Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas AleSaranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale
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Winter Warmer
Ranked #277
Ranked #46,521
3.2 | pDev: 16.25%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas AleSaranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 166
Photo of Jeffreysan
3.34/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, semi-clear, golden color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with strong notes of piney hops, slightly toasted malt, giving off notes of slightly toasted rye bread, caraway seeds, and some caramel and brown sugar.

Taste: Similar to the aroma, only reversed. Strong notes of toasted malt up front and caraway seeds, like freshly baked rye bread, followed by some black pepper, caramel-like sweetness, finished by some pretty strong, but not out-of-balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.0%, there is alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty decent beer. Not bad, but not great either. Pretty enjoyable as your drinking it, but totally forgettable once it’s drunk. Worth a try, but not really worth going back too. I wouldn’t pass it up if offered, but I’m not seeking it out either.

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Photo of generallee
3.4/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a quick fading off white head over an orange amber body with a light haze.

Smell: I don’t get much here, just a light spiced maltiness.

Taste / Palate: There is a mild bready malt base with some dry spice notes like clove and coriander. I am also picking up a touch of bitter orange peel. It’s palate feels light and the finish is quick and somewhat boring.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, stamp on bottle says best before March 31, 2014. Got this bottle from a friend 2 weeks ago so I didn't get a chance to try it fresh. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both decent. Aroma is light but nice, the brew smells like caramel and toasted malt, and light sweet spices. I think the taste is the same as the aroma, but the flavors seems stronger in the taste as compared to the weak aroma. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit coating with moderate carbonation. It's not one of the better winter warmer/spiced ales I've had, it's really low on the amount of spicing that's in this brew. Not that it's a bad beer, but I think it's a Christmas ale that doesn't have much kick to it. Maybe I'll try it again next year if I can get a single somewhere.

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Photo of barczar
3.66/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Christmas beer found in April, so...

Pours a clear deep copper with a frothy cream head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Aroma is initially dominated by toasted malt, slightly sweet and caramelly, with perhaps a hint of cinnamon and clove. Fairly subtle.

Flavor reveals ginger at the base, which lingers throughout. Cinnamon is another dominant flavor. The toasted, slightly sweet, grainy caramel malt backbone has a sour note to it. Reminds me of cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

Body is moderate, with carbonation a touch high. There's a bit of a bite.

Not overly spicy, which I appreciate. Good malt backbone. The cinnamon dominates, overall. Wish that sour note weren't there.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best before 3/31/14.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, and Christmas spice aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet malt and Christmas spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer with decent spice qualities, but nothing stands out about this one.

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Photo of TeamMathis
3.24/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Apple juice. Decent lace.
Smell: Only a hint of spice.
Taste: Only a hint of spice and maybe a touch of fruit.

This is about as lackluster of a winter warmer as you can get. I guess it could be complimented as being top notch with regard to drinkability. It was certainly tasty, but it wasn't because of what makes this style enjoyable. This was almost a simple lager. I would not get this again. Yes, I could drink this with any lunch or meal, but it's pretty boring if you're looking for a warmer. I'd like this for after working hard on a hot day.

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Photo of beergoot
3.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Golden yellow body, little apparent carbonation yet with a thick, sticky, white head. Nuty and dried grass aroma; light toffee. Warm malt and vaguely spicy flavor, perhaps some juniper and rye; dry and slightly metallic hop bitterness. Medium bodied; crisp and dry finish.

A drinkable if rather boring winter warmer. The malt warmth and bread-like qualities are the high point for the flavor yet leaves one wishing there was something more to the beer to perk it up. There's some bitter/sweet interplay going on, too, but doesn't really ignite any excitement. Good but a lackluster offering.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.71/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A: Mesmerizing rise of carbonation ascends like beads on a string within a pale orange body. Topping is a bit thin, skimy, dirty white in color, with no holiday dressing on the vessel.

S: Spicing is light, smells a bit like fresh mistletoe, light sugar cookie, lacking much of a holiday festive appeal. boring.

T: Flavor of sugar cookie, dry, grainy, a bit of nutmeg dusting but really low key lager like offering. Touch of mistle toe greenery, without the poisonous effect of course, leaves with a strange aftertaste that is hard to pinpoint.

M: Syrupy mouthful, decent body, carbonation feels relaxed.

O: Overall unexciting, lacking much holiday spirit and spicing. Nose is virtually non-existent, flavor is rather bland, unfestive with a six pack being a non-recommended factor. Falls below average regards for me, a snoozer that never leaves the gate or defines holiday spirit. bah humbug.

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Photo of Brenden
3.46/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Rudy's is a bright, clear medium orange. While I know it's a Winter Warmer without having to read the label, the look isn't typical. That's no difference to the beer except to say it doesn't have the usual similarities to porter that the style leans toward. The white head is slightly more than wispy and somewhat weakly constructed, but decent once it's settled. Lace is dropped in moderation.
This beer is fairly simple. There's not much sweetness from spice, being more of a "kitchen spices" blend, slightly hot and more earthy than anything. There is a light sweetness not from spicing, likely from caramel malts, and the typical Saranac house yeast strain is easily distinguishable.
Crispness is foremost in the feel, and it seems like it's focused on a bit too strongly, but there's about a medium body to this beer with plenty of activity. it fades a little at the end, though, and it seems it just bites too hard and may be covering up that there's not much else to the mouthfeel.

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Photo of ItalianPisces84
1.76/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a light caramel with decent head which faded quickly but left decent lacing in its wake. The smell surprised me, especially for a Saranac and for one that wasn't even a lager: it smelled almost like a Busch light wounded soldier from the night before, or more like several all next to each other. It tasted only a little different (better) than mass produced beer (eg, Busch lite), with some faint floral and herbal notes in the aftertaste. Carbonation was just enough to make it not feel flat, which for an ale is one thing, but this beer quite frankly tastes, looks, and smells a lot more like a lager. Overall I was very disappointed, especially since I really wanted to like this one! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not ranking this with Anhueser-Busch flagship and similar products (those I would never waste time reviewing or ranking), but this is, in my opinion, a very disappointing beer. Look elsewhere for a winter/Christmas/etc beer.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.36/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss pint glass
From: BevMo in Mission Valley (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $14.99 for a BevMo variety 8-pack (w/ BevMo card)
Purchased: Dec. 31, 2013
Consumed: Jan. 4, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured an amber orange clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of off white, almost gray head, which cleared out fairly quickly. Some light foggy lacing on the sides of the glass. Minimal retention.

Smelled sugary caramel, honey, peppery spices, cereal, light nutmeg, faint citrus and floral hops. Reminded me a bit of a spicy summer ale.

Tasted unknown spices up front, which lingered on my tongue. Also honey, nutmeg, wheat, lemon grass, orange rind, light mint, corn, cereal and metallic notes. Still more like an earthier summer beer than a winter warmer.

Light body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Lively carbonation. Long, spicy finish.

Nothing about this beer stood out and it really wasn’t a winter warmer to me, but it still was above average. I’d probably give it another try.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear amber with a thick foam that disappears quickly. A hint of carbonation.

Smell: Bready malts, spice, and adjuncts.

Taste: Bready malts, spice, caramel, and adjuncts.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, with a slight spice aftertaste.

The Verdict: Meh. Tastes like a Miller Light with some allspice sprinkled in. Not impressed.

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Photo of JudoJeff
2.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac's Spiced Christmas Ale pours a nice clear caramel color with very little head from a 12oz bottle. It has very little smell but what smell there is pretty generic, not much different than your average mass-produced "beer". The mouthfeel is light with small, sharp carbonation. Taste is a bit bland for a spiced beer, but there is a slight sweetness to it that kind of reminds you of gingerbread...a little. Overall it's a fine refreshing ale but I wouldn't have branded it as a spiced Christmas product.

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Photo of devilben02
2.6/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours from the bottle with a brilliant orange color and a full, pillowy, eggshell-white head. It's all downhill from there, though. The aroma provides dull, musty hops, some lemon rind, maybe some clove, and a little honey-like sweetness. The flavor is similarly muddled, with a combination of earthy and peppery hops flavors, some semi-tart lemon acidity, and an attempt at balance from some bready malts. The fine, prickly carbonation seems to accentuate the dull bitterness, resulting in the finish having an unpleasant mild astringency. The best-before date on the bottle is more than three months away, but this beer drinks like it is well past its intended freshness.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.24/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light amber color with a white head that laces well. Aroma of light spices and caramel. In the taste, cinnamon, toffee, gingerbread, citrus, and cardamom. Light malt body and a fair amount of spice. Dry cinnamon and all spice.
Lighter bodied, decently carbonated ale but too thin. Still a good drinkable brew.

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Photo of metter98
3.36/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: Moderately strong aromas of ginger and nutmeg are present in the smell.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the nutmeg seems to be a little stronger and lingers through the aftertaste.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little thin and watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a lot lighter in body compared to most other beers in the winter warmer style but is easy to drink. It's not a bad selection if you really like ginger and nutmeg.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.45/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

a pretty average spiced ale here, cinnamon, clove, ginger, sweet amber malt, cleaner finish, brown sugar sweetness, nothing really out of the ordinary. very well carbonated though, but the body is too thin, the ale yeast is the same one thats in so many saranac beers, and just less interesting and balanced than it could be. what i do like is the big range of spices, its not simple at all, layers of herbs and spices and sugars from malt to brown sugar and honey. on par with some of the other large scale christmas releases, a decent addition to the winter 12er, but i would not buy this as a standalone.

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Photo of watermelon
3.54/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Date on the bottle says best by 3/31/14

A: Pours a clear copper color with a white head. Head has alright retention with ok lacing.

S: Smells malty with some spices, perhaps nutmeg. A little bit of grassy scent.

T: Can taste both pale and toasted malts. Nutmeg is present in taste. Slight medicinal flavors in taste.

M: A little lighter then I would prefer for a winter warmer. Very crisp carbonation I would prefer less carbonation, body leaves a malty stickiness on the teeth.

O: Decent winter warmer, spices could be more pronounced, the mouthfeel felt off for the style.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Amber in color with coppery gold tones. Light haze, but otherwise, great clarity. The head merely gathered enough to top the beer, and there's not enough foam to want to stick.

Grainy nose with a soda cracker thinness to the malts. Faint cinnamon and light sugary spice. Not much else. A tad metallic.

Woah, boy! Spice bomb, for sure. Loads of cinnamon stick and hints of allspice and citrus peel. Metallic malts with huffy grains, grain husks, and spice bitterness. Slight estery quality, but nothing they would've intended for.

Steely and thin. Does little to satiate or warm me. Unfulfilling. Not even crisp. Slight mealiness to the coarse carbonation. Thin and burpy.

Not a great Xmas ale. Generically okay. It was in my mix case, so I'll polish them off eventually without too much strain. Or maybe one or two will still sit in my fridge after January passes, if I can't pawn them off on my girlfriend.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
2.68/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours clear and golden in color with a white finger width head. Fair retention leads to a thin, broken layer of suds across the surface. Fair lacing with decent stick.

Smell - Hmmm... lightly smells like a fruitcake.

Taste - Not much to it. Light notes of bread, fruit and 'Christmas' spice. Watery aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. Watery finish.

Overall - Not impressed. Probably one of the lightest winter warmers I've had, both in flavor and mouthfeel. Not good. My third Saranac brew from this variety 12-pack, and none have been impressive thus far. I don't expect big things from the other three.

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Photo of Kendo
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is honey-amber (more golden-orangey when backlit) with a small white head.

S: Bready malt and a touch of spice - maybe nutmeg.

T: Overall impression is one of sweetness. Caramel malt with a hint of ginger and nutmeg, maybe some allspice. Modest lemony taste at the finish. House Saranac yeast taste is noted.

M: Light-to-medium in heft, carbonation is good; maybe a tad bit slick in feel.

O: Inoffensive, but hardly anything special. Got it as part of mixed twelve-pack; I certainly wouldn't buy it as a stand-alone in a six-pack, that's for sure.

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Photo of Brad007
2.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden blonde with a huge, frothy head into my glass. Looks very good for a winter warmer.

There's some spice in the nose, though it's nothing like a christmas cookie. Perhaps a touch of nutmeg. Otherwise, a boring amber ale.

Taste is a little too odd for me. Very little actual spice or flavor. Crisp and easygoing otherwise.

Mouthfeel isn't too favorable either.

Eh. They could have changed things up more than this.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a clear amber color with a one finger of pure white head. The head relatively quickly leaving a very light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is mainly of a bready and malty smell mixed with some caramel sweetness. Along with these smells are some notes of spice, being mainly of a cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a rather sweet and bready flavor with the sweet being mainly of a caramel taste and the bready having a slightly doughy flavor with some biscuit notes. Some spice flavors quickly come to the tongue, with a good deal of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice all present. The flavor seems to sweeten as the flavor advances, with it also gaining a doughier flavor at the expense of any biscuit. Some light fruit and citrus hop flavors then join the tongue at the end of the taste, leaving a rather sweet and malty, lightly hopped, and decently spiced flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average side. The body and carbonation are a rather nice blend for the sweeter caramel and fruit flavors of the beer all while maintaining the spice, malt and lightly hopped flavors of the brew well.

Overall – A decent spiced holiday ale. Nothing super outstanding, but very drinkable. A good holiday party brew.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz Bottle from Wegmans Dewitt NY for $2

Appearance - Clear gold colour with an average size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, apples/corn, all-spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and all spice. There are also some basic lager flavours like hay/corn etc

Overall - The scent is boring but the taste is acceptable. An xmas beer to appeal to the masses I suppose. Not something I'd pick up again.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.24/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle no. BB-Mar 31, 2014-2703-0925. Sampled on November 21, 2013.

The pour is mostly golden yellow with a short-lived white head but consistent carbonation.

The aroma is of toasted and muffins, nutmeg, and other mellow spices. Not a noticeable hop aroma but a kind of cardboard like feel too.

The body is light to moderate with a touch of acidity and the texture fades to bubbles quickly on my tongue.

Ant spices and malts on the nose tend to step forward in the taste momentarily to be swept away by an earthy and bitter hop finale.

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Saranac Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 76 out of 100 with 166 ratings