Christmas Ale - Sly Fox Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

31 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 31
Hads: 133
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 14.84%
Wants: 6
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 31 | Hads: 133
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from Sly Fox pours a deep red with some copper tints with a real nice fluffy head that leaves some nice lacing on its way down,aroma is of allspice and cinnamon with some light metallic hints.A real fine tasting brew cinnamon is the dominant taste I get with some light allspice notes a nice malty/bready backbone to makes it very appetizing.Gotta growler of it and now enjoying at home.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't had a beer that's really turned my head in a while, but this is one of them. The body is a clear auburn topped by a thin, creamy ivory head that holds quite well and leaves some lace throughout the glass. The aroma entices you with a combination of lightly sweet biscuity malt & gentle spices (cinnamon & ginger) that's reminiscent of gingerbread. The body is medium with a very fine & moderate carbonation that leaves it smooth & creamy in the mouth. The flavor is very similar to the aroma, starting with a soft biscuity malt that reveals some sweeter caramel/toffee and light chocolatey notes as it warms and the mild spices start to appear. But the true spice character appears just as you swallow, with a vast array of flavors bursting forth including cinnamon, ginger, all-spice, nutmeg and clove. This is where the beer offers some complexity - certain spices will appear more clearly to you with each further sip. The spices continue to swirl about the mouth in a gently lingering aftertaste that generally dries with some clove character. Hop bitterness is well-heeled to allow the spice to do its job. Amazingly well-done for such a difficult style. The spice is fresh and vibrant, yet delicate. Restrained balance is obvious, and the way that the spice flavors play-off of the malt character is exquisite. An exceptional holiday treat. I may have to find myself some holiday shopping to do in Phoenixville so that I can get another growler before it's all gone! Absolutely worth seeking out.

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Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Christmas Ale version

Impressive four finger head.  Settles rockily.  Appears clear.  The color is light brown. Despite holding the head exceptionally well, there's very little lace. 

Smells a little earthy, light yeast bite. 

The spice really shows up in the flavor (I didn't notice it in the smell). There's some earthiness and darker malt flavors. I can't detect any hop, but that's okay given the style. 

The body is as expected. 

Overall a classically, highly spiced winter ale. 

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Photo of woodychandler
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another Xmas in July Beer, courtesy of Scoats.

This had a huge, foamy tan head above a deep caramel brown color. It had an odd nose of malt, but underlain with a vinegar sharpness. It had a light to medium mouthfeel. It ws very malty in the mouth, but with a spicy bite like cinnamon and nutmeg, and perhaps allspice. As the beer warmed, the spices became more prevalent, both in the mouth and on the finish. This was very reminiscent of a pumpkin ale, with all of the spices going on.

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Photo of Billolick
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
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 weeare138
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas in July! Woo-hoo!
I don't even know why I ordered this. I know they were still trying to get rid of this nearing February and this seems to be the final attempt to salvage some bucks. At least they didn't just try to call it something else and hope that no one noticed. In any case...
Appears a dark amber with a tan head that fizzles out within a minute. Tiny lacing is left behind.
Smell is of a red ale that has lots of gingerbread, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice.
Taste is that of the smell with a malty sweetness complimenting the spices.
Mouthfeel is decent. Medium bodied and warming.
Drinkability is good. This is obviously much better suited for a winter offering. This makes me think of wearing a sweater in the Northeast cold and warming up by the fire.

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Photo of ccrida
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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 xnicknj
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the fox and hound in KOP - served in pint

Pours a mostly clear chestnut color with bright reddish hues. Fluffy beige head slowly fades away into a coating of film, leaving some patchy lacing on the glass.

Roasted malts with burnt sugar and dark fruit. Hints of raisin and cherry with cinnamon and a mild spiciness. Fits the genre, but thankfully doesn't go overboard on the potpourri of Christmasy spices.

Soft snap of wintery spice up front with cinnamon and brown sugar. Lightly sweet, mixed with apple and cherry with a dash of raisin. Malted backbone with caramel and bread crust. Finishes a little spicy and sweet with little warmth.

Lighter medium body, decent carbonation, a little chewy and crisp on the tongue. Slyfox is definitely hit or miss for me, but this was a pretty solid winter warmer.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a reddish brown color with a two finger off white head. The head has a good level of retention, eventually fading to leave a spotty amount of lacing.

Smell- The aroma is sweet and of Christmas cookies. It has smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mixed with these are some lighter notes of vanilla and a moderately strong sugary smell.

Taste – The taste starts out with a somewhat bready and doughy sweet taste. There is a strong brown sugar and caramel presence up front that are mixed with some flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. These flavors are soon joined by more spice flavors of ginger and clove with the sweetness seeming to increase ever so slightly. In the end a pastry like spiced cookie flavor are left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is slightly light in creaminess and chewiness with the carbonation level being just a bit above average. Something a bit more chewy may have been appropriate for the taste profile, but overall it wasn't too bad.

Overall- A good easy drinking brew with a nice flavor. It is worth a try if you have the chance to give it a go.

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Photo of Boto
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a copper color with just a hint of ruby. There was a fairly decent head, with some lacing. Good aroma of mulled spices. There is a medium to slightly full malt body, with a strong, but not overdone taste of the spices. This was very good!

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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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Photo of ummswimmin
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
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 blitheringidiot
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh from ‘da SlyFox growlah pours a dark ruby coppery glow under a well capped tight tan cap that leaves lattice lace in me pint.

Pumpkin pie scents dominate the nose with some blended cinnamon bun spices. Reminds me of a mince meat pie, but it’s in me pint. Ooo!

First Swigs: Tastes meet up with the aromatic qualities. Some sweet maltiness opens way to pumpkin pie and pie crust flavors. Plenty mixed spices scooch around. Palatable cider notes bananas and Vanilla ice cream.

Plenty of soft carbonation. If this were a perfect Winter offering, the body could be a twinge heavier and a bit more than 5.7% ABV for the fireplace session would send me past the holidays and into 2005.

Last Swigs: A great Winter Warmer interpretation. Another great beer from Sly Fox. Kudos to Brian O’Reilly Special thanks to fellow BA Shapudding for the offer. Reminiscent of Victory Festbier with more apple cinnamon.

Beer is good. Happy Holiday beering.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
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 Foxman
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It came to me a lightly hazy ruby brown, with a finger of light tan head that settled in its own time to a thin frothy bed. Lacing was plentiful and graceful.

The aroma carried an initial brace of malt, sweet and with caramel, before there arrived a busy mix of banana, toasted nuts, and pie spice, notable for cinnamon, clove, mace, allspice, and nutmeg.

Upon sipping, the malt again came first, sweet with caramel and light berries. An edge of spice took over promptly, bringing forth all that was promised in the aroma, with the nutmeg and allspice a bit more prominent. A touch of vanilla cropped up, lending a nice step down from the savory spice character, before a pleasant, rounded bitterness lingered smoothly at the finish. While perhaps a but too autumnally spicy for some tastes, it still delivers a warm, seasonal flavor.

A touch south of medium bodied, the malt sweetness and present spiciness combine to give more weight on the palate than originally anticipated.

OK, so I'm going to confess right upfront that the spices I found to be a bit busy, and not necessarily an unconditional asset, but they were kept in check just enough to make the entire presentation a fun enterprise. Granted, I might not rush out to find more, but what I had went down smooth, and it was a nice departure on a hot summer night. So kudos again for a saucy Sly Fox offering.

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Photo of pezoids
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear and bright ruby-cherry color without any noticeable head. Cherries and sweet fruit in the aroma with an apparent nuttiness. The flavor is spicy and dry and not that overly sweet. There’s some light cocoa and roasted notes along with a bite of alcohol. Dry finish and easy to drink. Not bad at all, but not overly complex.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at my first venture to Sly Fox - Royersford on 01.15.05.

While I was initially skeptical towards trying this one, I was turned in a hurry. Impeccible in its copper appearance with just a faint hint of bubbles, this ine had me scratching my head from word "go." I took in hints of clove, cinnamon and a faint trace of mulling spices...rather warming, actually. The initial sip was hardly what I would have expected...hardly harsh, and very smooth. One of, if not the most drinkable of the Christmas brews I have sampled and, if nothing else, this Ale in particular will get me to re-visit this style again, going forward.

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Photo of Goldorak
2.32/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2005 Bottle

Appearance: Festive brownish red, with a head of compact bubbles.

Smell: DMS Buttered popcorn aroma, you'd think this was brewed by Orville Redenbacher, if he were also baking banana bread.

Taste: Gingerbread men, pumpkin pie, banana bread. Don't get me wrong, I love all of those things, but just maybe not all blended together in liquid form. The spices were way too harsh and I just couldn't get over the smell.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good spiced beer. I can only describe it as a pumpkin ale with less nutmeg, leaving you with cloves. Some other spices I cannot make out. Let's be honest. You can't taste the pumpkin in pumpkin ales. I feel somewhat weird rating it so highly, because I have had better beers which I have rated lower. But for what it is trying to be, I believe it deserves the rating. It smells very good. It looks good. It tastes good. It was very smooth to drink.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.84/5  rDev +26%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear copperish color, with a thin off-white head that holds well/leaves a good lace. The aroma is a combination of bread/biscuity malt, clove, spices and hints of cinnamon. The same on the palate with some spices, ginger bread, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, emm, balanced flavor and tasty. Emm this stuff is so good. Nice recommendation Nero.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 edition seems they change every year

Appearance- amber red with thick tan foamy head,

Smell- really getting alot of all those holiday spices, cinnamon ginger and nutmeg, certainly smells like xmas

Taste- this beer is very true to what it claims to be which is a christmas ale, you just taste all those afformentioned spices so much, tons and tons of cinnamin and ginger all day, one could argue maybe its slightly overspiced but i think for the style its where it should be your not blindly searching for the flavors,

Mouthfeel- medium bodied yet very smooth and creamy, nice feel with low carbonation

Drinkability/overall- this beer is not really one i probably would say is extremely drinkable only in that the spice is so strong but i would say its very enjoyable and I did like it, its one i think I would visit again ocassionally

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Photo of magnj
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Someone picked this bomber up for me, not sure what to expect. This was the hardest corked beer to open I've encountered yet.

A - Deep amber bordering on brown in some places. The body is clear, huge head is dirty white and leaves stick lacing as it falls.

S - Spices dominate an otherwise malty brew. Smells like a gingerbread cookie.

T - Mostly spice up front, followed by a bocky malt character. Not real sweet, somewhat starchy vegetable flavor.

M/D - Somewhat thin mouthfeel, I expected it to be a bit bigger and sweeter(sticky). Easy to drink for the style @this ABV but gets boring. Wouldn't pick one up myself but I'm not a huge fan of the style.

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Photo of Billquirk
2.95/5  rDev -23.2%
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 DMXLOX22
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

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 Glennlawless
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
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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Christmas Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 31 ratings.