Christmas Ale | The Defiant Brewing Company

very good
25 Reviews
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Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
The Defiant Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dherling on 10-05-2006

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 66
Reviews by Shiredave:
Photo of Shiredave
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gravity poured from a naturally conditioned firkin on the bar at The Golden Rail Ale House in Newburgh.

Well conditioned with a dense clotted head over a murky, red / brown beer.

Aromas of apples, star anise and christmas cookies over the underlying super sweet malt.

Liquid fruit cake flavors of candied fruit and more ( much more!) star anise along with a distinct cider character that reminded me of a Gales Christmas ale ( any year). Big yeast influence is obvious.

Medium to full bodied with a tart cider finish along with some stewed fruit sweetness. Lingering aftertaste of cookie spices and a mild alcohol burn make this decent winter warmer though I suspect this cask was exposed to some warm fermentation/ conditioning temps. resulting in the yeasty apple notes.

Keep those Defiant casks commin!

 820 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
3.22/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Belgian style bottle, caged and corked, and no bargain at $12 and change. Pours cola amber, under a dark tan head, that does not stick around and leaves minimal to no lacing. Carbonation seems to be on the low side. Some winter spice in the nose. Things continue to go down hill on the first few sips, this beer is quite sour for the style and has an off putting metallic bite. I did get some of the advertised chocolate in the middle, but sour unfortunately dominates. I gave this one a chance to warm up in the hopes of the taste and complexity to improve, but sadly it didn't happen. Not sure what happened here and I don't understand why a brewer would put out a brew like this one which clearly seems off.

 710 characters

Photo of JC333
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of acurtis
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Ksilver2
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JMS1512
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of caddybuyer
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this is categorized as "Preview". 2009 bottle, caged and corked 750 marked with 7.5% ABV on the side.

Poured at cellar temperature into a tulip glass.

A-Dark brown cola coloration with ruddy highlights when held to light. Brown head that settles rapidly within a few mintues of the pour.

S-Malts and Belgian yeast, dark fruits (figs, plums, dates) and perhaps a hint of spice in the background. Not overpowering, but pleasing overall.

T-Nose is well represented in the palate, with sweet yeasty rich malts carrying the dark fruit backbone of this brew. Some light spicing is also present, largely anise and a touch of clove but not overpowering at all. Alcohol is present in the finish, as is a mild hop tingle and a slighly sour apple finish which by no means diminishes the experience and adds to the character. I'm really enjoying this one and am bummed that it was a lone bottle on the shelf.

M-Just shy of a full bodied ale, with a smooth creamy mouthfeel that isn't ruined by the high carbonation present in so many of the Belgian styles.

D-Extremely drinkable and enjoyable brew. I'm thinking that this may be a tad higher than the 7.5 ABV listed on the bottle and its richness is sure not going to help my waistline, but this is damn good.

Kudos! Please brew this again next year guys...

 1,318 characters

Photo of RJQ3
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. L: Wonderful copper color with frothy off white head. S: Makes mouth water from the cinnamon & spice aroma. T: Delicious winter ale. Perfect for a cold winter day by a fireplace. MF: A little on the thin side. Could be creamier, this on nitro would be amazing! O: Great winter seasonal brew that underrated.

 340 characters

Photo of zillo043068
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of scootny
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle. A opaque dark brown with a brown head of respectable size, retention, and lacing. Smell is almost a dead ringer for Aventinus. Are they sure this isn't a hefe dopplebock? Big overripe banana with raisins and figs. A bit more alcohol vapors than the aforementioned. Taste is much the same with a bit more heat. Still not what I would call a "Hot" beer. A lovely light Belgian dark maltiness. Adding the yeast gave the feel a creamier texture but also introduced a metallic bitterness so I would keep it out. In both cases,( nose and taste ) the wheat like facets aren't really pronounced there so I guess it is a BSDA. Like Aventinus meet Corsendonk Brown. Feel is smoothly carbonated and nicely dense. Pretty drinkable as I finished this rather quickly.

 766 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12/13/16...pours very dark brown and low foam. Holiday spiced nose - cinnamon, nutmeg, dark fruits. Jammy flavors. Plums. Hints of spices amidst the dubbel/tripel flavors. Slight anise at the close. Tasty.

 205 characters

Photo of Matt73
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bonbini26
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of Skibum211
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of st9647v3
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is relatively clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down, but has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of Belgian yeast and dark fruits are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark fruits along with notes of Belgian yeast and hints of a metallic taste.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Unlike most holiday ales, this beer isn't heavy on the body or is dominated by a multitude of spices that are overpowering.

 696 characters

Photo of kkmiller76
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of claspada
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of dark caramelly malts and Belgian yeast cloviness, some dark fruits (figs, plums, dates, the usual) and perhaps a hint of spice in the background. Not overpowering, but pleasing overall. I am pleased so far.

The taste follows the nose to a tee with sweet yeasty rich dark caramelly malts accompanied by the dark fruit backbone. Creamy and smooth with robust flavors of burnt caramel, plum and nutmeg. Slight chocolate and coffee flavors creep into the finish. Mouthfeel is fairly thicker for the style but not to its detriment, still has a nice viscous dryish Belgian finish. Overall a very pleasant brew for this smaller brewery, haven't been a fan so far but this could sway me going forward.

 704 characters

Photo of jarrett123
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Tpsauer
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of CHickman
2.87/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Stout in NYC; pours hazy copper brown with a creamy 1 finger tan head that left OK lacing after the head faded on the fast side.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, floral hops, toasted grains and cinnamon or other spices like allspice; spicy nose that is on the mellow side.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, floral hops, toasted grains, dark fruit (plum, raisin, etc.), brown sugar and cinnamon or other spices like allspice; a little too malty as the spices take up a chunk of the flavor and leave a strange aftertaste.

This is a good beer, not a great beer, and typical for a holiday beer with that pine cone or earthy taste. Alcohol level was not present at all.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a smooth feel on the tongue, mild carbonation and a spicy bitter finish. Medium drinkability, as this was OK and I think that most Christmas Ales are just not my thing because of the spices in the mix.

 912 characters

Photo of madmanjf
2.1/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Serving was a Cask

(A) Reddish Amber and a little cloudy. An inviting appearance overall. The carbonation was on par with what I'd expect from a cask.

(S) Spiced like many Christmas Ales. It had a ginger/cinnamon aroma that was inviting and reminicent of holiday brews.

(T) Metalic and Sour. The spice flavors barely came out due to the acidity and sour flavor.

(M) Again, somewhat metalic to the point you'd have not choice but to squint somewhat

(D) Not drinkable.

I can only assume by the other reviews that this cask had been sitting around too long. I can say that it was tapped right in front of me, so it was not a vicitim of oxidation from sitting around too long after being opened.

I did have a Defiant Pale Ale on cask once and it was EXCELLENT.

Unfortunately, this was left me very disappointed.

 817 characters

Photo of Dougwillhike
4.39/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ConorGolden
4/5  rDev +5.3%

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Christmas Ale from The Defiant Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 66 ratings.
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