Holidale | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Liked This Beer
3.87 w/ 319 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: 319 |  Reviews: 183
Photo of sendbeer
1/5  rDev -74.2%

Photo of maximum12
1.36/5  rDev -64.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2009 vintage, laid down for a year before the next holiday season & popped open on another blustery winter night between coatings of snow. One of those winters that seems like it'll never, ever, ever, ever...end.

Popped open & poured to vigorous acclamation, & reading the label, I see it was made with rye malt, which makes me happy, I've been longing for rye with my entire being of late. Looks weird. Half a hot dog of floaties. Looks like I might have to chew this coppery orange float.

Holidale didn't stand the test of time...it's flat-out awful. The aftertaste is a blast of lye & rotted fruit, obliterating anything that came before.

Straight-up drain pour. A barleywine should be able to last a year, & I see others have had the '09 with more positive results. I've held it in the cellar the whole time. Perhaps a bad bottle. But what bad. Nothing like the other good experiences I've had with Berkshire.

 919 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
2/5  rDev -48.3%

Photo of Fettpopps
2/5  rDev -48.3%

Photo of nomad
2.18/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The thin, simple design of this bottle makes it ominous, and it does pour a dark and glossy amber with strong mahogany tone. Even better it consistently has this clean, soft, and dead consistent lacing all over the glass and on top. Just beautiful when it waits for ya. Damn.

So it comes out like cinammon and sweet spices on top of a Belgian-like load of soft-textured esters of apples and pears. Kinda strange, because I don't catch much traditional malt or hop aromas, but its sort of pretty like a bouquet of flowers on the dark side. I'm ambivalent but I also don't care because its just not like a normal barleywine to me, plus its a little simple and weak.

The simple malt flavor comes across thin and watery, heading next to the buttery finish and warm hum of alcohol. Um, where's the flavor? It took about 30 minutes before anything came forward and it was a bomber bottle. Very thin mouthfeel. Soft muddled spices softly coats everything, by the way and they're not Christmas tasty.

I am really surprised. I have a lot of respect for Berkshire and I love their beers because they're so drinkable and have beautifully malty bodies. But this thing was not nasty but incredibly boring. Insipid. Vacuous. Big words to signify how out-to-lunch this beer was tasting, but yet it was a great looking beer. Strange. The prettiest most boring girl at the dance.

 1,371 characters

Photo of MenardMa
2.26/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This really should be broken out into Holidale 2011, 2012, 2013, etc...because last year's and this years have been very different.

I'll start by saying that the 2012 Holidale, if I recall correctly, was a very nice barleywine.

The 2013 one, on the other hand...I could barely choke down. It smelled like weak, watery coffee, it looked like a fairly light brown ale, and it just tasted strange. Like bitter coffee combined with a watery, mediocre beer.

I really like quite a bit of BBC's offerings but this year's Holidale is unimpressive to say the least. Seems like they were going for something very different in a coffee/chocolate barleywine but it just doesn't work here.

 679 characters

Photo of BGsWo22
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of jgknittel
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of drummermattie02
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of ClavisAurea
2.67/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

2015 vintage served in a snifter

Appearance: dark brown with a tan head. highly carbonated.

Nose: dark fruits, sweet alcohol, cherry juice, kinda boozy

Taste: alcoholic cherry juice. The carbonation is prickly and sharp. The cherry notes are over the top in this one and not balanced.

Overall: this one needs work. Age is only going to thin it out. I feel like it is more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale or a Quad. It is somewhat like an English Barleywine but absolutely not an American Barleywine. Where were the hops? This could have been a bad bottle.

 559 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
2.81/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber. 2008 release. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into tulip, at cellar temp.

very dark, ruby amber tones. gemstone clear on first pours. 1.5-finger off-white head, fades to wispy thin layer. good first ring of lace, then just splotchy after. (later pours give some yeast sediment, but give better lacing.)

faint aroma overall. weak pine and citrus rind, watery caramel. trace of cherry esters. a little more citrus notes as it nears 60 degrees F.

flavor is watery as well. weak caramel base with some resiny hop bitterness (moderate), but the hop flavor itself is subdued too - just enough to give an american character, but that's it.

feel is light and somewhat thin and watery again, esp for a barleywine. relatively smooth, w resins in finish, and the moderate carbonation is tingly upfront and gives some body, but all of this never really compensates for the wateriness.

not horrible. just quite mediocre. a disappointment from an otherwise solid local brewery.

 980 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.92/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2013 vintage

A - dark brown, yet transparent liquid with a thin white head with a bit of staying power. A light source reveals plenty of busy carbonation keeps that head afloat.

S - A whiff is mostly filled with malty goodness and cocoa powder. At the end there is a slight tweak of spice, the bottle blurb mentions cinnamon and that makes sense. Not sure if I could discern which spice without that hint.

T - this is a sharp beer. It's not quite there yet. The hops have not faded and not let the barleywine greatness through. The cocoa powder adds the bitter. The cinnamon-ness is more pronounced in the flavor and is a nice finish.

M&D - as mentioned, sharp and a bit harsh. It needs a year on it. Makes me glad I got two bottles for Christmas. I will hang on to the second one for a year or so and edit this review accordingly.

 838 characters

Photo of AlexJ
2.93/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

05 Vintage
Light brown pour with a thin, but persistant head of tan froth that eventually settles into a thin ring, leaving very slight whisps of lace on my goblet.

Aroma is sweet and fruity, almost like a fruit cake. There's a faint note of floral hops hiding somewhere in there. Not much to smell here.

Unfortunately the flavor is quite similar. Very sweet and fruity, with notes of cherries, apple, pinapple, and creamy caramel. Very one-dimensional due to the very light hopping. My wife thinks it tastes like canned fruit cocktail.

Body is below medium and way too light for the style. Carbonation is soft with pinpoint bubbles. Not very easy to drink due to the unbalanced malt overload.

 703 characters

Photo of fermentedbarley
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of JKV96
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of rderedin
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color with a thin off-white head and a tad bit of spotty lacing on the way down. The nose brings some spice along with caramel and dark fruits. A bit of sweet bread in the background. The flavor has caramel and sweet malt plus some dark fruits and a bit of winter spice. Medium body with spice and a bit of booze to go along with the sweetness. An interesting winter beer, though probably not something that I would seek out again.

 476 characters

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 DIM
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 edition

a: This was a hazy copper color with reddish golden highlights. It pour4ed with a medium sized, moderately fizzy head.

s: Citrus aromas that bring potpourri ot tea to mind. Mild spicy prpper aromas and some brown sugar or molasses. Doesn't smell like a typical b-wine, but this is a nice change of pace.

t: I like what is here, but I can't help but think something is missing. It starts well, with tea-like spicy citrus flavors. The spicy notes become stronger towards the middle, probably the rye coming through. But then, oddly enough, it just kind of stops right there. I mean the flavor all but disappears. There really isn't a finish to this one. I can't believe that 1 year could have made much of a difference, but I guess its possible.

m: Light bodied for the style with gentle carbonation.

d: This tastes like an unfinished symphony. It was rising to a flavor crescendo and then...blue-balled by a b-wine.

 932 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.16/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is reddish clear with thin white head. Nose is heavy with cherries, syrup, grenadine, and caramel. Taste is sweet up front with one notes malt sweetness, not enough hops to cut out the fruit. Taste is sweet and oxidized. Out heel is heavy with low carbonation. Overall, not that great. Not really to style.

 317 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage, chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from portia99. Thanks, Bill.

A: Pours a deep, murky amber body that glows burnt orange against the light. A short-lived off-white head leaves a few dribbles of lace as it recedes.

S: Dark multi-grain bread, caramel, honey, and raisins. It really needs to warm up to get the aroma going, though it's never pungent. I'm assuming this was a pretty hoppy beer when fresh, but it's not, anymore.

T: On the sweet side; I don't know if it was mis-classified or if the age just took all the hop edge off, but there is very little hoppy flavor here. The beer is instead lightly spiced, with overt tones of caramel, brown sugar, and raisins. There isn't even much bitterness present.

M: Medium-full bodied. The finish is relatively clean, though there's a very light retro-nasal effect of honey.

D: This is a pretty decent beer, but it demands slow sipping owing to the richness of sweet flavors. It would benefit from being drier, or failing that, having more balancing hop bitterness.

 1,046 characters

Photo of beerasaurusrex
3.24/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of Soterios
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of nkelley77
3.25/5  rDev -16%

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Holidale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 70.8% out of 100 with 319 ratings
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