At 10.1% ABV, this Holiday Extra Strong Ale from Big Sky Brewing in Missoula, Montana, is the highest test beer to date, which seems somewhat of an odd choice for a Sunday night. Still, having just returned from what is likely to be Fenya's last Cantilon Christmas Concert and dinner with family friends, an early nightcap with such a festively themed label really would seem to be in order.
Biere De Noel pools a deep, coppery Amber, with very little caramel coloured head to speak of. There is some alcohol and yeast in the first sniffs, but they are secondary to the sweetness and aromas of fruit and spice. Not quite a fruitcake style, with apples and faint citrus overshadowing traces of darker raisins and the like.
As far as the taste goes, Biere De Noel is a real treat, in that it is far too sweet to my palate for more than one to be advisable (which is probably for the best anyhow), but spoiling yourself with that one is absolutely imperative. This is a real winter warmer, with a rich mouthfeel and complex flavour, even if it is a bit on the sweet side. All the hallmarks of the monkish brews, with a little less of the sour yeastiness that permeated yesterday's beer.