12/19/21: Wolf's Ridge Brewing's Spiced Date Cookie Dire Wolf (Holiday Series 2020)

12:12 PM

Okay. Michelle and I are taking a break from our Christmas cookie prep (everything's baked, we just need to whip up the frosting and slather it on the cookies), which means it's officially beer o'clock.

Today's beer is the second part of Wolf Ridge's 2020 Holiday Series: Spiced Date Dire Wolf. My house is currently Christmas scented (spruce from our live tree, sugar cookies from our baking session, and a little smoke from the fire blazing away happily in our buck stove), so I'm stoked on another Christmassy beer.

I just wrote about Wolf's Ridge yesterday so, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I'll just copy and paste my notes for you here:

Columbus, OH's award-winning Wolf's Ridge Brewing has a two-fold brewing mission: 1) Use the best ingredients to make standard beer styles sing and 2) push the boundaries of beer expectations, bringing new ideas to this ancient artform. 

Spiced Date Dire Wolf (I'll be referring to it as "Spiced Date" from here on out) is, according to both Untappd and the label on my bottle, an imperial stout (that'd be Wolf Ridge's Dire Wolf) brewed with dates, walnut, and spices. The ABV on this bruiser is a walloping 10.8% ABV.

The stout's nose is all dark chocolate, date, brown sugar, raisin, coffee, cinnamon, and nutmeg. There's a faint hint of booze, but nothing that'll knock you out. Really, Spiced Date boasts an incredibly appealing and deceptive bouquet (if I didn't know the ABV, I'd guess it at the 7% point from the aromatics alone). Purrl gave my bottle three whiffs, so it's not for her and that's fine. It's definitely for me.

The booze is big in my first sip of the stout. I'm immediately aware that this is a beer with heft and strength. There's a soaring sweetness to it, too. I'm finding dates, sure, but also fudgy milk chocolate, raisins, molasses, truffle, cloves, slight walnut, nutmeg, cinnamon, licorice, and honey. There are other notes here, I'm sure, but they're overshadowed by the sweetness. The honey, date, molasses, and brown sugar linger on my lips in the finish as the booze warms me through.

Spiced Date drinks creamy-like. It's American stout, so it's thinner than the flavor profile lets on, but that's to be expected.

Snow would be perfect today. Let me lay this out, because we have a whole Christmassy afternoon going on: Christmas beer, a roaring fire, freshly-baked cookies, a lit tree, blankets, and sleepy pets. It feels like Christmas is in less than a week in our house. It's a dreary midwintery day outside, which is absolutely befitting a southern-Ohio holiday season, but snow today would be perfect.

I had perhaps unrealistically high hopes for Wolf's Ridge's Spiced Date Cookie Dire Wolf. The stout's bouquet is heavenly, and the label's included spicy date nut ball recipe is a great touch. But the beer itself's just too sweet for me to fully back (and I'm coming off of a month full of maple beers). I'm giving my bottle a 7.5/10. Here's hoping the next Dire Wolf variant I drink suits me better because I love the base beer.

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