Sailing Santa
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Sailing SantaSailing Santa
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
IPA - American
Ranked #6,643
ABV:
7.2%
Score:
83
Ranked #41,561
Avg:
3.65 | pDev: 14.25%
Reviews:
60
Ratings:
246
From:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
 
Texas, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  7
Gots
  45
SCORE
83
Good
Sailing SantaSailing Santa
Notes: Sailing Santa is a deep copper colored blend of our Christmas Ale and Elissa IPA with spices added. The result is a pleasantly hoppy strong dark ale with spices. The genesis of this beer came from our customers on tours asking to blend the two beers. Eventually, someone came up with the name Sailing Santa. We have now added spices to the beer, changing the mix slightly from year to year, to add to the holiday experience of enjoying a pint. We actually brew a batch of Christmas Ale, then a batch of Elissa IPA and blend them in the fermenter. We add the spices at the end of fermentation.

For the 2015 version, we were able to get our hands on a brand new hop, called Snap, which is actually a blend of hops, spices and botanicals. What exactly is in there? We can't say. How do you blend hops with spices and botanicals? We can't say. We can tell you that the new hop, added at the end of fermentation, adds a ginger snap aroma and a complexity that makes Sailing Santa taste like the holidays.

Our Sailing Santa is pure, with no additives or preservatives. In order to maintain the freshest flavor possible, we do not pasteurize our beer. Many of its subtle flavors are delicate and would not stand up to the heat of pasteurization. We recommend that this product be stored cold to avoid any degradation in flavor. You will notice that the spice notes decrease over time.
Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 246 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red and light brown color, white head, 1/3". An aroma that was a little hoppy, good amount of malt, color and aroma kinda got me thinking Celebration Ale knock off here.

It really follows that mold of a darker, winter kind of ipa. Not quite brown malt, but maybe darker roasting of the pale malts, I dunno how they do it. Its enjoyable. Wouldn't sneeze at this in a 6 pack for $10 or less.

Jan 28, 2016
Photo of thatche2
thatche2 from Georgia

3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance is light copper/ruby red with a lot of transparency. Head is moderate one finger thick with little retention. There is also little lacing around the glass.

Smell is spices (clove, cinnamon and allspice) and floral hops. Some caramel is also coming through (no alcohol is noticeable).

Taste is initially lightly roasted malt followed by spice with hops coming through on the finish. Brown sugar, butter and caramel come through moderately as well. There is some bitterness from the hops that adds balance. The overall flavor is pretty good but has average depth and duration.

Mouthfeel is fairly light with a good amount of carbonation (maybe too much).

Overall this is an interesting winter beer that is fairly easy to drink. The combination of the Christmas Ale and the Elissa IPA works well and creates decent balance. I will not actively search this beer out but will probably pick up a bomber or two during the holidays.

Jan 10, 2016
Photo of cdharris
cdharris from Texas

3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good Christmas beer, but I generally like the Christmas stouts and porters better. I'm a big fan of Saint Arnold beers, but this isn't my favorite. I prefer the regular Christmas Ale over this beer.

Jan 09, 2016
Photo of awayne56
awayne56 from Texas

2.78/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Growing up, my mom always made spice tea during the holidays. This is a boozy version of her spice tea. I like the taste but the novelty grows old quickly.I like the citrusy hops but the spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves steal the show. Initial reaction is like, but it gets old quickly especially when drinking a bomber. I was gifted 2 of these and I'm in norush to open the 2nd one. From a taste standpoint this is mostly citrusy hops and winter spices,

Dec 28, 2015
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Tuck_leepulin from Texas

4.38/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 batch poured into a snifter glass.

Pours a deep copper with 1/2 finger of white head with good lacing. This batch is a great improvement with elements of malty complexity from Christmas ale and hop flavor and aroma from Elissa. All of this is enhanced thanks to the holiday spices and Snap hops. Fantastic festive brew.

Dec 16, 2015
Photo of HipCzech
HipCzech from Texas

3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 1 pint 6 fl oz bottle (11/09/15) poured into a Saint Arnold nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Near clear, warm copper with a frothy head of white foam and streaky lace.

Smell: Toasty grain, caramel, grass and warm spices (cinnamon, nutmeg).

Taste: Malty body with slight dark sugar. Good hop balance throughout, earth, citrus and grass intermingled with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, slightly oily and moderately carbonated.

Overall: Very drinkable; suitable malty base with balance between hops and holiday spice.

Dec 06, 2015
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deltacoog from Texas

4.37/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Honestly, this year's version (2015) and ratings should cause for a new name. With the addition of new hops and gingerbread aroma and flavors, this beer underwent a welcoming change. It still has the traditional Christmas Ale and Elissa tones but with something extra and special. I'll be picking up some extra bombers over the next few weeks.

Nov 22, 2015
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint jar. Clear golden orange, with a decent head but little lacing. Smell is not very evident. Taste is hoppy, floral with some spicy flavors. It is ok, but better Christmas beers out there.

Nov 20, 2015
Photo of Vipsanius
Vipsanius from Texas

4.4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

BA app considers my rating an "outlier" and won't let me submit it without a review. Honestly, I'm not sure why it's not better reviewed. I thought this was a pretty exceptional beer.

I kept it in my fridge for a while loathing drinking another mediocre IPA (supposedly). I was pleasantly surprised to find this really wasn't an IPA at all. The malty overtones with the holiday spices and just enough to hops to balance it out made this a beer I'd want to grab again and one I'll look forward to next year.

Jan 04, 2015
Photo of Karibourgeois
Karibourgeois from Texas

3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper colored pour with a slightly off-white one-finger head. Floral hop aroma with a hint of fall spices. A light spice mix (nutmeg, clove, brown sugar) dominates the taste upfront. Can also taste some bread and caramel in the medium body. There's a hint of earthy and floral hops on the back end that balances the flavor and develops to become more powerful as the beer warms to finish with a nice herbal hop flavor.

Dec 18, 2014
Photo of TX-Badger
TX-Badger from Texas

3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice deep copper color with white head. Some Christmas holiday spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, some hay and a little grass on the nose, rounded out by a hint of caramel malt; follows onto the palate. Finishes with some spice, grass, and bread.

Dec 02, 2014
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.16/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with red colour branded pry-off pressure cap and appealing label art acquired at a local bottle shop for $5.99 USD and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Reviewed as a hybrid IPA/Christmas ale since the label clearly identifies it as such. 2013 vintage.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of white/pale khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 3-4 minutes.

Body colour is a translucent transparent copper with vague amber hues. Average vibrance. Good clarity. Appears adequately carbonated. Clean; no yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking generally appealing. Not unique or special. There are no noticeable flaws. I'm optimistic.

Sm: Spices: nutmeg, allspice, coriander, and cinnamon. Caramalt. Pale malts. Floral hop character. Bready malts/bread crust. Some dark (e.g. brown) sugars. The general breadiness dominates.

No alcohol or yeast character is detectable. A pleasant aroma of mild strength. I'm looking forward to trying it. I guess it evokes a vaguely Christmasy vibe.

T: The spices from the aroma are all featured here, with nutmeg dominating - barely. Light bready malts/bread crust. Caramalt. Pale malts. Some dark sugars; a bit of brown sugar. Floral hop character. Not real fruity/nectary/citrusy/oily/resinous/dank. The IPA half bows to the malty/spicy half - perhaps to its detriment. It's sweeter than it is bitter. Light graham cracker.

Okay balance. Decent build; it has a fair cohesion. Not gestalt. Lacks subtlety, complexity, intricacy, and nuance. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

I'm not sure what they were going for with this blend, but it's not coming together like it should. I like it in a general sense, but I'm largely underwhelmed.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Fairly thick. Medium-bodied. Pretty filling. Has moderate weight on the palate. A bit overcarbonated.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, or harsh.

Dr: Downable but forgettable. A questionable blend from Saint Arnold; why these two constituent beers? It's boggling, but it's a nice marketing ploy - at least you get the revenue from Saint Arnold fans who'll buy any new offering. Hey, they got my money. I'd like to see more commitment to the craft and less market posturing from the cats at Saint Arnold. They can do better than this; this is the kind of crap Stone pulls. I wouldn't get it again, and I'd caution friends from buying it. I see no reason to make this aside from profit potential. It's kind of disgraceful from a business standpoint. The whole is not more than the sum of its parts. Indeed, it's less. A self-respecting brewer would know better.

C+

Feb 10, 2014
Photo of superspak
superspak from Ohio

4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/7/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear deep orange amber color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, orange zest, caramel, apple, toast, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, floral, light pine, and herbal earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop, spice, and malt notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, caramel, toast, cinnamon, apple, nutmeg, ginger, clove, floral, light pine, and herbal earthiness. Light earthy pine/herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest, caramel, apple, cinnamon, toast, ginger, nutmeg, floral, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt, hop, and spice flavors; with a great malt/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice spiced IPA style. All around good balance and complexity of the Christmas ale and IPA counterparts; and very smooth and crisp to drink. I really enjoyed this one.

Jan 13, 2014
Photo of Hops4Pops
Hops4Pops from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber bottle 2013
A: Side pour into a pint glass. Eggshell white head about 1 inch. Quickly receding to surface foam and leaving a bit of lacing that is somewhat sticky on the glass. Dark reddish amber in reflexive light and a dark honey amber with light shining through it. Carbonation is good.
S: Smells good. Nothing strong sticking out.
T: Tastes good. Nothing wrong with this beer.
M: Rather flat. Not bad. Smooth and creamy and fades away with a a sweetness.
O: I must admit my knowing that this beer is a blend of Elissa IPA and Christmas Ale 2013 with spices added is clouding my thinking. I am still doing my best. I am going to rate this beer a 3.5 across the board. Its not a bad beer by any means. It just does not have enough body of one origin and does not have any distinguishing characteristics to make me excited. Its a good beer and I am drinking all of it.

Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Isrealite
Isrealite from Texas

4.43/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 version. St. Arnold's Elissa I.P.A. and Christmas Ale are both solid brews respectively, however they are certainly not the brewer's best work in my opinion. Blending them together in a winter holiday setting perfectly balanced what I liked about both beers, and the spices definitely brought everything together. Great hop aroma, which compelled me to take the first sip out of the bomber...and it was so good I never got a chance to see what the beer even looked like the first time I had this one! Bought it again shortly after, and poured it into a glass. Looks pretty. Nice orange copper color, with a decent head, and excellent lacing. In retrospect, I liked it better straight out of the bomber. The crisp hop taste of Elissa, the smooth character of Christmas Ale, blended together with gingerbread-like spices made for the best remedy against snobby in laws this holiday season. I hope Santa sails my way, and puts this beer in my stocking.

Dec 20, 2013
Photo of SavvyStudent
SavvyStudent from Texas

2.94/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours cloudy yellow-orange hue with a finger of head. Smell off the nose offered some hop freshness and some spiced bread and peach. Taste was a big diss appointment with some gingerbread like profile with some hops but nothing spectacular. Will not probably try this again but was interesting

Dec 15, 2013
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us from South Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks goes out to 67couple for sharing this one during a recent Random Sunday Tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured yellow-orange with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, spice, fruit, earth, and earth hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, spice, earth, and earth hop. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty average brew. Nothing on this brew really stood out to me. There was quite a bit going on, but it just did not all flow together in unison and rather seemed to clash on your palate. This was really kind of a letdown as the flavors in this one had potential to be quite good if they would have blended well together. Glad I got to try this one, but doubt I would go out of my way to do so again.

Jan 15, 2013
Photo of bmwats
bmwats from Louisiana

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into my newly gifted West Lakeview - Chicago tulip (because I wanted to).

A: Pure amber hue. Pours about a half finger, bubbly, white head. Settles quickly, retaining a slight beer ring around the rim.

S: Light, buttery, nutty, malt tones with some nice piny hop character.

T: Hoppy, with a touch of indistinct sweetness screaming from the cheap seats.

M: Full, hearty body. Hops pervasive throughout, however, not heightened. Pungent sweetness remains.

D: More of a sipping experience due to a pungently unusual finish.

Atmosphere is pretty decent. Nice hue, fair head, no real lacing. Nose is light combination of nutty and piny notes. A little hoppy balanced with a little sweet, neither taking the lead. Nicely balanced. Overall, this is a pretty good (albeit unusual) quaff.

Dec 31, 2012
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KKB from Massachusetts

3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A – A light copper body with light carbonation and a tall egg shell head. It isn’t exactly outstanding but it looks very nice. There is some lacing but it is minimal, which is a little disappointing.

S – It has a light, very pleasant aroma to it. A nice balance of malt and hops give it a toffee and floral quality. Some mild spice as well and a slight bread. It smells ok, but not great certainly.

T – Well the flavor is much bolder than the smell would indicate which is really an improvement. Still you get some of the flavors that you had in the nose just dialed up a notch. The toffee element is a bit sweeter and more pronounced, and it also has a fruity quality to it as well as a tea aspect. The hops are very wanting though, and just barely detectable. I’ll give them this though, it really tastes pretty good. A very safe beer though, and it is not outstanding. It is pretty good though.

M – Probably the worst part about this beer, still it’s ok. I actually just looked at the ABV though and that makes this a tad bit more impressive to me. I would have said this was like 5% alcohol at the most. So there’s that. It’s medium body, with very little carbonation, but it really does not stay long on the palate at all.

O – This beer is ok, I don’t necessarily recommend it but it’s definitely not something you should turn down. It tastes really pretty pleasant but it is totally a safe beer and entirely underwhelming.

Dec 30, 2012
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vickersspitfire from Texas

3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a very nice burnt copper color has a crystal clear body and mild carbonation and is topped off with a nice semi-thick tan head, which slowly dissipates into a thin layer of bubbles. Very good lacing Hops are ever present in the aroma along with grapefruit, lemon peel, coriander and some spices. This has a medium mouth feel-leaning more toward the light end though, it is crisp all around mild citrus flavors come through-lemon grass, grapefruit. It’s slightly bitter over all but goes down easily. The aftertaste gets a bit more aggressive but isn’t hard to handle. Overall a very good IPA.

Dec 27, 2012
Photo of Pegasus
Pegasus from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear reddish amber with a modest head, which soon fades to a thin dusting. Thick glass-coating lace adorns the glass walls. The carbonation is faint, with only an occasional bubble rising lazily to the surface.

Aroma: Deep caramel,with Christmas spices, with grapefruit and herbal hops.

Taste: Opens with a pine tar hop note, and toasted malt. As the taste progresses, the hops become a bit more assertive. Along the way, there are some faint Christmas spices. Finishes with a lingering, moderate herbal and pine tar hop presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, fairly pleasant, with the carbonation a bit stinging.

Drinkability/notes: An interesting beer, the label sates that it is a blend of Elissa IPA and Christmas Ale. The Elissa IPA dominates the flavor, in my opinion, this beer would be better if the Christmas Ale were more emphasized. Still, not a bad choice for a cold, blustery, but snow-free Christmas Day.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-two ounce brown glass bomber, served in a New Belgium Brewing

Dec 25, 2012
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beerdrifter from Germany

3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 version. Clear copper-amber pour with two finger head with decent retention and nice lacing. Spicy, herbal nose with tons of cinnamon along with hints of caramel, biscuit, and pine. The taste follows suit and is dominated by the cinnamon as well along with hints of toffee, caramel, maple syrup, pine, and a touch of cherries. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a subtle metallic, bitter finish. Love a spicy Christmas beer and this one totally fits the bill. Very solid!

Dec 21, 2012
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saint Arnold Sailing Santa has a rather thin, cream-colored head and a pretty clear, bubbly, copper appearance, with some lacing left behind. The aroma is subtle, but one can pick up some fruitiness and brown bread crust. Taste is of brown bread, brown sugar, fruity and piney hops, and it has a pleasant, bitter undertaste. The mouthfeel is medium, and Saint Arnold Sailing Santa finishes crisp, refreshing, pleasant, mentholated, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is a most excellent offering, and I recommend it!

RJT

Dec 18, 2012
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acevenom from Louisiana

4.4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large brandy snifter. Pours hazy copper with a white head that doesn't last. There's quite a bit of visible carbonation in the beer. There are some aromas of hops with a good backbone of toffee and bread. The hops have some citrus and pine notes, but these are more subdued. The flavor is of toffee and bread with some citrus and pine notes in the back. There's some spiciness as well. The flavors come together well, but this doesn't quite fit the IPA bill. This is still a winter warmer. There's a spiced candy aftertaste that clears out pretty quickly. The body is medium to full with adequate carbonation. The finish is very smooth and is pretty clean. This is an excellent beer.

Dec 12, 2012
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HTownGuy85

2.91/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Friend had told me about Sailing Santa, and after seeing it at Specs, I figured I'd try it.

A - poured into a standard pint glass, pours red - like a good Bourbon. Head decipates fast as tiny bubbles go from the bottom to the top quickly. Head laces beautifully around glass though.

S - citrus, hops. Not very aromatic. Flat.

T - light, delicate. Palate detected a hint of citrus. Hops take over and slowly decipate.

M - as I had suspected, very bubbly. Wish it weren't as bubbly.

Overall, it's okay, but definitely nothing special. Not one of Saint Arnold's best, but drinkable.

Dec 03, 2012
Sailing Santa from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 246 ratings