#12beersofxmas – Day 1

It returns! The Beer O’Clock Show roll out the #12beersofxmas for its third year, encouraging you and I to take part on social media. This is my second year of taking part, and my word what a year it has been. Buying a house and moving out of our little flat was an exciting highlight on a personal level. It distracted from the blogging a little though and I found myself up to my elbows in emulsion more times than I care to remember and so the blog posts became more sparing than I’d have liked. I did however start my Sussex Beer Now series (finally) and so it seems appropriate to kick off this year’s 12 Beers of Xmas with a Sussex brew.

ballards kippered

I bought Kippered by Ballards way back in the early part of the year, maybe 10 months ago, with the intention of ageing it for this occasion. I picked it up in Beer Essentials, a wonderful little bottle shop in Horsham. It’s a Barley Wine, sitting at the lower end for the style at 8.5% abv. It pours a rich mahogany with a foamy cream head carrying aromas of a woody/earthy nature, a touch of burnt sugar wrestling with a vinous red berry quality and a hint of shy almond.

There’s an earthy, oaken quality to the flavour upfront, quickly joined by red berry tartness and that vinous edge but a sweeping grapefruit pithiness cuts through that before it becomes too overwhelming. A dry finish is a medley of chewy toffee, hazelnut, dried fruits and a hint towards roasted coffee beans. The sharpness that it has taken on is maybe a touch more than I expected but it’s not bad, in fact, it’s almost approaching the territory of a Flanders Red.

Here’s to the start of this years #12beersofxmas, cheers guys!



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Founder and Editor of Look At Brew - a beer blog dedicated to the celebration and promotion of the modern beer scene. Contributor to Beer Imbiber magazine, Regional Coordinator for the Sussex Tryanuary campaign and founder of the Sussex Bottle Share.

2 thoughts on “#12beersofxmas – Day 1

  1. I have fond memories of Ballards annual open day where these big beers had their first outing, full range on draught, decent BBQ and a stop at a nice pub on way back.

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