Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blue Moon Full Moon Winter Ale

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (736) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 18, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 I’ve been trying a variety of winter-themed beers recently and I’m surprised that so few of them are able to have an authentic rich, spicy taste that is truly balanced that doesn’t overwhelm the drinker. The opposite is true for Coors Full Moon Winter Ale – a quasi-spicy beer that under whelms because it seems to be a craft beer made for the mass market (which is on oxymoron).


I find it a little funny, but not surprising, that Coors packages all the beers in the Blue Moon line in the exact same stubby bottle. Such a badly-designed bottle does not lend itself to easy pouring, unless you’re very careful. Fortunately I was able to get one of two bottles to pour fairly smoothly.

Full Moon Winter Ale has a surprisingly dark, ruby red, hazy body although no sediment is apparent. Carbonation is noticeable and the beer forms a one-finger, white, foamy/fizzy head which dissipates slowly and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is very weak, almost to the point of being odorless. Some spices and sweet scents are detectable, but only upon close inspection.


I wasn’t sure what to expect of Full Moon Winter Ale, but when I took my first taste I knew it was lacking something. Initially, the taste was a good balance of winter spices as well as some sweeteners (the bottle describes it as “Belgian Dark Sugar”). And for the first half of my first glass the taste was quite pleasing.

Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with a lot of winter beers, what started out as a seemingly rich, authentic flavor quickly flattened out and the true taste (or lack thereof) became apparent. Although this beer definitely has a noticeable spicy taste and a somewhat complicated palate, it seemed far too diluted for me to really appreciate. Since this is made by one of the biggest macro breweries, it doesn’t surprise me that the beer seems to be deliberately watered-down (probably as a cost-cutting measure).


Since this beer seemed to have a weak, watery edge to the taste, it really came as no surprise to me that it finished extremely smooth. Often, spicy beer are great for the palate, but difficult to finish, but since this beer isn’t all that spicy in the first place its clean finish is par for the course.


I have a feeling this beer was intended for mainstream drinkers who want something they can drink without feeling overwhelmed, and on that notion Full Moon Winter Ale succeeds. At 5.6% ABV this beer is just slightly more potent than the average mass market lager, but its weight is kept to a minimum so Joe and Jane Six Pack can go through many bottles in one session without much resistance. It’s actually one of the lightest craft beers I’ve ever encountered.


I’m actually surprised Coors Full Moon Winter Ale is only an average beer since the other beers in the “Blue Moon” lineup are quite impressive. This beer could have easily been as good had the brewer’s simply not so obviously skimped in the taste department. It’s hard to find a winter beer with such balance to the taste. Unfortunately, a beer with a weak taste is just as disappointing.

Grade: 6/10

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