Prairie The Beer That Saved Christmas | Prairie Artisan Ales

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Prairie The Beer That Saved ChristmasPrairie The Beer That Saved Christmas

Brewed by:
Prairie Artisan Ales
Oklahoma, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Cowboys9 on 11-10-2013

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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 372
Photo of phildow
2.32/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not sure if this was bottled with Brett, but that might be the case based on my experience. Opened the bottle and half the contents gushed out immediately...

Appearance is pretty much the only thing here resembling an old ale. Hazy brown, too much carbonation leading to a three finger head even with a gentle pour. Lace remaining throughout the drink.
Smells funky, tart. Not really what one expects when they hear old ale.
Taste is full on farmhouse. That's it.
Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Again, not an old ale.
Overall, something went wrong, maybe this was sitting out too long before I got it and cellared it, not really sure. I just know it's not what I expected when I read old ale.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Ruddy and muddy brown pour, minimal if any head. Aroma was old ale caramel, alcohol and wet wood.

Taste was boozy toffee, caramel, not overly sweet nor dry. Earthy tobacco, raisin, wood. Somewhat complex, no bad flavors, definitely fits the bill as an old ale. Doesn't have Christmas spice rack flavorings, just an old school old ale.

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Photo of Meyers1023
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle cellared for a year. Pours a very dark reddish brown with a tan head that laces the glass. Smell is sweet, raisiny, and alcohol. Taste is malts, raisins, a bit of tartness, and oak. It has a good amount of carbonation and thickness to the feel. Overall it's a very well done old ale and the barrel aging gives it a good complexity. Not having it fresh, I don't know what effect cellaring had on the beer. I'd look for this beer again if it became available.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

: Pours dark chestnut crowned by a persistent 2” creamy tan foam collar with a very fine bead. S: Prune, dark malts, some dark sugars, spice T: Starts creamy, foamy fruity and then finishes with a dry, very long lingering complex layering of malt loaf and caramel flavors laced with some alcohol heat. The dark sugars, some traces of anise to cola, a dash of pepper and a little alcohol dominate the finish and the aftertaste. F: A medium body leaning to saftig, very creamy, above average carbonation. O: A big, tasty, complex old ale.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Pours a very dark but clear ruby red color with a beautiful head and very nice lacing, but the head and lacing disappear to absolutely nothing after just a minute or so, leaving a very flat looking beer behind. A bit of sediment in the final pour.

Smell – A sweet smell, with notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla. Perhaps a hint of figs and/or cherries as it warms.

Taste – Malt, oak, and caramel. The sweetness from the nose is replaced by a sourness in the taste, though I’d have preferred the sweetness.

Mouthfeel – Slightly sour, and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability – A good beer, but not a great beer.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had this right after having Christmas Prairie Bomb. Found this to be much superior than CPB. Doesn't really have typical holiday spices to me, but that is not a criticism. A nice brew. Bought it at a reduced price after the 2013 holiday, and had aged in my cellar for a year.

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Photo of hopley
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Interesting beer but kind of looking for an identity (in a good way).

It's an old ale with some typical Prairie funk that adds some blatant complexity albiet in a slightly overpowering way - not sour or tart at all, but leaning ever so slightly in that direction.

Great looking beer - dark body with light head that stays with it as it around the edges as it warms. Nice mouthfeel bordering on chewey; this is where the hint of sour / tart comes in ever so slightly as it competes with the old ale sweetness. Doesn't get better or worse as it warms but the 10% ABV becomes a little more present at this point.

Overall I liked this beer and think it's slightly under-rated. I wouldn't get it again but am really glad I tried it. Thanks Prairie!

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours out very dark red brown with little to no head. Dark fruits and earthy malt. A bit sour, a bit savory, a bit delicious. Not exciting, but worth checking out.

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Photo of cbutova
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased on-sale at Coaltrain Liquors in Colorado Springs, CO over the summer. Consumed and fully reviewed at night on Christmas.

2013 bottle.

A- Super dark red around the sides with a deep brown body from the 500ml to a few glasses. A large cap makes it up to over one finger with a very foamy, fizzy texture; the bottle opened with a LOUD hiss. The cap dies to a large puffy ring and haze all atop the beer. Massive chunks of swamp things suspend throughout with some spots of lace here and there.

S- Probably the most pleasant part of this beer for me. Most of the roasty Old Ale part of the beer comes out here with a well aged vanilla toasted oak and woody buffer. Notes of raisin and aged caramel leading to cocoa and slight roast, lactic and slight acetic bacteria, figs and hints of sweets. Bacteria really opens up with time and it is probably more pleasant when there is more Old Ale feel before that.

T- More of a balance at this stage. It takes character from the deep malty base beer, the rounded out oak barrel and the tart and slightly fruity funky bacteria. Strong notes of cherry, lactic acid, red wine vinegar, raisins, figs, general spiced dark fruits, toasted wood, oak vanilla and musty caramel. The tartness and fruity bacteria gets pretty bold with time drowning out the Old Ale in the end.

MF- This is where things kind of get thrown off. The body is incredibly foamy as hinted by the noise when opening the bottle. Massive fizzy foamy carbonation fills up the entire mouth immediately as it feels like a champagne or sour. This does not suit a lot of the flavors for me.

This beer has all kinds of potential. I think the Old Ale notes are quite good when they shine through and I really like the amount of oak and barrel flavor. The mouthfeel really hurts it for me and the bacteria also take away from the good aspects of the beer after a few sips. I would like to try a non-soured version of this. Just lacks a total melding of the flavors presented.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

500ml generously shared by Cameron Clause on Christmas Day. It didn't quite save my holiday but always nice to try new Prairie.

A - Dark brown pour with tons of flecks floating about. Beige head is big at the start and retains pretty well throughout.

S - Light brettiness and kind of a weird smoky mustiness. Some dark fruit, red grape and caramel, but nowhere near normal old ale-level.

T - An odd mix of tart bretty fruits, raisin, oak and burnt caramel. Kind of a red wine feel and some alcohol. I assume it's at least a little bit infected, feels kind of off and messy, but not bad.

M - Very foamy and light, way too carbonated. Decent amount of alcohol there as well. The foam seems to calm itself after some time but still watery and meh.

O - It has potential but it's pretty much a mess. Old ale flavors are just decent, the brett is kinda boring for brett and there's too much of it, definitely too foamy. Not bad, I assume something went haywire with the brett and/or oak barrel.

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Photo of SebD
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle

Appearance: It has a nice dark brown almost black color to it. It has a nice creamy beige head that dies down moderately and leaves light lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, some roasted coffee, oak, vanilla and a slight tartness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some sweet caramel and brown sugar, roasted coffee, light grass, dark fruit, woody oak, light vanilla and some tart cherries.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of StoutFox
2.96/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: brown, huge medium brown head
Aroma: a bit sour, bitter oaky,
Taste: Dry, I'm getting a number of spices, clove nutmeg, to name a couple, finishes tart and oaky
overall: not a huge fan it could have been a whole lot better. it almost tastes as though something got into the brew either in the bottle or the barrel more than likely form the spices added. the sour oakyness does fade a bit as it warms.

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Photo of ThePaleRider
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was prepared for disappointment when I read the reviews on this brew. Turned out to be a winning choice!

This is the second BA old ale, that's sour(whether intentional or not), that I've come across. The first was from The Bruery and it was pretty disappointing.

Pours a lovely brown that's very cloudy. Very rich, light tan head that had a lot of retention.

Smell hits you with lacto and then the old ale caramels,malts, and alcohol sugars.

Taste hits you just like the aroma. Very sour bite that is followed by some alcohol and caramels. When colder the sour really kicked in. The more this guy warmed up the more the caramel and oak began to take over and at room temperature this brew was very smooth and oaky.

Medium body with a little alcohol present.

Decent beer, not sure if it was supposed to be sour or not but very enjoyable.

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Photo of Ohiovania
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Rusted out all along the cap. Got this via trade in Iowa.

I didn't know this has wild bacteria in it until I took my first sip. Then I had to look up the specs on the prairie website. I love old ales so my first sip was awful. i see what they are doing here, though. The more I drink it the more I'm warming up this sour version of an old ale.

The tart fruits and chocolate and leather, I get, don't blend as cohesively well as I would like. I'm glad I'm splitting this one.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours dark brown with a creamy mocha head.

S: Brown sugar, some medium roast coffee, oak, a touch of vanilla, a touch of caramel.

T: Brown sugar, some oak, some vanilla, some caramel, but a surprising amount of fruity yeast esters.

M: Medium bodied and fairly smooth.

O: This is an interesting beer, the nose and taste seem to be on conflict, but it works beautifully. Definitely worth a try. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a half-litre bottle into a Firestone Walker tasting glass. Bottled 2013.

A: Pours a sludgy brown with good but brief head.

S: Spicy, but dull.

T: Hm! Interesting. Unexpectedly bright and fruity. Dry endtaste. The "wild bacteria" (description on the website) is evident and explains a lot of the contradictions here.

M: A tad thin. Sourish and astringent.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this! I would have again. Tangentially, there was a touch of cap rust, but nothing bad.

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque dark copper with a fluffy tan head that pours at three fingers and settles to one or so. Great retention; touches of lacing.

Sweet, malty, and dark. The predominate aroma seems to be a sourish wine smell with lots of currants, black pepper, caramel malt, dried fruits, nuts, wood, and bubblegum; quite boozy and warm smelling.

Astringent and boozy. Flavor-wise it is slightly wine-like with a long woody tinge underpinning it all; red wine, currants, tea-like astringency, vague winey sourness. Very interesting.

Full-bodied with warming alcohol and a coating mouthfeel.

Impressive beer.
I am no old hand at old ales, but I did enjoy this one. It likely won't become an every day beer for me, but it was worth trying and exhibited some very nice characteristics. It is quite nice looking and has a very 'busy' nose. The flavor is rustic (woody and musty) with a little winey oxidation taste. All-in-all it is a nice cold weather beer and I enjoyed it. I feel strange being too critical as I have little experience with the style, but it seems pretty solid based on the BJCP guidelines, for what it's worth.
Would maybe have again; worth finding if you are a big beer fanatic.

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Photo of Ri0
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured 500ml bottle into chalice.

A - Dark brown with dark amber highlights around the edge and a 1 finger foamy white head that fades into a thin film. Very small spots of lacing on the glass.

S - Tart fruit notes along with chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit and brown sugar.

T - There is a bit of tartness up front, not so much cherry, with chocolate and vanilla. The oak is present and has an earthiness to it. I pick up some dark brown sugar and dark fruit.

M - Medium body and nice carbonation. Finishes dry and semi tart with a bit of earthy wood.

O - At first I was calling this a stout and remembered that it was an Old Ale. Cool idea and one I really enjoyed.

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Photo of bryanbullock
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S- Oak aroma on the nose indicative of the bba, strong cherry aroma with a hint of tartness, almost sour in aroma yet this is a pleasing smell. Chocolate and malt undertones.

A- Pours a milky dark chocolate brown with small microbuble 2 finger head and good lacing.

T- Taste leaves more to be desired after such an inticing smell. light malt sweetness and light sourness at the onset that finishes with a high sour end. Some grapey fruit flavor all the way through.

M - Mouthfeel is lighter than expecting, with low viscosity for an 11 percent beer, but good effervescence.

O- All in all a very complex quality beer, not sure it is worth the 20 dollars I paid for it but I would definitely drink this beer again. Very Unique!

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Photo of mhaugo
4.37/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

16.9oz bottle decanted into a snifter. 10% ABV. Served at 55F and allowed to elevate to room temperature.

Appearance: Deep chestnut, pours brilliantly clear until you get into the dregs, relatively fat bubbles make up a pretty firm head (3.5/5).

Aroma: Wood, leather, molasses, bourbon, Cherry Coke, and a touch of sweet vinegar (4.5/5).

Taste: I’m initially struck by an interesting sour note that I did not expect. That flavor crescendos pretty quickly, and then it thins out and clears with only a soft touch of oak left behind. A little research has informed me that Prairie spikes the beer with a “mixture of wild bacteria”, so I’m glad to see the infection is intentional. I also get some tobacco, cherry, vanilla, and chocolate. As it warms, the cherry flavor comes marching into the forefront. God… what an interesting beer (4.75/5).

Mouthfeel: Rather thin with a touch of astringency from the oak (3.25/5).

Overall: Man, this is great. It’s an old ale, aged in bourbon barrels, and inoculated with wild bacteria. I’m (nearly) speechless. It certainly isn’t traditional by any stretch of the imagination, but I love what they have done with it (4.25/5).

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.31/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

White waxed bottle served in a Prairie teku.

A - Dark brown body, with a small frothy head leaving behind bubbly legs.

S - Big cocoa presence, roasted malts, lacto tartness, vinous fruit, grapes, cranberry sauce, musty wood, vanilla. The chocolate becomes a back seat to the wood once it warms. Various spices, allspice is very present, brown sugar alcohols,

T - Woody chocolate malts followed quickly by acidic fruits, cranberries, tart cherries, pecans, brown sugar, allspice, dark currents. The malts have some roast and seem to be creamy but the tartness cuts through adding sharpness. Finishes dry and semi tart with spice and earth left on the palate.

M - Soft effervescent carbonation, medium body,

The beer smells great but the flavors don't meld like the aroma. The tartness has a middle ground so it seems to be in the way. I'll crack another bottle in a few years to see if this goes further on the sour train.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nothing like a boozy barrel-aged beer to quell a chest cough…I think. At any rate, my nose and throat are clear, so some beer before bed sounds just about right. Cheers.

Pours a deep red clay color, dark and brooding, with a loose, barely-there head of light brown bubbles. Little to no retention, but there’s a few strands of lace around the glass.

The nose mixes sour brown and old ale aromas in an interesting way: the gentle, controlled acidity of balsamic vinegar sits atop a vanilla and toasted coconut barrel tone, buttery brown sugar, and maple. The palate follows suit, but with more emphasis on the old ale character. Warm dessert flavors come through, though slightly faded by a thin body, a bubbly carbonation, and the overripe fruit character of the sourness, pushing a front of butterscotch and molasses. The balance in the palate is always tipped toward the old ale tastes, with supporting flavors of toasted oak barrel and brandy filling in the gaps of the profile. On top of that, there’s a distinct sour tinge that sits in clear opposition of all that’s normal here – toward the finish, tastes of lemon-lime and pie cherry add an acetic tartness. Vinegar and brown sugar don’t mix, right? Then why have I finished my glass so fast? Anyway, the aftertaste is mild and smoky: neither dry nor cloying.

A strange beer, but not a bad one. I enjoyed the interplay between the acids and the sugars, something you don’t normally find in darker styles like this. Sure, there are some kinks to work out – I mean, sometimes it comes together and the blend tastes plastic – but it ended up pretty tasty.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Pours a murky brown swamp body with a khaki airy head. A small amount if milky off white bubbles congregate around the edge if the glass.

S: Rich aroma of Borbon soaked oak, chocolate, brown sugar, plums, sugared prunes, tart grape presence, star anise, pencil shavings and plant bulbs.

T/M: Chocolate and timid booze arrives on the first sip. Dark fruits, licorice, ground cumin, burnt toffee and the faint grape tartness shows up as well. I'm picking up some strange flavors that bring hoisin sauce to mind. Molasses drizzled scorched grains linger in the background after the swallow. Medium body with subtle carbonation and finishes semi dry.

O: I'm not really feeling this Prairie Ale. I'm a huge fan of the brewery but this one seems like a mess. It gave some off flavors. While it was complex the flavors didn't play well together. Good but not great.

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Photo of schwemjw
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: dark murkey Brown. No head. Very hazy.

S. Strong oak. Vanilla. Brown sugar. Dark fruits. Hints of citrus. Very interesting and inviting nose.

T: wow! Tart. Dark cherry and brown sugar. Molasses and white grape. Tons of oak. Pretty tart and acidic.

M: very effervescent. Lingering acidic finish. Good carbonation.

I: pretty awesome imo. Tart, dark cherry abd effervescent are what will stick with me! /92

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Served at the January tasting at the Taproom. Thanks to whoever brought the bottle! Poured out of a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark plum color of a beer, for lack of a better description. Cloudy, with minor sediment at the bottom, as well as a slightly foamy but most fizzy off-khaki head at the top. Head retention is poor, but that's expected with the amount of alcohol on this. Looks relatively viscous, especially for a seemingly "imperial" winter warmer - definitely what I've grown to expect from the average US-brewed Old Ale.

Wow, that is funky - it looks like the wild bacteria has already made a heavy mark on the beer just several months in. Notes of tart cherry, plums, and raisins meld with light pepper and wet leather that I believe would be a combination from the oak and critters that are starting to overrun this thing. There's a possible Pediococcus infection perhaps brewing here, but it might be too young to know. Still, after the barrel flavors exhibiting caramel and cinnamon, as well as a brief nuttiness, there's a strange cheese rind and light barnyard flavor way at the finish. Very strange, but slightly appealing as well.

Tastes a little better and more balanced in terms of bringing out the array of diverse flavors, but this is essentially a lot like JP's Noel De Calabaza, which was my first encounter with these winter funky ales. Strong notes of cherries and under-ripe currants wash the palate, followed by a funky prune flavor, as well as some slight spiciness, wet leather, wet hay, and sweetness from the caramel and molasses malt finish. Showcases a degree of different spices, ranging from cinnamon to allspice, but the extra tart/funk note is a bit off-putting. The booze isn't necessarily well hidden either, and its presence makes this a difficult one to go through. Gets a little smokier and charred as it warms up too, which is definitely the fault of the wild yeasts. It's unbelievably fascinating, but it's really unbalanced overall.

I suppose this is what you'd call a winter saison in principal, but it's a little too blown out of proportion to be fully elegant in execution. Not the worst I've had of its kind, but memorable for more bad reasons than great. The wild yeast is really giving the beer a beating at this point, and many of the oak and malt/spice nuances that would make this refreshing are going to become more overrun. I don't know if this varies from bottle to bottle, but it's definitely something I'm going to look out for every time this passes my way.

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Prairie The Beer That Saved Christmas from Prairie Artisan Ales
3.74 out of 5 based on 372 ratings.
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