Holiday Ale | Kern River Brewing Company

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Holiday AleHoliday Ale
Very Good
21 Ratings
Holiday AleHoliday Ale

Brewed by:
Kern River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Solomon420 on 12-06-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 21 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of augustgarage
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Library Ale House - big full pour served in a large weizen glass. Reviewed from notes made in a dimly lit room, so I'll keep this short:

Copper body with orange-ish amber highlights topped by a hefty beige head that dissipates slowly. Decent soapy lacing.

Sourdough starter/buckwheat/sprouted grain aromas are backed by a spicy peppery note and a wave of resinous pine-forward hops. Faint mint and catnip emerge as it warms.

Dark malty palate entry is annihilated by a fresh bitter wave of evergreen, forest floor, and grapefruit pith. Long sharp (bitter) finish - faintly spicy/herbal/earthen in nature - the rye is present throughout but serves more to obscure the hop profile than contribute balance.

Medium-bodied, well carbonated, and brisk.

An interesting experiment (and definitely one for hop-heads), but I'll stick to Alpine Nelson for my Rye IPA fix.

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Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to moosington for the bottle.

Holiday Ale pours a copper stained brown color. It's very clear and has slight cherry highlights with backlighting. The lid is off-white and rises to a couple of fingers in depth. It's relatively slow to recede and leaves thick, sticky waves of lace lining the glass. Not bad at all.

Whoa! Not what I was expecting. I was expecting the typical winter warmer style. One whiff reveals a pretty nice IPA. Hops are very prominent and feature nice citrus grapefruit and pine notes. Not far behind is a nice dose of caramel malt. Not my favorite thing, but it doesn't rival the hops in terms of strength. It smells a little sugary and sweet. Alcohol isn't noticeable. Smells pretty good to me.

The flavor is good. It is citrusy and sweet initially. Grapefruit and orange flavors are noted. There's also a piney aspect to the hops. It leans bitter, but it's not a buzzsaw. Caramel malts are the base and counter some of the bitterness, and to a lesser extent, the hop flavor. However, it doesn't totally negate the hops. I'm not getting any alcohol in this thing. I still don't know much about Kern River Brewing Company, but they obviously know what they're doing in that department. It finishes a little bitter and dry.

Holiday Ale has a medium body that's nice and smooth. I do think there's a little too much malt here, but the body obviously benefitted. Carbonation is dialed down nicely and seems light. Drinkability is good. Holiday Ale has a nice flavor. It's not my ideal preference for an IPA, but it's pretty damn good. Sure goes down easy. This bomber will be no problem.

Holiday Ale is a nice surprise. I'm always thrilled to try out a new IPA, especially when I'm expecting a Winter Warmer. As far as IPAs go, this one has a little too much caramel malt, but not so much that severely degrades the final product. There's still enough hop flavor and bitterness to succeed. Kern River Brewing Company has impressed me thus far. This isn't quite the knockout that Just Outstanding IPA is, but it is good beer. Easily recommended.

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Photo of Solomon420
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Too bad this thing is only available during the Holidays.
Very nice and easy to drink, an all around solid brew from KRB. Its similar to the Outstanding IPA, but the rye malt adds a distinctive spicyness to the brew.

Its too easy to drink for a beer with 7.5% AC. I need to make it up to the brewery soon to get it fresh on tap...yummy!

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint with a rather surprising hazelnut color. About a finger and a half of head is achieved with a moderate pour that dissipates at a medium pace, leaving nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Hops, hops, and more hops. Pine, bitter grapefruit, and a hint of a malt/caramel backbone.

Taste - Actually, not as bitter as I was expecting (a good thing imo). I was expecting a bitter bomb, but instead this is a relatively balanced IPA. I can most definitely taste the rye, some nice piney hop goodness, and just a bit of the grapefruit. There is a definite malt backbone that rears up near the end though, and is just a hint too sweet.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, lower carbonation than would have liked (making it a bit too creamy for me).

Drinkability - A pretty good IPA. I'm trying to envision having a Just Outstanding next to this, and while I can tell they are different, they are somewhat similar. However, I prefer the JO over this, though I am glad I picked it up.

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Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of vacax
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. brown bomber from Hi-Time Wine. Happy to try this Kern River bottle, they have yet to let me down. Seems like I can't throw a stick without hitting a rye pale ale these days though. Light brown in color with a fair sized light tan head. Very good retention and good lacing, the attractive pour being something I am accustomed to seeing from KRBC. The aroma has some spice and marzipan from the malts but right next to them are a load of hops in grapefruit form.

The taste is dominated by grapefruity hops with a spicy balance. Midpalate can have an excessive amount of grapefruit that seems almost acidic. Spicy hoppy finish then an end note of cookielike caramel malts. Body is medium with a medium-high natural carbonation. Pretty decent stuff, but not a breakout for me. I'd much prefer either the Just Outstanding for hops or the Sequoia Red for malts. Continues my experience that the special releases from KRBC don't quite stand up to their stellar year round items.

medium medium

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Photo of Endocador
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of womencantsail
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a hazy, dark amber color with a thin layer of off-white foam. Despite the lack of head, there is some nice lacing.

S: Very strong grapefruit and pine hops. There is a slight bit of spiciness in there as well, which I would assume is from the rye.

T: The taste follows the nose. The citrus and pine components are a bit more tame than the nose, but still have a nice presence. The rye's spiciness is a bit more pronounced here. There is also a good amount of caramel maltiness.

M: The body of the beer is medium, and the carbonation is actually a bit low for what I like in an IPA.

D: A solid IPA from KRBC. It's quite similar to Just Outstanding, but I prefer J.O. to this.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the brewery in Kernville into a pint glass. The beer was described by our waitress as a Rye Ale, not an IPA. Not sure if this is a different recipe than in the past, but it was what they had at the brewery. The beer has a dark copper-red coloring with a thin, light airy head. There are barley and hops smells, with some spice notes as well. Tastes of caramel, with undertones of cloves and pepper. The beer remains very light in the mouth, with an extremely dry finish. There is an empty aftertaste, which is surprising with the strength of the flavors. Decent beer for a one or two beer sitting.

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Photo of Cavery
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml shared with Klym in an afternoon weekend session; poured into a stone nonic.

A: Manzanita brown with some darker shades at the core. A decent finger and a half head rises over the toffee body; small branches of lacing extend around the rim of the glass. This definitely has an unusual look to it, the soap sud foam atop of the darker IPA body makes for an unusually earthy-brown colored body.

S: A rustic hop character that swirls into earthy herbs. It's hard to really get past the hops, but there's a range of experiences to be had from that ingredient alone. It definitely errs on the side of herbal/medicinal. A slight note of dark woody barks comes through; earth tones round out a fairly hop-dominant nose.

T: A spicy sense of cardamom and ripe hops. Really powdery savory spices with dried orange rind. This beer really is a spice cabinet, and forgive me as I am not up to bar on my spices. There's definitely clove and turmeric; but anything else is stretching me far to be confident in naming them. The spice character of this beer really pulls me to the realm of hoppy brown ales, as this seems like a polarized (not balanced, but polarized) experience of powerful but short-lasting hops, and loads of malt. mellowed plums and hibiscus creep in at the end. A strange vegetable-root linger left me scratching my head.

M: A lightly prickling mouth that gives this beer a full ipa body. The hopping wears a bit thick on even the mouth sensation (perhaps even trumping a lot of its characteristics), but it is there. Very soft in the initial touch of the tongue, but I think it ends up being a bit too wet in the mouth-- this allows alcohol to make its presence a bit too perceivable. This really sticks out like a sore thumb for the style.

O: Overall there's I am left wanting with this offering. There seems to be an interesting canvas with this beer, but the hops really feel like a cover-up job to something that the brewery wasn't that pleased with. The hops really just seem to be filler, and there isn't much of anything else to comment on. While the hopping is generous, and really quite well done-- to make a good IPA you have to go beyond that. Kern most certainly knows this, and I would wager that this is an ale that will be revised come next holiday release. Seasonally this could be appetizing in fall/winter, but I'd much rather go for other offerings.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark dark brown, with some orange hue. Smallish head, reduces to ring, but NICE clingy webby lacing.

S - Sweet malt and slight undertone of hops.

T - Malty, hoppy, rye mixed in. Lots of flavors combining.

M - Nicely carbed, great coating, very creamy.

D - Even for a higher ABV, not over the top in flavors, could drink a few.

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Photo of Klym
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a stone nonic.

A: Pours surprisingly dark. Black from certain angles, mostly brown from others, and redder shades in other parts. Translucent but not too hazy.

S: Hoppy. Hops really stick out in the smell and not much else, the smell is surprisingly empty.

T: Actually like the smell, strong hops, even some hop burn up front, but the rest of the flavor is pretty vacant. A little spiciness in the background but almost like hopped up sparkling water.

M: Nice carbonation on top and up front but otherwise pretty watery mouthfeel.

O: I didn't care that much for Just Outstanding (but of course loved 5th anniversary) but I respected it a lot for being very different, very flavorful and certainly interesting. I expected to encounter at least something different and interesting in this beer and I'm sad to say that I didn't. Even in the realm of simply hopped up IPAs there are far more interesting and flavor packed beers than this. Honestly, can't think of a good reason to recommend anyone to pick this up.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the source itself. Described as a Rye Pale Ale, on to the beer:

Dark copper color with a short head and solid lace. One smells says HOPS! More specifically, bitter and "fresh". This is no surprise to me given the success with Just Oustanding IPA and Citra DIPA.

Hoppy and intense. The spciy rye seems to enchance the bitterness of the hops, as the bitterness is strong. A cracking combo of pine and resin pound on the palate and wear it out. The base is crackery and dry, texture is big and bold, drinkability is good given the size of the beer.

This is for those who want their hops delivered in bold, palate-wrecking form. The pint gaves me plenty of quality hop burps on my long drive home. Maybe I'll run into it again when I want a palate wrecker.

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Photo of Swimsum
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour from a bomber into a pint glass

Pours out a brown copper color. Bit dark for what I imagine an IPA to look like. When held to light it is clear around the edges with slight haze in the middle of the glass. Head is about a finger high and foamy. Whitish beige in color. Head settles to a thin layer of foam left on top of the beer. Sticky lacing is drug down the glass

Smell is grassy hops quickly followed by bready malt. I get some grapefruit every few sips

Taste is very hop forward (so was wrong to assume this was a winter warmer when I bought it, oh well). Grassy hop that is followed up by some citrus (grapefruit possibly?). The malt balances this out pretty well but it is still very much hop forward. Some sweetness in the after taste as well as the typical hop bitterness

Mouthfeel is pretty average here. Carbonation is at a good level for what I like. Hop oil taste lingers in the mouth long after the swallow

Well was expecting a winter warmer and got an IPA, who would have thought that (much like Celebration, an IPA in winter time which is amazing). Pretty good drinkability in this one. It doesn't replace Celebration for my go to winter IPA. I'm glad to got to try this and I'd suggest you give it a try

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Photo of lballstar
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of brew3crew
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-dark translucent amber with white head and lacing all the way down the glass.
S-malty with citrus hops.
T-very malt forward with a nice hoppy finish. Not what I expected but very nice.
M-medium bodied and very smooth with a nice hop aftertaste
D-very drinkable. Pleasant. Wish it was year round.

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Photo of mjl21
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle purchased from Hi Times. Poured into a Moonlight pint glass. No abv info or bottling info is given.

A-Pours a copper color that really shows off some nice redness when held up to the light. It has a two finger off white head that collapses at a fairly quick pace, but it does not disappear completely. Leaves some nice lace.

S-Lots of fresh citrus hops, grapefruit being the strongest. It has a little pinch of sweetness and a touch of toast/roast malt. Also picking up on some pine. The rye used does come out and gives the aroma a nice spicy kick.

T-Starts with pine hop flavor. Midway through the grapefruit flavor really comes out. Toast malt and caramel malt do provide a noticeable backbone but never take away from the hop flavors. The rye comes through at the end of each sip. The aftertaste is a little bit of pine mixed in with an earthy hop flavor.

M-Medium bodied and creamy. It has a surprisingly soft level of carbonation that I enjoyed.

D-A pretty good beer. The abv is well hidden.

Overall I really liked this one, though not as much as their JO IPA. Worth seeking out. Would like to try fresh from the source.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours amber with a firm white head, good lace and head retention.

S: Piney, herbal hops and rye.

T: Major pine upfront, some pink grapefruit in there. Caramel malt for sure with some spicy rye as an undercurrent throughout. Good hop flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, rather soft carbonation, resiny.

D: A real nice beer out of Kern River. Kind of like a mini Hop Rod Rye.

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Photo of LSUPT
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Provided by DearthVader, thanks again!
Poured into my NB globe to about a two finger head from an aggressive pour with a nice medium brown to almost light black hue. After letting it sit for a couple of minutes the head dissipates leaving a thick layer of foam on the edges of the glass and the head billows as it fades. Some lacing with pretty good retention.
Smell is mainly hops, piney hops, with hints of caramel. The complex malt profile begins to present itself with the first sip as the hops initially take a backseat with the bitterness building on the tongue. The malt profile is quite similar to a stout, not sure if this is a black IPA but it is definitely similar. Small tastes of chocolate and maybe a hint of coffee. Hop tastes are hard to distinguish but definitely very bitter toward the end. Great mouthfeel, Medium amount of carbonation, near ideal in my opinion maybe could use a little bit more, and it goes down pretty smooth, however the drinkability takes a hit because of the utter complexity of the taste. The dark malts coupled with the bitter hops make this one a sipper but an excellent one at that. Hope to spend the next holiday season drinking this fine brew

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Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Holiday Ale from Kern River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 21 ratings