Holidale | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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321 Ratings

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 03-07-2001

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Ratings: 321 |  Reviews: 184
Reviews by Todd:
Photo of Todd
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22oz brown bomber bottle with a nice painted gold label. No bottled on date.

Appearance: Medium amber, fairly clear with a nice slightly off-white creamy head.

Smell: Rich aroma of molasses, raisins, caramel and fruity esters.

Taste: Incredibly luscious syrupy and smooth mouthfeel, with a full-body. Rich and malty upfront with a high level of sugary sweetness with strong notes of treacle (aka golden syrup). Malt flavours include plenty of caramel, tropical fruit, raisin, chocolate, touch of blackstrap molasses, coffee, oaky/wood and vanilla bean. A spicy, coarse and leafy hop character follows and balances the malty flavours just enough. Bitterness is mild, but present. Alcohol is extremely warming and contributes to the overall spiciness. Finish has some sweet biscuit flavours, eventually turning dry.

Notes: A stellar barleywine. Unlike others that lean towards either the malty or hoppy extremes, Holidale 2001 is pretty damn balanced. Definitely at the top of my all-time favourite barleywine ales.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of puboflyons
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the 650ml. bottle. 2013 batch. Sampled on December 24, 2013

If Beer Advocate would let me do a one word rating my one word would be "Wow!" But I need at least 250 characters, which should be an easy task.

The pour is a foggy dark brown with a lingering tan had that settles on top and stays there. Some lacing as it fades but it never dissipates totally.

The aroma is full of variety with notes of malted barley, cocoa, coffee, fig or plum, and a fascinating woody cellared musk. Hops are minimal but the ones that are there are earthy in nature. No booze.

The body is medium to full and also smooth in texture.

I am drinking this 2013 barleywine in 2013 and one would think that it would have that biting, fresh barleywine maltiness exploding on the palate bu that is not the case. This feels like it has already mellowed with age. Fine malty notes, cinnamon, and spice and coffee grinds. No booze. This one hits the mark.

However, I would respectfully recommend that Beer Advocate set up a new annual listing for this beer. Berkshire acknowledges that the recipe changes every year so someone who reviewed this in 2010 or 2011 is getting an entirely different character in 2013.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. Pours from the bomber into my Delerium glass a nice deep red amber that's fairly cloudy with a half inch of light tan foam on top. Aromas begin with sweet caramel covered fruits alongside a hint of oxidation. Green apple, grape and banana with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. Slighty spicy overall. Nice aroma that sets it apart.

First sip brings sweet caramel maltiness upfront that's awash in fruit flavors, apple, grape, banana and cherry. Cinammon spiciness follows through in the flavor as well. Finishes with a touch of hops. A nice brew overall. Good sweetness that never gets to be too much.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a blast of bubbles that dash across the tongue. A bit lighter than I was expecting for a barleywine, while still making itself known. Goes down pretty easily, one of the more easy drinking barleywines in its current state. Overall, an interesting barleywine that just seems to be a bit past its prime. I'll have to snag a fresh bottle this year and try it again. Thanks to warriorsoul for passin this my way..always love some new Berkshire brew!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 22oz bottle from Kappy's in Malden (very nice beer selection). This was a dark red-brown with a small head. It had a great fruity aroma, with a little spiciness detectable. Sweet, dark fruit taste, a little bread, some alcohol. A very smooth beer, maybe a little thin. Really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of 40451
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

Photo of Doomcifer
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Jason
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2007 on the label.

This beer is not shy to froth and it pushes up three fingers of head and some sticky head it is. Slight chill hazed brassy brown color. Fresh herbal, almost minty, hop aroma melds well with a faint solvent alcohol and caramel maltiness. So creamy smooth, full bodied. Big caramel and biscuity breadiness up front. Hop bitterness lays in with a think but dull herbal blanket which balances for the most part. A tad husky with some vague tropical fruit from the alcohol and mint from the hops. The 9% abv is not really noticeable until several sips are taken, then the warmth sets in. Semi-sweet finish with some lingering hop.

A bit raw and in your face with flavor, but I love it because of that as it sets its self apart from other winter seasonals and barleywines alike. Tag it as a sure pick.

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Photo of Billolick
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my friend Keema, for supplying this tasty holiday morsel. Bomber bottle, poured amber and somewhat cloudy, moderate carbonation. Not much of a nose was detected. It left respectable lacing. As this brew warmed it exhibited a nice soft mouthfeel, definitly British in attack. Soft notes of vanilla, grapefruit and plums shine through. Low key, mellow B.W., alcohol well hidden, easy drinking pleasant, but not over the top stuff.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My second offering of the evening...sharing a bomber with my wife...the feeling is mutual...solid beer.
Pours a cherry copper color with a full finger of bright white head...soft lacing forms on the side of the glass and eagerly works its way back into the brew.
A nice mixture of raisins, cherries, and rock candy.
Very nice taste...black cherries, bubble gum and a slight alcohol twinge in the finish.
Nicely balanced...subtle sweetness with enough hops to bitter it up...finishes dry.
Mouthfeel is thin for the style, but perfectly carbonated...I'll be cracking open bomber # 2 shortly. Very drinkable in it's class...a solid offering from Berkshire...go local!

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Photo of mctizzz
4.85/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Union Brewhouse

Appearance: minimal head, clear, dark amber in color

Smell: toasted malt, cinnamon, and raisins

Taste: toasted malt, cinnamon, raisins, clove, and a touch of cherry

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweet and spicy

Drinkability: An above average barleywine with a small holiday kick. This is a nice malty beer that is a sipper. I would order this again, but will not be in rush to get it.

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Photo of far333
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed and burnished orange color with a thick inch high head of fine foam that lingers long and slowly settles down to a low cap and rises up on the sides of the glass. Sheets of lace rise up as I drink.

Low aroma of ripe fruit and honey. Subtle flavor of marshmallow and grainy malt, straw huskiness, some fusel alcohol notes. Slight cherry tang, mild bitterness, subtle citrus hops, plus caramel and toffee. Surprisingly not rich and not complex. Even and full mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Becomes tastier as it warms, but could have more depth of flavor.

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Photo of doremite
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of lambpasty
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of pwoods
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cburian(I think, lol) for this bottle in the great Secret Bunny '08 box that he sent me.

22oz. brown bomber poured into a snifter. 2007 release.

A: Pours a glowing ruby color. 1ish fingers of light latte foam colored head forms and holds for some time. Good lacing throughout

S: Boozy with plenty of hops kick left. Sweet malts make up the backbone of the aroma. Some juicy, citrusy fruits come through, maybe pineapple with a mango backing.

T/M: Though I have not had this fresh, it feels as though things have mellowed out pleasantly. The bitterness is much lower than an average barleywine. The citrus from the American hopping is much less acidic and has taken on that juiciness that age sometime brings. The malts aren't nearly as sweet as I would have thought them to be and don't feel chewy. There is a big tea like character that was not detected in the nose. Body is medium to maybe medium full and carbonation has held up. Doesn't finish too dry or with much lasting bitterness.

D: Pretty drinkable for a 9.5% barleywine.

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Photo of mcarroll10177
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 addition

A- copper with tight off white head and tons of lacing

S- hops and malt followed by alcohol, some flowery smell from the hops Tons of nose on this beer

T- this was the real surprise. This is a very balanced beer. Not overpowering as far as hop bitterness is concerned and the HUGE alcohol content is very very well hidden. This is the first barleywine that I would catagorize as refreshing. Tons of flavor, tons of complexity and way too easy to drink.

M- balanced just the right thickness

D- any easy drinker that everyone has to be careful with. The massive alcohol in this beer is very sneeky and hits you like a ton of bricks. A wonderful beer enjoy it. BBC is the best.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most anticipated Barleywines every year is Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot...mainly because it is distinctively Pacific NW 'hoppy'.
Berkshire Brewing has them beat hands down with their 'Holidale'.
This is the 2007 vintage I am sampling just before Christmas, 2007.

Pours a dark mahogany amber with a half finger of off white that lasts quite a while in the glass.

Aroma is very, very fresh pine and pine oil hops.

Taste is sweet amber malts with sweet bitter citrus hops (an oxymoron?. Not anymore than a sweet lemon or sweet grapefruit would be). Pine comes through in the flavor as well as the citrus hops and everything stays bright, clean, balanced and fresh.
I don't notice the alcohol until deep into the glass and by then it is no doubt too late.

Mouthfeel is not syrupy at all but not watery either. I find both the mouthfeel and slightly sweet citrus aftertaste very pleasing.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark amber with a large white head. Great head retention and sticky lacing down the inside of the glass.

S: Very spicy and toasty. Very aromatic, get a little bit of hops, but they are masked by the malts. There is some caramel and a little bit of darker fruit, mostly raisins.

T: Lots of caramel on the flavor profile. Lots of malts here, with a slight hop kick (little hints of floralness). The raisins come through a bit more here. Has a really nice sweetness from the malts and a little booze kick as well.

M/D: Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation. Overall, very happy with this beer. Went down very easy and I was a bit disappointed that I decided to share this bottle. A great beer for the winter with the slight presence of the alcohol, but not in a bad way whatsoever.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber > chimay goblet

A deep red-copper color, really very nice color with a lively body and large 2" head, tons of froth, very well retained, leaves a huge amount of clumpage kicking around.

layers of hoppy madness!! fruits galore with some garden veggie like greens and radishes. Candy apples malt with some brown sugar. strawberry rhubarb pie!!! black pepper in the heat with a slight tingle. zesty and herbal, fruity and malty...wow.

The balance of flavor's is sublime here; dry, earthy and herbal flavor's helf down to a mdeium to full feel, very copmlex in the malt and hop department. rye and wheat bring a wonderful dryness, grainy earth effect from the fuggles and mild but wild flavor's from the northern brewer hops. Semi-bitter effect, well within the balance spectrum though. not sure of the abv% here but it's very well hidden and pretty mellow. This is not a thick, and heavy malty feel, it's full but with a lively, young effect.

A strange american barleywine with a more earthy hop balance and not so much big-bitterness, which i know people love but i'm down with more gentle hoppy barleywine's and stouts for that matter.

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Photo of dmachado
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dewey0603
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep ruby red with a large head. The head disapates quicky leaving almost no head and no lacing. The smell isn't as strong as other b/w's,but you can make out dark fruit and a bread aroma. The taste is powerful with a strong dark fruit presence. Dark cherries,alcohol,dark fruits,winter spices,hops,and a "bisquity" flavor make this a complex and very good tasting beer. The taste is better than anything else. The m/f is medium with all flavors mixing very well. This is a very good beer that shouldn't be missed.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage.

Bomber served cool into an imperial pint glass.

Holidale is a hazy copper red with thin head but good lacing.

Aroma is sweet, malty, caramel with a little apple or plum. The hops are very subtle but then again, it's nearly two years old.

Flavor is very nice. It's not the bitter hopbomb that many barleywine tend to be. A great balance of malts to hops, nice spice notes, orchard fruits, caramel, and bread.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and low in carbonation. Again great balance and the alcohol is very well-hidden for being nearly 10%.

Overall a very good version of the style, maybe my favorite.

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Photo of alamode
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tastes more of an American winter warmer. Cloudy grapefruit colour with white head.Lacey. Funky aroma. Big yeast, sugar, ginger, almondy nutty. A bit of licorice. Very good drinkability for what should be a sipper. Alcohol well hidden. Thanks Dr.Jay.

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Holidale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 321 ratings