Hoppy Holidaze | Marin Brewing Company

80 Reviews
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Hoppy HolidazeHoppy Holidaze

Brewed by:
Marin Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our traditional Christmas Ale, brewed with Pale, Wheat, Caramalt and Munich malts, and hopped with Sterling and Styrian Goldings varieties. Delicately spiced with canela, nutmeg, mace, orange peel and pure vanilla extract.

Added by Mark on 12-02-2002

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Reviews: 80 | Ratings: 108
Photo of rallison
1.95/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Nothing special - light amber color with not much of a head.

S: Smells like peaches mixed with malt.

T: Like many other reviewers have said, it has a distinct peach syrup taste. Unfortunately, this is true. It tastes artificial. It takes everything bad about most fruit ciders and puts it into a beer. Ugh. It's bad. One dimensional peach flavors. And where the hell are the hops?

M: Much of the same - and by same I mean boring one-dimensional mediocrity. Somewhat thin and boring.

D: You could drink a ton of this except for the fact that it tastes horrible.

Marin and Moylan's usually do some good beers. This is not one of those.

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Photo of magictrokini
2.26/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Expecting an IPA, but got something I really did not like. Pours gold with a minimal white head. Dusty, dank aroma. Taste was not good. Mix of apricots with spice and vanilla. Hops were undetectable until the end of the bottle, and then they tasted like vegetables. Blech.

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Photo of Murchmac
2.6/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer this year pours with a big head. Watch out pouring it.

Smells of slight hops, but more of a macro smell than anything.

Tastes like a Mr. Potato Head at Guernica. Some vanilla notes, some hop notes, some malty caramel, but just all over the place, not very uniform.

Good alcohol content is present, good beer to drink a lot of to get drunk if you like vanilla. If you dont like vanilla in your beer. Stay away.

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Photo of mzwolinski
2.68/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 Edition
Lighter in color than a lot of xmas beers; very hazy autumnal orange, with a very thin head that’s almost just a halo.

Aroma is a bit sharp – orange comes through strong with some hoppiness, but wihtout enough underneath it to balance.

Really interesting first sip. very sugary tasting, especially so in the aftertaste which is way too dominated by the vanilla. Too much orange in the midpalate. Cinnamon makes itself known after that. Very artificial tasting. All one can taste is the adjuncts – it’s like there’s no malt, no hops, no beer there at all.

Malt comes through a little bit as it warms, but vanilla is still too much.

Better and better as the beer warms or my palate acclimates, but still quite unsatisfying in the end.

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Photo of ElGordo
2.69/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark golden color topped by a small off-white head that quickly disappears. Carbonation is rather tepid. Aroma of nutmeg, cinammon, and other holiday spices, along with some light sweet malt and a hint of adjunct grain. Palate is overly sweet - very sweet malt with a touch of caramel, along with very assertive cinammon and nutmeg notes. Medium body is a decent vehicle for the abundance of overly sweet malt. Couldn't finish the bottle. Maybe it's just a personal dislike of sweet and spicy brews, but I didn't like this at all. Oh, and where the hell were the hops? If hoppy is in the name, I'd expect to at least be able to discern a whiff, but nope, not in this one.

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Photo of AlexJ
2.7/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Murky apricot pour with a minimal amount of sizzling white froth that disappears way too quickly for my liking.

Aroma is a meager offering of pale malt, mushy grain, overbearing nutmeg and spice notes with faintly earthy floral hops.

Flavor disappoints further, a mild malt entry of cooked grains and toasted bread leads to spice notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. It finishes with tart, sourdough bread notes and hints of lemon. I don't think this was an old bottle, it said 2005 0n it.

Body is weak, thin and almost watery with large bubbles that lend to a flat, lifeless mouthfeel. This beer is not for me.

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Photo of largadeer
2.79/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber-colored with a slight haze. Very foamy with good head retention.

Smell: Slightly funky - the nose is a mishmash of various spices, the dominant aroma being orange peel. Not entirely enjoyable.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very dry. The spices are dominant, primarily orange and vanilla, with malt taking a backseat to those flavors. Hops come out more in the finish, leaving a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. Sits well on the tongue with moderate carbonation and a medium body. Not bad, but the spices seem to overwhelm the malt. A less dry foundation would support the spices better.

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Photo of JDV
2.8/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared at tasting with Fly, Dewbrewer, Humulone_Red and others. Thanks guys!
Some apple juice like maltiness in the nose and taste. Somewhat oktoberfest like taste to it. Nice musty maltiness predominantly and I didn't pick up on the spices or vanilla really. Just ok, I thought.

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Photo of sloejams
2.83/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Despite the 9th grade humor name it had, I decided to give this 22 oz. bomber a go.

Poured into a pint glass - it had a hazy orange color with a slight head that retained well. It had a strong nutmeg aroma with hints of cinnamon and to a far lesser degree - hops. The smell would indicate more flavor than it actually had - the winter spices were there but light and very subtle. I kept hoping some hops would kick in, but to no avail. It had a smooth feel with slight carbonation and a crisp finish.

With the name, I expected far more hops. The beer style was confusing: part winter warmer / part pale ale - and it didn't really mesh all that well together. It is unique though and worth a try for that.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The pours a deep, cloudy golden orange with a fluffy pure white head. The crown dies back but leaves a reasonable bit of lacing on the inside of the glass.

The nose is pretty good - plenty of candied orange peel and a bit of a 'mulled cider' note (likely cinnamon and nutmeg) No beer-like smells to be found.

The flavor is much like the nose - primarily the spices without much 'beeriness' coming through. Some light malt notes, primarily wheat, with a strong dose of cinnamon, nutmeg, candied orange and a vanilla finish. The hops are really present at first but as you work your way through the beer there are some Euro-noble hop notes - floral and somewhat spicy. Way, waaay back in the background.

Mouthfeel was disappointing with very little carbonation and a rather oily residue left on the palate. Practically no bittering to dry out each sip leaving an overall cloying effect.

I'm probably being generous rating the drinkability as "average". This is a good beer to bring around to a Christmas party and it's likely non-beer drinkers will enjoy it. My biggest problem is that the name "Hoppy Holidaze" created some expectations that this might be a hoppy drink - far from it! If they'd thrown in a bucketful of Chinhook or Centennial (or even some spruce tips) then this beer would have had some personality instead of just being sweet.

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Photo of mactrail
2.99/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sweet and reeking of cinnamon. Not to mention cloves and nutmeg and Karo syrup. Gummi worms and Red Hots. Looks nice with the brownish golden color and lots of foam and lacing. Plenty of carbonation and a little slick in the mouth. Light body. A dirty hop taste on the back of my tongue. Very long nose of the spice mix followed by the bitterness.

I can't think why this is a Winter Warmer-- should just call it what it is-- seriously spiced beer.

Who started this spiced ale-pumpkin pie thing in the US? I blame Anchor. At least they have had some subtlety most years.

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Photo of DogFood11
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber pour is easily controlled to a perfect head but quickly falls to a thin skim and no lacing worth a mention.

Smell blew me away, I went into this beer without any research whatsoever so when I couldn't detect any significant level of hops I was a bit taken back. Hoppy Holidaze is an odd name for a beer with little hop presence. Not a big deal I just want to let anyone reading this to know not to expect a Hop Bomb of any kind.

Pretty spiced up taste, citrus, mainly a light lemony balancer. Some floral type hops.

A flowery boquet and a sugar laden finish make up the taste. Citrus is also there and the spices come through. This is an odd one for me to get a grasp on. Mouthfeel tends to me lingering and bready sweet sticky.

Notes: I kinda liked this offering as it was off the wall for my untrained palate and had me wanting to drink more just to figure it out. Interesting.

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Photo of
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle

Slightly hazy, light gold in color. Large, white head. Brewed with Sterling and Styrian Goldings hops.

Aroma was floral - lavender? Nutmeg and oranges, some vanilla.

Taste was much too dependent on spice, in my opinion. Not the same flavors as Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin, but the intensity level was similar. Hops push through as citrus & floral. Some pepper in there.

Medium + in body. Carbonation was fairly high, but well integrated. Quite dry, almost astringent.

Not my cup of beer. Too spicy. It improved as it warmed, but not enough for me to want to go here again.

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Photo of grub
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

christmas tasting hosted by biegaman on dec 15/07. he contributed this one. thanks jan!

22oz bottle.

pours a nice reddish amber colour with a bit of very fine white head. no lace.

aroma is nice. light alcohol. bit of caramel. big floral character, but not quite as dominating as in the moylan's we had before it. bit of pepper. hint of pine. cinnamon and nutmeg.

taste is ok. medium bitterness level. grapefruit. orange peel. bit of caramel. pepper. cracker malt. lots of flowers and spice again.

mouthfeel is ok. low carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is not great. the spice and floral character are overpowering and not pleasant. no balance.

 660 characters

Photo of BeerRun13
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy orange with some yellow highlights. Super fluffy eggshell head is thick and bubbles rise from below.
Slight wheat. Orange citrus. Banana and clove.
Interesting Orange citrus and fruity flavors. Spices. Almost artificial tasting sugary spiciness.
Medium bodied. Well carbonated. Kinda sticky.
I enjoyed the try, but was generaly not impressed with this one.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3.16/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

taste- caramel, spice, malt taste, smooth finish

color- honey

clarity- hazy

smell- malt and spice, delicately balanced nose, kettlecorn

body- medium-light weight

appearance- nice, clean looking, flat head

overall impression- well balanced, clean, needs more weight and complexity

notes- brewed with pale, wheat, caramalt and munich malts, and hopped with sterling and styrian goldings varieties. spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange peel, and vanilla extract. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

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Photo of bbothen
3.16/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear light orange color with a 2 finger deep head of creamy white bubbles.

Smells of holiday spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange as well as a bready, bakery aroma.

Slighty spicy from the holiday spices, caramel like maltiness, zesty orange, vanilla in the finish.

Feels nice. Smooth, creamy, lush, medium bodied, lingering vanilla extract flavor.

The whole bottle was a chore. Not bad by any means, I just dont particuarly care for these flavors in my beer. Kudos to Marin for brewing this though.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12/25/04- Purchased at Bevmo in Oakland, CA

Presentation- 22 oz bomber with no expiration date poured into my Shipyard pint glass.

Appearance- At first I thought...Cool!! A double IPA!! But, alas, I was mistaken. A rust colored orange pour with very very minimal head and very light lacing. Lots of floaters.

Smell- Strong vanilla scent overtakes all others that I couldn't detect.

Taste- At least I know my taste buds are working. The first three things I thought of were vanilla, nutmeg and cinnimon. Then I looked at the back of the bottle and saw those exact items. For a beer called "Hoppy" Holidaze, I found it hard to taste the hops. I guess they were hidden beneath all the vanilla extract. There is a citrus tinge towards the end of each sip also.

Mouthfeel- Lightly carbonated, and fuller mouthfeel because of the sweet vanilla.

Drinkability- Well, I'll give Marin some credit for making one of the more interesting beers that I have ever had. They fooled my with their label. I thought I was getting an IPA at least and then they throw this whatever type of beer at me. Anyway, it was an experience, but truthfully, I'm not too crazy about vanilla in my brew. In my ports or sweet wines, yes, but in my beer, no. I probably won't have this one again, but I am glad I tried it. Remember, one persons trash is anothers treasure. There are plenty of people that would like this I'm sure.

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Photo of madtappers
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage, poured from 22 oz bomber into pint glass.

Pours a merky copper haze. Nice 1 inch white head. Gives of a odor of cinnamon and nutmeg, there is no smell of hops to speak of.

I was amazed at how drinkable of a beer this is, smooth malt taste up front with a after taste of warming cinnamon and nutmeg.

Wouldn't be top on by beers to buy again, but wouldn't turn one down!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Lots of dark caramel and light brown color with an unsettled chunky haze floating through it like unfiltered homebrew. Smell was noticeably sweet.

Taste was more caramel sweetness, that kind of winter warmer. Sticky. Solid and sturdy malt base. A little bit of cinnamon and lesser spice rack. Mildly done.

Bomber format, no return purchase.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2006 release, Sampled December 2007
Very well carbonated as a careful pour produces a four-finger thick, light tan colored head that sits a top a brilliantly clear amber hued beer that is just filled with excessive carbonation bubbles. Aromas of spices dominate the nose; nutmeg is the most persistent, but a backdrop of cinnamon is also noticed. Not much else is noticeable in the aroma, though there is perhaps a touch of herbal hop character here.

Lightly sweet, yet with a sharpness that is a combination of spice notes as well as a slight sourness. Dusty nutmeg flavors and flavors of muted cinnamon turn a bit astringent and almost woody as one gets towards the finish. Fairly light, especially for a 7% alcohol beer, this would definitely be an easily quaffed beer if not for the excessive spice notes. Some fruit flavors are noticeable under the spices, with touches of apples and perhaps a hint of pear flavors. Hop flavors add some bitterness as well as some herbal notes that become muddled together with the more powerful spice notes.

This is not a bad beer, it is just not my cup of tea. Too spice dominated, even after a year of age.

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Photo of sweethome
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is a hazy, limp gold. A little white head.

Nutmeg jumps out on nose. Sweetness of applesauce.

Smooth and creamy entry. Hints of ginger...honey. Sweet maltiness, some hops in the back help cleanse the finish. Long spicy flavors on finish - cinammon comes in on finish.

Lacks complexity of flavor and hops backing that I like from this style.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle tried 7 Jan 2009.

Poured in 0.5 L Adambrau becker. Medium white head. Well carbonated. Clear bright copper color. Aroma is light, reminiscent of bananas, rum and brown sugar. Starts sweet and cinnamony with some nutmeg and caramel. Like a spicy christmas cookie. Some hoppy bitterness at the finish. Light body. Ethanol shows up late.

Overall a decent Christmas beer.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from BA Mag Nov 2007.

The winter warmer is yet another style to be revived by American brewers. Every year a new artist is showcased on the label; this year is L. Gruger from Seattle, WA. [lgruger.com]

The dark crystal malt used gives the beer a deep mahogany color, that has excellent clarity when put up to the light. Multi-sized, tan-bubbled lacing is promising even after a few sips, with patch rings left over on the glass. Soft aromas of dried plums, raisins, brown sugar and a spicy mix of hops and faintly warming estery alcohols suggest a holiday spice cake to the nose. Tiny bubbles roll around the palate with a creamy smoothness that opens up the malt character. Huge caramel note with an orbiting toasted grain that circles closer and closer. Hops offer a solid balanced bitterness with a minty, floral citric flavor. A tad fruity middle to end with a slow and modest warming alcohol. Finishes on the sweet side with a long path of toasted grain and hop flavor.

A bit too drinkable for its size and alcohol, flavors are perfectly balanced and small spikes of complexity everywhere. We can imagine a plate of warm, spiced molasses cookies to pair with this beer.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Comes out looking like liquid caramel, but there is a ton of haze in the beer. Small white head. Aroma was very sweet, that was the most obvious thing. For having hoppy in the name, it was one of the least hoppy beers aroma wise.

Taste, still not much in the way of hops, but who jacks up a bunch of hops in their winter warmer anyway? More big time caramel sweetness. Pretty sticky stuff. Legitimate amount of malt heft to this one. Not overly spicy, just a bit of cinnamon and mint in very low leves. Might as well round that out with a pinch of nutmeg and a somewhat peppery aftertaste given how sweet the initial sips were.

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Hoppy Holidaze from Marin Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 108 ratings.
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