Gordon Fest Beer | John Martin's (John Martin SA)

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Gordon Fest BeerGordon Fest Beer
54 Ratings
Gordon Fest BeerGordon Fest Beer

Brewed by:
John Martin's (John Martin SA)

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Gordon Xmas

Added by bark on 12-07-2004

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 30
Reviews by Zimbo:
Photo of Zimbo
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drunk from my Traquair tankard on Christmas in Scotland, this has a pleasant smoky spicy smell in the bottle . Forms a light foamy off white big bubbly head which really thins over the course of the drink but does leave some relatively complex lacing around the medium transparent red brown body. Deep sugar y bitter tang. Fairly chewy on the palate with a degree of perfectly restarined light Christmas spice. A buttery caramel quality makes a very late but very welcome addition as the end and the various fields together build a beer which is actually greater than the sum of it parts.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Satyr179
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of Keegan
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of mattfancett
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of frontalot
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep clear brown color ale with a huge foamy head with a light brown head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with some dry fruits notes. Taste is also dominated by some sweet malt with noticeable trace of candi sugar and some dry fruits notes such as figs and plums. Body is slightly thin for the style with great carbonation and some light alcoholic phenols. Not the best Christmas Belgian style ale I have tasted but pretty good nonetheless.

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Photo of Pelicanrocks
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of simonwright
3.84/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of Paddez
3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown brew with a small head that dissapears rather quickly, leaving behind a messy layer of foam.
Aroma: spicy with fruityoghurt and hints of alchohol, hops and port. No hints of coffee or caramel in this one.
The taste is spicy with wine-like flavours going around.
Ends with a dry, lemony, yoghurty finish. Not bad.

The mouthfeel is good, the beer is creamy and goes down smoothly. The alcohol warms the throat somewhat.

A nice winter brew, but not one of my favourites. It's pretty different from most other beers I've had in the style so far though, so it's without a doubt worth a try if you're in for something else than your average Belgian dark winter seasonal ale

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.86/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap in 2011, still a good Xmas special!

Poured from a 33cl brown bottle with a huge life left (20th Sept 2008) I may kep one for a while, as I got a four-pack. Anyway, it was poured into the correct Gordons Thistle Glass, one of two I bought some years ago.

It looked a picture, the dark body in the base of the glass and the slightly off-white head filling the neck of the glass.

The aroma is one of dark complexed secrets, mostly winter spices, such as cinnamon and cloves, sat on burnt brown breaded toast.

The taste explodes in your mouth, a sweet caramel effect, almost burnt, but not really burnt, lighty toasted is a better way of saying it.

The taste does linger, getting more malty and drier as the throat adjusts.

I very easy to drink 8.8% Christmas beer, highly recommended by me.

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Photo of ThaCreep
2.97/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Alcohol and malt nose. As always in this range of beer would be tempted to say. It feels as fruits (plums, cassis) macerated and a hint of liqueur fruits. Alcoholic mouth with hints bitter and spicy with a little bit of dried fruit. Finish hot with alcohol. The latter is still too present in the mouth and spoils the flavor.

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Photo of stjarnflikka
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an all clear red and brown beer with a fingerthick foam and a strong carbonation. Head disspiates quite quickly and leaves some lacing behind.

Smell is at first alcohol and yeast. There are a lot of fruits in there such as dried figs, raisins and also some citrus. Theres also a small spicy and wine-like smell.

Taste is also alcohol at first together with sweet dried fruits and wine. There is a sweet and bready undertone together with a sour finish.
The beer tastes less alcohol after standing in room temperature for half an hour or so, still sour though.

This beer certainly reminds me of samichlaus bier. Not even close in complexity and taste though. Finishes far too sour for me, that really does a lot to that this beer doesn't taste that good. Worth a try anyhow.

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Photo of Absumaster
2.9/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A brown, amber beer with a fine-bubbled head.

Smell is very caramel malty with a spicy and herbal smell. The roastiness and dark malts give the beer a coffee and smokiness, together with a slight metallic smell. The alcohol smells kind of boozy.

Taste of raisins and big caramel malt, it also has some soy sauce. The spices in here give the beer a strange taste, which I find hard to get used to and can't recall, is it the spices, smoke or tartness? The alcohol is warming and higher alcohols make the beer 'burn' it's way down. Herbs give some flowery, rose bud notes, something I smelled before in a Scotch ale. Mouthfeel is sweet and sticky. For sure this is a very complex beer, too complex for me and with smells and tastes I can't place in a beer.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle bought online from Belgianshop.com.. aged for about 2 years...

Poured a deep mahogany red / brown colour with some coppery hints. Light mocha head poured fairly thick and foamy with a pocked marked topping and thick edging then faded to thin covering... good lines of lacing...

Aroma - Deep rich spicy dark fruits (raisins, prunes, some strawberries), toasted bready malts, toasted fruit cake, brown lemonade hints, brown sugar sweetness, light medicinal / herbal notes, some leatheriness, slight sour vinegar notes, no real hops..

Taste - Pretty strong toasted bready malts, deep treacle sweetness, toasted nuttiness, spicy dark fruits (raisins, figs and dates), malt loaf / fruit cake, the faintest of smokiness, light peppery notes, some woodiness...

Feel - Quite smooth and creamy with a little sharpness underneath... medium bodied... very quaffable for an 8.8% brew...

Overall - An excellent Christmas beer although more like a doppelbock than a Belgian strong dark - a real malt bomb... definitely recommended...

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Photo of spacemanvt
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of patra7
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer has been renamed "Gordon Fest Beer". Same abv. and similar bottle / label design, (now by Anthony Martin instead of John Martin)

133 characters

Photo of beerenjoyer1
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gordon's Xmas is a overall good dark strong beer. The appearance is dark, of course, with a small tan foam on top. The smell is a malty smell with a hint of caramel. The taste is good with full flavor on each taste and a nice freshness throughout. The mouthfeel is full if I can say that because it is good, and the drinkability is remarkable so that I want to savor it alittle longer. i think this beer should be drank after the temperature achieves a range of 50-60F because the full floaovr really comes out.

 511 characters

Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby red almost red wine color, with a tan head that leaves spotted patches of lacing around the glass.

Smell is of raisins, caramel, maybe some vanilla.

Taste is dry and spicy up front with some dark chocolate notes, tobacco, plums, dried fruit, and a coffee finish that is dry and peppery.

Great Christmas beer.

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Photo of leitmotif
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2008 Gordon Christmas served on-draught into a Gordon Xmas goblet at Kulminator in Antwerp. 8.8% confirmed. Cost was 3.50 euro. Reviewed from notes taken in early July 2011.

A: Pours a two finger tinted white head of wonderful fluffy froth, great cream, brilliant thickness, and excellent retention for the ABV. Body colour is a dark red-ruby.

Sm: Dark fruit, floral hops, caramelized malt, and light cream. A delightful mild strength aroma.

T: Too much cream and vanilla. Tame restrained dark fruit. Generic floral hops. Rather muted and bland overall. I wish the flavours weren't so restrained. Complex enough, and balanced well, but built problematically.

Mf: Too wet. Very smooth, which suits the muted flavour profile.

Dr: High ABV is well hidden; it's very drinkable. Of pretty good quality. I like it, but the muted feel bothers me.


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Photo of CH3CH2OH
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the trade that provided this, Bierschenker.

Pours a medium brown (much lighter than other dark strongs), clear, with a high, tan head. Strong malt, some alcohol, no hop to speak of in the nose. Very nice sweet malt, with hints of brown sugar and caramel and just enough hop bitterness to keep it from being overly cloying. Medium mouthfeel with medium-high carbonation that prickles the tounge.

Described as a "Strong Brown Ale" on the bottle, it is definitely a different animal than a typical Belgian Dark Strong (or Strong Dark on BA). This is not a Rochefort 8, it is much simpler without the fruity esters and malty depths. Comparing it to a strong scotch ale, it is very good.

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Photo of seanyfo
4.74/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle poured into a delirium tremens chalice

BB 20/10/08

A- 2 finger tan head sits atop an extremely dark ruby body. Clarity is excellent with excellent lacing and moderate retention considering the ABV

S- Toffee caramel rich maltiness, some dark rich fruit cake.

T- Sweet munich malt richness dominates, a hint of alcohol is underneath, almost like a sweet sherry in a rich fruit cake.

M- Full bodied,slightly creamy, luxuriously smooth, medium carbonation. Maybe lacks carbonation for the style, but i previous this is such a rich beer.

D- A very rich smooth luxurious beer.
A beautiful fireside sipper. Dangerously addictive!

*Note* Not had this fresh but i would say a 3 year old bottle of this would beat a fresh Delirium Nocturnum in the taste/richness department. Would be interested to see what 3 years would do to a Nocturnum.

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Gordon Fest Beer from John Martin's (John Martin SA)
Beer rating: 3.71 out of 5 with 54 ratings