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12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale - Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

443 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 443
Reviews: 163
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.85%

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: 443 | Reviews: 163 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a hazy brownish red with a slightly yellowed head on top. Leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Loads of spices up front on this one. Nutmeg, cinnamon and clove all come to mind. Roasted malts add some sweetness.

T: As with the aroma there are a lot of spices in this beer. A well rounded sweet blend that doesnt overpower in any one direction.

M: Medium body with mild carbonation. Isnt too sticky on the tongue and has a fairly clean finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Overall this is certainly a winter warmer that defines the style. Great spice profile and very smooth body. Has the oomph of a strong winter beer with great drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 02:40:01 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of david131


4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 05:17:24 | More by david131
Photo of BB1313


4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a copper w/ bright white head and nice lacing. Smells like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and honey.. tastes the same. This is more on the sweet side, the hops are very fain. Finishes smooth and sweet. Drinkability isn't bad, alcohol is well masked, so it can become dangerously drinkable.. the sweetness holds it back a tad for me though.

This beer gets compared to GL Christmas Ale alot, alot of similarites. Thirsty Dog's is more of a dessert beer if you will. Christmas in a bottle. Perfect for the holidays.. recommened!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 22:56:15 | More by BB1313
Photo of CuriousMonk


4.05/5  rDev +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!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 19:38:14 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of BarryMFBurton


4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What’s a Christmas ale? Something with spice and lots of dark malt? Sure, we’ll go with that. And from what I hear, this is one of the quintessential examples of this pseudo-style – plus, it’s my first from Thirsty Dog, so I’m happy to tick them away.

Still have three months before this bottle reaches its best-by date; considering the season, I have a feeling this beer was brewed recently.

A: Body is a dark, crystalline amber with reddish tones; a finger-high head of creamy tan froth emerges slowly, falling to a sizeable pillow of retention. Lots of intricate lacing, thick and sticky.

S: Smells sweet and intricate: scents of honey, fudge, black licorice, and fruitcake abound, a nose full of holiday cheer. It has the character of a sweet holiday cookie, the malts like pastry and sweet pie crust; notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg also help give it a dead-on cookie character.

T: Lovingly sweet in holiday fashion, this palate is full of sugar cookie, cinnamon-sugar, toffee, honey, and even some mild peanut butter. A smooth ginger and pine hoppiness tightens up the profile, delivering a needed astringency to the heavy sugars while still keeping it within style. Floral flavors of chamomile and lemon zest appear over a little nutmeg toward the back end, giving this a finish of herbs and sweet honey.

M: Velvety thickness, but with a slight fizzy texture to it. A meaty drink, fitting nicely for this style.

O: Still not exactly sure how to describe a Christmas ale, but this is the best one I’ve had yet. I don’t know what it is, but this is a beer for the season – and one that will certainly put a smile on your face.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 02:52:13 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of bushbeer75


4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle - no dating noticed

Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale filled my pint glass with a dark amber body producing a 1-1/2 finger bubbly off-white head with good retention. Off-white lacing clung to the pint glass as I consumed the ale. The nose was hit with a blend of spices with cinnamon and nutmeg the most recognizable. The taste was right from the holiday season. First up was toasted and caramel malts followed by and dominating were the nice spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. A light touch of honey and ginger played a secondary role. Mouth feel was almost creamy with laid back carbonation and a pleasant warming finish.

12 Dogs of Christmas is just what the holidays ordered or for that matter anytime. I will have another!

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 18:40:15 | More by bushbeer75
Photo of malty


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

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!

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 21:19:04 | More by malty
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 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 BeerBuckeye


4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 19:09:56 | More by BeerBuckeye
Photo of ksimons

New York

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 23:46:32 | More by ksimons
Photo of PittBeerGirl


4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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 mdium 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.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2011 23:20:18 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of DeFaz


4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I found this is at Jungle Jim's near Cincinnati, and I'm assuming the bottle is old but I can't find a date. This is an enjoyable winter warmer that is heavy on spices but isn't overly sweet as some winter warmers tend to be. Specifically, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon, in that order, stand out. The smell is even better than the taste. The alcohol is concealed better in the taste than maybe any beer I've ever tried, and that makes this one dangerous, especially considering how easy it goes down. The mouthfeel is on the thinner side and the carbonation is fairly low. For as much as there is going on, it finishes clean. Overall, this is a very good winter warmer that I would probably enjoy even more during the right season. I can't help but compare this to Great Lakes' Christmas Ale, which is much sweeter and a bit better, but both are recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2013 17:47:51 | More by DeFaz
Photo of dirtylou


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, scooped a sixer at city-wide in downtown south bend. 4 of these were consumed from the cooler pre-ND/BC

appearance: served in an unmarked chalice, deep dark crimson body, light beige ring with minimal retention...plus a neat little label

smell: a heavily spiced ale - fresh grated ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, honey. there is also a fair amount of pine and some nice caramel

taste: not sure i'm on board with all the poor ratings of this one - this a very nicely spiced winter warmer. Loads of pine, excessive ginger, a bunch of cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg. the alcohol is really nowhere to be found other than the nice warming provided after consumption

mouthfeel: active spicing keeps the palate lively, medium body with hidden abv

drinkability: very nice - even worked as a tailgater!

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2009 02:22:51 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Frosty80


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours light brown. sits deep copper with a ruby hue

Smell: sweet spices and obvious honey soul. nutmeg and cinnamon clearly dominate the malty sweetnes.

Taste: taste translates well from aroma. very low hop presence. alcohol is well hidden. slight toasty presence. finish is clean and lightly sweet

Mouthfeel: medium body. smooth with low carbonation

Notes: very tasty brew reflecting the spirit of the season. light, sweet and spicy.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 05:30:47 | More by Frosty80
Photo of blackie


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: snifter serving, deep pecan brown in color and topped with a coat of carbonation that's replenished with each tilt of the glass

s: ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon over a mellow nutty brown malt body, spice dominant but in generally good harmony with the malt, reminiscent of a spiced holiday bread, after warming I can pull out some buttery honey - one of those "if you know it's there" deals, the beer guy recommended this as "the old GLBC Christmas recipe", and there's an obvious parallel between the two

m: carbonation around medium, only a touch fizzy, and a light-medium consistency

t: huge spice character - equal parts ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon over a dry brown malt body that shows glimpses of honeyed complexity but quickly moves to more nutty, dry malt flavors in the finish, hop flavor is low but a moderate bitterness closes things up as the spices linger on

d: no evidence of the abv, a little spicy for heavy drinking, but a comforting sipper on a cool Ohio night - one that I'd initially shied away from given the B rating but was thankfully given a push by the beer staff

six-pack from Heinen's in Chagrin Falls

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 01:37:11 | More by blackie
Photo of bamadog


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at The Comet during my first Hopnosis. Review is from notes taken on 12/3/09. Pour is from the tap to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a deep coppery color with a core of deep ruby; body shows strong carbonation and is relatively clear; starts with a thick and frothy one finger head that fades slowly to a full and thick skim; solid curtain of lacing is left on the walls of the glass.

Smell: Lots of warm cinammon dominates the nose; mild piney hop presence; slight sweet malty backing as it begins to warm a bit; frankly, it smells like Christmas ;)

Taste: Tons of the warm cinammon as I would expect from the nose, as well as the mildly sticky and piney hop presence that reminds you that you're still drinking an ale; the slight malty backing brings some balance as well to the warm cinammon and almost provides a bit of a cooling relief; slight twinge of alcohol as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Body is actually a little creamy in the mouth and the gums are left tingly; nice coating is left on the roof of the mouth and the belly is left warm.

Drinkability: Would be great for a cool winter night, probably my second favorite winter warmer/Christmas ale right behind Great Lakes. Not really a sessionable beer, but I would definitely get through a couple of these in a night.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2009 04:20:04 | More by bamadog
Photo of Nezzy


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red/Brown in color with a two finger head that is more toffee in color and not to fast to dissipate.

Smell: this will sound cheesy but smells of the holidays. 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 some slight carbonation but not too overpowering.

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

01-21-2010 01:37:30 | More by Nezzy
Photo of nrbw23


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 08:49:51 | More by nrbw23
Photo of Hoptometrist


4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2011 00:47:22 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of Ryan011235


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2010 03:29:23 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of sixerofelixir


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 18:50:40 | More by sixerofelixir
Photo of LordAdmNelson


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked this, but I don't see why people love GL Christmas Ale so much more than it. 12 Dogs of Christmas is almost the same beer in terms of flavor, as far as I am concerned. Pours a mahogany red with little off-white head. Nose is of spices with some sweet malt thrown in. Taste follows with spices, sweet malt bill, and more spices. Maybe a bit of herbal hops on the finish. Tastes like GL Christmas, but maybe a bit more refined. Decent mouthfeel, medium, ample carbonation. Decent drink overall, not a bad beer by any means, but I am a bit tired of all the Christmas beers by now.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2011 15:50:04 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of flexabull


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 05:41:01 | More by flexabull
Photo of vrbulldog22


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 22:16:20 | More by vrbulldog22
12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 443 ratings.