Pickled Santa | Ridgeway Brewing

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Pickled SantaPickled Santa
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by scottoale on 11-04-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
79
Ratings:
124
Avg:
3.3
pDev:
22.42%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
4
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 124
Photo of metter98
3.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is clear light copper in color and poured with a finger high beige head that quickly died down into a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are aromas of caramel and spices in the nose.
T: The malty, sweet and spicy flavors in the taste have a strong resemblance to those in gingerbread cookies. A slight amount of sweetness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer definitely tastes interesting but there's no way I could have more than one of these in a night.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Dyslexic demonologists often end up selling their soul to Santa."

--Anonymous

The label claims that Pickled Santa is a ruddy chestnut color, but it's actually bright orange with amber highlights. The two finger crown has a bubbly surface and is sticky enough to grace the glass with plenty of attractive lace.

This winter warmer smells like a very lightly spiced amber ale with a hint of butter caramel. In fact, the 'whole spices' are so subtle that no reasonable guesses can be made regarding specifics. The label says cinnamon, coriander and nutmeg. The Shelton Brothers website says allspice, coriander and nutmeg.

Taste mirrors nose. This is better than average beer, but it isn't special in any way, shape or form. It's also quintessentially English in the way that most Ridgeway beer tends to be. Actually, the spices are becoming slightly more bold as Santa loses his starting chill.

Malt is 100% Maris Otter and hops are 100% Goldings. The flavor rundown includes butter toffee, apricots, bitter tea leaves and a pinch of cinnamon. That's the most aggressive of the added spices, so it makes sense that the others remain in the background. All things considered, I'm glad the spice load isn't higher.

The mouthfeel works. It's medium in a general sense and carbonation is on the shy side. It's almost cask-like in that regard, which is always a neat trick in bottled beer.

Ridgeway Brewing brews some excellent beer (IPA) and some lousy beer (Seriously Bad Elf). Pickled Santa is somewhere between those two extremes. It's definitely worth a look for anyone who likes English-style winter warmers. That said, I won't be selling my soul to Santa for another bottle.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pickled Santa pours a mostly clear deep-amber body with gold and orange highlights beneath a creamy cap of white that settles steadily to a short, cottony surface covering. Lacing is average.

The aroma expresses dark skinned fruit, very gently caramelish malt, and dull spice (cinnamon, and perhaps anise).

The flavor is far more pronounced than the nose suggests, and it's decidedly spicy from the get-go through to the lingering finish (I don't think it's really over-done though). It starts with a dollop of round, sweet malt that's wrapped in yeasty fruitiness (some cherry) and sprinkled with spice (thin but brittle coriander and supple cinnamon). The fruitiness peaks across the middle, but then it's right back to the spice at the swallow as the malt starts to fade and the spices are left behind. A firm, underlying bitterness balances it, and it's just enough as the spices do their part to help out as well. As the spices fade I get notes of all-spice and nutmeg, and even cola (although that is probably just from the spices combined with whatever residual caramel-tinged malt is there).

Final swigs: a pretty decent spiced ale that's not over-done. It's certainly enjoyable through one serving, but as is the case with most spiced ales, I don't think it can hold up through a second - maybe - but certainly not a third. However, it may have its moments. I think it would pair well with a festive meal. Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of chinchill
3.38/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Portion of a 22oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear amber with a bone colored head that has acceptable retention. The large head does reduce rather quickly.

A spicy and modestly malty aroma with hints of an ABV higher than the actual 6%. Plenty (perhaps too much) of spice in the long lasting aftertaste. Finish is slightly dry and mildly bitter.

O: not a great holiday brew, but drinkable, and with the cute label and name, capable of fostering holiday spirit.

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Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 9/28/2013. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted biscuit, plum, pear, apple, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of spices, bready malt, and light-moderate fruity yeast and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted biscuit, plum, pear, apple, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Light herbal hop/spice bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light fruits, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good robustness, complexity, and balance of spices, bready malt, and light-moderate fruity yeast and earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a good spiced English pale ale style. All around good robustness, complexity and balance of spices, bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of russpowell
3.81/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent honey color with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Zero head retention & lacing

S: Biscuitty malt & grassy hops

T: Biscuitty malt dryness & a very dare I say west coast hop slant, grapefruit & lemony hops all over the the throat & tongue. maybe a whisper of spices too. Made for the Shelton Bros, this may explain a few things... As this warms, I pick up a bit more of the spice profile, especially coriander, but grapefruit & dryness dominate, along with a a faint bit of orchard fruit. Finishes fruitty & hoppy with faint dryness

MF: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation & nice balance

Drinks pretty darn easy, abv is well hidden. I would pick this up again, pretty tasty, not a typical winter warmer, but interesting enough

Scanning all prior reviews, I am the only one picking up on the grapefruit, not sure what that means...

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Photo of smcolw
3.48/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice, lasting near-white head. Good Belgian lace on the glass. Dark gold-light amber color. Clear.

Malty aroma with a mild ginger (?) kick.

Round malt flavor with a dry (slightly harsh) hop finish. Thinner than I would expect (with a higher carbonation level). There's a small amount of alcohol warmth in the swallow. I'd describe the flavor as lightly oaky. Not very spicy for a Winter Warmer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a somewhat hazy copper color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of cinnamon, bready malts, light caramel malts, and light spices.

t - Tastes of bready malts, light spices, light cinnamon and nutmeg. Kind of bland, not much going on here.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty bland, average winter warmer. Pretty good smell but the taste is just bready malts with a hint of cinnamon. Wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of jwc215
3.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours bright golden amber with a frothy white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of light toast/caramel with a mix of spicing, especially coriander and nutmeg (some cinnamon?). A hint of sour mixes in. Borders spice overload, and too odd, but interesting...

The taste is sweet and sour with a heavy hand of spicing that blends in an almost clashing way.
Spicy dryness in the finish.

Mild to medium carbonation and pretty smooth medium body.

A "gimmicky" brew that borders overly spiced with a blandish backing. Odd. Didn't "dislike" but certainly didn't "thrill" me either.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.18/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer pours with a lot of foaming, but settles with a nice, bright, vibrant, copper-honey coloring with a finished thin layer of foamy, light, off-white head that is barely an eighth of an inch. Aromas of a light malt sweetness, a slight roasting, and some subtle spice blends that entice the drinker. Very mild, but very well blended overall smells. Flavors are more heavily roasted, with a toasty caramel malt backbone that allows the all-spice, nutmeg, and clove spicing to blossom at the end of the palate. Good, subtle hopping to help balance the brew and clean the palate. The beer is light bodied, with only a slight, inconsistent lacing on parts of the glass. A little on the light/weak side for a winter warmer, at least in my preference. The aftertaste is mostly spiced, with a slight sweetness that lingers behind. The finish is light, and somewhat clean, but has a few lingering characteristics that hang on a bit too long. Not a bad beer, but not something I would go out of my way for.

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Photo of Mora2000
3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the flowers with some wheat, grain and grass notes. I also get a little bit of cinnamon in the aroma, which is unexpected. The flavor is a mix of cinnamon, biscuits and bread. Fairly basic and one dimensional, but not too offensive. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Better than I remember some of the other Ridgeway Christmas beers being.

 417 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Coit Liquors about three weeks ago, and now it's going to be consumed. On to the beer:

Cough syrup orange in color with hues going into yellow. The head on top is solid, developing a little bit of gentle lace that sticks. The nose is distinctly English, or at least the soft, buttery, somewhat sweet yeast that arises from the beer.

Although the bottle says that it is a winter warmer style, the taste is telling me a different story. Don't worry, this is still a likable flavor. Buttersctoch, a little diacetyl and husk, also a subtle flavor of esters and vague spice. The package as a whole gets better and better tasting as the beer moves closer towards the bottom of the glass. The carbonation is low in this beer, the texture being soft and medium bodied. While I like the overall package, I would need to be in the mood for something like this, and I would take my time drinking it.

Pickled Santa isn't just for the winter time; it's well into the spring season and all is good around here. I'm already dreaming of a helping of Spotted Dick as I finish my pint.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice two-finger foamy white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some caramel and spice. The taste is malty, spicy, slightly sweet, and a nice touch of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a mild Winter Warmer English Style, tasty though.

 326 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.11/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

17oz bottle picked up at the Coop over the holidays.. sharing it with the bro.. my half into my New Belgium snifter...

2" head.. pillowy and leaving behind a ton of lace.. the brew is a glowing tangerine... pretty.

the nose is spicy.. sorta like a Belgian or German hefe yeast was used.. but more likely xmas spices are present.. clove and subtle orange peel.

Flavor is toasted malts mainly with spices throughout.. nutmeg is also present on the palate.. body is medium with quite a bit of carbonation.. not bad by any means.. it just seems waaay to average and the spices are probably a bit much.

overall.. I am not down with this one... I wanted to elaborate more.. but the brother is bitching and saying get off the complectron..

 736 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood,

A: Pours amber with a finger of white head, good lace and head retention.

S: Some cinnamon, allspice, English malt, but mild, pleasant, not mind-blowing in any way.

T: Upfront on the first taste it is a typical English bitter. Enjoyable off-sweet Maris Otter malt with a light hopping. At the finish the spices dramatically show up adding a lot of complexity - allspice, nutmeg and some bitter cinnamon.

M: Not as robust as I would have liked, smooth, easy drinking in the end.

D: A real nice winter warmer here from Ridgeway. I have been disappointed from a couple of their winter beers in the past, but this one was very well done, and one I have to revisit if the bottles make it over here.

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Photo of tone77
3.9/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 16.9 oz. bottle. Has a copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is strong of spices. Taste also has considerable spice, nutmeg and cardamon standing out, a touch of hop bitterness. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a very good brew.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Slight spicy nose. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is light cinnamon and nutmeg, a not overpowering decent Christmas ale. Brewed for Shelton Brothers Importers for exclusive distribution in the U.S. $6.40 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

 374 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

From the bottle marked F15-282. Sampled on January 16, 2014.

It has a copper-orange pour with decent clarity and a head that whisks away as quickly as it forms.

It smells distinctively English with the roasted caramel malts and a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg along with a pear-like character.

Thin to medium body.

The taste is fairly sweet and caramel like but it is not anything I have not had before. Slightly bitter ending.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer has a clear but slightly dense bright copper body with a strong carbonation of big bubbles and an off-white head that is porous with lots of big bubbles.
S- The dry almost salty spiced pale malt has a slight toasted malt note underneath. There is a dry cider aroma that finishes with a buttery quality.
T- The pale malt flavor has a faint toasted note and some dried apple flavors to follow. There is a corn flavor to the bitter finish and a soft caramel quality that lingers. When this beer is pretty warm there is a hint of stale cinnamon in the malt.
M- The medium mouthfeel has a slight slippery texture and a soft fizz note with no alcohol heat in the finish.
D- This beer starts of very bitter in the finish and it is more spice that hop bitterness, but it opens up more flavors come through and the bitterness subsides. There were some ok flavors but nothing really exciting it was just sort of bland.

 946 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a weak, watery orange, despite the labels claim that it is a ruddy chestnut color. The clarity was bright with a high visibility while the capping was frothy, short lived and light beige in color leaving a respectable thick, clumpy lacing around the rim. Visible carbonation was rapid, with a dense showering of macro-bubbles rising at a rapid rate.

S: The nose was sweet with hints of dried caramel grains, semi-dry oranges and a light helping of cinnamon sprinkled applesauce. A medium sense of strength gives you a good dose and appreciation. There was a light scent of freshly buttered croissant as well.

T: The flavor had a fruity sweetness of dried caramel grains, and cinnamon sprinkled applesauce similar to the nose. A fruitiness of melons, coriander and nutmeg also are well noted as well a light fresh biscuity nature. There is a flowery bitterness with a touch of sweet, dried maple syrup as well. The finish finds a combination of orange grinds, apples, pears and a dry spicing of nutmeg. After the swallow there is a light alcohol warming that ensures.

M: The mouthful had a nice medium-full syrupy thickness. Soft on the tongue carbonation wise with a light dry spicing coats the tongue.

D: average. A sweet exams drink with a soft complimentary spicing but not one I would want to drink in multiples. The label claims this can be drunk either chilled or at ambient temperature depending on your palate. I chose the latter like a good English ale should be consumed to bring out the warmth of holiday spicings.

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Photo of pat61
3.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Pours dark amber with a slight chill haze crowned by a clingy 1” dirty white foam collar that slowly recedes. S: Floral aroma edging on fresh laundry, spice, ligh fruit. T: Spicy fruit flavors, plum, malt, light treacle. F: Very creamy and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, soft on the palate. O: Easy to drink but not as big as most winter warmers.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.08/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a clear amber/orange color with about an inch off-white head that stayed around for a little while. There's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice but light, it smells like nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, and some bready malt. It tastes like bready malt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and some apples. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's smooth and has low/moderate carbonation. I think it's an OK brew, but I probably wouldn't buy it again at $4.99 a bottle. Just seems average overall to me.

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Photo of glid02
3.53/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear dark copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of light caramel malts with moderate amounts of earthy hops and a good amount of indistinct medium fruit flavors.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Good amounts of caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by mild amounts of green apple and pear flavors. Midway through the sip earthy hop flavors work their way into things and carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's a bit on the thin side but with nice carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished my glass without any problems however I'm not sure about another.

Overall this has the potential to be a good beer but the fruit flavors seem out of place and the rest of the flavors are lacking a crispness needed for the style. Not worth seeking out but not worth turning down either.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.04/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. Stamped F13 269.

A: Head finally, begrudingly, forms to a respectable finger and a half. Incredibly clear and golden-coloured, with few bubbles. The nigh-perfect pellucidity unnerves me, but it's a respectable looking ale.

S: Mmm, lots of spices. This is what I expect winter warmers to smell like. A bit heavy-handed, perhaps, but with powerful allspice, clove, and nutmeg.

T: Blergh, not very good. It's sour, thin, and only mildly flavourful. Brackish spices with an unpleasantly sour fruitiness that ends in a sort of dryness you'd expect if you tried to eat a teaspoon of cinnamon. Overspiced, undersupported.

M: Thin, but not obnoxiously so. Decent attempt at carbonation.

O: Average. Great smell, disappointing taste. I would not recommend this beer, nor would I have it again. Still, if you want an obviously spiced winter warmer, you could do worse.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.7/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a rich, malty, yeasty aroma with an undertone of spice and sweet hints. Pours a clear coppery-amber with a white head that does not stick around. Flavor is yeasty and malty with a hint of spice and just a touch of hops. Texture is tingly and lively so it dances on the tongue and on the way down.

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Pickled Santa from Ridgeway Brewing
77 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.
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