Another British entrant joins our 12 Beers of Christmas series. So far, none of the Christmas or winter ales I've reviewed for the series have been 'big' beers, though I have an excellent stout from Quebec waiting for Christmas Eve for me to try it again.
When a beer isn't relying on a super-hopped profile or massive power to impress you, then there's got to be a good balance to allow the subtle flavours to come through.
Unfortunately, Warm Welcome Nut Brown ale lacks this balance, due to a strong alcoholic aftertaste interfering with the finish. It's a shame, because this is a beer with a lot of otherwise commendable qualities.
Coming as it did from England and in a Christmas gift box, you might be forgiven for expecting this to be rather 'interesting'. Certainly the gift box was very gimmicky, but without exception the beers inside were very good to excellent, with a wide variety of styles.
The nose is loaded with fruit and there's much promise when you first take a swig. Warm Welcome Nut Brown ale is a lot like drinking a mince pie, without the sweetness. That's the good news.
You'll be enchanted by the taste of dried fruit (if that's your thing), relieved that there's little clove or cinnamon present (if that's not your thing) and anticipating an interesting finish.
But you already know the punchline. There's too much strength of alcohol and it overwhelms the end of the taste.
As this was cellared for a year, that might have had an effect, so I'll try to get a fresh bottle sometime in the future and give it another whirl.
I'll give this, as it stands at least, Five Gold Rings on the 12 Beers of Christmas index. Cheers and happy holidays!
Even the impossible can be found on eBay, if you are patient in your searching.
Try searching for Russian River
(you'll need to narrow down by beer name, ex. Pliny, Damnation, Temptation), Black Albert
or any of the BIG beers. Don't overlook eBay's Belgium Beer results either...