Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Holiday Cheers Winter Spice Ale | Big Rock Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Holiday Cheers Winter Spice AleHoliday Cheers Winter Spice Ale
BA SCORE
3.5/5
Good
60 Ratings
Holiday Cheers Winter Spice AleHoliday Cheers Winter Spice Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery
Alberta, Canada
bigrockbeer.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Big Rock McNally's Winter Spice Ale

Added by biboergosum on 12-07-2008

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#38,877
Reviews:
32
Ratings:
60
pDev:
12.29%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
8
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 60 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of patre_tim
3.51/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Copper with a hint of orange, clear filtered with a few large bubbles, and topped with 1 finger of fast dissipating beige head.

Smells like a spiced cider with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I would think it were a cider if not told otherwise.

The taste follows the nose, but instead of a sour, crispness I expected, its a placid, non acidic, malty base. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg all come through.

Medium body with little carbonation.

A fair, different spin on a holiday brew. Drinking in Muskoka, Dec 16th, 2017.

 523 characters

Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of pootz
3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Can, 2017 edition pours a clear amber gold with a smallish white cap - aromas of eggnog spices under a rich sweet malt aroma - medium-light body - flavor is primarily sweet malt with spice undertones and hops are undetectable - fast doughy finish - not bad but not good either

 276 characters

Photo of Jotora
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bixby1971
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BrandonBreakwell
2.06/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

Photo of thehyperduck
3.39/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tallboy can from the LCBO; best before 04/02/2018. I last tried this about 7 years ago while I was living in Alberta (back when it was still using the 'McNally's' name). I ticked it at some point, but didn't bother with a full review... and so here we are. Served well chilled.

Pours clear copper-amber, with one finger of loose, bubbly, ecru-tinged foam gathering at the surface. It recedes within a minute or two, leaving behind a respectable collar of creamy froth which floats beneath a thin band of lace. Clove, ginger and nutmeg are immediately obvious on the nose, underlain by a sweet caramelized malt backbone with some grainy notes. Maybe a hint of raisin thrown in there, too.

Yeah, this recipe doesn't seem to have changed much, if at all. Caramel sweetness is ever-present throughout the sip, with the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger joining in eventually. Sort of has a (spiced) cherry cola vibe going on. Finishes with a flourish of clove spice and a weak suggestion of floral hops, with the winter spices and caramel lingering into the aftertaste before fading. Medium-light body, with low-ish carbonation levels that gently agitate the tongue; the texture is quite smooth and a little soft. I find that the nutmeg and clove are really limiting its drinkability.

Final Grade: 3.39, an unremarkable B-. Big Rock's Winter Spice Ale was a bit of a bore, to be honest. Mostly unobjectionable, but also totally two-dimensional - the caramel malts and winter spice quartet aren't enough to keep my interest for long. The spices themselves also become tiresome pretty quickly (keeping in mind that I am not much of a spiced beer fan to begin with). I gave this a 3.5 when I ticked it way back when, which is probably a bit generous. A certain one-and-done for me.

 1,772 characters

Photo of StormAles
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Pmicdee
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look - Dark orange with an inch high head.
Smell - Sweet and spicy.
Taste - Hints of gingerbread, cinnamon, and other spices. Quite pleasant.
Feel - Not too boozy, like some winter warmers.
Overall - A nice spicy Christmas beer.

 228 characters

Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

473 ml can served cold into a tulip. Now called Holiday Cheers Winter Spice Ale. I'm presuming that this is the same beer, just with different packaging. An LCBO purchase for about $3.25 CDN. Enjoy by 04/02/2018.

Appearance- Pours a clear dark amber colored beer with a few fingers of tremendously frothy head. Retention isn't great, but the beer nonetheless looks warm and inviting.

Smell - Ginger snap cookies for sure with oodles of spices. Ginger, cinnamon and other Christmas spices used for baking / fruitcakes are prevalent. I'm sure nutmeg finds it's way in here too. Intense, but almost overly spiced.

Taste - Strangely, after a huge aromatic invasion the flavors are subdued, with only a little ginger and very little of the other spices. Some malt, but even that seems lacking. Not bad, but much less flavorful than I anticipated.

Mouthfeel - Rather light bodied (generally a good thing for this style), but a sheer lack of carbonation is surprising and feel flat on the tongue.

Overall - A decent winter warmer that starts nice, but quickly fades with a lack of flavor and carbonation. Worth a try. but with a couple of improvements this could be a really nice winter sipper.

 1,192 characters

Photo of cknoch
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of derdtheterd
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Lucaskowalik
2.44/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured from refrigerated 330 mL bottle into a chalice
A- Clear and coppery with a light bubbly head which quickly dissipated
S- Cinnamon and nutmeg with notes of caramel although the smell is very underwhelming
T- Spiced like apple pie albeit fairly watery
M- Light and short-lived, very uninteresting
O- Overall it is a very drinkable beer but it is not as comforting as the title suggest. I much prefer Granville Island's winter offering.

 440 characters

Photo of FadetoBock
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BCborn
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of PJT
2.94/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of Shadman
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bunman3
3.49/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Looks promising, but ultimately succumbs to its innate "Big Rockiness". The smells, tastes, and depth are lacking for a winter warmer. Sampled on tap - I might need to give it a fair chance in bottle form. Overall, though, you can easily find much better winter beers...

 270 characters

Photo of Mlkluther
3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Likely the best offering from Big Rock I have had in a long time. Not as good as Granville's winter spice offering - but this is the first big rock beer I might buy again on purpose.

 182 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of schopenhauerale
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jcubz
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very much a big rock beer. Feels like they go half way into the style so that mainstream will still buy.

104 characters

Photo of Corson
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Tivlavrie
3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle decanted into a tulip glass. A ruby copper red with a finger of impermanent sudsy off-white head.

Has a typical "Big Rock smell", if you know what I mean. If you don't, sweet caramel malts galore, a slight graininess, apple and pear like fruity esters ... There is of course an added spice bouquet that is pleasant if not exactly overwhelming.

Taste is a toffee base seasoned with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla. Quite sweet. Cooked apples and pears. A slight boozy rum note. Body on the thick side with moderate carbonation. Finishes quite sweet as well, with a whiff of grain husk and lingering dry pumpkin pie spices.

Worth sampling if you like spiced beers. Should not be considered essential tasting. Too much typical old school Big Rock character (see aroma notes above).

 789 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Holiday Cheers Winter Spice Ale from Big Rock Brewery
Beer rating: 3.5 out of 5 with 60 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.