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

very good
142 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 142 | Ratings: 250
Photo of GRG1313
4.57/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with a nice tan head. Nose is all cloves and spice with lavender undertones and a nose "finish" of sage. Nice nose all around;

Mouthfeel is incredible. Rich, "top of the milk bottle" thick creamy character with big body and texture. Nicest mouth of any holiday ale I've tried. Tastes rich and "expensive." The body along with a perfect balance just makes this feel great in your mouth.

Flavors follow expectations at this point. Rich fruity malt, big spices with the sage standing out but not being overbearing. Flavors are big, rich, full and super complex. You can find carmel, toffee, coffee, fruity malts, sage, carroway, winter spices, licorice, espresso and you can even get hints of the chestnuts and junipers if you look for them.

Finish is very nutty and spicy with cloves and allspice.

Quintessential holiday ale for me. Wouldn't drink it every day but perfect for a few once a year treat at the holidays. This can also age a bit which should be an interesting drink.

 1,008 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a deep brownish red color that had a yellowish white head on it. This beer looks super thick, it looks like the bubbles forming the head are actually struggling to get to the top for air. In the light this beer look fantastic, beautiful looking color with a nice creamy looking head. The aroma is very impressive as well, it's loaded with pine, spices, and some Christmas berry aromas. There is a slight hop aroma in there too. The taste of this beer has a healthy amount of spices, pumpkin, berries, and even a touch of mint in the late aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy, it's got the a really great feel to it for the winter months. Overall, this is probably the best Winter Warmer I've had to date. I enjoyed just about everything this beer had to offer. Look forward to having this time and time again during the winter months.

 866 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Special Holiday Ale starts with a froathy pour delivering a deep brown, light ruby, and almost purple-ish hints. A billowing dense tan head coats the beer evenly and lasts the session, leaving an ordinant amount of lacing behind. A good sturdy look.

This Winter Warmer gives a lot of malty flavors and aromas up front. Very creamy, rounded, and full- nearly chewy. But then the beer settles just a bit as the spicy allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange zest, and clove rise giving the beer more complexity and depth. Light on hops, the beer relies on the spices for balance as well. The maltiness keeps the spices from becomming astringent. The complex malt bill seems to be rooted in a cleaner Scottish Ale style.

A delicious beer that obviously tilts toward the sweet-malty side and keeps the spices in check.

 815 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color capped by a massive tan head that develops like a stout; plenty of stickage and lace

Smell: Sage and juniper dominate, with spruce, chestnut and holiday spices not far behind

Taste: A spice cake malt backbone with the rye spice prominent serves as a platform for the unique blend of ingredients to shine by mid-palate; the sage and juniper jump out at first, but the chestnut really comes on in the middle; after the swallow, there is a dark fruit addition to the spices, with a lot of lingering spices flavors that last into the finish

Mouthfeel: An abundance of oatmeal makes this beer as thick and creamy as egg nog, and it is the first beer I have tasted where the thickness of the body makes it difficult to detect the carbonation

Drinkability: I go back and forth on the mouthfeel, but have ultimately come to the conclusion that I would like a slightly more traditional mouthfeel; still, the spice character of this beer is very unique and while I would not want more than one at a setting, it is well worth checking out

 1,068 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.66/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up a ways back, I believe at Capone's. Served in a SAVOR snifter at our Christmas in July party last weekend.

Pours a moderate brown-copper color with a slight off-white head and a bit of lacing. The nose brings loads of pine needs and a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon. The flavor takes it down a notch and everything is quite palatable; the pine and spices blend quite well. Smooth feel and a medium body. Pretty good.

 430 characters

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My second winter warmer/CHRISTmas beer of the season.Poured into a imperial nonic a deep murky chesnut brown with a thinner creamy beige head that held well,aromas are herbal with alot of raw nuttiness,I would say raw fits the nose profile pretty well.A full mouthfeel,it seemed to be lower carbonated,flavors start out sweetish and cakey with juniper, and a sharp herbal note in the finish.A nice cool weather beer here,Iam not a big fan of jupiner berry flavors, but there is a nice mix of other flavors in the profile.

 521 characters

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into tulip, almost a gusher upon opening. Pours dark brown color with a nice 2 finger dense light tan head with good retention. Some decent lacing on the glass as well. Aromas of ginger, cinnamon, all spice, roasted malt, molasses, and nuttiness. Taste of tons of cinnamon, clove, all spice, ginger, and nuttiness in the front; that leads to strong notes of toffee, caramel, and molasses on the back. Big lingering notes of roasted malt, caramel, and molasses with spices after the finish. Great balance of flavors as well. Nice smooth medium-full body with fairly high carbonation. Drinkability is great for the level of alcohol. No alcohol noticed in the taste and a slight warming after the finish. Overall an excellent winter warmer, probably the best one I have had yet.

 789 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown that is transparent when backlit with early morning sun, has cherry and orange highlights, and is capped by three fingers of ecru colored froth. This was one of the most creamy looking/sounding pours in quite a while. The only minor negative is an almost featureless head. Lace is scarce at first, then comes through in the end.

The brewers decided to use ingredients indigenous to each of their areas, so they added Michigan chestnuts, SoCal white sage, and Norwegian (actually Italian) caraway seeds. This brew also contains 25% rye malt and oats. Finally, this should be the same basic recipe as Stone Special Holiday Ale, although this ABV is 0.5% lower.

The aroma is tremendous if you're a fan of herbed and spiced beer. Chestnuts and rye malt aren't appreciated, but sage and caraway definitely are. The beer also smells like spruce boughs and cardomom, although neither was used. Pungent and perfumy and more than pleasant.

Nogne SHA is at least as good as my memory of Stone SHA. This is in-your-face ale that blasts the taste buds with flavor and makes no apologies for it. However, it will most likely become slightly palate fatiguing over time, especially since the boys from Grimstad upped the bottle volume to 500 ml.

Pumpernickel toast and seeded rye toast hold down the bottom end with a granite-like solidity. Still not feeling the chestnuts, but then I've never eaten one. The spices are pinging and ponging all over the damn place and making sure the mouth party never winds down for an instant. Great choice of ingredients, perfect proportions.

The mouthfeel almost earns the next highest score. It's closer to medium than to light for the ABV, is incredibly lush, and pampers the mouth from beer entry to beer exit. Not sure how Stone's version has it beat, but then opinions can change from day to day and beer to beer.

Nogne Special Holiday Ale is what happens when three talented brewers put their heads together and start experimenting. It won't be for everyone, but this stuff blows Anchor Our Special Ale (which it resembles) out of the water.

 2,090 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this to do a side-by-side tasting with the old Stone version.

A: Fairly similar to the previous version in that it's a dark brown with some reddish highlights and a tan colored head.

S: The sage seems to be the most dominant of the flavorings in this beer. The juniper is also quite present and overall the beer just has a very "spicy" feel to it. There is a bit of sweetness hiding in there as well.

T: Despite the nose, the flavor is a little more restrained in terms of the spices. The rye does lend its version of spice to the beer, and the sage is still there as well. A nice sweetness and a mild (hop) bitterness.

M: Fairly full bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Like the Stone brewed beer before it, this one is good, but "different". I enjoy it for the creative ingredients and being able to make a pretty decent beer, but definitely one of those winter time only beers.

 908 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Not sure what the difference is between this one and the other one, but this is the bottle and ABV I'm dealing with, so...yeah... It pours a very dark brown, showing only the slightest tinge of translucence, topped by two fingers of cream-colored foam. The nose comprises black cherries, nutmeg, brown sugar, chocolate-covered strawberries, rye bread, cinnamon, and molasses. The taste holds notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, rye bread, banana bread, raspberries, maple syrup, vanilla, peppercorns, red grapes, red apples, and cashews. Tastes like the holidays... The body is a strong medium, with light carbonation and a smooth, semi-chewy feel. I wish it were the holidays more often, if'n it meant more of this kind o' beer would be available. Get some!

 805 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ML bottle into a tulip. 2009 vintage.

a - Pours a dark brown color with 2 inches of tan head and hight carbonation evident.

s - Smells strongly of spices and those juniper berries. Also some cinnamon, pine, and a hint of vanilla. Interesting.

t - Tastes of roasted and caramel malts, spices, and vanilla.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and would be even better with a tiny bit less carbonation.

d - I thought this was a pretty good winter warmer that was definitely heavy on spices in both the smell and taste. The smell had a very unique smell to it, which I think was the juniper beers, and the taste was a pretty standard winter warmer. Would give another shot and would be interested in trying side by side with the other breweries' versions.

 794 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark chestnut color with light brown head. Aroma has sweet malts, pumpkin pie spices and some dark fruits. Taste starts a bit sweet and spicy with dark fruits like figs and dates, caramel and nuts. Overall it's very balanced for a spiced ale. Body is quite heavy with low carbonation. Overall I think this is one of the better Christmas beers I tried this year.

 361 characters

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.

 493 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from a bottle into a snifter. Beer is brown and hazy. Forms a white head of small bubbles that falls away leaving some lacing on the walls.

Beer has a spicy almost soda like sweet aroma to it. Lots of nutmeg and other spices -- maybe a slight alcohol.

Medium bodied beer. Lots of spice up front with a definite roast character in the back. Beer is a little "hot" with the alcohol. Second taste, finishes nicely, overall pretty drinkable and the mouthfeel is fine. I'm not sure I would get it again but I'm learning again this year that I'm not a fan of the winter warmers. Take a look if its your style, otherwise skip it.

 636 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle share. Strong ale characteristics, some spice. Mild pour, huge aroma, spicy taste. Cinnamon, nutmeg, normal holiday flavors. Medium, slightly sticky body.

 161 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a clear dark brown color with a 1" tan colored head. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: a nice aroma here as nutmeg, yeast spiciness, and malt sweetness are easy to detect.

Taste: big malt presence with plenty of spices such as nutmeg and sage, along with rye, berries, and a mild nuttiness. Floral bitterness is mild overall. Alcohol is barely noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly dry throughout with soft crispness at the start and a smooth finish.

Drinkability: this is a bold flavored beer and great for the cold weathe, but one bottle is enough in a session.

 603 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.57/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 12/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark red amber. Nice medium head and lacing. Looks viscous and nicely made. Malty, spicy aroma. Mmm. Mellow malts, light and dark fruit, spices. Peppery hop finish. Nice presence of sage and juniper berry. One year old bottle. Wish I had saved more. Did not review this fresh, but this is superb. I will buy again if at all possible.

 407 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a dark brown color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of malts, unfermented sugars, fruit and alcohol. The taste starts off with a bit of dark fruits, turning nutty, wheaty and a bit strong. The beer is damn smooth, more than likely from the oat additions in brewing. Brewed with rye, sage, caraway, juniper and chestnuts, they meld together to form a unique flavor but everything is so balanced it is almost non-distinct. The beer is full bodied but very smooth on the palate. Soft, prickly carbonation makes for a smooth drink (the beer poured from the tap just a bit heady). Overall, this would certainly be considered a success, and apparently this was a collaboration between Nøgne Ø, Stone and Jolly Pumpkin. Its not a sour, thats for sure, sorry Jolly Pumpkin fans. It is, however, a very good beer!

 828 characters

Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the last bottle at Max's today. Very glad to be able to try this one. Interestingly, the version I'm drinking has the Nogne label on it, showing three wise men (or perhaps three wise guys), with the Nogne O superimposed on it. In any event....

The beer pours an interesting cola color with pretty good head retention and lacing. Don't get a lot on the nose, just some light spice, sweet malt and something of a cola aroma. On the palate, my initial impression was "wow." The beer is fairly sweet, but there is so much spice in this beer, and all of it works well with the base beer (IMHO). I get ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon... all interwoven with some nice dark fruits and chocolate. Mouthfeel is pretty full, with a long, fairly soft, spice infused finish. Drinkability is pretty good, though with the 8.5% alcohol (according to my bottle), sweetness and spice, this isn't exactly the sort of beer you can pound down all afternoon. Still, this is just the perfect, fun beer for the holidays. Excellent stuff.

Note: Can't verify this, but was told that the version made at Stone (was told this version was made at Nogne) is very different from this one. Supposedly, this one has much more spice then the Stone version... so that's something to keep in mind I guess. Regardless, I really did enjoy this particular version.

Edit: Realize now that I posted my review under the wrong beer (hardly surprising given the various collaborative efforts involving these breweries), and so have now moved it. Hard keeping track... :-)

 1,543 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark brownish hue with good head and lace. A peppery, hoppy spiced beer is my first aroma, but I pick up some good sweet malts like caramel or figs as well. Beer is well-balanced as both minor citric hops and sweetness (I seem to pick up figs and toffee which is odd) are both evident, and the beer passes easy and fullish as there is a breadiness to the beer that makes it an easy passing, dessert sipper. A quality brew that is easy to drink and enjoyable which is all one can ask for a winter style beer.

 516 characters

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.

 619 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- A collaboration between Nogne O, Jolly Pumpkin, & Stone brewed with a distinct ingredient native to each brewery's region (Norwegian juniper berries, Michigan chestnuts, & South California white sage) respectively.

A: Poured a rich mahogany with a 2 finger solidy foamy head that was sandstone in color and strong retention wise. A good deal of bubbly action could be detected around the glass's outer edges while tan colored macro size particulate matter slowly settled and accumulated on the glass bottom. A spongey bubbly lacing, about the size and width of a finger snakes down the glass wall in a wavy fashion.

S: The nose was light with the Michigan chestnuts coming through initially which smelled to me like a big bowl of walnut shells. Soft notes of dried cola and fennel could also be easily picked up but not as dominant. There was a bit touch of fresh roastiness closing things out. A fair amount of complexity but the strength was low here making you work for an appreciable scent which would of faired better if amped up.

T: The flavor was spicy cola with a fresh cypress and pine experience (could be juniper leaves) coming through on the initial sip. Warm chestnuts with a sweet and spicy woodys flavor is complimented by a light offering of caraway (licorice). There was a really nice hint of warm evergreen, almost forest-like that concludes with a bit of warm dried caramel and licorice on the trail. I failed to detect or pick up on the use of white sage, but am pretty unfamiliar with its attributes to begin with. Overall an exceptionally smooth and refined flavor, with a wintery evergreen feel and soft warming of alcohol makes this a perfect fit per style.

M: The mouthful is quite lively with a good deal of carbonation presence producing a nice creamy texture. Warm evergreen and soft licorice combine with a soft warming to please on the hold. The body is medium in fullness.

D: Very nice drinking experience with a earthy evergreen flavor makes this delightful to consume. To many holiday ales and winters try to overload on the spice rack, this delivers a earthy wintery feel that seems very natural. At 8.5% it drinks more like a 6.5%. A special collaboration between 3 notable breweries comes together nicely here making for a worthy purchase and something to talk about.

 2,314 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 ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle poured into a standard pint

Pours a ruddy brown with mahogany highlights and a fluffy, creamy head that leaves behind some spotty lace.

The aroma is of dark cherries, nutmeg and cinnamon with cocoa powder and some light roast.

A dark cherry like tartness from the yeast lends a nice flavor to the body of this beer. Nutmeg and cinnamon are there to bolster the spice profile along with some cocoa powder.

Medium body with a dry finish. I like the way the spices don't overpower you and work together in this formula. Makes it much easier to drink.

 564 characters

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.

 820 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
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.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.