Jolly Roger Christmas Ale
Maritime Pacific Brewing Company

Jolly Roger Christmas AleJolly Roger Christmas Ale
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English Strong Ale
Ranked #17
Ranked #21,433
3.83 | pDev: 14.1%
Maritime Pacific Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Very Good
Jolly Roger Christmas AleJolly Roger Christmas Ale
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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 174
Photo of Superheatnsubcool
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My first impression was that it tasted like a doppelbock or maibock; malty lager with a hint of booze and a crisp finish. I was surprised to see that the brewer classifies it as an English Strong Ale. I was even more surprised to see that they use Chinook, Cascade and Amarillo hops, to the tune of 42 IBU. Can’t taste ‘em. It doesn’t taste like the 9.5% ABV listed on their website, but my buzz after chugging a bottle confirms that it’s a hefty brew.

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Photo of Shippy
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle. Pours a cloudy brown with an orange hue. Smell starts with dark fruits, maybe some fig or dates, followed by a bit of vanilla and some smokiness. Flavors start with sweet malts, some honey, then drift in a smokier direction with nuttiness and some spice on the end. Feel is medium with a little carbonation. Overall a nice winter warmer, would be nice to have sitting next to a fire.

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Photo of gandres
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured to wine glass around 50 F
Appearance: dark amber to brown, minimal lacing and head
Smell : aroma of molasses
Taste: balance bitterness
Feel: fizzy
Overall very good beer

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Photo of Aaryah
2.91/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Beer doesn't live up to the hype for me. The taste isn't very complex and its a bit too light in taste to justify its strength in both color and smell. Tastes very ordinary in my opinion.

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Photo of leantom
2.1/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Wasn't sure what to think of this beer. Here goes:

A: Just OK. Cloudy, opaque brown with a small brown head. Lots of lacing, though.

S: Funky, but not in a good way. Onions, herbal smell, some burnt malt. Not very good.

T: Bleh, drain-pour. Rancid, oniony hops on a caramel malt backbone. Just bad.

F: OK, not very thick, some carbonation.

O: Keep away from this one.

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Photo of mactrail
3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Clear copper-colored brew in the Ciney snifter with plenty of suds in the mouth, but short-lived head in the glass. Aroma of herbal hops. Rich, rather sweet concoction with a spicy edge and an insistent malted milk taste. The flavor of slightly burnt raisin toast comes to mind.

This stuff just stays sweet from start to finish. It's a pleasant grainy, malty brew with an over-abundance of caramel. Some bitterish hops emerge for the finish. Rather leafy and a little dank for a winter brew. I had a Sierra Nevada Celebration on tap yesterday, which sets a better standard with more aromatic hops and less sugar.

From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Wine World and Spirits in north Seattle.

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Photo of dc87
3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a dark cloudy amber - not quite brown - with a disappointingly thin, almost-white head.

S - Sweet malts, a little caramel and chocolate, booze. A little dark fruitiness. Simple but pleasant.

T - Very sweet up front and on the way down. Caramel, brown sugar, toffee and a little chocolate, much like the nose. A small hop bite comes through towards the end. The aftertaste starts out fairly malty and slightly metallic, almost like a lager, eventually leaving a little bitterness.

M - A little too flat and syrupy for my liking.

O - A very sweet, pleasant enough Christmas ale. A little one dimensional. Nice, but nothing special.

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Photo of draheim
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz into my trusty tulip. Pours a clear amber w/ a frothy beige head some decent lacing.

Aroma is caramel and toffee, brown sugar and some floral hops in the back. Barleywine-ish.

Taste is nicely warm and round. Plenty of malt with some bright spiciness and a clean bitter finish. Falls somewhere between a session barleywine and an imperial amber ale. Drinkable.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and balanced. Good carbonation.

Overall a decent winter warmer, perhaps lacking in the complexity department but enjoyable enough for a cold November evening.

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Photo of JHasson8
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Can't get this in CT. My uncle sent to to me from Seattle.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Deep nut brown, with one finger of head this quickly dissipates.

S: Very sweet with a caramel and nutty aroma.

T: Boozy upfront, which was a shock from the smell. But it balances out with a nice warm fruit flavor. Nice caramel and malt flavor, with an almost chocolate finish.

O: Pumped I got to try it. An excellent seasonal beer. But, I have a feeling that if I have a few of these I won't be doing much else that day.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From 12 oz bottle into tulip.

Pours clear dark amber with a couple finger head.

Smell is spicy and fruity.

Tastes medium, spicy, bitter, hoppy, very powerful. It’s a winter warmer for sure.

Revisit: on tap at Bottleworks Christmas in July, so some age on it.

Pours ruby red with a small off white head.

Smell sweet, subtle fruity notes.

Taste fruit and malt, spices.

Coats the mouth. Good.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle of the 2011 vintage (courtesy of Libbey) pours a caramel color with a pretty nice beige head. Lacing is awesome.

Nose is oxidized caramel with some hazel-nuttiness and maybe some brown sugar. Light touch of plum pudding adds a nice fruity touch.

The velvety smoothness comes to mind first, very impressive. It manages to be sweet but not sticky with some toast and toffee to go along with a mild floral hop bitterness. It has some sherry notes usually found in a nice, aged barleywine. I like how it straddles the line between sweet and toasty, never really leaning one way or the other. Fun beer, Id put at least a few of these away each year come wintertime. This would be a great beer to quaff after a long day on the slopes.

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Photo of scootpolute
4.9/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

P: 12 oz bottle poured into a cone pint glass.

A: Deep brownish garnet color with a good clarity, light tan lace adorns the top ... a product of densely frothed head.

S: Sweet and earthy with a big hand of caramel, candied fruit and mineral. Hops are soft in the aroma with a leafy character.

M: Nice flush full body, smooth and crisp in the mouth. Malt character is very broad with a bitter-sweet start and a chocolaty finish with hints of lightly roasted coffee. Alcohol warms quite well. Fruity of the dark ripened variety, fig or prune in the mix? Hop bitterness cuts through the malt and leaves a trail of flavor that gets lost before the after taste. A triple fold of alcohol spiciness, heavy leftover hops and the mild chocolaty finish rush for the finish line. Pleasant and complex after taste.

O: Always a winter beer fav....Bottom line, drink this one with care...This has been only beer where after a mere 6 pk, I found myself the next morning face down, next to the fridge and late for take caution, this one can get you in the 'woo-woo!!'

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Photo of Braz
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle chilled.
Pours a deep bronze color with one finger of frothy white head that slowly subsides to edge of glass. Fairly clear.
Pronounced smells of alcohol with a subtle fruitiness. Orange perhaps.
Heavy flavor of malty sweetness with medium bitterness. Toffee and an orange liqueor flavor with spiced hops. Has an almost wine flavor to it, some grapefruit too.
Medium bodied with a nice texture and lively carbonation. Has a long lingering bitter finish. Strong alcohol warming effect.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a rich red amber with a very thin head and slight lacing. Malt, dark fruit and hop aroma. Very malty with spice, some caramel. Finishes dry and oaky with some hop bite. Has the dry malt flavor that reminds me of Mad River's barley wine. Unusual. The finish bitterness is not well balanced, but otherwise interesting and fun to drink.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, leftover from the 2011 batch. Ballard beer.

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, lovely body really - ruby, garnet, brown, light foamy beige head

smell: earthy, pale malts, toasted nut

taste: A slightly above average winter warmer - vanilla, booze, nuts, creme, caramel, toasted malt, herbal hops. Improved with age, but the cheapest 2010 bombers i have seen are an ASTRONOMICAL $8.99 at ballard market - Are you serious?

mouthfeel: mild bitterness, creamy medium-light body

overall: good, not great

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Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap the Parkway tavern the other night. They had both the 2011 and 2010 version on tap, but I believe had run out of the 2011. I would have gone with the 2010 version given a choice anyway...

The beer pours a slightly dark, copper amber color with good head retention and considerable lacing. On the nose, this really comes across as a hoppy barleywine, as there is a huge presence of sweet malt, pine and dry citrus. On the palate, it's just more of the same, with the massive malt backbone more than compensated for by the huge blast of hoppy bitterness. In combination, I get something of a caramel, butterscotch, toffee and candyapple flavor that marries well with the considerable hoppy bitterness. The 2010 version wasn't quite as raw as this beer sometimes is when fresh, and I found this beer to be quite smooth and surprisingly drinkable for it's abv. and huge flavor profile.

Not the sort of beer I'd want to drink any other time or any other place than in the NW during winter. However, drinking this beer in Tacoma in December is just an absolute treat, but one I'll probably have to wait another year for to sample again.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a cloudy dark amber with almost no head. Little carbonation. Slow. Smell is very nice...malty and spicy. Smells like Christmas.

Taste is sweet and caramelly with pleasant spices. Very malty.

Mouthfeel is thick and a little sticky. Overall, I'm pretty impressed. It's nice.

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Photo of Docer
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)
- Very lightly cloudy brown. Finger and a half of light tan head.. settled to some lace, and a very thin solid layer above the brew. Overall somewhat average.

Smell: (3.0)
- Light caramel, and bready malt. Somewhat sweet, and has a deep rich earthiness.. light spice. Overall light in scent, and seems silky sweet.

Taste: (3.5)
- Sweet caramel malt, light spice, and molasses.. brown sugar and grassy herbal hop. Hops are not big, though this seems to be an aged bottle. It is rather smooth, sweet, and overall decent.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This beer kind of shines here.. it is medium bodied, lightly carbonated which seems perfect for its creamy smooth body. Little chewy and cloying. Overall an easy drinker.

Overall: (3.5)
- It's a solid beer, and I wonder what a fresh 2011 release would taste like. Perhaps more bitter and hoppy. But this cellared number seems nice and smooth.. and certainly has some nice character in its malt and spice.

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Photo of doughanson78
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Darker amber color with red highlights when held to the light. A half finger slightly off white head with so-so retention and good lacing.

S: Very light nose. Bready, yeasty, malty. Slight spice notes. Touch of alcohol.

T: Caramel and biscuits upfront. Toasted toffee and malts in the middle. Nuttiness in the finish along with a slight floral/piney hop character. Very boozy (like hairspray) from middle to finish.

M: Light body. High carbonation. A touch sticky and syrupy. Alcohol sting on back of tongue and throat.

O: Not impressed one bit. Was looking forward to a local brew and shouldn't have grabbed this. Don't know if I'll finish it or not.

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Photo of nsabo
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells like salt water taffy. From the first sip, the booze ain't hiding from nobody. Usually this overt booziness tastes harsh, but it's pleasant here. Medium creamy mouth, like it's been whipped but is still runny. A little piney, some vanilla and toffee, all the while accompanied by booze. I don't get much, if any, spices.
I feel like I've written a fairly average sounding review without meaning to. There's nothing particularly outstanding about this beer, but it impresses me with each sip.
Here in Washington, it's a few bucks more than most winter warmers, but it's also the best one around.

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Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received via trade with barleywinefiend – thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of muted pale and caramel malts with very slight hints of toastiness. Also present are earthy and leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Slightly dry caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of leafy and lightly herbal hops. Midway through the sip the flavor profile dries out further with mild amounts of toasted malts. The toasted malts and leafy hops carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. I finished my glass without a problem however I’m not sure about another.

Overall this seemed like a run of the mill amber ale with hints of darker malts. Not a bad beer but not worth seeking out either.

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Photo of harrymel
1.43/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

$2 for 12oz bottle @ Rocket Market in Spokane, WA
Poured to NB tulip.

A: Pours amber and thick. Little/no visible head or lacing despite hard pour.

S: Pine, copper and aluminum. This is horrid and not making me want to drink it.

F: Sweet, alcoholic, not much here. Lightly bitter, hint of crystal malt in background. Boring.

M: Slicks the tongue with fine, low carbonation.

D: This recipe should be tossed out of the lexicon for what is normally a great brewery.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First had this on tap, but grading from a bottle. Appearance is a dark ruby amber color with a thin head and nill lace. Smell has a rich malt dark fruit aroma with a little alchohol lingering. Taste has again very rich malts and fruits with a nice balance of hops with a little alchohol in the background. Mouthfeel is heavy with good carbonation. A nice heavy Christmas ale that is satisfying to sip on.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle picked up to give it a try. Poured into a pint glass. Dark orange color. Lots of carbonation noted, with some lacing. Smell had a lots of hops to it. Taste was also hoppy, with a bit of citrus also. Mouthfeel was somewhat bitter. Did not realize the abv was that high. Too hoppy for a winter warmer for my liking. Would be a good choice, though, for IPA lovers.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip...

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a very small one finger head that fell very quickly to a thin ring around the glass.

S: Boozy molasses and caramel malt slightly grassy hop profile. Not all that balanced...

T: Big mouth of boozy malt upfront, caramel and molasses with dry grassy hops on the finish. Slightly bready on the finish as well.

M: Smooth medium body with nice carbonation, a bit creamy with lingering bitterness.

D: The lingering bready bitterness keep it from being overly drinkable. To be honest, not a big fan of this one. Certainly wouldn't go out of my way to find it...

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Jolly Roger Christmas Ale from Maritime Pacific Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 174 ratings