Harvey's Christmas Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

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Harvey's Christmas AleHarvey's Christmas Ale
BA SCORE
3.8/5
Very Good
201 Ratings
Harvey's Christmas AleHarvey's Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd.
England, United Kingdom
harveys.org.uk

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A traditional barley wine. The biscuit malt and vinous fruit palate is balanced by a strong hop bitterness. It is warming and reflects the spirit of Christmas. Recipient of Finland’s Olutseura Olviretki award for ‘excellently’ fulfilling “The Christmas Beer Regulation” described in Aleksis Kivi’s novel ‘Seven Brothers’.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-18-2001

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#16,753
Reviews:
165
Ratings:
201
pDev:
15.53%
Bros Score:
4.47
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
5
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 201 |  Reviews: 165
Photo of mltobin
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Silke_Neryn
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(11.2 oz bottle, poured into a teku)

L: clear, garnet-colored liquid - striking, brilliant; very little foam on pour, and what built up is a shore of fisheyes... only a thin, and broken collar clings; no lace

S: lightly-burnt sugar, hard candy, spice, subtle plum, soft hint of tobacco and its smoke... no overt hoppy notes, any fruity aromas seem to be dominantly yeast/alcohol-derived... sort of smells more akin to a Belgian Scotch ale (or something like Kwak)... halfway through, and some pleasant vinous booze emerges, nicely balanced against the other aromas

T: berry-flavored bourbon, backed by a burly, moderately dry, mildly roasty malt... dark caramel awash in port... wide, perhaps acrid, vaguely black pepper and green tea flavors and lingering, bitingly tannic bitterness at the back of the palate, almost, in combo, seeming partially as if coming from mild infection, or just aggravated by phenols... some cereal character in the malt arrives late

F: light-bodied and taut, with a delicate syrupy viscosity; lifting, medicinal parch at the back of the tongue; mellow, rosy warmth at the top of the throat... lovely interplay of oils and heat, whiskey-like

O: tasty and full-flavored, for sure, but not as uniquely nuanced and dirty as I'd hoped... but it does beg for sipping and could pair well with some nutty, nougat-y sweets, and/or some dried, dark fruits or earthy cheese

 1,396 characters

Photo of Cascade24
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Wer34truh
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rfgetz
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of bigred89
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

No bottle date to be found. It's old though. Looks pretty clear and ruddy. Low to no carbonation. Tobacco, figs, port, sherry, raisins, dates, malty sweet. A nice winter warmer for a cold Christmas Day.

 202 characters

Photo of jmg480
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of ajdemma
4.68/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Beginner2
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I might make myself unpopular, but I really prefer the English rendition of the Barleywine than the American. And the reason is simple: I prefer malt over hops.
Harvey's is malty, even sweet and, by American standards, flat.... just the way I like.
So if I like their barleywines so well, why don't I move there? (After the last election, I think I will.)
Christmas Ale is highly-hopped by English standards. Not surprisingly, this goes great with Christmas cookies.

Reviewed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die," it deserves to be on the list.
Reviewed in MJ's "Guide" gave it 3 of 4 stars and called it "cakey." An apt description.

 643 characters

Photo of shigg85
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Xmas gift from a friend who went to Lewis for work. 275ml bottle. Pours a dark reddish colour with a very small beige head. Aromas of sweet malt, toffee & caramel. Taste is much as aroma along with biscuit, and mild alcohol. The finish has a sweet caramel bitterness. Overall a very good winter ale.

 301 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thoroughly enjoyed from the bottle in a snifter via our Scottish friend----Thanks Keith!

This fine ale pours a brilliant ruby red color with a thin dissipating head that subsides to a thin ring and subtle pool. Nose of toffee, sherry, and moderately strong booze. Flavors far exceed the nose with toffee and sherry notes up front and to the middle of the taste with notes of brown sugar and light yeast notes. Back fades to a cherry and fig flavor with a light breaded quality. Light carbonation as a good English warmer should be, smooth and warming with a coating effect. Very solid, VERY nice. An excellent ale from England and a welcome brew to behold-----and one I could hold out on no longer. Excellent!

Cheers

 725 characters

Photo of MacMalt
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. It pours a lovely ruby red with a thin, ecru head and lacing. It has that quintessentially English smell of toffee, along with some brown sugar and biscuit. What a rich taste: sweet malt, cranberry, cherry, prune, caramel, and brown sugar. It is like drinking a fruit cake. There is no hop presence. This is a nice, full-bodied ale with little carbonation; it's almost like drinking port. You really don't notice the 8.1% ABV. This is truly a winter warmer and a delightful dessert beer. It's a festive brew and I wish I had drank it at Christmas rather in the "Bleak Mid-Winter." I may buy a couple of these and save them till December.

 670 characters

Photo of Calzyne
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mattias
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of bark
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

The colour is mahogany-brown, the liquid is clear. The finger thick beige head dissolves quickly leaving no lacing.

The quite mild smell got notes of biscuits and wood-aged liquors. Some alcohol and toffee.

The taste is sweet and malty balanced with floral hops, orange peel and biscuits. Full body. The aftertaste is bitter-sweet with caramel sauce, rhubarb jam and smooth alcohol. The long finish got booth clean bitterness, tart fruits and caramel biscuits.

The carbonation is strong, the short-lived bubbles are sharp. The liquid is semi-smooth ans sticky.

A malty caramel brew with interesting floral/fruity citric hops.

 632 characters

Photo of cozmo
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kendo
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle has been in my fridge since last Christmas. Consumed on 12/25/15.

A: Poured from the bottle into a Corsendonk Christmas glass. Body is chestnut-amber with no real head.

S: Dark fruit, toffee, brown sugar, caramel.

T: Fruity malt with dried fruit, port wine, caramel, brown sugar, some notes of toasted grain. Hint of booze.

M: Completely flat, call it medium-to-full in heft.

O: A good seasonal sipper. May've been better when fresh.

 447 characters

Photo of shelby415
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of raindog814
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Nyrangersgrrl
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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Harvey's Christmas Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 201 ratings
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