Hoppy Claus Holiday Ale | Hoppy Brewing Co.

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Hoppy Claus Holiday AleHoppy Claus Holiday Ale
52 Ratings
Hoppy Claus Holiday AleHoppy Claus Holiday Ale

Brewed by:
Hoppy Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pjwilson on 12-04-2005

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 34
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy honey orange with a 1 inch foamy orange white head that settles to a thin film. Small foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of some malt and subdued vegetal/herbal hops. Taste is of malt and herbal hops with a weird dirt like aftertaste. There is a pretty assertive medicinal hop bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a slightly crisp mouthfeel with a drying aspect. Overall, this is a pretty average beer in all the areas that matter. I picked one of these up on clearance at Total Wine and I'm glad I didn't pay full price for this one.

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Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of t0rin0
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this from a 22 oz bottle. Its about 2 months old now and can't tell if its affected the beer or not. It pourd a very nice clear brown/amber color. Plenty of small bubbles coming out of solution. The head was fluffy and only slightly darker than white. It had some decent retention to it.

The aroma was partly of malt but mostly of spices. The malts that I could smell were the basic pale malts and some crystal malts. Looks like there may be a touch of dark malts in there but I can't smell it. I don't know what the spices are. There was almost a bubblegum quality to the aroma. Maybe ginger? Pretty nice all around.

The flavor was almost as enjoyable with the exception of the bitterness. I am a hop head but I didn't think the extra hop bitterness did the beer any favors. We'll see what happens over the course of a year as I still have a bottle laying around somewhere.

Pretty smooth drinkable beer, enjoyable when cold, gets a little funky when it gets warm.

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Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of ygtbsm94
2/5  rDev -41.5%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +38%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What can I say as to why I am drinking a Hoppy Clause in the middle of July?!?!? I have really been cleaning out the closet lately and found this sitting literally way in the back. I cannot even begin to describe how upset I was to see this sitting back there, what a waste I first thought, thinking that it would be long past its prime( I would be shocked later). Then I was actually happy, I had totally forgotten I got this, or where it even came from. But the name alone just made me smile. I mean how could something called Hoppy Clause, with a tripped out dripping smiley face on the front, be even remotely considered bad for someone like me. I guess the old term chrismas in july, really does come true sometimes. Anyway, enough of my mindless dribble, and on to the real reason at hand. How did that bottle of Hoppy Clause hold up in my closet for probably close to a year? This question will be answered soon enough....

So we begin, poured into the pint glass. It is a very dark and hazy orange/amber, great tone hear. Haziness makes it look very thick and full. Decent carbonation could be seen streaming up in bubble chains, so I know it is definatly not flat. As if I needed further convincing, a huge billowing white, pillow like head formed on the top. Incredible staying power, as it was still over a halh an inch about 5 minutes later. Lots of really sticky lace then formed on the inside of the glass. This pretty much obscured everything from sight for the rest of the session. This really had the appearence of a thick IPA that really meant buisness. I was very pleased with the overall look of this one and was very anxious to try it.

For the nose we immediatly get set back by the hops, a very good sign. First notes were a warm citrus smell, followed by the most certain aroma of cinnamon I have ever picked up in a brew. I mean there was no denying the strong cinnamon presence right off the top on this one. The mix between the strong orange peel, and grapefruit aromas mixed in with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices produced a wonderful smell. Very reminiscent of a wintertime theme. I was really smiling after breathing this in. It had a very warm and cozy feel to it, and then it had that explosive hop bomb right off the top. I was really quite pleased to see this holding up so well so far. Now it was time for the true test, how will the taste profile hold up on this? Lets find out...

So, first sip...wow. What a first impression this gave. Strong hop wallop(no pun intended) hit me right away, this was definatly still fresh! Lots of orange and graperuit and tangerine flavors were immediatly noticeable and very strong and fresh feeling. But then the complexity of the brew fully set it. Such a strong wave of cinnamon washed over the palate, followed by some nutmeg, maybe even some berry flavors. This was a damn fine tasting brew! Great mouthfeel let the flavors really explode and made everything even that more noticeable. Silky smooth and effortlessly it went down, leaving behind a dry, but spicy bitter finish. Lots of resiny flavors a few seconds later started to take over and left your lips sticking to the outside of your teeth. I really was blown away by the spiceness mixed into this. Especially the cinnamon, I really can't stress as to how strong this flavor came across, and not in a bad way, it was just really very nice. It made you immediatly think of that christmas time feeling all over again. Just extremely well roundd and well crafted, one of the best all around flavors I have ever tasted, especially in an extremely hopped up west coast brew.

Overall this was a damn fine brew here. It really impressed me from the very beginning. Initially I had been worried about the unintentional aging, but I believe this may have actually been beneficial in this case. It may have helped tone down the hops just enough to let the these flavors really start to come out. Maybe this should be a lesson to let some of these sit a while longer, especially the holiday ales which always tend to have something else added into the mix. I guess it all depends though as I have tried that before with little success (see sierra nevada celebration). Or maybe this was just that good?? Anyone wanna send me another to compare, I would gladly take this again any day, seriously this was damn goood.

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Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber, the beer has a thick, dense 2-inch head on top of a cloudy, orange-amber-ish colored beer. Pretty good aroma of spice (nutmeg and coriander?) and citrus, but light. The initial taste on the front of the tongue is hops, which is predominant in this brewery's products (and I am grateful). The spice follows right behind, with the hint of citrus right behind it, so the smell does not lead you astray. There is a sourness to the aftertaste, which is not entirely unpleasant. It balances well with the smells and flavors of the beer. The beer feels round and smooth on the tongue. The sourness does make for a limiting factor on drinkability, as it seems to have a cumulative effect, but for one or two, it is a tasty beer.

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Photo of AngusOg
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy reddish amber colored ale with a decent off white head.

Smell is very spicy and is dominated by the scent of clove. Take it from me, I once put too much of the stuff in a Holiday Cider, this is all clove. Too bad it is one dimensional in that respect.

Taste is dry and very spicy like the taste of a spice gum drop. Decently bitter but cloves over power the taste.

Mouthfeel is good.

A good beer ruined by that cursed spice CLOVE. I can't say that I haven't been there, I have ruined a homebrew with it myself. NEVER add clove to your beer it just takes over and never mellows no matter how many years you age it.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a frothy, three finger thick, tan colored head that forms a layered lacing pattern on the sides of my glass and varied, deep sink holes as it slowly recedes. the beer is a richly, amber hued, clear, copper colored brew. The aroma is fairly spicy with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, sweet ginger and allspice.

The taste is sweet, but this is actually accentuated by the spice flavors as the beer has a light-medium fullness to it that makes this fairly drinkable. The spices actually keep this a sipping a brew though as they are quite apparent; flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon a touch of ginger and cardamom dominate the flavor profile. Actually the nutmeg is probably the single most noticeable flavor here. At times, the spice notes bring out a sort of berry like flavor.

I would not quite say that the spices are overwhelming here, this beer is still drinkable and even somewhat enjoyable, but the spice levels are just a bit over the top. They really run roughshod over the other flavors of this beer, and hardly allow anything else to be noticeable.

 1,071 characters

Photo of wrightst
4.25/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of harpus
3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of scruffwhor
3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tawny copper color, good head and residual foaming. There's even a little lacing here and there. A little cloudy too.

Toasty crackers and a little cinnamon and mace. Add to that some hops on the more "Holiday Spice" end of the aroma spectrum.

A weird, agave alcoholic spice note that mixes with heavily toasted malts, not too well. I get som cinnamon and mace like X-Mas spice flavors, but then there's that Agave, Tequila flavor.

The palate is a weird, oil and water mix. Not bad to try, but I will not buy again or recommend this beer to others.

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Photo of GraduatedCashew
2.75/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean orange-ish to amber color with an off white head. In the aroma, mellow orange citrus and notes of candy sugar and nutmeg. In the taste, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, and a pinch of all spice. A spice bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry orange peel and spice in the aftertaste. Nice spice and quite enjoyable, but just over average.

 357 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.04/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a finger and half of head on a hazy dark red colored body.
The aroma is rich malt, cinnamon and fresh baked bread. Nice.
The taste is super sweet throughout. There are little bits of spice and lemon, but the sweetness is dominating.
The texture is soft with moderate carbonation.
The sweetness is too much for me.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Another rather funky looking Bomber from the Sacramento Zymurgists which is sealed with a black crown cap bedecked with a smiley yellow sun face. It has an immediately recognizable label, another one of those mad brews from the Hoppy Brewing Company; all of the labels have a generic colorful NoCal-Jamaican trait. This latest version is labeled as “Hoppy Claus Holiday Ale” and listed at a massive 7.8% ABV. A Psychedelic shiny yellow Sun drips tentacles of frozen stalactites, lots of Tie-Dye coloring. No freshness date.

Appearance: Rich deep chestnut body with a clear ruby hue. Off-white head rises quickly and leaves a thin smattered lacing which never does anything. Finely dissolved carbonation is nicely dispersed and supports the head to retain a ½” thick cap throughout. Nice looks.

Nose: Massive blast of heavy spices, sugary sweet cinnamon and nutmeg pound the nasal passage…both are heavy hitters, this smells…..yes, this smells….SOOO familiar….you know I know this…..don’t tell me….HOT CROSS BUNS!! Yes that is it, right on the nail. Hot Cross Buns.

Taste: Now I’ve nailed the nose, the tastes follow suit almost perfectly and leave me with little leeway to even try to explain what the body has to offer to the tongue. Sweet cinnamon and a rich nutmeg have sugary traits whilst the dark fruits are provided by currants & raisins; the finish has a lovely deep sticky bun ending. Intensely rewarding like the most sinful of Hot Cross Buns, so good yet so wrong. As for the “Hoppy Claus” I am not sure where that comes from, the Hops are distinctly hidden, so well in fact that I could not find them!!

Mouthfeel: Intense, the sticky bun feel lends a massive finger coated gluey 4.0 with little effort. The body has depth and a rather complex fruity nature thanks to the currants and raisins.

Drinkability: Too much at times, the cinnamon and nutmeg dominate, I could have easily put up with a 12 ouncer of this one, though I managed to take care of the whole Bomber with little more effort.

Overall: A traditional favorite on Good Friday in England is the dispersion and consumption of Hot Cross Buns….Mmmm, I can smell them now. Hot Cross Buns are a spicy currant and/or raisin infested yeast proved bun, traditionally topped with a "Cross" made of lemon flavored icing. Rumor has it that the Pagans started the ritual, but Christians seem to have adopted the cake and the symbolism of the cross. Erstwhile, to the English Pagans then, as now, the cross was symbolic of the Sun wheel a symbol of perfect balance at the time of the Spring Equinox….Stonehenge anyone!?! It goes without saying that Hot Cross Buns were most likely used in ancient ritual ceremonies and that the Christian Church first attempted to ban the buns, then in the face of overwhelming popularity accepted defeat such that the Church did the next best thing and "Christianized" the bread, with Queen Elizabeth I eventually passing a law which limited the bun's consumption to proper religious ceremonies, such as Christmas, Easter or funerals in England. <Breathe Out> OK, Still with me?? Well see, it comes full circle if you are paying attention…..the Hot Cross Buns, the Sun and the signature smiley face of the Hoppy Brewing Company and also the Xmas link. Even soo…..maybe it is my staunch English traits, but this brew tastes JUST like liquid Hot Cross Buns to me and the links with the Sun and Xmas are all rather weird, cosmic and hard to ignore. This would make a great Good Friday Easter brew in England though. Weird, but worth a pop.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.52/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle, poured to a pint glass; my first from this brewery (thanks, Floydster). Quirky label: a smiley face/sunshine wearing a 'Santa' cap and beaming 8 distinct (icicle-dripping?) rays down onto a snow-covered mountain. 'Great Food * Awesome Beer * Cool People!!!' proclaims this Sacramento-based brewery. Don't know about the food or the people, but we'll soon find out about the beer (this particular one, at least).

A: Somewhat clear auburn-orange (a faint unfiltered fuzziness), plenty of small bubbles rising throughout. Head never quite reaches a finger-high, falling quickly to a thin topping of ivory cream, pockmarked in a couple dozen places where the carbonation seems to rise most vigorously. Pretty good lacing, sticking in dappled bands.

S: From a distance smells of musty hops, wet grass and hemp. Up close, there's a notable sweet spicing, like cloves, cinnamon and orange zest. A whiff of vanilla and something a little like maraschino cherries. Also a bit perfumy/floral. A weird sort of combo, but not unlikeable.

T: Grassy and spicy hops permeate this one, a pithy orange and a chalky/medicinal bitterness. There are sweeter elements interspersed: a cake-y gingerbread, hints of clove and vanilla, orange and other fruits.

M: A moderately heavy feel, not quite syrupy - the alcohol weight has some warmth. Smooth, pretty creamy.

D: Didn't really care for this one, a weird muddling of some sweet/malty/holiday elements and an intense, kinda awful, bittering. Glad for the try, but I probably won't put this on next year's Christmas list.

 1,570 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
2.21/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Medium brown body, wimpy off-white head, fades to very little.

Smell: Light sweet ginger and lemon.

Taste: Malty and sweet. An odd vegetable/tomato juice flavor flavor is not too pleasant, most likely from the spices that don't mesh well here. Misses the mark.

Drinkability: Goes wrong where so many go right, the spices are definitely not melding here.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Simple label 7.8% Est. 1994.

Dark auburn hue topped with a settled craggy vanilla cap.

Nose offers up a huge spice wafer, fruit cake and cinnamon. Loads of spices erupt.

First swigs: Nose is mirrored by the palate. Bold cinnamon and spice wafer flavor. Grain waffle. Cloves and nutmeg.

Thick feel. Full bodied. Fully attenuated carbonation.

Last swigs: Damn near my local Bethlehem Brew Works RudeElf.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.99/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had some success with this brewery so the winter warmer was a no brainer pick up. Poured this bomber into a tulip it formed a loose off white head that pops down to islands and ring like lace. Copper body.

The smell is "FULL" of spices. Cinnamon and coriander were dominant at the get go. Pumpkin bread heavily laced with Cinnamon was the taste I got. Some powdered sugar on top with an over rip raisin here and there and you've got this brew down. A well brewed beer. Mouthfeel was meaty but it lightened up just enough to make it tolerable for more consumption. As it warmed up a mollases really shows its face.

Notes: I've always thought this brewery has a lot of potential and this is a pretty nice example of the style.

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Hoppy Claus Holiday Ale from Hoppy Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 52 ratings