Sweetwater Festive Ale | SweetWater Brewing Company

BA SCORE
86
very good
299 Reviews
Sweetwater Festive AleSweetwater Festive Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States
sweetwaterbrew.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A strong ale brewed with generous amounts of rich malt, coupled with a taint of cinnamon and mace

Added by purplehops on 11-14-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
299
Ratings:
801
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
12.6%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
176
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 299 | Ratings: 801
Photo of woodychandler
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It had been my intent to get festive over the Christmas/NYE/NY holiday period, but as usual, I have more beer here at Chez Woody than I can drink on a timely basis. I really enjoyed Saranac's Holiday Ale, so I am going to continue with a few more holiday beers before the next horizontal.

From the bottle: "Bottle Conditioned for fresher taste"; "A sleigh load of malt, spiced with a touch of cinnamon & nutmeg."; "Festive Ale is a unique seasonal blend brewed exclusively for the holidays."; "Everyone at Sweetwater Brewing Company wishes you and your family a safe and toasty holiday season.!"; "We double-dog dare you!"

Bottle conditioned, eh? That means that a gentle pour is in order, following my Pop! of the cap, so as not to rouse any existing lees. It took an in-glass swirl to raise a brief finger of fizzy, foamy, deep-tan/light-brown head with modest retention. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44), allowing just enough light to penetrate to be able to see its mahogany highlights. Nose was spicy, filled with cinnamon & ginger, but I was not getting much beyond that. Mouthfeel was medium to full, not quite creamy, but big enough to merit my attention. The taste was interesting, more bready than spicy, although there was an anise flavor initially, replaced by the ginger-cinnamon flavor as it warmed. Finish was dry and spicy, but it just did not reach me the way that the earlier Saranac did.

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Photo of Griffin2
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
L - Pours black with a tan head.
S- Smells like a roasty Porter.
T - Tastes very much like the smell, very roasty with some spiciness on the finish.
F - Medium body with carbonation to match.
O - Easy drinking holiday ale.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Opaque brown-black color with a low initial head that fades fairly quickly to just a thin film.
S: Cocoa aroma, with a modest roast malt scent, moderately sweet.
T: Very low bitterness, relying on roast malt to offset the sweetness to a degree; chocolate cocoa flavor. If there are spices in here, I can't detect them.
M: smooth, creamy mouthfeel, nice body.
O: Mostly, a rather generic sweet stout or porter.

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Photo of delta490
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Incredibly dark, with just a thin tan ring of head. No lacing. The aroma is malty sweet and mildly spicy. The taste is much the same. The body isn't particularly heavy or thick.

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

-Best by 11.01.16. Consumed 10.01.16.

A: Nice cola pour, sits a flat black in the vessel accompanied by a frothy, dark tan head of one inch that showed a very resilient retention.

S: Spicy cola, sweet rum sugars, dark fruit of figs, and some soda syrup. Nice strength, finish of birch, rootbeer and earthy roasted hop flowers.

T: Flavor was spicy dried cola, earthy bitterness, lightly roasted hop flowers and light mention of fresh, wet tobacco. Dark fruit, some dried rum sweetness, x-mas spicing of cinnamon and caramel nuttiness, along with some oily roastiness. Great level of dark fruit, most particularly plums, a bit of sweet mentions along with alcohol gently lingers on long after the swallow.

M: Oily, medium-full, some edgy carbonation texture with some thick breadiness.

O: Earthy, oily roastiness with a nice soothing bitterness offset with some cinnamon spicing gives this a big festive feel perfect for the fall or winter nature. Big flavor from a small bottle, abv% of 8.1% is the cinderella slipper of the beer, fitting perfectly within. Wide spectrum of flavor, complexity, and very good drink-ability. very good 89 overall.

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

I love this stuff. I was fortunate enough to be able to have this special brew every Christmas season though out the 90s. It always bring fond memories. Cheers!

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Photo of Brian_L-2056
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown color with a creamy off white frothy head. Has amber tint when held up to light. The carbonation is good but the head dissipates rather quickly. The don't really get much at all in the smell department, maybe its just me. Initial taste is very pleasant, with hints of coffee. Has a very smotth feel to the palate. Overall a very nice brew.

 369 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with "best if enjoyed by" dating

Pours quite dark amber, dark mocha head,mleaving some low sheeting and a thick collar

Molasses and dark malts on the nose

Richly flavorful winter warmer with some light spicing, but mostly dark chocolate, dark malts, more molasses....tasty, enjoyable and well worth a try

 320 characters

Photo of Sabtos
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light brown, semi transparent.

Can't believe no one has said this. I get Dr. Pepper on the nose and the tongue. Once I pinpointed that note, I really kept coming back to it. Sassafras or tobacco.

Interesting how many different interpretations there are of the holiday flavors, even between different states.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut color with a substantial cap of khaki froth the soon sputters into oblivion. Aroma smells of toffee, molasses, nutmeg, and a hint of vinegar.

The taste is composed primarily of nuts and spices, including nutmeg and cinnamon. There are also suggestions of toffee and caramel. Earthy hops add an extra layer of texture. Unfortunately, the spices tend to overstay their welcome and soon become cloying. Medium body and carbonation afford a mouthfeel that’s smooth and robust up front but thins out on the back end.

I realizing the spicing is part of the style, but it’s a bit much for my tastes. Were it toned down a bit, I may actually fancy it.

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Photo of Buck89
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Dark, cola brown color with a small-to-medium sized tan head that retreated fairly quickly. Inviting malty aromas with some cinnamon and also sugar, like a cinnamon roll. A nice malty flavor with a good cinnamon presence that increased as it warmed, but not overstated. Not sweet at all, but full-bodied. A nice beer for the season.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Festive Ale from Sweetwater is being graded on its purpose....not so much as my taste....it poured an nearly opaque black with thin white head that did not lace. The scent and taste was spicy in character....mostly cinnamon. The mouthfeel was medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it was pretty good for festive beers.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thoroughly enjoyed form the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This EXCELLENT winter ale pours a deep dark brown with a decent head of light tan foam that subsides to a thin layer, slight ring, and light lacing. Nose of chocolate, prunes, dark berries, and subtle spicy hops mingling with cinnamon. Flavors exceed the nose with dark chocolate raisin bread touched by subtle notes of cinnamon, figs, and a touch of spicy hops that mix excellently with cinnamon on the back and aftertaste. Light carbonation with nice warming alcohol on the back. Holiday notes without all the holiday bustle of spruce and over spicing. Very solid and one of the best from this brewer I have had.

Cheers

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Photo of BigGold
3.69/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had poured from 12-oz. bottle, listing best by 11/01/16, and an 8.10 ABV to back that up, into faceted mug. This holiday ale is not overly spiced, nor is it too sweet--the ABV has a say in that. So: "Peace, love and suds."

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Didn't expect this to be stout color since winter warmers are usually brown or old ales. Pitch black in color with a 1/2 inch of mocha head that dissipates slowly.
S - Nice mix of chocolate and cocoa mix with some robust roast but the cinnamon does steal the show very strong reminding you its a winter beer!
T - A bit thin more of a porter or old ale with some roasty coffee and cocoa nibs. Good sweetness with the cinnamon spices trailing at the end. Very balanced and not strong spicing.
M - As I said its very water for a warmer which makes for good drink ability but not bad.

Overall another tasty brew by sweetwater would have been nice to have a stout body in this but with the sweetness and cinnamon spritz I am content

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

Tasted in a Rastal Teku glass from a 12 oz bottle on December 4, 2015. Best by 10/07/16. Look is dark brown with good lacing. Smell is chocolate, dried plum, molasses and cinnamon. Taste is dried fruit, chocolate, nougat, roasted nuts, spice and bread crust. Feel is full in body with a smooth and somewhat dry finish.

 323 characters

Photo of brewskifan55
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: An opaque dark brown. A tan half finger head that dissipates quickly to a bubble ring. Light lacing.

S: Coffee and cocoa nibs.

T: Rich, robust. Latte and chocolate make this one taste like robust porter.

M: Low to medium with medium carbonation.

O: Just OK. Not really a winter warmer. A decent robust porter, though.

 364 characters

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle, it pours dark amber (okay, reddish brown) with a small head, quickly dissipating. Pleasant smell. Pleasant taste - chocolate in the beginning, spice at the end.

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Photo of RockRuler
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good brew. Light malt taste with spice. Loved the aroma. Maybe a bit of warming but not much. Not my favorite holiday beer and not my beer style but glad I gave it a try.

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Photo of TH28
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. 11/5/15 code date. Appearance: Jet black and opaque, with a quickly dissipating tan head. Aroma: First thought is chocolate milk. More of a creamed coffee. A hint of cinnamon. Taste: Rich, sweet chocolate malt up front, turning to some light roasted coffee, and ending with a splash of cinnamon. Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with some viscosity. Carbonation is light. Alcohol warmth barely noticeable. Finish: Lingering light roasted malt. Overall: Great winter ale. Spice impact is minimal and doesn’t overpower. Drinks like a light oatmeal stout with a bit of high ABV heat.

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Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some spices, not a lot going on. Taste is dark malts, molasses, light spices, some alcohol is present. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

 255 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 22oz bottle, pours a dark brown with amber hue color. Has a big fluffly white tan head that disappears very slowly, leaving tons of lacing on the glass.

The smell is heavy dark malt, spice, cinnamon, dark fruit, some molasses and chocolate. This smells pretty heavy and thick. A little booze present too.

Flavor is dark malt, a little roast, cinnamon, nutmeg, bitter dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is a little watery, would like a little bit more to this. The alcohol isn't overly present, which isn't bad, but this beer is missing a backbone and dominant characteristic.

Overall, not bad.

 603 characters

Photo of ilikebeer03
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. best by 11/05/15

A: pours a deep brown, almost black with a khaki head; about a half finger. good retention and lacing.

S: christmas-y spices are faintly present. cinnamon, nutmeg,

T: Christmas spices upfront, similar to the nose. cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of roasted malt on the finish with a slight trace of alcohol burn.

M: medium carbonation, decent mouthfeel. nothing special.

O: a decent Christmas beer. The spices are not over the top at all.

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Photo of DownSouthGeorgiaBrew
5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Tan 1inch head, with a pitch black colored body; Smell: not very pronounced, but I got hits of Cinnamon, Molasses, nutmeg, maybe a hint of Orange; Taste: Mirrors smell with a malty and mellow bitterness throughout. Mouth Feel: Smooth as silk with very little carbonation. Overall, great Winter Warmer!

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this fine ale in a trade.
A - Pours black with a nice head that settles quickly.
S - Aroma of malt, dark fruits.
T - Very tasty brown ale. Minimal spices.
F - Medium mouth feel, low carbonation.
O - I've been sitting on this one for a couple months, much better than I expected. Very drinkable beer.

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Sweetwater Festive Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 801 ratings.
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