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Harvey's Christmas Ale
First Prize Gold Medal in the British Bottlers' Institute 2000 Ale and Lager Competition, May 2000.
First Place in the Christmas Beer Competition 1996 organized by the Finnish daily paper "Paivyri"
Tied for equal First Place with "Gluehkriek" from Belgium in the Christmas Beer Competition 1999 organized by the Finnish daily paper "Paivyri"
Overall Champion in the Christmas Beer Competition 1999 organized by the Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nybeter"
Harvey's Christmas Ale has been brewed for over a quarter of a century. Christmas Ale 2000 A. D. has an original gravity of 1090 (8.1 % ABV) and is dark in color (30 EBC ) Maris Otter Pale Ale Malts are blended with highly roasted "crystal" malts and pinhead oats.
Christmas Ale is a "heavily hopped" beer (approximately 45 IBU). Harveys pride themselves on brewing from local Fuggle and Golding hops grown within 35 miles of the brewery. Fermentation takes place in their traditional "open" fermenting vessels using a strain of yeast which has remained unchanged in the brewery for over forty years.
In conditioning tanks the brew is then dry-hopped. The beer remains in these tanks for between two and three weeks during which time it undergoes a secondary fermentation and the hop oils are incorporated into the complex flavor of this brew, giving a most splendid aroma to the finished product.
A further period of cold storage is followed by bottling in the old vat house of the brewery. The beer has an alcohol content of approximately 8% and is reminiscent of the strong "stock" ales drunk during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It has remarkably good stability and some devotees keep it for twelve months before drinking it!
Dark brown color with a nice almost opaque color with a nice light brown head.
Aroma similar to a traditionally English strong ale. Full of dense, sweet aroma of overripe fruit, caramel malts, and hops. All this interwined with a mildly sour edge that is essential for balance.
Initial taste of fruit, quietly expanding to dry bitter sweetness along with a spicy hop taste.
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Picture: Harvey's Christmas Ale label