Blitzen Holiday Ale - Maumee Bay Brewing Company

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Blitzen Holiday Ale
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BA SCORE
81
good

29 Reviews
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Reviews: 29
Hads: 55
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 13.07%
Wants: 2
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Maumee Bay Brewing Company visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Ellbert on 12-24-2003

Blitzen is a robust holiday ale specially brewed with Orange, Cinnamon, and Honey. Once each year we handcraft this tasty ale to celebrate the holiday season. It contains a masterful blend of dark malts, Willamette and Bullion hops and just the right amount of orange, cinnamon, and honey. Lightly filtered and bottled fresh this is the perfect beer for the holiday season.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 29 | Hads: 55
Photo of Ellbert
4.85/5  rDev +37.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was great. The appearance was a nice brownish color with a decent head that turned into a beautiful lace with a nice thin layer of foam to the last drop of the glass.

The smell was of nutmeg and other spices. Very nice.. it smelled just like Christmas.

The taste was great. I have never been a fan of the herb/spiced beers but this was magnificent. As I said, it smelled like Christmas... well, if Christmas had a flavor I would say that it tasted like this. There was the perfect blend of malts hops and spices in this beer... superb!!!

The mouthfeel was great... A nice amount of carbonation and a great body to the beer. Twas wonderful.

The drinkability was great. I had a pint and then my buddies and myself got a pitcher to split... I must go back and get a growler of this!!! (804 characters)

Photo of bigbubba
4.44/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2005 bottle of Blitzen. The beer is a nice clear dark amber with lots of red highlights. The head was small and was gone almost at once leaving a small ring around the glass. The smell is great, almost like a cinnamon roll, very appetizing. The taste is excellent, not too sweet with lots of different flavors. The cinnamon is the most obvious, there is a bit of chocolate and vanilla also. The hops are very light but they take the sweet edge off leaving a nicely balanced beer that lets it's unique flavors show. The beer is full bodied and smooth. Very easy to drink, in fact it is hard not to gulp it down.

I am a fan of only a couple Christmas beers and this is definitely one of them. (704 characters)

Photo of craigo19
4.44/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I had this year's version at the Brewpub and while it is not as good as Great Lakes' Christmas Beer or SN Celebration, it is still a very good beer. You can really smell the cinnamon and taste the blend of malts and spices. If you are in the Toledo area it is worth the stop at Maumee Bay Brewing Co. for a pint or three or maybe a stop at The Andersons or other store for a bomber. (382 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 offering, presented in a 22oz bomber...

Quite beautiful deep dark red color with thin, quickly dissipating head, even after a vigorous pour. Smells of sweet malt, honey, caramel, and hops, along with some spice. Taste was unexpectedly complex. Lots of honey and spices provide an immediately sweet sensation. Almost mead-like. Good blend of pale and darker malts balance well with a slight piney hop profile. Finish is sweet citrous and spice, with the honey hanging on til the end. The honey provides a thick mouthfeel, complemented by brisk carbonation. Although this is fairly sweet tasting, its surprisingly drinkable. Cheers to Maumee Bay for this one! I'll look forward to the 2005 offering. (705 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jjfoodie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is mix of honey, cinnamon, sugar and alcohol. The flavor is a mix of honey, dark fruit, cherries and cinnamon. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (262 characters)

Photo of hosehead83
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from "bomber" bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark tea color, with a nice, sturdy head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Orange and cinnamon notes.
Taste-Toasted malt, orange, cinnamon, and honey.
Subtle hop note. A bit light bodied for a winter warmer, but very fresh and flavorful and very easy to drink. A bargain and good value at $3.99 a bomber here in Toledo. (366 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, 2007 offering. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours an orange/copper color with a small off-white head. Not much head retention or lacing. Aroma is toasted malt, honey, orange and nutmeg. The bottle says there's cinnamon in the beer, but I don't notice it in the aroma. However, I do notice it in the taste along with nutmeg, toasted malt, honey, orange and a bit of hoppy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and has a bit above average carbonation. Drinkability is good, it has just the right amount of spice to make this interesting. I'll have to make sure to pick up a bottle of this next year. (652 characters)

Photo of bassmantin
3.92/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brownish orange with minimal head. The bottle says orange, cinnamon, and honey, and I definitely detect all three of those, with honey by far the strongest.

The malts taste very Belgian. This reminds me of the Sapient Trip-ale.

Pretty good. A little too much honey for my taste, but other probably won't mind that. Good mix of drinkability and flavor. (361 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a lovely plumb and amber color with a field of bubbles sustaining a light film of off white.

I took a sniff of this and my mind exploded with long-lost memories of passed relatives' fruit cake. There's a sweet and sticky base of zucchini bread, bananas, ginger bread and, well, fruit cake. There's a touch of coriander and cinnamon here, but what blows my mind is that it's all topped off with a dry brandy snap of alcohol. This one is just too much!

The tastes really shocks me as it is quite sour and pungent with a lightning bold of lime that steals the show. There's a softer beady sweetness, but this is decimated by what reminds me of lime rind and what appears to be all of the negative stinging qualities of cinnamon. Yikes! My tongue is all numb now. I'm also getting under-ripe oranges in the finish.

Feels dense and confident with a flash of carbonation. Again, this leaves me with an odd numbness that I don't really care for.

Yup, this one's a "huffer." Just sit around and smell this one for a while and it will pay off. (1,055 characters)

Photo of chilidog
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I nice holiday find as these bottles seemed to fly off the shelf rather quickly. With-in two weeks plus they were all but gone. If you see the 08, grab it when you see it.

It pours a good copper-like red. Carbonation is average for the off white head that does fade and does-not lace.

The aroma is of Chistmas spice that favors cinnamon and nutmeg.

The taste carries the aroma hints with added citric orange and honey. A good malty base brings the beer home.

Mouthfeel I thought was alittle thin as was the alcohol, esp. for a winter seasonal. But for something thats easy to drink and manage, say for holiday gatherings or a meal, this beer is easy to handle, drink, and goes well with alot of foods. (705 characters)

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

something on a cool day to throw back to xmas times.. carried this bottle back with me from the brewpub. 22oz pours a christmasey clear red, like mulled cider. no head or carbonation except for a ring of bubbles. smells spicy.. orange essence and pine needles are big in the nose. tastes like a mix between potpourri and perfume. think of iced herbal tea with generous portions of clover honey. cinnamon adds a nice bitterness as does clove and anise. nice and light but super spiciness limits drinkability.. this would be the perfect bottle to split into 8oz pours on christmas eve before bedtime.. i will be sure to acquire a bottle for this purpose. one of the more creative and adventurous xmas beers ive ever encountered.. (727 characters)

Photo of Brenden
3.77/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a clear coppery amber. At first there's absolutely no sign that a head ever existed, to the point of first concern and then wonder. As it turns out, our new waitress was concerned that head was a bad thing. Okay. Anyway, I got a bit of head when I got another, but it was thin and little lacing was left behind.
Surprisingly, the aroma was weaker but didn't suffer from being overly spiced, but the flavor was improved. With my bottle review, the concern was an overabundance of spicing that detracted from the beer aspects, but here it all evens out. Improved scores result in aroma and flavor. The rest is the same as my bottle review. The improvement in flavor does increase drinkability, though. (712 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After a visit to Toledo, my bro brought back a few bottles from Maumee Bay. This was the best of his selections.

Pouring a nice copper color, the ale produced a healthy head in its pint glass. Immediately, a massive honey aroma was present. The very sweet aroma was attractive to the senses. The initial taste brought a strong dose of honey along notes of orange. It would be accurate to describe this beer as tangy because of the level of orange flavor. Leaving a nice coat on the tongue, the tangy sensation lingers. In the after taste, the cinnamon really throws a strong punch to the back of the throat. It almost borders on being spicy, though it is certainly not too overwhelming.

As a fan of winter warmers, this is a pretty solid effort. I would certainly drink this again. (784 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.66/5  rDev +4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper in color, light white head of 2+ fingers. Lacing is nice.

Aroma is nice and malty, with a hint of yeast and citrus, honey and a bit of that cinnamon.

Tiny bit of tart on the taste, with some honey sweetness and malts. Some nuttiness, and sweet citrus along with some yeast.

Very upper light in body, creamy, smooth and slick. Carbonation is elevated.

Drinkability is good. A very different take on the style, but it's not bad and very drinkable despite. (472 characters)

Photo of beveritt
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Presentation: Poured from a brown bomber into a standard pint glass. Silk screened label shows a head on shot of a reindeer.

Appearance: Pours with under 1 finger of light tan head. This dissipates to nothing quickly, leaving no lacing behind. The beer itself is a slightly reddish brown and perfectly clear. However, the last 1/4 of the bottle brings much chunky sediment.

Smell: Sweet malt and honey aromas upfront with slight sourness in the finish. Some hints of cinnamon and bitter orange peel.

Taste: Mild malt with overtones of cinnamon and clove. Fairly middle of the road and unexciting here.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation. Body is pretty good.

Drinkability: Nothing special on this one. Not disappointed I bought it, but not something I will seek out again. (797 characters)

Photo of shroompod
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 version

Pours with a small head no lacing , decent red color.

Aroma of citrus , some bourbon like alcohol tones.

More citrus , and the nutmeg comes though on tasting. Alcohol is apparent.

Mouthfeel is medium , not as sweet as I'd expect. Under carbonated.

Overall a pretty easy drinking beer I'd like to try out fresher. (332 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. Polished persimmon with a generous infusion of cherry juice. Quite a few winter warmers end up this color (which I love). The khaki colored cap was two fingers to start and looked acceptable enough. However, it's fizzing away fairly rapidly, doesn't look wonderful while doing so, and is leaving the glass untouched. Not the world's best start.

Other than the four basic ingredients, Blitzen contains orange peel, cinnamon and honey. Only the second of those is appreciated in the nose. This is a pretty good sniffer and makes me think the flavor will pull its weight as well. Let's see.

Blitzen needs some help pulling the winter warmer sleigh, but gets the job done in the end. Even those who don't love spice-added ales should do fine with this one since the added cinnamon, while noticeable, isn't exactly in-your-face. Easy for me to say, since I like that particular spice in my holiday beer.

The honey-like sweetness isn't overdone either. Besides, it's offset to some extent by a modest bitterness from Willamette and Bullion hops. The orange peel gets lost in the mix. The citric-like tang that's present is more lemon than orange. Warming brings nothing new to the party.

I've seen the ABV quoted as anywhere from 6.0% to 7.1%. Given that, the mouthfeel is at least medium, if not a bit bigger. The added honey is probably the reason why. A few more bubbles would have added more life and more mouthfillingness.

All in all, Maumee Bay's 2008 version of Blitzen is an acceptable winter warmer that needs a few changes in order to enter the big leagues. While I don't regret spending $4.99 for the bomber, I won't be doing so again. Love the silk-screened bottle. (1,690 characters)

Photo of movingtrain
3.44/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 ounce bomber sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

Bottle says this is brewed with orange, cinnamon, and cloves. No ABV noted on the bottle.

Pours an amber color with a thing white head and decent carbonation.

There is heavy spice in the nose--cinnamon, orange peel, honey richness, dark fruit, sage, dark candy sugar, and grainy malts.

The flavor is quite rich...very spicy. There is a bit of a funky flavor in this which is not harmonizing well with the seemingly pleasant spices. It's like holiday spice and stinky socks, an odd balance of spice and funk. There are hints of cinnamon, caramel, allspice. The body is sweet and malty, and oddly funky.

Overall, a decent beer from Maumee Bay. They keep trying more and more things, as recently I saw they had an IPA on store shelves in bottles in Maumee. I like that they are expanding their available beers to the public, not just at the brewpub, as they are capable of making some very good beer. Blitzen is a fine Winter warmer, good and local. (1,000 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle courtesy of raznug!

A- Body is a muddy murky brown color. Pours with a small off-white head that immediately fades completely. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-Smells like a nice, spicy winter warmer. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins hit the nose first with a big malt and slightly yeasty backbone.

T-Upfront is a big dash of spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon which balance with the fruity raisin flavor. In the background is a big dose of biscuty malt and yeast. Spices come through more for this finish along with a hint of alcohol. Some spiciness lingers.

M- Medium tingly carbonation and a body loaded with biscuty malt and yeast consistency. This is a consistency which I have found in many beers of many different styles that I am not a fan of.

D- This is overall a nice winter warmer as far as flavor and smell are concerned, but the mouthfeel brings it down a notch. Other than that; this beer has a lot going for it. Its something that isn't overpowering, but one has to try hard to ignore. Definitely worth a try but I probably won't be having this again. (1,089 characters)

Photo of JDV
3.32/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Kryptic. Thanks for this extra!
Clear amber pour. Spicy nose of cinnamon, honey and citrus. Taste is sweet but drinkable and flavors of cinnamon orange and honey are all definitely present. This was nicely spiced and I enjoyed this one. (256 characters)

Photo of kegger22
3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maumee Bay Blitzen was a copper color with a two finger beige head that displayed decent retention.

What came through strongest in the aroma was the cinnamon, maybe a little orange in the background.

The taste was orange (as in orange soda), honey added to the sweetness, but over-carbonation defeated the taste buds attempt to go any further.

The mouth feel was medium bodied and, as mentioned, over carbonated.

The drinkability was OK; it suffered some from the mouth feel.

It would have been nice to have fallen in love with a beer brewed in Toledo, just a few miles away. But such was not to be the case. (618 characters)

Photo of GordonQuid
3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured Blitzen's ale into a freshly washed pint glass. Poured a cloudy amber with a one inch white head that quickly reduced to a ring with slight lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malt, orange zest, cinnamon, clove and some other mulling spices.

You can really taste the sweetness of the malt. The orange zest and clove are the most apparent spice. The orange and cinnamon linger in the aftertaste.

I would say this is medium bodied with a slightly below average drinkability. (479 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.06/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Goofy silkscreened bottle with a reindeer and lots of text.

Murky orange with a collar of lacing. End of the bomber so there was more sediment than usual. Opaque orange with a thin layer of foam across the surface.

Lager derived aroma, some light spice, mostly nutmeg. Sort of odd and swilly from the beginning. Some orange peel comes out at room temperature after sitting with it for a bit.

Big butterscotch diacetyl notes, sweet with some lingering spice: cinnamon and nutmeg. Not much malt present at all, dominant spices and sweetness. Low to medium carbonation, the sweetness keeps the drinkability low unfortunately. The lack of depth is a dealbreaker, and not conducive to drinking much of it. (706 characters)

Photo of atomicbeer
2.99/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up at the Maumee Bay Brewpub downtown Toledo. Poured from a bomber into a mug. Hazy brown-orange color with a thin yellowish off-white head. Very little aroma at first. Pick up a bit of boozy candied orange and malt and very faint cinnamon notes. Very sweet almost cloying malt flavor backed by just a bit of orange and a whisper of cinnamon. With warming pick up more of the malty aroma. Not really getting any of the honey aroma or flavor unless its additive to the sticky malt. Not real sure to make of this one, got its pluses and minuses. 16 oz may have been enough. (578 characters)

Photo of SerialHiker
2.87/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a deeper, reddish copper color…medium transparency…a thin layer of off white head did form , but nothing really to write home about…(3/5)

Smell: Holiday spices and candy sweetness right off the bat, though I wouldn’t call it lively…basic sweet malt undertone…light cinnamon aroma…again, nothing overly special about it, basic holiday ale smell…more sweetness does come out as it warms, which is nice…(3.25/5)

Taste: Rich, sweet malt…cinnamon & sweet dark cherry candy play way background…orange peel shows up later, but to varying degrees with each sip…earthy hops play complimentary role, very malt forward…mild alcohol heat…there really isn’t anything to this flavor and is rather mediocre…some sourness…(2.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light body but does fluff up much more than expected…orange peel resin on my lips…wet and watery…mild hops bitterness…(3.25/5)

Overall: Well, this is a mediocre beer at best…it’s not bad, but there’s nothing really good about it, except maybe the mouthfeel, that’s surprisingly nice…it’s got the basic winter warmer/Christmas ale flavor, which I do like, but this is a non-descript brew that I’m pretty sure I won’t try again…(2.75/5) (1,242 characters)

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Blitzen Holiday Ale from Maumee Bay Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.