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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
185 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
185
Ratings:
707
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
26.55%
 
 
Wants:
43
Gots:
164
For Trade:
1
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by imaguitargod on 11-18-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 707
Photo of mbudner
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
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!

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Photo of kegger22
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of BeerVikingSailor
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
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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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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

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Photo of GordonQuid
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

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Photo of hosehead83
3.27/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of Natural510
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Frosty80
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of beerman207
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first christmas beer. Great beer to start out with!

A: Pours a copper color with decent head

S: nutmeg comes through dominant on this and also some cherry?

T: Spices are great and the balance is perfect with some hoppiness in the back.

M: Very smooth. Goes down easy.

D: Wow. The alcohol is very well masked. You will feel it but you won't taste it.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer holds pretty true to Christmas-ey beers. It's just good to see a new beer from the brewery.

Dense aroma of molassas, caramelized malts, dark (fruit cake) fruits, and a hearty dosing of cinamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and corriander. Throw in some piney hops and we have a beer that rides the fence of complex vs. muddled.

Dark brown with some burgundy highlights. A clean, clear appearance with outstanding head formation and retention. Light tan laces on the glass- an inviting look.

Flavors get back on track with the nose- malty rich and molassas up front with a lot of sweetness (unresolved malts and sugars). Piney, grassy hops quickly rise to balance (doesn't quite achive it). Additional spices (see nose) thrown in to decorate the taste. The spices seem to scatter the beer too much.

Full, rich, and sweet body fits for the Winter season. Bitterness is primarily acheived with the hops but compounded by the spices (nearly astringent). Finishes quite sweet and with a lot of residual sugars on the mouth.

Sounds a bit harsh, but most Winter Warmers fall into this overly-sweet, artificially-spiced catagories. The beer is par of the course and delightful when in the mood for heavy sweetness and varying spices.

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

Drank this one several months ago now with my friend Passow. This review is being written from notes. A 12 oz bottle was poured into my pint glass. This beer is a red color. Head was a decent size but settled to not much pretty quickly. Ok lace. Aromas of caramel malt, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Flavors of sweet caramel malt along with hints of nut and a touch of honey. Rounded out with a bit of hops. Has a crisp, smooth medium bodied mouthfeel. Easy to drink in a good way I suppose. Easy to drink but certainly nothing special here.

Eric

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single 12oz pour into pint glass from cellared 6-pack from 2008-09 season.

Dark, mahogany-colored liquid with thin white foam; white lace covers the inside of the glass as the beer is consumed. Nutmeg predominates, tempered by the sweet fragrance of ginger and mild honey. Well-balanced combination of seasonal spices, but not too sweet. Just enough honey to reign in the nutmeg and ginger. Aforementioned spices mix with cinnamon to bring forth a nicely seasoned ale. Sweetness is tempered and the overall flavor is kept tight and dry, eliminating that sticky, sugar-cookie cloying flavor that is typical of these offerings. For a high ABV brew, the alcohol is nicely balanced, testament to the brewers skill.
Overall 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale presents the seasonal category well but also is versatile to be sipped on any occasion.

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Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of sjohansen
2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 Dogs pours a pretty clear amber; almost copper in color. There is very little head from a pretty rough pour, and what was there disappeared quickly. No visible rising bubbles.

The nose is off. It smells like a wild field. I don't want to say salad, because it's not the standard DMS, but there is a leafy green scent. It sweetens up to a Splenda like sweetener as it warms.

Hops come to the forefront (herbal bitterness,) but get smashed in the aftertaste by sweet caramel. The caramel turns to honey as it warms. Has a syrupy aftertaste, slightly cloying.

Medium bodied, smooth, slick.

It was ok. Winter beers have to come with something special, especially because of what's available. This one didn't cut it. As a side note... for as sweet as it was, I really wish there was more to the nose.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle as an extra from thehand - thanks!! Split w/ dkachur, w/ my portion poured into a 12 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours a largely transparent, crystalline reddish copper colored brew with not-so-great head retention. Lacing is erratic, sort of thought-bubble-esque scattered all over the sides of the glass. The collar is off-white, and the effervescence is tight, clustered, fine, and fairly fast.

Aroma: I'd like some beer with my ginger, please, kthx. It absolutely dominates everything here, though some earthier, more neutral nutmeg, and perhaps a few light fruity esters.

Taste: Overripe bananas esters in a sea of caramel and spices - festive bananas flambe? Ginger is the most prominent spice here, the most prominent note in fact, though the roasted malts - caramel, maple syrup, toast - aren't far behind, followed by banana and other light fruit esters, with some very obvious nutmeg in the finish. Faint, faint hop bitterness. It's nice, but perhaps a little spice heavy.

Mouthfeel: Probably this beer's best quality - medium thickness, largely even, with enough crisp, fine-to-medium sized effervescence to cut through it well. Pleasant.

Drinkability: A solid if slightly overly-spiced winter warmer. The constituent parts are good, just out of balance. Cut the ginger back a few notches and you'd have a really good beer, perhaps not quite sessionable at 8.3%, but a good in-front-of-the-fire, Christmas-time sorta beer.

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Photo of BeTheBall
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of xare
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured as a brown clear liquid with a small amount of white head that disappeared after about a minute. Doesn't lace. At the edges of the glass, the color lightens up and becomes honey-colored.

Smell is of nutmeg and some alcohol. It's better than most winter warmers I've had in the past, but nutmeg isn't my favorite of the spices used in this brew. If you like nutmeg though, you'd bump this up a notch.

Taste is of nutmeg with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of ginger. Certainly couldn't detect the honey that they used. The taste is somewhat boozy as well, but if you're into that, bump this up a notch. It was almost like a nutmeg-rum-soaked cookie ball flavor, minus the cookie. And minus the rum flavors.

Mouthfeel was average. No creaminess after the head went away. It was crisp and clean though and not cloying or suffocating with spices. Solid 3.

Drinkability suffered a bit as you can taste the alcohol and it shows. I like the alcohol to be well-hidden or for the beer to be easily drunk without worrying about the heat coming from it. Maybe if the booziness goes away with age, then this would be a prime candidate for aging.

Overall, it's a decent beer but certainly not a replacement for either Great Lakes or Barley's Christmas Ales. The three are similiar - the thing that makes this one different is the nutmeg and the booziness of the brew. If you're into either one of those features, then by all means go for this brew. Otherwise, it's a solid beer but not one that I'd buy year after year.

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Photo of hopdog
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle consumed on Christmas Day.

Poured a medium to deep amber color wth an averaged sized off whtie head. Aromas of caramel and spices - all kinds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and some others. Tastes of the same spices, caramel, and toasty. Definitelhy a spice beer. Alcohol content well hidden as I just noticed it was +8%.

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

Poured from a 12oz into a Unibroue tulip. For a local beer, I am embarrased to say this is only the second brew I've had from Thirsty Dog. I thoroughly enjoyed their Siberian Night Imperial Stout.

A: The beer poured a clear copper color with a smallish head. Good lacing. Looks good so far...

S: Nutmeg is the dominant spice scent, but not offensive like some other winter warmers I've had this year.

T: Taste is quite good here. I enjoyed it very much. The spices are very apparent, but not out of control. Yum.

M: This brew is very smooth on the palate and not as full bodied as I anticipated it would be. Nice!

D: 8.3%? Look out! There is no hint of the gravity here, and it certainly catches up to you. I can certainly see myself going through a few of these in a sitting. I can't wait to enjoy the rest of the 6.

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Photo of FishHeadLover
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brewery is one of my and my wifes favorites.
A- It poured brownish with a nice two finger white head.
S- As soon as you pour this beer you smell the pine and spices. Smells a bit malty with a stong cinnamon and pine as you investigate further. With an 8.3% abv you would think you would get more of an alcohol smell.
T- Piney but no alcohol bite.
M- Slight carbination but no alcohol BUT no doubt pine and spice.
D- This beer isn't bad for a christmas beer but the more I drink the more I cant get that pine taste out, yea too much pine.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a dark, semi-transparent brown with a fluffy, off white head that slowly fades out. Scattered bits of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of hefty amounts of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a touch of nutmeg. I'm not a huge fan of spiced ales but this one is pretty enticing stuff.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild earthy hop note coming through, along with the caramel, and cinnamon flavors melding into a delicious winter brew.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, balanced spicing with a warming alcohol sensation in the swallow.

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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.