12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

very good
184 Reviews
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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale

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: 184 | Ratings: 706
Photo of 2x10
2.21/5  rDev -43%
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

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of stakem
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of goldennectar
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Amesjeep
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of McNealc31
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

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Photo of Ryanm1
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.28/5  rDev -41.2%
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.

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Photo of barleyroad
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of dorianmarley
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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!

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of ckollias
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of ksimons
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of vrbulldog22
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of flexabull
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of chinning
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
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!

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.88/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Morey
3.88/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.88/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.87/5  rDev +25.5%
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!

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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 184 ratings.