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 hoppymeal
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber and brown, clear, with a small light tan head that quickly fades. Nice rich and sugary aroma, ripe fruits, very pruney, hints of soy sauce, slightly bready like a sweet date cake. Alcohol is also apparent in the aroma. Taste follows aroma with a nice aged barleywine flavor of rich pruniness and caramel sweetness, some soy sauce in the flavor as well, before finishing with a slight nutty wheat taste and a good sized dryness and alcohol warmth. For as rich as this smells and tastes, one would expect a heavier, perhaps more sugary body, but with the wheat content it is not at all cloying and is even slightly thin in the mouthfeel in the finish. Overall a great aroma and taste, like a fine aged barleywine. Not sure how this would age with 50 percent wheat, but fresh it is quite good and the best I've had of this style so far.

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Photo of Shovelbum
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz pint glass, on draft at Ashley’s in Ann Arbor, MI. My first ‘wheat wine’.

Arrives with a thin head over a clear red brown body. Substantial aromas of roasted malt, caramel, and chocolately goodness. Berry-like fruit leads the flavor charge, and mixes with caramelized sugar, biscuits and cotton-candy like sweetness. A bit odd, and perhaps served a bit cold. There is a strange ghostly presence of wheat (I assume) throughout that I have hard time putting my finger on. There is a mild hop bitterness at the finish, but the hops don’t seem to be major players in any other way. The mouthfeel is a bit slick due to the substantial sweetness. Full-bodied with low carbonation.

The flavor is unlike any ale I’ve tasted before, possibly a result of the wheat fermented to these insane levels. It is sweet like a wee heavy with a more candy-like flavor as opposed to caramel, and not necessarily for the better. I’ll save my final verdict until I’ve had it from the bottle.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My second foray into the wheat wine style. Interesting, but not something I would like to drink often. I would much rather be drinking a barley wine. Not that this is bad, really.

The beer pours to a nutty brownish amber color. Pours with a small brownish head that recedes to nothing within a minute. Not even a film to remind me that this beverage once had a foamy cap. No lacing either. No apparent carbonation, even when tipping back the glass (but it's there, as the mouthfeel suggests). Has a really cool color, however, which is the one saving grace, at least for appearance's sake.

The smell is good. Smells pruney with some banana and clove notes. Like a barleywine with the phenolics of a hefeweizen. Plenty of hops as well, though not the American high alpha citric variety. More like some earthy, woody fuggles.

The taste is very good. Sweet up front, with plenty of banana esters and clove phenols. Pruney raisins and figs in the middle, and a very nice hops bitterness in the finish. Very oaky with a hint of bourbon and coconut barrel char. I don't know for sure if this is bourbon barrel aged or not, but it sure as hell tastes like it is. Similar to Dragon's Milk, though less roasty and milky, and more of a wheat beer presence.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Well rounded, presumably from barrel aging. The carbonation is very mild, though. Lots of alcohol burn. The finish lingers forever. It could stand to be a bit more drinkable, but it was enjoyable. Probably would have hit the spot a little better a week ago, when we had a shit ton of snow and ice, and the temperature was about 50 degrees colder.

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Photo of klewis
4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, 2007

A: Pours a clear red color with a small bubbly head that quickly subsides to a frothy ring. Moderate lacing.

S: Big fruity smell with aromas of sweet molasses and a hint of alcohol. Very nice.

T: Quite sweet like a J.W. Lee's barleywine. Predominant flavors of caramel and molasses with a fruity twang. A bit cloying, but very good.

M: Full-bodied, thick, and syrupy with light carbonation. The flavor sticks around for quite a while. A bit of a warming effect.

D: My first wheatwine, and I'm quite impressed. Quite tasty, and at 10%, the alcohol is barely noticable but will keep you nice and toasty. Can't wait to try some more from this style.

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Photo of jkaufman
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 22oz. bomber into a tankard.

A: Pours clear, dark ruby-brown, with a thick and fluffy white head.

S: Caramel and alcohol.

T and M: At first the alcohol is quite evident, but mellows out on subsequent sips; caramel and various malts begin to dominate, no hop character evident. Goes down pretty smooth and warm with moderate carbonation. Finishes a bit syrupy and sweet.

D: Not a session beer, but very drinkable considering its ABV spec.


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Photo of treedoctor5002
2.71/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I've wanted to try this beer ever since I tried there Dragon's Milk on tap at the brewery last year.

Pours a dark amber color with a nice head that bubble to the surface rather quickly, very nice. Lots of yeast floating around in this puppy.

Smell is mostly malt with hints of orange and spice. Bottle says it's 10% and you can certainly smell it.

The first thing that this beer throws at you is alcohol, and then some more alcohol. It is also quite sour without much else. Was hoping for more complexity here. It's simply overpowering. No hoppiness to speak of to balance out the huge malt bill.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy on the tongue.

As stated before in this review this beer is overpowering in alcohol. Couldn't even finish one of these. After I let it sit for a while it smelled just like whiskey. Not the beer for me.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

shared by shivtim last week. Poured slightly cloudy and orange. off-white, small head. Smells sour, slightly citrusy, some hops odor, and an obvious alcohol odor. Taste is also sour, with some strong orange rind. Stinging alcohol. Interesting, but not a thrilling taste sensation. thick and viscous. a sipper, and i liked it enough that i'd have another.

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Photo of shivtim
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I shared this with friends, perhaps in recognition of the beer's name. Who knew that's what a dole was? Speaking of alternative meanings of "dole," this beer has some citrus surprises. We'll get to that soon enough.
It pours a clear orange with a thin white head. Nose is sweetness and some spice, with alcohol. Taste is oranges up front, then grapefruit comes in. Lots of mixed citrus! Finish is like a sour creamsicle. Alcohol comes in at the end as well. Interesting, but too sour. Mouthfeel is nice and full. Drinkability is decent.

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Photo of biegaman
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled off tap at Coles, in Buffalo one rainy, gray afternoon, the last day of November 2006. This was the 2005 Vintage that must have been maturing for well over a year now.
Nice classy appearance. A sleek mahogany colour, no head. A sticky aroma - soft caramel malt, piney wood notes, overmodest hops. This drinks far too easy - no alcohol noticeable, faultless balance. Flavour with a light overcoating of resin from the hops, and heavy, crispy toffee malt. Both luscious and pleasing to the tongue. It has all the character of a big barley wine but without any of the features - the alcohol completely hidden, the aroma over modestly restrained, and the flavours stay quite mild. I was enormously impressed by how strikingly balanced this was. A big beast of a barley wine that was spotlessly veiled in refinement and elegance.

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

New Holland has started to offer this only in larger 22+ ounce bombers with fancy-schmancy silk-screening. This was from a standard 12 ounce bottle, which makes me think it was slightly older. Nonetheless, it was still high quality.

A: Lots of floaties. Copper with a decent head and virtually no lacing. Light and bright for a beer of such heft, but this glimmer anticipates some of the beer's other, best qualities.

S: Not much. Lack of strong aroma was the most disappointing aspect of this brew. There are some hints of sticky, stewed fruit, Elmer's glue, and brown sugar.

T and M: A light and fluffy mix of cotton candy, strawberry and alcohol. It's incredibly smooth with a soft, almost delicate finish and virtually no bitter presence. With some real strong aerating of the mouth, I can detect a crisp, grainy presence (wheat?) toward the finish, but that may be entirely psychosematic. The malt-body balance on this is spot on.

D: The alcohol flavors reveal this beer's strength, yet it's still soft and very restorative overall. The light texture makes this a deceptively drinkable beer.

Overall, this is a fine example of a wheat wine. It has the strength of non-wheat strong ales with some of the most noteworthy characteristics of a strong wheat brew--soft textures, fluffy mouthfeel, and a shrewd drinkability. It's lack of bouquet is nothing more than a tranish on an otherwise top notch beer. A great example of the style and my favorite brew from New Holland. Highly recommended.

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

What an incredible wheat wine. This is one of the sweetest most smooth easy sweet tooth beers I have had, that it really seems like a barley wine.

Appearance: Pours a Hazy caramel orange color

Smell: Very big big aroma of caramel wheat and boozy bready wet wheat & pale malt flavors. There is so much sugar and alcohol that it just made me drool.

Taste: Sweet and fruity with sugary malty dark fruit flavors and lots of booze. More flavors of wheat an caramel and spices create loads of intricate complex flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium / full body and syrupy sticky sweet think feel. MMM!

Drinkability: As easy as any 10% abv beer could be!

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of BoozySmurf
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first wheat wine...

thin head, cloudy, reddish-brown color

fruity white wine aroma with a touch of vanilla

sweet tasting, cherries & brown sugar, wheat graininess, only a touch of hops

creamy, substantial, like a meal in a glass

consumed too quickly surprise surprise

This was an interesting style, and one I will seek out in the future. It had some hop presence, but was much more of a sweet treat than the barley wines I have experienced which tend to be hop dominated.

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Photo of mcallister
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Took a trip to Grand Rapids and visited many of brewery this past weekend and this beer on draught may have been my favorite of the weekend.

Golden copper with a small white head that dissipates quickly. Leaves little lacing.

A toffee aroma, with thick caramel malt accents. A candied apple ester with hints of wheatiness and alcohol.

Thick syrupy mouthfeel. Tastes of maple syrup, mollasses, toffee, red apple, caramel, fresh churned butter, butterscotch, and other sweet candies. Awesome beer. Drinkability could of hit 5 if it weren't 10% alcohol.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served chilled from a bottle and poured into a large tulip glass...let that baby breathe!!!

Pours a copper to slight ruby color with an eggshell colored surface layer that creates a nice edge layer around my glass; Retention is low. Decent light gets through and lots of sediment floating throughout the brew.

Shoving my nose into the tulip, cherries seem to come to mind right away. It reminds me a bit of the Troeg's Mad Elf at first. However, I soon realize that the aroma is less sweet and more sour/bitter cherries with a decent amount of oak aroma. I also get a bit of alcohol on my nose. Maybe some brown sugar found as well. Decent, but a bit more faint and tough to get things out of than preferred.

First sip reveals a strange flavor at first to me. A bit of fruit (cherries or red grapes) hit my palate, but quickly it turns to a bittering wheat flavor w/ some hops coming through on the back side. Odd taste, but good! Alcohol also hits toward the swallow and the burn lingers down to my belly and on the tip of my tongue for quite some time. Interesting!

Full-bodied with a hefty amount of alcohol present. Slightly drying finish with a robust, chewy body. No carbonation, but alcohol is definitely there!

Overall, I am enjoying this one and I could definitely enjoy another. it'd make a nice session brew to share a 6-pack with friends. I definitely recommend it!

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Photo of BabaJohn
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first beer review on beer advocate (ever, in fact) so bear with me!

All in all, I rate the Pilgrim’s Dole a very nice brew by the New Holland Brewing Co. Some further thoughts…

It poured with a thin but consistent head and a clear reddish, even amber color. Much visible carbonation persisted. The nose was pleasantly sweet and fruity. My first impression upon tasting was that of chocolate and fruit, followed immediately by a strong sense of the alcoholic content (10%). This latter taste is perhaps my biggest dilemma in relation to this drink: the alcohol permeates the overall taste just a bit too much for my liking. In fact, it almost tastes like a sweet liquor at times. Of course, this is also my first wheat wine style drink, so perhaps I am just unused it. Lastly, the mouth feel was thick and creamy. Other than that, my observations have just about run out. Not a bad beverage at all, but like I said, the alcoholic taste is just a bit too much for me. Wouldn’t stop me from having another though.

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Photo of mentor
2.71/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle provided by deejaydan as part of BIF33. I've been eager to try this one for a while and am really happy for the chance. Thanks a million. Pours a one finger light tan head over a cloudy orange amber liquid. Smells mediciney. Caramel, cherry, sherry.

Tastes oxidized sherry. Alcohol burn, caramel, dry rough aftertaste. Phenolic edge of indistinct flavor. Fruity esters are beneath the alcohol and phenols, but add a vanilla and peach character.

Thick body and moderately carbonated. One was enough.

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Photo of grub
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a nice copper colour, with just a thin whisp of head that dissipates quickly into a small ring around the glass.

aroma is sweet and malty. bready/biscuity malt aroma. noticeable alcohol presence. just a bit of raisin.

taste is very good. nice bready maltyness. very smooth, good balance. bit of bitterness towards the end, and finishes with a little alcohol warmth. i actually tried one of these about 6 months ago and wasn't terribly fond of it, but the extra aging on the second bottle seems to have done it well. it's more rounded and balanced than i remember. the alcohol has taken more of a back seat, with the most noticeable presence being the warmth on the way down rather than taste.

mouthfeel is a bit thinner than i'd expect, but i think that could be the wheat smoothing it out a little.

drinkability is higher than i would expect for a 10% beer, especially a barleywine.

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

Poured at 45F (thanks to the Koolatron).

A: Orange-copper with particles of yeast floating about. Off-white head, very little retention, but leaves a hint of lace.

S: VERY piney hops, with an underlying toffee sweetness and a slight hint of tropical, fruity esters. Alcohol aroma is very apparant.

T: Pleasant bitter-sweet balance, warming alcohol, lots of piney american hops, toffee, cotton-candy fruityness, vanilla, somewhat winey (a little raisin).

M: Moderate body is quite dry, but somewhat silky; acidic. Carbonation is moderate.

D: Certainly a sipper.

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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 DarkerTheBetter
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a bright amber chardonnay with a little ring of creamy white head.

Smelled of birch bark, brown rice and under-ripe strawberries.

Tasted dry and fruity with the under-ripe strawberries and a bit of banana with a slight oaky lactic/sour milk in the finish. 10%? No way!

The mouth feel was light to medium bodied with a small easy carbonation that felt a little sticky.

The strawberries were a bit much for me, but there were a lot of complexities here that are still hiding from me. A second bottle is in order.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12ounce bottle courtesy of shbobdb: thanks for the malt-bomb. To quote the Big Bopper, "You know what I like."

A moderate ppour produced a huge creamy off-white head that settled slowly and left a thick coating, sheets of hard foam on the glass. This looks very sticky

Smell is wheat, malt, grass, pepper. Mmmm.

Taste is hard, straight, thick and long malt. This is like a Doppelbock on steroids for maltiness. Caramel malt, burnt biscuit malt, peppery malt, all with a warming alcohol presence. This is rich! Delightful!!!! Wowowowow!

Mouthfeel is very slurpaliciously round. I love the malty stickiness this leaves on my lips. Superb.

Unfortunately, at 10%, and so freaking delicious, it's not so drinkable, because it's dangerous.

What a great beer! Wish I could get this in Colorado! Extraordinarily delicious for a malt-lover.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy, bright copper color with a quarter inch head that fades quickly to a spotty cap and nice ring. Said ring leaves a pretty nice amount of lace behind.

Smell; floral and picy upfront, with a fairly strong wheat presence in the nose. There's a bit of a fruity presence.

Taste; fruity melons and some flavors that remind me of rum raisin bread. The wheaty flavors are there, along with a nice spicy flavor as well as a lingering sweetness with an alcohol bite mixed in. Mouthfeel is very thick and slighty syrupy, but not so much that it becomes distracting.

I've had this on tap at the brewpub before and really liked. I didn't know how this would hold up in the bottle, but I think New Holland did a fine job with this one.

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Photo of blackie
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: The pour creates a very thin off white head that soon all but disappears. The beer is a medium golden-amber, with medium sized aggregate particles suspended throughout.

smell: Big malty sweetness, of wheat I suppose. Hints of lighter fruits such as strawberry and pear. Big alcohol presence. Spicy hop aroma. Like a barleywine without as much, uh, barley.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the higher side of the low range...almost pushing into medium. The body is pretty darn heavy...one of the thicker beers I've had, slick and oily on the tongue.

taste: Never really tasted anything like this before, I'll have a hard time describing it. Very sweet and malty on the tongue, almost like a doppelbock...but not cloying. Some light fruit flavors are there. Light hop flavor and bitterness. Very similar to a barleywine...but without so much of the grain flavor and depth. Some alcohol is noticeable.

drinkability: Not so easy to put back the bottle, but what do you expect...and it is a good beer. Still, so thick and sweet that it takes quite awhile to drink.

Smuggled back from Madison and cellared for about four months.

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

Pours a dark amber color, with a decent sized white head. There is a great deal of bubble activity in the glass. Very nice lacing as well. Smells of candied-fruit. Barley and malt are high on the nose. There is also a great deal of wheat aroma. The taste has a good bitter pull along with fruity sweetness. Balance of hop and fruit is impressive. Alcohol content is certainly noticeable. In the mouth Pilgrim's Dole is full, bitter and relatively high in carbonation. It has a strong presence on the palate. Overall this is a nice, filling brew. One is enough though, due to its strength. It is definitely one to sip, enjoy and respect.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer was poured into a wide mouthed 20 ounce wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer had a clear coppery coloration. Tight carbonation streamed to the top of the glass. The beer nearly did a Guiness reverse cascade. The head was a creamy off white coloration and lasted a short while. No lacing remained behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer had a very good sweet wheaty malty smell. There was alot of spicy interplay loads of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Fruityness played around in the smell orange, lemon and lime sort of thing. I could make out something like freshly mowed grass in the smell. Is it oxidation? It didnt detract from the beer.

Taste: This beer had a very sweet malty lead in. The beer had a lot in common with a good Scotch Ale. There was pleasant fruityness to the beer apples, peaches and citrus compliment. The hop bitterness came in on the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel: The beer had a medium to full bodied mouthfeel. The alcohol was a bit loud in the mouthfeel. The beer was almost to sweet for my preferance. I think it could have used some more hops. Perhaps a fresher bottle would have helped. I will definately try a new bottle when a newer bottling occurs.

Drinkability: This beer ultimately for me was a pretty good drinking beer. The alcohol played nice with the taste and smell and was only slightly off in the mouthfeel.

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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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