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Holly Jolly Christmas Ale | Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon

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BA SCORE
85
very good
40 Reviews
THE BROS
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Holly Jolly Christmas AleHolly Jolly Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
Ohio, United States | website

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BB1313 on 12-07-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
341
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
34.38%
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
104
For Trade:
3
User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 341
Photo of zimm421
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stemless wine glass. Appears a beautiful deep amber color with a nice tan head. The head has good staying power, and leaves decent lacing.

The nose has hints of ginger, honey, spices and sweet caramel malt. Very nice aroma here, just what you would expect. The taste is right in line with this with the malts dominating, and the honey playing a supporting role. The spices also come through in the forefront with ginger and cinnamon dominating. The combinations here work really well, and the hops even seem to appear in the finish with a little floral note.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, with active carbonation, and there's a pretty sticky finish that you can feel for a good 30 seconds after each sip. Overall, this is a good winter beer / Christmas ale. Not the best style on earth, but this gets the job done when you're looking for something to warm you up or looking for something that fits in during the season.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Six packs released with a deep mahogany brown crimson hue with light khaki tan head forming nicely in intricate patterns down the sides of my chalice. Aroma has spices for Christmas, ginger, cinnamon, etc. with a definite honey tone fermented out a bit. Strong spice character throughout each sip it's super spicy limiting the enjoyment of each sip, to how high your tolerance is to the honey, cinnamon, ginger, dry spice additions are. Mouthfeel gets cloying at times be ready to share this beer with those folks who love Great Lakes Christmas ale hell rim the glass with a mix of cinnamon and sugar if you have to. Overall I love Fathead's this beer is off my palate's radar for beers I truly love, but I consider it to be a good solid Christmas ale.

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Photo of sarbast
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber pour with decent head and retention. Aroma is light; nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon, primarily nutmeg. Taste is sweet, with cinnamon up front and the other spices following. Honey is in there somewhere. I like this as a holiday ale, but am not overwhelmed by it. Enjoyable but not the best.

 299 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 FL.OZ. bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - This beer is rust with orange highlights. It has a fleeting inch of tan head.

S - The smell is cinnamon and some clove.

T - The taste is loaded with cinnamon as well. I also notice some gingerbread.

M - Medium

O - This is a pretty good winter warmer. I know it is July, but it has held up quite well.

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Photo of prototypic
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Holly Jolly pours a deep copper color. Looks to be clear for the most part. Backlighting shows attractive crimson highlights. I like the color quite a bit! An off-white head covers the top. It stands just a little over a finger tall. Retention was on the shorter side. It fell back to a surface covering quickly. Lacing was moderate and spotty. Not bad.

The nose is good. The malt base smells nice. It features some caramel notes, but doesn’t smell overly sweet. Toasted malts and a bit of light chocolate are also noted. Holiday spices are rather strong in the mix. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are front and center. There’s a rather strong piney or spruce scent that follows. It’s not bad, but smells just a tad strong for this guy. Alcohol is blended pretty well. This bottle is listed as 7.4% abv. Smells good overall.

The flavor isn’t quite as good. The malt base is solid. It’s a mix of light caramel, chocolate, and toasted malts. The chocolate variety tastes like cocoa, and the caramel sweetness is held in check pretty well. The piney, spruce-like flavor follows and is a bit too strong for me. Not bad, just too strong. Holiday spices follow. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are all present and add quite a bit of flavor. Alcohol isn’t all that strong. It’s blended well. Finishes spruce-y, spicy, and sweet.

Holly Jolly has a medium body. Carbonation is dialed back nicely and is light and soft. It’s smooth and easy drinking for the most part. The spruce flavor grows a tad tiresome, but I’ll still finish the bottle!

Holly Jolly is a pretty solid Winter Warmer from Fat Heads Brewery. Here in Ohio, it’s not a threat to dethrone Great Lakes Christmas Ale, but it’s a nice supplement to the Christmas season. If the strong sprucey, piney flavor could be toned down a little, it’d be even better. Easy recommendation nevertheless.

 1,867 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Green's tulip. Pours a nice clear reddish-amber color with 2 fingers of rocky off-white head. Average retention. On the nose I get the holiday spices typical of a winter warmer. Ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg all combined with sweet bready malt and a lemony hop note.

The beer has a medium to full body. Firm feel. The flavor follows the nose quite well. Sweet malt up front with a peppery character imparted by the spices. Fairly dry, peppery finish that doesn't linger too long. No trace of alcohol burn. Quite drinkable, but could stand to be a little sweeter.

Last year I went overboard buying Christmas beers and got tired of them really fast. This year, I only bought one - a sixer of this one. I probably won't buy it again. Not because I don't like it. I simply prefer Great Lakes Christmas Ale. It's a little sweeter than this one and feels a bit more festive somehow. Perhaps it's the label on the bottle.

 943 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.96/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a lightly hazy orange-ish to amber color with an off white head. In the aroma, a light spice and quite faint. In the taste, spices, especially all spice, but mellow in the end. A spice bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry spice in the aftertaste. Nice spice but mellow and faint.

 312 characters

Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz stubby bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber-orangish with a thick, fizzy, off-white, head that slowly dissipates down the side of the glass ending in a solid lace.

S: Malty aroma with spicy backbone consisting of mostly of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

T: Similar to the smell this malty brew has flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg Lots of spices and complex flavors here.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent winter spiced ale. Very flavorful and balanced.

 523 characters

Photo of tankg
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice winter beer, not surprising from this outfit. Had on draft several times before stockpiling some 4 packs from Ds in Monroeville PA and the original Fatheads bar in the south side of Pittsburgh - best bar food in a town full or good bar food by the way...

Copper pour into a pint from a bottle, with a cinnamon aroma than hits you before you even get close. There are hints of ginger, honey, nutmeg and lemon , but for me, the cinnamon remains prominent in the taste profile. Very drinkable for the ABV as well. Surprised at the few reviews, must be a limited release. In a style that I enjoy, this in my new find this year along with the 2Xmas which is very nice....both are better than the usuaul winter suspects.. Anyway, haven't had a bad Fathead's beer (Headhunter IPA is excellent) or a bad Church Brewworks Beer out of Pittsburgh also ...their seasonal Zwarte Brown is excellent...

Happy Holidays...

 918 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a beer exchange. Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - cloudy amber color with a beige head that thinned out but still left a fair amount of lacing.

S - lots of holiday spices, nutmeg, ginger and raw honey.

T - the spices and honey come through in the taste with just a little bitterness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with a silky smooth feel.

O - a good example of the style.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Type - Bottle

Appearance - Brownish tan with a thin 1/4 inch head. Decent lacing.

Smell - Classic winter warmer smell. Malts, Cherry, apples,orange, honey, ginger, molasses and brown sugar. Dark fruits like plum and rasin.

Taste - Dry malty, toffee, caramel and buttery at first sip. Much like a english brown ale with winter warmer spices and flavors. Ginger is a large flavor that comes in at first sip and remains at the finish. Some minor cherry and added sugars are present. A sting of alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Malts coat tounge with dry buttery flavors. Palate gets alot of ginger, some fruits and added sugars. The finish is malty, spicey and dry.

Overall - Different style of xmas ale. Its a brown ale, with some winter warmer notes. The sugars and spices arent overpowering at all. Hops are minor, fruits are mixed in with added sugars. Ginger makes up the main flavor with the buttery malts. Good, not great, worth a drink.

 951 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a pretty dark, somewhat standard (for a style that has no particular standard) sort of reddish-brown. A tight cream-colored head forms, growing to almost a finger tall, retains itself pretty well, and leaves a modicum of spotty lacing as it recedes.
Initially smelling this and thinking it's a winter warmer, expecting a touch more sweetness and a bit more warmth, it makes sense that it's in an even broader category. The backbone is malty, mostly caramel with some bread, accompanied by some mostly floral hops notes. The spicing is such that it doesn't add sweetness, something of a mix of kitchen and holiday spices. There is a slight kick of cinnamon, and it's well integrated, but otherwise it's more like allspice with an obvious note of nutmeg. The coriander gives it a hint of something like one of those uncategorized Belgian browns. They went safe with it, balancing everything well, making sure it's not too sweet or too heavily spiced. Playing it safe, though, does mute it just a bit overall.
The body is moderate. The carbonation borders on high but is kept in check. Generally it's pretty smooth, definitely plenty crisp but not biting. Alcohol doesn't factor too much in the feel, which is good.

 1,225 characters

Photo of thecheapies
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fat Head's Holly Jolly Christmas Ale. Served in a pint glass.

Very much cloudy (noticed some sludge at the bottom of the bottle after pouring). Caramel brown color. Beige head peaked at almost two fingers. Didn't sustain long.

I get cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and thyme. Pretty phenomenal that it's easy to pick these all out. Rugged maltiness offers toast, but the aroma is not complete without the interpretations of minty hops.

Cinnamon and spice, and everything nice. Cinnamon, clove, allspice, malty toast, spicy alcohol, brown sugar, and some hops in the finish. Sweeter than it is bitter. Tastes classically like a winter warmer, but has a nice buttery sweetness in the middle.

Very lively carbonation. It has a warm alcohol note, which is nice. The body isn't memorable, but it works.

Great nose and pleasant flavor. An accomplished winter warmer, or apparently, a spiced beer.

 898 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass.
Chill-hazed copper in color, with a nice-looking head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Nutmeg and cinnamon notes.
Taste-Cinnamon, nutmeg, holiday spices. Well-balanced and flavorfull, 7.4ABV not evident.
A well-balanced, holiday spiced winter brew.

 298 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy auburn, off-white head which eventually fades but leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of the usual suspects like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. There are some berries noticeable in the nose as well, especially blueberries. The flavors are pretty malty. The spices definitely shine as well. More cinnamon and ginger, which dominate. The honey isn't too noticeable in the flavors, in my opinion. Very grainy and has a mineral-like quality. There's a subtle bitterness. The flavors just seem to fall flat and don't come off as memorable. I'm also picking up some blueberries in the flavors, for what it's worth. The mouthfeel is nice. High carbonation, almost fizzy, but smooth. The alcohol is well hidden and not noticeable.

I love Fat Head's, but I was underwhelmed by this one. If you're into spiced Christmas ales, give it a shot, but it's not as tasty as Great Lakes, Thirsty Dog, Hoppin' Frog, and The Brew Kettle's interpretations, in my humble opinion. I hate to compare beers in reviews, but it's only fair since they are all too similar and Ohio brewed.

** I'm not sure if this is the same beer/recipe as their Christmas Ale of years past. Seems very similar.

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Holly Jolly Christmas Ale from Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
85 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.
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