Trappist Holiday Ale
The Spencer Brewery

Trappist Holiday AleTrappist Holiday Ale
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #47
Ranked #4,617
4.1 | pDev: 10.73%
The Spencer Brewery
Massachusetts, United States
Trappist Holiday AleTrappist Holiday Ale
Notes: Mahogany in color, wholesome in body, lightly spiced, a heart-warming feast day ale from our table to yours.
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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 159 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of milkshakebeersucks
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown appearance with a small tan head and modest lacing. Aroma of dried fruit, caramel, brown bread and nutmeg. Taste is fruitcake, spices, licorice and candied sweetness. Warm, sweet lingering finish.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark and lightly murky burgundy with a finger and a half of off-white, khaki foam that retains well. Aroma is spices, cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled over sugary notes of caramel, toffee, molasses and butterscotch. Toasty, nutty and caramely malts add a little further depth. Flavor profile is more sugary notes - butterscotch, toffee, molasses, caramel - with additions of nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices. Balance firmly leans towards sugary with spices taking up the finish. Toasty, nutty and caramely malts add a little bitterness and balance throughout the profile. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a very fine grain. Carbonation is moderately soft. Overall, filling with a quality combo of spices and sweetness that net out a fair balance, despite leaning towards the latter.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from an 11.2oz bottle.

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Photo of BrucehQ0983
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber hue with light head retention, lightly boozy, fruity, balanced. Clean finish with notes of plum, raisins, cherry. Really fits the season, warm, medium carbonation. Overall, delicious and brilliant flavors.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle into a wine glass. No freshness dating could be found, but I believe it to be thIs years release.

Nice mahogany colored body. Small off white head quickly fizzes out to a ring and faint covering. No lacing.

Aroma is sweet, faint spice, little else.

On tasting, it's smooth, slightly spicy and fruity. Understated, but not unpleasant. Easy drinking

Mouth medium, though seems thinner at times. Finish sweet and faint spice.

Overall, an okay drink, a little underwhelming, or some would say subtle.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in a snifter. Date stamp on back of bottle: 11/22/18 F04 10:16. A slow pour to leave the sediment behind.

Appearance: Dark copper with ruby red highlights. Thin off-white head with some thin strands of lacing that slowly slid down the glass.

Smell: Lightly boozy with some dark fruits and caramel/toffee notes.

Taste: Nicely malty with cherry and dark fruits, caramel/toffee sweetness, sharply bitter finish for contrast.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, sticky on the teeth, nice thickness, dry finish with some warming from the higher ABV.

Overall / Drinkability: A very nice slow sipping and savoring beer. If this has aged a year, it's aged well.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is a dark brown. Head isn't as rocky as I'm used to seeing for the style.

Aroma is spicy, clove comes to mind most. Wish there was more in the line of dry cherry, raisin, fig etc.

Taste has nice holiday spice notes but I prefer my BSDAs to drink a little drier and less sweet. Mind you this is not a sweet beer, only a bit sweeter and more syrupy than its Belgian brethren.

Wish mouthfeel was a bit more effervescent, for the style.

Overall this is very tasty, I'm only being picky for the style and comparing it to great versions from Belgium. Would pair well with food and plan to have one with my Christmas meal.

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Photo of Lucular
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

5 oz pour on tap. Hits all the right notes for a Belgian strong dark ale: raisin, fig, molasses, dark malts, candi sugar, some warming alcohol, and (appropriate for a holiday ale) some spices. Mouthfeel could have been a bit more full.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz brown bottle caged and corked

Spencer Trappist Holiday Ale filled my tulip glass with a mahogany colored body. A tan 2-finger bubbly head was produced. The head held very well as consumed. Aromas of dark fruit; plum, raisin, figs are noted upfront with a sweet and spicy background. The taste matches the aroma with spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and the sweetness of caramel and brown sugars are much more pronounced.

The body and carbonation are high-medium with a smooth and somewhat creamy mouth feel. Alcohol is well hidden with a mild warming at the finish.

HOLIDAY Ale is a flavorful, well balanced Belgian Strong Dark Ale that is easy drinking...I'll have another!

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from my Spencer chalice

A - Pours a dark cola colour with an off white head that retains and laces
S - Aromas of fruit, Orange, biscuit very pronounced
T - Nice roasted malts and spicy citrus flavours, not so much dark berries as you would expect from a Belgian beer of this type. This is a winter warmer type beer.
M - Medium to full body with medium carbonation
O - This one tastes like a winter warmer and is worth seeking out. But don't expect a classic Trappist beer

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of spicy sweet Christmas cookies with caramelized malt notes. Taste is a nice mix of spices with some Christmas cookies and some caramelized malt with some candied sugar. Body is about average with good level of carbonation with some not real apparent alcohol notes. Enjoyable but maybe a tad too sweet.

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Photo of jkblr
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle bb 9/27/19 poured into a Spencer signature chalice at just above fridge temp 9% ABV. The beer pours light to medium brown with dark red highlights. The head is very light brown and settles to a thin ring and island. No lacing. The aroma is rich malt with hints of brown sugar and clove. The taste is semisweet amber/caramel malt and clovey spiciness up front with a drying, burnt sugar caramel flavor on the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with above average carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, very good. This is a drier, less fruity example of the style with a little more bitterness thrown in. Nicely done, but not my preference for the style.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not bad. Not as bold or deep as the masters in this style, but it has a nice taste. While it doesn't impress on first sip, it gets better as you go on. The ginger is also a bit offsetting, but this too gets better as you are supping along. Would probably have again.

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Photo of eberesford
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark ruddy brown with a generous creamy off white head. Aroma: dark fruits and spices. Flavour: ginger, honey, dark fruit, holiday spices, caramel, bready.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle served cold into a tulip. Best before July 26, 2020.

Appearance - pours a shade of dark brown, with honey hues. A finger of light tan head is poured and sits on top, fizzling away in mere moments.

Smell - Honey, ginger, some holiday spices (cinnamon and cardamom namely). Bready as well, some overall aroma is that of a fruitcake. Subtle bits of caramel and bread.

Taste - Complex. Starts like the nose with ginger, honey and holiday spice, transitions to dark fruit (figs and plums) with caramel that is most reminiscent of a classic BSDA, then turns a bit bitter at the end with molasses and treacle. An interesting treat. Quite a bit more bitter on the whole than I expected.

Mouthfeel - Medium-heavy bodied, expressive carbonation, dry finish and some heat from the ginger and cinnamon and booze combo.

Overall - A little more bitter and too much ginger and spice for my tastes, but otherwise a solid BSDA, and certainly one that is a little different and some BA's are sure to love. A nice capper to the Holiday pack.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep chestnut in color with a thumb of off white head. Head breaks leaving a collar,but little lacing.

Smell is nice and spicy and fruity. Reminds me of St Bernardus Christmas Ale. But then again that might be the point.

Taste is a small step down from the nose. The spiciness is still there, especially what I perceive as cardamom. The Belgian yeast and fruitiness that I associate with the style are just not there.

Feel is medium bodied with fine and active carbonation. Finish leaves a spicy taste in your mouth much like a spice cookie or a gingersnap.

There is just something a step off on this one to make it a good Xmas ale. It just falls a little on flavor with that cardamom overpowering the other Xmas spices. Worth a shot, but I won't revisit.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: One finger white head, hazy brown-red body.

Smell: See below.

Taste: Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, belgian yeast, mild toasted bread, mild vinous notes.

Feel: Medium body and carbonation, dry finish.

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Photo of Nephilium
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Strong aroma of spice and dark fruit, pours a murky amber with a thin white head. Slightly sweet and sticky, with toffee and caramel notes. Full bodied, and definitely a sipper. Another solid beer from the newest Trappis brewery.

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Photo of bmaslakov
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spencer Holiday Ale is a unique one. It is the only Trappist ale from the new world in its Christmastime variation. The beer begins with opening a champagne-style cork, which unfolds a subtle and complex aroma of sparkling citrus and dried fruit. Poured into a 0.33 Teku glass it is a wonderful chocolate burgundy color with caramel highlights and a fat four-finger thick foam. The Ale tastes bitter and savory finishing with pepper, cumin and clove notes. Round and creamy body plus medium carbonation. Overall: I expected a lot from this beer and this brewery and I got a lot. A very drinkable beer, undoubtedly worth trying. Works best on cold winter evenings by the warm crackling fire :)

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Photo of patre_tim
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber and looks filtered, with a moderate amount of champagne like carbonation. Topped with 5 fingers of beige head.

Smells of pumpkin spices, cardamon, ginger, and cloves in particular.

The taste follows the nose, and is backed with molasses, brown sugar, and black liquorice.

Thick, syrupy body with little carbonation. It has a slightly sticky feel to it as well.

Got in Agawam, Massachusetts, drinking in Muskoka, Ontario, Feb 22nd, 2018. Very interesting brew that I'm glad to have gotten my hands on.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in Ohio for $13.99/4 pk.
Poured with a nice rocky head. Clear, ruddy color. Nose didn't seem to have much noticeable spice but definite Trappist-quality yeastiness. Medium to full taste with good malt backbone and decent amount of spice but not cloying or overpowering. Bitterness in finish that is a nice complement to EtOH and spices. Well-made beer.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle

Pours hazy foggy mahogany red amber with a dense creamy off-white foam head. Smells like a nice elegant blend of flowers, herbs and spices with some banana, red plum and dried fruit notes, some caramely toasted bready cereal grain, clove, coriander-like sweet spice, some bubblegum, with floral herbal earthy woodsy grassy pine. Tastes pretty phenolic and bubblegumy with banana, peppery clove spice, flowers, herbs, spices, red plum, dried fruit, caramely dark toasted malts, with floral herbal earthy woodsy grassy pine. Feels medium-light bodied, creamy smooth with moderate carbonation. Overall a really nice and interesting Belgian style holiday ale.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Harvest Market Slightly hazy deep copper color with a decent sized tightly bubbled off white head. Lots of spice atop a rich dark fruity melanoid light toasty maltiness. Nice little sipper.

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Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is very hazy light brown in color. It poured with a thin off white head that died down a bit, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of spices are present in the nose along with some hints of malts and earthiness.
T: The taste has lots of flavors of Belgian yeast along with strong notes of spices—clove and nutmeg seem to stand out in particular.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer lacks the dark fruits normally associated with beers of this style but is an interesting selection for the holidays with all of its spices.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of smcolw
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Light brown color with a strong cloudiness. Decent head which lasts in the form of foam on the surface. Good streaks on the glass.

Pleasant alcohol and spice in the form of clove and licorice. There's a bit of medicine to the nose as well.

The medicinal aspect is a bit stronger on the tongue. The Christmas aspect comes from the spicing--I identify mostly clove and light nutmeg. The alcohol remains the strongest flavor. Very high carbonation with a below average body. The aftertaste is spicy with a light darker malt balance.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany pour with a tiny-bubbled cap of light tan. Aroma is light spice amid much cooked sugar. Flavor reveals more of the spicy character with a bit of zing that balances the inherent sweetness well, though I had expected more varied spice profile. Somewhat dry, a surprisingly light mouthfeel, and slightly bitter finish. This gets better, and more dimensional, as it warms... go figure!

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Trappist Holiday Ale from The Spencer Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 159 ratings