Holidale | Breckenridge Brewery

very good
12 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ale aged in whiskey barrels. Contacted the brewery on Facebook and they confirmed that it is their Christmas Ale aged in Stranahan's Whiskey barrels.

Bottles individually numbered. Only 480 bottles made.

Added by JMBSH on 12-31-2012

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 48
Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent brew from a great brewery.
This fine ale pour a clear reddish mahogany with a nice head
of off white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin pool, and features
light sudsy lacing. Nose of bourbon, oak, vanilla, breaded raisin laden
loaf of brown sugar touched bread, and some light notes of stone fruits
IE cherries. Flavors hit the perfect balance and follow of the nose with
dark breaded sweet brown sugar topped raisin loaf and serious whiskey
which as usual has the suspects lined up with oak, vanilla, and booze that is
lightly touched by cherries and a subtle zesty hop note. Excellent mouth feel;
medium full body, warming, smooth, and finishing with a sweet bourbon

Overall, this one one fine strong ale that is close to a barely wine.

Also of note, the newer bottles read 10.3 on the ABV.
NOT 8.8.


 844 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a dark red orange with a thin off-white head that dissipates into patches and a thick ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma of dark caramel and bready malt, whiskey, brown bread and light oak. Flavor is sweet caramel malt, vanilla, oak, hints of holiday spice and nuts. Thins out quite a bit into the finish, but leaves lingering whiskey and oaky vanilla. Medium bodied, a bit lighter than typical for the style with active carbonation. The flavor starts out great, with lots of malt, whiskey and good vanilla barrel character, but attenuates quickly, with surprisingly little malt in the middle and finish. Fortunately, the residual flavors that linger are nice whiskey and oak, so the malt, while not forward is quite supportive. Lighter than expected, but with great flavor profile. A nicely made holiday barreled ale.

 873 characters

Photo of PhillyB
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I got this beer several months after its run came out and was on sale for three bucks per bomber. I would happily have paid maybe five or six.

Look: Not spectacular. Dark amber in color, and a plentiful tan head that disappears quickly.

Smell: Bready with hints of sweetness.

Taste: Exceptional. Homemade bread with hints of bourbon/whiskey.

Feel: Smooth, almost slick. Not quite as full bodied as a stout, but more so than the average ale.

Overall: Exactly as it says on the bottle. A well made ale with whiskey characteristics.

 534 characters

Photo of superspak
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2015 vintage bottling. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, brown bread, toasted oak, whiskey, coconut, raisin, plum, apple, light chocolate, and yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and light-moderate fruity yeast ester notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, brown bread, toasted oak, whiskey, coconut, raisin, plum, apple, light chocolate, and yeast/oak earthiness. Light herbal bitterness and whisky/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted brown bread, whiskey, coconut, raisin, plum, apple, light chocolate, and yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and light-moderate fruity yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/oak spiciness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/silky, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome English strong ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, whiskey barrel, and light-moderate fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,765 characters

Photo of 57md
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours the color of chestnuts roasting on an open fire with a thin layer of head. The whiskey notes are upfront in both the nose and the flavor profile. The whiskey flavor gives the entire offering a slight sweetness on the finish.

The maltiness is a bit light to carry the whiskey. Also, I'd think that a sweeter whiskey barrel (read, bourbon) might make for a "warmer" offering.

 383 characters

Photo of AdamAlway
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful redish brown, rootbeer like, with little to no head. The whiskey overwhelms the smell. The taste is what you'd expect after that strong whiskey smell, but it is balanced nicely with malt. Very light on the palate. If you enjoy whiskey, this beer is for you. I believe they could have done a lot more to add complexity.

 328 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Breckenridge 25th Anniversary snifter.

Look: A rather bright, mahogany colored body with a quickly receding khaki colored head. Nothing remains, no lacing.

Aroma: Strong whiskey notes. Oaky, woody. Sweet malt layered under all of the wood.

Taste: Behind the obvious whiskey barrel taste lies a sweet, almost coconut taste. The beer warms and gets a little spicier with cinnamon notes also.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, dry yet smooth.

Overall: I didn't like this at first but it grew on me as it warmed.

 521 characters

Photo of barczar
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Fairly whiskey laden aroma, subtle dark malt notes of chocolate and roast. Not the typical spice bomb.

Flavor is whiskey dominant, as well, with a boozy cherry finish. Great for the liquor lover.

 196 characters

Photo of Best_Enjoyed_In_Texas
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Overall, this is a alright beer. My issue is the lack of whiskey-booziness that I expected when I purchased. I rated it fairly in L, S, T, & F however, I docked it has in 'Overall' for this lack of whiskey flavor.

 213 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

wow, one of the best breck beers ive ever had, incredibly good. done for seven week i think this year in templeton rye barrels. amazing it can take on so much of the whiskey flavors in such a short period of time. very impressive. the spice from the christmas ale is mellowed heavily by the wood, and the sweet and spicy whiskey takes it place. molasses and clove and even hops are all present in the taste, as is the vanilla and oak from the bourbon, a totally different beer than the regular christmas, almost more like a barrel aged barleywine in this manifestation, its just delicious. knowing that these guys can do beer this good is both refreshing and frustrating. for every avalanche amber ale, there is one of these, and we have to remember that when we think about breck. apparently they have bottled this before, i would love to see them do it again, its truly extraordinary holiday beer, i adore the barrel aged complexity of one of my favorite base christmas beers. memorable and brilliant

 1,002 characters

Photo of denver10
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep maroonish with a dirty cream head. Aroma starts off with the whiskey, it transitions into the sweet, semi spicy beer offering a nice breadiness, some nuttiness, maybe a touch of some spice, and a nice vanilla finish. All malt, no hops. A medium bodied, somwhat creamy mouthfeel. Overall, I was really impressed with this beer. I went in not expecting much based on my usual experiences with Breck Brewery but came away very pleased. Now I might have to give their regular Christmas Ale a shot.

 511 characters

Photo of JMBSH
2.96/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A hard pour in a glass gave me a lot of head that shrank to a nice even coating that was a bit more then just a thin layer. Burnt orange reddish color. Very little noticible carbonation rising from the bottlom of the glass. Almost no lacing left in the glass but the top of the liquid keeps a nice coating on top of it.

S - Bready notes but not much of that even.

T - Spicy notes. It took a few sips to detect any of the whiskey notes. Very faint. Not as strong as the Well Built ESB. It at times gives more of the oak then the whiskey. The hop bitterness is also subtle, becoming more noticible as I drink. But the matls are what runs this beer.

M - Very smooth and drinkable, just as their Christmas Ale is.

O - Don't know how long it sat in the whiskey barrels but it doesn't seem to have that much. Tastes almost just like regular Christmas Ale but every so often a bit of the whiskey aging tries to pop up. Nice experiment but needs more next time. Maybe pass the whiskey and just go for a longer oak barrel.

 1,021 characters

Holidale from Breckenridge Brewery
3.85 out of 5 based on 48 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.