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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: 640
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.73%
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: 640
Photo of barleyroad
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark amber in appearance, nice and clear. Smell Smell has a nice blend of spices for a winter warmer. Mouthfeel, this beer tends to lay in the back of the mouth, not anything that would stop us from having one or two.... Taste is very nice and mixed well for a winter warmer; great on a good cold night. We know had a few when it was 19 degrees out. Overall this is a nicely done winter warmer and one we feel you need to have. Oh goes great with leftover turkey. (468 characters)

Photo of dorianmarley
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a rich brown with a thick, tan head and superior lacing.

Nose is a not-overpowering assortment of spices and malt; notably nutmeg and cinnamon.

The taste is a deliciously mellow blend of honey and spices. The malts are toasty and the hops give it a nice balance. This is a very drinkable spiced beer.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and somewhat creamy. Carbonation is medium-mild. The spices give off a nice warmth.

Overall, this is exactly what I would want when I think of a Winter Warmer. (503 characters)

Photo of Clydesdale
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a mostly clear burnt orange/reddish color. The medium-sized head has a burnt orange tint and a fairly dense, frothy texture. Retention is solid, and a couple decent rings of lacing stick to the glass as the initial head recedes.

S: Quite the holiday nose: ginger and cinnamon are most prominent, but some lighter notes of nutmeg and dried fruit contribute well. There's also a nice underlying caramel sweetness, along with lightly toasted breadiness.

T: Fairly toasty maltiness up front, with a healthy dose of caramel flavor and sweetness. A sweet beer, overall. A light kiss of herbal hop bitterness adds some focus. The holiday spices (especially cinnamon and ginger) are well done without becoming overbearing.

M: Medium bodied. This drinks smoothly and easily for 8.3% abv. Alcohol isn't really detectable at all, minus a very faint warming nip into the finish.

D: This drinks very much like Ohio's more famous winter warmer, Great Lakes Christmas Ale. This drinks a little maltier, and has a more diverse cast of spices (whereas GLCA is quite gingery). A thoroughly enjoyable winter seasonal. (1,115 characters)

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep amber color with medium white head. Aroma is of cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of clove and raisins. Flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Medium sticky mouthfeel. Very nice winter warmer! (335 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite new (to me) Xmas beer of the season.

A- Body is a nearly completely transparent reddish brown color. Pours with 1-2 finger foamy white head that fades to a thin collar and leaves behind no lacing in the glass.

S- Quite spicy. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, a hint of caramel malt as well.

T- Quite similar to the smell. This is a spicier Christmas ale. Lots of nutmeg and cinnamon upfront. A hint of maltiness behind.. the finish is a tad dry and very spicy.

M- Medium to high carbonation and a light to medium weight body.

O- Overall this is a very good Christmas Ale. Very likeable and drinkable. A bit spicier than most-but thats how I like it. (662 characters)

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

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle out of a pub glass.

A: Pours a dark copper almost brown hue with a thin 1-finger head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace. Long stringy trail all the way own the glass.

S: Spicy malt and hop aroma fills the nose. Hints of caramel and cinnamon in the background.

T: Smooth and tart and much more bitter than sweet. There are some complex flavors here - including toasted malts, caramel, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

M: medium carbonation nd medium body and an alcoholic kick.

O: This is what a Christmas ale should taste like. A little on the tart side but tasty as can be. (617 characters)

Photo of ksimons
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a clear ruby amber with a fingers worth of white head that leaves some lacing around the top

S-smell is nice, high in the spices which is a good thing. Rich malts, sweet caramel and honey, and lots of spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)

T-the taste is a bit disappointing compared to the smell. Still get the rich malt backbone but the body could be a bit fuller. That said this beer doesn't lack for spices. I am tasting cinnamon and ginger and light honey.

M-medium body, medium carbonation. I wish the body was kicked up just a little.

Overall I think this is a good winter warmer, it has a lot to offer in terms of spices but I am not sure I would want another. The malt is heavy enough and the spices might become too much after a while. (753 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Thirsty Dog's 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale yesterday for $1.99 at The Lager Mill. I have liked every beer I have tried from Thirsty Dog so Far, so when I saw their Winter Warmer at the store I knew I had to give it a try, so let's see how it goes. No visible bottling date, but I know it's fresh. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks OK, but it is not that eye catching. It poured a pretty clear caramel amber color with a quarter of a fingers worth of white head that quickly faded to a very thin ring. The color is nice but the head is disappointing.

S- The aroma is nice and pretty and unique, the best way to describe it is as a mixture of holiday spices. The aroma has a medium amount of sweetness to it and has a pretty distinct earthy spice aroma with some nutmeg and chamomile sticking out the most. I don't really pick up any hops, all in all the aroma is nice and unique.

T- The taste mirrors the aroma nicely. It starts off with some toasted and caramel malts that have a medium amount of sweetness and impart a nice grainy brown bread like flavor that makes for a good base for this beer. Next comes the spices which are a pretty nice mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and chamomile, the combination makes for a pretty nice mixture of holiday spices that aren't too overpowering. The finish is smooth and has a light amount of bitterness with some of those spices lingering in the aftertaste. I didn't pick up any of the 8.3% of alcohol, it seems like the spices covered it up. The flavors were balanced well and the spice profile was enjoyable.

M- Smooth, a little crisp, medium bodied, with a high amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel fits this beer pretty well.

Overall I thought that this was a good Winter Warmer that had a little different twist on the traditional spice profile you get in most Winter Warmers and they weren't overpowering like some of them tend to be. This beer doesn't have the greatest drinkability, I think the spices would wear on me after more then one bottle, one of these is the perfect amount, after that it is time for something else. What I liked most about this beer was the spice profile and the balance, they were pretty unique and didn't get too out of hand, the alcohol was also hidden very well. What I liked least about this beer was the appearance, the color was nice but the head was pretty lack luster and was hardy there. I would buy a six pack of this too keep around for the holidays. but I couldn't see buying more then that. I recommend this beer to any Winter Warmer fan, the spices are there but they aren't over the top. This was another good beer from Thirsty Dog, I find the that the key with this style is the balance and thankfully this beer had the right amount of balance. Another solid beer from Thirsty Dog, I like the slight twist that they put on their beers to make them stick out a little, I'm down to try more of what these guys have to offer. (2,986 characters)

Photo of vrbulldog22
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I initially picked some up after hearing numerous people talk about 12 Dogs of Christmas vs Great Lakes Christmas Ale.
It pours dark amber, almost ruby when you hold it to light.
Smell isn't too bold, but it's festive, like Christmas.
Taste is very bold; ginger & honey dominate, cinnamon & nutmeg follow. The spices come out a lot more than I expected.
Smooth, but a little boozy.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, as a Christmas seasonal, I think it's great. (456 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted blind courtesy of Retail1LO, thanks again!

Pours a bright, clear and dark amber color with a thin but lasting off white head.

Aromas are tea like, earthy, candy sweet, with some hints of Belgian yeast.

Taste is sweet, with lots of spicy notes. Hints of ginger, bread, earthiness, and tea. Finish is crisp, bright, and dry with very slight hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth, with plenty of body.

Overall, this is a nice flavorful beer. I'm thinking this is a winter warmer of some sort. I'd happily drink this one again, this is pretty tasty. Sold B beer, just like 80% of every other beer on BA. (624 characters)

Photo of chinning
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been trying really hard to find a Christmas ale that I really like. Most are usually over spiced, and IMO, undrinkable. 12 Dogs is one of my favorite so far!
A: dark amber color. initially lots of head which reduced to a slight froth with a little lacing on the glass.
S: Nutmeg, malty sweetness!
T: as my wife would say: Christmas in your mouth! subtle spices, and a little sweetness
M: I really want to finish this 6-pack, but I know I'm going to feel it tomorrow!
O: I really enjoyed this beer. The spices are there, but not overwhelming. Very tasty! (560 characters)

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

Served from the bottle into a pint glass

A- Poured a dark murky brown color with soapy head that left no lace.

S- Blast of ginger, nutmeg, some cinnamon, breadiness, sweet malts, and caramel

T- Dominant gingerbread taste, some nutmeg, sweet caramel maltiness, and a pinch of cinnamon on the finish

M- Smooth, pretty high carbonation, but fuller mouthfeel for the style, kind of chewy

O- This is a nice Christmas ale. It gets compared a lot to the Great Lakes Christmas Ale, I give the edge to Great Lakes on this one, but I don't think they are very similar. 12 Dogs is much more gingerbread and nutmeg forward, while Great Lakes is more cinnamon forward. (661 characters)

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

Thirsty Dog : 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

Pours a deep clear amber with off white head and recedes to a fine layer. Aromas of brown sugar like malt, gingerbread, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the taste, more of the same, cinnamon, some nutmeg, sugary malt, faint date notes as well. Warming alcohol is felt but absent in the taste. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a small dry spice. Overall, a fine sipper and a good example of a winter warmer. (433 characters)

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

12oz bottle with no freshness date. I don't mind this as much when it comes to seasonals, but I believe that all breweries should still date their products.

Pours a murky brown color with reddish hues when you hold it up to a light source. Originally topped by one finger of light beige head, but has settled to a thin and spotty layer after about 10 minutes. Pretty good amount of lacing on the glass.

Very mild aroma of faint spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) along with a hint of honey and sweet malts. Very clean, as I'm not detecting any booze at all.

Sweet and malty body kick thing off. A very mild bitterness surfaces about midway accompanied by some flavors from the spices. The finish is both sweet and dry at the same time. Just a hint of alcohol at the tail end.

Medium bodied mouthfeel with a low carbonation level.

A pretty nice winter warmer overall. Good stuff.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is a pretty tasty winter ale. I was given a few bottles for free. Waited until the ground was snow covered to bust one out. Glad I got to try this. Might pick up a couple of bottles every year. (1,096 characters)

Photo of goblue3509
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish copper color with a one finger tannish head which gives way to skim and leaves little lace. The aroma is of nutmeg, cinnomon, and clove. The taste follows suit. There is a big nutmeg and cinnomon flavor. It is nice but not complex. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. Overall it is solid a good beer for the class but not the best. (357 characters)

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.87/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Too bad its the last bottle of my stash....

Pours a light brown with a thick half inch head that clings to the snifter. Head is off white.

SMells of spices, and lots of them! Nutmeg is everywhere, hints of allspice, ginger, and cinnamon. I like that ginger is the forefront, and ginger like the serve with sushi. mmm....

Well, all those spices in the smell are definitely there in the taste. And I like it! Ginger is in the forefront, with nutmeg, cinnamon , and allspice somewhere in the background but not forgotten. Grains are somewhere in the mix, but they fight a losing battle with the abundance of spices (and its a bit dry). A semi sweetness is there from the grain and possibly some candied sugar, but only in moderation.

Body is light, and the alcohol is lost in the spices. Just like Christmas Ale, it catches up to you at 8.3%. Ohio knows its spiced winter beers! (879 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Very little lacing.

S: The aroma was dominated by spices, nutmeg and cinnamon particularly.

T: Like the smell, the taste had a spice-heavy lean to it, with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg in it. Also a little malt and caramel as well. Not a bad flavor, but kind of one-dimensional.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a crisp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This isn't a terrible beer, but is definitely wildly uneven. (557 characters)

Photo of BrianOhio
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour produces a one finger head that doesn't linger too long. Cloudy, deep amber in color.

Aroma is very strong of nutmeg and clove. Taste follows suit - malty, with strong emphasis on the clove. I even pulled cloves out of my spice rack to confirm that is what I was getting. As the taste lingers, you do pick up some subtle ginger and honey. I had hoped to get some dark fruit notes in the finish, but did not.

If you are a fan of GL Christmas Ale, you will probably like this beer a bit, but in my opinion it's not as complex nor as good. Just too much clove for my taste. (581 characters)

Photo of bieltzc
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer was dark and amber in color. There was not much top to the beer, foam wise. I smelled some cinnamon but the smell was not as potent as the taste.
The taste was a very strong mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and nut meg. Not only were there many flavors but it was a crisp. The alcohol did not really linger in my mouth for too long. (339 characters)

Photo of rye726
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into my imperial pint glass. Nice looking beer, dark brown with a silky head. Nose has malts and some spices as well. What I like about this winter warmer is that it show cases the malts rather than the spices. Not overly spiced that is my dear boy. Nice medium body is well carbonated to boot! (328 characters)

Photo of JRed
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber in color with white head that develops a mist over top. Aroma of cinnamon, spices, caramel, and slight apple. Tastes of apple skins, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, then booze comes in and slicks the palate. Light in body with medium carbonation. A boozy winter warmer. (274 characters)

Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip at recommended 49 degrees serving temperature

A - Pours a darker amber with a tinge of mahogany. Small .5 finger head that dissipates slowly.

S - Good amounts of cinnamon, honey, a tinge of ginger, almost a good amount of caramel malt and a touch of dark fruit.

T - Actually a lot of clove and nutmeg in the taste, good amount of cinnamon in the middle, before fading into sweet honey and caramel malt. Pretty good.

M - Moderate carbonation, smooth, a little bit drying from the cinnamon.

Overall - I liked it a lot. This beer and GL Christmas Ale are often compared to one another. If you desire a sweeter Christmas Ale, go GL, if you want a little bit more malty and bitter one, then this one is for you. Both a fine in their own right. Solid winter warmer here. (806 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
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. (1,057 characters)

Photo of damndirtyape
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (1,991 characters)

Photo of Bonis
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (1,121 characters)

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