Pilgrim's Dole | New Holland Brewing Company

very good
386 Reviews
Pilgrim's DolePilgrim's Dole

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Wheatwine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
A barleywine-style ale made with 50% wheat malt (a wheatwine) aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2003

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Reviews: 386 | Ratings: 901
Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Upgraded based on having on tap at Pizza Plant Transit. Very dry and alcoholic indeed and a good drink.

Bottle: Thank you Wohlf's the combination of much corriander, wheat, maybe barley, and high alcohol did not make my lunch. Another day would not make a difference. Somewhat like a Rodenboch Grand Cru.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

wheatwine is a style not often executed well, so i was impressed with this one right off the bat just for being so well dialed in. that said, its not a style i tend to gravitate towards, and all the residual sugar usually keeps my intake pretty light, but this one is very good even with the sweetness. deep color, just starting to caramelize with some bronzed edges to it, and a tall lacy white head and visible carbonation. it smells sweet for sure, led by the bourbon barrel. the wheat malt has a nice caramel aroma and flavor to it, like some sort of dessert bread or something. vanilla and honey in there as well, and plenty of high test alcohol in here. the flavor is much like the nose, i really like this deeper richer wheat base. some barley malt for sure too, but i love what this particular wheat is contributing. it brings a lot of texture too, this is nice and full bodied. bourbon sweetness with the oak and vanilla is there, less of the char from the barrel than is sometimes present in big beers like this, and the booze stands out like crazy, even more so when it warms up a little. again, not a style i generally spend too much time with, but this is one of the better examples of it for me in recent memory. not too hoppy either, more about grain and barrel than hops, its always a bit much when they turn into big wheat ipa types. well made, but definitely hot, for the strong ale lover for sure.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Expected this beer to be a little more on the lighter side I guess. The Wheat Wine here seemed to me to be just like a regular Barley Wine to me and my friend who split the bottle. I was thinking that it would be a nice lighter strong beer before the dinner we had but it was heavy and boozie. I haven't been able to see much of a difference between Wheat and Barley Wines. This is good if you want a strong beer that you can sip on for a while.

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Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill, Vandalia, OH

A: The beer is clear light reddish amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high light beige head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Bits of sweetness are present in the nose along with notes of oaky vanilla aromas.
T: The taste is a little sweet and has flavors of toffee with notes of vanilla towards the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite interesting for a wheatwine and isn't overly difficult to drink because the alcohol isn't that noticeable in the taste. It also has nice vanilla and toffee flavors without tasting exactly like bourbon or alcohol.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Impressive, this beer is. A heavy, viscous Barleywine-looking brew pours with a touch of oily-ness and legging. A light, white head settled to 1/4" and held firm. Big, sweet aromas of caramel, cotton candy, tropical fruits, and fruit cake emmits from the glass and proves to be mouth watering. The first sip is a heavy dose of sugars ranging from confectionate sugar to syrupy molassas along with nuts, figs, dates, and barely. The wheat additions seem moderate and give the beer a suble, soft grain (cereal) flavor and thickens the textrues considerably. A bit oily with a hint of diacityl (buttery) on top of a full bodied brew, chocked full of residual sugars. The beer is a good sipper, but lacks the depth and complexity of other Barleywines. Still, I liked it.

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Photo of brentk56
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a burnished copper color with a modest head and leaves a healthy dose of lace

Smell: Rather sweet aroma with hints of toffee and fruit

Taste: Opens with a sweet, bready flavor with dark fruit and nutty elements developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweet flavors blend with the wheat bread and there are some hops that create an earthy bitterness; overall, the profile is very much like a barleywine with just a hint of Bourbon in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More like a barleywine than other wheatwines I have tasted, this is still a rather nice beer though it is just a tad too sweet

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.9/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear deep amber color ale with a small foamy head with some light retention and some light lacing. Aroma of really sweet caramelized malt and light toffee notes. Taste is dominated by overly sweet caramelized malt with some toffee notes. Body is slightly above average with good carbonation and alcohol not too apparent. I always liked the idea of wheat wine but this example is way too sweet for my tastebuds.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, orange/ruby color with a very bubbly, white, two-finger head. It left a little lace.

S - It smelled light caramel malt, wheat, and some honey.

T - It tasted of very spicy wheat with touches of honey. It is an interesting mix of sweet and hot spiciness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and fizzy. A medium-bodied beer with a warming alcohol presence.

D - This is my first wheatwine. It was good and I am looking forward to trying another.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to dougofthefuture for sending this in Blind BIF 5. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours a bright mild copper with no head and a few bubbles around the edges. The nose brings a bit of caramel and a light fruitiness. Lots of sweet malt. Mild booze. The flavor is quite sweet as well. Somewhat of a dryness from malt, but not really dry. Hard to express. Maybe a bit of tannin. Boozy. Medium to full body. Pretty heavy feel and low carbonation. Boozy finish. Really don't enjoy the finish much. Almost a bit of bourbon in the nose, but not quite in the flavor. Not bad, but not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of mothman
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Boulevard Smokestack Glass.

Very little thin white head. No retention or lace. Color is an orange/ruby red. The color reminds me of wine.

Aroma: Grapes, fruits, cherries, some booze, wheat, and a few raisins.

Taste: Initial taste is a big wheat flavor. Some big fruit flavors follow. Cherries, grapes, raisins, all mixed in with wheat. Very boozy.

Mouthfeel: Boozy and crisp. All the booze kind of makes me gag if I have it in my mouth for to long. Full bodied. A lower level of carbonation. Ends with a boozy, fruity aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is a sipper. Very boozy, as I have mentioned a few times already. I am glad I am not drinking this entire bomber by myself.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2014 vintage bottling. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby red color with a small dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, date, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Light amount of booziness in the aromas, but not a bad thing. Taste of huge caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, date, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light earthy oak/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, date, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate dark fruit flavors; with an awesome malt/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding barrel aged wheatwine style! All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep burnt orange with a nice one finger head leaving sheets of lace behind,big fruity aromas along with some caramel and nut.Deep intense dark fruit hit the taste buds and are unrelenting,very fruity and nutty with a big soapy finish.Wow the compexities are are almost to much for this sipper,very complex and big.A sipping beer to savour my first wheat wine and very intriuged by it a great beer experiance.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first impression of this was that it smells and tastes a little more like a barleywine than the other wheat wines I've had. The first sip clarified for me that it was, indeed, a wheat wine. It grew on me, and I found it quite unique! It's one of New Hollands best beers in my opinion; and I'd love to try it oak-aged as I think that extra level of complexity would really take it over the top.

Apart from that I felt it had a bbeautiful appearance with a very creamy head of light tan that held surprisingly well (but left little lacing).

In the nose the alcohol was noticeable, but it was wrapped in a thick, sticky coat of sweet tropical fruit (cocoanut, pineapple, raisin) that was quite nice.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a full, dextrinous body and very-fine bubbled moderate carbonation. Smoooth.

The same fruit that's present in the nose returns in the flavor, wrapped in softly caramelish, sweet and doughy malt. It has a distinct wheat character which is nice (and expected given the style), and a balancing thread of spiciness (probably due more to the alcohol than hops, or at least a combination).

Surprisingly given the massive amount of residual maltiness, it finishes with a slap of spice and only a mildly sweet lingering maltiness. It's a little worty, yes, but it's not overdone. The alcohol, however, is a bit intrusive halfway through the glass.

I enjoyed it, but I think I'd split a bottle with someone next time - 6 ounces for sipping should be just right. And with that in mind, I think it really is a unique beer that would work just as well as an after dinner drink on the back porch in summer, or with a holiday feast in the cooler months. Kudos!

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

Vintage 2015, poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, bourbon, brown sugar, wheat and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of wheat and a hearty malt character that are quickly followed by sweet flavors of brown sugar, bourbon, caramel and some fruit. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to sip on for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a mostly clear medium reddish brown in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass slowly and moderate amounts of dark amber highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy light tan head that reduces to a mottled thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Very light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toffee and caramel sweetness from the malts and some light hints of vanilla, bourbon, and oak.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of sweet dark malts with moderate amounts of toffee and caramel sweetness. There are light amounts of vanilla with moderate amounts of oak and stronger bourbon notes. Hints of alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Might be the first barrel-aged wheatwine that I have tried and it worked really well, somewhat tempering the sweetness of wheatwines and adding to the complexity of the flavors. Enjoyable and definitely a good sipping beer. Alcohol is present but not overpowering.

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Photo of mactrail
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich and toffee-like with a good does of hops. Warm flavors of malt and hot with alcohol. Reminds of a rum and tonic. Lovely clear coppery amber color with a decent head. It even looks like a tumbler of Scotch after the foam dies down. Spicy flavors. Great nose of caramel malt on a cloud of booze. The wheat gives a distinctive flavor that is more sprightly and less dark than the equivalent barley wine.

Another good sipping beer with a liqueur-like strength of flavor and pleasing intensity.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark copper body with a small, bubbly, off-white head. How lovely looking!

Smell: Sweet-smelling aroma of malted wheat and toffee syrup with a light booziness and faint fruity notes.

Taste: Deep, resounding toffee-flavored sweetness and tangy malted wheat flavor. A dash of Navan vanilla cognac. Light hint of fruit. A slight touch of alcoholic heat on the sweet, luscious finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Velvety mouthfeel. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: Though it can be a bit hefty on the palate at times, New Holland has crafted an excellent wheatwine.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sunshine-bright tangerine with nary a fleck to disrupt the crystal clear nature of the beer. The pastel orange cap is large, milkshake thick and looks as if it will last for hours... although the beer will be long gone by then. It's also beginning to lay down an impressive amount of thick lace.

The nose isn't at all what I expected. It smells like untoasted pale malt, orange peel, Band-Aid phenols and alcohol. Although the label describes Pilgrim's Dole as a 'barleywine style ale made with wheat', it doesn't remind me of a barleywine at all. A wheat wine? Who knows, I've never smelled a wheat wine before. I have to believe, however, that most of them have better noses than this.

Things are better on the palate, but I'm still far from impressed. The beer drinks like a pale barleywine, but still tastes nothing like one. Maybe wheat doesn't lend itself to such a malt-dominant style since it doesn't impart as much complexity and depth as barley. I'll reserve judgment on the style until I've had a handful of others. Of course, it's always possible this year old bottle hasn't aged as well as it should have.

The flavor is dominanted by a curious sourness that is kept from being a deal breaker by an underlying malty sweetness and the other members of the flavor profile. It tastes orangey to me, and a little peachy as well. The phenols, which I find appealing in some Scotch ales, seem out of place. Not horribly so, but I find myself wishing they would exit, stage left.

After multiple mouthfuls, I still can't decide how well the various flavors fit together. They aren't completely divorced from one another, but neither do they fit into a unified, seamless whole. A grudging agreement to stay together for the sake of the kids? There's nothing wrong with the mouthfeel. It's somewhere between medium and full with an enjoyable tongue-soaking quality.

Pilgrim's Dole is my first foray into the relatively new world of wheat wines. Recent talk has suggested that it was better fresh, so I'll consider picking up a few bottles of the '05 vintage for comparison's sake. If I was a pilgrim looking for my free dole of bread and ale, I'd turn this one down and grab a few dozen nip bottles of Old Foghorn to accompany me on my journey.

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Photo of russpowell
4.77/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review based on notes, got this one from czoch75, Cheers Clint!

Pours caramel with 3+ fingers of tan head. Super lacing & good head retention

S: Cakeyness, Bourbon & dark fruit

T: Toffee, a bit of booze, cakeyness & rum butter up front along with a slight smokeyness. This really mellows out as it warms, smokey toffee & some oakyness. Finishes dry, buttery & cakey

MF: Sticky, medium bodied with slight carbonation

Drinks really easy for the style & ABV. Drinks more like a super smooth barley wine to me, this one is very well done!

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.3/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A rich golden amber then came forward from the bottle, splashing down into the glass with a very hazy thud. Lots of carbonation here as well kept the whole thing alive and kicking with a two inch layer of white foam that quickly faded down to leave a bare top.

The aroma was full of spices and wheat, very musty with a deep down and earthy note to it. I was picking up lots of rye type smells, hints of grass and a touch of grapes. Translated over the taste very well. Very rich wheat flavor. Lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. There were touches of almost musty pepper or something, hard to place, but very full and very difficult to fully grasp the flavor. Nice hot streak of alcohol running through it as well. Nice medium body with a really good carbonation profile, there was a nice fullness to it. It was definitely a sipper, and a little bit rough at that.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled this at Zeno's in State College, PA in a standard pint.
A - Deep copper w/ a sliver of a white head that leaves small amounts of lace.

S - Vinous aromas w/ cedar and fruit. Similar in smell to a barleywine.

M - Thick, full strength warm booziness. Candy-like sweetness remains on the tongue after the swallow.

T - A deep, sweet burst of fermented wheat that comes of as slightly perfumey. Deep malt sweetness with hops adding to the flavor in a gentle blend. A big barleywine instensity with full wheat flavors that end in a sweet finish.

D - Big Beer. My first experience with a wheatwine. A new experience that was a great balance of potent wheat and barleywine strength. I love it. Worth having for sure, but 12 oz may be enough as it shows its strength and isn't shy.

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Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Poured hard in a pint glass, a surreal viscous cascading foam emerged out of no where … quite amazing to look at. From there it produced a thin tiny bubbled lace that was comparable to a good pint of Guinness. The deep tawny hue only showed a minimal haze.

Smell: Wafts of alcohol and ripe fruit … suggestions of pineapple and raisins come to mind. Sweet to the nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Creamy mouth feel and full bodied. Right off the bat I think of rum raisins, lots of sweetness not the palate but not cloying. A touch of rough spiciness from the wheat but not astringent, nice spicy bite from an alcohol and hop mix. Finishes with a lingering alcoholic spice and some residual sweetness.

Notes: One of the most interesting strong beers I have had to date, tastes of a mellow English Barleywine though with a big wheat accent. Truly a great beer and a must try if you are in to strong ales of any kind.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in the 2012 Birthday BIF from UrbanCaver; thanks Cam! Never heard of this but sounds cool. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Cigar City snifter. 2011 vintage.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent dark amber color with hald an inch of off white head and low carbonation evident. Head lasts a few second and leaves no lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, toffee, sweet dark fruits, figs, toasted malts, and light alcohol. Really nice nose, a nice mix of caramel, fruit, and bourbon, though none are overpowering.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, vanilla, toffee, oak, raisins, figs, sweet dark fruits, toasted malts, light alcohol, brown sugar, and some sweet maple syrup. Really nice, and better then the nose.

m - Medium to full body and low to moderate carbonation. Thick and creamy, and pretty smooth. Not hot at all considering it's 12.5% ABV (according to the bottle).

o - Overall I thought this was a really nice beer. The nose was a really nice mix of caramel, sweet dark fruits, and bourbon, while the taste incorporated some vanilla. Very nice beer I'd like to have again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Not all that creative on this one, I'm following the conceit from the bottle:
The pilgrimage (see what I mean?) begins just before dawn; scarlets, crimsons, vermillions, cinnabars, rubies, and other such hues arrange themselves as though on a cosmic-level swatch. Still early, some dark, earthy browns linger still, but are clearly facing imminent eviction. The long trek has begun, with Saint Christopher smiling on my progress. As the countrysides continually change, the air strangely maintains the same scent throughout: a light bit of flour and cracked wheat combined with an ambrosial sweetness. Flowers seem tobloom on the edges of the air itself. A pine forest stands at an eternal distance. Respites are few, as the Book would seem to have it, and are mostly consumed by the breaking of the fast. I rely on the kindness of locals who support my holy travels. Far from manna, the taste is still plenty sweet, with side notes of whiskey and toffee and a bitter undercurrent. Trudging on, my feet meet minor temporal resistance, but, as the miles stack up behind me, it's as though a thick muck is increasingly impeding me. 'Tis the devil's temptations, I swear it, and I shall continue on my way to spite the demon. No head bubbles shall sway me from my path, though few have come to me up 'til now. Though there is still far to go, I know the Lord is with me and, thus, I shall not want. Via con dios!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit that when my glass was poured, it was far too cold to do justice. BY the time that it warmed, the head had reduced to wisps. Color was a slightly cloudy amber. Nose had a rich sweetness, kind of like caramel. Mouthfeel was medium with a taste like liquid toffee. OMFG, was this good! A bit of heat in the mouth, but it was forgivable. The finish was warm, semi-sweet and perfect for a late-fall evening.

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Pilgrim's Dole from New Holland Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 901 ratings.
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