Thursday, December 9, 2010

Schlafly Christmas Ale

Thanks to Henry Lapka for bringing a six pack over for a study session of Moral Philosophy following a session tasting of Bigfoot Barleywine (2005 and 2008).

Appearance: Clear coppered amber with a visible consistently rising carbonation. Head is mediocre, developing into a sheet of white foam across the top, retention is minimal. Clarity is optimal.
Aroma: Spiced with ginger and cinnamon with a touch of earthy sweetness followed by a brief nuttiness and a caramel malt backbone. Clove makes subtle appearances, but isn't a notable characteristic. Some dark fruitiness is present as well.
Taste: Florally sweet and chalky backbone with a uniquely spicy finish that seems to be incorporated with a mild sweetness. Caramel and nutmeg make a peppery flavor upon the finish. If it were, I'd say sweet potato or pumpkin played a partial role. A dessert flavor with a nice nutty character to parallel the sweetness. Finishing notes resemble cinnamon as well as a helpful dose of an indistinguishable bitterness that can equally be just as enticing. Gradually bannana and other estery components develope resembling somewhat of a Belgian character.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with a frothful texture from a wealthy dose of microbubble carbonation. Still partially tickles the tongue, but finishes dry and clean. Highly drinkable, and smooth.
Overall Impression: This is one of the best Christmas ales I've had, I'd say it beats out rogue for flavor and body and bell's for balance and a not too overdone spicing. More specifically the balance and the perfect incorporation of spices to finish off the beer. Estery and phenolic flavors are maintained throughout creating a consistent drinkable holiday ale.


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