I have to say, the variety of christmas beers this year has been great. Several countries have been represented at Systembolaget and the breweries have really outdone themselfs when it comes to trying different styles and trying to make them christmasy. Compared to the easter beers the quality has overall been very high, with several above 3,5/5.
Great Divide Hibernation Ale – 4/5 – Systembolaget
Winterkoninkske – 4/5
Sigtuna Snowblind Strong Ale – 3,8/5 – Systembolaget
Nögne Ö God Jul – 3,8/5
La Rulles Noël du Coeur – 3,8/5
St. Peters Winter Ale – 3,8/5 – Systembolaget
Monks Café Saffron Ale – 3,7/5
Harviestoun Mr. Sno’Balls – 3,6/5 – Systembolaget
Nögne Ö – Underlig Jul – 3,6/5 – Systembolaget
Oppigårds Winter Ale – 3,6/5 – Systembolaget
Anchor Our Special Ale 2009 3,6/5 – Systembolaget
Ayinger Winter-Bock – 3,5/5 – Systembolaget
Strömsholms Gråskägg – 3,5/5
Nils Oscar Julöl 2009 – 3,5/5 – Systembolaget
N’Ice Chouffe – 3,4/5 – Systembolaget
Corsendonk Christmas Ale – 3,3/5 – Systembolaget
Jämtlands Julöl – 3,3/5 – Systembolaget
Slottskällans Tomte – 3/5 – Systembolaget
Stockeboda Vinternattens Mörker – 2,9/5
Skebo Vinteröl – 2,7/5
Fullers Old Winter Ale – 2,5/5 – Systembolaget
La Caracole Nostradamus – 2,4/5 – Systembolaget
Sheperd Neame Christmas Ale – 2,2/5 – Systembolaget
Sigtuna Midvinternattens Mörker – 1,9/5 – Systembolaget
Slottskällans Nisse 0,9/5 – Systembolaget
If I had to choose a beer with my Christmas dinner I would choose Hibernation or Ayinger. My choice for drinking with the nuts and chocolate after dinner would be Monks Saffron Ale (if it was available), Corsendonk or Nögne Ö Underlig Jul. For the Christmas party with my friends I would go for Snowblind or Mr Sno’balls.
Now when I’m done trying the Christmas beers I can finally start working on all the fantastic new releases lately. My beer storage is packed to rim with great beer and my fridge is full as well.
St. Peters Winter Ale (bottle) 6,3%
I tried this beer during the summer, it was a bottle that I had lying around since the christmas of 2005. It was 2 years past it’s expiration date. I have it written down in a post I haven’t published yet, but I gave that beer a 3,1.
It poured a very dark liquid with a big light brown foam that left lots of lacing.
Weak smell of malt and red wine. Also was a bit sweet.
Very smooth mouthfeel with a roung and thick body and low bitterness. It tasted dry with primarily malt, something burned, hint of red wine and something sweet. Not a very intense beer but it still took me some time to drink the whole bottle.
Quite enjoyable and I can imagine it working well with some chocolate.
Oppigårds Winterale (bottle) 5,3%
It poured a slightly hazy dark amber liquid with a medium sized beige foam, that left lots of lacing.
It had a fresh smell of grass, hops and caramell.
Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and medium bitterness. Nice to drink, not very intense flavour and a bit sweet. Tasted of grassy hops, caramell and a hint of some spices.
This beer worked well with chocolate but not sure how it would work with the salty christmas food. I heard the hoppy flavour didn’t work so well. But I haven’t tried myself.
Anchor Our Special Ale 2009 (bottle) 5,5%
It poured a clear very dark amber liquid with a big light brown foam that left lots of lacing.
Smell of malt, dark bread, hops and spices.
Medium smooth mouthfeel with just a bit of sting, also medium body. Taste of malt, dark bread, hops and something burned. Pretty decent beer.
I had this with some greek food and it didn’t work at all. A bit unsure how it would work with the salty christmas food. Might be a better match afterwards.
Corsendonk Christmas Ale (Bottle) 8,5%
It poured a very dark liquid that was a bit red if you held it up towards the light. It had a medium sized dirty beige foam that left a nice lacing.
The smell was a bit weak. The mouthfeel was stingy at first and got better as the carbonation was released. Tasted sweet with dried fruit, yeast and spices. But the spices felt more belgian rather the spices that are common in swedish christmas beers. This beer worked well with the chocolate and nuts after christmas dinner.
La Caracole Nostradamus (Bottle) 9%
It poured a dark hazy amber liquid with a medium sized light brown foam that left a nice lacing.
It had a smell of cognac, booze and wood. Very alcoholic smell.
It had a smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and low bitterness. It tasted of cognac, booze, sugar and with a very strong alcoholic finish. For me the alcohol was a bit to overpowering.
I’m not sure when this would work during Christmas, maybe after trying 30 other christmas beer and you need something with a bit of sting to it
Slottskällans Nisse (Bottle) 5,3%
When I poured this beer I was quite suprised to be meet with a very fizzy head, it looked more like soda then a beer. If you pour a julmust or a coke you know what kind of foam I’m talking about. I leaned over and smelled it and it smelled like a soda as well. Tasting it I got the same thing, this “beer” tasted like a soda but flavours similar to a beer. It has some malt and spices but it’s also watery and sweet just like a soda. Not sure if I can rate this as it is. Was this some kind of misstake in production? I couldn’t drink more then a couple of mouthfulls before I felt the need to pour it out.
Looking at Ratebeer it looks like nobody else has had this experience and I don’t recognize the other comments at all. The bottle was bought at Regeringsgatan, anybody got a similar bottle?
Assuming this was the way the beer was meant to be my score would be:
Slottskällans Tomte (Bottle) 6,4%
It poured a dark amber liquid with a big dirty white foam that left a nice lacing.
Smell of caramell and spices.
Fairly smooth mouthfeel with just a bit sting on the tongue. It had a medium body and bitterness. Taste of spices, dark bread, some hops and an alcoholic finish. The spices felt a bit unbalanced. A drinkable beer that worked with the salty christmas food. However it wasn’t a good match with the chocolate and nuts afterwards.
Every year me and Karin celebrate our own Christmas, or Little Christmas if you want. Mainly because we tend to travel around allot visiting relatives during the actual Christmas that we felt that we wanted some traditions of our own.
I started out with chasing down a christmas tree, feels like they are getting more expensive each year and this year the half-decent trees where up to 300 SEK. The better looking trees cost 400 and upwards. After getting home and dressing it I started in on Christmas dinner.
We lacked some classics but all the favorites where there except for the ham which we made two weeks ago. This years seasoning of the ribs was saffron and honey. I just made a marinade of oil, saffron, honey, salt, pepper and thyme and let the ribs lay in it for a couple of hours. Another thing I made was meatballs spiced with christmas beer, in this case Jämtlands Julöl. Since there was so much left (I only used a few cl) I figured it was a good time to try it out.
Jämtlands Julöl (Bottle) 6,5%
It poured a very dark, clear, red liquid with a large beige foam that left a nice lacing.
Weak smell of bread and spices. A hint of ginger, but it was hard to pinpoint the different spices as they where quite subtile. My guess is it was a mix of dried orange peels, ginger and cloves.
Fairly smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. Taste of caramell, dark bread and spices. Once again I’m leaning towards cloves and ginger. Not a bad beer but it gets a bit lost in the competition at the moment.
Since I had it with the salty christmas food I can say that it worked well but it’s not an exceptional match. It also tasted nice in the meatballs.
Nögne Ö – Underlig Jul (Bottle) 6,5%
It poured a dark liquid with a medium sized beige foam that left a nice lacing.
As I poured the beer the smell of spices filled the room, very christmasy. I noticed pors and/or woodworm (malört), cinnamon and cloves. But there where more smells that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body, dry and medium bitterness. Very herby and spicey taste with cinammon, woodworm and/or pors, vanilla and liqourice. However it wasn’t as herby as MNM that was way to herby. This one had a better balance and it was allot more enjoyable.
Great Divide Hibernation Ale (Bottle) 8,7%
It poured a very dark golden liquid with a small beige foam that left a nice lacing.
It had a very malty smell, similar to how it smells when you open a bag of freshly ground malts just before a brewing.
It had a smooth mouthfeel with a thick body. It had a very malty taste, just like voert before you boil it. Very sweet rich malty flavour. It had some alcoholic warmth but no real alcohol taste.
It isn’t very christmasy but I really enjoyed it. I’ve never actually tried a beer that was this malty before.
Sigtuna Midvinternattens Mörker (Bottle) 6,2%
It poured an almost pitch black liquid with a medium-small light brown foam that left no lacing.
The smell is very spicey and it smells like christmas. I have a hard time distinguish all of the different flavours, but there is oranges, cinnamon, licorice, some kind of nut and a bunch of other flavours that I relate to christmas.
The mouthfeel is very stingy and dry. It has a very herbal and spicey taste and they spices are very bitter. It’s not the kind of bitterness you would find in a DIPA for instance, it’s more of a spicey bitterness. Most likely coming from wormwood (malört) or pors (not sure about translation). If you have ever tried Fernet Branca (see pic below) or Beska Droppar, then you know what I’m talking about.
It said on the bottle that it works well with chocolate and hard cheese, like blue cheese. So I started out trying this with a truffel. I have to admit that it got better, but mostly because the chocolate hid the bitterness. I then tried the beer with some blue cheese spread on a gingerbread cockie. Which was nice, but the bitterness came through. It matched, but it wasn’t a great match.
I’m having a hard time grading this beer. It’s interesting but I personally believe that it was way to spicey and that the bitterness got to strong. However if you are one of thoose persons that love Fernet Branca or Beska Droppar. Then this is the beer for you. For me, I would rather drink something else.
Sigtuna Snowblind Strong Ale (Bottle) 7,5%
It poured a very dark hazy red liquid with a medium sized beige foam that left a nice lacing.
The smell was filled with fresh hops.
Smooth mouthfeel with a medium-high bitterness and med-high thick body. Tasted of lots of hops, both grassy and fruity. After a while I noticed some herbs and spices hidden behind all the hops.
A very nice beer, but it didn’t really feel like a christmas beer. But for all the hop heads this might be the beer for you this christmas.
It had a smell of chocolate, spices, burned malt and a hint of plastic. That plastic smell wasn’t very pleasent.
Smooth mouthfeel with a thick body and low bitterness. Taste of chocolate, burned toast, malt and nuts.
A nice beer but the plastic smell draws down the points. Looking at other reviews not everybody seems to have had this problem, so might be worth trying another bottle.
Harviestoun Mr. Sno’Balls (Bottle) 4,5%
It poured a hazy dark golden-caramell liquid with a medium sized white foam that left a nice lacing.
It had a very fresh smell of hops, citrus, malt and caramell.
Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and light-medium bitterness. Tasted fresh off grassy hops, citrus and malt.
Nice beer but not really a Christmas beer, I think this one would work allot better during the summer. It was so fresh and crisp that I think it would be a great thirstquencher during a hot summers day. Not sure how it would work with the salty and fat christmas food.
A couple more Christmas Beers I tried before ÖBWF.
Oppigårds Winter Ale (Bottle) 5,3%
It poured a dark red liquid with a medium sized dirty white foam that left a nice lacing.
It had a spicey smell with some fruity hops.
Semi-smooth mouthfeel, with a medium body, low bitterness and dry. Tasted of spices, caramell, malt and hops. Hops was the most noticable flavour. An alright christmas beer.
Ayinger Winter-Bock (Bottle) 6,7%
It poured a very dark liquid with some red notes, medium light brown foam that left some lacing.
It had a malty smell with some caramell.
The mouthfeel was smooth and it had a medium body and low bitterness. It tasted of chocolate, malt, caramell and also sweet with some sugar. This was pretty nice, I can definitely imagine drinking several of theese with my christmas dinner.