Bah Humbug | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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Bah HumbugBah Humbug

Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UnionMade on 12-18-2003

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Reviews: 236 | Ratings: 373
Photo of Top_Jimmy
2.89/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I grabbed a handfull of these leading up to Christmas but did not crack one until today. It pours a nice ruby red with oinly a minimal head. While drinking some lacing remains but nothing to drastic.

Mouthfeel seems watery without the body that some other Wychwood beers present. Carbonation is mild as well.

Smells is a mild malt, a hint of spice, overall nothing very prominent.

Taste is milder than I expected. Same mild spice, slight hop, no real sweet taste at all as I had expected. Finishes with a hoppy after taste.

Overall, I probably wouldn't buy this beer again but it is drinkable. Just an average beer and a slight let down from its apperance and packaging.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to my in-laws for including a bottle with my Christmas gifts.

A - Pours a nice ruby red colour, finger of head with relentless retention that remained throughout and some sporadic lacing.

S - A touch metallic and a hint of corn bread, a touch of lemon grass and citrus rind with a leafy green finish.

T - An ESB flavour profile off the top with musty caramel and leafy green hop note, hits of cloves and plums with a metallic finish and hints of toffee and espresso.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet.

O - A solid winter ale with a decent flavour profile and an English ale backbone which makes for an easy drinking session ale. A tasty Christmas treat indeed!

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Photo of maclean25
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of several beers I got for Christmas. I only got one and drank it while waiting for Christmas dinner to be ready.

It has a deep, dark red-brick red, but clear, body. It poured with a excellent, creamy, beige head. Aroma is fresh, dominated by a hops and caramel, as well a dark (or over-roasted) coffee. The flavour is much like the aroma but ends with a shot of vanilla. The further into the beer I get the more an overly ripe fruit taste sticks. I also detect a touch of coriander and cloves. I find it has a heavy body with medium-to-high carbonation.

Overall, good for a seasonal winter warmer. Wouldn't be a regular and there are better winter ales, but this is good. Reminiscent of fruit cake: caramelized ripe fruit, would only get in winter, traditional, makes me think only the English would create it.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BB August 14, 2012

Beer is dark amber, a bit on the maroon side. A finger-width of white head. Dissipates relatively quickly, leaving a film. A fair bit of lacing.

A grassy smell (likely the hops) is most apparent, with some spice (clove) present as well. Biscuity malt scents. Pretty mediocre really, thin and not particularly nice.

Taste is a bit of an improvement over the smell, but is generally pretty similar. Grassy hops, bicsuit malt, some clove and coriander. A bit of dark fruit, such as plum, but not particularly pronounced. Mildly bitter finish.

High carbonation, irritating. Medium bodied, chewy.

Overall, similar to the bulk of Wychwood's products for me: fine but not particularly good and not something I would return to.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
2.61/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Oct 2012. The rear label mentions the addition of cinammon during the brewing process.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A bright coppery-amber hue with medium carbonation and faint visible sediment. Produces a decent head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or so before collapsing. Aroma is very sweet, with an intense hit of ripe bananas. Warm, fruity notes with cinammon and brown sugar. A whiff of alcohol in the background.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a dominant banana note. A subtle warming hint of cinammon/spice along with toffee/caramel and yeast. A harsh stewed hop bitterness upon swallowing, and a background note of alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, but thin. Pretty astringent; dries the palate thoroughly. Aftertaste of fruity bananas and a harsh bitter note.

Bah! Not good at all - this could ruin your Christmas! A vile, cloying aroma of bananas pervades this ale. Too sweet, with an unbalanced fruitiness that lacks balance from the malt. Finishes with a harsh stewed bitterness that is equally unpleasant. The spice is also rather lacklustre. In short, not much to enjoy here. There are other beers out there - give this a miss. Bah Humbug indeed!

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Photo of Foddz
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 500ml bottle fills glass perfectly with two fingers worth of creamy, off-white head that recedes to a soapy film leaving plenty of lacing on its way down. Beer is a rich orange-brown that almost seems to glow as the light hits it. Very appealing.

S: Some floral hoppy notes with an underlying rich malty sweetness. Caramel, and perhaps a hint of spices on the back end. Not much to it.

T: The taste is more complex than the nose. Initial presentation is sweet and malty. Caramel and biscuit, and perhaps a few hints of dried prune towards the middle. The cinnamon presents more towards the middle and is quite subtle but well balanced. A little overly hopped for my tastes and leaves a bit of a lingering bitterness on the tail end. Overall quite tasty.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. A pleasant tingling of carbonation and perhaps a bit extra from the cinnamon. Leaves the mouth slightly sticky from the malty sweetness.

O/D: A little bit of a let down considering how good this beer looks, but it ends up tasting quite good in the end so it gets a passing grade. If you don't mind a beer heavy on the malts, this one is plenty drinkable. The cinnamon is a subtle twist and doesn't get in the way.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Less spectacular for a Christmas treat than I'd hoped.

Beautiful dark amber colour, photograph-worthy and hits the light in all the right ways.

Aroma is disappointing after the visual lead-on; pure caramelized malts. Taste has no more complexity than the aroma; pure malt sweetness.

I would have preferred additional roasted tones, or hop bitterness, but on a cold (Christmas) night, I can't argue with the "winter warmer" classification!

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Photo of flyingpig
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reddish copper to a light mahogany colour with a thin, off-white head that is about a pinky-width in size and settles down to a thin lacing.

Sweet and sugary with some malts in the mix too and an unusual caramel smell that is slightly off-putting. There is some spices lingering at the end as well.

Same as the smell with lots of sugar and malts upfront along with the weird caramel flavour from the nose that went down with a little effort but wasn't the nicest taste in the world. Too sweet for me though.

Medium bodied and pretty smooth with mild carbonation levels and a lingering bitter finish that is incredibly sweet on the palate.

An all right beer as a one off and something a little different for the holiday season without being great or making me want another.

1001 Beers To Try:

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before date of 14 AUG 12. Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Medium to dark amber colour with ruby around the edges. Half a finger of bubbly cream coloured head formed and slowly receded.

S - Sweet caramel and bready malts with a touch of toffee and a hint of cinnamon in the background.

T - Caramel and bready malts with some toffee and spice. The cinnamon is not specifically evident among the other spices. A decent hop bitterness with some light floral notes. A fairly standard winter warmer.

M - Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.26/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Good finger of head that laces and retains well. The body is a a cross between ruby red and cinnamon brown. Steady carbonation is nice.

Smell: A detect a hint of spicing, which would lean me towards them not going overboard with a bit of light caramel malt and some fruitier apple and pear notes. Nothing bad, but not quite what I would expect from a beer that would typically have a lot of spice.

Taste: Starts with a dull malt with some dry spicing that quickly turns oddly dry, bitter mashup of various spices, hops and the kitchen sink which isn't anywhere near as good as it sounds. The worst part about it is that there doesn't seem to be any really sweeter elements that would compliment the spicing. I thought maybe I served it too cold, but warming didn't help it's case at all.

Mouthfeel: That kick doesn't transition well at all, and it leaves a subtle dryness that does the beer no favours. The carbonation is there, but it doesn't really accentuate anything. Thankfully it doesn't leave too much of an aftertaste for very long.

Drinkability: Even as an occasional winter drinker, I can't see wanting to drink this again. I mean, sure you CAN drink it, it's not unbearable, but there is too much of the wrong kind of volume to this beer to make it worthwhile. Saving grace is that it sits down.

Final Thoughts: Bah Humbug indeed, this beer is a surprising disappointment from Wychwood. I mean, there isn't a lot here I can recommend other then the beer and the bottle looks nice. Nowhere near as good as Hobgoblin or Fiddler's Elbow (which seems to have disappeared in Ontario and from their website). You'll want to pass.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely inviting chestnut brown body with a flimsy looking creme caramel colured head.

A smell of cough drops,(and yes) Humbugs and burn't toffee.

The taste is very similar slightly sweet in an old fuddy duddy old timey world not all out candy barley type. Roast malts are there but very subdued and rounded with a hint of hops bitterness.

Allright, do you know, not bad, had better but tasted far worse.

not the big hitter I had expected in the taste stakes

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Photo of korguy123
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Crystal clear deep chestnut pour with ruby highlights. Finger width off white head that sticks around forever. Lacing is excellent.

S- Toasted malts, raisins, figs, cinnamon and nutmeg.

T- Cinnamon, raisins, nutmeg and vanilla. Like liquid fruit cake.

M- Light bodied, subtle carbonation. Chewy finish.

O- One of my first craft beers and still one of my holiday favorites.

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Photo of timtwoface
3.67/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, lots of Canadian comments on this one, seems that its taking the country by storm!

Anyway, it's Christmas time and lately I've been bringing a lot of winter warmers back up from Washington and Oregon. So far they've all been great but I wanted to try something new from a local BC Liquor Store. Enter Bah Humbug.

I wasn't horribly impressed but this is a decent beer. It's not as smooth or vanilla-infused as say, my current local favourites, GI Winter Ale or Tree Vertical Winter Ale, but it still has all the necessary delicious Christmas spices in there. It just didn't pack the punch I was hoping for, so I personally won't likely be buying it again.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into a pint glass - two finger off white head upon a deep amber ruby toned body - lots of sticky lacing - retained a fine follar of bubbles throughout

Smell is malt, cinnamon and cloves, with some grassy hops

Taste follows the nose with some green apple and pear and stale bread coming through, a faint hint of chocolate as it warmed

light to medium bodied with little carbonation this is surprisingly smooth and drinkable (could have more than one which is unusual for the style to me), the tart bitterness lingered on the middle of my tongue throughout.

This is the first brew I have enjoyed from this brewery and it is worth another try

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Photo of beerayrton
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I thought i'd have my second winter warmer for the year (after granville island's winter ale) and I thought i'd do it with some bah humbug!

Appearance - One finger of head, slowly dissipating to minimal lacing. it has a deep robust amberish red. very good looks.

Smell - You certainly get malty overtones, but a little bit of cinnamon peeks in from behind. it actually has a very muted smell. The one thing I should say is it might have been served a little too cold, which is my fault, and may detract from the smell.

Taste - You get the cinnamon right off the bat, and a little bit of spice in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is actually one of the best things about it, as there is a little bit of oiliness as it's going down. There are also caramel notes in there.

Mouthfeel - Slight Carbonation, with that oiliness really coming into play. It is definitely not full bodied, but it's trying.

Overall - Good winter warmer, definately much better than GI Winter Ale, but i'm sure i'll have better this christmas season. (or should I say, Christmas Saison?) Ha, I crack me up.

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Photo of SebD
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice ruby/amber colour to it. It has a nice tan head that dies down slowly and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints bready malts, caramel, spices, dark fruit and cherries.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a caramely and cherry sweetness to it with some dark fruit, some cinnamon and a slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

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Photo of bryehn
3.82/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper-ruby colour with a moderate tan coloured head that leaves minor lacing and settles as a thin collar.

The aroma is malt forward with a syrupy caramel tone, a peppery spiciness, a slightly sour ripened fruit tone, a touch of pine needles and a hint of cinnamon.

The taste has a caramel malt body with a crisp and spicy bite of cinnamon. A bitter, chocolatey taste is balanced by a sweet dark fruit taste that reminds me of plum. The finish is dry and mildly bitter.

The ale has a medium body with a low carbonation level. A strong biscuit or bread quality weighs down the tongue and the aftertaste has a syrupy fruit quality.

Not a lot of actual warming given its rather mild ABV and I find it a bit too syrupy overall; however it's a nice, crisp-tasting and fruity ale that has just the right amount of spice.

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Photo of Zonthark
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours out a ruby red kind of colour, very little head, good lacing. Tastes pretty good lots of hop presence, verry bitter, you can taste the cinnamon they talk about but I didnt really get the dried fruit too much, but after I had some bread I got a nice cherry taste. The body is a bit too dry for my liking. All in all a very nice beer.

There are alot better beers out there, even out of the same brewery. On the other hand it is a very enjoyable drink, Im finished it now and I wish I had another.

I would definatley buy this beer again, the cinnamon flavour stays in your mouth, it looks good, love the bottle, even though its considered a winter warmer I find it refreshing and could drink this all year round.

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Photo of liamt07
3.61/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottler from the LCBO, 500ml into a tulip. Best before August 14, 2012.

Pours an almost opaque burgundy, with a finger or two cap of cream coloured head. Bubbly retention, and similar, denser lacing. Nose is faint, some caramel malts, a bit of butter, shades of darker fruits and darker breads. Taste follows, some lightly buttered dark breads, some mild spicing - maybe some cinnamon. Some brown sugar and vanilla notes, but some bitterness in there as well. Dry finish. Medium body, soft carbonation that is suited to this beer. Relatively drinkable, but fairly uninteresting throughout. Certainly a step up from the Samuel Smith Winter Welcome I had earlier, but I'm still gonna stick with St. Peter's Winter Ale as my choice Winter Warmer from over the pond.

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Photo of Kartoffeln
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear but dark coppery amber with a dense, creamy, light tan head, average in size but with excellent retention. Slowly dissipates to a frothy cap and leaves spotty lacing.

S: Bursting with toffee malts with a faint tang - slightly sour, slightly musty, both in a very good way; probably the rye malt listed on the bottle. Loads of fresh dark fruits, candied fruits, and hint of zesty orange. Brown spices, particularly cinnamon and coriander, round out the nose. Rather like a Christmas pudding altogether, but I wish the nose was more robust.

T: Rather raw, bold toffee and perhaps some brown or even chocolate malts; the tang from the nose is present but fainter. Brown spices come in partway through the sip, only cinnamon really standing out, along with butterscotch note. Very faint leafy hops in the finish, maybe Goldings - all taste and no bitterness. Ethanol comes through in the finish as it warms.

M: Medium-bodied with light, smooth carbonation and slight chewiness. The finish is actually pretty clean, the understated hops doing quite a bit to balance the flavour profile. Drinks heartily as a winter warmer should.

D: A very solid winter warmer that satisfies, but lacks complexity. Still a good sipper for these cold nights in and an excellent low-spice segue from plain ales to the more aggressively spiced winter warmers.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear dark copper/red colour with a an average size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some very nice lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, strawberries, caramel, cherries, cinnamon, raisins

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with caramel and some cinnamon quite a bit of fruit taste going on. Seems like Strawberries, cherries and some raisins. It ends with a fruity and spicy aftertaste.

Overall - One of the better holiday themed beers I've tried so far. The taste was very pleasant and not cloying in any ways. I'll grab a few more bottles of this and probably look for it again during future holiday seasons.

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Photo of AEK
4.09/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle poured into a Hobgoblin pint pot

A. Deep copper with a soft White foamy head.

S. Chocolatey, dried cherries and roasted malt.

T. Cinnamon, chocolate, raisins and a hint of clove.

M. Medium bodied.

D. A delicious dark mid winter ale to sip during the short winter days and/or long winter evenings.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank this with dinner tonight. Listed at 6% ABV, on to the beer:

This beer is muddy orange in color with red amber hues. The 500 ml bottle pours nicely into my Guinness pint glass, leaving a a head two-finger's thick on top. The head eventually drops to a lace, then towards the bottom nothing but a few whispers of lace sticking to the glass. It's all butterscotch and soft yeast in the nose, which all by itself is nice, but a kick of sovent alcohol takes the enjoyment down a little. The same applies to the taste; butterscoth and nutty flavors run around, but the alcohol isn't shy of showing itself. Tasted blind, I would have guessed more along the lines of an ESB than a winter warmer. All said, solid beer.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.59/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First time giving an English-style winter warmer a shot!

A - Pours a deep, murky chestnut brown, with minimal head and lacing. Some visible yeast in suspension. Looks kind of like an old ale in a way.

S - Smell is of strong honey, some cinnamon and molasses, and cherry.

T - Taste is of sweet, cherry and honey flavors, with a hint of molasses and mild spices. Just enough hops for balance, but this is a malty offering, no doubt.

M - Mouthfeel is of a medium-bodied beer, with minimal carbonation, and very smooth overall.

D - This is one I could do just fine with one or two of, but I wouldn't session it.

Overall - A good, but not outstanding winter beer. Those looking for the coffee bitterness/mild hop kick found in American Winter Warmers (which I do like) will not find it here. Still worth a shot for fans of the style though.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.87/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every year as falls starts to roll around one of the things I look forward to the most is the seasonal Christmas Beer Release at the LCBO. This release typically brings to Ontario 10 to 20 exciting beers mostly of exceptional character and rich flavors. It is winter by then after all, and the season calls for warm, rich, spicy and contemplative beers. Among this release is always the Wychwood Ba Humbug Christmas Cheer Ale. It is branded almost identical to the Wychwood Hobgoblin, which is available year round, as over the years has become to taste oddly similar.

The Wychwood Brewery is buried behind the main streets of the brewing town Witney, in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, UK. The brewery has been in operation since 1841, however it was not until 1988 when they first began to produce their flagship beer The Hobgoblin, and it wasn't until 1996 when they finally started to bottle it! Regardless, we do still, and have for several years been treated to the Ba Humbug every Christmas. The Ba Humbug is available in a 500ml dark bottle at 5% abv. I do remember older versions being 5.5 and 6%, so I am not sure why Wychwood has decided to tone down this spice beer. This bottle was from the 2009 early Christmas release, so is now about six months old. Every year I am impressed with this beer, so I had bought several bottles, some to drink, and some to age.

It pours with life and energy swelling the glass with a golden bronze beer; ambers, browns, orange and mahogany shining through it. The head was somewhat sturdy, medium tan, about a half inch high with very small fine bubbles. The nose, which is always something I have purely enjoyed about this beer, is ripe with fruits and caramel up front teasing a cinnamon spice which I know lies behind. Its balanced with banana, pumpkin flesh, bread and biscuits in its heart, showing light apples, nutmeg, sweet alcohol and yeast in behind. It does smell like it has built a touch of strength while ageing in my cellar, so I was excited to see what it now brings to my palate.

I did let the beer warm up slightly before enjoying it, probably to around 6 degrees Celsius (42F) so that I would be able to absorb the spices that I expected this beer to produce. It is very creamy and quenching on the palate showing mild carbonation and a full, very wet mouthfeel. Initially warm biscuit, toffee, light malts and pear flow across my tongue, and slowly invite apples, honey, nutmeg and bread along with. Ripe banana and pumpkin slide in the sides with cinnamon and caramel hinting more at sweet malts and warm alcohol. There is still more fruit here too, almost fruit cake like with plums and apricots.

There is a light hop fading in the back which is very soft and distinctly British and also very refreshing. It definitely helps bring all of the flavors together. Overall its all very mellow, none of these flavors are jumping out at me, they are all simply flowing happily along just enjoying the ride. I do remember previous versions of greater strength showing me more spice, more ripe fruits and a bigger more full body. This 2009 is still very nice, and almost every novice beer drinker I offer it to agrees that it is perfect in many ways.

It is the richness though that I seek from this sort of beer, so while I did enjoy what I drank, I was hoping for that big red firetruck for Christmas, not the socks and underwear which were probably more practical.

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Bah Humbug from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
3.51 out of 5 based on 373 ratings.
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