Harvey's Christmas Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

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BA SCORE
85
very good
162 Reviews
Harvey's Christmas AleHarvey's Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd.
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-18-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
162
Ratings:
190
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
17.2%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
6
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 162 | Ratings: 190
Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
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

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Photo of MacMalt
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of bark
3.63/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of Kendo
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of 57md
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours the color of chestnut roasting on a open fire with a finger of head.

The feature in both the nose and flavor profile is a molasses sweetness. The body is average for the style and the mouthfeel is sticky

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Brilliant chestnut under a very thin white film of foam. S: An array of dark dried fruit and spice. T: Yeast esters, dark dried fruit, fig, and big malt flavors. F: Chewy and low carbonation.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 275ml bottle with a BB of May 2015. ABV is stated as 7.5%. Purchased a little while back from the Harvey's brewery shop. Bring on the Christmas!

A: Poured into a cervoise. A clear coppery-brown hue with medium carbonation. Yields a small head of frothy beige foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding and disappearing.

S: Aroma of sweet, fruity malt with hints of prunes, dried fruit, port/sherry, fruitcake, caramel, mild brown sugar, yeast esters, faint stewed leaves and just a twinge of sourness in the background. Not particularly assertive but pretty good.

T: Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a lingering yeasty finish. Notes of prunes, dried fruit, port/sherry, caramel, brown sugar, mild toasted grain, fruity yeast esters, stewed leaves and a touch of cardboard. Possesses a subtle vinous quality that adds depth, along with a hint of booze. Quite sweet, followed by a leafy bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation and decent body for the style. Somewhat astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of sweet, fruity malt, twiggy bitterness and stewed leaves/cardboard.

O: OK if not outstanding. Looks a tad lacklustre, while the aroma and flavour supply a reasonably interesting blend of rich, fruity malt notes and yeast esters. Sweet and slightly vinous, though the bitterness jars a little. Body is alright. Decent but not the greatest Xmas brew ever. Try it if you stumble across it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a clear dark copper with a tiny head of foam that shrinks quickly to just a ring around the glass.

The smell is malty, sweet like Port, with a slight bitter note or two.

Yummy the taste is.Besides the Port like character, which I almost always dig, I get some nice nutty tones and more than a bit of bitterness.

Medium body goes well with the light carbonation.

A real treat of a beer for me and my palate.

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Photo of fx20736
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought from Premiere Gourmet, December 2014. Poured cool into a St Bernardus chalice.

Look: Sharp and clear dark amber with a Tawny Port hue. Minimal head disappears quickly. No lacing.

Smell: winey over some thinnish toasted malt. More complex than that but I can't define it.

Taste: rich nutty malt is overlaid with young raisins and toffee.Dark fruit finish.

Feel: clean and soft, minimal carbonation.

Overall: The sum is greater than its' parts. Barleywinish. Very good.

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Photo of seedyone
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

01/11/14 From bottle at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Smooth, rich, prunes, thick. Not sweet nor too hoppy or dry. Lovely perfume for an aroma. 8% and you'd never know it. Liked this a lot but can get pricey. Reminds me of a very good sherry or light port. Not meaning to sound gauche, but did I mention rich?

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Photo of NilocRellim
2.82/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle.

The beer poured with very little carbonation.

It was hazy and auburn in colour.

The beer smelled strongly of figs and spices.

The taste was like drinking alcoholic raisin/prune juice with a few spices. It was also a bit slimy on the tongue.

Would I buy it again? No. I just do not care for those types of flavours.

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Photo of kaufmaal
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one sloshed out of the bottle, virtually no carbonation other than some off-white bubbles around the edges. Undated bottle, so perhaps an old one. It has the color of iced tea. Smells like Coca-Cola: sweet, some ripened fruit, raisins, vanilla. The taste is a real let-down: sweet, a bit malty, some more vanilla. The alcohol is well hidden, but it tastes like flat coke mixed with some orange soda. I'm willing to try it again as this may be an old bottle.

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Photo of BraveUlysses
2.35/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Truly a let down. After seeing the high reviews on BA, I had very high expectations for this brew. It poured with little to no head (maybe due to a bad pour) and the color was fine, but nothing particularly appealing. I drank this out of a Perfect Pint glass, but didn't really experience much nose on the beer after pouring (related to my imperfect pour, perhaps?) But the taste was the biggest disappointment - I can only compare it to flat soda. Sweet, with little carbonation and just a mediocre sugary taste. Couldn't even finish it.

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Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a hazy ice tea brown color; the head is a mass of large bubbles that quickly fade away, leaving a salting of lace on the tulip glass

Smell: Burnt brown sugar, leather, cream sherry and a hint of soy

Taste: Soy sauce infused toffee, on the front end, with leather and caramel apple flavors in the mid-palate; the finish is somewhat boozy, with cream sherry notes; a touch of lactic sourness in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation; a bit of warmth in the gullet

Overall: Though I bought this bottle the other day, I have no idea how old it was; given the price mark-down, I am sure it was not this year's edition and it may not have been last year's either; as I look through the previous reviews there is a distinct downward trend and reduced number of reviews over the last few years so it would not surprise me if this beer hasn't been imported for a while; trying to account for all this, I find that there are some pleasing aspects to the beer but the soy sauce, in particular, really detracts from the overall enjoyment

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Photo of Beerenauslese
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Body is dark reddish brown, head dissipates rapidly.

Smells malty sweet, raisins and honey, a little fresh tobacco.

Tastes very malty sweet, with notes of raisins, prunes, and other dark fruit, a little coffee. Has a slightly bitter finish.

Body is medium and carbonation is low, not quite flat but close.

This is a winter warmer that is very malty, fruity, and pretty sweet, but not very spicy. It is just OK and lacks complexity. It doesn't hold my interest and I would not have another glass of this.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Caracole small snifter. Pours a somewhat cloudy dark, ruddy brown amber. Very slight head formation on pouring that disappears quickly, little carbonation. Aroma of dark fruit and sweet malt. Flavor is moderate dark and dried fruit and sweet malt with light holiday spicing. Medium body. Pleasant, but nothing to bring me back next year. Kind of wanted to like this a bit more. No date on the bottle, from the source, it could have been an older bottle.

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Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy brownish amber in color. It poured with a very thin head that quickly dissipated, leaving lacing on the surface and a thick ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of port wine in the nose, which become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of port wine along with notes of figs and a bit of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink compared to others in the style because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. It almost seems to taste more like port wine instead of beer.

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Photo of Suds
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is flatter than normal...a still-ish amber liquid with a nearly non-existent head. A ring of white suds. The aroma is all fruit and malt. Cherry, grist-mill, apricot, grape-skin, and lightly toasted bread. The flavor is now what was expected...intense sweetness to begin with (nearly sugary), followed with a bit of booze and enough balance to even things out. Some gristy, malty characteristics. English hops. This is a traditional strong English ale all the way (over the top, really). Full body. To be enjoyed in sips, not a gulps. I enjoyed this beer more than expected.

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Photo of warnerry
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure when this was bottled. Label says there is a best by date on the cap, but I don't see one.

A - Pours a clear amber/copper with almost zero head.

S - Lots of caramel malt, a bit of fruit, mostly apple, and a bit of candi sugar. Pretty nice.

T - Alcohol is quite noticeable, along with sweet caramel malt, some sugar and brown sugar, and some tart fruit. Has a very faint burnt flavor, and some spices leading to a dry finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel s initially quite syrupy, but finishes dry and with some bitterness.

O - A pretty good winter warmer, but not one I would go back to.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Several year interest in this. Not sure why I pulled the trigger this time, but so I did.
2009.
Great deep fruity aroma with dark fruits like fig and dates, but malt. Also nice sweet candy like caramel, toffee and a little molasses. Really nice aroma.
No head to speak of, with a small rim of white carbonation. Darker amber with tints of red, yellow, orange and slightly cloudy.
Nice fruit flavors again - closer to cherry. They are a little sweeter and are tinged with the alcohol. Finish has a drying quality, but it's not a dry beer, in fact it's more rich than anything. Must be just enough hopping to balance it off.
Heavy feel, with richness, low carbonation, higher alcohol make this a slow sipper. However, the rather shorter finish limits it some.
I like this beer. It's not through the roof, but it is a good, and complex beer with some really enjoyable fruit flavors.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A couple years on this one. No bottle date.

A-Pours clear dark amber with a thin, milky coffee colored head. No lacing.

S-Candied fruit, figs, leather, toffee.

T/M-Flavor profile is in line with what I expect from a vintage English strong ale for the most part, but it's just kind of flat. Cloyingly sweet. Fruity/musty flavors all muddled together.

O-Don't care for it

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Photo of Knapp85
2.03/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I feel bad but I really didn't like this brew at all. It was very flat and some of the flavors were not agreeing with my taste buds. Perhaps it was an old bottle and it lost some of it's kick over time. The beer has a nice appearance but that's about all I could see as a plus for this brew.

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Photo of claspada
2.39/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Aromas are initially sweet with dark fruitiness throughout; plums and dried figs. Dark maltiness lingers with cocoa and dark toffee notes. Alcohol is detectable, but it keeps getting pushed into the background as the fruits dominate my nostrils.
Extraordinarily sweet brown sugar maltiness. Cloyingly overpoweringly sweetness; please some hops anywhere; please.. uh no, can't find em. Mouthfeel is also miserably less than substantial. Dark fruity maple syrup is the only way to describe this. Wow avoid, miserable beer; tastes like sweet mead with added brown sugar. Thus is not beer; period, gross wow pass, not recommended.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.71/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

From bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/11/11

*I'm performing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts, and finishing off the holiday beer in and around my home - this being the last of them (Thank God!)

A: Slight ruby in hue. A hard, forceful pour leads to zero head. None. Nada. I Bobby Brown'ed the hell out of it, yet nary an ounce of froth or even a smidgen of lacing appeared. Quite dissapointing.

S: Simply lovely - sugar sweet plums and dried figs. I also notice a trace of mild alcohol, but it keeps getting pushed into the background as the fruit flirts with my nostrils.

T: Wow, this one is really, really sweet - it feels like my teeth are rotting. Oddly though, the flavor is wonderful: there isn't any hop presense, but what's there is freshly baked fruit cake and juicy prunes.

M: Blech! It's flat. Literally flat like a tall glass of water. I don't know if this is to be expected or if it is strictly my bottle, but it's extremely unappealing.

O: As you'd assume from reading the above, the drinkability is limited. Leave a can of soda open on the kitchen counter all night, and have it with tomorrow night's dinner and you'll understand. There is too much residual sugar and fruit in this one not to find some semblance of balance in even mild carbonation.

The nose and flavor are there. Sadly though, there are signifigant pieces of this brew that seem to be missing, and therefore I cannot give it my recommendation.

Might I also add that I'm thrilled to be finished with my Holiday catch-up. Now on to one last pumpkin ale, then back to the IPA's!

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Harvey's Christmas Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.
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