Ale Mary | RCH Brewery

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Ale MaryAle Mary
Very Good
78 Ratings
Ale MaryAle Mary

Brewed by:
RCH Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 12-10-2001

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Ratings: 78 |  Reviews: 66
Photo of woodychandler
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Merry Mary Christmas 2017! I had a blast yesterday, drinking through a rich backlog of Flying Dog beers for New Beer Sunday (Week 670) & today is my day to delve into some Christmas beers.

From the bottle: "A beautifully executed bottle-conditioned ale"; "CAMRA Gold Medal 2001"; "Hand Brewed Ales"; "Ale Mary is bottle-conditioned by Wessex Craft Brewers. The ale, therefore, contains live yeast and matures naturally in the bottle, producing the sparkle and complexity of a cask conditioned ale. Store upright in a cool place and pour gently to avoid disturbing the natural sediment,"; "Ale Mary [-] A dark, rich spicy bottle-conditioned ale, resonant with Christmas seasonal flavours and designed to take the chill off the coolest winter night. Ale Mary has a warm and sweet aroma of cloves, coriander and ginger. The palate provides touches of rum, raisins and sultanas, with a dry fruity finish. This ale has been exclusively brewed for us by Paul Davey of RCH Brewery."

I have had my eye on this one for several weeks now at the FGBS & I finally pulled the trigger on Saturday during a Secret Santa beer exchange. Last Christmas, I ran through the Shelton Bros.' Bad Elf/Very Bad Elf/et al series & so I wanted to continue the Christmas tradition with some new (to me) beers that would be appropriate for the holiday. And so it begins!

I Pop!ped the cap, but I would have performed a gentle pour even without their warning simply because it came housed in a 0.5-liter bottle & that is more liquid than I want to play with at one time. I slowly decanted it from the bottle into the awaiting glass & then gave it a vigorous swirl. The resulting two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, light-tan head stood tall & then fell back, leaving stupidly great lacing in their wake. Color was Deep-Amber/Light-Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled strongly of sour cherries! 8=O Amended: sour cherries plus cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg! 8=) Mouthfeel was medium, not overly carbonated as the label had suggested, but very smooth. The spices of cinnamon (especially), ginger (next) & nutmeg (least) were first & foremost, but the cherry was like a cherry bomb - it hid behind the spicy drapes & jumped out unexpectedly with a BANG! I am of English/German/Irish descent so a nip of kirschwasser was not unheard of at Christmas. In fact, my mother's maiden name is Kirsch, making it even more of an appropriate tradition. There were a couple of bottles still on the shelf when I left the other day & I may just snap them up - one to set aside for my annual beef (crock) pot roast & the other to have them put into a double-boiler on the flat-top at the FGBS! Mulled (or simply warmed), I would bet that this is fantastiche! The finish was dry and spicy, but it was the cherry tartness that really made it special. What a find for Christmas 2017!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Love bottle conditioning.

Dark amber color with a very lively, jazzy look. Massive, rocky and clumpy...sea foam style. Big time lace.

Aroma has a very nice malted cherries effect. Light grains and wheat as well. Smells very much like a belgian-style yeast with sour fruity notes.

The feel is full and jazzy, crisp but smooth. Flavor has a mild , malty taste, wicked crisp and lightly fruity. The hops are mostly herbal, maybe a bit spicy. It's very much like a straight ale with a Belgian edge in feel and flavor. A bit of booze in a subtle wat settles well over some of the fruity effects.

A bottle conditioned English ale is new to me....I dig it.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!" (and other books to come.)

100 characters

Photo of logicalparadox
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Bitterbill
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice pour. Plenty of foam sitting on a medium gold brew. The foam ain't going anywhere soon but what's shrinking leaves lacing behind.

The smell is festive; spicy with some cinnamon, a bit of clove, and fruity ..cherry like flavour when I swish the beer in my mouth, dark fruit when I don't swish.

Medium body with lightish carbonation.

This is delicious.

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Photo of Hellpop65
2/5  rDev -48.2%

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Suds
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This is a dark golden beer, the head is enormous, tall, puffy, and white. The scent of spice is immediately notable. Ginger and clove stand out. There is a bit of malt in the back as well, but the spice is predominant. The taste is moderately sweet...some yeas, and lots of spice. Again, ginger dominates, which gives the beer a warming sensation that is more than it's ABV would provide. Full in body and reasonably satisfying. This ale is solid and good, but I think it's more of a spice-bomb than necessary.

 510 characters

Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of LJWalker
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of sneaks2210
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of murraymj
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy caramel in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that died down rather quickly, but left lacing down the sides of the glass, a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and a thin layer of bubbles with some foamy patches floating on the surface.
S: There are aromas of fruity yeast in the nose—apples seem to stand out in particular.
T: The initial taste has flavors of fruity malts while the remainder and finish is dominated by ginger with some hints of cloves.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No alcohol warming is noticeable.
O: This beer is quite unlike any other beers in the style but it is interesting and relatively easy to drink. The bottle conditioning makes this taste similar to a cask beer.

 839 characters

Photo of Caterwaul
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of ElGallo
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Zimbo
2.89/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Initially there was an encouraging fresh sugary smell when opened and it poured an appealing crystal brown colour with orangish highlights. Big one inch plus thick head. Starts out citrically fizzy and fairly sharp, almost with almosty champagnish acidity before thickening up and developing a degree of sappiness.
But then things get ugly as the beer takes on root beer/cola quality before being dominated by a cacophony of sharp spicy cinnamon and clove flavours which are just plain downright unpleasant. It may be well made but that didn't stop it from the indignity of the drain pour. Hope the fish liked it.

 614 characters

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

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep amber colored body, slightly hazy, with a bit of an orange tint. Big, dense, two finger light tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

The first word describing the aroma is spicy. Not an unexpected feature of a winter warmer. Starts very much like a hefeweisen/witbier with some coriander in the mix here as well. Some dark fruit lingers in the background.

Nice blend of flavors that follow the aroma. The spiciness is not overwhelming and combines with some plum and raisin on the fruity side. The coriander seems to merge with some clove and a bit of sweet maltiness.

Thin mouthfeel. This was recommended and I'm glad. Will be happy to revisit this in the winter months.

 707 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a very large, lasting head and lots of lacing.
Nose shows lots of spices, I'd take a guess at ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Underneath is lots of sweet malt and hints of brandy and raisins.
The spices transfer through stongly as flavours, but unfortunately not much of the malt does. Prominent grainy notes, alcohol and astringency detract from the experience.
Carbonation could be higher and the body feels watery.

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Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Mary's head has been more than restored atop the hazy amber liquid and it sticks and sticks

Smell: The aroma is somewhat cakey, with hints of plums, clove and cinnamon

Taste: Opens with a cakey base, on top of which is layered plum and raisin flavors, then spices (clove, cinnamon and ginger) and, finally, some earthy hops; after the swallow, all of these flavors merge together, adding an herbal element on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A nicely constructed Winter Warmer but rather filling indeed

 559 characters

Photo of OctaviusIII
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Caramel, unfiltered brown, moderate cream head that stays.
S: Sweet, floral, hints of... not sure what. Not quite caramel, not quite vanilla.
T: Smooth, sweet at front, bitter aftertaste. Sweetness is light, with a sort of like angelfood cake quality to it. Bitter is hard, mostly due to the sudden absence of the sweet. Very subtle, very easy - it doesn't assault you. There's a spice in the middle - heavy with ginger, light in others that I can't place - that belongs in a pastry.
M: Smooth. Quite smooth. It's thicker, but definitely not chewy.
D: Excellent. The bitter is it begging to be consumed quickly.

Overall, I enjoy this beer. It's a well-balanced example of its type. I recommend.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance- cloudy and murky orange red color and thick thick white head that dissipates slowly, looks like alot going on here on this one just from the looks

Smell- spice and alot of citrus, and what i describe as the belgian style yeast, smell reminds me of swedish fish lol, but really a very citrusy sweet smell

Taste- definite orange and citrus flavor on this this one, more yeast and belgian dominated then i expected, a slight clove and spice, nothing over whelming but definitely easy drinking

Mouthfeel- light crisp refreshing with a moderate carbonation

Drinkability- overall very drinkable, very light and refreshing, almost would make a very nice summer ale as it seems to be very light and thirst quenching, A beer worth giving a shot considering I got mine for a good deal and it may not be the freshest its still pretty refreshing, those this beer was nothing like i would have guessed it was a good beer worth trying

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Photo of Lexluthor33
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange with a bubbly lace and a small head.
The aroma of spices,cloves with citrus hints and fruit tones. Some alcohol was also picked up,but it was mild.

The taste started with a cinnamon/spices taste that followed by very light malts and subtle hops. A cask ale taste. Ginger,coriander and some fruits were also a part of this beer's taste. It was a little tart.

The feel was light body,low carbonation with mild bitterness.A spicy feel and a watery feel to the finish that had sour notes.

Notes: This was really different and interesting. It got better as it warmed up and had the cask ale vibe to it. Good for winter and a good choice for early spring too.

 672 characters

Photo of ABOWMan
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a huge head of fine lacy bubbles. Lots of lacing on the glass. The color is light amber with pleanty of deep hue.

The aroma is a nice mild malt with no roasted notes.

The flavor is a nice blend of mild malt sweetness with some hop bitterness. It's certainly not heavy, but rather a very drinkable ale with pleanty of flavor for glass after glass enjoyment.

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Ale Mary from RCH Brewery
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 78 ratings