|X-Mas Ale left to right 2009, 2010, 2011.|
The 2009 is the oldest beer ever tasted from the SheppyBrew brewery, and has stood up very well.
Visually all three are very close. This year's has a bit better head, but not really very much so. They are all a dark brown. 2010 might be a bit darker. Not much, though. 2009 had some floaties in the beer (cherries?). Nothing so extreme to distract from the drinking experience, though. The head colors were the same.
All three had a very malt driven aroma. I could smell the clove quite a bit in 2009 and the apple pie spice in 2010. Of course the hazelnut came through in the 2011.
All three had a very nice rich caramelly flavor. No hop flavors came through. 2009 and 2010 (especially 2009) obviously had some cherry flavor in the malt. 2011 replaced that cherry flavor with hazelnut. 2009 has a bit of tart sourness from the cherries. 2010 had a bit less, but some none-the-less. 2011 was sweeter despite the fact that its bitterness contribution from the hops was much higher.
I would be proud to serve any of these three beers to anyone. I don't think I have a favorite. All three are distinctly different, and very nice to drink.
I still have a 2009 for next year's tasting. I have 5(?) 2010 beers. I have lots of the 2011 batch.
I am looking forward to next year's vertical tasting.
I noticed today that the SheppyBrew.com page for the X-Mas Ale 2011 has 12 facebook "likes" (one of which is mine). This is an unusual number of likes for a page on SheppyBrew.com without me knowing of a logical explanation. The only recipe on SheppyBrew.com that has more likes is Stouticus American Stout , and I know Stouticus is mostly my co-workers whom with I shared both the beer and the link to the beer's page. For some reason, X-mas Ale 2011 is famous. I wish I knew why.
Anyway ... I hope everyone who reads this had a great 2011 and an even better 2012.
Happy Brew Year everyone!