Christmas in April: Troegs Mad Elf Christmas Ale

April 14, 2012

Another beer received from MZ, and another good one. I have tried the Troegs Mad Elf Christmas Ale before, and while I remembered the honey and the cherries it is brewed with, I did not remember how boozy (a whopping 11% ABV!) it is. My tongue went numb while I was drinking this. That is not a complaint, just an observation.

Lots of honey in the aroma, and sour and sweet cherries are very prominent on the tongue. I do not like sweet beers, and this could have fallen in that category, but there is a subtle spiciness that offsets the sweetness, and the funkiness from the Belgian yeast and the alcohol warmth helps in that regard as well. While this is a beer to savored on a long, dark, cold winter’s night, I enjoyed it immensely on a warm spring evening, 7.5/10.


Special Post-Boxing Day Edition of the Twelve Days of Christmas: Jester King Black Metal Stout Aged in an Oak Whiskey Barrel

December 27, 2011

Mr. JK is quite the generous soul. Mr. JK was being his usual generous and jolly self during Christmas 2010 when he gave Tilting Suds an oak whiskey barrel and some ‘raw’ spirits to age in the barrel. I barreled the whiskey just before Christmas, 2010. The liquor was clear when I poured it in the barrel; It was also as smooth as jet fuel. On New Year’s Eve, 2010, I poured off a bit to sample it. It had taken on some color but was still harsh firewater, nearly undrinkable. I sampled it again on Saint Patrick’s Day and Independence Day. Each successive sample took on more color and flavor, but the firewater aspect hardly mellowed at all. I decided that I would leave the whiskey in the barrel until after Thanksgiving to give it time to cool off, so to speak. This was a tactical error on my part. While my plan to mellow the whiskey was a sound one, what I did not count on was the Angels being so parched that their share would drain nearly the entire barrel.  After just under a year in the barrel, between evaporation and the oak absorbing the liquid, what started as 1500 ml of whiskey* was reduced to this: Read the rest of this entry »


The Eleventh Day of Christmas: Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11

December 24, 2011

For the Eleventh Day of Christmas, I cracked open a bottle of Stone Brewing’s 11.11.11 Vertical Epic.* This ale is brewed with Belgian Yeast, which gives it a funky aroma and some banana flavors.  Cinnamon and New Mexico Green Chilies were added to the boil, with the heat from the cinnamon noticeable on the front end, and the mildest heat from chiles in the aftertaste.  The cinnamon and the chilies complement each other, and neither overpowers this beer, as is often the case with chili  pepper or cinnamon infused beers.  There are plenty of hops here as well, adding layers of flavor.  This is another wonderful beer from Stone, 8/10.

*Do you see what I did there? Eleventh Day of Christmas paired with 11.11.11? I am on a roll!


The Tenth Day of Christmas: A Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist, Vol. 2.

December 23, 2011

After the first Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist got rave reviews (JPE: EXCELLENT! THIS IS JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR! Diane: BEAUTIFULLY ECLECTIC! President Barack Obama: THE TILTING SUDS CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST IS WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO RENEW THE AMERICAN DREAM!), I could not hold back from putting together a second volume.  Let’s jump right in: Read the rest of this entry »


The Fifth Day of Christmas: New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale

December 18, 2011

Pouring an opaque brown with a frothy head that lasts to the final sip, New Belgium’s Snow Day Winter Ale opens with a blast of earthy pine needle hops. Those resinous hops are overwhelmed by the roasted coffee and cocoa malts as you take your first sip. The aftertaste is slightly bitter, mixed with roasted wheat, almost like pumpernickel bread.  If you look beyond the ubiquitous Fat Tire (which is ‘meh’ at best), New Belgium makes some nice beers, and this is one of them,  nice, tasty, and just enough alcohol (6.5% ABV) to warm you on a cold winter night, 7/10.

The First Day of Christmas

The Second Day of Christmas

The Third Day of Christmas

The Fourth Day of Christmas


The Third Day of Christmas: Bell’s Christmas Ale

December 16, 2011

The First Day of Christmas

The Second Day of Christmas

Ringing bells are a staple of Christmas cliches.  The church bells ringing on Christmas morning herald Srcooge’s redemption.  Shane Macgowan and Kirsty MacColl, after a night of drinking and fighting, note that “the Bells are ringing out/For Christmas Day”. And, as Zuzu pointed out, when the bells ring out for Christmas, an angel gets its wings.

The weird thing is that I do not remember ringing bells being a big part of my Christmas Mornings.  I am sure that is due in part to growing up in the suburbs, with the nearest church being about a mile away, so even if the church rang the bells all morning, I would not have heard them.  The only time I distinctly recall bells ringing on Christmas morning was the year I was in London for Christmas.  I walked outside that morning, and the air was filled with the peals of church bells.

Bell’s Christmas Ale* pours a hazy ruby red with a nice head and good lacing.  It has a mild honey like aroma, with some piney hops as well. The malts are plum like, with the bitterness of the hops in the aftertaste balancing that initial sweetness.  Unlike many Christmas beers, there are no spicy flavors.  It clocks in at only 5.5% ABV, so you can drink several of these while assembling your turducken. You are making a turducken, right? And doing it from scratch, none of this mail order or store bought crap, right? If you are, enjoy this fine beer, 7/10.

*HOLY CRAP! ANOTHER BRILLIANT TRANSITION! RINGING CHRISTMAS BELLS TO BELL’S CHRISTMAS ALE! I AM EN FUEGO!


The First Day of Christmas: Saint Arnold Sailing Santa

December 14, 2011

Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, I am well aware that the First Day of Christmas is December 25, and the Twelve Days culminate on January 4 on the Feast of the Epiphany.  I am starting the Twelve Days today because it is my blog and I set the rules around here.  So you pedants can just climb down from your high horses and cut me some slack.

Sailing Santa by Saint Arnold. Gingerbread House by my niece

Saint Arnold‘s Sailing Santa is a blend of their Elissa IPA and their Christmas Ale.  As both are fine beers in their own right, I expected this to be a good one, and it is a fine drink. It has some nice piney hops, and along with some dark fruit and brown sugar sweetness to it. It had a mild Christmas spiciness to it, with some nutmeg and cinnamon, but that was very muted. This was very smooth and drinkable considering the 8% ABV.  Sailing Santa was quite enjoyable and a worthy brew to kickoff the Twelve Days of Christmas, 7/10.


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