M&S Christmas Ale | Cropton Brewery

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M&S Christmas AleM&S Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Cropton Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by wl0307 on 02-21-2009

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Reviews: 3 | Ratings: 3
Photo of soulgrowl
3.1/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark teak, laced with a vanilla head. It looks like beer but smells more like mulled wine - orange and cinnamon pop from every bubble, while more subdued aromas of nutmeg, tea, and lime lurk in the shadows. A poorly integrated star anise character calls to mind Cantonese duck. The taste finds a powdery blend of Christmas spices adrift in a vacuum of flavor. There isn't really anything here except a thin wallpapering of brown sugar and caramel to anchor the cinnamon and clove. Shame there isn't a bit more going on in this beer, because the spices are nice and it comes so close to being something special.

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Photo of DerBayer
2.83/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmm This beer looked kind of cool on the shelf and I have not had many winter warmers but heard good things about them - never had a particularly good one though.

I was hoping that this could be the first great one but I was being disappointed an the beer was jsut about mediocre because it had a nice warming taste of spice to it that I like in a winter beer...

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Photo of wl0307
2.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at the Marks & Spencer's, this RAIB is new on the shelf but I suspect it only replaces the previous filtered version of M&S Christmas Ale. That forbearer was way too sweet and heavy on the flavour of spice extracts; let's see how this one fares. BB 06/2009, served lightly chilled in Hapkin's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: russet brown with ruby hues, creamy beige froth with great retention, on top of light carbonation.
S: quite mixed and slightly pungent in the citrus-peel department - the blend has the citrus-peel preceding savoury notes of yeasts, wood-dust, leather, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon (like the beer label indicates), leaving the damp yeastiness, plum-ish fruity hops behind and malts are almost nowhere to be found. Unbalanced, the aroma rings a bell of some festive-seasonal soap actually, and the sour edge from both lemon extracts as well as yeast-sediments is OTT.
T: surprisingly, the foretaste is neither so spicy nor sweet as the nose suggests - a really softly-carbonated mouthful of pungent, acidic-bitter dried citrus peels and lemon juice makes a big entrance, but soon settles to a tangy, nutmeg-ish spicy and salty undertones underlined by random presence of earthy bitterness. More sour oxidised plums, sour grapes and bitter dried citrus-peels stay put, before hitting a dry-ish finish like ground root-herbs.
M&D: although the palate remains fresh (witness to decent bottle-conditioning), the yeast sediments do constitute an obstacle to the overall, potentially-pleasant flavour (well, bad bottle-conditioning then....). The thin-ish body is no good news for the overall performance, and malts are too weak to provide some kind of a backbone to balance off the high-level acidity. This new product is not so sweet and fizzy as the old M&S X'mas beer, but the flavour profile would certainly need further experiment to be put right. Too expensive (2.69 quid a bottle!).

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M&S Christmas Ale from Cropton Brewery
2.9 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
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