Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 176 | Hads: 640
Photo of IIKaRuII
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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! (390 characters)

Photo of nicholas2121
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale brewed by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, with an ABV of 8.30% This brew pours out a light brown color with an off white head. The smell is rich with spices and sweetness. 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale put you in the mind set of Christmas cookies. You also pick up a hit of grains and malts in the smell of this brew. The taste is rich with flavor, you pick up on the spices in this brew. There is cinnamon and a hit of pumpkin spice. This brew has a nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering in it. The mouthfeel is nice and clean. 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale is a great drinking brew. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company did a nice job with this one. I would buy this brew again. Overall I'm giving this brew a 4.25 out 5. (745 characters)

Photo of movingtrain
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat glass.

Pours a reddish-brown with a half finger tan head.

Aroma is of honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, light hops, bitter apple, brown candy sugar, and orange blossom.

Tastes is very spicy, with a thick honey flavor in the finish. Some cinnamon and nutmeg for sure. Malts are heavy in the flavor, with a peppery-sweet spice on the tongue. Hops take a back seat in this one, but play out a nice balance in the overall flavor.

Overall, this is a very good holiday beer/winter warmer. It's up there in alcohol content, but that doesn't really overpower in the flavor. The aroma is good, and much of that is tasted in the flavor. One of the best I've had so far this season. (703 characters)

Photo of ccahoon22
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 (275 characters)

Photo of OsuJohn
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (582 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 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 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 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 stercomm
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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 (526 characters)

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

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. (401 characters)

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

Single 12oz pour into pint glass from cellared 6-pack from 2008-09 season.

Dark, mahogany-colored liquid with thin white foam; white lace covers the inside of the glass as the beer is consumed. Nutmeg predominates, tempered by the sweet fragrance of ginger and mild honey. Well-balanced combination of seasonal spices, but not too sweet. Just enough honey to reign in the nutmeg and ginger. Aforementioned spices mix with cinnamon to bring forth a nicely seasoned ale. Sweetness is tempered and the overall flavor is kept tight and dry, eliminating that sticky, sugar-cookie cloying flavor that is typical of these offerings. For a high ABV brew, the alcohol is nicely balanced, testament to the brewers skill.
Overall 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale presents the seasonal category well but also is versatile to be sipped on any occasion. (832 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 8.3% abv. Pours a dark chestnut color. Some lighter amber edges. Thin tan head disappears immediately.

Pleasant aroma of spices with a caramel background. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and a whiff of ginger. Christmas like spices without being earthy. Just a slight hint of alcohol.

Caramel malt backbone gives way to some of the spices mentioned in the nose. A bit of sweetness up front that dries out near the end. Lingering cinnamon and nutmeg finish.

Medium body, good carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Very enjoyable. (530 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 bigdeuce
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a kinda thin head that goes down quickly, no lacing. Scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bristle through. Tastes very much as to what it smells like. Very pleasant and easy drinking with nice spices. Not a beer you can guzzle, but nice to have one around the fireplace. Deceptively strong, beware and be careful. True to the style of this spicey beer. (357 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 release. 12oz bottle into a stemmed chalice.

Pours a dark red color with an appropriate inch this head. Great aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon and other similar winter spices. The taste has a big amount of spice but no single spice dominates the palate... i get cloves, cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, coriander, ginger.. lots of toasty malts. Heavier side of medium bodied with mild carbonation. Definitely a slow drinker that would go great by the fireplace on a cold night.

Overall an excellent winter warmer that you should seek out if youre a fan of the style. Liked it a lot. (574 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (848 characters)

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. A reddish-brown color with a slight bubble to it. Minimum head. The smell is that of gingerbread, cinnamon and pinecones. The taste is quite sweet, so if you like your christmas beer on the hoppy side, this one may not be for you. The overwhelming taste, just like the smell, is the gingerbread, a touch of honey, & lots of spices present. My palate not being the most defined in the world tastes cinnamon with a mixture of other tastes that i can't quite pinpoint. No matter your palate though you can't get much closer to a taste that reminds you of Christmas. at 8.3% it's an easy drink and in my opinion is the most versatile "winter warmer" around, drink it Christmas morning as your family opens presents, enjoy it as a dessert beer after a holiday meal, or simply drink a couple to yourself as you watch a great sports game/movie/tv series etc on a cold winters day. Cheers (925 characters)

Photo of steve8robin
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in trade...

A: Dark Copper color with a thick 1 inch head that slowly fades.

S: Hard to get a strong scent. Scents you do get once you grasp it are honey with slight spices.

T: Very smooth. Slight hoppiness upfront with strong spices and a hint of honey. Not too overbearing on any flavor. Very good.

M: Not too crazy about the carbonation feel on this one.

D: Goes down very easy. A hint too watery for my taste, but otherwise, nearly perfect.

All in all, this brew surprised me. I didn't expect it too be as smooth and refreshing as it is. This is a great brew to have after a nice long winter day at work. Not too heavy or too light and very refreshing. Have this if you like the hoppiness to be masked some by flavor. (740 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a dark, semi-transparent brown with a fluffy, off white head that slowly fades out. Scattered bits of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of hefty amounts of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a touch of nutmeg. I'm not a huge fan of spiced ales but this one is pretty enticing stuff.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild earthy hop note coming through, along with the caramel, and cinnamon flavors melding into a delicious winter brew.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, balanced spicing with a warming alcohol sensation in the swallow. (586 characters)

Photo of DannyDan
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a brownish red amber color with a small white head that quickly disappears. It has decent carbonation, pretty good retention and decent lacing. The smell is a pleasant mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. When tasting it I get the cinnamon, and nutmeg with a little bit of honey followed by some cloves, and malts with a gingery after taste. It is a very well balanced beer, and can hardly taste the alcohol in it. It has a nice smooth feel to it that leaves a dry chalky feeling with some tart bitterness in the mouth, and it is quite drinkable for being on the dry side. I think that this may be the beginning of a new annual X-mas drink for me. Merry X-mas to all at Beer Advocate (even though I said it a day late). (737 characters)

Photo of GreenGoblinCC
4.12/5  rDev +7%
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! (402 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 Durge
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (520 characters)

Photo of beerman207
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first christmas beer. Great beer to start out with!

A: Pours a copper color with decent head

S: nutmeg comes through dominant on this and also some cherry?

T: Spices are great and the balance is perfect with some hoppiness in the back.

M: Very smooth. Goes down easy.

D: Wow. The alcohol is very well masked. You will feel it but you won't taste it. (365 characters)

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