Barrel Aged Frosted Frog Christmas Ale | Hoppin' Frog Brewery

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Barrel Aged Frosted Frog Christmas AleBarrel Aged Frosted Frog Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Hoppin' Frog Brewery
Ohio, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Spiced Ale aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels.

Added by jampics2 on 12-04-2010

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Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 153
Photo of jampics2
4.55/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a stemmed Christmas glass. Purchased at Hoppin' Frog earlier today!

The beer is a dark color, somewhere between brown and mahogany with some ruby highlights and a touch of gold on the bottom. I initially thought the beer was opaque, as it was sitting on the table in-front of me, but I quickly learned it is not when I held it to the light and a bright scarlet and plum colored liquid was observed. A nice one-finger white head crowned the beautiful body, but quickly slipped away. Little lacing is left behind. There's some active carbonation noted towards the top. Overall, this is much better looking than the average Winter Warmer.

The first smell scared me. The initial combination of bourbon and cinnamon reminded me of one of two things: red hots or Goldschläger. Upon closer examination, more intricate notes start to emerge. Some ginger and nutmeg start to play more of a role, with the former almost dominating as the beer warms. There is some sweet brown sugar qualities from the malt that leave a gingerbread impression. The typical oak, vanilla and bourbon smells of the barrel are lost to some extent, but the expression from the spice is remarkable albeit slightly one-dimensional.

Frosted Frog is one of the most original and multifaceted tasting holiday beers I've ever had. The dominant cinnamon in the nose somehow takes a backseat to the nutmeg in the taste, which allows the barrel to shine through. Once the initial rush of spices and bourbon dissipates, some sweet malt peaks then the nutmeg serves as the rails on the sleigh, landing this into a snowdrift of oak, vanilla and coconut. Some booze is noted as well, but it's buried in an avalanche of flavor. The beer has to earn a 5 for taste because it's the definition of exceptional.

There's a medium bodied beer with some notable viscosity here, but the carbonation both allows the beer to feel creamy and lightly accentuates the flavors with a mild zing. The duality of the carbonation is something rarely seen, and it allows this beer to feel lighter than it should. Lingering notes of oak, vanilla and toasted coconut make this aftertaste a winner. As for drinkability, I'm making an assumption; this beer is meant to be shared with friends. Finishing a whole bottle by oneself wouldn't be impossible but the spices may go to your head and cause rosiness of the cheeks and a jovial disposition.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.49/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to tapoutjoe.

Pours a dark burgundy color with a small off white head and an even ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet ginger, spicy nutmeg, sugar, caramel, earth, cinnamon, and mild whiskey. This is on par with or better than the base beer. I have never had a beer that has reminded me so much of Christmas, and the mild barrel characteristic adds to the depth. It smells like a craft store; it's unreal how perfectly this matches the holiday.

Taste of ginger and nutmeg initially, more dry spices and faint bourbon come in towards the finish. As with BORIS, the base beer is excellent and the short aging in a barrel makes it even better. The finish is dry with strong hints of wood and a touch of caramel. This beer tastes like Christmas cheer and nostalgia, and the touch of Bourbon is great.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied with a fairly strong carbonation.

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Photo of AdamP_Milwaukee
4.48/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22OZ bottle I took out of my cellar today and poured into a clean tulip, though I have had this beer several times before.

A- Pours reddish brown, and is a very pretty beer in the glass. White head doesn't last long. Try to get a few sips in while it is there, for sure.

S- I think this is simply one of the best smelling beers there is. The smell may not translate directly to the taste, but the nose is perfect. Ginger, clove, nutmeg, spice, and booze. Wonderful. Smells like a hot toddy.

T-This one was a bit thicker than I remember it. A Xmas novelty that maybe wouldn't translate to a session beer, but a nice treat. Spicy, and's Xmas in a bottle. Not bitter at all.

M-Like I said, I remember it being a little thinner and lighter, but this was more like Belgian strong with spices added. A bit thick, but still pleasant.

O-I Really like this beer as a treat. I bought like a half dozen bottles from my local store when they where there to add to the cellar. Every now and then I get a hankering for one, and I will be sad when they are gone. Maybe a little less than "world-class", but still a fantastic beer and a real fun one to drink.

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Photo of adamette
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live review. Poured from the 1 pint, 6 oz. bomber bottle that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage a week or so ago into a clean, clear Voodoo Brewery pint glass. There is no remaining price tag and I do not recall the price. No observed "best by" date either.

A Dark copper/amber translucent body under a nice, 1.5 inch very light brown creamy head after a vigorous pour (a gentle pour was leaving no head initially). Good look. 4.0

S Sweet malt and "Christmas" spices under a Whiskey canopy. Very little hops detected here. Smells delicious. 4.0

T Big, sweet beer with all of the qualities detected in the smell. Big malt sweetness, "Christmas" spices under the influence of the whiskey. It is an interesting, very big beer. 4.5

M As mentioned, this is one big beer with big sweet malt which is syrup like in its size and scope. 4.0

D/O Drinkability is actually pretty good for such a big beer and elevated ABV (to 8.6% mind you). Overall this is a fine beer. 4.5

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Photo of schoolboy
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I first tasted this along with the regular Frosted Frog and some others at a tasting a little while back at Save On in Mentor. It impressed me and I bought a couple bottles for today.

It pours with little head or lacing. The color is a nice clear dark brown.

It smells like a Christmas desert. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. At the tasting I felt that the bourbon taste helped balance the sweet and spicy taste. Today that seems less so, but on that previous tasting I was comparing it with the non-barrel aged, which was very sweet and spicy.
I don't normally like barrel aged beers, but this one works.

The aftertaste is overbalanced with the sweetness, but that doesn't detract from the treat. Overall this is a wonderful xmas ale and a great holiday treat.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brown with only slight bits of light coming through to change it from a back note. a huge tan head then rose up from the depths and settled across the top of the glass. really just a thick look to it.

the aroma was boozy, with lots of peat and smoked malts that really filled the air. hints of molasses, chocolate, rich caramel and dark fruits all make their presence known. with the thickness of a milkshake the first sips slide over the palate doing their best to coat it

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Photo of deuce9259
4.19/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Amber/copper color, not much head. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle.

S: Good smell, a lot of spices in the nose along with the whiskey.

T: Haven't had the regular Hoppin Frog Christmas Ale, but I enjoyed this bottle a good bit. Lots of spices and I thought it blended well with the whiskey.

M: Medium body. You can get different flavors out of it as it warms up.

O: I enjoyed this beer. Haven't had anything sub-par from Hoppin Frog. Others don't seem to enjoy the spices as much, but I though it was pretty standard for your Christmas Ale.

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Photo of mcallister
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy chestnut with a minimum off white head that fades quickly leaving little lace, but a nice layer of foam.

Wonderful aromas. Still huge amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and more like the non barrel aged version. But this has a wonderful layer of bourbon, vanilla, and wood. Just huge spicy nose, loads of effervescent complex aromas.

Delicious medley of basically what the nose suggests. Huge spice, with a great aging quality of the bourbon and wood. Thick chewy malt, toffee and caramel, baked bread, fruit bread, slightly sweet on the finish. Good carbonation and a creamy moutheel. Anxious to see how one ages down.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in an imperial pint glass

A - It is rust colored with amber highlights. A skim of tan head is all that graces the top.

S - It smell like the spices have faded and vanilla has replaced them. It definitely has a bourbon smell.

T - The barrel aging has definitely changed it. The spices are virtually gone. It almost tastes like a barrel aged wee heavy. There are lots of malt and bourbon.

M - Medium with low carbonation.

O - I think the regular Frosted Frog is good. I think the barrel aged is really good. I really like its similarities to a barrel aged wee heavy.

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Photo of bittermestupid
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark ruby brown with a nice 1/2" thick beige head. Smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, oak and touch of raisin, it reminds me of french toast and a hint of booze. The flavors are nicely balanced and the barrel isn't over bearing. Cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, slight cherry note and some booze. Palate is medium and it finishes spicy but well rounded with a nice vanilla notes from the barrel aging.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours sort of a murky amber color with a small off-white head. Nose is quite fruity with lots of plums and raisins. It’s also very spicy. Great nutmeg, all spice, and cinnamon. Plenty of caramel, brown sugar, and some vanilla. The flavor is rich and sweet. Huge caramel and brown sugar flavors, tons of dark fruit notes, and a wonderful spice character. The cinnamon and all spice really come through nicely.

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Photo of stortore
3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A ruby colored pour, a little cloudy, with no head and hardly any lacing. Smells of malt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, light vanilla, maybe some less discernible spices. Taste is malt, cinnamon, some ginger, cloves, less vanilla than the nose, some bourbon, a hint of oak. Slight alcohol. Smooth, good level of carbonation, good body.

Got this as a gift, had it three days later, and was really surprised how much I liked it. For Hoppin' Frog, the influence of the bourbon barrels is almost nil, but this is definitely worth a try. Might have to get another one and let it sit a while.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass- pours a clear, dark mahogany color with a reddish tint. Pours with very little head (mocha colored while in existence), leaves no lacing and no retention.

Smell is very round, sweet and spicy. Smells like a gingerbread house with some booze and vanilla frosting. Ginger comes through more than the other spices.

Taste is interesting- almost doesn't taste like newer to me but the bourbon notes and slight booziness remind me that this is a malt beverage. Lots of bready malt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, bourbon-esque booze notes. Finished sweet.

Mouthfeel is typical for the style. Medium fuller body, moderate carbonation, smooth feel. This is a nice one, better than the regular variety. However, too much spice for my taste.

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Photo of Gavage
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: brown in color with a 1/2" head that slowly falls to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: winter spices such as nutmeg and cinammon with some caramel tones come through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, nutmeg, ginger, cinammon, dark fruit sweetness, and moderate bitterness create a nice christmas ale.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Light crispness from start to finish.

Overall: a nice winter ale that hits the flavor profile of the season. Easy to drink and nicely refreshing.

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Photo of akk101
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall a good combination of barrel age and Christmas ale. Barrel age flavor is up front followed by the spices of the Christmas ale. I would've liked to see those two flavors blend together more. Little to differentiate between their regular Christmas ale label wise. Sometimes it's easy to mix up the regular and barrel age versions of Hoppin Frog on the retail shelf. Nice twist to the typical spiced Christmas ales.

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Photo of superspak
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2012 bottling. Pours fairly clear deep red amber color with a 1 finger foamy off white head with good retention, that reduces to ring of lace that lingers. Minimal spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of caramel, raisin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, bourbon, toast, light oak, and light herbal. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of malt, spices, and barrel notes. Taste of raisin, caramel, brown sugar, toast, cinnamon, bourbon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, light oak, and herbal. Lingering notes of dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, bourbon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Very nice flavor balance and complexity of malt/spice/barrel notes; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a slick and fairly creamy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Christmas ale. Great balance and complexity of malt and spice flavors with moderate barrel character; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a case of various Hoppin Frog brews with a hop of getting back into reviewing. This is a very appropriate Christmas brew for today.

A- Body is a medium reddish brown hue with ruby showing through. Uniform moderate cloudiness/translucency. Pours with a minimal creme brulee colored head that almost immediately fades to a thin collar. No lacing is left down the glass.

S- Nose is heavy on the nutmeg. Cinnamon is moderate. The whiskey barrel nose is there but it is overpowered by the christmas spices.

T- Whiskey and cinnamon blend pretty nicely upfront with a very mild malt and barrel backbone initially. These flavors fade slowly and a lot of nutmeg an oak barrel smoothness come through for the finish to blend nicely with the whiskey. Some nutmeg, oak, and a mild alcohol warmth are left to linger.

M- Very high fizzy carbonation with a medium weight body that is on the dry side due to the nutmeg but that still offers that oak smoothness.

O- Overall this is a very good Christmas Ale. Its obviously a seasonal novelty but you don't see a barrel aged Christmas Ale around too often so this is a nice touch. The whiskey barrel definately adds complexity and smoothness to the original version of this beer. Overall a job well done by Hoppin' Frog

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Photo of nrbw23
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a murky reddish color with a very thin off white head. Head has pretty much no lacing and leaves no lacing.

S- Quite a bit of spices here. Cinnamon ginger, and nutmeg are front and center. Just a tiny bit of wood and bourbon.

T- Pretty spicey beer here. Follows the nose well. A bit of a malt base in bready and caramel, but no hops at all. Again just a tiny bit of bourbon and wood. Not much different at all over the regular version.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

D- Again not much different than the regular version. I'm not really sure I'd grab this one again.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ChrisPro for sharing this one - thanks for indulging Nate's love of winter warmers. Served in a Hair of the Dog tulip.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam settles to a thin ring and wisps on top, but no lacework. Mostly transparent ruby body.

S - Nutmeg, cinnamon, light oak and bourbon, and some red licorice. I'm wondering if these were second-use barrels from BA B.O.R.I.S., as most Hoppin' Frog barrel-aged offerings are far from subtle.

T - Taste is more sugary and malt-forward, with notes of Twizzlers, candy canes, vanilla, and less overt Christmas spice in comparison to the finish. There's a faint spruce note in the finish that I can't tell if I'm imagining.

M - Zesty carbonation, medium body, tannic and dry texture, and some light warming that is part alcohol and part cinnamon.

D - For a spiced Christmas beer this was actually pretty decent. It's not my favorite style of beer, but it was far better than I expected and might appeal to loves of Christmas spice. One of my favorite Winter Warmers, I suppose.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass. Pour a mahogany-rub color, with minimal head quickly disappears until this has the look of flat soda.

Has a very spiced smell, similar to HF's regular Christmas Ale. Plenty of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and apple flavors.

Tastes peppery, and not as sweet as HF's regular Christmas Ale. Definitely hoppier and more bitter than the other. Plenty of spice in this, cinnamon, clove, and a "spiced" apple, like a wassail or spiced cider. Plenty of winter warmer in this one. Ends with definite pepper-bitterness.

Medium to full bodied, like a typical winter warmer.

Fairly drinkable, though I find the spiciness to pretty intense and almost overpowering. Unless you're looking for intense spice, I'd choose another Christmas ale.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Cmurren25 for sharing a bomber on 12/26/10.

A - Poured a dark toffee brown liquid with a creamy tan head that diminished to a thin ring and flimsy patch, leaving benind a bit of spotty lacing.

S - Toffee, peppermint and cinnamon with a gingerbread cookie dough malt character. Aroma is intensely spicy and sweet.

T - Initial flavor is quite spicy with a definite cinnamon and peppermint character. Toffee and caramel notes add more sweetness to the mix. Reminds me of spicy gingersnaps or holiday cookies. Finishes with a tinge of earthy hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth, creamy texture and minimal carbonation. Finishes spicy on the palate with some mild hop bitterness and residual sweetness.

D - I didn't mind this one as much as everyone at the table. While I likely couldn't finish an entire bomber of this on my own, perhaps I was in the Christmas spirit on this particular day. Definitely an intense Winter Warmer for sure, but not bad.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 1/7/11

Shared by Spider889

Coppery, amber-brown color; pretty clear. Minimal head retention; just a filmy layer & a small ring around the inside of the glass. A few drippy splotches of lace.

Smells like Christmas retail season; a mish-mash of candle shop aromas & holiday potpourri. Crisp whiskey overtones & hints of vanilla. Lots of cinnamon & spice. Nutmeg & ginger. Hints of toastiness with a faint yeast notion in the back, when swirled.

While the whiskey is strong in the nose, it doesn't taste so strong. More like dull, warmed, watery whiskey with a mild charred character. Moderate spice notes aren't too biting. Toasted cinnamon bread. Hints of earthy hops. Slight mustiness as it warms.

Medium body with reasonably low carbonation. Said carbonation become appreciably lower throughout. Nips of whiskey & spice on the finish.

Not bad by any means but the taste doesn't live up to the aroma.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of jale. Amyliz4 very much appreciated it. Served in a mini snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly-dark brown color with a nice off-white head with a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose carries a good dosing of bourbon plus plenty of cinnamon and spice. Much better integrated than the non-barrel aged version. Flavor falls along the same lines -- bourbon out front with a bit of underlying spice. Medium body with a smoothness to it. Good spice and booze. Tasty.

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Photo of jale
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Renee and Bill for this.

A: Pours a light brown with only a dime of tan head.

S: Allspice, cinnamon and light clove aroma.

T: Allspice upfront followed by clove and a hint of cinnamon. Some oakiness in the middle. Slight pepper and small amount of hop bitterness at the finish.

M; Medium body with decent carbonation.

O: Would like to have tasted more malt upfront to balance the spices.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.51/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1462nd Review on BA
Bottle to Great Lakes Snifter

2011 Vintage

CA Gang Bang BIF

App- Just a flat old pond water looking color with maybe a whisp of head and 0 cling in the head. Not sure where color comes from but its a white/brown mix. Just off.

Smell- I wished it was Christmas in August. Such a holiday beer. Cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint for days. Smelled like liquid potpourri to me. Best part of the beer.

Taste- Drops WAY off. Its just an off spiced malt bomb. Not sure why flavors dont integrate better but seems to all pull apart. Spice note is very prevalent making it hard drinker. Malts almost overpower.

Mouth- A thicker medium body with a low medium carbonation. Residual Christmas spice.

Drink- It's not the best beer, but because of the nose I rounded up vs. down. Probably wouldnt have this one again.

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Barrel Aged Frosted Frog Christmas Ale from Hoppin' Frog Brewery
3.73 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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