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
86
very good

176 Reviews
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(Read More)
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 DmanGTR
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured deep brown/mahogany. Slight beige head that didn't last long. A rich gingerbread aroma, some cinnamon in the nose too. Had to let the beer warm up to get that though. The flavor is bready with lots of darker malts, perhaps chocolate, but mostly crystal. The cinnamon pops up for a second but is quickly diminished. Very smooth. Not shabby. I would like to age a couple of these to see how it evolves over a couple years. (427 characters)

Photo of DeFaz
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I found this is at Jungle Jim's near Cincinnati, and I'm assuming the bottle is old but I can't find a date. This is an enjoyable winter warmer that is heavy on spices but isn't overly sweet as some winter warmers tend to be. Specifically, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon, in that order, stand out. The smell is even better than the taste. The alcohol is concealed better in the taste than maybe any beer I've ever tried, and that makes this one dangerous, especially considering how easy it goes down. The mouthfeel is on the thinner side and the carbonation is fairly low. For as much as there is going on, it finishes clean. Overall, this is a very good winter warmer that I would probably enjoy even more during the right season. I can't help but compare this to Great Lakes' Christmas Ale, which is much sweeter and a bit better, but both are recommended. (870 characters)

Photo of Broman
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance- Pours a deep red color, when held to the light tiny bubbles can be seen plentifully rising. A moderate head floats atop that dissipates rather quickly. As the head disappears the bubbles follow at the same rate. Overall an exciting beer to look at initially.

Smell- Not an overly powerful smell. Somewhat disappointing from how the beer looks. Slight hints of malt, cinnamon, and sweetness are what is most prevalent.

Taste- The smell is backed up with the taste. Most abundant is the malty characteristics. Slight cinnamon flavor is masked in under the heavy malt. Virtually no aftertaste lingers. Overall easy beer to drink, enjoyable taste, but not overly excitable.

Mouthfeel- A slight sting on the tongue disappears quickly. Medium body feel in the mouth. No initial flavors seem to break through.

Overall- Better than most christmas beers out there. It does not try and overpower you with sweet and cinnamon flavors. It has a nice offering of malt taste and seems to have good body. Overall this is an enjoyable beer and would recommend to anyone who is an avid christmas ale drinker. (1,106 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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. (557 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, Winter 2012 bottling. Pours lightly hazy red-orange amber color with a nice 1-2 finger dense off white head with nice retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big honey, caramel, ginger, raisin, nutmeg, cinnamon, toast, light clove, and light herbal. Damn nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of caramel, toast, ginger, honey, raisin, apple, cinnamon, nuttiness, and light herbal. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, honey, ginger, cinnamon, raisin, apple, and nuttiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and robustness of malt/spice flavors; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming present on the finish. Overall this is an excellent winter warmer. Nicely balanced and robust flavors with good complexity; and extremely smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering as expected; this is definitely the better offering vs the GL version. (1,108 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (625 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What’s a Christmas ale? Something with spice and lots of dark malt? Sure, we’ll go with that. And from what I hear, this is one of the quintessential examples of this pseudo-style – plus, it’s my first from Thirsty Dog, so I’m happy to tick them away.

Still have three months before this bottle reaches its best-by date; considering the season, I have a feeling this beer was brewed recently.

A: Body is a dark, crystalline amber with reddish tones; a finger-high head of creamy tan froth emerges slowly, falling to a sizeable pillow of retention. Lots of intricate lacing, thick and sticky.

S: Smells sweet and intricate: scents of honey, fudge, black licorice, and fruitcake abound, a nose full of holiday cheer. It has the character of a sweet holiday cookie, the malts like pastry and sweet pie crust; notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg also help give it a dead-on cookie character.

T: Lovingly sweet in holiday fashion, this palate is full of sugar cookie, cinnamon-sugar, toffee, honey, and even some mild peanut butter. A smooth ginger and pine hoppiness tightens up the profile, delivering a needed astringency to the heavy sugars while still keeping it within style. Floral flavors of chamomile and lemon zest appear over a little nutmeg toward the back end, giving this a finish of herbs and sweet honey.

M: Velvety thickness, but with a slight fizzy texture to it. A meaty drink, fitting nicely for this style.

O: Still not exactly sure how to describe a Christmas ale, but this is the best one I’ve had yet. I don’t know what it is, but this is a beer for the season – and one that will certainly put a smile on your face. (1,659 characters)

Photo of andrewjraab
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Dark brownish red with a silky cream colored head. Each drink leaves a speckled streak of foam on the glass.

S. Big spice characteristics: predominantly nutmeg which trumps the cinnamon. Malts, vanilla, chocolate.

T. Smooth and malty followed by a huge taste of nutmeg and cleans up with a warming touch of alcohol.

O. Great for the style. I was a little put off by the overpowering nutmeg flavor, but overall this is solid. (433 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 (705 characters)

Photo of ChrisH1024
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (470 characters)

Photo of stewart124
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper to amber in color with a fine slightly tan head. Appears that there will be some beautiful lacing along the way.

Ginger, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg push through in the nose. Some caramel but that's an afterthought.

Good balance between sweetness and spices. Some background bitterness but this is fairly restrained. Sweet and smooth with a bit of warming as this hits. Very easy to drink and I dare say that I am rather enjoying the spices.

Again, easy drinking throughout. Medium to full mouthfeel with some ginger left on the palate to compliment the residual caramel. As expected there is some pretty lacing. Sneaky alcohol though. It would be very easy to put a few of these away. This is easily my favorite offering from Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. (760 characters)

Photo of DougT
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pilsner glass at 47 degrees. Label says 43 to 49 so I'm in the zone.

A: Dark copper/amber with a 1 finger tan head with little lace but clinging nicely to the glass. Head retains a small full layer on top while drinking.

S: Smells of gingerbread, nutmeg, just a hint of honey, a little malt.

T: Pretty tasty, you need to be in the mood for a spiced beer. It's nicely spicy with the flavor following the label, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Alcohol is barely there, very nicely masked. Some roast flavors and hops bitters with cinnamon bite offset the sweetness f the honey. Remarkably well balanced, but definitely a spiced beer.

M: Medium body. Smooth. Effervescent, but not overly. Honey creaminess and carbonation counter to make a nice smooth feel.

O: I like it. It does remind me of the holidays. High alcohol is nicely warming. You need to be in the mood for something this spicy, but when you are this one is delicious. Probably best to share, I don't think you would want too many. (1,007 characters)

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a crystal goblet- pours a clear, amber/mahogany color with minimal head, modest retention for what little there was, a few spots of lacing.

Definitely do get some honey in the nose- also nutmeg and cinnamon, but a good dose of like amber honey.

Taste is consistent with the smell- some nutmeg up front, followed by a biscuity malt taste, then a big dose of honey sweetness, which is then spiced up by the cinnamon and maybe some allspice.

Mouthfeel is nice- medium body, smooth feel, light to moderate soft carbonation. I like this one and I would recommend it to those looking for a nice accompaniment to desert or just a nice beer for a cold winter day (do we even get those anymore?). (722 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a clear looking orange red color with a nice looking white head on top. The retention and lacing were both very nice on this beer. The smell of the beer is slightly sweet with a subtle spicy note on the nose as well as a faint orange zest aroma too. The taste of the beer as a nice sweet honey flavor upfront that settles into a nice citrusy spicy warming flavor. The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and a little oily, a decent carbonation and it's sticky and finished dry. Overall I though it was a really good brew actually. (546 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (476 characters)

Photo of 2x10
2.21/5  rDev -42.6%
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 (370 characters)

Photo of Dodo2step
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Thanks to my buddy Matt for this brew

A- a murky looking iced tea appearance. Minimal head and poor lacing on the pint.

S- lots going on here: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and clove with caramel hints.

F- Same as the nose, very tasty and complex.

M- creamy yet smooth.

O- not a bad christmas ale, this is an above average and i would like another. (354 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks go to my brother for giving me this. The brew appears a clear amber color in my glass with a finger of tan head composed of large bubbles that fade fast. The brew is clear for the most part, but holding it up to the light shows some particulate hanging.

The aroma of this brew gives way immediately to hints of cinnamon. There is some other spiced quality going on here bringing forth thoughts of holiday spices and Christmas cookies of some sort. Across the back, a light indication of the 8% abv is noticed.

Taking a sip, this brew also tastes just like a Christmas cookie of sorts. Cinnamon and spices mingle with a toasty grain flavor that almost reminds me of ginger snaps. A bit of herbal hops keep things in check but this brew is all about the toasty almost nutty grain flavoring that is integrated with the spices. This is a winter warmer that is on the heavier side of the spiced spectrum but it works for me... maybe because it is out of season and the spices have faded a bit or maybe this is just a really different brew compared to what I have been drinking these past couple of months. Regardless it is pretty good and well balanced.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. As expected, the spices were the main component but everything worked together quite nice. I can't say that I would take down several of these but in the festive spirit of the seasons I would no doubt try this again. (1,471 characters)

Photo of goldennectar
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark mahogany & clear. Pours thin head about that recedes quickly lacing

Smell: Spices, lots of spices and malted caramel- Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice? There is a lot going on here

Taste: All of the above mentioned spices and a nice lager/ale underneath holding it all up. The high abv does not
make its presence known

Mouthfeel: Light/medium and not overly carbonated - Easy to drink

Overall: Hell yea! This is a dangerously easy drinker. Since GL Christmas Ale sells out so quickly and I can never seem to get to the store while they still have some I tried this, and I like it equally as well, at a lower price to boot!
It's heavy on the spice so if thats not your thing you may not like it, but a great drink on a cold winter night. (802 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (695 characters)

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

Serving from a 12oz. bottle into a Duval chalice

Dark golden in color with a very light head even when pouring into the middle of the glass. The smell is wonderful fresh ginger and nutmeg. A great balance of what a Christmas Ale should taste like. First taste in malts and cinamon, then comes the ginger. Finishing with just enough kick and some nutmeg on the end. This one hits you on all sides of the mouth. Overall and great beer for this time of year and earlier. For those who live in Cleveland this has become the new Great Lakes Christmas all that we remember from 2008. (578 characters)

Photo of McNealc31
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
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. (577 characters)

Photo of Ryanm1
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
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. (571 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
2.28/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$2.19 for a 12 oz bottle @ BevCo. Brewed with honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. 21.5 IBUs, OG=18.5P. 8.3% ABV.

Filtered, pours out to a clear chestnut, forming a limpid off yellow head with poor retention and sparse lacing. Moderate carbonation. The aroma opens with some subtle biscuit malt and toast, then is followed by an overwhelming spice note...mostly cinnamon and ginger. The mouthfeel is clean with a medium body. Taste is potent with spices, too much for my tastes. I like the more balanced examples of the style, like Great Lakes BC. This is way over the top. Bitterness is mild. Not much more to comment on here. If you like strongly spiced beers, you'll probably like this. I don't. (699 characters)

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