Young's Double Chocolate Stout

We have a winter classic on our hands as we enter the final quarter of the "Twelve Beers of Christmas" dark beer pack from Midtowne Bottle Shop (Harrisonburg, VA). Young's used to brew at the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth, London until their 2006 merger with Wells. Sadly, at that point, the Ram Brewery was shuttered (ending a brewing history on the site that dated back to the mid-1500s). Wells now brew Young's beers at the Eagle Brewery in Bedford. Containing both brewers chocolate and chocolate extract the chocolate influence is usually high in this offering.

Behind door #10: Young's Double Chocolate Stout, 5.2% alc., 11.2 oz. bottle

C: Black with a creamy, caramel head

N: Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate elements lead the way with roasted malt notes and vanilla around the edges 

P: Abundant rich, sweet chocolate notes, subtle roasted malt notes, and just a hint of licorice 

F: Lingering sweetness with drying roast malt and dark chocolate notes

In conclusion: Always a crowd pleaser, the rich chocolate notes and full body never disappoint. A very easy drinking dark ale.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Yorkshire, England's oldest brewery, Samuel Smith's, was founded in 1758 and the original well is still in use today. They use very interesting fermentation vessels called 'stone Yorkshire-squares' that are 100% solid slabs of slate and they boast of using the same yeast strain from the nineteenth century. Quite a storied operation, to say the least. Let's see how they've done with this special seasonal.

Behind door #7: Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale, 6% alc., 12 oz. bottle

C: Bright copper with a foamy white head

N:  Instantly reminiscent of Newcastle Brown Ale but not as cloyingly sweet -- Malty/Beery opening with clover honey and red berries

P: Sweet with rich malt textures and just hints of spice around the edges

F: Good length with lasting malty sweetness and a general warmth

In conclusion: A really cracking winter ale. Neither too spicy nor sweet nor alcoholic. An easy drinking holiday release that really would be tasty next to a roaring fire (sadly absent given our 75F Xmas eve).