Style: Spiced Stout
OG: 21.5° Plato
Color: 200 SRM
300 calories/12 Oz.
Malts: Samuel Adams two row pale malt blend, wheat, Special B, Paul’s roasted barley, and flaked oats
Hop Varieties: East Kent Goldings and Fuggles
Yeast Strain: Samuel Adams ale yeast
Special Ingredients: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, & ginger
Brewer’s Note: “This rich dark gingerbread stout entices with the aromas of the holidays, hinting at the merriment and spices within. The flavor of gingerbread comes alive beginning with the smooth sweetness and heartiness of dark roasted malts and a touch of wheat. But it’s the intensity and spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, & ginger that add a wicked kick for a jolly playful brew full of merry mischief.”
The bottles for Sam Adams specialty releases are so much more appeasing to the eye than their regular bottles, and I am really thankful for that. I like the cheeky cartoon-style of this particular label, especially for its holiday flair. The bottles for these Sam Adams specialty releases are a little odd, but I do like the hop cones on the neck. Overall, the white-gray color scheme with black lettering, and brown for the gingerbread men, is nice. Is it my favorite style of cartooning? No. Is it my favorite color job? Not by a long shot. But it is a solid festive label and bottle that would not look out of place on a shelf. Definitely worth scrapbooking, and worthy of consideration for the shelf.
The beer pours proper stouty black, with a nice big tan head on it. The bubbles are tight and creamy, but the body is pitch black and opaque, but looked relatively clear as it went into the glass. The lacing on my glass is really quite droopy and thin, leaving little dots across the glass. On the nose, the beer smells sweet and spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a touch of ginger, which really isn’t surprising seeing as how those are the spices that were used in the beer. The cinnamon is the strongest in smell as far as the spices go, but below the spices sits a strong helping of roasted malts and a touch of black coffee, which is really quite inviting. Hot alcohol is also present and accentuated with the spices, though that isn’t really a bad thing. The slurry of all of these smells helps to suggest slight dark fruit notes in the beer, as well. The beer tastes terrifically bizarre and spicy. The beer begins with roast mingling with dark raisin notes, these flavors continue (especially the roast) but the rest of the beer opens into ginger bread hints that quickly build and climax in the middle of the taste, before petering out into a stale cinnamon flavor. The aftertaste is of watered down spices, and comes far too quickly, making me wish the gingerbread flavors would stay for awhile. On the mouthfeel, the beer is creamy and smooth. The body is medium, with hints of being both lighter and thicker, and after the beer passes, the mouth is left slightly dry with pooling spittle just barely ebbing over the tongue. Overall this is a great holiday beer with a nice gimmicky flavor. I do wish the gingerbread flavor would stick around longer, but I get the feeling that would be very difficult to brew in a balanced way. A solid holiday brew from Sam Adams, and definitely worthy of a taste, or a Christmas tasting.