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Advent Calendar Window 5 - Cheddleton Christmas Ale

"And like some drunken Elvis singing
I go singing out of tune
Singing how I've always loved you, darling, and I always will
Oh when you're still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all"

The idea of these self-indulgent posts was to produce quick reviews of my Christmas-themed beers, with a little background into their style, brewery and how I came by them. Of course, it's becoming increasingly difficult to write these quickly without looking like an amateur beer blogger who picked up the keyboard this morning and began writing beer reviews as if he were the first to think of such an idea. 

I'm further embarrassed by Window 5's beer from Staffordshire brewery - their Cheddleton Christmas Ale. As far as I'm aware this beer is brewed differently each year and this is from 2013. I say as far as I'm aware for two reasons: 

1) Reading other people's reviews I see that at least one previous batch was 5.5% whereas this is only 4.6% 
2) The Staffordshire Brewery website sure as fuck doesn't want you to know that they ever brewed this beer and doesn't even reference it's existence. 

In fact, much of this brewery's website seems to reveal them to be more of a homebrew store rather than a functioning brewery. However, this Christmas Ale seems to have popped up in many places, including John Lewis and has frequently been presented in large bottles, though this is just a regular 500ml. I'd like to give you a little more information, but this brewery has turned this into a Holy Grail style quest for knowledge, so let us seek together to see if we discover something incredible... 

Staffordshire Brewery - Cheddleton Christmas Ale - 4.6%

Sitting in the class a dark, tawny colour, this looks and smells thicker and more indulgent than the strength suggests it might be. There's plenty of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, fudge and walnuts on the nose. Despite all those spicy nose promises, the taste is a little different. Those clove tones still come through a little but are controlled by a balanced maltiness. What is more, there is a great big fresh hoppiness in the middle that mixes with the spices to create a little smokiness but delightful bitterness on the tongue. The long finish though really brings all those malt and hops on the tastebuds together with the spices that fight their way over on the finish. It's a mix of emotions through this. It starts off tame, becomes incredibly indulgent in the middle, but by the end becomes cloying and irritating. At one point I wanted to give this 4.5 on untappd. By the end I'm considering giving it a 3. I have no idea what to make of it. It has all the right factors to make it delicious but something just isn't working. 

Good job you learnt so much from this review,,,

Christmas Spirit Rating: 39%. Christmas is not a time for utter confusion. 

Revisit: Very Bad Elf and Insanely Bad Elf from December 2012. There may be another Bad Elf this year...


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