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Christmas Ale - Sly Fox Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Christmas Ale
Picture being approved.
very good

173 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 173
Hads: 380
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 14.63%
Wants: 6
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 11-24-2002

This malty, full-bodied red ale is made with traditional mulling spices: Ginger, Clove, All Spice, Cinnamon & Nutmeg. If this one doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, you truly are a Scrooge.

Bottled: 16.0 OG | 16 IBUs | 6.5% ABV

Canned: 14.0 OG | 16 IBUs | 5.5% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 173 | Hads: 380
Photo of Billquirk
2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not the type of Christmas Ale I was hoping for. The mouthfeel was extremely thin, and the taste was overpowering in the nutmeggy-ginger side, but not at all in a good way.

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Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brown color with one inch head. Cinnamon, clove, nut and ginger dominate. Good light bodied ale with moderate carbonation. A good holiday beer.

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Photo of kilo_005
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Version - Poured from a can into a pint glass.
A: Reddish copper color - the color is nice. Small head, some lacing.
S: Obviously a lot going on here given the style. It's just various spices you would use in Christmas baking - cinnamon, ginger, etc. I think the strongest smell is ginger.
T: The key to this beer that makes it good is that even though there's tons of, well, adventurous winter flavors, the beer itself is not overwhelmingly sweet. You get hit with the flavors initially, but the after taste is just like a slightly bitter ale. I think this is good, because I don't want a really sweet beer like some are of this style.
M: Good - light carbonation and good slightly bitter aftertaste.
O: If you want a beer in this style that isn't too cloyingly sweet, this is the way to go. Plus the cans are certainly festive !

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Photo of Hired_Goon
2.92/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I really liked the 2013 version of this beer. I picked up a six pack of cans of the 2014 version. I'm hoping that maybe I just got unlucky as it was not very good. Kind of tasted like Budweiser with a hint of cinnamon.

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Photo of DMXLOX22
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

Picked up the 2014 version of this brew at my local establishment, Civera's in Drexel Hill. Let's see how this brew goes on Thanksgiving eve.

Appearance: Pours a copper brown, deep red. Leaves behind a quite impressive head that is about an inch thick after pouring and dissipates kind of slowly as the brew goes down and leaves a decent lacing on the way down.

Smell: Upon first sniff, the aroma gives off cinnamon, some light allspice and some light biscut-like aroma. Further inspection of the aroma, I get more cinnamon and very light nutmeg-like and other gentle spices. Very little gingerbread aroma. Not too bad. Nice and somewhat balanced.

Taste: Upon first sips, I can detect some light allspice, also some light biscut-like flavors. Second and third sips, I can detect the nutmeg and cinnamon which isn't too bad and smooth and come creamy flavors. Sweeter caramel and some toffee flavors also comes through as the brew goes down.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with a medium body. Goes well down the slower you go. Not too bad aftertaste, not very dry at all.

Overall: Coming into this brew, I was glad I grabbed it since I missed last year's version. Not too bad upon first pour and inspection. Smell and taste matches up pretty consistent and go well and well-balanced. I was quite satisfied with this brew, but the flavor was a bit overpowering. I would maybe try again maybe on a colder night. I would recommend to a friend. Cheers!

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Photo of Billolick
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can, Best By 03/24/14 printed on the bottom of the can.

Pours darker amber, minor khaki head, leaving a smattering of fine bits of scattered lacing.

Cinnamon dominates the nose as well as the palate. Hints of ginger but mostly cinnamon and more cinnamon. Too much cinnamon. Meh, not my favorite winter warmer, over spiced and under malted.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75


Pours clear reddish brown with a yellowish head. Retains as a film.

Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and biscuit malt.

Biscuit malt with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.

Medium to thin body with tingly carbonation on the tongue.

Pretty tasty winter ale with good spice flavor and aroma, worth a try but could stand to have a fuller body.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted into a 22oz glass. Pours a clear amber color with a soapy white head. Aroma of cinnamon and spice. In the taste, doughy malts, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Has a semi sweet caramel malty ness and a dry spice. Medium bodied with a dry finish. Overall, a really nice cellar treat. Delicious.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sampling a cellar temp can poured into a tulip glass. The can is a gift from my brother for CHristmas.
The beer pours a deep mahogany color with ruby highlights. There is a dense creamy eggshell head of 2 cm foaming up and it fades to a thick edge layer and wispy islands in the center.
Aroma is sweet and spicy, I get rich nutmeg and cinnamon mixing with a sort of apple cider sweetness. Some brown sugar and bready notes as well just like a apple crumb.
First sip reveals an average body and smooth silky texture. Fine tingly carbonation that tickles on the palate after each sip.
The flavor is sweet and spicy just like the nose with caramel and brown sugar, sweet nutmeg and cinnamon that lingers on my palate.
A very nice beer that is sweet and may be too much if you dont like that, but I enjoy it and find it easy to drink.

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Photo of 57md
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a reddish copper with a half finger of head that dissipated quickly. Seasonal spices abound in the nose. I also swear that I smelled a hint of evergreen tree. The flavor profile is a nice balance between malt and seasonal spices, especially gingerbread. The finish is quite dry and tinglingly hoppy.

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Photo of candcholt
3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tastes like gingerbread.

Feels a little heavy. Typical heavily spiced winter warmer. Fun to drink and hand out at the holidays, but nothing stupendous.

I have a lot of respect for Sly Fox, and tend to really enjoy the vast majority of their brews, but so far, haven't been impressed by their Christmas Ales.

The can itself is really fun, with an embroidered look, and a place to write To: and From: if you're giving as a little gift.

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Photo of ccrida
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 version of the 750 ml corked and caged bottle, poured into my new Steelers shaker pint for xmas. Appearance is caramel brown with a light tan head leaving light sticky lace.

Smell is sweet malt and mulling spices, exactly as advertised.

Taste is pretty good, surprisingly! I find spiced beers tend to be heavy handed, especially with the strong nose, but the integration and balance are pretty good. Somewhat lithe in fact.

Mouthfeel is light and very dry.

Drinkability is pretty good, a solid Xmas beer with just enough spice to bring the cheer without the pain! Still, one 750 is enough for me, for the year.

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Photo of rudzud
2.56/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a crystal clear light almost garnet hue with a thin half finger tan head that faded quickly to leave a thin, thin halo and light wisps. Pretty underwhelming.

S - Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sweet malts. Gingerbread...almost smells like a fake pumpkin beer. Yippie...

T - Taste is all spice notes. Ugh. It's like a drinking pumpkin pie spice. Just waaay too heavy handed on the spices here. It overpowers the malts...which actually is impressive when you think about it.

M - Mouthfeel is sharp, lightly spicy, rather watery though.

O - Overall, I've had my fair share of winter warmers, and this was basically just winter spices in a wine cooler. Quite unpleasant.

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Photo of BWED
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Can poured into a craft pint

A- Semi-hazed reddish brown. Yellowish head shows with a little retention.

S- Molasses and gingerbread. A pretty nice aroma. The molasses really sticks out.

T- Spices mostly, with a little sweet malt.

M- Spice lingers in the feel. A little too much.

O- The aroma of this beer was promising, but it came down to too much spice for me.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Can o'Sly Fox Christmas 2013. Poured into a pint glass.

Red copper color with a half an inch of tan foam. The head retention is average to meager. Actually, it's fizzing out a little fast.

Spice-o-rama, which I know it's what it's intended to be, but... jeez. Glogg-like, with obvious cinnamon, allspice, clove, and nutmeg. Has hints of candied ginger and cardamom. Birch-y maltiness offers roast, but not strength. Smells good, like a cherished Christmas memory.

Malts show up with an English twist, as there're some spoiled fruits in the parlor. But, the triumph belongs to the spices, which overtake the beer. Cinnamon and allspice, so big, it's dusty. Clove has a potency about it that doesn't irritate me because the cinnamon is so huge. If it weren't for the other mulling spices, I'd call this cinnamon spice beer. It tastes like Christmas Eve baking aromas, but the malt/hop combo of beer is getting lost. Ginger is still taking a back seat, and a spicier heat would take the edge off of the sweet dustiness and cocoa nuances. Needless to say, it's not very warming for a Winter Warmer, but the flavors imply something you'd want to cozy up to. I don't know, it seems overdone. It's definitely over-spiced or under-malted. No recognizable hop flavor, only latent bitterness. Roastiness is mild, in actuality, and needs some focus. Aside from some figgy tones, the malt base is rather muted.

Drinks with a happy glug-glug. Carbonation is middle-of-the-road... standard fare. No real warming alcohol, but I can taste it mildly.

I think I've liked this one more in past years. Or, my expectancy is heightening. Hard to say. It's another average craft warmer, at an oxymoronic, near-sessionable ABV.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.16/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Tulip glass.

A - Deep amber with an inch light brownish velvet textured head.

S - Cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice. pretty much smells like your typical pumpkin ale haha.

T - Very mild notes of everything in the nose, some earthy hop bitterness at the end.

M - medium carbonation, super smooth.

O - This beer really didnt have much to it, but the flavors were nice ( what i was able to get from it ) just a super mild almost session like beer. average.

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml split and poured into a snifter. Expired 10/22/12 per bottle. Talk about hard to open.

A: Pours a very opaque dark orangish ruby with a full three finger lightly tanned head. Doesnt leave any lacing. Some visible chunks floating in the body.

S: A good deal of spice. Clove, cinnamon, allspice still very well rounded. Lots of graham cracker crust characteristics. Brown sugar in there as well.

T: Not an overload of spice, a well done and nice blend. Hints of sweetness round it out nicely. This is a balanced beer, perfect for a winter warmer.

M: Fairly light body with medium carbonation. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel but really none too heavy. Isnt too sticky from the sweetness but finishes rather clean.

Overall for a light ABV beer this one has held up pretty well. Any of the rough edges that may have been present earlier have melded together leaving a balanced brew.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a crystal clear deep ruby red. The beer is practically christmas red. Two fingers worth of tightly packed off-white foam quickly dissolve. A touch of lacing left on the glass.

S - the nose is especially festive. The spices do dominate mostly cinnamon and clove. Toasty and bready malt character add a cake like element.

T - bready, toasty and caramel malts up front. Dusty cinnamon and spicy clove enter mid palate and only intensify as it warms on the tongue. Finish is quick dry and spicy.

M - medium bodied with a fairly smooth texture. High, bubbly carbonation.

O - a nice christmas ale. On the easy drinking side with plenty of spice character. Good stuff.

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Photo of atr2605
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A-pours a caramel amber color with an off white head with decent retention
S-cinnamon, clove, ginger, brown sugar. basically smells like a big gingerbread cookie
T-The medley of spices continue in the taste followed with some suppressed sweetness, finishing with hop bitterness and lingering spices
M-medium bodied
O-definitely a spice driven winter warmer, and I think a good one if you dig that in the style. Not overly unique but a pleasant beer to enjoy on a wintery day.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this as part of a beer incentive program at my local bar.

The coloring on this one was a darker brown with a pretty healthy amount of foam on top. The lacing was minimal in my pilsner glass.

Aroma was kind of minimal off of this beer. You get some decent spicing from the beer. The flavor has more spice, but the flavor is lighter than you would expect.

Overall this makes for an easy-drinking winter warmer. Not bad as an introductory version to the style.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.91/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Winter warmers are not usually my favorite beer. This is my first one for this winter season and I have no plans on trying another. That being said this is a pretty decent beer. I would say the only problem is that the flavor profile is so thick it's almost too chewy and there are too many spices in the mix. Nose is really nice, but overall, a bit too heavy. Could be thinned out.

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Photo of tone77
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a caramel color with a 1 inch head. Smell is full of spices, mainly cinnamon. Taste is also a lot of spice, some malt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Good job of capturing holiday flavors. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sam adams glass, color is amber, with very nice clarity and transparency; head is light tan/off white, presenting 1/2" thick then dissipating to a ring, but some nice lacing.

Smell is subdued at first, mild cinnamon, clove and other spices; some lighter toast and caramel malts.

Taste is a crisp and not cloying winter warmer mixture, not heavy on the malt sweetness which helps accentuate the spices, most cinnamon, solid ginger with lighter clove and allspice; flavors mix well and hint at the flavor of ginger snap.

Mouthfeel is very crisp, a little sharp with spices on the tongue but not overly sweet - a good balance for a winter warmer.

Overall, a very solid winter warmer, I like this take with less emphasis on the strength and more focus on light malt flavors to backup a heavy spice profile.

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Photo of SeamusDoyle
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color from a cork finish 750ml bottle. Large sized white foamy head. Aroma is ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. A medium bodied ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Lots of brown sugar and molasses flavors, as well as all spice. Malty and fairly sweet, but kind of balanced by the spices. Lively carbonation. Nice Christmas beer. Mouthfeel is full and the finish is clean and smooth with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at Pizzaria unos last night and came out kinda of bland and flat. A clear copper color but a small head and no carbs.
Aroma was bold spices that was pretty assertive. Lots of cinimmon nutmeg ginger brown sugar and that sort of thing.
Taste is similar with a bold assertive spice over a malty rich base. To me it's abit over spiced.
Feels thin on the palette and a bit dry.
Good and easy drinking but all those spices would limit me to a few probably.

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Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 173 ratings.