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

Growler filled at Grapevine (Fort Mill, SC) poured into a Catawba Valley pint glass.

A- Medium orange body with a single finger, dense white head which dies quickly and leaves no lacing.

S- Smells of strictly spices.

T- All spices, in all honesty way too much spice in this beer. Other than the spice, the beer is very bland.

M- Light but chewy. Not bad, but not great. Pretty high carbonation.

D- I don't know, the carbonation is really getting to me.

It's not terrible. I would drink it if it was given to me, but I don't think I will be purchasing it again. I was a little disappointed because I do like RJ Rockers.

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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 beer2day
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honey gold pour with faint carbonation and 1-finger head. Faint retention and lacing.

Honey all over the nose. Corriander backs that up, with a bit of lemon.

Sweet hit and spicy, spicy finish. Honey up front with pepper kicking in at the end. Very sharp finish with lots of spice.

Feel seems about right. Pepper walks all over the feel at the end.

One of these is plenty, even at 6%. That peppery finish brings it down a tad.

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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 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 TMoney2591
3.79/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pours a rich, somewhat hazy pale amber, with barely half a finger of white head that disappears to the edges quickly. The nose teems with sweet spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. An undercurrent of hoppy bananas is also detectable. It's as though a pale ale were crossed with a rich apple cider (in a good way, believe me). The taste doesn't quite follow this formula, though, with the spices taking a distinct back seat to the hoppy, pale ale flavors, though they are still there. The banana is forced into a sideshow, something only appearing (and seemingly appealing) only to those looking for such a thrill. Luckily, the body is quite moderate, allowing this warmer to maintain the drinkability established by its nose.

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Photo of Sallerj
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma here is pure spice, but from the aroma I can't tell if it's a winter ale or a pumpkin beer. The taste is closer to what I expect from a spiced winter ale, but there's still an awful lot of pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg or allspice) in here. It's a perfectly good, perfectly forgettable winter ale.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A--Light amber/medium orange body with a single finger of fizzy white head which dies quickly and leaves no lacing. I have a feeling that's the glass's fault, though, not the beer's.

S--Apple pie--clove and cinnamon, with a hint of ginger. No malt or hops come through.

T--More of the same, with a bit of basic pale malt biscuit backing in the middle of the profile. Mostly it's the same spices as the nose, in the same proportion: clove and cinnamon, followed by finger. Hop bitterness but no hop flavor really. Kind of blah.

M&D--Mouthfeel's fine. Again, like a pale ale: somewhat chewy but light. Lively carbonation that's welcome. Drinkability? Meh. You've seen this before. Reminiscent for me of Smutty's Pumpkin Ale, without the pumpkin and without the great hop finish, or Hooker's Nor' Easter, except less clean and smooth.

Son of a Peach was better, but I'm interested in this brewery.

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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 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 NeroFiddled
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First Snow pours a hazy amber body with golden highlights beneath a short-lived head of creamy white.

Cinnamon is apparent in the nose, but there are other spices there as well, and a bit of caramel-laced malt too.

The flavor is just as spicy as the aroma, and it's easily on par with a pumpkin ale (cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, ...?). The spicing is a little bit different though, and it's a bit softer. I taste ginger in the finish, although I'm not sure if that's where it's coming from, it could be a combination of spices; perhaps some citrus zest as well. The malt is pretty basic, appearing bready with some medium caramel notes. It supports the spicing really well, but doesn't stand out on its own. Some mild grassy hops are also present, making themselves known across the middle, and then within the background during the finish. Surprisingly, the spices fade rather quickly given the strength that they show up front.

Overall, it's a pretty nice spiced ale that displays good balance. It could be a bit more rounded, but at the same time I kind of enjoy the slap of spice upfront, and then a soft finish. In fact, that's probably actually better than having everything a little bit more integrated throughout.

Worth trying, but I disagree with the label that suggests you "chill the mug" (or glass) before drinking - this was best after it warmed a touch and the malt was able to balance the spices a little bit more.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orange/gold color, with a thin white head. No expiration date on this bottle of Winter ale consumed in early May. I'm getting a shitload of spices with the glass just sitting there about 18 inches from my nose.

Yeah this is a spicy one, the usual Christmas spice blend. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice even. Not a lot else to smell here, the taste is big on the spice but more mild, and it does fade quickly to reveal a decent malt character and even some hops coming through. Mildly bitter finish, with only a bit of lingering spice.

Medium body and a decent smooth moutfeel. I have not had this fresh but it does not seem to be any worse for wear at this point.

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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 Georgiabeer
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden with a fair head that settles to a ring. Smells quite sweet and somewhat spicy, with nutmeg, mace, and cinammon, as well as perhaps a bit of clove and orange peel. The taste is still a little sweet, but not as much so as the nose would have you believe it is going to be. There is a nuttiness and a creaminess here as well that goes pretty well with the sweetness and the spice. Pretty clean and a little light, not thick or heavy at all, and thus fairly easy to drink for the style. Not bad at all- a lighter interpretation of a winter-spiced beer, with a nice nuttiness that almost reminds me of pralines.

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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 JISurfer
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first beer from RJ's, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall it wasn't too bad. Granted, it wasn't great either. It had a very light spice to the smell, but the spice taste was more up front in the taste. To me, it kind of tasted like a light pumpkin beer. I do look forward to try other brews offered from RJ's.

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Photo of StarSAELS
2.4/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I don't get it. Maybe I've been spoiled by other, stronger-tasting "winter" brews, but I find this offering boring (just like the Bell Ringer).

Color's nice -- and promising -- but the enjoyment takes a dive from there. I get a light carbonation tingle on the tongue, and the body's okay (light, I think). But the flavor's all nutmeg... maybe a little cinnamon. At least the alcohol is working. Another Rockers brew I'm mostly disappointed by.

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Photo of deereless
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A medium gold with a reddish hue, a ring of foam along the edges of the glass - 3.50, S: Lots of spice, a fragance that can only be cinnamon, a hint of green wood - 4.25, T: Loads of grain on the front, some mild hop bite on the back, less pronounced spice on the palate than the nose, mildly nutty and with a hint of toastiness - 3.75, M: Medium bodied - 3.50, D: Some nice touches to a spiced ale, not a standout but a solid beer - 3.50

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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 Jason
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

Hazed amber with a healthy looking off white lace. Toasted grain and spicing in nose. Smooth and semi-slick medium body. First sip the taste buds get pushed around by the spicing and hop bitterness. After that settles more of an orange rind and dry toasted malt take over. A little fruity with a faint warming alcohol ester in the back. Maltiness mingles with the nutty yeast which both linger with some fading spiciness in the semi-dry finish.

Good balance for this spiced Winter Warmer, a little rough around the edges but I dig that. I find with spiced beers if they are too clean the spicing immediately takes over, not the case here. Give this one a go.

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Photo of wchesak
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served in a pint glass

Appearance - half inch ivory white head which leaves some lacing as it settles

Smell - definitely cinnamon and nutmeg right off the bat with a hint of citrus towards the end...almost smells like a pumpkin ale

Taste - not what i expected from a pale ale...the bite of the hop only comes at the end

Mouthfeel - crisp at the onset but finished rather smooth...the flavors linger in the mouth

Drinkability - after getting passed my expectations for the beer, i rather enjoyed it and would have no problem drinking a few more...definitely fits the category of a winter ale

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

16 oz. pint - $4.75 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, coppery body with a small, white head and some meager lacing.

Smell: Aroma of pale malts with a very light hint of grain. Big pop of spices in the nose. As it warms a bit, some dried orange peel joins the scene.

Taste: Pale maltiness with a mild, crystal malt-type sweetness present. Plenty spicy, with distinct tastes of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves. R.J. Rockers must have a hook-up with an online specialty spice retailer. Just like the aroma, the orange peel really only joins the party upon warming. This is all appropriately matched with some spicy hops and a medium bitterness. Drying finish with a lingering orange peel flavor, maybe even some perceived ginger, too.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Nice array of spices set against a lighter, more drinkable pale ale. Did R.J. Rockers brew up a pleasant winter beer? Yes, yes, they did.

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

Had this on tap at Sonny's in Spartanburg tonight. Poured a pale amber with a decent head. The smell was full of spices and grain, as was the taste. No real hops to it. Very earthy grainy flavor, almost gritty. Had some suprising fruit undertomes to it. Went down very easy and could easily see myself drinking more of these. This was my first offering from RJ Rockers but I will be trying more

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