Blitzen Xmas Ale
Steamworks Brewing Company

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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #286
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
84
Ranked #34,451
Avg:
3.71 | pDev: 9.16%
Reviews:
8
Ratings:
24
From:
Steamworks Brewing Company
 
British Columbia, Canada
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  1
Gots
  2
SCORE
84
Good
Notes:
Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 24 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of biegaman
biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Tripels - especially ones branded for Christmas release - ought to have a big, snowy cap for a head that leaves icicle-like lacing as it sinks. Steamworks Blitzen, unfortunately, does not match that description. Not only is it utterly flat but its clear, radiant and glossy golden tone looks awfully summery for a winter seasonal.

The aroma is more what I had in mind. Forward and fragrant, it has warming spice and hearty maltiness, with an overarching mulled cider quality to it. It certainly works for me, but it's truthfully nothing special for a tripel, especially since both candi sugar and alcohol are plainly apparent.

Better examples of the style (like those of Trappist and top-notch Belgian producers) exhibit more complexity and fewer ripples in the flavour profile. It's not that this lacks in spicy, peppery phenols, or orchard and citrus fruits, or farmhouse graininess - it does not. The thing is it tastes more like a rough Belgian Strong Pale than a refined Tripel.

This is again owing to the fact that sugar and the 9% alcohol are too prevalent. But just as a stew is always better the next day, after individual components have had time to make flavour babies together, Blitzen could improve in time if its sweet, spicy, and herbal qualities meld together.

I'm not normally a proponent of aging beers but it seems it's that or this is simply a more coarse and crude tripel than I care for. Once again, Steamworks does not short-change us on flavour - there's no lack of apple, pear, ginger, chamomile, peppery phenols, straw, bread, honeyed grains - but what they couldn't provide was the fullness and finesse of the style's best.

Jan 15, 2015
Photo of BcCraft710
BcCraft710 from Canada (BC)

4.11/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Incredible brew for its strength! Very palatable, great aroma, very drinkable. My only slight would be that it has a wine-y like finish... But that is expected from the high percentile! Enjoy

Dec 27, 2014
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Label and website say this is a Tripel. It tastes like a Tripel. Aromatic and phenolic.

Brewer says this is make with Pilsner malt and Fuggles and Sterling hops. It's just slightly bitter and tastes more of yeast than hops. But it's a nice balance, with the sugar making this mellow and smooth, and the hops adding a different floral note.

A better than average Tripel. This 2014 version is 9.0%. Pleasant fruity tang. From the BC Liquor Store in Ladner.

Dec 11, 2014
Photo of ZachT
ZachT from Canada (BC)

4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Light amber, thin head, slight lacing
S: Nice yeast aroma, slightly fruity, strong alcohol
T: robust malt flavour, well balanced, not much hop presence, yeasty notes with some slight fruity flavours, strong alcohol presence
M: Medium body, perfect amount of carbonation for the style, fairly dry finish
O: Very tasty, really well balanced, you definetely get some of the pilsner malt, I was expecting it to be a little on the sweet side but much to my surprise it was well attenuated and had a dry finish. Quite complex flavour profile, get the nice yeast notes you'd expect from a belgian-style ale, easily the best beer I've had from Steamworks.

Jan 11, 2014
Photo of Heffeweizenlover
Heffeweizenlover from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Blitzen Xmas Ale is a seasonal beer served on tap at Steamworks Brewing Company near Waterfront Station in Vancouver, British Columbia - the Gastown District. I had a pint from the tap.

I first tried this beer in December 2010 in Vancouver. I flew back in December 2011 to have it again. My favourite style is hefeweizen but as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale/Abbey Tripel this was also quite enjoyable.

In terms of taste, this beer is a strong, yeasty-malty beer that has an intensely fruity taste and a high alcohol content. It is as though the petals of a thousand sweet flowers were reduced into one bottle, and presented to you sip by sip.

The Blitzen is rich and sweet but not sugary and retains a crisp finish without aftertaste. Light golden in colour, the blitzen has a three finger stable head on the pour and a nice cloudy, opague look. The smell presents richly, and much like the taste, you are affronted with aromas of citrus, bananna, vanilla, hops, malt, yeast all rolled into one. The Blitzen tastes and feels like a craft beer, rather than something mass produced. This is a rich, complex, and highly fruity and yeasty beer that commands attention from its taster. It is to be sipped, enjoyed and is not really an "everyday" beer given its richness and complexity. It makes perfect sense that it is featured seasonally, but I wish I could get it anytime, everywhere, all year round.

I took notes of this beer in December 2010, verified and updated them in December 2011 and within two months, penned this review. I'll never forget anything about this exceptional beer. Thanks for reading!

Feb 04, 2012
Photo of Derek
Derek from Canada (BC)

3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pale amber with a ring of white head; not much retention or lacing.

S: Plenty of spices from the Belgian yeast, some troprical fruit. Alcohol is readily apparent.

T: The alcohol and spicing was a little harsh, so it would probably benefit with some time to mellow in the cellar. Nice fruitiness, balanced bitterness.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body has a fairly dry finish.

D: It's definitely a sipper.

Website info...

Blitzen Christmas Ale
A strong, fruity, belgian-style trippel 8.5% alc./vol.

Our aptly named Christmas Ale is based on the strong beers traditionally brewed by Belgium's trappist monasteries. Trippel is typically at least 8% alc./vol. and has a light golden colour. Because of its high strength this beer has an intensely fruity palate. Up front it has a honeyish sweetness but the finish is dry and champagne-like. Most weary Christmas shoppers would be well advised to benefit from the warmth and 'ho-ho-ho factor' that only a beer of the Biltzen's calibre can provide.

Availability: On tap during December

Dec 21, 2008
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre from Canada (BC)

4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How to describe this? The previous two reviews capture this beer almost perfectly.

This is an opaqe amber colour...and by opaque, it is as cloudy as a winter day in Vancouver.

There is a faint hint of orange or orange peel, cloves and bits of malt. Upon sipping this, there is a definite citrus and orange essence to it, along with the idea of a hefeweizen. This is not spiced as many christmas beers are, but shares a clove hint with hefeweizens. Not spiced, but packs a good bite.

I can't sau that this beer shares my criticism of other steamworks beers. The body on this is great: not watery but not too thick. On the whole, a very well done beer.

Dec 08, 2005
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead from Canada (BC)

4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was expecting the usual winter warmer but what arrived in a great tulip glass was a hazy dark yellow beer that resembled a cross between Don Dieu and a Hefe. The nose was all banana bread, citrus and yeast. The taste was big and fruity with some metallic overtones. The tinny flavour blew off after a few sips and what was left was a darn good Belgian Triple/Pale Ale. Kudos to Konrad the brewer for taking some chances and brewing up a different beer that shows where BC craft brewing is going.

Dec 02, 2005
Blitzen Xmas Ale from Steamworks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 24 ratings