Friday, November 30, 2012

Southern Tier 2XMAS

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1246) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 30, 2012
I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas beers because they tend to go overboard with their spices. Yet that’s an apt description of Southern Tier 2XMAS, and for some reason I really dig it here. I’m not sure what combination and ratio of spices they used, but the result is a liquid Christmas cookie combined with a spiced liqueur. An interesting beer if nothing else.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Absolutely beautiful shade of clear crimson red. Initially forms a small, off-white, soapy head, but it dissipates completely and doesn’t lace the glass (leaving you with what looks like a glass of red wine).

Smell: Strong aromatics of ginger, spiced rum, shortbread, and a touch of cough syrup.

Taste: The label to Southern Tier 2XMAS says it’s "Brewed in the tradition of Swedish Glogg." Well, I don’t know what that is, but I do know what American and Belgian Christmas beers tend to taste like and this is definitely appropriate for the style. A complex, spicy, warm beer that tastes exactly how it should. Call it fruitcake, call it a cookie - it’s a spice bomb for sure. Yet it’s not a messy brew because the individual flavors seem to homogenize to make for a general warming sweetness combined with subtle alcohol warmth.

Ginger seems to be the most prominent flavor and is the first spice detectable upon contact. There’s definite cinnamon warmth in there as well, plus a touch of orangepeel to give it some citrusy sweetness and impart balance. A mild rum-like flavor kicks in around the apex of the palate before finishing with a cough medicine-like taste (which I could do without). A little more bitterness and a little less ginger would probably make this palate perfect, but as it is it’s an interesting concoction because it’s not something I’m used to.

Drinkability: Though smooth and fairly tepid with a thicker mouthfeel, I found myself drinking Southern Tier 2XMAS in small sips. It doesn’t challenge my palate as some bigger Belgian brews, but the spices and alcohol warmth make for a strong mouthfeel. At 8% ABV it makes good use of its potency as the bold body makes it the winter nightcap sipper it’s probably intended to be. 
Grade: 7/10