Christmas Ale 2008 | Back Road Brewery

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Very Good
6 Ratings

Brewed by:
Back Road Brewery
Indiana, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6 |  Reviews: 5
Reviews by mdm46410:
Photo of mdm46410
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a growler shared on Thanksgiving. This beer poured an oily black with a bubbly head of tan foam that quickly faded away. A small amount of slippery lacing was left behind. The aroma consisted of rich chocolate, charred wood, and vanilla. The flavor included bittersweet chocolate, heavy roast, some light smoke, dried dark fruits, and a hint of vanilla/oak. The mouthfeel was slick and full-bodied. Mild carbonation. A really tasty brew. Back Road's Christmas Ales never disappoint!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of roadhouse
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my new Duvel glass.

Appearance is pitch black in color with no visible highlights, and a three-quarter inch light tan head that sinks down to a skim rather quickly. Minimal lacing.

The aroma is of chocolate, oak, espresso, charred wood, and a bit of dark fruit reminiscent of berries.

The taste starts out with a nice dose of chocolate, quickly followed up by that smoky charred wood flavor that was found in the aroma, which lasts into the finish. Dark fruits come out midway through as well again reminding me of berries. The finish dries up a bit and some roastier coffee tones show up alongside a fair amount of spicy/herbal hops. The linger in the mouth is strong and lasting, dominated by the smokiness.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, smooth, and somewhat creamy. Pretty drinkable.

I didn't enjoy this as much as last years version but it's good and one of the best that I've had from Back Road. They sure know how to make some solid dark beers, though most others leave something to be desired.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is nearly opaque. with a rather large head of a near white that contracts in the first few minutes to a latte brown. odor is rust in the first minute or two. this subsides completely. this a balanced chocolate, a brown paper oak, vanilla, and a tobacco. the palate is acidic in comparison. old milk stout acid. smokey. chocolate, caramel, tobacco but no typical grape essence i would expect with that sort of acidic quality. some herbal quality of burnt coriander also in there. nice brew from an under-appreciated brewery.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Muddied mahogany with glimmers of copper and orange along the bottom of the pint glass. Three fingers of coffee milkshake colored foam rest atop the beer. The head looks good at the start and even better as it melts. Lovely looking lace makes it a clean sweep.

One source says that Back Roads Christmas Ale 2008 is a 'smoked mocha strong porter'. I don't appreciate any rauchbier-like qualities and the ingredients list doesn't include cocoa nibs. It smells like a vanilla bean-added porter with a few burnt coffee beans throw in for good measure.

That's pretty much how it tastes too. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if this ale was aged in oak barrels. Something is giving it a quasi-bourbon whiskey character, in the sense that there's more burnt sugar and vanilla than one usually tastes in a porter. Roasty java is present as well, although not to such an extent that I suspect coffee or coffee beans were added.

I'm enjoying the charred-burnt flavor of the malt. It gives the beer a balancing bitterness (that could also be coming from hops). A lack of citrusiness suggests the use of something that doesn't start with the letter 'C'. Bittersweet chocolate, dark toffee and vanilla lead the way. Thankfully, alcohol isn't prominent.

The only (slight) chink in the armor is a mouthfeel that isn't quite worthy of the ABV. A little more fullness, creaminess and volume would have been great and would have allowed this score to keep pace with the others.

Since Christmas Ale 2008 is my first Back Road Brewery beer, I'm glad that it's a good one. There's nothing especially festive about it (other than the name and the red wax-dipped cap), but it's a solid Imperial porter that I'd be happy to drink again. $9.99 is little steep, though. Thanks wadsey.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a smallish, frothy, light khaki-colored head.

Smell: Chocolaty, roasty malts with notes of toasted caramel, coffee, and, though only a subtle oak and smoke presence.

Taste: Roasted malts with a taste of semi-sweet chocolate and toasted grains. Thin drizzle of caramel-flavored coffee. Understated oak flavor. Touch of smoked spices. Roasty, earthy bitterness. Finishes dry and roasty with a dash of ashy soot.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A real "feel good" Christmastime brew. It's definitely one of the better brews I've had from Back Road.

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Christmas Ale 2008 from Back Road Brewery
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 6 ratings
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