While last year’s Christmas Bomb! from Prairie Artisan Ales was dominated by coffee and dark chocolate, this year’s turns up the spices resulting in a beer reminiscent of two enduring Christmas favorites; gingerbread and fruit cake.
This beer is pitch-black with a tan head that settles fairly quickly. The nose immediately picks up on the coffee making one think that this will be the dominate flavor again in the 2015 Christmas Bomb!. However, the smell of freshly ground cinnamon is highly pronounced as well. This combined with less prominent aromas of dark roasted malt and dark fruits intrigues and piques the curiosity to taste the flavors of this combination.
As expected from an 11% American Imperial Stout, the mouthfeel is medium to heavy, but leans more toward medium with a lack of the creaminess noticed in the 2014 Christmas Bomb!. The lighter mouthfeel acts to stress the spices in the flavor. After a light carbonation burn, the flavors of cinnamon, allspice, and brown sugar are immediately detected. As the beer coats the back of the tongue, there are slight flavors of dark chocolate and coffee, but the coffee is much more subtle than the nose predicted. There are also flavors of tart cherries and dark fruit in the aftertaste as well as an alcohol burn that is just enough to give a bite without detracting from the flavor.
As the brain processes the overall profile from the nose and tongue, gingerbread cookies quickly come to mind. The dark and tart fruit flavors also remind one of fruit cake; however, gingerbread is the more obvious of the two making one wonder if the Gingerbread Man’s true demise might have been in Prairie’s brew kettle.
The 2015 Christmas Bomb! is available in four packs of 12 oz bottles. Expect to pay about 30 bucks for a four pack or around $8-$10 for individual bottles. That price is definitely steep, but this is a big, flavorful beer that is great for sharing. Grab a four pack, get together with your friends and family, and enjoy this beer and this wonderful time of year.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!
Bikepacker Friendliness (sip this with family after the bike ride)…N/A
Aroma (big coffee and cinnamon)…9/10
Flavor (many complex flavors combining in that of a holiday treat)…9/10
Style Appropriateness (a little spicy for an Imperial Stout)…7/10