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.
very good

176 Reviews

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Reviews: 176
Hads: 638
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 6.75%
Wants: 42
Gots: 126 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 176 | Hads: 638
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clearish, garnet-hued body with a thin, quickly dissipating, off-white head.

Smell: A blast of blended spices hit the nose first, smelling of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Sure, there's some caramel malts, a touch of toast, and a coating of honey, but the aroma is chiefly dominated by spice.

Taste: As there was a Yuletide aroma, there's a Yuletide taste to follow. Toasted breads and sweet flourishes of caramel and honey dogged by a pungent blend of spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg foremost, with a secondary snap of ginger. Touch of bitterness added onto by the generous spice addition. Spice-coated, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied (just barely). Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Woof. One to try, provided you're a fan of the spiced brews, though of the spice beers I encountered this winter, I still think Lakefront's Holiday Spice Lager Beer, much to my surprise, was my favorite. (917 characters)

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy crimson brown body with an off white head that doesn't stick around too much but does leave some lacing.

Aromas are plenty of ginger spice, cinnamon, and nutmug as the label states. The caramel malt pulls through too, but there's no sign of honey to be had above all the spice.

The flavor is strongly of spice, I don't get nearly the sweetness as other have described, but perhaps with some warmth it will happen. 3/4th way through I think I pick up some buttery diacytles on the tongue. The caramel malt strengthens with warmth as expected and does tone down the spice somewhat. If I detect any hop presence it comes off as more piney than anything else. With the amount of spice used in this, and the malt profile, the last sip provided the most enjoyment as the sweet caramel blended well with the spices. Pour this, let it sit and sit and sit. Then sip and sip and sip.

The initial mouthfeel is lighter than I was expecting, and i am not really getting any alcohol. Final mouthfeel was good enough for a winter warmer.

Not a great winter warmer, but not a bad one. Certainly anything 8.3 can be warming, but this one does add a good use of spice. I am still puzzled over the lack of honey. I just don't see that it added anything to this beer. Certainly a one and done beer. (1,295 characters)

Photo of Nezzy
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red/Brown in color with a two finger head that is more toffee in color and not to fast to dissipate.

Smell: this will sound cheesy but smells of the holidays. In truth though I smell spices like nutmeg, some cumin making it spicy and sweet at the same time.

Taste: Now its really living up to its name. While it has all the characteristics of an ale, the spices are really coming through especially nutmeg making it taste similar to a cookie. Vanilla is another strong taste blending well with malts.

Mouthfeel: Good body with some slight carbonation but not too overpowering.

Drinkability: The beer itself reminds me in some ways to other seasonal beers especially the pumpkin ones. The spices are not too overpowering and really nice. However, as is the case with most seasonal beers I feel its a session beer. One is good, two at the most. Overall really nice beer though. (891 characters)

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With the holiday seasonals coming to an end, I decided to give this one more shot before next year. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep, hazy ruby red. Almost brown in color. Head is very minimal, but lacing is actually quite nice.

S/T: The aroma is definetly spice forward. I get ginger and cinnamon. It actually reminds me a little bit of a Pumpkin Ale. The taste is pretty good. You get a nice mix of spice and malt. Spice is similar to the nose: lots of cinnamon and ginger. The malt is slighly toasty with a bit of sweetness in there. A slight earthyness is present in the finish.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and coats the mouth slightly. A tad dry. Drinkability is okay. A little heavier than most Christmas Ales. Probably could not session this one, but still a nice sipper.

Thirsty Dog has added another impressive beer to their lineup. Not the best Christmas Ale, but easily in the top 5. Its hard to beat out Great Lakes, Hoppin Frog or Anchor. (963 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in my SA Sensory pint. Poured a translucent copper with a quarter inch, tan-colored head the quickly dissipated into a sudsy, broken film. Mild nose - some nutmeg, cinnamon and perhaps a dash of allspice (not quite pumpkin spice, but well on the road). Taste consistent with nose; your classic winter warmer, but not as cloying. Mouthfeel is medium-light and lively. Very respectable for a Winter Warmer. Not a style I usually grab for, but the subtleties and the well-hidden alcohol makes for an enjoyable seasonal. (536 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a copper amber color that produced no head formation except for some tan bubbles.

(S)- A spicy apple & honey with bits of cranberry.

(T)- Very dry with a musky-like honey & cranberry. Has a big corn husk background.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance to it with a relatively good feel to it. Slightly off-putting with the muskiness & corn husk.

(D)- A basically good beer to have around for the holidays. Not too shabby in the flavor department, but I would rather grab another than this one in the style; enjoyable enough. (609 characters)

Photo of mobyfann
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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! (530 characters)

Photo of dstc
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with ruby tones. Average tan head falls to a very small one. Thin lace.

Malt nose with a lot of spice. Ginger is the most obvious.

Very sweet malty brew with big Chistmasy spice. Cinnamon and nutmeg are present but like the aroma the lingering aftertaste is of ginger. Somewhat boozy.

Medium bodied and rather smooth in the mouth. Mild carbonation.

Nice Christmas beer if you are looking for something with a lot of spice. (455 characters)

Photo of steve8robin
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in trade...

A: Dark Copper color with a thick 1 inch head that slowly fades.

S: Hard to get a strong scent. Scents you do get once you grasp it are honey with slight spices.

T: Very smooth. Slight hoppiness upfront with strong spices and a hint of honey. Not too overbearing on any flavor. Very good.

M: Not too crazy about the carbonation feel on this one.

D: Goes down very easy. A hint too watery for my taste, but otherwise, nearly perfect.

All in all, this brew surprised me. I didn't expect it too be as smooth and refreshing as it is. This is a great brew to have after a nice long winter day at work. Not too heavy or too light and very refreshing. Have this if you like the hoppiness to be masked some by flavor. (740 characters)

Photo of cvstrickland
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (937 characters)

Photo of jampics2
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Mavis Winkles.

Amber color with little head.

Smells nice - good amount of spices - ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg. Slight trace of yeast on the end.

Taste follows the smell. Spicey ginger and cinnamon proceed a caramel sweetness. Finishes with a bitter balance. Touch of noticable alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel is OK, a bit watery actually in the finish.

Drinakbility is much better than the average spiced X-Mas beer, but is still second to Great Lakes. (466 characters)

Photo of movingtrain
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat glass.

Pours a reddish-brown with a half finger tan head.

Aroma is of honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, light hops, bitter apple, brown candy sugar, and orange blossom.

Tastes is very spicy, with a thick honey flavor in the finish. Some cinnamon and nutmeg for sure. Malts are heavy in the flavor, with a peppery-sweet spice on the tongue. Hops take a back seat in this one, but play out a nice balance in the overall flavor.

Overall, this is a very good holiday beer/winter warmer. It's up there in alcohol content, but that doesn't really overpower in the flavor. The aroma is good, and much of that is tasted in the flavor. One of the best I've had so far this season. (703 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-clean, translucent brown in color, almost like a coke, bubbly one finger of white head that dissipates quickly and leaves just a touch of lace on the glass

S-relatively strong smells of holiday spice, cinnamon mostly, hints of nutmeg, and a touch of vanilla blended with some sweet malt and a touch of citrus

T-pretty decent in taste following the nose, cinnamon, nutmeg, some cola taste in there as well and a piney bitter hop touch towards the finish

M-light bodied beer with a slightly biting mouthfeel and a weird blend of carbonation that burns a little at the back of the throat

D-it is an ok beer that doesn't show the high alcohol so it is drinkable, but it is average imo (686 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 8.3% abv. Pours a dark chestnut color. Some lighter amber edges. Thin tan head disappears immediately.

Pleasant aroma of spices with a caramel background. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and a whiff of ginger. Christmas like spices without being earthy. Just a slight hint of alcohol.

Caramel malt backbone gives way to some of the spices mentioned in the nose. A bit of sweetness up front that dries out near the end. Lingering cinnamon and nutmeg finish.

Medium body, good carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Very enjoyable. (530 characters)

Photo of atsprings
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a DFH Signature glass pours a murky light brown with a decent off-white head. Aroma is burnt caramel malts, cinnamon and slight hops. The taste is burnt caramel malts in front with a slight alcohol presence and mild cinnamon and spice. The beer is medium bodied with a bit more boozy alcohol than I'd prefer, but not too overbearing. This is a decent winter warmer, but not one I'd likely try again. (416 characters)

Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at The Comet during my first Hopnosis. Review is from notes taken on 12/3/09. Pour is from the tap to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a deep coppery color with a core of deep ruby; body shows strong carbonation and is relatively clear; starts with a thick and frothy one finger head that fades slowly to a full and thick skim; solid curtain of lacing is left on the walls of the glass.

Smell: Lots of warm cinammon dominates the nose; mild piney hop presence; slight sweet malty backing as it begins to warm a bit; frankly, it smells like Christmas ;)

Taste: Tons of the warm cinammon as I would expect from the nose, as well as the mildly sticky and piney hop presence that reminds you that you're still drinking an ale; the slight malty backing brings some balance as well to the warm cinammon and almost provides a bit of a cooling relief; slight twinge of alcohol as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Body is actually a little creamy in the mouth and the gums are left tingly; nice coating is left on the roof of the mouth and the belly is left warm.

Drinkability: Would be great for a cool winter night, probably my second favorite winter warmer/Christmas ale right behind Great Lakes. Not really a sessionable beer, but I would definitely get through a couple of these in a night. (1,297 characters)

Photo of mbudner
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. 2009 release.

A- Pours a transparent amber with a 2-finger white head.

S- Granted, I read the bottle before opening, but the ginger and cinnamon/clove are unmistakable in the nose. I get some tobacco as well. The sweet maltiness I get could be the honey used in the beer or simply the darker, caramel-like malts.

T- Disappointingly, the taste is nowhere near the nose. Caramel, sweet malts (but a little too bland). The cinnamon is there, but nothing like the aroma. None of the flavors are bad, it's just a lot more bland than I expected from the smell and less spiced than I like from a winter warmer/Christmas beer (and this says a lot because I do not enjoy overly spiced winter warmers). None of the ginger is coming through in the flavor. Not too sweet, which is nice, none of the cloying flavors I often find in some of the bigger winter/Christmas beers.

M- Nicely carbonated and actually quite thin for an 8%+, not thin in a bad way, but not cloying. Nothing really special about the mouthfeel (good or bad).

D- Easy drinking. The fact that this is 8.3% is pretty impressive. It drinks, in every way, like a 4.5% slightly spiced winter warmer. I don't love this one, but certainly not a bad beer and amazingly deceptive. (1,275 characters)

Photo of mgbickel
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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! (367 characters)

Photo of kegger22
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 Dogs is a clear red/brown with a modest head that dissipates pretty rapidly. The aroma is dominated by ginger and cinnamon, it made me want to sneeze. The taste is heavily spiced with some malt sweetness thrown in. I don't get any hops at all. The feel is medium bodied with mild carbonation, and drinkability is OK.

The right amount of spice can really add to the taste experience, but over spicing may often detract. IMO, the 12 Dogs of Christmas is over spiced. (469 characters)

Photo of BeerVikingSailor
4.57/5  rDev +18.7%
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! (945 characters)

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: snifter serving, deep pecan brown in color and topped with a coat of carbonation that's replenished with each tilt of the glass

s: ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon over a mellow nutty brown malt body, spice dominant but in generally good harmony with the malt, reminiscent of a spiced holiday bread, after warming I can pull out some buttery honey - one of those "if you know it's there" deals, the beer guy recommended this as "the old GLBC Christmas recipe", and there's an obvious parallel between the two

m: carbonation around medium, only a touch fizzy, and a light-medium consistency

t: huge spice character - equal parts ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon over a dry brown malt body that shows glimpses of honeyed complexity but quickly moves to more nutty, dry malt flavors in the finish, hop flavor is low but a moderate bitterness closes things up as the spices linger on

d: no evidence of the abv, a little spicy for heavy drinking, but a comforting sipper on a cool Ohio night - one that I'd initially shied away from given the B rating but was thankfully given a push by the beer staff

six-pack from Heinen's in Chagrin Falls (1,136 characters)

Photo of GordonQuid
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a English dimpled pub mug.

Clear copper with a redish hue and one inch sustaining dense head; thick lace.

Smells like hard belgian christmas candy, cinnamon cloves and fresh cookie dough.

Taste is a full bodied complex blend of Marris Otter malts, cinnamon, belgian candy, and mulling spices. Not too overpowering in the blend of spices makes this drinkable and satisfying.
This is not a holiday brew for the meek but rather a BIG offering of holiday flavors. I have to mention that this brew is close to a GL Christmas Ale but a bit over-the-top with the mulkling spice. This is not for everyone but I find it very pleasant and appetizing.

Get one and sip by a nice winter fire or chug it whilst shoveling the driveway. It's all good!

Cheers! (762 characters)

Photo of hosehead83
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Copper/ruby in color with a short one-inch head of foam
Aroma-cinnamon, nutmeg, malt
Taste-Big onrush of spices, mostly nutmeg, some honey sweetness and caramel-Abit heavy on the spices, leading to a rather acidic, unbalanced finish. Definite sipper. (311 characters)

Photo of Natural510
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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. (608 characters)

Photo of Frosty80
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours light brown. sits deep copper with a ruby hue

Smell: sweet spices and obvious honey soul. nutmeg and cinnamon clearly dominate the malty sweetnes.

Taste: taste translates well from aroma. very low hop presence. alcohol is well hidden. slight toasty presence. finish is clean and lightly sweet

Mouthfeel: medium body. smooth with low carbonation

Notes: very tasty brew reflecting the spirit of the season. light, sweet and spicy. (446 characters)

12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.