As with many real ale breweries Wychwood have a range of seasonal beers that are released at different times of the year only to be spirited away again ready for the next in line.
As you can probably guess from the name and the rather Dickensian label Bah Humbug! is their Christmas Ale.
As usual top marks for the whimsical nature of the label, who better to feature on a beer called Bah Humbug! then Scrooge himself assailed by spirits.
Whilst on the subject of the label I am going to point out that this is the 6.0% version, it is my understanding that the bottles of Bah Humbug! on sale in the USA, Canada and elsewhere are a rather more ordinary 5.0% as such there might be some differences between my review and those of some of my colonial cousins.
Disappointingly there is very little of an aroma from this beer, it does improve as it warms but even so there is just a generic spiciness a bit of malty sweetness and the slightest hint of fruit, I wasn’t expecting to have my nose blown off of my face but I would have liked a bit more oomph.
Bah Humbug! certainly looks the part when poured, it settles to a deep coppery amber colour that suggests a nice richness to the pint, the head is an off white colour and fades away rather quickly leaving very little if any lacing.
The taste of BH is pretty good, certainly a lot better than the previous seasonal ale I reviews – Rocking Rudolph, which tasted mostly of nothing.
There is a lot of sweet rich maltiness that is prevalent in the beer with a slight hint of honey coming from the maris otter malt that is used, there is a certain spiciness to it but you wouldn’t necessarily pin it down as being Cinnamon from the offset, it doesn’t really come through clearly until the finish. There are hints of butterscotch but in a nice way, certainly not in the sense of diacetyl.
You can pick up the note of banana in there as advertised but I couldn’t really get any of the fruity Christmas cake of mince pie flavours that I would have been expecting.
The finish to BH is surprisingly bitter with a slight hint of alcohol to it this balances out nicely with the sweet maltiness of the beer and works really well.
The one let down that I do have with Bah Humbug is that it is doesn’t really have as much body as I would look for in a winter warmer, it is a little thin and I would imagine that at the lower 5.0% ABV might be a bit wet.
Overall I think that Bah Humbug is a perfectly drinkable beer that has the right sort of flavours for this time of year but lacks the depth and body to really make it stand out as a Christmas Ale. Sure I will probably have one or two of these each year but it certainly won’t be at the top of my list to Father Christmas.