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Kentucky Christmas | Hopworks Urban Brewery

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31 Ratings

Brewed by:
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
70 IBU

Added by Docer on 12-05-2010

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 31 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of biboergosum
3.54/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

10oz Pilsner glass, at the Hopworks tap takeover at Underground in Edmonton. This is apparently the Abominable Winter Ale, aged in Kentucky wood.

This beer appears a hazy, almost layered-seeming, and singed bronzed amber hue, with a thin cap of loosely foamy and bubbly beige head, which leaves a bit of sparse, streaky painted lace around the glass as it quickly abates.

It smells of sugary caramel/toffee, acrid vanilla and Yankee whiskey soaked wood, soused orchard fruit - apple and orange, mostly - a bit of savoury spice, and leafy, weedy, and musty hops. The taste is still rather edgy Bourbon County all the way - boozy whiskey, disjointed caramel and vanilla, mild spice - before the heady base beer asserts its provenance, with the bready malt and big citrusy and lesser piney hops dusting off from that initial barrel bash over the head.

The bubbles are more or less sublimated by the woody intransigence, the body a decent medium weight, but just, the smoothness suffering equally and accordingly. It finishes on the sweet side, as the booze enhanced sugary character continues its dominance over everything I liked about the base beer.

Sigh - all these otherwise enjoyable American ales being raped and pillaged by the inferior barrel trappings of the Bluegrass State - say what? And just to add insult to injury here, winter is still more than a wee ways away, at least so far this year, eh?

 1,412 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of lupercmda
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at the brewery. Supposedly BourbonĀ Aged Abominable Winter Ale. In a tulip. Could dredge up little info on this from the laconic bartendress.

A: Brownish amber with a crimson tinge in the dull lighting here in the corner. Small head that quickly disappears.

S: At first I could smell no bourbon, and the aroma made me think I was poured the wrong beer as it's not particularly wintry. As the beer warmed, the rich caramel revealed itself and the barrel became more evident. Notes of bourbon are light. I also detect some vanilla and wood. Hops are piney and earthy. Smells like an American Barleywine barrel aged for a short period of time.

T: Assertive hop bitterness with notes of resinous pine and a dash of grapefruit. Bourbon is light and well integrated, though a bit more influence would be welcome. At times the rich caramel is the focus, and at others the hops are at the forefront. Finish is lightly sweet and a nice blend of rich caramel malt, bourbon, and resinous bitterness.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation and a sticky, silky mouthfeel.

Overall: Not a traditional winter ale, but quite nice. Bourbon is restrained yet well integrated. An enjoyable beer, and not unlike an American Barleywine. Either Barrel Aging completely changed this beer, or I was served the wrong base beer.

 1,331 characters

Photo of JNForsyth
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of shelby415
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of DrMindbender
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of yeaprolly
2.75/5  rDev -31.9%

Photo of flexabull
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer that I sampled at the Bend Brewfest, scribbled some notes because it seemed like an odd choice for the summer.

Pours a bright and slightly hazy copper color with small white head.

Aromas are very barrel forward, some coconut, bourbon, vanilla, and a touch of sugary malts.

Taste is also barrel forward, but this beer is pretty refined and doesn't knock you over the head with big flavors. I mostly taste coconut, vanilla, some brown sugars, light tea, and bourbon. A hint of hoppy bitterness on the finish. Alcohol is there, but it's well restrained.

Mouthfeel is really quite smooth with good body.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a very nice sipping beer, good barrel flavors, but not over the top.

 735 characters

Photo of CoryR
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of Kopfschuss
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of drone
2.82/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

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

On tap at Holiday Ale Festival, multiple 4 oz. samples for all beers reviewed, though I wish I'd have brought a tasting glass and ditched the plastic mug, LOL.

Lingering light tan head over medium amber clear body. Quite a bit of bourbony sweetness in the nose from Buffalo Trace barrels, vanilla, booze. Taste is a bit sweet with above bourbon profile, but the hops are still the star, citrusy. Medium mouthfeel and body, good effervescence. The Bourbon is still very pronounced in the nose, wonder how another year of barrel aging would effect the taste, though note the bourbon is subsumed by the hops on the tastebuds resulting in a fair balance. Nice, worth a try, especially for bourbon hopheads like me :).

 714 characters

Photo of Docer
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Holiday Ale Festival here in Portland, OR. Their Abominable Winter Ale aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels (which happens to be my favorite bourbon).

- Nice dark roasty looking ale... dark mocha-like head... yet light... settled to a ring rather quickly...

- Sweet vanilla sweet and citrus aromas... what a beautiful smell this beer has. Malts, sweet grains, many hops and citrus... with a sofy and candy-like bourbon vanilla and spice.

- Balanced, light, hides the alcohol completely... very flavorful. Big oakey vanilla... hops, and smooth brown sugar sweet grains.... the regular abominable is great.. this is far superior...

- Light and only slightly creamy... well carbonated.. slightly drying and sticky... but only slightly.

- This was one of the bigger hits for me at the fest. I would hope that Hopworks would make this their regular winter brew in bottles... and lots of them. I would pay $10 for a bomber... many!

 966 characters

Photo of Anaxagoris
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mattsmith413
4.66/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BeerNW
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of loren01
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice clear copper color, very slight head and lacing
S: Very much full of oak and vanilla. Also some piney hop scents in there.
T: Once again, lots of oak with slight bourbon. Both citrusy and piney hop flavors.
M: Medium bodied beer, ETOH is not very well hidden, has a pretty good bite to it.
O: This is a really good beer, would get this one again for sure.

 364 characters

Photo of jakewatt135
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SamuelR
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of djbreezy
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - amber with some transparency

Smell - vanilla, bourbon, citrus hops

Taste - much milder than I expected but nice and complex, bourbon, hops, vanilla, citrus, floral notes

Mouthfeel - medium body, even carbonation

Overall - was really surprised, great flavors, thought it would but heavier and malted but overall very pleased!!

 342 characters

Photo of SeaAle
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of stript
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of DMB
4/5  rDev -1%

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Kentucky Christmas from Hopworks Urban Brewery
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 31 ratings
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