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Advent Calendar Window 13 - Special Holiday Ale

I bought this on my first ever visit to Beermoth back in March, spotting the three wise men on the label and instantly grabbing it for this year's Advent Calendar. At this point, it was the first I'd heard of Special Holiday Ale 8.5% -  a collaborative brew between Nogne O, Stone Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin. Research into this shows that this a collaboration that has taken place each year since 2008 using the same recipe, but taken in turns to be housed at one of the 3 breweries each year, allowing for different brewing and aging practices. I like the premise and this particular is the second time the brew has taken place at Nogne O. A collaboration between three giants of brewing, Jolly Pumpkin were the only brewery I wasn't a huge fan of on purchase, but exploits into their Luciernaga and Noel de Calabaza in this very Advent calendar have made me a convert.
"Things are different since you've been here last
Childhood dreaming is a thing of the past
Maybe you can bring us some hope this year
Visions of sugar plums have disappeared"
Special Holiday Ale has a Ruby Port look and style about it with low carbonation. There's lots of complexity here that I've listed in my notes. For the nose I've written down: Sherry, red wine, cherries, fennel seeds, cranberries, thyme, raisins, hazelnuts. For the taste I've used the words; Grog, winter berries, more cranberries, more sherry, oak casks, I'm thinking of spruces, northern, snowy forests, Christmas. I'm not really getting the proposed spices but drinking this beer makes me feel like I'm in Scandinavia. There's certainly lots of goodness things going on here, but something in the finish is slightly lacking meaning all those tastes happening in your mouth are short lived. Desperate to keep the experience alive, I find myself reaching for another mouthful each time it disappears and the experience is over all too quickly. Excellent to a point, but perhaps would age even better.
Purchased at Beermoth, March 2013


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