The First Snow Ale | RJ Rockers Brewing Company

79 Reviews
The First Snow AleThe First Snow Ale

Brewed by:
RJ Rockers Brewing Company
South Carolina, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
This hearty American pale ale contains a rich blend of spices that warms the soul on a cold winter's night. Chill the mug, stoke the fire, and savor this quality seasonal brew. Available only during the Winter season.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 10-12-2005

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 198
Photo of showbob
4.87/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My favorite winter ale! The First Snow Ale is an American-style pale ale, moderately hopped. It also happens to have 15 pounds of honey and almost every spice in the cabinet thrown in: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange peel and allspice. Nice! With the 6% alcohol makes it even better!

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Photo of jsprain1
4.55/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Slightly hazy oranged tan with a cream colored head. Retains head well. Some lacing.
S- Smells very much of spice. Cinnamon, some clove. Actually a bit like a pumpkin ale.
T- In terms purely of taste, this may be the best Winter Warmer I've had. A bit of pumpkin, there some cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, and then there is just a nice citrus flow to it. Well balanced. Splendid.
M- Creamy, full bodied, just a touch undercarbed is the only complaint I have.
D- Top to bottom, this may be the Winter Warmer I've had to date. A really splendid beer.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.35/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

MY hometown brewery.
Im normally not a huge fan of the style, one winter malty bomb after another...but
First snow pours a lighter tone than expected. Amber tone, thick head, looks great.
Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, apple cider yeast, sour dough yeast, funky,more tart than most overly-sweet winter warmers.
Tons of sourwood honey, nutmeg, all holiday spices to peel, cloves in there. Really nice, not a sweet malt bomb on the nose.
Flavor..very well spiced. In perspective this is a great holiday beer.Big on pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, orange, malt, honey cider, apple.
A combination of all thst is good in the winter-No bias this is very good even great. Spiced more heavy than some may like n=but really focused on the whole winter spice profile.
Very good, makes me even more homesick!

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Photo of woodjm
4.33/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A spiced pale ale thats perfect for the holidays. Light copper color with a medium body. Good amount of head after the pour (about an inch) and slowly thins out. The aroma is huge in this one...full of cinnamon and clove. The flavors that really come out are the nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. At 6% abv this is not advised as a session beer. Very nicely balanced though. A nicely done seasonal overall. Dumbfounded by the past couple ratings. Looking forward to having it more often next winter.

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Photo of glamphetamine
4.26/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Gold with a hint of red and fully translucent. Poured about a finger of head, though I have a feeling I poured this one oddly and that might have killed the head quite a bit.

S - The smell starts out with hops and spice, the spice being largely cinnamon with some nutmeg, and then fades to a sweet fruity malt aroma with a touch of spice in the background. Very pleasant and layered.

T - Very hoppy at first, but the finish balances that out with a mild and sweet maltiness. The cinnamon quality is more subdued here in than in the smell. The beer leaves the aftertaste of nutmeg in the back of the mouth.

M - Finishes nicely with a slight foamy sensation on the edges of the tongue and an enjoyable aftertaste.

D - Really a very good beer, but I wouldn't recommend more than one in a sitting. The flavors tend to pile up in beers like this and they become overpowering if you have another one. But hey, if you see this around pick some up. It's definitely worth a try, and as far as winter brews go it's up there with some of the best.

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Photo of seedyone
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

02/06/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Very nice spiced pale ale. If you like Southern Tier Pumpking or McKenzie's Seasonal Reserve cider, you'll probably like this. The spices are not as upfront but it all works out to a very pleasant experience.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice medium golden color that produces a little slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing along the pint glass.

S: Very very spicy! Nutmeg, gingerbread, cinnamon, and a few other spices

T: Spicy again...cinnamon, ginger, gingerbread, nutmeg. A little too carbonated for my taste though, but still delicious.

MD/D: Although the abv is 6%, I still think this would be a good session beer over dinner in the winter or on a cold day. Nice and warming, the alcohol is hidden, yet warms you when the beer warms.

Another solid production from RJ Rockers

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Photo of Enola
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a winter warmer no matter what the listed style is. The beer poured a hazy golden color. There was a nice head. The smell was of spices and reminded me of a cold winter day beside the fire. Ths taste was spiced. Cinnamon was dominate. The mouthfeel was smooth. There was no harshness. This is an easy drinking beer I will be sure to have again sometime.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on date section of label is blank.

Pours a bit murky orange, very little head. Minimal lacing.

Nutmeg and cinnamon upon initial smell. Custard, vanilla?

Taste is fairly prominent spiciness with the nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. The light honey flavor sweetness also there along with brown sugar and a bit of caramel. I can also pick up some vanilla and rice pudding like flavors. Maybe its the nutmeg tricking me since any rice pudding I've ever had was made with nutmeg. As it warms, cinnamon becomes even more prominent.

Medium body and medium carbonation.

Wasn't sure I would like a spiced beer and can't remember any I've had before. This actually surprised me in that I enjoyed it. Can't imaging drinking this anytime other than the winter months though.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

- from the notes
12 ounce bottles.
A - hazy amber full of fine particulates topped with a thin head.
S - lots of malt and spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.
T - warm spices not overly done and nicely balanced with the malts.
M - could use a little more carbonation to round out the medium body.
D - not a session beer but you could have more than one before the flavor wears you down.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear medium amber pour with a slight red hue. Nose is of clove mostly, with hints of nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. Almost a light medium body with good carbonation. Nice balanced blend of spice flavor with nutmeg and cinnamon on the forefront, cardamom in the middle and with clove dominating the end. Clean finish with a bitter clove aftertaste. A bit of sweetness would improve the balance and contrast the spice. Still, this one is outstanding.

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Photo of LordofTime25
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got from casemw!

The beer is a clear golden when poured into the glass with a one finger head that lasts most of the drink and leaves a nice lacing!

Smells of cinnamon, clove, citrus, and maybe a caramel tone to the beer.

This beer has a sweetness of I believe caramel malt and a slight bitterness, but not much. Nice though.

Beer has a medium body with a nice semi dry finish!

I could drink many of these!

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark orangish amber with a thin lacing of off white head that has little retention

S - pie spice, bread, nutmeg, cinnamon

T - nutmeg, cinnamon, bread, pie crust, all spice

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a decent brew. If there was a hint of pumpkin here it would make an excellent beer. There pie spices and crust-like bready notes are pretty damn good. I really liked this beer for it's drinkability and it's spice character. A few of these will definitely warm you up in the late autumn.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a Dogfish Head shaker. Poured golden yellow with a one and a half finger bone white head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, cinnamon, corriander, cloves, and candy cane. Yes, candy cane... The flavor was of malt, cloves, corriander, cinnamon, and a slight banana note. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was quite a nice brew. Given that it was a winter brew and I had it in the early fall really says something about this one. I am still in shock even after the next day that I got candy cane on the nose... This is definitely a nice and smooth drinking beer with no harsh flavors anywhere in sight. I will definitely be drinking more of this in the coming winter months for sure. This is a definite must try on tap.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours cloudy amber and short bubbly white head that gathers around the edges on the glass. Aroma is very spicy! Lots of cinnamon, ginger, and clove along with caramel and sweet malts. Taste is gingerbread cookies, caramel, cinnamon toast, and sweet malts. Bit of nuttiness and dried fruit notes coming through as well. Body is medium with moderate carbonation. Finishes with more strong spices - cinnamon and ginger, mostly - caramel, light nutty flavors, and sweet malts. Dried dark fruit as well. Very good winter beer. A sleeper out of the bunch I was evaluating for my winter/christmas beer review.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the table clear amber golden with a white low and persistent head which laced the glass.

The aroma was spicy phenolics with cinnamon, clove, ginger and allspice. Also present was a light bit of caramel and some citrus.

The flavor was light caramel with a moderate level of spice, again cinnamon, clove and ginger with a slight sweetness on the palate and a nice bit of grassy bittering to balance.

The finish was dry with a lasting bit of muted spice into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a moderate level of carbonation. A nice beer with a subtle spice character.

Pint at CW's in Columbia, SC.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow... Very nice winter brew here... This is like gingerbread cookies in a glass and isn't overly spiced like some others are... One reviewer mentioned candy cane aromas and I'm getting them too... Lots of gingerbread spices with cinnamon and nutmeg and the like... Toasted malts with lots of sweetness... I'm digging this quite a of the better winter brews I had this year...

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at Rooster's Beak.

A: The pour is a slightly clouded amber color with a finger of soapy, dirty-white head that holds and laces very well.

S: Orange peel, coriander, caramel, and toast. It smells like an American Pale Wheat Ale with a bready edge.

T: Strong citrus, coriander, biscuit and caramel malt, and faint grassy notes. It tastes like the coming of Spring.

M: The body is medium with lots of creaminess and a very smooth finish.

D: This very good but not what I expected with the name "First Snow Ale" because it is quite light and citrusy for the style.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The second of three leftover brews from their tasting at Beer Run.

A: Fairly blonde, a fizzly head with notes of creaminess.... retention is okay, but nothing much for lacing going on.

S + T: Both the flavour and the aroma are very much like gingerbread. A sweet ginger and nutmeg. The nose has a little more of the warm scent. Flavour is notable, but rather mild... from the little experience I've had with the brewery, that seems to be their M.O.

M + D: A little light... I'd like some more body, but it's not too bad at all. Drinks smooth and easy. A nice seasonal offering, and something I'd be interested in trying again.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

Pours a hazy deep golden-amber with a half finger of frothy off-white foam that recedes slowly to a thick crown, leaving some thin legs of lace down the walls of the glass as it empties.

Cinnamon and nutmeg show up in the nose, with what seems like a hint of ginger, clove and a faint whiff of anise, as well as a touch of brown sugar-like sweetness. A little DMS seems to hide in the background -- perhaps a little Pils malt was in the grist? Here's hoping, though it could be a misplaced aroma.

Medium-bodied with a moderate carbonation that seems perhaps a little high. A nice toasty, honeyish sweetness shows up front and carries through well into the middle and back, balanced only, it seems, by the holiday spices thrown into the mix; no real hop profile is noticeable, but things seem nicely in balance nevertheless, if a bit on the sweet side. The finish is a little sweet and a touch grainy; things dry out at the very end, though, with a little spice moving forward and leaving me wanting for a nother draught.

I first sampled this at Columbia's World Beer Festival and have since had it several times. Overall a nice and drinkable Winter Warmer, with quite an appealing spice mix in the aroma; the honeyish notes must indeed stem from the use of honey in the brewing, which is indicated on the label. A nice interpretation for the style; not the best out there, but definitely a go-to choice when it's available.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from the tap at Rattle N’ Hum in New York, NY. It arrived in a becker glass a toasted grain color. It sported a light ring of a head, just under half a finger in height. As the head receded, spotty lacing was left around the glass, and a dull haze was noted to the beer. No sediment was noticed, and the carbonation appeared to be average. As we sniffed, the first thing noted was an autumn spiciness, almost reminding us of a pumpkin beer. There were qualities of cinnamon, orange peel, clove, and salty sunflower seeds present as well. As we sipped, our first impression was that there was nice spice and aromatics to the taste. The beginning boasted sour grain mash with a sweeter orange zest. The cinnamon qualities were apparent right from the beginning, and a black pepper spiciness was also noted. As we swallowed, we got a nice balancing herbal and grassy hop quality, with some floral notes on the back. There were also notes of pumpkin spice and fresh cream, adding to the delicious autumn profile of this beer. Buttery bread added further to the warming, “homey” quality of this brew. The end of the sip brought forth a warming quality of grain, cinnamon, and a more clovey spice. The very end boasted a synthetic cherry, sitting high against the booze. The aftertaste breathed of hollow spice, light booze, raw clove, honey sugars, and heavy warming grain. The body was medium, and the carbonation was high. There was nice initial slurp and cream, with coating, which quickly turned to a drying wheaty bite. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank slowly in this heat.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the spicy qualities present throughout both the nose and the flavoring. There was such an array of spicy inclusions, making this nice and inviting for a cozy drink on a cool day. During the summer, however, it is a bit much, and we were bogged down by the heaviness at times.

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Photo of AshleyMiller
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to Msquared2 for this extra. poured into a snifter.

a - pours a golden orange with a fluffy generous thumb-width head that resides quickly leaving some patchy lacing on the glass

s - smells of xmas spices and some orange. i get a little cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon(?)

t - tastes almost like a belgian yeast with plenty of holiday spices, the honey adds a nice sweetness to go along with the spices

m - plenty of carbonation, on the lighter side of medium-bodiness

o - not too shabby, really quenched my thirst and was a nice beer to drink while watching national lampoon's christmas vacation

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a clear, darkish amber with an average head. Aroma is strong and spicy as well as somewhat malty; spice is mainly cinnamon and cloves. Flavor is fairly strong and malty, and the spicy component is mainly cloves and cinnamon. There is also just a hint of hops. Texture is fairly smooth and tingly, and nips at the tongue.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed alongside Summit Winter Ale.

A: Hazy, light orange-amber with two-finger, off-white, rocky head that lasted a while. Great lacing.

S: Toast and spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Nice.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Light toasted malt and spice. Spice overpowers malt a bit.

M: Light bodied with soft carbonation. Slightly dry. Kind of warm.

O: Looks and smells great, but I thought the malt should pop more in the flavor and the body was a bit too light for a winter warmer. I liked the Summit Winter Ale better.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Holly crap did I let this one age! Purchased from my second order at Halftime beverage about 2 months ago.

A - My guess fresh it would have been a nice clear yellow but about 8 months in I got sediment yeast floaties and a minimal amount of head but nice lacing.

S - My god does that smell good. Rich spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander along side of pale malts and mild hops.

T - Taste is a nice balance of spice with chalky yeast and mild bite in the finish from the hops. Mostly sweet and enjoyable.

M - Light to medium good for a pale winter warmer.

Overall a very interesting spin on your typical dark thick bodied winter warmer. Would love to try this again fresh to see if the spices are more pronounced in the flavor.

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The First Snow Ale from RJ Rockers Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 198 ratings.
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