Beer Profile: Hoppin Frog’s Barrel Aged Christmas Ale #1


Profiled by Ken Carman for

Beer-Profile1-258x300Pop the cap, sniff and I immediately get oak. This year Hoppin’s Christmas comes in three types, the regular which I won’t open until Labor Day 2013 for my beer tastings in the Adirondacks. This seemed like it may be the barrel aged oak forward, as described by the folks at HF, until it warmed up and the bourbon came on strong. The nose is absolutely: spiced. Ginger, cinnamon and some nutmeg. The brown ale nose is way in the back.

Taste: the same. Bourbon pops out as it warms, more in the taste.

Mouthfeel is medium body with bourbon cling to the top of the palate. Low carbonation leaves just a hint of tingle.

Off white, pillow, head. Clarity very good with deep ruby highlights. SRM about 20-22. Nice perfect brown. The magic here is it is so multi-dimensional. The body is medium on the lighter side of, but bourbon and spices make it seem like more. Bourbon sweetness hangs after rest of the flavor fades.

Sipping on this is like savoring a fine light bourbon. The spices are way in the background but the bourbon first, the oak second, the sweet brown malt third and then the spices as a firm after thought. This is a perfect balance for what they were shooting for, and it definitely made me think “Christmas,” even in April. We’ll see next time how savory the oak forward Christmas Ale is.

I was tempted to give it a 5 out of 5. So I did.


Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “prefecto.”

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