Holidale | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 183
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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Photo of nmann08
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of t0rin0
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage 22oz. Pours very clear and brown with a little redness. THe head is yellowish brown and sticky. Good amount of lacing and retention.

Aroma is spicey and malty. No hops no alcohol. Almost seemed like maybe a bit of rye. Mabye a some actual spicing, who knows.

Taste is pretty good but not great. Malty, medium bitterness (maybe closer to the low end), and a little spicey. Theres some kind of cheapness that may be alcohol or it may be aging, who knows. Also a bit of crystal malt flavor, kinda red ale-ish.

Body is nice and thick, despite the head there isn't much CO2 in the beer. Enjoyable.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear garnet color with a rocky head that retains well and provides a few dots of lace

Smell: Grapefruit and kumquat pith; golden raisin influenced caramel

Taste: Opens with a touch of caramel and biscuit, followed by a blast of grapefruit pith that settles into a fruity, toffee element by mid-palate; after the swallow, the caramel and butterscotch flavors build but all the while the hoppy bitterness persists into an aggressive, but balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit thin for a barleywine

Drinkability: I noticed a trend that the lower scored reviews were of aged bottles; thank goodness I am drinking the 2007 which retains its aggressive and intended hoppiness; the clear message is that this is a barleywine that drinks better young

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of largadeer
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks, Barry.

Clear and bright, a light shade of reddish-amber for the style. The head falls quickly to a film, but leaves plenty of sticky lacing behind.

Yeast and malt contribute equally to the aroma; fruitiness is present in the form of raisins and fresh red grapes, grain contributes a light brown sugar character.

Sweet but smooth, decidedly malty and English-style for a barleywine. There's no hop bite, this is all brown sugar and fruitcake, raisin and date. Despite the sweetness, the body isn't terribly heavy; more a medium-full. The finish is sweet and fruity, reminiscent of fruit jelly. It's an enjoyable beer, though I feel it could use more of a balancing dryness. A bit more body and dryness in the finish would improve this greatly.

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Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I apparently got a good deal on this... $5.70 at Charles Street Liquors in the heart of Boston. The Imperial Stout cost me $5.99 and it doesn't even have the fancy painted label!!! Maybe it was because it was "old"... 2007!

Anyway, it pours a beautiful copper body with deep amber highlights beneath a frothy head of orange-yellow tan. The head retention is good and it leaves some nice lace behind.

Spice is clear in the nose over caramelish malt. I'm guessing it's got some cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all-spice but it's kind of muddled.

The flavor displays the spice prominently as well, and I feel that perhaps it's a bit too much. It overpowers the malt that's there within a few sips, leaving it one-sided. Beyond that, there are some nice caramel-malt notes, and a very nice fruitiness that combines dark fruits and sweeter, more juicy and citrusy fruits. Perhaps some orange peel was added to the boil. It starts spicy, reveals it's richly caramelish malt, becomes bitter, and then smooths everything out into the finish with a wash of citrus that fades to leave its grassy and leafy hop flavor and bitterness behind. Occasional flickers of orange appear as you wait for your next sip!

Nicely done, and fairly well balanced despite a fairly heavy-handed spiciness, this is sure to satisfy as a slow-sipper with a good book or historical drama on the telly. The John Adams mini-series might be good.

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Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of our central New England Beer Advocate Meetup #2.

A: Light fizzy head, clear bubbly bright reddish brown color.

N: Semi sweet malted barley, some fruit and brown sugar, little hop presence, little rye, some spicy hops, little boozy.

T: Boozy, lots of malts, fruit, sweet, chewy malts and chewy bitter hop taste. Some fruity hops, rye adds some spicy character and fruit. Brown sugar and molasses.

M: Thick and syrupy, decent carbonation.

F: Drier, especially with help from the lingering rye, some spicy fruit, lingering bitterness and some lingering syrup and brown sugar.

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

2006 release, poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brownish red color, with a short but dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very fruity (apricot & tangerine), with a little bit of hops, caramel and honey mixed in and a hint of the type of spices that you normal get in a Winter Warmer.

T: The fruitiness bursts out initially in the taste. Then a combination of hops, caramelized malt and spice hits you. A slight alcohol burn follows everything up. After-taste is fruity and hoppy.

M: Very smooth and very crisp, medium body, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, although there’s a slight alcohol burn, the ABV is hidden pretty well, not very filling either. I drank the bomber I had pretty quickly. This beer is a very good representation of the American Barley Wine style. I had a feeling this one might lean toward the English BW style, which I tend not to like as much, but it’s a good ABW with some extra sweetness.

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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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent lace and head retention (quite rocky). Neutral amber color with the slightest of haze.

There is more pine hop aroma than expected for a barley wine. The 2014 version has a bit of tree bark and cocoa to the nose as well.

Strong biting hop in the flavor which gets balanced by the high level of malt. The body is rather moderate for the style. Carbonation is also neutral. This is a smooth beer with strong hop taste. Post swallow, that's it--total hop. The 2014 version is darker, more like the Anchor Christmas ale with lots of spice (cinnamon and nutmeg?), dark chocolate and cocoa.

Most notably, this is a hoppy beer--far more than any other barley wine I've ever had.

2013 Version is chocolatey throughout the tasting. The head dies quickly and leaves no lace. I believe the hop is far more subdued than my previous entry. Think strong alcohol laced porter with dark cherry.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clearish amber-brown body with a light beige-colored head.

Smell: Divinely sweet-smelling, fruity aroma with notes of dried plums and cherries, tobacco leaves, cinnamon, and cookies sprinkled with sugar.

Taste: Sweet caramel and candy-crammed, rum-soaked cake. So, yes, its pretty sweet. Hardly any hops in this beer beyond a little showing of citrus at the end. Finishes on the sweet side, but with some alcohol burn creeping in at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Somewhat stick mouthfeel. A bit of alcohol heat showing.

Drinkability: An ideal winter beer that's rather tasty and enjoyable without solely relying on a truckload of ridiculous spices.

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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 BuckeyeNation
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2006 release. Firelight orange with a hint of cranberry red and edges of honey gold. Maybe it's the power of suggestion, but the color of the liquid is festive and matches the name well. The tight-bubbled crown, that looks like a luscious melding of melted vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet, is relatively generous when it comes to lace. Later on... not so much.

The nose is dominated by a pale malt simplicity (there may be a little caramel malt in there as well) with no hint of alcohol, in a beer whose ABV has to be pushing double digits. It's fruity and smells faintly spiced, although it's more a Belgian yeasty spiciness that a 'spices added, winter warmer-like' spiciness. So far, so good.

Holidale 2006 is surprisingly mild for a big beer. And I don't mean that it's a gentle giant whose alcohol is well-buried and whose flavors have had time to get comfortable with one another. I mean that it's a wimp. The malt backbone isn't the least bit sturdy and the flavors don't exactly challenge the taste buds with their boldness or complexity.

I'm reminded of a 'golden' barleywine or strong ale that has been mixed with a few ounces of water. Certainly one year in the bottle hasn't been enough to cut this beer off at the knees like this. The flavor profile consists of an untoasted pale maltiness, an 'apples and bananas soaked in honey' fruitiness and just a touch of Belgian yeast spiciness. I'm betting that a simple ale yeast was used, so maybe the brewers added a pinch of clove.

I keep waiting for something more substantial to emerge with warming. More flavor, better flavor or a bigger body would be nice. What I'm getting is bupkis. The mouthfeel is way too thin for a beer of this style. Since it doesn't compound the error by being fizzy, and since there's a trace of... a hint of... the suggestion of... a mild stickiness on the back end, I've decided to cut it some slack. Believe me, the above score is cutting it some slack.

Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter is damn good beer and Lost Sailor IPA is nicely drinkable too. Holidale 2006, while it looks the part, can't deliver where it counts the most. Here's hoping the brewers have reworked the recipe for 2007.

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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 Slatetank
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this in the bottle previously which led me to try this on tap when we were at Willimantic Brewpub. I suspect it may have been a not-so-fresh keg, but here is my review....take it with a grain of salt as I loved this in the bottle

served chilled in a standard pint

A - A midly hazed med brown w/ small ecru ring - no head or lace to speak of

S - The smell leans heavily on sweet maltiness w/ a praline-like aroma w/ mild toffee-like buttered molasses note

M- Rich and moderately full bodied with sweet texture and slightly spiced finish w/ subtle carbonation and mild roasted feel

T - Biscuit and nut taste lead off w/ a slightly creamy caramel bordering on toffee taste-wise q/ a hint of pine in the background and mild cinnamon toast element w/ maltiness that is sweet but not quite butterscotch. There is a sweet piney hop accent w/ a lot of residual sweetness in the finish

D - A big brew alas it doesn't seem to fit the style the way I remembered it being in bottled form - leans toward the malts w/out becoming cloying so it is drinkable for what it is - The Holidale could use a dose more hops IMO.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Alright, but then where's my Holichip? *rim shot* Anyway, this stuff pours a clear sunset bronze-auburn topped by a finger or so of off-white foam. The nose comprises pine resin, light dark greens, rich toffee, and a touch of fruitcake way in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, with the toffee and pine duking it out for my entertainment, creating a decently nice balance; and some mild stone fruits dance in the back, seemingly egging on the combatants. Normally, when I use those terms, it means there's a flavor clash on my tongue, but this time it's just to illustrate the balanced see-saw thing going on instead. The body is a solid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a pretty nice brew, one that brings the hop pain without overwhelming with it. Gotta love balance, eh?

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage
Pours a deep reddish copper color with a good sized bubbly beige head that shows great retention. Smells of caramel and brown sugar with a hint of ethanol and a touch of oxidation. Taste is a bit on the malty side up front. Lots of sugary sweetness that gets beaten back by and earthy and a muddled buttery harshness. Long lingering sugary and butterscotch sweetness. Medium body and level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. I really enjoy the coffeehouse porter from Berkshire, but most of their other beers strike me as too heavy on the diacytyl. Decent beer, but not great.

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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 VeganUndead
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A 2011. Drink it fresher than I did

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

Poured into a snifter, the appearance was burnt dark caramel color with a light tan foamy head that stiffened and let up to a sly stringy lace after dissipation. The aroma had some sweet dried tobacco leaf, nice caramel/toffee malt base, citrus rind, soft dark bread, light toast, subtle butterscotch, some damp word, just a touch of vanilla, light red cherries and ended with a little bit of earthy hops. The flavor blended fairly nice the sweet to a light yet firm bitterness from the hops. Tobacco dry sweetness clings to the dark breadiness and hits upon the aftertaste in the same sort of way. Light tobacco in the finish with a touch of vanilla and citrus rind. The feel was about medium bodied with a good sipping quality about it. Carbonation was fine and the ABV felt god as well. Overall, pretty nicely done English styled barleywine that I would have again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006. Been sitting on this one for a year after picking it up in Boston. Hey! I actually was able to wait a year like I wanted to! Congrats to me.

Pours a clouded brown. Flavor is extremely smooth. Subdued fruits. Noticeable wood tones. Touch of sherry even? There is definitely a spiced kick on the tip of the tongue as well. I am guessing black pepper and cloves. I get vanilla as well. (I keep going back to edit this review as new things peek out and show themselves) Just smooth and even and the alcohol is certainly not noticed with it having 9.5% abv. Feel is smooth on liquid and with a pretty decent carbonation.

Stellar. Exceeded my expectations and delivered a wonderful drinking experience. I really wish I had more.

P.S. I dig the bottle design too. Might have to keep this one.

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Holidale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 319 ratings
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