Special Holiday Ale
Stone Brewing

Special Holiday AleSpecial Holiday Ale
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Stone Brewing
California, United States
Winter Warmer
3.92 | pDev: 10.71%
May 08, 2021
Nov 23, 2008
Very Good
Special Holiday AleSpecial Holiday Ale
Notes: A collaboration ale between Jolly Pumpkin / Nøgne-Ø / Stone with chestnuts, juniper berry, white sage & caraway seed and 25% rye malt.
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Photo of Sigmund
Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12 fl. oz. bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 9.0%. Bottle conditioned. Chestnut coloured beer, huge and creamy lasting tan head. Nice aroma of caramel, spices and dark fruits. Rich and full mouthfeel. The flavour is malty, rich and sweet, with loads of spices - but I’d have trouble identifying which ones, if I didn’t know. I would also have guessed that there was some aniseed or liquorice in there. There is a distinct hoppy bitterness and more spices in the finish. Interesting stuff!
May 08, 2021
Rated: 3.99 by WOLFGANG from South Carolina

Jan 15, 2018
Photo of strohme2
Reviewed by strohme2 from Michigan

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Ruby brown pour with a few floaties. Decent light tan head. Smells like dates, dark fruits. Taste is really great. After the small initial oxidation, the rye and caraway spiciness comes through. Dates, prunes and raisins also. Slick and smooth mouthfeel, no alcohol burn. Medium dry finish. Makes me want another one to try in a couple of years.
Dec 11, 2016
Rated: 3.83 by iRun2Beer from Minnesota

Sep 02, 2015
Rated: 3.5 by drewone from California

Mar 24, 2015
Rated: 3.91 by wethorseblanket from California

Mar 24, 2015
Rated: 4 by mrebeka from Michigan

Dec 24, 2014
Rated: 4 by Hellpop65 from Kansas

Dec 01, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by olradetbalder from Sweden

Nov 21, 2014
Rated: 3.6 by JasonR1975 from Michigan

Oct 13, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by bobv from Vermont

Aug 14, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by zestar from California

Jul 19, 2014
Rated: 3 by Gonzoillini from Illinois

Feb 15, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by XmnwildX12 from Minnesota

Dec 13, 2013
Rated: 4 by Drknight from Virginia

Dec 04, 2013
Rated: 4 by GraduatedCashew from California

Oct 16, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by moonknight31 from California

Jul 24, 2013
Photo of jvillefan
Reviewed by jvillefan from California

4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
A: Deep amber/brown body with a off white lacy head.

S: There is a bitter bite in the beginning of the aroma. There is a deep caramel and sweet aroma.

T: A nice balance between the bitter hops (citrus and pine) and the malty notes. There is sweet caramel and toffee.

M: Perfect body and carbonation.

O: Great beer. It's a shame it's not going to be brewed again.
Mar 04, 2013
Rated: 2.5 by FalconA from Massachusetts

Jan 03, 2013
Photo of jzeilinger
Reviewed by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Thanks to alelover for sending this one.

A - Pours a cloudy chestnut brown color with a thick, creamy, tan lacing ring and tons of carbonation.

S - Juniper, caraway seeds, mint, mild molasses, plumbs, raisins, and figs.

T - Complex flavor with several layers going on. Juniper and juniper berry stands out the most and is present all the way to the end, light chocolate caramel, caraway, light molasses, dark fruit, and some alcohol effervescence. Everything plays well together and they all hit the palate in layers. Light juniper bitterness plays throughout.

M - Thick, full bodied, rich, and velvety.

O - This one grew on me as I worked my way through the bottle, nice complexity.
Jan 03, 2013
Photo of beagle75
Reviewed by beagle75 from Iowa

3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque medium brown color with no foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Molassses and juniper work together to suggest decayed resinous foliage. Minty sage is mild and complementary. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins dry, with volatile sage, some unctuous chocolate, and distracting saccharine sweetness that builds toward the middle. Roast emerges in the middle before more typical winter spices dominate the finish with an astringent quality. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, oddly numbing on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This well-aged winter beer is a clashing juxtaposition of brewing skill and misguided ingredient selection. At its best it is suggestive of Unibroue/Trader Joe's Vintage Ale. At its worst it is merely confused.
Dec 17, 2012
Photo of tectactoe
Reviewed by tectactoe from Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
When I first had this beer long ago, I didn't care for it very much. I recently found it again in the store and decided to try it one more time to see if my tastes had developed at all. Pours a dark, murky brown and slightly ruby color - muddy, cloudy, opaque. Almost looks like a strong-ass Belgian quad. Thin tan head that recedes almost immediately. Very thick on the pour, looks like maple syrup coming out of the bottle.

Aroma is HUGE. Whether you like it or not, the aroma is as powerful as they come, super herbal, super malty, and full of spice. Ginger, toffee, caramel, sage, juniper berry come to mind (of course, a few of those are written on the bottle). Ginger seems to be the most powerful at this point. Upon tasting, I was right - almost gives a gingerbread like flavor, followed up both other spices; sage, cinnamon - very spicy. Sweetness comes alive in the form of juniper berries, dark fruits; plums, raisins, hard to pick out other specifics. Bitterness plays a roll about three-quarters of the way through, all the way to the end - hops are leafy and herbal in character, dry and slightly harsh, almost like a strong earl tea. After the beer is gone, my mouth is left with hints of pumpernickel or rye bread, most likely due to the combo of rye and yeast - it's quite nice. Alcohol shines through quite a bit, adding a nice warming effect. Thick and syrupy, juicy mouthfeel, leaves the mouth feeling kind of sticky and coated, low carbonation.

This beer is way better than I remember it, so I'm glad I had the chance to try it again. My tastes have certainly evolved since that time and now I can appreciate a beer like this. Very aromatic and full of unique flavor, this beer would be a nice choice for a holiday meal or sitting by a campfire.
Dec 01, 2012
Photo of Sammy
Reviewed by Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Black, little head. Easy drinking, subtle x-mas spices,everything blends well together,toasty chestnut, dry finish and understated carbonation. Tasty no sourness at all, only a tad of wood and a mellow bitterness and glad I caught up with it.Liam's bottle.
Aug 30, 2012
Photo of liamt07
Reviewed by liamt07 from Canada (ON)

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
Bottle shared by Steve, 12oz into a tulip.

Browned red, with a beige head - good lacing and mild retention. Sage/thyme in terms of spicing, berries are quite present with some caramel and chocolate. Taste has spice, caramel, seedy bread notes (caraway likely), cinnanmon and some earthy and chocolatey flavours. Sweeter, light bitterness and a tad drying. A really nice winter/holiday ale, a lot of what I look for in the style here.
Aug 29, 2012
Rated: 5 by Nickfellow007 from Rhode Island

Aug 14, 2012
Rated: 3.75 by ms11781 from Massachusetts

Jul 29, 2012
Photo of Rizalini
Reviewed by Rizalini from Nevada

4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Stone tulip. Received this one in a trade with scottfrie a while back.

A - Pours a hazy burnt mahogany color, with almost no head. Even when swirled, the head is just a thin cap.

S - The smell is very herbal. Almost menthol like. The sage is definately present, as well as the caraway.

T/M - The taste is more complex than the nose. On the front is the sage and caraway. The middle gives way to a smooth nuttiness, and a slightly sweet maltiness. Then a get a hint of, possibly, red licorice. The back finishes with a thick molasses. Very different how this beers flavor profile unfolds. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy mouthfeel.

O - A very unique brew to say the least. I've never had a brew like this before. Multi-dimensional. The 9% is very well hidden. An amazing brew for sure. Not your average holiday ale. Thanks Scott for sending this one my way. Cheers!
Apr 26, 2012
Rated: 4 by Tyrawlings from Ohio

Feb 19, 2012
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Reviewed by Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5
12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 snifter in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm as consumption progressed. Not paired with food or anything. Expectations are high; I trust Nogne quite a bit and Stone tends to be hit and miss. I'm hoping she's a good one; it's been a long day. Winter Warmers are one of me top five favourite styles.

A: Pours a one finger head of good cream, pretty good thickness, and good retention. Colour is a nontransparent solid black.

Sm: Chestnuts, heavy berry esters (I don't know that I'd necessarily detect it as juniper), and spices. Toasted malts, chocolate, and caramelized malts. Chocolate and berry are dominant. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Chocolate, heavy berry, lovely spices, chestnut, caramel, cream, and underlying toasted malt. Balanced quite well, with impressive subtlety. It doesn't fully commit to its flavours, leaving it feeling a bit muted. Quite enjoyable and pleasant. I like it. It's complex. Rich and delightful.

Mf: Silky smooth, wet, and creamy. Quite lovely, especially for the ABV. The most impressive aspect of this beer. Not too thick or too thin. Exquisite. Almost perfect. I'm extremely impressed.

Dr: Very drinkable - especially for the high ABV, which is well hidden. I'd have it again, preferably either aged in the bottle or on draught. I don't know that it'd get much better, but I do like it. I just wish it was more forward and confident with its flavours.

Feb 07, 2012
Rated: 4 by NickMunford from Wyoming

Jan 22, 2012
Rated: 3 by djrn2 from New Jersey

Jan 10, 2012
Photo of SpdKilz
Reviewed by SpdKilz from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A long time want (read tick) for me though I never really tried that hard to get it. Picked up this summer during a brand new Binny’s opening in IL. Such a random place to finally be able to pick some bottles up!

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a ruddy burgundy color. There are definite floaties in the beer. Slight head is achieved with a moderate pour.

Smell – Still plenty of spices and juniper in the beer after a few years in the bottle. Sage, chestnut, and malt.

Taste – Maltier than expected. Slight spices with the juniper coming through at first. Just a hint of the sage is there, along with chestnuts. Heavy caramel and toffee at the end.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, mild carbonation.

Overall – Have a few more left in the cellar…but honestly don’t know how much “better” this will do with age. Glad to tick it, though not a spectacular beer by any means.
Dec 29, 2011
Photo of warnerry
Reviewed by warnerry from Michigan

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
A - Pours a very deep garnet color with some suspended material and one finger of tan head. Head has pretty good retention, but only leaves spotty lacing.

S - Big toffee and caramel malt with juniper and some nice spice of sage and caraway. Also a bit floral in the aroma.

T - Similar to the nose, this is very malty with a nice spice profile. Juniper is quite prominent, and the rye gives a nice bite. The spices are actually somewhat subtle at this point, not sure what is was like fresh. Sage is quite nice.

M - Nice, creamy medium mouthfeel. Spices give some dryness on the finish.

O - Nice, unique winter warmer. Spices really elevate the beer in this case, which isn't often true in my experience. Glad I got to try this.
Dec 27, 2011
Rated: 3.5 by SageO from California

Dec 27, 2011
Rated: 3.5 by jophish17 from Georgia

Dec 24, 2011
Rated: 4 by rab53 from Washington

Dec 09, 2011
Rated: 5 by BrewinHeadBanger from New York

Dec 05, 2011
Rated: 4 by bigdaddypolite from Minnesota

Nov 28, 2011
Rated: 3 by StarRaptor from California

Nov 25, 2011
Photo of whatthehull
Reviewed by whatthehull from California

3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Tasted oct. 27th 2011 (from notes)


A - deep swampy brown, no head and no lacing

S - lots of malts, toasty, funk, flowers, hops, fall weather, pie spices, flowers and crisp everything

T - hoppy, sour, tons of roasted malt, pumpkin seeds, flowers, citrus, fall spices, earth and maybe a slight pumpkin pie

M - full bodied, nice complexity, well balanced, low acidity and medium finish

D - very nice easy to drink beer. Tastes like the holidays. Reminds me of fall and relaxing watching football with a nice fire

Final thought - stone colabs never disappoints. Get it and get a couple if you like holiday ales
Nov 22, 2011
Special Holiday Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 324 ratings