Professional Reviews is proud to welcome Gordon Strong, President of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)* to provide our first professional review:

Gordon Strong, President Beer Judge Certification Program

Gordon Strong

Alesmith Yulesmith Holiday Ale 2011

8.5%, Imperial IPA (14C)

Appearance: Tall white frothy head, persisted well. Fairly clear but not brilliant. Effervescent. Golden-amber color.  75/100

Smell: Piney hops — quite strong but with a firm but clean malt backbone.

Light alcohol and honey notes. A little perfumy with some fruity notes — peach and citrus, like grapefruit. The pine notes have a spicy edge, maybe from alcohol. Malt has a very light caramelly-malty-sweet edge. The malt is moderate, higher than some examples. The peach esters accentuate the malt sweetness and blend together well.  88/100

Taste: Initial malt flavor is clean with a light honey taste and an impression of sweetness but is quickly overcome with a full hop flavor — piney, grapefruit, peach — with a strongly bitter but not harsh finish.

Fairly dry but with a fullness from the body. The alcohol adds to the bitterness a bit, but the malt tempers the bite. The flavors are very much like the aroma. Clean aftertaste with peachy, piney hops, honey malt and some alcohol bite. A well-crafted, fresh, clean beer.  89/100

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Medium body. Lightly creamy but some of that seems to be from the carbonation. Medium-light hop-based astringency, but no harshness. Just a touch too full in the body.  Lightly warming; not burning.  83/100

Overall: Not as crisp as some examples but super clean and with a great balance. I love how the hops are assertively bitter but not harsh at all.

Likewise, the alcohol is noticeable but not intrusive. The malt is honey-like and supportive of the hop flavor. My only suggestion would be to reduce the body slightly to move the malt back a touch and give it a crisper finish. Well done — a superb beer that is easy to drink despite its size.

Overall Score: 86/100


About BJCP:

The purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills. We certify and rank beer judges through an examination and monitoring process.

The BJCP was founded in 1985 and has administered the Beer Judge Examination to 6,288 individuals worldwide. 3,821 are currently active judges in the program, with 592 holding the rank of National or higher. Since we started keeping detailed records, our members have judged over 658,103 beers and we have sanctioned over 4,568 competitions.