Christmas Bomb! (Prairie Artisan Ales)

Style: Imperial Stout brewed with Spices

11.5% ABV

From: Krebs, OK

Brewery’s Note: “This beer is the amazing base beer we all know and love with the addition of Christmas spices. With the weather starting to cool off and the leaves changing colors, I can’t think of a better beer for the season.”

Admittedly, I have never had Bomb!, so the obvious comparisons cannot be made in this review. I’ve heard that this pales beside Bomb! though, and that makes me want to pursue Bomb! even more. Christmas Bomb! (the beer being reviewed) pours out of the bottle a flabby, fat liquid with congealing sluggish qualities. It sits in the glass as a deep, impenetrable black of chocolate mysteries. A head of light tan bubbles forms above the glass and then slowly drizzles away, leaving strands and splotches of thin, tightly connected lacing on the walls of the glass. The beer is dark as midnight, and thus opaque and impenetrable. On the nose, there are thick wafts of roast coffee, fudge, and Christmas pudding. Pumpkin pie-esque spices prickle the nose as well, making me think ‘pumpkin stout,’ I think that is forgivable, though, given the fact that “Christmas spices” and “pumpkin pie spices” are nearly the same…The beer tastes sweet and spicy, with an astringent herbal cinnamon bitterness/spiciness, and roasted bitterness at the finish. Despite the flabby feel of this beer, it comes of needing more sweetness to really balance the aggressive spices on the tongue. In flavor, every sip is different. It tastes of a spoonful of cinnamon, a darkly roasted and charred coffee, a warm holiday pudding, and cinnamon tinted hot chocolate. The aftertaste is of astringent herbal bitterness, like what happens to the mouth after you ate too much cinnamon. In the mouth, Christmas Bomb! is fat. It’s thick, chewy, and gelling on the tongue, with a smooth carb that fluffs the tongue beside the harsher bite of spice. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left to the unfortunate whims of the spice, feeling burnt, astringent, and dry. This is what hurts this beer the most. The unbalance of cinnamon is unfortunate, given how compelling the subtler notes of the beer are. I want more vanilla in this beer, and I want more of the fudge and Christmas pudding! As is, the beer is a cinna-bomb! (I’m copyrighting that). It’s decadent and fascinating as you start sipping, but the minute the liquid passes the gullet, the cinnamon reigns supreme, and the mouth is left uncomfortably spiced and dry. I like it and then I don’t. This is the first Prairie beer that I have been iffy with. I think if they restrain the cinnamon next year this could be a decadent Christmas treat, but that will take a significant reduction. Not bad, but not something you must try.

Happy Christmas Eve to all, and to all a safe night. When I wake up, I better not have a hang over.

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