Fullers: Jack Frost (England: ESB: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany red, toffee bubbled head that is solid and of decent size.

Nose: Quite a big dose of blackcurrant. Malty and quite syrupy. Slight pistachio nuts in there mixed with fruitcake.

Body: A solid bitterness, impressive considering how sweet the nose is. Blackcurrant juice is there but subdued. Raisins. Quite thick texture and decent amount of malt.

Finish: Fruitcake, chocolate. Slight bitter hop character. Fortified wine. Slight grapes and blackcurrant again.

Conclusion: Every time I have this beer I’m surprised. I always remember liking it, but when I look at that somewhat gimmicky and gaudy label I think “Nah, I must be getting it confused with some other Fuller beer I enjoyed”

However each time I am wrong. This Christmas (Yes its June I know, shut up) beer plays well to the heavy fruitcake style that Fullers does well.  The nose may not have helped dispel my first impressions, being slightly sickly sweet, but the main beer is much more solidly built. The blackcurrant is but one element to the robust beer. It is still quite sweet, but managed to not get sickly.

It is still going to be sweeter than a lot of Real Ale fans are going to prefer, but it’s a charming beer to me.  Not a classic of complexity like say their 1845, but it does play with a lot of flavours from the same toolbox.  A fun seasonal beer, and underneath the sweetness a darn solid one as well.

Background: Yes it’s a Christmas beer. Yes I’m aware Christmas was over about six months back.  Then again considering how late all the winter beers were released this year I’d say I’m only keeping up with their schedule.  Oddly I didn’t pick this beer up on my recent trip to Fullers brewery. I just happened to have it around so thought it would be a good time to bring it out.  Also yes, I know, that’s a half pint glass, I broke the pint glass a bit back and I’ve yet to be non lazy enough to get a new one.  I’m terrible I know.