*From the Archives – 29 Dec 2008*
Poured as a brown clear liquid with a small amount of white head that disappeared after about a minute. Doesn’t lace. At the edges of the glass, the color lightens up and becomes honey-colored.
Smell is of nutmeg and some alcohol. It’s better than most winter warmers I’ve had in the past, but nutmeg isn’t my favorite of the spices used in this brew. If you like nutmeg though, you’d bump this up a notch.
Taste is of nutmeg with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of ginger. Certainly couldn’t detect the honey that they used. The taste is somewhat boozy as well, but if you’re into that, bump this up a notch. It was almost like a nutmeg-rum-soaked cookie ball flavor, minus the cookie. And minus the rum flavors.
Mouthfeel was average. No creaminess after the head went away. It was crisp and clean though and not cloying or suffocating with spices. Solid 3.
Drinkability suffered a bit as you can taste the alcohol and it shows. I like the alcohol to be well-hidden or for the beer to be easily drunk without worrying about the heat coming from it. Maybe if the booziness goes away with age, then this would be a prime candidate for aging.
Overall, it’s a decent beer but certainly not a replacement for either Great Lakes or Barley’s Christmas Ales. The three are similiar – the thing that makes this one different is the nutmeg and the booziness of the brew. If you’re into either one of those features, then by all means go for this brew. Otherwise, it’s a solid beer but not one that I’d buy year after year.