The SheppyBrew Beer Model helped me out, but even so, 4 12 ounce beers of 7.9, 7.3, 8.3, and 7.8 abv is a bit much. I might have to rethink the way the vertical tasting works. With 2014 in the mix next year, I will have 5 beers to drink.
The base of all these beers are very similar. It is a nice malty, caramelly winter warmer.
The color of all 4 beers was very similar. 2010 and 2013 had a bit more of a reddish tint, but not by a whole lot. The srm's of each were in the 20 to 26 range.
2010 had almost no head. 2011 was probably over carbonated and so over-foamed. The other two probably had the right amount of head, although 2012's dissipated quickly.
The 2010 beer was spiced with apple pie spice and cinnamon. This was my second favorite of the tasting, and seems to be holding up very well. I have 3 of these left, so I should be able to taste these through 2016. This was also the Beer Model's second favorite.
The 2011 was flavored with Hazelnut Extract. This flavor was always somewhat "Jekyll and Hyde" to me. Sometimes I really liked it. Sometimes I really didn't. Yesterday, I liked it, but it was my 3rd favorite of the tasting. As far as I could tell, it tasted about the same as it did last year and the year before. I have 4 of these left, which should make it last through the 2017 tasting.
So, that is this year's X-Mas Ale vertical tasting. I think next year, I am not going to add any special favoring to the 2014 X-Mas. Basically, I'm just going to brew the base beer and call that the holiday beer. Who knows though. I said the same thing for this year.
We'll see. Tune in next year to see!