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YuleSmith (Winter) | AleSmith Brewing Company

312 Reviews
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YuleSmith (Winter)YuleSmith (Winter)

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-01-2009

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Reviews: 312 | Ratings: 780
Photo of hoptrip619
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My love affair with YuleSmith began on a brisk December night in 2004. My then roommate bought it for me as a gift because he was intrigued by the promise of holiday cheer in a bottle.

A- Poured into a Duff pint glass, this beer has a brownish/auburn color with a fluffy/sticky 1.5" head.

S- This beer has an excellent aroma of sweet caramelized malts with an assertive resinous and zesty hop aroma.

T- The full and complex flavor of YuleSmith makes one forget about not getting what they wanted from Santa. After a few sips, the firm pine and grapefruit-like hop flavors mingle nicely with the caramelized malts and fruity esters; making a sack of coal and a bag of sticks look like the gift of the decade.

M/D - With a full body and warming finish, YuleSmith is the ideal accompaniment to any and all family gatherings. This festival ale will provide balance and peace of mind to the most unsavory situations.

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Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark, chocolatey brown, mostly opaque, but has reddish highlights when held to the light. A thick, 3 fingers of dense, light tan colored head sits atop this beer and hangs around for a good, long while. As it slowly fades, it leaves good, sticky lacing on the glass.

S - Nice, sweet piney aroma...hops are very fresh in this one. Some grapefruit mixes in, but majority of the aroma is pine. Hops overwhelm any malt presence in the aroma. Smells really good. Looking forward to the first sip.

T - Rich, full flavored beer. Hops are prominent in the flavor, but not to the same extent as the aroma. Flavor is more balanced...still tons of hops here - piney and citrusy. Malt is much more present in the flavor. It has a couple layers of complexity too. Sugary sweet and some caramel on one level and a more burnt, darker, roasty character as well. It's almost a coffee like roastiness & bitterness to it. Hop bitterness and alcohol round out the flavors here.

M - Medium bodied and medium-high carbonation. Alcohol gives quite a warming sensation in the mouth too. Feels slick on the tongue.. Bitterness pervades the entire mouth and lasts well into the aftertaste.

D - Pretty high in alcohol at 9.5%...goes down pretty smooth. Not at all a sipper, but if I had more than one bottle by myself, it would be a problem. Really good winter beer - just strong enough without feeling excessive. Body is really medium, but the overall feel is of a heavier beer. Heavyness limits drinkability a bit, but overall pretty smooth for a beer this strong.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Thick looking one finger off-white head with good retention. Color is a deep burnt umber brown with very little carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a decent film with a thick ring. Splotchy film remains until the end and leaves some good lacing down the sides. Nice color as well.

SMELL: Decent strength nose of pale and toasted malt, biscuit, with hints of caramel and toffee notes. A good hop presence with hints of grapefruit, pine, and some sweet citrus fruits as well. Nice.

TASTE: Taste follows the nose very nicely. Pale and toasted malt again, caramel and toffee notes with the same hop profile; grapefruit and pine flavors. Some really nice spiciness at the end, clove, coriander, and tyme perhaps, as well as some spicy alcohol at the finish. A bitter ending to the story, leading into a long and bold aftertaste of bitter and spicy hops, and a sweet and malty biscuit finish. Just fantastic.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness on the palate. No bite at the end and the ABV is not noticeable. Good here.

OVERALL: An outstanding beer. I've only had a couple from Alesmith, but they've been very impressive to say the least. Like the bottle says, this really is deliciously malty and hoppy; a very drinkable and enjoyable balanced brew. One of the better beers I've ever had. Recommended.

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Photo of bminor7
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz from Westmere in Albany, NY.

Dark amber color and a nice foamy head. Smells rich like a barleywine. Barleywine taste is there too. Strong wheat component like Weyerbacher Fourteen. Chocolate and caramel notes. Strong ABV in the aftertaste. Sugar is biting at the enamel on the teeth. Nicely put together, and complex. Extremely delightful on the olfactory and tasting fronts.

My bottle is from last holiday at least, so the hops have faded, but I still find this very well done. I would seek out all available bottles immediately!!

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Photo of davod23
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Happy holidays, everyone. Poured from the bottle into my Bruery tulip.

The beer pours a medium-bodied, deep orange honey color into the glass. A two-finger light khaki head develops and sticks around a while... in truth, it never completely disappears, and is easily roused with a swirl of the glass. Sticky lacing. Beautiful.

Smell is excellent. You can tell that this won't be a tongue-shredding hop bomb (though I love that kind of beer too). Sweet caramel and toffee play with a strong citrus and moderately floral hop component. Very nice.

Taste is similarly good. A bit of sweetness up-front, mostly caramel and toffee goodness. In the middle and finish, the hops make their presence known. Both sides are amped up pretty well, so it winds up being a very flavorful, yet balanced, brew.

Mouthfeel on this is as good as it gets. Syrupy, between medium- and full-bodied, sticky, with ample carbonation... this is just about perfect.

I could drink a lot of this. And I just might.

Another great beer from Alesmith. There's very little these guys don't do well. So glad to live in SoCal.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Beer Friday # 2!

Appearance - Poured into my Bell's sniffer with a deep mahogany color. Over a finger of dense, thick foam floats on top of the beer and is slowly dissipating, leaving chunky lacing all along the sides. Looks appetizing!

Smell - The nose consists of massive amounts of pine, citrus, and hops. After this initial waft the fragrance consist of a bit of caramel/toffee, roasted malts, and a hint of spices. Smells appetizing!

Taste - Immidiately I can taste caramel - it reminds me of when I was a child and use to sneak the little plastic wrapped caramel candies from the pantry. I have never before tasted such a rendition of my beloved childhood candy in a beer. Bravo. This initial flavor is followed by a somewhat bitter (but not overly) hoppy taste and ends on a very sweet, malty backbone note.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. Extremely smooth/creamy feeling in the mouth and ends with just a slight bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability - Extremely so. This is pretty damn good and something I would expect from the "Winter" version of this beer. I'm not going to lie, however, when I say that the summer version was better than this. I still have one of those left which I need to drink ASAP. Overall, a very nice winter offering form AleSmith and fitting. It is a bit chilly outside right now and this is doing the trick to keep me warm.

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Photo of illidurit
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Winter release.

Poured into a snifter, this beer takes a dark auburn color with a fluffy, dense, off white head of 3 fingers. The retention and lacing are absolutely insane here, the glass is nearly covered with sheets and streaks of foam and the head maintains a half finger of height the whole way through. It looks like a beer that was left out during a tan snowstorm.

Aroma explodes out of the glass: plum, honeydew, caramel, earthy and floral hops, grapefruit, sap, spice, everything you can think of. Amazing and intriguing.

The taste here just reinforces the perfection of the aroma. Delicious caramel/brown sugar malt contends with an interesting floral hop flavor for dominance but this fight ends in a draw. The balance is impeccable; the sweet malt is never cloying and the hop presence is never too bitter. Each sip demands the next. Perfection.

Mouthfeel is exemplary. The carbonation and body are so perfect you don't even notice them. Everything is precisely engineered in such a way that it allows the flavor and aroma to shine through without distraction. Unbelievably smooth.

My only regret about this beer is that I didn't buy every one the store had. This is a beautiful beer. I could drink these until I collapsed. Bravo, AleSmith.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint @ O'brien's on Alesmith night during SD beer week

A - A caramel red with a finger width of head. It disipates as the beer warms up. There is minimal lacing on the glass.

S - Roasty malts and hops mixed with tones of caramel and toffee

T - Caramel, toffee, roastiness, with some biterness on the aftertaste

M - Light bodied with easy carbonation. It's smooth in the mouth, but packs a little bit of biterness on the back of the pallet as you swallow

D - very nice; packs a little punch at the end

This is Evil Dead Red's big brother. Similar taste, but it'll kick EDR's butt, as EDR only has a 6.66% ABV. A very quality beer.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a 24 oz mug.

Pours a dark copper color with 3+ fingers of plush, rocky foam. Head retention is outstanding, and there's beautiful lacing stuck to the glass.

Bold citrusy hop aroma. Sweet and lightly fruity, with a touch of pine. Very nice.

Flavor is outstanding. Huge caramel malt balances the hops nicely. Pleasant ending bitterness. Despite its simplicity, there's still a pretty complex flavor...each flavor component shines equally and blends together perfectly.

YuleSmith's mouthfeel is perfect. If the body isn't full, it's damn close. Smooth, ridiculously easy drinker. ABV is never noticeable. Just a phenomenal beer.

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Photo of ccrida
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, this year's version, poured into an imperial pint, the Yulesmith with slightly hazy amber with a huge, meringue like khaki head, which is slow settling and rocky, leaving lots of foamy lace. Head is so thick (over 1/2 the glass) it forms a hocky puck like hunk of foam in the middle of the skim from the carbonation streamers 1/2 way through the glass! The color is darker then I'd like for a hoppy beer (although I don't mind amber), otherwise I'd give it a 5.
Check that, I just had two hunks of foam close like pincers on my lip when I took my last sip, and I'm really not that intoxicated, this head is unreal!!!!

Smell is sticky citrus hops for sure, but mainly lots of sweet and spicy biscuit malt, like fresh gingerbread. I really dig it, and see how it works for the holidays, but I can see it being way to rich for some.

Taste is very rich malt, and not as bitter as the nose suggests, lots or sweet caramel malt, with a spicy, super boozy, albeit clean finish. It's funny how much I normally find DIPAs to be to light on the flavoring and heavy on the bittering hops, but this one can use a *slight* more bittering. I'm drinking this fresh, I'm sure it really falls apart with a few months under it's belt. Still, it's pretty good.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker, syrupy side, although not as heavy as it may first seem, but with a fair amount of chewiness.

Drinkability is rather high (keep it cold), it's an interesting seasonal but a nicely done west coast red. If you don't mind them to fruity, rich or hoppy, merry xmas!

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Photo of scubazook
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a half pint glass at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

Appearance: Copper almost light brown with ruby highlights. Slightly hazy. White thick head.

Smell: Brilliant citrusy hop aroma. Slightly piney. No Diacetyl.

Taste: Big citrusy grapefruit-like hop flavor with a strong malty backbone.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied well balanced Imperial Red. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent. A very delicious well balanced Imperial Red with juicy grapefruit-like hop aroma and rich malty flavor.

I tried the winter seasonal Imperial Red version but I'd love to try the YuleSmith summer version DIPA as well.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2007

A: Dark ruby/amber body with a giant offwhite head.. lasts for days (well not literally)... excellent lacing...

S: Piney and citrus hops... caramel malts... fruity malts (berries)

T: Lovely piney and citrus hop blast up front... softer roast malts with caramel and chocolate tones ... some softer fruits in there as well...

M: Well balanced and smooth transitions.. coats the mouth... nice delicate bitter hop finish

D: Excellent... this has easily become one of my favorite beers... hats of to AleSmith

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Photo of charlzm
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 2008 version, consumed 12/30/08.

Dark caramel/reddish colored beer, pours very clear with a three-finger frothy tan head. Many small bubbles rise slowly throughout the glass.

Aroma has some piney and citrusy hops notes. Slightly sweet caramel malt as well.

Flavor - This is one hoppy beer. Fresh, flavorful hops are the first and primary flavors. Spruce, grapefruit and a bitter finish. Slight woody character. Slight malt presence reminds me a little of low-salt Ritz crackers (?!?).

Moderately astringent, a little thick. Leaves a slightly oily feel behind.

A big, hoppy beer for those that love them. For the rest of us, a bomber might be too much to finish solo.

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Photo of jdskinns
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly cloudy amber color with thin offwhite head. Smelled sweet and like dark fruits, plums and raisins. Tasted much like it smelled, dark fruits and sweet malts. Not a huge alcohol taste, but definitely present. This was an excellent beer. Did not have it fresh, but with a few months on it and it is still very enjoyable. A little syrupy as I get to the end of the bomber but nothing unpleasant going on. Very good and highly recommended.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle into a tulip; Winter version reviewed December 25th, 2008

P: Pours deep copper from the bottle, and looks to be a deep amber color with a deep burgundy tint in the glass. Tall, healthy tan head is thick and rocky with the bubbles tightly packed together. Showed good retention, settling to form a halo on top and left rings of lace while doing so.

A: Freshly toasted biscuity malts, citrusy and piney hops, yeast, and some caramel. Deliciously appetizing aroma!

T: Clean, toasted malts and caramel start things out on the sweet side. But, hop heads rejoice, here comes a cavalry of our citrus and pine-flavored buddies soon afterward to put things on an even keel. The awesome balance that is achieved as a result is magnificent! There is a bit of a spicy kick on the back end. The finish is dry and leaves my whole mouth tingling from the barrage of flavors, while the sneaky alcohol warms the chest on the way down. The best Imperial Red I've had yet!

M: Medium-full bodied, smooth, slightly sticky, and carbonated to perfection.

D: Hell yeah! Perfect beer to snuggle up with on Christmas night.

Notes: Tremendously well balanced DIPA that hits all the right notes for me. Great holiday beer to enjoy while basking in the glory of such a magical season. Damn, I love the holidays...and Alesmith! Highly recommended

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 4/20/08. Winter bottle. Pours a red/amber with a huge light tan head that lasted. Aroma primarily of floral hops, also some piney hops, grapefruit, other citrus fruits. Flavor of piney hops, citrus with a malty finish (also got some sweetness and alcohol in the finish). At first this beer was very smooth to drink, but it got heavier and more syrupy as I continued to drink. A very good ASA (but not my favorite).

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Photo of Murchmac
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this last summer, but now there is a different spot for the winter one.

Big head, reddish amber glow, orange highlights. Like Rudolph doing lines of oxyclean off santas suit.

Sweet dark malt smell, hops, caramel, smells like a barleywine.

Sweet burnt sugars, caramel, spicey, hoppy. Alcohol noticeable. Like deglazing a pan with mulled brown sugar hoppy cider.

Mouthfeel is almost chewy, like a christmas fruitcake. Bitter hops.

Did I mention alcohol present?

After having Stone 13 and looking back at this beer, imperial red's are a tough style to get right.

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Photo of JayQue
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copied over. I made this review in the wrong place in early 2009.

Winter Bottle. Great looking beer!!! Reddish amber, big pillowy off-white head with good retention and heavy lacing. Looks like a beer commercial in my pint glass. Smell is spicy and hoppy like Celebration Ale. Very pronounced and pleasant smell.

Taste reminds me of Celebration Ale as well but with more citrus than pine/resinous flavor. It is spicy like Celebration Ale with strong bitterness. The difference is a strong sweet malt presence in the middle of the taste experience. Strong hops up front and in the finish, but almost like a Barleywine in the middle.

Mouthfeel is rich and oily, with a crisp spiciness. Drinkability is good, but this is a big beer, a sipper not an all night guzzler.

Very good!!!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2008 version. Reviewed December 8th, 2008. Got both Yules in a trade from Fumner. Served in a pint glass.

A - Murky amber color with ample and creamy tan-brown head. Lacing pattern is terrific, lots of nice swirls.

S - Sweet malt, floral pine, citrus hops all combine together to make a very festive aroma. Reminds me a little of Furious in the way that it combines citrus and candy flavors, but it's significantly sweeter.

T - Malt-heavy, with hop bitterness appearing mid-palate and lingering into the aftertaste. Loses something in the transition from smell to taste - not as much complexity in the floral notes.

M - Creamy, smooth - viscosity is one of my big sticking points, but this one is spot on in that regard. Carbonation is there, but not overwhelming. There's a definite hop resin character that stays in your mouth and complements the bitter aftertaste.

D - The bomber I shared with Dave went too quickly. Even though this clocks in at a hefty 9.5% it drinks just as well as some lighter IPAs and red ales.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now that the YuleSmith was finally separated into 2 different beers I am moving this one to it's correct profile...This was Reviewed on: 12-04-2007 01:48:10

This review is for a 2007 Winter YuleSmith. Last time I had this one it was not as fresh as it could have been so I'm anxious to try this one fresh since the summer edition is one of my favorite beers.

Pours a rusty brown color with hints of red and nearly three inches of foam that almost overflowed in my pint glass. Sure takes its time to settle down to a thick, almost half inch of foam, and leaves little traces of lacing on the glass.

Great hop aroma. Lots of citrus and grapefruit, pine, caramel, and toasted malts. The aroma gets less intense as it sits in the glass, and I'm wondering if a pint glass--as the bottle recommends--is the appropriate glass for this type of beer.

The taste, oh so good! This one has a bigger malt presence than the summer edition, bread and toast flavors followed by some bitter grapefruit and citrus zest and finally finishes with some pine needles. As it warms up the pine flavors and huge malt bill take the stage. Hints of toffee detected as well. Real good taste but had to knock off half a point because the pine does get to be a bit too much after a while.

The beer is very well carbonated and even though it's a big beer the mouthfeel is quite refreshing.

As good as this one is I'm not sure if I like it more than the summer version. Still, this is one fine crafted beer.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seeing that there now is a listing for this beer, I shall move my review over.

22oz bottle, Winter 2007 version.

A: Deep amber-red with a dense, 4-finger off-white head. Tons of carbonation with the receding head leaving sticky lace in its wake.

S: Tons of malt here - caramel, toffee, brown sugar, figs. Hops are present with tons of pine.

T: Full-bodied malt-monster this is with tons of caramel right up front. The pine from the hops is present, assertive and delicious. Reminds me of the Stone Double Bastard in some ways. There's tons of residual sweetness in this one (just a hair too much, maybe?) Hints of raisins in here too

M: As mentioned, full bodied with tons of carbonation.

D: The sweetness of this one does me in. I doubt I'd drink more than one. Oh, and at 8.5%ABV, I doubt I'd want to!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-08-2008 22:17:07

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Photo of prototypic
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2006 release (reviewed long ago)

Appearance: Very nice copper-bronze color. Two finger head that stuck around for a while. Left a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Hops, hops hops. Hints of vanilla, orange, pineapple (?), and pine. Very nice citrusy smell.

Taste: Hops dominate in this one. But, they are buttressed by the hints of citrus and vanilla. The hops are great, but they don't overwhelm. Extremely delicious brew.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: This one goes down so smooth. I've just polished off a bomber and feel that I could go for another. This is an outstanding winter release. One of the best easily. You won't be disappointed. Very strong offering from Alesmith.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A great copper color with a fluffy white head.

S: Piney hops (lots of them), and caramel malt sweetness.

T: Just like you expect from the nose: tons of piney, hoppy bitterness on the front with a great sweetness from the malt on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Very nicely done beer from AleSmith, and one of the better winter ales.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From my notes of March 1, 2008 moved from the Yulesmith beer before it was split between Summer and Winter.

Another Alesmith brew to try. :^) This is the Winter 2007 version.

It pours a clear copper with a 2 finger head of billowy foam that grows in my glass but, happily, no over flow. Hey, it looks like a mini version of Devil's Tower. Fact is, the head retention has to be seen to be believed and there's no shortage of lacing.

The smell has notes of caramel malt, pine, fruit,...smells very holiday-ish.

The taste is yummy. Beautiful caramel malt hits my palate the same time as a very nicely done (not overly done)batch of piney hoppy goodness. Talk about a smooth but very tasty brew, this one epitamizes that and the alcohol is no where to be seen err...tasted.

Further sips in and I'm getting some citrus flavour that adds just a bit more bitterness but the overall flavours are still working in perfect harmony. It has a pretty fullish mouthfeel because of the perfect amount of carbonation and it finishes both sweet and bitter with the edge going to the malty sweetness. Man, the malt is working some magic here and *really* makes this brew stand out and the end result is a really outstanding DIPA that deserves nothing but praise. I love it!!

Bottom line: An exceptional DIPA that I hope every BA gets to try. Get it any way you can!!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeasty orange-bronze with a beautiful roseate glow when backlit. AleSmith YuleSmith is a gorgeous tropical sunset of a beer. The orangish, pale caramel crown is thick, creamy and sticky in consistency. Amazingly intricate, filagreed lace decorates the glass like frost on a Christmas morning windowpane. Outstanding!

The aroma is superb. A supernova-like hop explosion greets even a passing sniff. Deeper inhales threaten to blow the top off my head with twin cannons named 'Mr. Hop' and 'Mr. Malt'. There's a perfect melding of caramel and candied grapefruit peel, with a modicum of passionfruit for good measure. These guys are more than alesmiths, they're alemagicians.

YuleSmith is bliss in a glass. To approximate the flavor, melt a hug slab of caramel... The rich, sweet, caramel-toffee backbone is mastadon-sized, with big, meaty ribs. Without all that malt running interference, this sucker would be a tongue-shredding hop bomb of the highest order. Each side of the malt-hop dyad continually ups the ante throughout each mouthful.

This AleSmith ale is the quintessential balanced DIPA. That is, malt is given at least as much attention and respect as hops. Only my undying love for unbalanced hop bombs keeps the flavor score from perfection. Each sip delivers a mouthfilling, controlled explosion of sweet, sticky, hop-flecked, syrupy, fruity, bitter, caramel-drizzled pleasure. How in the world can four simple ingredients result in such an amazing elixir?

I don't know if there are any adjectives left to describe what this beer feels like in the mouth. How about full, chewy, syrupy, sticky, velvety... perfect. Any less wouldn't be enough and any more would be too much. I hate to use the word 'sensuous', but it fits.

I respect those who adore subtlety. I respect those who appreciate the nuances that different strains of yeast can provide. I respect those who like funk and those who like complexity. I'm with them on all counts. But if I can open only one present on Christmas morning, make mine a YuleSmith.

Originally reviewed on 9-11-2007.

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YuleSmith (Winter) from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.
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