Barrel or no barrel? For me this is a no-brainer. I love barrel-aged beers. Today, we’re tasting Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. of Akron, Ohio. The Frosted Frog Christmas Ale and Barrel Aged Frosted Frog Christmas Ale.
First up, the regular Frosted Frog Christmas Ale. It pours fox-tail brown with a thin head of foam. There’s gingerbread on the nose. Spices dominate this beer. It’s ginger snap cookies in a bottle, with sharp cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg spices on a sweet, malty base.
Now for the barrel aged version. This one pours a bit darker and murkier with no foam. The sharp ginger aroma from the regular version is dialed back with a hint of vanilla from the barrels. Barrel aging adds a lot of depth to the overall flavor profile. It’s become gingerbread cake with more malty roundness. Both beers are 8.6% ABV and 12 IBU.
You’ve got to like this style of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg spice-dominated beer to drink local Christmas beer in Ohio. I’ve termed this flavor profile “Ohio style” because many of the breweries in the region shoot for it, and breweries in other regions don’t.
If you like ginger, cinnamon, and honey spiced ales, then move to Ohio because that’s the Christmas beer style there. Fat Head’s Brewery of Middleburg Heights, Ohio makes Holly Jolly Christmas Ale, a spiced holiday brew that fits this profile.
Holly Jolly pours dark burgundy with a little head at all. The nose is has ginger, cloves, coriander and candy malts. The taste is not too sweet, more
If there’s a Ohio regional style for Christmas Ales it’s a strong ale with ginger, cinnamon and honey. Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. of Akron wrapped their version of Christmas ale with a bow and called it 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale. It’s similar in style to Great Lakes Christmas Ale, but with more body, a point more alcohol, and a touch of nutmeg.
12 Dogs of Christmas Ale pours dark copper with a very little head that completely dissipates in a short time. It smells of sweet ginger, hay, and pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove. The flavor begins with
In Cleveland, Ohio they love Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Christmas Ale so much that in July when they began brewing this year’s batch, the event made the local newspaper. I arrived in Canton tonight and went straight to the nearest store to get my hands on this fan beer to see what all the fuss is about. It’s not overhyped.
Christmas Ale pours copper with a white foam head that looks like the snow collecting in the garden outside. The nose has allspice, malts, bread, figs and orange peel. It tastes rich, smooth, and sweet from the