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 kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: very large head on a clear golden with amber hues. nice lacing.

S: spices, gingerbread, hint of cinnamon. very much the seasonal spices heavy.

T: again heavily spiced. The base beer is hard to work out with this one. more gingerbread, lightly sweet and hints of peppermint

M: high carbonation and light to medium body.

Overall: definitely a nice beer for the season. This one tasted decent even after 9 months of storage. The base beer cant really be commented on.

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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 metter98
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense and creamy off white head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of yeast and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of spices (cinnamon and nutmeg stand out in particular) and pale malts along with some hints of honey.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink compared to others in the styles. Although it doesn’t have enough alcohol to produce warming sensations in your mouth, the body is strong enough to keep you warm on a chilly fall night.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got a six pack of these while pciking up some other beer and my local store a few weeks ago, evidentally they wanted to clear out some old inventory but I wont complain

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-cloudy apricot colored with about a 2 finger head

S-light spice and a int of orange

T-spices come through but are not overpowering like some others

M-good medium body

O-no complaints about this one, especially for free

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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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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle this beer was a murky amber color with one finger of eggshell-white head. The retention of the thin collar was not bad and the lacing in broken streaks. The aroma had a strong note of cloves along with sweetbreads, caramel malt, nutmeg and a little cinnamon. The flavors were very similar to the aroma with an emphasis on the cloves and caramel malt plus the addition of a bitter, slightly woody finish. The mouthfeel was creamy and slick, the body medium and the carbonation a bit prickly. A nice example of a Winter Warmer and definitely worth a try if you are the type who enjoys spiced beers.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a vibrant, slightly cloudy golden ORANGE with a nice finger of dense near white head, great lacing, good retention too.

S - Malty with lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, honey, hotball type aromas too. Maybe some orange?

T - Malt and honey, followed immediately by a solid kick of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc). Orange rinds are more distinctive in the taste as well. Maybe a little yeasty/

M - A less than medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. Definitely a warmer with the spices.

O - This is a very nice winter ale, unlike many other brews of the same style the spices are very balanced and not so in your face. (Definitely there, just not overpowering). solid brew

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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 Rschis16
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy and bubbly white head sits on top of a hazy orange beer that doesn't let too much light shine through. The head dissapates down to bubbly patches. Some nice aromatics in this one, ranging from clove and ginger to cinnamon, wheat malt and a hint of spruce. Very pleasant on the nose, nice wintery feel to it.

The taste is a decent mixture of the same wheat malt and spices, but not as pronounced. The clove is present, as is the ginger, giving a nice spice to the foreground. The cinnamon can be briefly detected in the back, but then gives way to a slightly bittering finish. This beer lacks in the middle however, showing a sort of watery feel and lack of character and body where this beer could shine. There is a slightly off flavor in the aftertaste that is a bit sour, but not too distracting. Finishes dry but smooth, not much alcohol presence to be detected.

Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable winter warmer. Could use maybe a bit more heat, but does fine as it is. Would have liked to see a bit more character in the spices. Really not a bad little beer though.

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Photo of Suds
3.12/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is a golden liquid, slightly hazy, with notable yeast 'floaties'. Slim white head. It's not an brilliantly attractive beer...average. The aroma is nice: spice is the first thing that's noticeable. Cinnamon. There's a little nutmeg, pale malt, and earthy hops. It's a Christmas smell for a winter brew; appropriate. The taste is middle-of-the-road. There's a decent balance...semi-sweet. The spice is notable in the taste, and gives a peppery sensation on the tongue. Hops have a mid-taste bite that give a counterbalance to the malt. Not bad. Firm in body, but not quite as hefty as the beer needed. All in all, this is drinkable and good, but not very interesting, and really rather ordinary for the season.

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Photo of avalon07
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a hazy texture. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A big, enticing aroma of malt and a lot of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.).

T: Tasted of malt, light hops, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The taste doesn't quite live up to expectations built by the aroma. A little on the thin side.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this beer is drinkable, it is wildly uneven. It has some good qualities and some mediocre ones.

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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 matty
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange beer with a rapidlt fading head .Aroma is spices(smeels like those spice wafer cookies).Taste is the same holiday spices that you would find in an egg nog.Overall an average beer nothing less nothing more.I doubt I would recommend or purchase again.

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Photo of 57md
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Cloudy yellowish orange in appearance with a finger of head that has little retention. The nose is clearly x-mas spices and the taste is quite spicy as well - cinnamon takes the lead here. There is a pleasantly dry finish, but it is a bit thin. An interesting brew, but maybe overall too light for a winter beer.

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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 drpimento
2.62/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Best part was the smell. Poured with a small to medium sized, fine, off white that settled down to a ring after a bit and no lace. Color is a hazy pumpkin pie amber (which is a nice coincidence the same spices used to brew with) with some bubble trails. Aroma is mainly those spices, beer, and later a little funk. Flavor is likewise, but without much malt to balance, which also proly leads to my view that the body is a bit light too although good carbonation. Finish is like flavor and of average length for a spice beer. I'm not finishing mine. Wish I had some cheese or something to neutralize my mouth.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for the bottle.

A- Pours a coppery amber color. One and a half finger white head shows poor retention. Specks of lace left on the glass as the streaks tended to fall back into the glass.

S- Light toasted malts aroma mixes with nutmeg, cinnamon, and hints of clove in the front of the aroma. Very spice forward. Light darker fruit seem to be in here...nothing else is really in here. Just a lot of spice forwardness to the nose. Alcohol really doesn't show at all.

T- Toasted malts with a hint of darker fruit in the front end. The toasted malts dominate over the darker fruit which lets the cinnamon come out as the first spice. Middle of the beer shows a light caramel malt with clove and nutmeg. The ending of the beer shows the trio of spicing with a light alcohol hint in the ending.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Spicing is mostly all that is left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly light alcohol and spicing. Flavors are spice forward which is kind of what I expected. No off flavors were present in this beer. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was nothing special but a nice one time beer. The ABV doesn't show at all which I liked. A little spiced forward which I thought could be tones down a little. Overall I would try again but wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again.

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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 brewemstrong
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Solid copper color with a one finger white head that dissapeared quickly. No apparent sediment.

S: Incredibly spiced but not as malty. Cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, light hop scent. Plum or fig?

T: For as potent as it appeared to be, this has a light-medium body. It is not overly spiced, hopped or sugary.

M: Medium carbonation but not too heavy for this ale. No bite or sugar after the swallow. If anything, it finishes a bit dry.

O: A good taste for the season, but I doubt I will search for it again.

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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 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 argock
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into an overssized wine glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $1.60.

A: Pleasing slightly hazy amber with persistent 1-2 fingers of creamy, off-white head which leaves a nice band of lace.

S: Nutmeg and cinnamon with orange are the strongest aroma components. The mid-range malt base is a little flat and cardboardy.

T: The flavor is a subtle mix of a light bodied ale with mild winter spicing and a medium malt presence. The spices are most evident up front and mainly include ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg with orange zest. This equates to citrus-tinged gingerbread cookies. The malt sweetness passes quickly and falls flat like in the flavor leaving a cardboard aftertaste.

M: The mouthfeel blends spice tingle with a light, creamy mouthfeel that is really pleasurable to drink.

D: Usually I don't like spiced beer much and wouldn't have bought this had I read the label closer, but in the end I'm glad I did as this brew kept the spice in check and matched this subtler spice profile with a light bodied ale. A little more attention to the malt bill, and this brew could be a real winter staple.

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Photo of MayLattimore
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich dark amber, with not much head that disappears fast. The is spicy. The taste doesn't quite hit the mark in my mind. A little strange in the mix. Luckily, the body and mouthfeel are good. But, while I was okay with drinking one, I switched after. I'm not quite sure what they were shooting for. But, maybe it's just not for everyone. It seems most of the people are split on this one.

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