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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Ratings: 250 |  Reviews: 142
Photo of mwilbur
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 0.5L bottle into snifter.
A: Pours an extremely dark brown (almost no light comes through with backlighting) with the faintest hint of light tan head.
S: I pick up the sage first, then the juniper berries. Soft and sweet caramel malt.
T: Rye and soft oats, caramel malt, a sweet nutty note (must be the chestnuts), and a well balanced mix of spices (juniper berries, caraway, and sage). Very pleasant, especially for style.
M: Slight fizz on the tongue. Heavy feel, but not from the ABV. A dense and chewy brew. Nice feel: I love the feel of oat and rye and this brings the two together beautifully.
D: I find winter warmers not the most drinkable style, but for style this does well. Recommended if you happen to still find this one.

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

Placed in the fridge for about 15 minutes before pouring into a tulip glass.

A - Dark, nearly opaque, but with a slight reddish hue, 1/2" head that goes away pretty quickly
S - cranberries, citrus, milk chocolate
T - Wow, a lot going on here - get that currant or cranberry, an herbal quality (anise?), some slight nuttiness or earthiness... now getting some like rose petals or a floral quality
M - Silky smooth, medium bodied
D - I couldn't drink this all night, but it's a great after dinner beer with a lot going on. Plus, it changes as it opens up, making it all the more interesting. Despite the flavors, it's also not one of those super-fruity, heavy bodied, heavy alcohol beers that knocks you out.

As an experiment, I tried placing the remaining half bottle of beer in the fridge for a bit. After one hour open in you drink it.the fridge, the beer seemed to have more sour notes, but other flavors were more muted (maybe due to it being colder). Still getting some strong flavor, like anise or something. Maybe it's the caraway? Still smooth, but less creamy. I liked it better closer to room temperature.

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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.

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Photo of ADZA
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First things first i love the label really appealing for some reason anyways onto the brew it pours a nice very dark Kola beer colour with nice carbonation that leaves a creamy two finger head and lacing here and there,the aroma is like a spicy fruitcake with hints of ginger,nutmeg,cinamon and nuts,it has a full creamy mouthfeel with a very unique taste with spicy fruit being the most dominant and also some hints of boozy expresso yet for a full flavoured brew it has a nice easy light finish and is very moreish and even though you can taste a little alcohol after the first few sips it definately dissapears,will buy this again whether it be Xmas or not cheers.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: Brown 16.9oz pop top with a really cool label; barley, rye, oats, hops, white sage, carraway, juniper berries, chestnuts...wow!

Appearance: Hazy dark brown beer, capped with a beige head which soon fades to a thick film with decent retention. A good amount of tiny-bubbled carbonation.

Smell: In a word, exotic. Thsi is spicy, dark, and beguiling. Dark candy sweetness and a hint of chocolate and pumpernickel with a dark, pungent herbal note almost reminiscent of menthol. Really interesting!

Taste: Dark and mysterious. Lots of sweet and juicy dark fruit. This is definitely boozy, but in a pleasant, firm, non-harsh sort of way. A bit of dark roasted malt in here as well, just the barest suggestion of piney juniper, definitely a kick of pumpernickel bread with the bready sweet chocolate and caraway notes. There's just a hint of nuttiness, but maybe I'm picking up on that because I know it's in here.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: This is a beguiling and fascinating winter warmer. Great job to Nogne O for this year's version. The only downside is that it's really too crazy complex and intense to make it something I'd want all the time. Still, one of the best spiced winter warmers I've had yet!

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

This pours up a deep, dark brown color with rich, ruby highlights. Two-fingers of creamy, light tan colored, foam sit on top. The retention is very good and the lacing is in thick strands which are nicely sticky.

Notes of juniper, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are fairly easily spotted. A nice caramel malty sweetness is also here. Light touches of yeasty rye bread. Very mild notes of chestnuts, along with cherries and plums.

Man, the spices are dominant within this one. The juniper and ginger seem to be the standouts. A nice sweet and roasty malt presence. Light traces of dark fruit sweetness. Fresh made rye bread. Light touch of smoke.

This has a medium, almost full, body. The medium level of carbonation is filled with tons of teeny little bubbles that give this a very nice creaminess.

As far as winter warmers go, this one is quite drinkable. The flavor of the 8.50%abv is hidden very well, but it definitely has a nice warming sensation to it. I wouldn't really want to drink it in July, but November through March it would be very welcome in my glass.

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Photo of gory4d
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, murky brown with a high, dense, tan head that leaves just a little lacing. The smell is juniper, cedar, malt syrup, salted potatoes. The taste is toffee, juniper, collard greens, pork fat -- it'd go well with soul food. It's thick and chewy, moderately carbonated. Goes down smooth, but not too quickly.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigDank for this bottle.

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a big ass mug.

A: Pours with a luxurious, roaring, textured head that lasts and leaves a nice coating.

S: Juniper, boysenberries, and nutmeg with chestnuts in the background.

T: Berry marmalade-like, with a hint of cinnamon and a bit of cocoa powder. Notes of walnut, caraway seed, and sage.

M: The best feature of this beer. Rich, creamy, and silky as it goes down.

D: Spot on for 8.5% ABV. I usually can't handle much of a winter warmer because of the cloying spiciness, but this one is an exception.

Bravo. I usually don't care/go for the winter warmer variety but I enjoyed this one. This all-star collab nailed it on the second release of the Special Holiday Ale.

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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.

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Photo of Ladybugger
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a cellar-temperature bottle into a goblet. Pours a deep dark brown with ruby tones, hard to see through, with a creamy tan head that quickly dissipates. Aroma is unusual and complex, sweet with hints of juniper, rye, and alcohol, as well as other things I can't tease out. Flavor is roasted malts, with juniper upfront and a hint of coffee and chocolate on the way down. There is a pleasant heat from the alcohol, and a lingering sweetness to the roasted afterflavors. There is such a depth of flavor that I feel like I've only skimmed the surface, but I've run out of words. There is more carbonation than is apparent from the appearance, and it carries the flavor into your mouth with a burst. This brew has a rich mouthfeel, almost creamy. It's delicious and drinkable, but perhaps not more than one.

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

Poured from a cellar temperature bottle into a Gouden Carolus chalice. It has a dark ruby/brown color, almost like a glass of cola. There is a modest tan foam head that settled down to a skim of foam. No light can penetrate through the sides of the glass, but near the top of the beer some light filters through and I can see bubbles rising to the top. The aroma can be classified and spiced malt. I am picking up nutmeg, sweet candy and a bit of juniper. It's very interesting. It has a big roasted malt flavor. You can taste the rye a bit of the nuttiness from the chestnuts. It also has a touch of warm alcohol that lingers on, along with some forest-like flavors (probably the juniper I picked up in the nose) and finishes up with a slight coffee bitterness. I was surprised at how thick this beer was when I first tasted it. I rolls around your mouth and doesn't want to leave once you've swallowed. It has the kind of body that demands respect and attention. It is hearty enough to earn the name winter warmer. Despite the big body and flavors, I find the beer to be quite drinkable. At no point do the spices overwhelm, nor does the ABV. This is an ideal beverage for a long winters night. Highly recommended!

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into pint glass

A: Massive tanish creamy head, the beer itself is almost soda colored, but with a more brown note

S: Very similar to a menthol cough drop, maybe menthol or peppermint is used as a spice?, definitely a dominant note, interesting

T: Same as smell, but obviously with a more bitter note, same peppermint/wintergreen notes, could use some more flavor to handle the spice though

M: Not heavy, but a touch above medium, not super carbonated, but still good

D: Decent, peppermint/menthol flavor is hard to overcome at times

Notes: A very interesting beer from this collaboration. Definitely winter themed with all the spice going on. If you like it, it will be a good beer, but still not great. If that distinct flavor isn't you're thing, you may hate it, as it is completely dominant throughout the aroma and smell.

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Photo of Vengeance526
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a thick brown head that has great retention and leaves a lot of sticky tan lacing.

Lots of spices come out in the aroma, ginger, cinnamon, of course the juniper. Also smells of grapes with chocolate. Certainly an interesting aroma. A little smoky at the end also.

Taste mirrors the smell closely. Cinnamon, caramel, some smoke all show up at the front. Again the light hints of grapes show up along with the sage. A little bit of chocolate and coffee are present in the finish along with more cinnamon right at the end.

Medium to full body with a smooth mouthfeel. I wasn't totally sure how to rate this one...there's nothing bad about it really, but it does feel a little overspiced at times. So I would say it is very good, just not over the top spectacular. Glad I tried it though.

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Photo of vdoz3
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 16.9oz bottle poured into my coca cola bell glass. At this rich brown color it looks like a glass of coke. Except for the 1/4 inch thick (but dense) head that leaves a small but noticeable sticky lacing trail.

S: cinnamon (almost spicy-cinnamon) followed by floral and spice notes

T: fruity and spicey, guessing it's the sage and the juniper berries coming in. Manages to end on a cinnamon note again...leaving the tip of your tongue feeling the same way it does after a stick of big red

M: Smooth, nice. A little undercarbonated for my taste. but definitely smooth.

D: Delicious, but one feels satisfying. Maybe two.

I had one of the original-brewings of this beer on Christmas, shortly before buying this one. I knew there would be another day this winter I would need a winter warmer. When work closed early due to snow I realized it was today.

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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 prototypic
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special Holiday Ale pours a dark chestnut brown color. It's moderately hazy. It has nice rust colored highlights with a little light behind it. A creamy tan head tops it off and stands about two fingers tall. It was slow to dissipate and a left a nice, sticky coat of lace trailing down the glass.

The nose isn't bad, but seems just a tad weak. It's interesting and definitely left of center. Juniper berries are noted and probably drive the 'interesting' aspect. Caramel malts are noted. It smells a tad sweet. There's a hint of a spicy side, but I have no idea what it is. It's too subtle for this nose to identify. Yeast is easily noted. Alcohol is blended well and isn't noticeable at all. Overall, it's okay, but nothing really stands out about it.

The flavor is easily a notch better. It has a caramel malt base that's a little sweet and very sturdy. Juniper berries add an interesting twist to the flavor, as well. I've encountered this flavor in a few beers and it still intrigues me. Spices are noted, but they're not your typical 'holiday' spices. They're secondary and I'm unsure of what they are exactly. Nonetheless, they add a little pizzazz and depth. It's surprisingly bitter. Hops are very much in the mix, whatever variety they may be. Yeast is noted on the tail. Alcohol is masked extremely well. I'm not picking up any at all. Finishes a little spicy, bitter, and sweet.

Special Holiday Ale has a medium body that leans thick with a little warming. It's very smooth and creamy. Mouthfeel is easily the strong suit here. Impressive. Drinkability is good. It performs pretty well in all respects, but it doesn't quite dazzle. I like it, but don't love it.

I had the holiday collaboration between Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne Ø last year. Supposedly, it's the same recipe. This release was simply brewed at Nøgne Ø's facilities rather than Stone's. I recall the last release being a little more spicy, but no more tasty. Just a little different. To the best of my recollection, the releases are very similar in terms of quality. The nose could use just a little more strength here, but that's about it. The flavor is good. It's unique for a Winter Warmer. Not what you'd ordinarily expect. I like it. If you see a bottle still around, pick it up. It's good stuff. Perhaps Jolly Pumpkin will do the honors next year.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decided to buy this after watching the Stone/JP/Nøgne Ø video on the forums here, which was really cool.

Appearance - This beer pours a tawny reddish/brown color and instantly a nice, tan head is formed, which unfortunately doesn't stick around for too long, but a residual layer does. A little bit of lacing adds to the appeal.

Smell - Very subtle, but a distinct spice (reminiscent of sweet potatoes with caramelized marshmallows on top. Also, some phenolic, pine hoppy aroma. Very curious.

Taste - Delicious! Numerous malts and the addition of chestnuts account for a very organic/earthy flavor. The unique blend of spices - juniper, Carraway, and sage really come through, but thoroughly balanced, yet all present. The sage is especially prevalent in the finish. The rum-like flavor is offset perfectly by the spice. Did I mention that this is delicious?

Mouthfeel - Incredibly smooth and creamy. After the quick dissipation of the head, and with the blend of all the unique ingredients, I was expecting a kick, but this caressed my tongue all the way down.

Drinkability - The booze is masked well - I hope they don't stop brewing this after they go to JP next year!

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Photo of nickd717
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from K&L Redwood City.

Pours dark-reddish brown with a thick light beige head and excellent lacing.

Aroma seems a bit overspiced, with sage, juniper, ginger, and allspice jumping out at you. Also lots of sweet caramel malt evident.

Flavor is rich but very well-balanced, and surprisingly the spices don't overwhelm. Sweet caramel malt and molasses, roasted chestnuts, and all the same spices noticeable in the aroma.

Fairly full body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and appropriate carbonation level.

This is definitely better than last year's Stone incarnation. A great winter warmer.

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Photo of wangbruins
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Thick dark black with a fluffy tan head and good lacing- this looks promising

S- Grapes and cherries with some smoke. It's fruitier smelling then I expected

T- Chocolate and smoke, kind of earthy, with some nuts to finish off

M- Thick like a milkshake but very smooth and the aftertaste is very good

D- Great beer, very pleasing, thoroughly enjoyable. I've been seeing more nogne o beers and I think I may get them all

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown color with a very light tan head that stayed very small through the whole glass.

Smells of a ton of sage. You can smell some nuttiness from the chesnuts. The sage really dominates and I can't smell much else.

Wow. I thought this was going to be a sage bomb. Not that bad. Very nice maltiness and nutty flavor. Little bit of the caraway and sage. The flavor get a little too much after about half a glass though.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Just enough viscosity. Great carb.

Overall it was good to try but half a glass is good for me. It's hard to finish.

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Photo of np0x
4.7/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was amazing to handle, when pouring it into the glass it was immediately apparent that the body was denser than any beer I have had in recent past. It almost refused to bounce, pouring more like honey than water. The smell was full of interesting leathery and rich spice smells many coming from the Juniper and I guess a few coming from the caraway in a way that was harmonious with the chewyness of the beer.

This was a great drink given how little I like holiday beers, I wanted another almost immediately after killing this one.

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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.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown with a khacki head

S- The nose is very complex and herbal. The first things to hit the nose are juniper and rosemary, followed by sage, ginger and other spices. Hints of clove and allspice come through after the initial wave of herbal aromas.

T- Mildly malty with a good, clean bitterness. The herbal and spicy tones found in the smell are almost nonexistent in the taste. There's hints of cooca and walnut in the finish.

M- Smooth with a dry finish

D- Overall, very drinkable and a good beer. Previous reviews say that this beer is hot, but I think that now this beer is drinking very nicely.

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

What a trifecta of breweries that put this wonderful idea together! This year it's Nogne O's turn to do what Stone did last year. This one pours a very rich mahogany with a slightly off-white head that clings to the edge of my snifter. No noticeable lacing.

Great smell that is dominated by spice. Very little else is discernable. And that's perfectly fine, considering the quality of the nose.

The tongue picks up where the nostrils left off, and immediately get spice, mild alcohol, and very, very little hop sensation. They claim 50 IBUs on the bottle, but it feels like even fewer. A prominent malt presence lingers.

There is almost no carbonation to speak of. A pleasnant, medium mouthfeel for an 8.5% beer.

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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.

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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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