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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

475 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 475 | Reviews: 165 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RickS95
3.93/5  rDev -1%

Pours a medium brown color, looks like tea. It's filtered. The head is ample, a finger's worth, khaki in color.

Smells like Christmas, with nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves coming through.

It tastes like it smells, but you can pick up the ginger on the tongue.

It's very spicy, with a dry tart finish. It's not refreshing, but after each drink I feel like I'm ready for another one.

The tastes all go together well and this is easy to drink...maybe a little too easy for something so high in alcohol...8.3%.

RickS95, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of Thanby
3.1/5  rDev -21.9%

Has a nice nut-brown look, but with almost zero head and lacing.

Smells like a lot of cinnamon backed by some honey and other traces of spice. Hard to pick out the actual malt, no detectable hops.

My friend described this pretty well when he tasted it, "It's like they dipped a cinnamon stick in honey and beat you in the face with it." Still having trouble picking out any malt character, the cinnamon is just overwhelming.

Still very smooth, the spices aren't TOO spicy, but the cinnamon just dominates and mutes everything else. A little sticky finish with a dry cinnamon flavor that lingers after the sweetness fades.

Definitely festive, warms the tummy, but not my favorite winter ale.

Thanby, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%

I got this beer from Auslander. Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - clear amber color with an off-white head that thinned to a ring leaving a few trails of lacing.

S - blend of holiday spices, nice aroma.

T - very good tasting Winter Warmer the spices are mellow and sweet from the honey.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

D - goes down too easy for a beer over 8% abv.

JoeyBeerBelly, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of IIKaRuII
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%

Poured into a tall glass, It appears a lighter amber color with almost no head on an aggressive pour. I smell a faint cherry smell with a high malt smell. it goes down like a lager, but finishes like the ale it is. Taste is a nice sweet malt taste with a hint of cherrys as well. This is a VERY drinkable beer as it has little to no bitter finish. All and all a VERY pleasant beer to enjoy!

IIKaRuII, Dec 15, 2010
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 prototypic
3.93/5  rDev -1%

12 Dogs of Christmas is a perfect collision of red and orange. It's very clear, and looks redder when held to light. A cream colored head forms on the top. It's about a finger and a half in depth. Retention was very short, and lacing was on the light side.

The nose is good. A mix of caramel and toasted malts is center stage, and holds the spotlight throughout. The toasted variety seems to be slightly stronger. Honey and spicy scents of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are secondary and complementary. If you're looking for a spice forward Winter Warmer, the nose suggests you look elsewhere. Alcohol is blended well.

I like the flavor quite a bit. It's different than I expected. It truly is a malt forward holiday ale. The toasted malt flavor is really nice, and blends seamlessly with the caramel/toffee flavor. Holiday spices and, to a lesser extent, honey are noted at the secondary level. Ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon are all present and accounted for. Nonetheless, their effect (and presence) is somewhat subtle. Alcohol is masked extremely well and is never much of a factor.

12 Dogs of Christmas has a body that's on the light side of medium. Carbonation is about right, and doesn't hurt anything. Nonetheless, more body would smooth it out a bit. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor here quite well. It's different and goes down easy for an 8.3% abv beer. Another? Perhaps.

Thirsty Dog did a nice job with 12 Dogs of Christmas. It's a pretty solid Winter Warmer that's unique in that the spices linger in the background rather than hog the spotlight. If you're somewhat spice averse, and like malty beer, 12 Dogs should be right up your alley. It's not a great holiday release, but it's pretty darn good.

prototypic, Dec 10, 2010
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 ccahoon22
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

This was on cask in the Tremont area of Cleveland. Also was infused with cherries, which made it that much better.

A - Dark amber in color with almost no head (from the cask)

S - Not strong, some spice and cherries

T - A pretty bold but smooth taste, definite cherry taste

ccahoon22, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of david131
4.05/5  rDev +2%

A- A clear, very deep orange liquid with some ruby red highlights throughout. The off-white head is very thin and splotchy, but has some staying power.

S- Mint, cola, toffee, orange peel, and chamomile tea. Very intriguing and unique.

T- Exactly the same as the aroma, but with the addition of some coconut. A little rich, but I give it credit for the uniqueness.

M- A nice, full-bodied liquid with a creamy carbonation.

D- A unique beer that may rival any of the Anchor Christmas ales I have tried. The alcohol is well hidden. Worth trying.

david131, Dec 03, 2010
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 malty
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%

2010 vintage.

Poured into my thick, dimpled-wall stemmed old school Busch Bavarian Beer chalice a vividly clear ruby/amber color with a dense & creamy settled 2" beige head. Larger sized carbonation visibly uprising at a less than moderate rate. Very handsome broken walls of stringy lace all the way down.

This baby is full of fresh Christmas spices for sure. Cinnamon & ginger provide a bright and edgy gateway for the earthy nutmeg to lounge itself through the door. Anise is apparent in the background, while some toffee notes echo in the flanks. This promises to be a great tasting winter warmer. So let's see...

The ground cinnamon commands the first stare, just like in the nose. The ginger doesn't taste as bright and fresh as it smelled, but it's there nonetheless - but doesn't tastes ultra-fresh as I was hoping. The nutmeg is in check. Honey is there, but in the background. Everything is clicking along nicely. The malts are soft and sweet, but there is a nice dryness at the end. Definitely starts and ends with cinnamon.

Mouthfeel is very soft and creamy. It's a solid medium body with fine carbonation that you can feel initially, but glides away rather quickly. Has a nice 'cask' mouthfeel, if you can imagine that. The finish is cinnamon and chalky dry.

Drinkability is very good. I'm practically done with my 12 oz. sample, and I'm very surprised because it didn't feel like I drank that much (yet).

Overall a very nice Christmas beer that has all the key/featured spices of the season present and accounted for. I personally would have liked to have tasted a bit more honey and smidge less cinnamon, but that's splitting hairs. Reminds me of a darker, rounder and creamier version of Great Lakes Christmas Ale, which is saying ALOT in my book!

malty, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of tchenery
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%

Nice brown color, not too dark. Decent, but small white head on top.

Smells too spiced. I'm picking up anise and cinnamon. I just made a homebrew that I overspiced and it smells a lot like this one.

Very licorice in flavor. Kind of a grainy brown ale. It's ok, but I'm not crazy about it. It is very sneaky though with it's 8.3% ABV. I wouldn't have expected that.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, drinkability would lend itself to one a night in the right company of the holiday season. Fireplaces and whatnot.

tchenery, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +0.8%

A- Pours a dark amber color with very thin off white head. Head turns into a few layer of bubbles and leaves some nice spotty lacing.

S- Smells of honey, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, spices & earthy hops aromas. Hints of cinnamon & clove. Just what I expected here.

T- This one follows the nose really well. Spice is every here ginger, clove & cinnamon. A touch of toasted malts. About as close to my personal favorite Great Lakes for sure.

M- Medium body with fairly good amount of carboantion.

D- Good drinkability. I was pretty happy with this one.

nrbw23, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of Tee76
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%

A: Dark Amber/brown color very little lacing or head

S: Carmel, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger & other numerous spices. Nice aroma

T: Wow! this beer is full of flavor, spices come through nicely.Tastes slightly sweet with nutmeg/cinnamon being the predominant flavor

M: Medium body with decent carbonation

D: Was really happy with this beer, keeps tasting better & better as you go on, not to mention it has 8.3 ABV but it's not overpowering. You could easily drink "to many of these". Excellent "Winter Warmer" HIGHLY recommended!!

Tee76, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of Spider889
3.73/5  rDev -6%

As time goes on I think I am more a fan of the "idea" of a Christmas Ale, but in practice most fall short, or wind up trying waaay too hard. This one was well balanced and refreshing, while still imparting the flavors appropriate to the season.

Had on tap at Riverside in Kent as a leftover of their Christmas in July month-long celebration.

Nice amber color with a good heavy 1.5 inch head. It receded quickly but left excellent freckled lacing down my pint.

The aroma was very subdued compared to most holiday ales. It consisted largely of diluted cinnamon.

The beer is a decently strong ale with plenty of caramel malt sweetness, subtle cinnamon, and brown sugar. The beer is medium bodied and very easy-drinking.

Not nearly as good as Great Lakes version, this still does the job and could be had in greater quantities before succumbing to cinnamon fatigue... some holiday ales can get out of control. Worth a try for sure.

Spider889, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of nukem5
3.28/5  rDev -17.4%

A: Dark copper in color very little head.

S: Carmel, malts, cherries, figs, cinnamon, ginger.

T: Toasted and carmel malts, honey, ginger, a nice complex flavor that reveals something new with each sip which by the end of the glass demands one more.

M: Medium body almost no lacing.

D: One drink leads to another and they keep tasting better, nice to cellar and store for a while. Mine was a good 8 months old and the 8.3 ABV is not overpowering but offers a great balance for a great beer.

nukem5, Aug 24, 2010
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%

12 oz bottle, sampled November 2009.

Color is dark copper red, off-white head dissipates quickly. Smell is all spice, I'm picking up mostly cinnamon. Taste is very nutmeg-like, with an ultra smooth honey finish. A good twist of dryness and satiation. I could drink more than a few of these. All in all, a damn good beer for this style.

sixerofelixir, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of sbw138
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%

Poured a bottle from the POPE into a pint glass

Appearance - Dark amber/brown in color with a two finger light brown head.

Smell - Smells like Christmas. 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 the right level of carbonation.

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.

Serving type: bottle

sbw138, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of jdhilt
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Pours a one finger cream head that fades very slowly to a thin layer, leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Malty nose. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is malty cider and caramel. $2.00 for a 12oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

jdhilt, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of Wasatch
3.93/5  rDev -1%

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this one.

Pours a nice slightly hazy golden brown color, nice carbonation, small fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with lots of caramel, nutmeg/cinammon notes. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, lots of caramel notes, a very nice touch of nutmeg/cinammon. Medium body. Drinkable, a pretty tasty brew.

Wasatch, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of Ryan011235
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%

On tap in a pint glass at Hal & Al's on 12/15/09

A - Dark amber with crimson highlights around the edges. Very thin layer of retention with a few small spots of lacing.

S - Honey, ginger, spices & earthy hops aromas. Hints of cinnamon & clove.

T - Closely follows the nose but with more hop presence offering a decent kick. Spiciness abounds - ginger, clove & cinnamon. A bit of toasted malt; likely pale malt, maybe crystal malt, but I can't say for sure.

M - Medium body with fairly zesty carbonation. Some residual spiciness lingers on the finish.

D - Good drinkability. I was pretty happy with this one; worth a shot.

Ryan011235, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of Durge
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%

An Ohoove special once again. This one appears ruby mahogany colored, clear but dark with a fair light tan head and great webs of lacing. The aroma suggests malty ginger and allspice/ nutmeg. The flavor brings a delightful ginger on malty allspice, almost a menthol or minty effect. It's mid/light bodied, very spritzy with lively bubblage and very drinkable. Really just a classic holiday flavor with oranges and malt blended into the traditional spices. Very smoothly blended, very much a holiday hit not to be missed.

Durge, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%

Uh oh. This may become one of those days when I CAN actually cop to drinking all day. You have to start in the morning to be able to pull it off, but given the weather and my attitude (I am listening to CDR Cody's "Seeds and Stems Blues" and Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Comin' Down", if that gives you any indication). When did my life become a C & W song? Man, I miss my Old Lady.

I had a finger of light-brown head when I initially poured this sumbich but when I looked away it disappeared like a thief in the night. Color was an orangish-amber with a clarity that made me want to weep for all of the things that have been lost just in my lifetime. Nose had a potpourri-like zest to it that just evoked Christmas and the holidays in my addled mind. Onto a taste. Ho, did somebody say "Ginger"? Jeez, there was Rodgers; the chick from Giggling's Atoll; that doll in Long Beach lo those many years ago who I used to hook up with after shows at Fender's International Ballroom ... Yes, ginger was the first and foremost taste on my tongue. Okay, regrouping, I could also get the cinnamon and nutmeg, but they were lesser players. There was this beautiful stripper who went by Cinnamon when I was down in Roosey Roads, PR and she and her colleague, China, were both from western PA. Oh, the memories ... But I digress again. The beer danced across my tongue on the lightest of feet, almost creamy in its presence. The finish was equally spicy and evocative of a meal in Thailand, on an evening of liberty in 1987. 'Twere the ginger, lads.

Okay, quick recap - very nice, especially for a Winter Warmer. Lots of spices, very warming with a fairly full mouthfeel. Worth seeking out, especially at this time of year.

woodychandler, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of Jason
4.13/5  rDev +4%

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

Hazed tawny hue, find bubbling up top with some clinging action going on. Honey, candied fruit and ginger all up in the nose with cinnamon and nutmeg on the sideline. No choice but smoothness with the modest level of carbonation given. Spicy with dry cocoa-like maltiness, hint of molasses, residual honey ... ginger is not as strong in the taste and lets the other spices play. The alcohol chimes in late in the game but slowly makes up for time lost with a slow but growing warmth. The nutmeg and hops provide a nice barrier of bitterness to hold back any sweetness that tries to push forward too much. Finishes with a mild dark sugar note, lingering spices and toasty malt.

A pretty damn amazing Winter Warmer ... impressive is the first word that comes to mind. Complex yet dangerously drinkable as well.

Jason, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%

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.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 28, 2010
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 475 ratings.