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Pilgrim's Dole | New Holland Brewing Company

very good
359 Reviews
Pilgrim's DolePilgrim's Dole

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 359 | Ratings: 801
Photo of gatornation
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage

A- pours a clear dark copper color with a kahki 1 finger head that sticks around for a bit but resedes to just a fresh collar
S- mellow bourbon with wheat and fruit some malt and toffee and vanilla
T- smooth bourbon with oak and dark fruit a sweet malt and toffee middle traces of wheat and spice
M- very smooth and fresh ABV very well hidden bourbon is present but does not overpower this WW
O- very good but was more on the verge of a Barleywine than a WW IMO either way it was smooth tasty and the BB was awesome

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Photo of fitrock2112
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured Pilgrim's Dole into a Samuel Adams glass.

A - Pours a cloudy amber with a small film of white head.

S - Sweet dark fruits, heavy malt and wheat, light whiskey aroma. Not bad aroma on this brew.

T - Sweet candied fruit initially, heavy malt and wheat. Some toffee, carmel. It has some light hops and spicy alcohol mid palate. More alcohol than I would like.

M - Heavy beer here, heavy mouthfeel, little carbonation.

O - New to the style, but would try again. Is it great? No, but worth a shot. Give it try if you like the style. Cheers

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Photo of hardy008
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a copper color with an almost one finger beige head, which fades quickly, leaving no lacing. The aroma is very sweet and has raisins, figs, dates, and toffee.

The flavor is also sweet and has toffee, figs, dates, raisins, and alcohol. Even though the alcohol is noticeable, it is not overpowering. I am glad I let his sit for 8 months, or this most likely would have been too boozy.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. There is an aftertaste of toffee, dark fruit, and alcohol. A nice effort from New Holland.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle provided by Shaun #1, shared with me and Doug in snifters yesterday 6/3/2013.

Aroma: Bourbony, so very bourbony with a big vanilla presence plus a nice, tantalizing sweetness. Smells very good.

Colour: Pours a nice mahogany colour, small bit of white head. Not much lacing.

Flavour: Lots of bourbon, not as much heat of course. The barrel characteristic is very strong with its vanilla contribution. And the sweetness from the wheatwine is outstanding in how it complements the bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Thinner side of medium body, OK carbonation. Aftertaste has got a lot of barrel in it. Tasty. You can feel a little bit of heat but its not terrible.

Overall: Tasty barrel-aged wheatwine, well put together and the bourbon barrel definitely shines here- as I would expect from New Holland.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


Pours reddish brown with a white sudsy head.

Smells of caramel and tart apples.

Flavor is vanilla, apples, cinnamon, caramel and bourbon. Bit of hop bitterness.

Full body with light carbonation and boozy warmth.

Really tasty and powerful ale. Good sipper and great flavor.

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Photo of emyers
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a thin off-white head. Not much lacing.

Smell: Caramel, bready notes, bourbon. Bourbon is fairly subtle. Smells quite sweet. Smell is fairly simple, but quite good.

Taste: Similar to the smell, with tons of caramel and some bourbon up front, bready notes, and not a whole lot else. The bittering hops do a great job of holding the sweetness in check. I expected it to be cloying based on the aroma, but it isn't. Once again, simple, but quite good.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, especially with the caramely theme.

Overall: It's defintely not a complex beer, but the flavors are quite nice. I'd definitely revisit this beer.

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Photo of Brager77
4.57/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12 oz. Bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dark ruby color with a ½ inch, off white color, head. Light carbonation. Light lacing. Nice and clear.

S - Strong caramel smell with strong hints of bourbon. Smells great. Perhaps a bit of molasses in the background.

T - Hints of bourbon comes out more afterwards but tastes great. Lots of caramel and some molasses in the background. Very sweet. Flavors seem to come out even more as the drink warms up. Probably best to be served warmer than a normal beer.

M - A bit thick, but yet, still a very easy drinker with little carbonation. Sticky aftertaste in the mouth. Probably from the molasses.

O - Very easy drinker considering the 11.4% ABV. Overall very impressed and a very good Wheatwine. Would definitely consider aging a bottle or two for a couple years.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1pt. 6fl. oz. brown bottle – 2009 Batch

New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole Wheatwine filled my snifter with a cloudy caramel color producing a small tan head that dissipated (quickly) to form a bubbly ring. The nose is hit with sweet malt; caramel and toffee come to mind. The flavor is a little more complex than the nose. The taste adds dark fruits; raisins, and plums. The mouth feel is a little smooth but sticky and a little chewy with a pleasant alcohol warming. The Ale has a medium body for the style. Make sure you don’t drink this ale too cold; as it warms the flavor sure comes alive
Overall, Pilgrim’s Dole is a very easy drinking wheatwine especially considering its 11.4 abv…am sure the almost 3-years of aging played a big part in that. Nice job New Holland!

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Photo of buschbeer
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 6oz bottle
Served in a snifter

A - It's kind of a rosy amber color with amber highlights. A small, short-lived, tan head topped it off.

S - It is very malty. I get lots of molasses with some intermittent wafts of alcohol.

T - It has a sweetness to it. I get some alcohol and what reminds me again of molasses. According to the bottle it is the "caramelized character."

M - It has little carbonation making it rather smooth, but the alcohol content prohibits me from guzzling it.

O - It is a very good beer. If I was enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner today, it would make a great digestif.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Photo of Biffster
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a deep copper/brown, with amber and ruby notes. It pours with a low quickly dissipating head, but with a thin tawny lace that lingers at the edge of the glass.

The aroma is a strong toffee/chocolate aroma, with lots of dark bread crust, raisin and caramel. There are low to moderate leathery/old book notes, with some toasty roasty aromas emerging. There are some low to moderate estery bright fruit notes that come out as it warms. A moderate hot alcoholic solventy note is evident. While the aroma is complex, it is not phenolic or fruity as one would expect for a wheat beer.

The beer is surprisingly dry for the body, with a moderate to substantial hop flavor. It is very caramelly and toffee like, with lots of dark rye bread in the middle. There are lots of spicy pepper notes and a fairly substantial leathery, sherry like quality. The swallow is fairly spicy and hot, although not harsh. The finish is surprisingly dry from the alcohol, considering the body and residual sugar.

The carbonation is higher than expected from the pour - probably low to moderate. The body is full - almost oily, but the alcohol and carbonation combine to give a brighter than expected mouthfeel.

Overall, I like this way more than I expected. It is a pretty solid barleywine, and I'll get it again. The only problem from a review standpoint is that is is not a very impressive wheatwine - it wants more wheatbeer character to be to style.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of New Holland's Pilgrim's Dole a couple weeks ago for $4.09 at The Lager Mill. I had a bottle of this a couple years ago and I thought it was nice and complex sipping beer, now I see that they have released it in 12oz bottle which I think is a better Idea and the bottle states it's barrel aged which wasn't made apparent on that bottle I had years ago, so lets see how it goes. 2012 vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I really like the label on this beer, it's a better and more detailed version of what was on the original bottle, I think it's simple yet good looking. It poured a nice brown and copper color and when held to the light it takes on more of a dark ruby red and copper color with two fingers worth of slightly tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded to nothing and only left a little lacing. This was a good looking beer, I really liked the color.

S- The aroma starts off with tons of sweet malts that have a very high amount of sweetness and impart some nice caramel, toffee, bread, and grain aromas followed by a nice molasses aroma. Up next comes the dark fruits that consist mainly of figs and prunes, followed by an apple cider like aroma and some nice barrel aromas like oak, vanilla and very slight amount of bourbon with a little alcohol aroma to match it.. This beer had a good and complex aroma, but the sweetness seemed to be a little out of hand, good nonetheless.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and even more complex, it starts off with loads of malts that have a fairly high amount of sweetness that take on a molasses like flavor and is followed by some nice caramel, toffee, grainy, and slightly earthy flavors. Up next comes the fruit, I still pick up those figs and prunes, but there's also some plums, raisins, red grapes, and a little bit of apple cider flavors. Towards the end comes the barrel which imparts some woody, oak, vanilla and a slight bourbon flavor with a bit of warming alcohol on the finish, with a sweet and malty aftertaste. I like the taste of this beer, it's super complex and the barrel shows up more then I remember but it's not overpowering and blends nicely with the base beer.

M- A little smooth, rich, sticky, warming, slight chewy, on the full side of being medium bodied, with a lighter amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and it fit this beer perfectly, I have no complaints.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of a Wheat Wine, it tasted pretty similar to when I had it a couple years ago, but the barrel aspects stuck out more then I remember and that worked nicely with this beer. This beer has ok drinkability, it isn't that smooth, and it has a good amount of warming alcohol, this beer is a sipper plain and simple, one is just the right amount, I don't think I have it in me to drink two, the sweetness would be way too much for me. What I liked most about this beer was how complex it was and how well the mouthfeel suited this beer, those were the highlights of this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was the high amount of sweetness, it was a little intimidating at first, but once I got used to it it wasn't that bad, I just wished it was toned down a notch. I would buy this beer again, but not often, it's a once in a while treat, and it's pretty expensive, but I feel like it's worth it, I recommend giving it a try if your a Wheatwine fan or like high octane beers. All in all I was happy with this beer, it was much like I remember with just a little more barrel aspect that only adds to the complexity. I am a big fan of Wheatwines, but it's a style I don't find often and I wish more brewery's explored this style, New Holland did a great job with this one, I like it more the Dragons Milk. Good job guys, this is one high octane and good tasting Wheatwine, I deem it worthy. 2014 Edit, it's been a little over a year and half since I've last had this vintage, but I just pulled one out of the cellar for my birthday and it's tasting pretty good, it's still fairly boozy and a little hot, but there's some great and rich caramel and oaky flavors coming through that stick out more then they did when this beer was fresh. I still think age could help and hopefully tone down some of the booze but as it stands right now I think it's a 4.4. I might wait a year to ty the other bottle in my cellar.

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Photo of Etan
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a tulip. Probably a 2009 bottle.

A: Pours a nice reddish-brown with a big off-white head.

S: Thick and sweet aroma of molasses, ripe figs and prunes, marshmallow, vanilla, and sweet bourbon.

T: Taste is oakier than the aroma, but similar. Coconut, red grapes, squished raisins, mild chocolate, slight unmalted wheat, old green apple hop notes, bourbon-soaked oak and mild warming booze in the finish.

M: Between medium and thick-bodied with slight carbonation.

O: A tasty wheatwine with nice barrel notes. I'd definitely buy it again.

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Photo of jera1350
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a four pack now? Awesome!

Very little head on this one. Dark and mysterious orange brown color.

Smell is very sweet and caramelly with light bourbon and vanilla notes.

Great taste that is very well blended. Toffee, caramel, vanilla and bourbon. The barrel aging on this is fantastic as it's not hot and boozy. Like a well aged barrel aged wheatwine here. Terrific.

Sticky and full with lighter carbonation.

Really enjoy this beer overall. Ready to drink right out of the gate, no aging necessary. Very dangerous for what the abv is. Great beer.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from New Holland Brewery (Holland, MI). 12.99. No markings on the bottle but it was sold as a 2009 vintage. Served in a Founders snifter. 

Pours a clearish red orange with one finger pale head. Recedes fairly quickly, leaving a few spots of lacing. 

Smells like an oak aged barleywine. Kinda strange. There's bourbon, bready malt, vanilla, straw, sugar and marshmallow. 

Flavor still much like an barreled barleywine. Bourbon, grass, burnt caramel, wood, lemon peel, leather, spice, tangerine and vanilla. Many layers and surprisingly other than the bourbon notes there's no strong alcohol taste. It really smoothens and opens up as it warms. 

Smooth medium thick feel with mild carbonation. Slightly oily. The 11%+ alcohol finally shows up in the long, dry, bourbony, bittersweet finish. 

A much more traditional barleywine take on a wheatwine. I'm sure 3 years of aging has calmed this one down a good bit. I'll give the other bottle I have another 2-3 to see if the bourbon fades and allows a little more sweetness through. Far from my favorite wheatwine but certainly worth a try. 

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to Founders tulip.

A - Medium to dark amber colour; translucent. A small layer of cream coloured head formed on the pour and quickly receded to a ring around the glass.

S - A bit hit of bourbon up front with subtle vanilla tones and some woody oak aromas. Some sweet caramel and toffee aromas from the base beer are present in the background.

T - A massive bourbon taste up front with a big rush of warming alcohol. After a few sips the alcohol calms down a little bit but remains present. The middle offers toasted oak, toffee, dark caramel and a hint of vanilla. The bourbon returns in the finish.

M - Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

O - The bourbon barrel aging overpowers the base beer and makes this somewhat one-dimensional.

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Photo of divineaudio
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2011 batch.

a - pours a transparent copper shade with some streaming bubbles visible. gave me a thin cap of cream colored head that quickly calmed to a film.

s - vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits.

t - rich carmel malt with nice, present vanilla and bourbon flavors. also has some dark fruity notes and a peppery spiciness on the middle of the tongue. finishes on the sugary side with a faint taste of alcohol.

m - medium in body with more carbonation than i would like. coarse co2 profile makes the spiciness found in the taste more pronounced. significant alcohol warming happening here too.

o - quite enjoyable, though a bit of a slow sipper. a nice alternative to the bourbon barrel stouts that are everywhere now. i'd like to get a few more bottles of this and save them for special occasions.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had to get rough with this one before it would give me decent head. You may insert your favorite dirty joke here. Even with a heavy pour, I got half a finger of effervescent head that up and left me faster than my fiancee would leave me if the actor who played Michael Scofield (sp?) on Prisonbreak walked in the room. The body is a medium brown with orange and light reddish notes.

Grapes, raisins and dark fruits soften up your nose like the Luftwaffe. The Blitzkrieg begins when you get to the delicious heavy malt, caramel and sweet sugary aromas. A wheat and faint oak backbone ensures that the assault stays supplied on the frontlines.

This guy is very sweet. Dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel all mix with malt in the beginning to create a tumultuous bunch of flavors that are difficult to pick out. These are backed up with what tastes like smoked oak staves with a hint of vanilla, and surprise, more malt. EDIT: When this beer warms up, it is like drinking essence of lumberyard. It is fine cold, but it just got heavy and unpleasant warm.

The body on this is firmly entrenched in the realm of medium-heavy. It flows easily due to the carbonation, isn't sticky or drying, but is definitely a little heavy to be considered refreshing. Not that I write that as a bad thing.

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Photo of samie85
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep copper color with two fingers of white, rocky head.

Smells of rich, dark, stonefruit with notes of burnt sugar and vanilla.

Follows the nose with rich, dark stonefruit: plums, dates, and some burnt sugar with caramel malt backing.

Warming mouth and throatfeel with low carbonation and a slick yet almost tannic dryness to it.

This one feels as alcoholic as it is, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, however it is very rich and indulgent. I can only do beers like this one a few times a year.

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Photo of chromemittenman
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Why I haven't had this sooner being from West Michigan is beyond me.

I went to New Holland 2/18/12 and had a pour of it on tap...but by review will be based on a 2/20 taste of it out of a 2011 bottle I bought later that night.

Pours a rich amber color, reminds me of the colors of fall and harvest.

Smell...definitely has a bourbon smell to it...imagine that with it being aged in Bourbon barrels.

Not much head on it, nice lacing on the glass though.

This beer is absolutely exceptional. 12% wheatwhine aged in bourbon barrels ...balances perfect for the right amount of booziness and goes down real smooth. I purchased some old 2005 bottles from New Holland and also got a couple bombers. I think I will have the 05 sooner than later and will let one bomber cellar for a good while and see what happens with it. Huge thumbs up to this brew.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served In a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- nice caramel color with just a thin white head. No lacing.

S- boozy! Dark fruits, sweet malts, vanilla and some bourbon.

T- booze not quite as prevalent as the nose. Sweet caramel, bourbon and some vanilla.

M- medium body and low carbonation. Little thin with abv very noticeable.

O- good wheat wine, but could use some time in the cellar to take some of the heat off. May buy another bottle and let it sit for a year.

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Photo of nmbr0ne
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter from bottle.

Appearance: Reddish brown body. Tiny amount of white head. Barely any lacing.

Smell: Caramel, vanilla, lots of bourbon and alcohol.

Taste: Caramel mostly. Some vanilla from the bourbon I feel. A little nutty.

Mouthfeel: Slight burn from the alcohol. Sweet, with a tiny hint of a bitter finish. Medium bodied. Decent amount of carbonation.

Overall: Good beer. Too much alcohol though. The aroma disguises it a bit I feel, but you can definitely taste it.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark toffee/copper color with no chill haze, a creamy off white head, and moderately light carbonation.

S - A strong nose mostly of toffee, caramel,mild alcohol, and a touch of vanilla and maple. The nose is candy sweet and thick.

T - Follows the nose with alot of toasted toffee, caramel, and rum raisons. There is some mild bitterness right at the very end but the palette is dominated with a sweet rum raison taste.

M - Thick and heavy, viscous, syrupy, and leaves a coating of sugar on the lips.

O - Big, strong, and boozy. Next time I open a bomber of this I'll share it with a friend, too much for one person, having a hard time finishing it - very malty sweet. As I work my way through the bottle, the alcohol becomes more prevalent.

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Photo of 2378GCGTG
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass at 44 degrees

Appearance: 0.5 inch eggshell white head after a vigorous pour. Nice brown copper color head

Smell: Similar to an american barley wine, caramel and prunes, then a punch of bourbon, pecans, and vanilla

Taste: This is a very interesting beer. Soft and clean (obviously because of the wheat). Tastes or bourbon, heavy vanilla, very light pecans, some butter and caramel.

Mouthfeel: very light and velvety, bourbon and wheat complement each other nicely.

Overall: An interesting beer. Very clean and drinkable, doesn't really hint at the relatively high ABV. I want to age one just to see what happens.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a slightly hazy mahogany color. A vigorous pour yields almost a finger of light tan head. The head falls pretty fast, leaving behind just a few specs of lace stuck behind.

S - The nose has a good amount of dark fruit right off the bat. There are some aromas of caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and booze.

T - The taste follows the nose pretty well. It starts off with a little bit of wheat and a pretty big dark fruit presence. There are flavors of raisins, figs, dates, and some red apple. There are also some flavors of caramel, toffee, molasses, and a little bit of spiciness. Booze is detectable, which is to be expected at 11.4%. The finish leaves some lingering dark fruit, sweet caramel, and booziness.

M - This has a pretty full body and lower carbonation. It goes down easy and has a syrupy but smooth quality to it. There is a fair amount of sweetness going on in this beer, as well as some boozy warmth.

O - This has pretty good drinkability. It is definitely a sipper, but I certainly enjoyed it. The wheat was less pronounced than I would have liked it to be, but I still thought it was a really nice and interesting beer. I definitely think this beer is worth trying out at least once. I would buy it again though.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 11/5/09. Thanks to MarcatGSB for this bottle!

Appearance - Deep red body with almost no head. No lacing, but some bubbles persist on the top of the beer.

Smell - Bourbon is prominent. Sweet caramel is also prominent. A strong fruity smell comes through, but it seems to be a result of a very strong alcohol presence. Nose-burning alcohol.

Taste - Bourbon and caramel feature the most, but it has a burnt toast flavor at the end. Maybe that's the wheat? It also seems to have bitterness that may come from hops or from the burnt toast character. It's kind of unpleasant, but the other flavors are nice. The booze is still quite prominent.

Mouthfeel - The alcohol is a lot, but otherwise it's pleasant to drink. The dry finish throws me off with so much caramel sweetness, but it keeps it from being syrupy.

Overall - Nice, but simple and occasionally overpowering (as in the burnt flavor in the finish). It's good, but lacks a certain refinement.

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Pilgrim's Dole from New Holland Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 359 ratings.
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