12 Beers of Christmas Day 3 | Samuel Adams Merry Maker
ABV: 9% | IBU: 25
I have a confession: I’m a bit of a grinch. The winter holiday season doesn’t excite me very much, and that feeling generally extends to holiday beers. Regardless of how delicious they might sound, I’m usually disappointed with brews that taste more like cinnamon and cloves than malt or hops. However, I am a completely nuts about all things ginger. I love ginger beer, ginger candy, and especially gingerbread. That’s probably why Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout from Samuel Adams with its playful label featuring three tobogganist gingerbread men jumped out at me while browsing seasonal beers at a local bottle shop.
Merry Maker is a 9% ABV stout brewed with two row pale malt, wheat, Special B, Paul’s roasted barley, and flaked oats plus earthy and spicy East Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops. The beer poured a dark mahogany, almost black with a thin, dark tan head that dissipated quickly. In the aroma, I found vanilla, cinnamon, dark sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and maybe a touch of chocolate in the background. It basically smelled like gingerbread batter. Taking a sip, I tasted molasses, ginger, roasted apples, cinnamon, and a bit of that raisiny note fellow fans of Special B know and love. This is a rich beer, and the body is just where you’d expect it to be with a big stout, but the ginger and alcohol leave a nice warm, spicy finish that’s not cloying or overly sweet. This is one of those dangerously easy-to-drink strong stouts that you could probably finish by yourself, but is even better shared with a friend. Merry Maker is a gingerbread lover’s dream that could make even a big scrooge like me a Christmas beer convert.