Xmas Ales

I haven't come across many this year. Morrisons seem to have the best selection. The one different one I have found in there is Greene King Xmas Pudding Ale. This pretty much fits the bill for a Xmas Ale; quite strong at 6%, dark, fruity and a bit spicy. The strong wood-aged 5X is used in the beer and this tastes very like Strong Suffolk or a slight variant. Worth buying as Strong Suffolk is hard to get now.

Lidl have Hatherwoods Winter Warmer. It doesn't call itself a Xmas Ale but it is dark, strongish at 5.5%, and says spiced dark beer on the label. I don't think it actually has any spices added, but it does have mulling syrup, whatever that is, and four dark malts. The flavour does have spicy notes of clove, cinammon and ginger with light vine fruit and brown sugar. I usually avoid Hatherwood beers but this one was brewed by Hogs Back, not Wychwood. It is not that assertive but is pleasant and seasonal and good value at the price.
 
Yes, the Pudding Ale was a surprise find (haven't they already got something like Rudolph's Revenge out?)...quite sweet, but with quite a bit of (hop) bitterness, and only £1.25.
 
Yes, Celebration's a fine Christmas beer. Tesco actually sold it one year (and I have vague memories of it being in Sainsbury a long time ago). I got one or two from a beer shop last year. I doubt I'll have it this year...Never mind!
 
Just drinking a St Bernardus Abt 12 but not seen the Christmas Ale. I've been fortunate enough to drink a De Dolle Still Nacht on Christmas Eve for about the last 20 years but I'm down to my last 2 bottles...
 
I have to say I've been impressed by all the De Dolle beers I've tried, but I bet that one's pretty expensive in this country. I got the Christmas Ale direct from Belgium. Most of the beer I drink now is Belgian...Oh yes, I'll have to look out for Kinley's recommendation...guaranteed to be good!
 
.Oh yes, I'll have to look out for Kinley's recommendation...guaranteed to be good!

No pressure then (or was that sarcasm...)! Seriously though I often find christmas ales are 'one-is-enough' but I could have worked my way through a case of these. I guess, by your standards, you will find it a bit bland but for me it was beautifully balanced. I have a dozen bottles in but sadly am on call until Friday 23rd so they'll have to wait.
 
I enjoyed a very nice "Page 24 Biere de Noel" at the weekend. Very nice if a little underwhelming.

Had a very nice pint of West Berkshire's "Yule Fuel" and Thornbridge's "Wild Holly". Wild Holly being one of the best dark Christmas ales I've had for a long time.
 
M&S Winter Porter (Meantime) is5.5% with cinnamon and allspice. The first few sips were nice but the slices taste, well, dusty. Very odd. Not unpleasant but I think I'd like a bit more malt here.
 
And the same from me! A nice selection there, you should enjoy them...Report back. I remember the Gouden Carolus being highly spiced. I have some Bush Noel (mine's called Scaldis Noel for the American market) that has a best before date of 2008. In those days the bottles were smaller (250 ml) and had a foil top. I have a Gordon Xmas with a best before of 2012...My last online order was from Belgium and the beer was very cheap, though I only ordered one Christmas beer...I'm about to open a bottle of either Abbaye des Rocs Brune or La Trappe Quadrupel, two of my favourite beers...Anyway, it looks like it was a worthwhile trip.
 
And the same from me! A nice selection there, you should enjoy them...Report back. I remember the Gouden Carolus being highly spiced. I have some Bush Noel (mine's called Scaldis Noel for the American market) that has a best before date of 2008. In those days the bottles were smaller (250 ml) and had a foil top. I have a Gordon Xmas with a best before of 2012...My last online order was from Belgium and the beer was very cheap, though I only ordered one Christmas beer...I'm about to open a bottle of either Abbaye des Rocs Brune or La Trappe Quadrupel, two of my favourite beers...Anyway, it looks like it was a worthwhile trip.

Thanks All. The Gouden Carolus is my favourite of the bunch, spicy but not overly so, the Bush is perhaps my least favourite and I only tend to drink one at Christmas so I have a small stock including the last one in the smaller bottle. I managed to find plentiful stock of Stille Nacht which means I can keep up the tradition of drinking one on Christmas Eve for a few years to come as I have for about the last 20 years.

There's a Spa supermarket in Iepre which stocks an amazing range of Belgian beers at very good prices e.g. a pack of 4 Gordon Xmas at 3.99 euros! I may be back.

Salud!

Bush.jpg
 
That looks new! Mine are looking quite worn...And I have to say the beer has declined quite severely. Up to this year I would have one of the new bottles, even though I would always be a bit disappointed. I would also have had a Samichlaus (and a few others), but my nearest beer shop has closed down and put an end to all that...
 
I hate to be pedantic but is Gordons Xmas Ale Belgian? I thought this was brewed by the multi-national that used to be Newcastle and Scottish. Although perhaps they are now owned by the multi-national that brews Stella, so perhaps they are Belgian. I lose track. I am not in a particularly good mood as I have had a nasty virus, and the wine I had with dinner today was the first alcohol I have had in over a week.

Anyway, Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all.
 
Lunchtime today took to to Dizzy's Christmas Kiss (Robinson's) which was a dark amber beer rich with malt. I'm not a Robinson's fan but this was a good beer, session (4.4%) and very moreish. Well kept but sadly the rest of the beers were the NW blonde style (loads of hops, no body) and we weren't tempted. A glass (or is it 6) of Shepherd's Neame 1698 is making up the flavour shortfall. To follow - my own Belgian Strong that has had 5 years under cork: a wonderland of chocolate and rum flavours. Not a drop of wine today, no need when the beer's so good.
 
I can't remember the last time I had a bottle of 1698 (have I ever had it?). I'll have to get a bottle when I (eventually) venture out into the world once more...I'm now sipping a bottle of Abbaye des Rocs Bruin (9%), by far the best beer of the brewery, and possibly the best strong dark ale from Belgium...A real triumph; I've been drinking it on and off for years and have yet to find a better one (even from the Trappist breweries)...
 
Another belter from Shepherds beams: Christmas Ale. Very much in the Belgian style (7%) this golden beer uses the alcohol to balance Christmas pudding fruits and some deep spice. The hopping is gentle but the finish is very gentle and smooth. Try and seek this out; it's very good.
 
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