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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.
very good

457 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 457
Reviews: 164
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 25
Gots: 28 | 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
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Ratings: 457 | Reviews: 164 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DavoleBomb


4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Clear dark amber color. One fingers of creamy beige head. Retention is a bit below average and a short ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: I simply love the way beers of this style smell. Solidly spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and the nutmeg stands out among the other two. The honey is picked up and adds a nice complexity to the brew. Underneath there is a pleasant toastiness with an ample crystal malt component.

4.5 T: The taste is even better than the nose. The ginger perks up and eclipses the cinnamon and nutmeg. This is probably the most gingery beer I've had and I love it. Again, the honey adds a great touch to the brew. Toasty and caramel malts round this out into a wonderful winter brew. Slightest tinge of alcohol - about what you would expect from the ABV.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy, though I prefer more from the style. Super smooth.

4.0 D: Really nice example of what this style can offer. I love ginger and this one delivers plenty of it. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2011 01:28:28 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of bradklingel


5/5  rDev +25.9%

11-17-2011 19:06:49 | More by bradklingel
Photo of teyuders


4/5  rDev +0.8%

11-16-2011 05:24:34 | More by teyuders
Photo of SaintJonah


4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

11-14-2011 17:27:26 | More by SaintJonah
Photo of damndirtyape


3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 23:33:57 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of Bonis


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A darkish amber with hues of red. Tall cream colored head leaves has good retention and leaves some patchy lacing.

S - Mostly spices, namely ginger and nutmeg. Cinnamon and honey are there, but subdued. Caramel malts hide in the background. Not a real powerful nose overall, but nice.

T - Follows the nose but more intense. Mostly ginger and nutmeg at first, followed by a hint of cinnamon. Malts come up big in the middle, with a nice smooth honey taste to round things out. A slight bitter dryness on the finish with some of the spices lingering. Alcohol is well masked by the spices in the flavor, though it does warm a bit on the way down (which I expect in a winter warmer). Very nice tasting brew.

M - Carbonation is medium, just about right. Would be better a little more body. Goes down easy, but I was expecting a bigger feel.

O - This is one of only a few winter warmers I've tried. It's really a darn good beer, and should be tried if you have access to it. Well priced at $10.99 a sixer for a imperial-esque beer. I'll probably snag another six this holiday season. Another solid one from Thirsty Dog.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 01:58:17 | More by Bonis
Photo of ONUMello


4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pours a rich mahogany with a one-finger light tan head that lingers.
S: Smells like a spice cabinet with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and molasses.
T: More spice along with toffee & malt.
M: Rich, crisp, a bit boozy at the end.
O: Tasty, nice to sit by the fire and sip.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2011 01:39:58 | More by ONUMello
Photo of CFHMagnet


4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I started out with a normal pour and quickly found that I needed to give it a little more "oomph." I still only got half a finger of weak looking head that disappeared in less than a minute. The body is a deep copper color, almost into the brown spectrum.

Has a nice fresh smell to it, and the malts are nice and aromatic but not overpowering. Christmas spices definitely abound on the back end.

Has a nice bready malt backbone. A hint of fruit and caramel before the bread takes over again and brings in its friends nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.

Medium to full bodied, its a little thicker than expected. This was a surprise, but a pleasant one. The carbonation isn't really there, but thats not a problem.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 03:05:04 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of Jesse13713


4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I remember having this beer and really enjoying it last winter.

Appearance - A thick-looking cranberry colored brew. Laces to the glass in nice layers, but leaves no film or retention on the top of the beer. The appearance of this beer definitely reminds me of the sweetened holidays.

Smell - Faint malt in the background of lighter fruits. A bit of a zing from light cherry and cranberry. Nutmeg and spices are hiding in the background as well.

Taste - A solid holiday offering from Thirsty Dog. Quite a complex and smooth taste. I am first greeted with light zingy fruits, such as the previously described cranberry and light cherry. Warm toffee and caramel then fight their way into the taste. Light nutmeg, cinnamon, and various other holiday spices are present as well.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability - Medium-bodied. I remember complaining about a slightly metallic taste last year. Thankfully, that seems to be missing from this years tasting. A good amount of spice. A good brew from Thirsty Dog, but not my favorite holiday brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 05:52:04 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of OsuJohn


4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- darker than an amber, kinda like a dark Irish red.. clear and retaining about an inch of head. No laceing.

S- now I sound pretentious... Roasted barley, caramel, orange?

T- malty, a little bit of bread or biscut

M- I can feel the alcohol in the end, but overall not bad. Smooth until the end where you have a slight alcohol taste.

O- I think I will buy it again... It should be noted that this beer competes directly with Columbus brewing company winter warmer and great lakes Christmas ale. In Columbus it will be. A close call between this beer and Columbus winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 04:38:31 | More by OsuJohn
Photo of minterro


3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Two Christmas Ales in a row it must be my lucky day

On the bottle is says drink cold so ill try and ably

A & S: smell is there but not powerful, its mostly ginger with hints of sweet malts. Little more then a finger of light tan head. The head fades pretty quick and the lacing doesn’t hang much either.

T & M: not very sweet but still pretty malty. Nutmeg is noted and present not much honey but when it present its at the start of the taste. A more bitter version then other winter warmer I’ve had. Pretty crisp (a little bit too much carbonation), on the medium side of bodied.

O: Pretty good overall, nothing truly special but good.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 03:21:15 | More by minterro
Photo of stercomm


4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A - Light coppery with a very slight off-white head , great glass lacing almost looks like frost on the window

S - Get a maltiness and some cinnamon

T - Wow, this beer has a lot going on, get a slight sweetness on the front that is immediately replaced by a burst of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and possibly some cloves), finish nice and dry just the way I like it.

M - Full bodied, medium carbonation, some sweetness.

O - I really like this beer, a great Christmas ale, the spices are exceptional

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 23:05:25 | More by stercomm
Photo of Innocentexile


2.55/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured from 12 oz.

A-hazy red/brown color. absolutely zero head. laces a little bit though

S-subtle scent of spices and cinnamon. not very impressive though. i was "searching" for a scent. it's there, its just not flamboyant

T-weird. I got an alcohol taste with very slight spices and ginger. not really appealing to me. I really have a hard time tasting the "christmas" in this ale. maybe its just a bad bottle

O-not at all what I was expecting. not very good to me. again, maybe just a bad bottle. I'll need a fresh one. but thats hard since they dont date the bottles

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 07:08:53 | More by Innocentexile
Photo of GreenGoblinCC


4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great X-mas Ale! Slight notes of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove and Honey make this taste like Christmas is right around the corner! 8% doesn’t hurt either! I do not think it is as good as the 2009 batch, as for the 2010 batch there is no comparison this years batch is excellent! Tasted the B.A. 12 Dogs at Blues and Brews....Amazing!!! Hopefully the Akron area will see a couple of those kegs this winter!

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 02:02:19 | More by GreenGoblinCC
Photo of DrDemento456


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 03:31:06 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of Kleez


4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Good Xmas Ale. A quick up and comer in my experience. Great look and smell. very sweet and cinnimiiny smell. warms you up quick. gives your lips a bit of a tingle. goes great with sweets including xmas cookies or something more on the saltier side. Every year I find I am having more of a craving for 12 Dogs than Great Lakes

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2011 02:42:34 | More by Kleez
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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,

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 01:21:05 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Trystero


4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Christmas in July? I think so. Found this whilst going through my cellar and figured there's no time like the present. Behind GLBC Christmas Ale, this would be my second choice, with Southern Tier Old Man Winter rounding on the top three. Poured into a Bell's snifter.

A - Ruby red and radiant. Pours with a thick snowy head that melts away.

S - Phenominal. All at once, one is invited to spice; ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, followed pleasantly by honey. Almost no malt can be detected but after the decadent array of florals and spices in the nose, one does not even care.

T - The taste perfectly follows the nose. Amazingly complex and ritch yet at the same time refreshing. Comfort; the feeling of arriving home after a long journey through snow and dark. Ginger and honey linger on the finish with slight warming from the 8.3% alcohol. The warmth is quite welcome.

M - After approx. 6 months there is slightly less carbonation but it's still there. Thin though refreshing. It really hits the spot.

O - While I am indeed looking forward to fall seasonals, Pumking and the like, I can't but help to gaze slightly further in the coming seasons and await these winter warmers with surmounting anticipation.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 00:23:28 | More by Trystero
Photo of drabmuh


3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Amyliz4 at her Christmas in July party the other night. Another Winter warmer in July, YAY! Served in a tiny ticking snifter....for ticking.

Beer is quite dark, amber, clear, decent white head, some carbonation, some lacing, looks fine.

Beer smells primarily of nutmeg, perhaps some cinnamon.

Beer tastes a little like tree sap, pine needles with nutmeg, the pine is quite forward throughout the beer. Interesting, if this were labeled IPA nad tasted like resin I may even like it but this isn't hoppy, it tastes like spruce extract almost. Interesting, I suppose but not a repeat for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 12:06:09 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Thorpe429


3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle consumed at our Christmas in July tasting this past weekend. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a dark amber-bronze color with a pretty good white head and a nice collar throughout. Some spotty lacing. The nose brings some light cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavor has the cinnamon and nutmeg as well, but with the addition of a good amount of pine. Medium body and a really dry finish. Decent enough, but not something I'd go back to.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 01:39:52 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of warnerry


3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2011 22:06:40 | More by warnerry
Photo of sk8man121


4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into Allagash chalice.

A: Pours a mostly opaque reddish-brown with faint orange highlights. 1-finger head quickly dies down to a mere cap, leaving no lacing on the glass.

S: Strong ginger in the nose, along with honey, orange peel and cardamom. Very festive; not unlike offerings from Yankee Candle (yup).

T: Wow. Ginger dominates, in an extremely clean and tasteful way. This beer is all honey and spice bouquet; impossible to pick apart, really, but oh so well-balanced and smooth. As far as I'm concerned, the alcohol doesn't exist. Incredible.

M: Medium carbonation, perhaps on the high side. This causes the beer to cream up nicely, although I can see this being quite thin when it flattens.

O: I found a stray bottle of this sitting on the shelves with no idea what to expect, and I can't get over how happy I am to have come upon it. This has got to be the best example of a Winter Warmer that I've ever had, and it more than hits the spot, even on a 67 degree spring evening. I'm looking forward to December, if only so I can grab a case of this.

A benchmark Winter Warmer.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2011 02:54:48 | More by sk8man121
Photo of Jdmpolk


3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Brown-amber body topped with a brief finger length of khaki colored head. Slight lacing on the glass ending with a minute head

S spicy sweet with a hint of pair. Cinnamon and nutmeg are apparent. lf there is a trace of hops it is lost in the spice.

T very malty and smooth. There is a feeling of dry spice. Slight cola flavor creeps in at the corners. As it warms there was a toasty slightly coffee back end.

M the beer stays briefly on the young, and then dissipates. The spices remain tingling on the front and back of the tongue.

D a very drinkable beer, made better if it is cold outside. Although this beer's flavor would seem better suited for fall than winter.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 03:47:36 | More by Jdmpolk
Photo of phreshbeer

New York

3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Somewhat muddy/cloudy - reddish in color. Off white head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: Cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon lead the way.

T: Anticipated by the aroma, the taste follows suit with tons of spice, also hints of honey and banana.

M/D: Somewhat light on the tongue. After such a strong spicy smell I was slightly cautious of this beer. However, I found it to be rather drinkable ( especially @ 8% ).

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2011 04:13:42 | More by phreshbeer
Photo of Boitnott

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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...

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 03:12:42 | More by Boitnott
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 457 ratings.