12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale - Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

Not Rated.
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

637 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 637
Reviews: 185
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.38%
Wants: 42
Gots: 124 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: imaguitargod on 11-18-2008

This beer's name sums up the idea of bringing the best together to celebrate. It is filled with seasonal flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. We feel it is the perfect libation, filled with flavors of the season.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 637 | Reviews: 185
Reviews by BrianOhio:
Photo of BrianOhio
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour produces a one finger head that doesn't linger too long. Cloudy, deep amber in color.

Aroma is very strong of nutmeg and clove. Taste follows suit - malty, with strong emphasis on the clove. I even pulled cloves out of my spice rack to confirm that is what I was getting. As the taste lingers, you do pick up some subtle ginger and honey. I had hoped to get some dark fruit notes in the finish, but did not.

If you are a fan of GL Christmas Ale, you will probably like this beer a bit, but in my opinion it's not as complex nor as good. Just too much clove for my taste.

More User Reviews:
Photo of MANix73
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

I did a side-by-side comparison with GLBC Christmas Ale this weekend & 12 Dogs was darker, spicier, less hoppy & the better Christmas Ale.

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a tawny brown with a tinge of amber,a thinner slight off white head atop.Aromas of nutmeg,mace,allspice,and some honey makes for a very spiced brew.I like the warming spiced notes on the palate,candied ginger and nutmeg notes stand out most along with a sweet honey-like finish.The sweetness is big but for me it never gets overly sticky.Solid.

Photo of warnerry
3.41/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from Dec. 2010

Pours a clear deep reddish brown with two fingers of head.

Smell is cinnamon and nutmeg, followed by caramel malt. Nothing great, but decent.

Tastes is heavy spices up front that gradually give way to caramel malts. Lingering cinnamon on the finish. there is also some slight hop bitterness and a floral taste that I can't quite make out. Overall, a decent blend of flavors, but something seems a little off.

Generally a light mouthfeel, though not particularly clean. Leaves traces of roasted malt.

Overall a pretty good Christmas beer, but nowhere near one of the best.

Photo of Doomcifer
2.8/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a relatively clear, darker shade of amber with minimal head. Not much lacing to mention. Smells VERY strongly of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice. Smells of relatively nothing but holiday-like spices, and very strongly. Taste is much the same...strong nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, subtle hop spice...malty. Decent carbonation, medium bodied. Very sweet and spicy. One bottle is enough. Not totaly impressed.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - One-finger head of light tan foam that leaves a solid ring around the glass as it slowly falls. Color is brown, turning to very dark orange around the base of the glass. Held to a light, color is dark apricot and quite cloudy.

S - After the pour, the bottle smelled like a gourmet ginger ale had just left it. Lots of ginger in the nose, followed by nutmeg and cinnamon. There's also a sweetness there that seems more than the caramel in the malts, which supports the spices well.

T - Nicely toasted malts infused with ginger. Caramel with cinnamon follow. Finish has subtle bittering hops mixed with honey. Delicious!

M - A bit fizzy to start, and then rather clean. Reasonable carbonation. Decent body and nice structure. Finish lingers and is a tad drier than the taste suggests it might be.

D - Yummy seasonal brew that blends the malts and spices in a very attractive way. An evening with several of these would be quite enjoyable. This is the GL Christmas Ale's big brother. As good as the GL is, this shouldn't be overlooked - it's every bit as good.

Photo of Jason
4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

Hazed tawny hue, find bubbling up top with some clinging action going on. Honey, candied fruit and ginger all up in the nose with cinnamon and nutmeg on the sideline. No choice but smoothness with the modest level of carbonation given. Spicy with dry cocoa-like maltiness, hint of molasses, residual honey ... ginger is not as strong in the taste and lets the other spices play. The alcohol chimes in late in the game but slowly makes up for time lost with a slow but growing warmth. The nutmeg and hops provide a nice barrier of bitterness to hold back any sweetness that tries to push forward too much. Finishes with a mild dark sugar note, lingering spices and toasty malt.

A pretty damn amazing Winter Warmer ... impressive is the first word that comes to mind. Complex yet dangerously drinkable as well.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a dark chestnut brown hue with a large off white khaki head with fine intricate lacing between each sip, retention is decent. Aroma offers up a nice mix of Christmas spices, according to the label it says honey cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. What stands out to me is the spicy ginger along with earthy and pine hops, of course a strong honey sweetness rides in the sidecar. Very complex and full of Christmas senses, supposedly the same recipe as the Great Lakes Christmas ale according to a recent thread, rumor? I'm not sure but it smells pretty close. Flavor is nice spices play nice with bitter and spicy edges, I'm getting Christmas spiced bread with powdered yeast drizzled with honey and caramel, let's not forget spruce tips and a raw earthy bitterness with just a touch of booziness about it. I can't believe this brew is scoring in the middle of the road category, because it's fantastic. I'm ready for a whole sixer better yet a mixed sixer half Great Lakes Christmas Ale and half of this fine brew. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied with some thicker textures joining the party, some honey and some rough spice induced bitterness in the finish. Also some soothing alcohol burn that makes the whole experience work a little better, and drinkability wise it's pretty easy to drain a 12 ounce pour if you let your palate adjust to the honey and spices. Throw a cigar into the mix and it will hold up equally as well.

Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Feel: medium-full body with medium-light carbonation. A tiny bite on the tongue, presumably from the 8.3% alcohol. Pleasant, spicy aroma but it suggests that there may be too much spicing in the flavor. Tasting confirms this, with the blame largely on nutmeg. Some medium and dark malt with a hint of toffee does show behind the spicing.

O: a good winter seasonal, but a bit too much nutmeg for me. Improved a little with warming.

Photo of ASchroth
4.99/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Delicious! My husband and I'd favorite seasonal beer.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a hazy brownish red with a slightly yellowed head on top. Leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Loads of spices up front on this one. Nutmeg, cinnamon and clove all come to mind. Roasted malts add some sweetness.

T: As with the aroma there are a lot of spices in this beer. A well rounded sweet blend that doesnt overpower in any one direction.

M: Medium body with mild carbonation. Isnt too sticky on the tongue and has a fairly clean finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Overall this is certainly a winter warmer that defines the style. Great spice profile and very smooth body. Has the oomph of a strong winter beer with great drinkability.

Photo of Ryanm1
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The name says it all in this one...Christmas. I had a 4 oz. pour for this in a tasting glass from a bottle at a very cold temperatrure. It was Amber in color. An overwhelming taste of nutmeg and cinnamon accompany this beer and that is exactly what the bottle reads. I also tasted a hint of cheery. Light and fluffy on the palate like you could make a session beer out of it. Also has a taste of malt to it.

The bottle also labels it as honey which I could not get out of it. High ABV but didnt taste like it. Gotta love those "winter warmers."

A very Christmasy Ale.

Photo of 2x10
2.21/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

smells like carrot juice with minimal spice on the nose.

Has a strong honey feel on the tongue. strange. aftertaste is thick and sweet with a hint of mixed spices, but none highlighted.

Not a favorite in our camp. didnt taste any spices, just hops and honey. Honey overpowers every spice and flavor. Tasted to us like a typical i.p.a. with ALOT of honey. disappointed

Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pleasant aroma, some dissipitating white cloudy head on cloudy yellow body.Mouthfeel is a tad above average, although tingling from carbonation though it was not apparent or obtrusive. Honey and some spices, nothing too much. Spice and lagerish taste really.Pleasant.

Photo of secondtooth
3.11/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep ruby with a minimal head. Lace is thick and dense, but not so detailed.

Nose is fruity, spicy, and reminds me of a fruitcake. I don't consider that good nor bad, per se.

Taste is thick, malty, and syrupy. The sweet cinnamon and spice essence is most prominent with this heavy-bodied, rich, and fairly complex holiday ale. Seems a bit too heavy-handed for my taste, though, and this is not one I'd pursue again.

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, scooped a sixer at city-wide in downtown south bend. 4 of these were consumed from the cooler pre-ND/BC

appearance: served in an unmarked chalice, deep dark crimson body, light beige ring with minimal retention...plus a neat little label

smell: a heavily spiced ale - fresh grated ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, honey. there is also a fair amount of pine and some nice caramel

taste: not sure i'm on board with all the poor ratings of this one - this a very nicely spiced winter warmer. Loads of pine, excessive ginger, a bunch of cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg. the alcohol is really nowhere to be found other than the nice warming provided after consumption

mouthfeel: active spicing keeps the palate lively, medium body with hidden abv

drinkability: very nice - even worked as a tailgater!

Photo of WoodBrew
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Merry Christmas!!! Trying the 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale...the beer poured a clear deep rich amber...almost brown....with a thin slightly off-white head that is not leaving much lace. The scents are quite nice...honey, cinnamon, giner and nutmeg....just like the bottle says. The taste starts with honey for sure, then the hops and alcohol begin to add a bitterness that makes the taste turn to pine needles. The mouthfeel is full bodied with subtle carbonation. Overall it is a decent beer and winter warmer is a good description...probably would not do more than one a night....just alot going on and the ABV is butt-kicking.

Photo of ChrisH1024
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this Dog on tap poured into a Sniffer. It looks hazy brown with good head retention. It smells of nutmeg, cinnamon and a nice refreshing almost pine smell. It tastes fantastic with notes of all spice, cinnamon and nutmeg throughout. Each flavor is distinct, but work so well together. The mouthfeel is great, creamy yet carbonated and goes down smooth. Overall its a great beer, one of the best Christmas beers around! All I want for Christmas is 12 beers a pouring.

Photo of Boitnott
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours dark amber brown color with a small creamy head that quickly dissipates. The lacing is moderate at best, and does not last throughout. The smell is of rich spices, that are very dominate. Ginger cinnamon and nutmeg take over and mask everything else. Can smell a faint bit of malts but mostly is covered up by the spices.

The nose tastes of cinnamon and caramel malts, which makes for a really pleasant combination. As it lingers on the tongue the taste still remains as does not disappear like some beers. The finish intensifies the spices of the nose but also adds ginger, which makes it more interesting than I would have thought. The malts become more pronounced just as it goes down. With little to no ho presence the malts and spices are the focus of this beer.

The almost light body and medium carbonation accentuate the spices of the beer and really bring it together. Honestly, I am disappointed that I did not get this when Christmas time was around. It would have gone great during Christmas Eve, and I definitely could have finished a six pack of this impressive beer. Probably my favorite winter warmer of the season, granted the recency effect does play a role...

Photo of RickS95
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown color, looks like tea. It's filtered. The head is ample, a finger's worth, khaki in color.

Smells like Christmas, with nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves coming through.

It tastes like it smells, but you can pick up the ginger on the tongue.

It's very spicy, with a dry tart finish. It's not refreshing, but after each drink I feel like I'm ready for another one.

The tastes all go together well and this is easy to drink...maybe a little too easy for something so high in alcohol...8.3%.

Photo of McNealc31
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber and filled with warm spices in the nose. The first sip is full of cinnamon, clove, ginger, and is delightfully warm. There's even a late sweetness. Graham cracker flavors make an appearance, too. If you like spicy winter warmers, this is for you. I've even seen it served with a ring of cinnamon on the glass, just like salt with a margarita.

The great debate here in Ohio is Great Lakes Christmas Ale or Thirsty Dog 12 Days of Christmas. I don't really want to decide. Both are outstanding and make anyone look forward to Christmas. You can't go wrong with either.

Photo of prototypic
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 Dogs of Christmas is a perfect collision of red and orange. It's very clear, and looks redder when held to light. A cream colored head forms on the top. It's about a finger and a half in depth. Retention was very short, and lacing was on the light side.

The nose is good. A mix of caramel and toasted malts is center stage, and holds the spotlight throughout. The toasted variety seems to be slightly stronger. Honey and spicy scents of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are secondary and complementary. If you're looking for a spice forward Winter Warmer, the nose suggests you look elsewhere. Alcohol is blended well.

I like the flavor quite a bit. It's different than I expected. It truly is a malt forward holiday ale. The toasted malt flavor is really nice, and blends seamlessly with the caramel/toffee flavor. Holiday spices and, to a lesser extent, honey are noted at the secondary level. Ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon are all present and accounted for. Nonetheless, their effect (and presence) is somewhat subtle. Alcohol is masked extremely well and is never much of a factor.

12 Dogs of Christmas has a body that's on the light side of medium. Carbonation is about right, and doesn't hurt anything. Nonetheless, more body would smooth it out a bit. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor here quite well. It's different and goes down easy for an 8.3% abv beer. Another? Perhaps.

Thirsty Dog did a nice job with 12 Dogs of Christmas. It's a pretty solid Winter Warmer that's unique in that the spices linger in the background rather than hog the spotlight. If you're somewhat spice averse, and like malty beer, 12 Dogs should be right up your alley. It's not a great holiday release, but it's pretty darn good.

Photo of ccahoon22
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on cask in the Tremont area of Cleveland. Also was infused with cherries, which made it that much better.

A - Dark amber in color with almost no head (from the cask)

S - Not strong, some spice and cherries

T - A pretty bold but smooth taste, definite cherry taste

Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a mixed 6-pack from Liberty St. Tavern. Yeah, the spices are heavy, but paired with a god Christmas cookie, it's quite tasty. There's a overwhelming presence of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger over a sweet, caramel roll malt profile and mellow, but spicy, hops finish. There's no hint of alcohol and if you don't mind the spice, this is a tasty winter treat.

Photo of BeerVikingSailor
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this one recently, bottle from a 6'er....great to support my local Akron area brewers!!

Appearance is good, nice amber with decent head and lacing on the glass

Smell is great, decent spice mix, cinnamon and ginger upfront, some nice background spice notes of allspice and nutmeg in there, nice holiday smells

Taste is yummy, I like this one a lot, it is definitely a Christmas beer, you will have no doubt on that! If a well balanced and nicely spiced brew, with high and hidden abv does it for you, you will love this beer!

Mouthfeel is good also, lots of carbonation and easy on the palate, not overwhelming at all.

Drinkability is also very good, on a cold Ohio night with snow coming down, if you are lucky enough to have one of the 12 Dogs of Christmas, your night will be improved markedly! Highly recommended, as good or better than GLBC Christmas Ale IMO, priced about the same in NE OH...go for this one if you have the chance!

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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 637 ratings.