swallie
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Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Scotland, United Kingdom
Scottish Ale
3.37 | pDev: 11.57%
May 12, 2016
Nov 24, 2010
Santa's SwallieSanta's Swallie
Notes: None
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Rated: 3.42 by hdtrice from England

May 12, 2016
Photo of seedyone
Reviewed by seedyone from New York

3.24/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25
From bottle at Home. Funny how the flavor elements yield no aroma to speak of but show up on the tongue in a perverse array of non-array. Label says nutmeg & cinnamon which are usually major players (& spoilers), but when the best before date reads "2372" perhaps it wasn't fully ripe.

There is a bit of rock candy sweetness with a trace of the spices, but the overall seems to be the malt...or maybe that's the last man standing.

They say curiosity killed the cat, but in this case it has put a serious dent in mine. I guess I'll take a harder look at the chapter titled "Nothing ventured..."
Jan 03, 2016
Photo of pat61
Reviewed by pat61 from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
L: Pours cloudy gold amber, under a quickly collapsing sudsy cream colored foam cap that produces excellent lace.
S: Spice, hints of smoke, biscuit.
T: Nutmeg, cinnamon, light malt, hints of caramel.
F: Medium to medium low body, medium low carbonation.
O: Kind of nondescript for a Christmas ale.
May 19, 2015
Rated: 3 by esmyth15 from Massachusetts

Dec 15, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by afsdan from Colorado

Oct 09, 2014
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Reviewed by thierrynantes from France

3.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from 20/20 La Chapelle/Erdre, and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : amber golden color, with white foamy head.
Smell : malty and hoppy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : malty caramel and hop flavors, with a bitter finish.
Overall : an average beer in the style Bitter
May 21, 2014
Photo of baakabak
Reviewed by baakabak from New York

3.21/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25
Pours ruddy gold with a fair amount of slow settling white head.

Scent is light butterscotch, stone fruit, and some bubblegum. Faint nutmeg.

Tastes the same as the nose with some more roasted flavors and spiced cakes.Nominal hops. Finishes slightly bitter. Big yeast

Medium body. Slightly slick.

I expected something far more heavy and assertively spiced given the name and description. You get more of the spice in the nose than on the tongue, and it's still pretty faint. Certainly not bad if you can find it for a deal. The name and label also provide some entertainment value.
Feb 23, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by Schmoog from Scotland

Jan 11, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by BillRoth from Maryland

Dec 12, 2013
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Reviewed by TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains honey, spices, caramelized malts, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with strong flavors of spices, caramel and honey. Then a hearty but not too heavy malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, it’s not a bad beer but there are other beers in the style or other Christmas seasonal that I would choose first.
Jun 04, 2013
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Reviewed by puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
From the 500 ml. bottle, 2012 batch.

The color is copper-amber-orange with a delicate but small off-white head that leaves a little lacing around the glass.

On the nose I get some sweet pale malts, baked bread, and semi dark fruit like cranberries.

It is a creamy medium body.

The taste has a slight citrus sweetness at the start and a low to moderate bitterness capping off the tail side. A likable brew.
Jan 26, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by rao2100 from Malaysia

Dec 27, 2012
Rated: 3.5 by nquigley16 from Massachusetts

Dec 22, 2012
Rated: 3 by MylesMac from Canada (MB)

Dec 04, 2012
Rated: 3 by cfalovo97 from Canada (ON)

Nov 13, 2012
Rated: 3.75 by t0rin0 from California

Oct 15, 2012
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Reviewed by OtherShoe2 from Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Pours light hazy orange with a ring of head. No lace.

Light malt, some floral and honeyed notes.

Watered down, a bit dry. Malt is lean and a bit coarse, but not really bitter. Some light spice and lightly toasted malt. Light bitterness in the end. A light touch of sweetness.

Medium body, a little watery.

Not great. Drinkable, but barely. Needs everything - depth of malt, some booze, complexity.
Jul 05, 2012
Photo of Kromes
Reviewed by Kromes from Georgia

3.23/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
A: A light orange color with a chill haze and a thin off white head that laces the glass.

S: A caramel malt with some fruity and earthy qualities and an off-smelling phenol aroma that seems out of place.

T: Not too much flavor, seems watered down, but there are some caramel malt, earthy flavors and plum flavors in there and maybe a little peach. Don't really taste the spices.

M: Thin with low carbonation.

O: Not too bad. Just seems a little watery to me.
Feb 17, 2012
Rated: 3 by schopenhauerale from Arizona

Jan 19, 2012
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Reviewed by flyingpig from Scotland

2.63/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2
A light orange copper coloured drink that has good clarity and is topped with a foamy white head that is about a pinkys width tall and stays constant throughout.

A fair bit of spice in this one, particularly cinnamon, there is some muted hops and dark malts. It was quite an unusual smell but not really great.

Pretty unusual but not it a good way, it was very spicy and there was tonnes of cinnamon but not a lot else. Not very complex or enjoyable.

Light to medium bodied with a spicy but smooth feel to it & a crisp finish.

A poor effort, even for a novelty Christmas beer. There was far too much spice and not enough variation, I'd avoid this one if I was you.

1001 Beers To Try Before You Die:
Dec 28, 2011
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Reviewed by maxk from Massachusetts

2.46/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
Poured from a 500mL bottle into a snifter.

A: A beautiful amber/honey color with a 2 finger head. Very nice lacing.

S: Spice, light malts, orange and hops.

T: Subtle hops, spices, a little of some lighter malt flavors.

M: Watery, not so much carbonation.

Overall, this is beer is pretty poor. It tastes like a glorified lager, and not even a good one. Just a tiny bit of badly chosen spice, a little more hoppiness than lagers, but not much.
Dec 03, 2011
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Reviewed by jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Pours a one finger white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving traces of lace. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Clear amber color. Nose is light malty and flavor is malt with hints of nutmeg. $5.95 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.
Jun 27, 2011
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Reviewed by brokensail from California

3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Thanks for sharing this one, Bobby.

A: The beer pours an orange/amber color with a finger of white head that settles down to a thin layer.

S: Quite a bit of spice here. Cinnamon is certainly there as well as some spicy hop notes. Bread, caramel, and toffee malts and a slight creaminess to it. Perhaps a little bit of yeast in there too.

T: A pronounced spiciness to the flavor as well with some nutmeg and cinnamon as well as some spicy hop notes. Sweet caramel and toffee with a little bit of bread.

M: The body is on the light end of medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This was an alright beer. Not bad but I don't really care whether or not I have this again.
Feb 14, 2011
Photo of SolomonGrundy
Reviewed by SolomonGrundy from California

2.59/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5
Ok, straight away I gotta question a X-mas beer with only 4.3% ABV...WTF is that about?! $6.49/500ml bottle, too, so it ain't exactly cheap. Pours a very pleasant, Arnold Palmer (the drink) colored light amber. A nice two fingers of soapy head snaps to attention, then swiftly relaxes at ease. Not a lotta lacing. Little carbonation that I can see. Aromas definitely mark this as a UK brew, strong malt characteristics, that very British hop character (is it Fuggles??). A certain earthiness is in there, so I'm prob right on the Fuggles. There's a sweet aroma in there too, akin to pineapple with a caramel chaser. It's from the UK that's for sure...Very tangy flavor, and it kind of billows up from the carbonation. Not sure I dig that texture at all. It has a nice creaminess to it, but it's too "puffy" in the mouth. The flavor is terribly thin, too. The spices they used are impossible to pin down because they are so fleeting. One second they're there, the next instant they're gone. This could have been done so much better, I reckon. The finish has some hops to it, but it's too thin to notice. Maybe I've been ruined by the over hopped West Coast ales over the year, but I find this ale rather pedestrian, especially for a Winter time offering. Avoid trying this as it's not worth the price and is a rather poor ale all the way 'round.

What I like most: The nice aroma profile.

What I like least: Almost everything else.

Verdict: Under ABV'd, over priced and not all that exciting. Look elsewhere, laddies...Not sure "sophisticated" aptly describes the brew..."pedestrian"? Yes...But "sophisticated"? yeah, I don't think so...
Jan 20, 2011
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Reviewed by dismal from Illinois

3.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Pours a dark orange that is slightly hazy. Has a nice big white head with little retention and leaves some lacing on the sides. The smell is malty, fruity, some caramel, kind of biscuity. Seemed kind of earthy at first but that when away pretty fast. The taste is pretty similar, mainly malty and biscuity. The mouthfeel is smooth but pretty average. Low ABV makes this very drinkable on the alcohol side but I don't think I would do more than one or two of these in a night as it's something I don't think I want a lot of in a night. Overall it's not bad but it's not great either, pretty average. I don't think I'd call it a 'Scottish Ale' but probably something else. Probably wouldn't buy it again but I wouldn't turn one down if it was offered.
Jan 05, 2011
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Reviewed by Offa from California

3.95/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
This is a good, solid, very approachable and drinkable ale, well-made and balanced with a good British character. However, it's but a bit subdued, somewhat one-dimensional and uninteresting, esp. compared to other Inveralmond beers.

Copper-amber, it has a medium off-white head soon shrinking to a ring and wisps, with some lace.

Aroma is fruity-caramelly barley, vague yeastiness, hints of spice and wood and dry leaves. It is nice but lacking in compelxioty and depth.

Taste is soft grain and fruit, hints of honey and lemony wood, spicy herb, but all very light and a bit vague. Balanced, firm and consistent, it is enjoyable and very drinkable but lacks character and interest. If drunk warmer, however, the character comes through more and it has some nice hints of complexity, making it very enjoyable.
Jan 03, 2011
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Reviewed by beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.26/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
A: Dull cadmium orange in the glass filled with a feverish rise of seltzer like carbonation bubbles. On top lies a foamy, ivory colored head that sits a towering 2 fingers plus high and remains so for a good time. The glass sees a generous shellacking of spongey spackled lace with micro pocket windows of visibility. The carbonation remained rabid and strong thoughout the course of the drink.

S: The aroma was baked Christmas cookies with a sugary coating and some cinnamon. Some fresh oranges with light lime and a moist wheat breadiness comes about in the finish. Not as festive as I would of thought for a xmas beer, even at a slightly warmer then recommended temperature. Failed to get any nutmeg detection.

T: Sugar cookies with some cinnamon and dried caramel come about first. Some lime and juicy wet citrus creeps in mid-palate. A brief maltiness is exhibited mid way while the beer that finishes off with a fresh wet lemony-lime juicy bitterness and some wheat and yeasty character. The spicing is more evident upon warming, some gingerbread, more so then at the recommended slightly chilled temperature advised on the bottle. The maltiness seems to be lacking and appears only in flashes during mid-palate (much less then Scottish standards) while the hopping and body seem to be more on par with a English pale ale.

M: The mouthful provided a nice tingle from the strong carbonation, one of the few highlights here. Light to medium body but otherwise meh.

D: When I think xmas I think a winter warmer, one with a festive spicing. When I think Scottish ale (what this is labeled as supposedly) I think of a powdery malt presence coating the tongue, with a full and silty feel. This beer pretty much had neither of these qualities. More citrusy-lime hopping with a light body that came off more like a English pale ale then a Scottish that just doesn't conjure up much xmas spirit when drinking.

Final beer musings: Overall I would say this is not bad so much flavor wise as much disappointing spice and style wise.
Dec 21, 2010
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Reviewed by kjyost from Canada (MB)

3.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottle dated Feb 2012.

Looks great, crystal clear with a nice amber body anbd a fine head that laces wonderfully. The aromas is muted. A bit of sweet caramel paired with some spice, it almost smells like mulling spices. The taste is similar, with a thick caramel flavour and feel and a but of spice barely playing around there. If they hadn't told me this was spiced, I wouldn't have known it. Decent, but nothing to write home about.
Dec 05, 2010
Photo of oberon
Reviewed by oberon from North Carolina

3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
First of many CHRISTman/winter beers for me to come this month.Poured into an imperial nonic a clear medium golden with a thin but well sustained sticky bone white head.Aromas were really lacking in my mind, British malt biscuit and hard water,thats all really.Thinner in the feel and pretty carbonated.Flavors are sweetish with a hint of nutmeg spice,a bit of nuttiness as well.Eh its very subdued compared to most U.S. styles,decent not great.
Dec 03, 2010
Photo of marty21
Reviewed by marty21 from Canada (MB)

3.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
A: Pours a light orange colour with a one finger head that lasts for a while and leaves nice lacing.

S: A fruity and buttered toast smell.

T: It's has a malty taste as well as hints of fruits and buttered toast.

M: A mouthfeel that is somewhere between light and medium with medium carbonation. It goes down really smooth. I think partly due to the lower ABV.

D: I was a little disappointed in the lack of spices in the taste. I didn't really taste any that were advertised on the bottle. I wouldn't really call this a Christmas beer. However I enjoyed this beer. It would make a great session beer.
Nov 30, 2010
Photo of dahlen22
Reviewed by dahlen22 from New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5
Appearance: Pale orange with a small lacy head.

Aroma: Butter, fruits and toffee.

Taste: Smooth and easy drinking...some fruits and buttery-biscuits.

Overall: I LOVE Scottish beers, but this one is NOT a "scotch" ale, nor is it a classic Christmas ale. It is an easy drinking session beer (more of a spring ale if you ask me) that they are marketing as a Christmas Ale. I have been to Scotland and can say that their beers are terribly underrated in the US, but they are actually good, and this one is no different. Again, not a Christmas ale so if that is what you are looking for, go elsewhere, but if you want an easy drinking session beer at a good price, this one is worth a try. Cheers!!
Nov 29, 2010
Photo of bucklemyshoe
Reviewed by bucklemyshoe from Georgia

3.95/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
500 ml bottle at 45* into a Murphy's Pint glass.

A: This pours a mostly clear copper color with lively carbonation and a finger of moist foam that holds and laces well.

S: The fuggles are quite noticeable up front with cinnamon and buttered toast notes as well.

T: It features a sweet malty character with buttery biscuit flavors early with the fuggles, medium fruits, and spices (nutmeg and cinammon) finishing.

M: This has a medium body with a consistently creamy feel.

D: Sessionable Christmas beers seem to be a rarity but hopefully this tasty brew will revitalize the idea.
Nov 24, 2010
Santa's Swallie from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 32 ratings