Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co. | Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

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Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co.Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co.

Brewed by:
Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ingredients: Malted Barley, malted Rye, malted oats, hops, white sage, caraway, Juniper berries, chestnuts, yeast.

Added by SammyDavisJrJrJr on 11-25-2009

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Reviews: 142 | Ratings: 250
Photo of Drew966
2.32/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Special Holiday Ale, a collaboration between Nogne O, Jolly Pumpkin and Stone Brewing pours a dark brown color from a twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is medicinal. So is the flavor. This beer really just does not work for me. I could get through a glass, but medicinal is the only taste that I can get. Some of my friends liked it... at least until I mentioned that I thought it tasted medicinal, then they quickly agreed and also decided they didn't especially like it. Your mileage may vary.

 496 characters

Photo of PatrickSwayze
2.91/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled from Nogne Ø

A: Pours deep dark brown with a medium brown head. Damn bottle though was a gusher. I managed to salvage more then half. 

S: Crazy amount of spices knock the nose. I can't distinguish anything. Really muddled together.

T: Crap load of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and a gentle roast the graces the tongue at the finish.

M: A medium bodied brew that tingles the taste buds with really no heavy sweetness.

O: It's a decent drink, and in my opinion has to many flavors that dont seem to really complement each other.

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Photo of pkalix
2.99/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

syrup-y, sickeningly sweet. smells like allspice in it (although they don't mention it in the ingredients) and that stuff don't belong in ANY beer. the Stone 12-12-12 killed me on allspice for the rest of my life- that one was DROWNED in allspice to the point of gagging!
this one isn't that strong with it but itdefinitely tastes like it has a bit (coincidentally, it IS a collaboration with Stone). overall... just 'eh'. regrettable, but I didn't dump it, so that's saying something. cant wait for the next one....

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Photo of bark
3.07/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The smell is very spicy. It reminds me of cheap Coca Cola imitations: Sweet, coca nuts, nuts, caramelized sugar. Some roasted nuts, citric peels and earthy hints.

The colour is dark red-brown (40 EBC), the liquid somewhat cloudy. The beige finger thick head slowly sinks leaving a small ring and almost no lacing.

The taste is spicy, too. Nuts, allspice, cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg. Some mellow milk chocolate-sweetness. Lots of warming alcohol. Medium body. Bitter hints in the aftertaste, more spices and nutty flavours. The bitterness grows slowly. The finish got a sort of soapy flavour.

The carbonation is mild. There are lots of small smooth bubbles. The liquid is semi-smooth.

I had a few spiced beers from Nøgne Ø, and they all (more or less) seem to share these odd fat/soapy flavours. I don't enjoy them.

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Photo of Blanco
3.16/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

very very dark color with tan head. very strong lacing, albeit from an aggressive pour into my snifter. smell is mostly of roasted malts similar to a porter/stout along with some vague winter spices that are hard to pick out and some dark fruits. very strange caramel and malt flavor right off the bat. there is a flavor in here i'm having trouble picking up. mouthfeel is on the thicker side of things. drinkability is good. it's a decent winter warmer although definitely not worth the $10 price for 500ml

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Photo of claspada
3.2/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma is very spice heavy and herbal. Some underlying malt sweetness, dark fruits, and alcohol warmth add interesting undertones.

The taste is exactly as the nose leads you to expect. Strong herbal quality dominates (caraway?). Then dark fruit qualities of brandy soaked cherries and caramel malt sweetness makes an appearance. Earthy and nutty. Finishes with fennel and dry cedar. A little too heavy on the herbal/spice qualities for my preference. It's almost like a meal/savory beer; would work better with some food accompaniment but kinda struggles as a beer.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Pleasantly viscous. Overall an interesting and flavorful warmer. Spice character is initially intense, but seems to mellow as it warms. I can't recommend based on the $10 price point for only 500ml and there are much less "intense" spiced winter warmer offerings which are easier to find and less expensive.

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Photo of Jesse13713
3.22/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Finally picked this up because of my love for JP beers.

Appearance - Pours much darker than expected. One finger of rich vanilla head sits atop a completely blackened opaque beer. This looks like it is going to be very sweet. It laces to the glass like a coat of paint.

Smell - Smells of light berries and spices. A slight pine in the nose as well. To me, the nose is quite faint and isn't overpowering or pulling me in either direction. As the appearance suggested to me, I predict this to be slightly sweet.

Taste - If this doesn't taste like Christmas; I don't know what does. A huge complexity of spices that is heavy on the palate. Slight hints of cinnamon. It is extremely heavy in eggnog and nutmeg. Definitely not as sweet as I expected it to be. As with the smell, I am not pulled in either direction between sourness or sweetness. Reminds me of other heavily spiced beers; such as Harpoon's Winter Warmer paired with Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Slight pine lingers as well; with light caramel malts and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable to me only because I enjoy the complexity of spices. If you don't like the taste of spices or are not a huge fan of Winter Warmer's, you will probably severely dislike this beer. I enjoyed the balance and blending of the spices to creat a well-balanced beer. Spices can be overpowering on your first few drinks; but they ultiamtely smooth out to make this beer light-medium bodied.

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Photo of wknight167
3.24/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Apearance - Pours an opaque dark brown with a 2 finger tan head, good lacing and medium staying power.

Nose- Lots of spices. Sage, mint, spruce?

Palate- Caramel, ginger, allspice, coriander, sage minty after taste. Lots going on and a little overwelming.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation

Drinkability- A little too big on the spices for me.

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Photo of MASPuros
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy brown like coffee with just a touch of cream. Tan head.

S: Pine, molasses, spices, like Christmas in a glass.

T: Pine is overpowering. Sweet with a bit of heat. Slight bitterness fades pretty quick in the aftertaste.

M: Creamy and sticky. Nice carbonation allows bubbles to dance on tongue.

D: I am not of fan of the piney and bitterness taste. Not sure but this taste a bit different then the Stone version. I actually like that one more.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429 at the Christmas in July party. Thanks Mike!

The beer is brown, with a small head that fades rapidly, leaving minimal lacing. The aroma is grandiose, with pine, Christmas spices, and alcohol. The flavor brings a huge pine needle flavor, like drinking Christmas tree juice with cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled on top. The body is thin, and the flavor, while decent, is overbearing. I would prefer more balance and subtlety. A small portion was more than enough for me.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.26/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a brown/black pour with 2 fingers of tan head. the scent is of zesty orange peels, caramel, almost a liquer like scent, molasses, brown sugar. yeesh, this is not a great tasting beer up front.. lots of alcohol falvor, orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, a slight spicyness towards the finish.medium body with low carbonation. i could see how this would've been great during winter months, but honestly, not so much right now, and not so much with some age on it. really not digging this one all that much.

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Photo of Dotcubed
3.28/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love the collaboration concept.

Random Wegman's purchase that I thought was a good idea.

Clearly a spot on the label for a best by date, yet nothing printed.
And the store had printed their own bar code and placed it over the spot on the label.

Here's hope that I didn't pay too much at 9.50, it looks & smells funky. Super dark, sour cola scent.
Little to no foam.

Sacred to taste, the cola smell is powerful.

Huge malt, molasses, piny bitterness and some smokey dryness. Coffee like qualities.

This is an odd ball, weird cola-ness to it. Off putting as a beer, but likeable in its complexities.

Tasty. Robust.

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Photo of Trueant1
3.28/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Winter Warmer

These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap "Winter Warmer" on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the "wassail" tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief "spice" in beer. American varieties many have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 5.5-8.0% [ ? ]


Opened the bottle and it fizzed out for a good 90 seconds.

Pours into glass dark dark red/brown. Off white head.

Smells like wet mesquite that covers a desert after a rain with menthol cough medicine. Sage, and cherries also. The "menthol factor is overwealming in the smell."

Tastes of sage, acai berries, and sweet sugars. Very interesting. As the style indicates the spices overrule the hops. But, there is a notable bitter presence from hops. Not a lot of booziness.

nicely carbonated and medium body. Sweet on the pallet as well. The intence spice flavor inhibit my abilty to finsih this one.

A nice different brew with sage. This works, but no 5's for this one.

 1,471 characters

Photo of shodrod
3.31/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(poured into a tumbler)

This beer pours a dark, Coca Cola color with a think tan head. Aromas of steel and cough medicine are present with a slight hint of hops. A heavy sweetness dominates the front of this beer. Caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and a hint of worcestershire. The finish a very slight hop note.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

16.9oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is pine and juniper berries. There is also an almost minty freshness to it. Almost smells like a cleaning product, but not in a bad way.

T- The taste like the aroma starts out with a nice spiciness that is complemented with juniper, pine, a touch of rye and an array of other spices.

M- The mouthfeel is full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. Very nice!

D- Overall, this is an interesting brew because it is different but I don't think it is outstanding enough to purchase again. Worth a shot though.

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.4/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Completely blank space follows the Batch nr, Brygget, & Best føre sections on the label, which would be a bigger problem if this wasn't a one-off... This is from the Nøgne Ø bottling of the Special Holiday Ale, so from a 16.9oz bottle. Into the Bruery tulip glass...

A - Very dark opaque mahogany body with a nice two fingers of redish-tan head. Good head retention with no lacing.

S - Yay! it's not overwhelmingly spicy! Already liking this one. Dark sweet malt with definate rye bready/spicey presence. The juniper and sage adds a nice herbal bite, helping the hops balance out the dark malts. I do love balance in a winter warmer.

T - Sweet caramel and cherry flavors are dominate in the entry, with spice and sage notes following. Before the swallow the swallow, I picked up some rye graininess, notes of banana and nuttiness. The juniper seems present throughout, but really shows in the swallow, along with the hops and a slight alcohol bite. The juniper never really dominates the beer, like it does with so many winter seasonals. The hops are balancing, but allow for a very malty and sweet finish.

M - Silky and soft mouthfeel, with just enough heft to feel full bodied. You can tell they used oats.

D - In a world of over-spiced winter brews, this one is a nice respite. Still spiced, but not to much. They did not just throw a bunch of ingredients into a beer, but crafted a brew that utilized all the ingredients to add to the beer. What results is a well produced beer, that yet somehow misses feeling spectacular, yet I can't seem to pin-point why.

 1,580 characters

Photo of rand
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650 mL bottle to a Mikasa pint glass

Aged one year from this review

The brew pours with a viscous complexion, slow and syrupy like a thick imperial stout. A marshmallow-y head forms, which quickly dissipates and leaves little lacing

The nose is crisp, unripe berries with a sharp vinous quality. Sweet malts counter. There are lots of phenols bouncing around with a touch of booze, giving the bouquet a medicinal edge.

The flavors are a lot more malt-forward than expected, which really forms the base of the flavor profile. The medicinal aspects hit mid-sip and kinda take over. Hints of unripe berries, holiday spice round the flavors, but they kinda get trounced by the phenols.

The brew is medium-bodied, which was really unexpected from the pour. Though this would permanently coat the palate from the looks of things.

Well, it's not bad, but as I'm finishing the bottle I feel it's on the dull side. Could use a little hop twang or some funk to liven things up. Doesn't quaff all that hard, but I doubt I'll go chasing this one down either.

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Photo of brystmar
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally opened this bottle after months on our shelf, and I'm thinking this extra age was its downfall. Really spicy in the nose, plenty of winter herbs floating around but they're hard to pick out. Feels a touch confused, but what's here is good.

Malts ride the wave of a big, thick body. Spices charge forward from all directions, seemingly at random with no rhyme or reason. A touch musty. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, winter herbs/spices, hints of baker's chocolate at the end. All the parts are solid, but others of the style do it better.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark brown almost black color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes slowly into minimal lacing. The aroma is very spicy. The best I can describe is like really sharp ginger, but ginger is not listed on the bottle as being a spice they used. There is no malt or hop character present in the aroma. It is all spice....very simple. The taste is more balanced than the aroma in that there is some malt, but it is still mostly spice. The mouthfeel is very good. Silky, moderately carbonated, and full bodied. This is a decent beer, and perhaps might be really good if left to age for a couple years so the spice could mellow out.

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Photo of dgilks
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an interesting beer. It pours a nice dark chestnut brown colour with a mall, tan head. Fair head retention.

Odd, herbal aroma with a powerful medicinal note. Mild Christmas spice note. Weird.

Smooth and malty with a nice sweet note. The herbal strangeness continues with odd juniper notes continuing onto the palate.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. This is really good with a nice creaminess coming through.

An interesting beer to be sure but the flavour is somewhat compelling.

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Photo of capra12
3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed solo, served out of a short pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark and slightly murky brown with 1 finger of head that dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: I get cinnamon, brown sugar, pine cones and a hint of brown malts.

Taste: opens with a subdued caramel malt profile that seems like it is being held back by a intense spike in flavor profiles from the nose, cinnamon, pine cone, brown sugar and a surprising mint. Unfortunately there is a stale brown ale and hop bitter profile that sneaks in at the very end, leaving the palate confused.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, and slightly drying.

Drinkability: I prefer the stone version of this and would have preferred to have it fresh despite it being in the fridge since purchase. I recommend this to those seeking a christmas spice beer with finish that reminds you that its beer you are drinking.

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Photo of Brent
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I expected the spices in this beer to be more prominent, and I suspected that they must have mellowed quickly in the bottle, but, in looking at other recent reviews, distinct spices were noted, so perhaps the shortcoming lies with me and not the beer. Cola and a touch of caramel sweetness. Juniper was barely perceived as a light, piney note. Alcohol well integrated and lent a touch of pepper.

 395 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruddy brown color with a two finger, but quick and fizzy tan head.

The aroma has maybe some roasted bread grains, but its mostly sage, carroway, juniper berries, and other potent spices that dominate the nose. This is not bad, just one dimensional.

The taste has a much better blending of malts and spices. You get a nice roasted malt that adds dark breads and a little chocolate to the interesting mix of herbs and juniper berries and what not.

This is an interesting and warming Winter Warmer sipper. Nice for a Chicago snow storm.

 538 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - pours a deep dark brown color with burgundy highlights, big frothy khaki head with great retention and lacing

s - big aroma, lots of spruce and juniper berry, as might be expected, light chocolate aroma underneath the spruce and spice

t - big burst of sweet maltiness up front with strong juniper berry flavors, mid-palate is dominated by the spruce, finish is lingering pine with the chestnut addition coming through, alcohol is evident but not overwhelming

m - medium-to-full bodied, medium carbonation, well-balanced on the finish, nice alcohol warming

d - the flavors are intense though not that complex and interesting, not all that harsh on the palate

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Photo of pigc
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes yesterday evening. Internet was down.

A - Pours a very dark red, nearly black with two finger head. Nice lacing.

S - Very interesting. I'm picking up some bublegum right up front along with a bunch of spices. Some sage, pine, maybe juniper in there.

T - Moderate hoppy pine, spice, juniper, medicinal type of berry. Some clove and black licorice in there as well. Seems like they threw in whatever spice they could get their hands on. A bit much.

M - Medium bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Spices linger after each sip.

O - This was a very spiced up winter warmer. I have had nothing quite like this. Tasted like eating a bunch of random spicy berries out of the forest. Maybe give this a shot if you see in on the shelf but not really worth seeking out in my opinion.

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Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co. from Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S
3.95 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
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