Blitzen Festivus Ale | North Peak Brewing Company

62 Ratings
Blitzen Festivus AleBlitzen Festivus Ale

Brewed by:
North Peak Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dorianmarley on 12-17-2011

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 62
Photo of Tone
3.99/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, sweet malt, alcohol, hint of caramel malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of yeast, Fits the style of a Winter Warmer. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong sweet malt, alcohol, hint of roasted malt, hops, slight caramel malt, hint of yeast, hint of rye, and a hint of biscuit. Overall, good blend, perfect complexity, good appearance, and body.

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Photo of Suds
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a mahogany brown beer from a stubby bottle, with a light tan head. The aroma is of spice, chocolate, malt, and hops. The tast is drier and mor bitter than I expected. Malt is there as well. And a peppery spice. Full in body and warming.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.31/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on 11/14/14.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, earth, spice, and slight cocoa powder aromas. Taste is much the same with char, earth, bitter cocoa nib, and metallic flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer with lots of earth and bitter qualities that make this one a bit of a chore to drink much of.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of RyanPoff
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Pint Room, Carmel IN.

A: Hershey chocolate color, translucent, about a finger of head with good retention. Awesome.

S: Lots of dark chocolate. Deeply roasted malts. A slightly sugary sweetness.

T: An explosion of liquid chocolate with a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Heavy, and a bit boozy, but perfect for a winter warmer.

M: it's only flaw - its oily and slick on the tongue.

Awesome beer overall - second favorite winter warmer behind Highland Cold Mountain.

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Photo of barczar
3.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Caramel, floral, with cinnamon, and toasted malt.

Flavor reveals cola notes and bitterness. Fairly sweet caramel malt backbone, but the finish is pretty harsh.

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Photo of lochef81
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up for a share with a fellow Seinfeld fanatic. Wasn't expecting much but was quite pleasantly surprised. This ale pours a handsome mahogany color with a small off white head that leaves some soapy lacing. The aroma is malty with a nice dark roasted character. Its a fairly subtle nose but robust and promising none the less. Mouthfeel is thick and near syrupy, ideal given the style. Flavor is more roasty and dark than I had expected. Notes of coffee and dark fruits are present. Alcohol is very well hidden. This is good and unexpected. I look forward to having another sixer next year for our December 23rd celebration.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/7/2013. Pours lightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, raisin, toast, rye, brown bread, light chocolate, light roast, light pepper, herbal, light nuttiness, and toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark malt and light hop notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, toast, rye, brown bread, raisin, light chocolate, roast, pepper, herbal, light nuttiness, and toasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, rye, toast, brown bread, raisin, light roast, pepper, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/roast malt and moderate hop flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice winter ale. All around good balance, complexity, and robustness of malt and hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Jason
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

Hazed dark brown hue, thin sticky lacing. Toasty aroma, grape skin, earthy hop, unsweetened chocolate, & citrus peel as well. Very smooth medium body, big chocolatey tone, citrus rind, toasted bread, yeast, slightly warming alcohol, faint bubble gum, faint raisins, balanced hop bitterness, dried grass, chicory aftertaste, semi-dry finish.

A whole lot of complexities and character going here, a really interesting and enjoyable winter ale.

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Photo of Extrajoker00
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*slightly new reviewing style

reviewed: 12/09/13

Blitzen Festivus Ale by North Peak
poured from a bottle into a Ragtime Ricks Mug Club Mug

very plain 12 oz. bottle old style banner over badge, Schlitz style 2.75

A-appearance :
murky amber near brown, small, quickly dissipating head but with a nice lacing 3.5

S- smell:
not much happening here, faint yeast, spices, raisins 3.75

Subtle and well balanced hop and citrus bitterness meet sweet malt dark fruit and spice 4.25

M-mouthful :
medium body, well balanced and clean maybe slightly bitter aftertaste 4.0

good complex crisp refreshing and fit for the holidays. this one has a lot going for it 4.0

O-overall: good pick up complex and well balanced 4.0

Only bought a single and I'm so sorry this will be a repeat buy and hopefully makes the regular rotation -J

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Photo of gordavidson
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a deep and clear plum red with countless streams of rising carbonation. I couldn't even pour a full 12 oz bottle into a pint glass due to the massive amount of carbonation. The bone white head (taking up 75% of the glass) is thick and has really good retention.

S- Smells very malty with some nice winter spices. Pretty appealing and inviting.

T- Caramel, citrus rind, a subtle earthiness, and some spices. There is a bit of noticeable alcohol on the finish.

M- Spicy carbonation with some lingering astringency.

O- Starts off interesting, but the more of it I consumed, the more I noticed its weaknesses- notably the earthiness and astringency. Not bad, but I am beginning to think that this brewery isn't my thing.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, single bought for $2.09 with a bottled on date of December 8, 2011. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a murky dark burnt orange/brown color with a couple inch frothy light tan head. Head retention is pretty good, and there's a good amount of lacing left on the glass. The brew smells like dark berries, orange peel, nuts and a bit of sweet spices. It tastes like dark fruit/berries (sweet and tart), orange peel, sweet spices, and some earthy hops. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy but also has high carbonation. This certainly is a different winter warmer beer that has a nice mix of fruit, spice and hops. It's not overly spiced like a lot of beers in this style are. I'll have to try this again in the future, I liked it.

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Photo of wingman14
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with an off white head. Smell isn't as strong as expected, hops and malt there. Taste is more hops than malt, but has both in good amounts with a spice finish. Good mouthfeel and depth, flavor balance is excellent with the hops leading the way. Overall a flavorful beer with nice balance, worth checking out.

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Photo of Brenden
4.21/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Never has a North Peak beer poured a head as tall or dense as Blitzen's. This beastly off-white crown is not only tall but massively thick and dense, and I could easily rest some pocket change on this pillow. Beneath lies a murky, ruddy brown brew.
The smell is primarily dark fruits ( cherry, fig and raisin) with nutty and caramel notes balanced by a tame floral hops presence.
This beer becomes very interesting as the flavors come out. A sort of nutty woodiness with a peaty smoke is offset by light caramel sweetnessand a gentle fruitiness. Overall, this is quite a bit more complex and well put-together than anything I've had from NP yet. This beer really shows off a nice blend of mild tartness and sweetness while letting a lot of other tasty elements (nuts, wood, smoke) mingle without clashing.
The body is medium and the feel is good but for a sharp tang at the end.
This, in my opinion, is the best NP's come out with so far. If you don't likwe the style, that's one thing, but the complexity and balance of flavors isn't world-class, but it is superb.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a "stubby retro" bottle into a standard pint glass.
Cloudy copper/red in color with a big head of tan foam.
Aroma-Sweet toasted malt, spices
Taste-toasted malt,subtle spiciness, orange note.
Well-balanced and good character, nice little hop bite. Very nice.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of North Peak's Blitzen Festivus Ale a week ago for $1.99 at The Lager Mill. Today is Christmas so I think that this would make a very fitting beer to have today, so let's get Festivus started the right way and see how it goes. Bottled on November 23rd 2011. Poured from a stubby brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good and like most North Peak beers, I really like the name of this beer and the reference to one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, you always need a beer to quench you thirst after some feats of strength. It poured a ruby red/brown color that was pretty clear and it had two and a half fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some lacing. It looks good.

S- The aroma is nice, simple, straight forward. It starts off with some nice bready and grainy smelling caramel malts that have a medium amount of sweetness. Next comes some various spices and dark fruits. Then comes the hops which seem to stick out the most and have a piney aroma with a little bit of citrus. The aroma is pretty good and unique most Winter Warmers don't have this much of a hop aroma.

T- The flavor isn't too strong but it still manages to be pretty complex with a lot going on. It starts of with a slight amount of malts that have a medium amount of sweetness and slight brown bread flavor. Then comes the dark fruits and the spices, the black cherry's stick out the most and the typical Winter Warmer spices like cinnamon and nutmeg show up, but they aren't as bold as most Winter Warmers. Then comes the hops which have an earthy and piney flavor with a medium amount of bitterness at the end and aftertaste of cherry's and spices. This is a unique tasting Winter Warmer, it taste like half Winter Warmer and half typical North Peak IPA.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel on this beer is good.

Overall I though that this was a pretty good beer and descent and unique Winter Warmer. I like how North Peak took the road less traveled with this beer and made a Winter Warmer that really sticks out in it's style with a heavy hop profile, but I wish the spices were kicked up a notch so they weren't so drowned out by the hops. This beer has pretty good drinkability, the alcohol is hidden well and it makes for a pretty sessionable beer that won't get you burnt out on spices, I could go for another one if I had it. What I liked most about this beer was the look and how unique and different this was from most Winter Warmers, the flavors aren't what you would normally expect from this style and it's a nice surprise and the cherry flavor was nice. What I liked least about this beer was the lack of spices in the aroma and flavor, they were there but they got washed out by the hops so I would like to see more spices, normally I think Winter Warmers can have to much spice but this one needs a little more. I would buy this beer again when I want a unique Winter Warmer for the Holidays. I recommend this beer if you are tired of the average Winter Warmer, this should be a nice change of pace. North Peak went of the beaten path with this Winter Warmer and while it isn't the best I have had it is still good and really different, I like that they switched it up, there are too many over spiced Winter Warmers, it is time to get creative and push the boundary with this style, good job guys. It's a Festivus for the rest of us, Happy Festivus.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stubby bottle with 6.8% abv poured without all of the yeast sediment in the bottle. Aroma is spicy with Christmas all spice, citrus, and cherry fruit notes. Appears a deep mahogany color with a thicket of beige caramel head flowing thick. Flavor has dark cherry skin notes, with more Christmas fruit and spice a hint of citrus peel in the flavor with some mild nutmeg and minimal earthy hops. Mouthfeel is creamy medium bodied definitely has the fruit highlights. Overall not a Christmas beer for me, I'd rather have something much hoppier spices and hidden Christmas flavors aren't my favorite.

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Photo of BB1313
2.12/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a dark auburn, lots of lacing and a pretty full head. Nice looking brew. Lots of gunky sediment left at the bottom of the bottle. The aromas are full of cherry and wood. There's some spices in the mix. Faint aromas, not strong or impressive. Bitter hop flavors, which come off as one dimensional, just boring. I like the use of cherries, but it's not enough to save the flavors. Lots of dark fruits. Hints of caramel too. Chocolate malt is present as well. It just tastes sloppy. I personally never understood this winter style. Mouthfeel is very nice, well carbonated. Weird aftertaste. Overall, I didn't enjoy this one and didn't want more.

I like North Peak, but not this one.

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Photo of vrbulldog22
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark brown with hints of red, medium yellow-white head.
Smells hoppy, hints of pine & cinnamon.
Taste reminds me more of an IPA than most winter warmers I've had. Hoppy, but semi-sweet, not too bitter, with cinnamon & nutmeg present (but not as bold as other warmers), tart cherry in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is nice. The carbonation plays on the tongue without being abrasive. Goes down smooth without drying your mouth out.
Overall, I think it's an interesting twist on winter warmers. I'll buy it again. Seems like a great beer to take up to the in-laws for the holidays & sip away at next to the fire.

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Photo of dorianmarley
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is deep dark red/brown, pancake head, and nice lacing.

Nose is sweet malt with cinnamon and a nice hop character.

Taste is notably spiced; almost like a rum. There is also a tart cherry element. The hops are mildly sweet, and are well-balanced with the hops.

The mouthfeel is refreshing. The spices are warm, but mild in character compared to many other winter warmers. The carbonation is medium, and the hops provide a great bite.

Overall, this is an especially drinkable winter warmer. It is not too sweet, has a unique cherry element, and is very refreshing. It can almost pass for a seasonal session.

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Blitzen Festivus Ale from North Peak Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 62 ratings.
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