Sweetwater Festive Ale
Merry Christmas everybody! My present to you is a side by side review of Sweetwater Festive Ale.
2012 Vintage: The nose is almost nothing, mild malts and a bit of alcohol. Big rich roasted malts with some caramel and a good bit of fruit sweetness, getting raisins and figs. A touch of winter spices and a wee-bit of alcohol warmth makes this a pleasant winter warmer.
2011 Vintage Aged 1 Year: The nose has improved immensely, much more dark fruit. It now smells more like a Belgian Dark Ale. Much more caramel sweetness while the roastiness has faded away. The sweet dark fruit flavors and spices are surprisingly at about the same level.
In the end there is not enough change to warrant a years aging every year, but it does become a much smoother and somewhat sweeter beer in that time. I would suggest buying a 6 pack to enjoy during the season, and one 22 oz bottle to age as a special treat to share with a friend the next year.