#12beersofxmas – Day 4

AHH! the trials of Christmas shopping and the frustration that ensues is bloody tedious. The mass of people always in the way, all flapping like headless chickens, or worse, completely clueless and trance-like. Towns become more like an episode of The Walking Dead. Then home, to get the indoors spruced up and lovely for the holidays (chucking stuff into any cupboard with room), and baking, cooking and watching Kirsty Allsop bring her vintage/handmade/homemade/crafty/whateveritisthisyear Christmas together with zero fuss. Sod it. Where’s the beer?

I was going to include Fullers Vintage Ale 2014 in this line-up but I’m having second thoughts, thinking it may be wise to stash it away for this time next year, or the year after. I have some 330ml bottles of Dark Star’s Critical Mass Brewers Reserve 2014 though, a 10% winter ale that looks exactly like what I’m after right now.

So here we go for Day 4 of the #12beersofxmas



As soon as the cap comes off I can smell the fruity, oaky delights that are in store. It pours a deep red-brown hue with a fizzing, tight white head that holds the most intoxicating aroma of boozy Christmas cake. I can feel myself relaxing right away, oh how quickly my mood is swayed back into the festive spirit…



Spirit is the thing here, this has been aged in oak whiskey casks which bring a real depth and complexity to the beer. An initial fizz brings flavours of a classic Old ale vibe, all dark fruits with red berries, mellow malts and an oak-y depth to back it up. There’s a plum-like tartness in there too, a whiskey soaked raisin vibe as well, and that woody depth keeps rounding it off. The whiskey nature of the casks has impressed itself into the character of the beer with that mellow booze, slight peat-like quality to the whiskey lining up at the end and just lingering there in what is a fairly dry finish that lasts. This is a slow supper that requires patience, bringing some calm to what has been a fairly manic day.

but now to that other critical matter, wrapping presents. Where the hell is the end of this Sellotape?!


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Author of Look At Brew - a beer blog dedicated to the celebration and promotion of the modern beer scene.