1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale - Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

475 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 475
Reviews: 165
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 25
Gots: 38 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: imaguitargod on 11-18-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 475 | Reviews: 165 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bluejacket74
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

12 ounce bottle. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a clear orange/amber color with a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like toasted malt, nutmeg, honey, and cinnamon. Luckily the spice comes out more in the flavor of this beer. It tastes like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, honey, and toasted malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, $10.99 a 6-pack.

bluejacket74, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

red brown with a big cream colored head, that was thick and long lasting. Smelled deeply of malt and spices, nutmeg and almost a cinnamon. Taste was a little thin. The spiceness was definatly there and actually felt a bit warm going down. Great mouthfeel as the carbonation was pretty much perfect. Very very drinkable,

mikesgroove, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of BeTheBall
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

During this time of year I like to drink an occasional Christmas ale. Had only tried this brewery's stout before, so why not.

Poured a dark brown with a decent head that quickly dissipated.

Smelled of nutmeg, cinnamon and roasted malt.

Taste had hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger? Very tasty indeed; pleasurable for the entire glass.

Mouthfeel was average; nothing great, or bad.

Drinkability was good, light on the ABV, nice and tasty, although I would not drink more than one or two fo these.

BeTheBall, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of DrDemento456
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Reading the latest reviews I figure this one holds up well for last years winter warmer.

A - Wow over 10 months old and no sediment, in fact it poured a full inch of creamy dark white head. Color is a deep clear brown amber.

S - Spices are kind of subdued but I can smell a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, and sweet caramel.

T - Damn ginger is strong with this one (also clashes with the toasted malts) sticking to the back of my tongue with every sip. Very warming indeed with great aspect of cinnamon and a touch of honey. I even get some bitter piney hops which was a surprise for its age.

M - Medium bodied which is surprising for such a big beer.

Overall I really need to try this fresh since something just isn't clicking maybe the toasted malt, hops, or ginger but I feel it would taste better fresh. Very hard to tell though since they don't date their bottles...

DrDemento456, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Morey
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

12oz bottle with no freshness date. I don't mind this as much when it comes to seasonals, but I believe that all breweries should still date their products.

Pours a murky brown color with reddish hues when you hold it up to a light source. Originally topped by one finger of light beige head, but has settled to a thin and spotty layer after about 10 minutes. Pretty good amount of lacing on the glass.

Very mild aroma of faint spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) along with a hint of honey and sweet malts. Very clean, as I'm not detecting any booze at all.

Sweet and malty body kick thing off. A very mild bitterness surfaces about midway accompanied by some flavors from the spices. The finish is both sweet and dry at the same time. Just a hint of alcohol at the tail end.

Medium bodied mouthfeel with a low carbonation level.

A pretty nice winter warmer overall. Good stuff.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is a pretty tasty winter ale. I was given a few bottles for free. Waited until the ground was snow covered to bust one out. Glad I got to try this. Might pick up a couple of bottles every year.

Morey, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Thirsty Dog : 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

Pours a deep clear amber with off white head and recedes to a fine layer. Aromas of brown sugar like malt, gingerbread, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the taste, more of the same, cinnamon, some nutmeg, sugary malt, faint date notes as well. Warming alcohol is felt but absent in the taste. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a small dry spice. Overall, a fine sipper and a good example of a winter warmer.

Stinkypuss, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of goblue3509
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Pours a clear reddish copper color with a one finger tannish head which gives way to skim and leaves little lace. The aroma is of nutmeg, cinnomon, and clove. The taste follows suit. There is a big nutmeg and cinnomon flavor. It is nice but not complex. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. Overall it is solid a good beer for the class but not the best.

goblue3509, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of genog
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Had this as a comparison of christmas ales. 12 oz bottle poured into a small 4 oz taster glass. Poured a copper color with some tan head that disappears. Aroma was nutmeg and cinnamon. Taste was very similar with a warming mouthfeel that was medium. Very good winter warmer that i thought gave great lakes a run for the money.

genog, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of barleyroad
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%

Very dark amber in appearance, nice and clear. Smell Smell has a nice blend of spices for a winter warmer. Mouthfeel, this beer tends to lay in the back of the mouth, not anything that would stop us from having one or two.... Taste is very nice and mixed well for a winter warmer; great on a good cold night. We know had a few when it was 19 degrees out. Overall this is a nicely done winter warmer and one we feel you need to have. Oh goes great with leftover turkey.

barleyroad, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of mobyfann
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%

Paid around $2 for a single...

The beer pours a clear amber colored base, decent head and lacing. The aroma is pretty light, caramelized malts, white pepper, ginger and a touch of hops.

The taste is quite light for the high abv. Very sweet and spicy; cinnamon, ginger, lemon, with sweet malt aftertaste, very nice! Very nice is the mouth, would like to see more head though to smooth it out at 8.3% a surprise, but spicy enough to limit the amount to drink in a session.

Final Thought: Solid seasonal from a very solid brewery!

mobyfann, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of mattgreger
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%

This brew pours a nice amber/brown color. There is very little head, as well as no really lacing present either. Nothing thrilling on the pour.

As you pour the beer on this brew, the aroma hits you pretty good. There are some great aromas in this brew. From the start I can smell caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and some other spices that have been mixed in here as well.

This brew has a nice bold flavor. The spices hit very well and give this brew a punch on the first sip. The boldest flavors are the nutmeg/cinnamon. This brew is very sweet, but not overkill. There is a touch of caramel in the follow through.

With a medium body and some good carbonation, this brew goes down very well. Very crisp and smooth.

This is a very good beer. Its not that any of the categories we rate on were a huge winner, but the fact that this brew had something different about it. It was very wasy to drink, despite the higher ABV that its carries. This brew was nice and sweet, and gives a nice warming feel without the heavy alcohol burn. Great representation of the style.

mattgreger, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.85/5  rDev -3%

Poured from the bottle into a Newcastle signature glass. The beer is a nice dark mahogany color with a faint touch of red and a 1-finger head that dissipates rather quickly. Nose is faint, bready, and yeasty with a touch of ginger.

Flavor is nicely balanced between sweet and spicy. There's a considerable malt backbone giving a bready, almost cookie-like feel. Faint tones of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg accompany this as well as a very gently hop kiss. This beer is dangerously drinkable at 8.3%.

I bought 3 of these winter warmers this year, and I think it was 2 too many. They're a bit sweet and cloying for my tastes. Still, this was a very nice beer and a nice sipper on a chilly night.

deadonhisfeet, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of tmoneyba
3.85/5  rDev -3%

Bottle from River's Bend.

Pours a clear brown color with an average frothy off-white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate toasted malt, honey and allspice aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy spicy sweet flavor with a medium spicy sweet finish of moderate duration.

Good drinkable beer.

tmoneyba, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of mgbickel
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

Poured into a pint glass. Reddish amber body; translucent. Very little head formed with minimal lacing.

Very fragrant...lots of spices come through...cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of orange peel.

The taste is similar to the smell, some ginger and all-spice present around the edges.

Mouth feel is medium with some carbonation. A nice example of a spicy holiday brew!

mgbickel, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Natural510
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

Pours a nice amber color but with minimal head & lacing. Does appear to be carbonated well enough for consumption, however.
Scent is promising; sweet with honey and maple, spicy with nutmeg and a heavy dose of ginger.
Flavor is similar to the aroma; sweet and spicy. Malty on the palate, with the ginger and hops pairing with a nice reverberation. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cane syrup notes round out the flavor.
Feels good in the mouth, as the body belies the flaccid appearance when poured.
Drinkable, as much as any beer with this much going on. A sipper, not from the ABV but due to spiciness and ginger bite.

Natural510, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of MacQ32
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

A - pours a slightly copper, mostly amber/brown with half of a finger of off white head that dissipates a little too quickly. Thin layer remains about 10 minutes later, decent but loose lacing.

S - toasty caramel, honey, spice unless cinnamon/nutmeg maybe. A nice non-overwhelming balance of sweetness and spice.

T - mostly sweet up front, caramel/honey/biscuits. A more mild cinnamon kick. As the beer warms the spices are less obvious. Really nice sweet aftertaste

M - lighter bodied, somewhat crisp. Good drinkability

O - pretty light looking/feel. Nice aroma but a bit faint, very tasty/sweet. Overall everything is good just a little faint. Then again at 8.3% that's really impressive, 4 for that

MacQ32, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

Ferric oxide orange with a hint of brick red, crystalline clarity and very few visible bubbles. That hasn't stopped the creation of a thick chunk of ecru colored froth. The head doesn't have a great deal of character, but it's decent where glass decoration is concerned.

The nose is typical for a spiced winter warmer. Cinnamon is dominant, followed by nutmeg. I'm not sure that I could have idenfied the ginger and honey on smell alone. All in all, the aroma is balanced and good enough to make me want to upend the glass without further delay.

12 Dogs drinks lighter than the ABV would suggest. That probably has more to do with the mouthfeel than the flavor. My first impression is that this is a fairly well-crafted example of the style that gets the spice load just about right... if you like spiced beer.

Ginger is now appreciated and is almost as prominent as cinnamon and nutmeg. The honey (and some caramel malt) adds a background sweetness that smooths things out and keeps the spices from being palate fatiguing. Still, a single bottle in one sitting should be more than enough. Well-buried alcohol is a plus.

Although it does fill out a bit with warming, the mouthfeel isn't up to the task, especially considering the style and the ABV. I have no complaints about the laid back carbonation.

Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale isn't as good as Great Lakes Christmas Ale, but it's a pretty good effort all the same. If I still lived in the Buckeye State, I'd probably buy a sixer of this and two sixers of GL's version every December. Definitely worth a look.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of damndirtyape
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. No date on bottle, but I'm assuming it's from this year since I bought it recently after it started showing up in the Dayton area this year.

Appearance: Clear dark copper with a off white to light tan head. Initial pour gave 1/4" foam, but this died down fairly quickly and left a thin ring at the edge and the barest hint of foam in the middle. Some little islands and strands of lacing noted.

Smell: Hmmm....mildly boozy with some barest hints of cinnamon at the end. Sweet, with a bit of honey and also something solvent-like.

Taste: Sweet malt right up front with spices in the middle (mostly cinnamon to me, but I can pull out the nutmeg too) mixed in with some honey, and then the finish is spicy, boozy, tea-like in bitterness, and just a hint of solvent too.

Mouthfeel: Slick, but a little bit thick and syrupy at the same time. Carbonation prickles on the tongue and then is gone. Very little lingering mouthfeel.

Overall / Drinkability: I remember hearing that this beer was created by someone involved in inventing the original Great Lakes Christmas Ale, and this one was a copy of the original with some extras spices thrown in. I had the GL Chirstmas Ale again night and after that tasting last night, I can say that the two beers are quite different. This one is much sweeter, has a bit more boozy flavor to it that is quite noticeable, and the ginger in the Great Lakes makes it quite different than this one. Interestingly, both seem to have a tea-like bitter finish (same hops?) So now that I'm done comparing the two, what do I think? Definitely a winter warmer, but I'm not crazy about the solventy notes I get through the whole drink, even after it warmed up. The cinnamon and nutmeg are a nice touch, and it definitely warmed me up this evening so this is a Winter Warmer, just not a great one in my opinion. Something about that solvent smell and taste I'm not really enjoying I guess, but otherwise an interesting one to try.

damndirtyape, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of cvstrickland
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

The twelve-ounce bottle pours brightly clear and cherry-stained orange in color, with a grainy-bubbled cap of antique ivory-hued foam. The head relaxes slowly and as the drink progresses, healthy rings of lacing are left clinging to sip-lines inside my pint willibecher glass.

The aroma is sweetly laden with holiday spice; nutmeg and cinnamon predominate. A twinkle of spicy ginger livens a light caramel candy background.

The taste is fairly sweet, with a baselayer of caramel maltiness. Dusty cinnamon and a prickle of peppery ginger work in concert with an oily dab of nutmeg to knock the mellow sweetness back and linger on into the aftertaste. Any alcohol flavors are very well-masked in the melange.

The drink is a tad lighter in body than my ideal winter warmer would have, but that factor coupled with mild carbonation enhance the drinkability score quite a bit. The essential internal warming element is not in doubt at all.

cvstrickland, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of schoolboy
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

First off, I have to say that up until today I had no idea that Thirst Dog was a local company. Local to me, you know. I have long loved a number of their products - hoppus maximus and their imperial stout, Siberian Night, come to mind as outstanding and unique. The Leg Humper stuff is outstanding too. In fact, I think I liked everything of theirs that I've tried.

So today I try 12 Dogs for the first time and also find out that they are local. I generally like spiced ales a lot (I like everthing). I've had a lot of Great Lake's Christmas Ale already this season. It is outstanding. 12 Dogs tastes very similar to the Great Lakes (to me). I will have to do a side by side taste test some day. The Thirsty Dog has more spice and not as creamy a finish. I wonder what it is like on tap. It would be great if it were a little stronger - really strong. Then all that spice could be hiding 12% alcohol.

schoolboy, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of BeerImmediately
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours with a negligable head over a clear, but deep amber colored body, with some carbonation present. Just a spot of lacing.

Aromas are very subdued - hard to pull out. Some caramel sweetness, and a touch malty.

Little bit of a ginger bite in the flavor, with some nutmeg - doesn't really match the description on the bottle, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

Well carbonated and finishes clean.

Can NOT tell that this is 8.5% ABV - this one could get you in trouble. Very quaffable, and zero aftertaste.

BeerImmediately, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of zsk
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours a clear, dark copper color with a 3/4 inch head. Good lacing on the glass as I drink it. The taste is everything listed onthe bottle. This beer tastes like Christmas. It is similar to Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Cinnamon, nutmeg and in the background, honey and ginger. It is too high in alcohol to be a session beer, but the alcohol is hidden behind those spices. I like Old Leghumper from Thirsty Dog and now this one. It might be time to revisit their beers.

zsk, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of puboflyons
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Receive as a trade from a non BA member. Sampled on July 24, 2014.

It pours a medium amber-copper color with a long lasting off-white head and great clarity. It looms like it should and nothing more.

It is the aroma that really jumps out at me with a wide variety of pungent herbs such as Ginger and Rosemary. Some toasted malts and mild earth.

Medium body.

The taste has many of the same herbal characteristics with the added touch of nutmeg, which I did not get in the aroma. Thin hop finish. Overall, not a bad beer.

puboflyons, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of buschbeer
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

12 ounce bottle
Served in a perfect pint

A - It is burnt orange in color with amber and golden highlights. My pour yielded me an inch of beige head. There are tons of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

S - It smells like ginger bread. I also get cinnamon, and it almost has a brown sugar smell.

T - I get the typical spices one would expect, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

M - Medium

O - It is a solid Christmas ale. It has all the characteristics one would associate with Christmas. A little past the season but it is still good.

buschbeer, Feb 11, 2013
Photo of bieltzc
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

Beer was dark and amber in color. There was not much top to the beer, foam wise. I smelled some cinnamon but the smell was not as potent as the taste.
The taste was a very strong mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and nut meg. Not only were there many flavors but it was a crisp. The alcohol did not really linger in my mouth for too long.

bieltzc, Nov 24, 2011
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 475 ratings.