Nick Carr on January 18, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Boston Beer Company Location: Boston, MA Style: Winter Warmer ABV: 5.9% IBU: 25 Appearance: Dark rosy amber with thick & creamy tan-colored foam; Superb clarity; Beautiful. Aroma: Subtle caramel and toffee maltiness; Notes of spices; More notes of dark fruits, raisins & fig. Flavor: Heavy caramel & toffee with a hint of chocolate malts; Notes of spices peek through with faint dark fruits; Malty-sweet aftertaste lingers. Hops: Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger Malts: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Munich 10, Chocolate malt Special Ingredients: Orange peel, Ginger, and Cinnamon Shelf Life: 9 months to a year Suggested Glass: Mug Serving Temp: 50°F – 55°F Availability: Winter Seasonal (only available in Samuel Adams winter variety pack) Pairs With: Roasted turkey, Potato leek soup, Young blue cheese, Gingerbread Every year Samuel Adams releases a winter classic variety pack and every year I buy it. It’s become a part of my traditions. I try old favorites, lament the loss of some favorites Samuel Adams has decided to discontinue, and look forward to trying any new additions. Samuel Adams makes quite a few beers that fit nicely into the Christmas season and most have found their way into the winter variety pack. This year the variety pack is made up of their Winter Lager, Boston Lager, Chocolate Bock, Holiday Porter, Old Fezziwig, and — new this year — a sparkling golden ale. Shop for Samuel Adams Glassware on Amazon What makes the variety pack fun is it changes every year and many of the beers in it are available only as part of the pack. Old Fezziwig, and the Holiday Porter are pretty much staples of the pack year to year, as is Boston Lager. But, I’ve seen; White Christmas–a white ale with holidays spices, Black & Brew–a coffee stout, Cranberry Lambic, Cherry Chocolate Bock, Honey Porter, and the White Ale make up part of the pack in years past. So, each year is an anticipation of what will find its way out of hibernation for the winter release. Also buying one or two of this variety pack will ensure you have something to fit just about everyone’s taste. They also make a small batch Christmas release called Merry Maker which I’ve heard tastes just like liquid gingerbread. Needless to say I could spend my whole Christmas season reviewing just Samuel Adams’ winter beers. But I won’t. There’s too many good holiday and winter beers out there to limit it to just one brewer, so I will limit it to just one brew; Old Fezziwig. Oh, and if you didn’t happen to notice. The name comes from “A Christmas Carol.” Fezziwig is the very merry man Scrooge apprenticed under as a young man. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Old Fezziwig Ale. If you’ve had this beer in the past or took tasting notes for it, please share your thoughts with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: In good light this one is a dark rosy amber, but as soon as the light levels drop it takes on a more purple-like color. A creamy, thick, tanish-orange head foams up, leveling off at two fingers. It drops, leaving bits of lacing in its wake, to about half a finger but holds there beautifully. Clarity is superb and carbonation bubbles can easily be seen drifting up toward the surface. Carbonation is medium. Beautiful looking beer. The aroma is subtle, but defiantly malt forward in the form of caramel and toffee. Some low spicing is there but it’s hard to distinguish specific spices. Think I can pick out the ginger, but it’s a low tone. There are also some low fruity notes; darker fruit mostly. A lot of raisin and low notes of fig. Mouthfeel and Taste: Carbonation is mild helping to create a body that is silky smooth, round, and low-medium full. Not much warming, but then you wouldn’t expect much from a 5.9%, though you’d never know it was a 5.9 precenter either. It is easy drinking. Caramel and toffee come through fast and thick at the front of the palate. A bit of chocolate bite is also present. Light spice appears mid-palate with the cinnamon being the most recognizable to me, but there are hints of ginger too. Along with the spice comes some faint dark fruit notes. Raisin is very present. These same combinations carry through to the swallow. Aftertaste is malty-sweet with some remaining spice notes and still the raisin. FINISHING THOUGHTS Old Fezziwig is an excellent opener to the world of winter warmers. It is malty and sweet with subtle spices and just a lacing of dark fruit; not half as complex as some of the other winter warmers out there, but approachable — and widely available — for those who are looking for an introduction into the style. Its malty backbone gives it immediate appeal where almost any type of food pairing is concerned. Cheers!