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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 173 | Hads: 380
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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Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger and a half high dense light beige colored head that gradually died down but left a large pillow of bubbles in the center of the glass, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: The smell has a mixture of Christmas spice aromas in the nose—nutmeg and gingerbread seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather spicy but has a gingerbread-like sweetness and is almost like having a liquid gingerbread man.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this to be a nice Christmas winter warmer that had a good balance between the malty sweetness and spices—neither of which really stood out in particular. It is a nice choice for the holiday season.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
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 +5.1%
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 FickleBeast
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can poured into a nonic.

Pours a clear ruby brown color with a finger of foam that laces nicely. Aroma is redolent of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove. Reminds me of a gingersnap cookie.

First sip is a rush of holiday spice flavor. The spices really overpower any other flavors. Ginger and clove are the most dominant, and not much else really comes through. Dry finish.

Another overspiced winter warmer. Not bad, but not something I'd drink again after I finish this 6 pack.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A CAN into a plain pint glass. Scooped this up as a single.

Blood orange with some light brown tints woven in, Sly Fox Christmas comes off with an inch of off tan colored foam that fades and leaves no stick. A ring around the glass is all that remains on the way down. Smell is big on cinnamon and ginger. Smells like it will come off sweet. There is a whole lot of spice that blends with some caramel from the malt. Not really picking up any hops in here. Smells like a big winter warmer. Taste wise spice rules, I get a lot of ginger and cinnamon, a small hint of cocco, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I am not a fan of ginger in beer, but the other ingredients mutes it a bit. Body is dead on medium with a light hit of carb on the tounge. The aftertaste is spice filled but does not stick on the tounge long, which makes this easier to take as the malt brings a sweetness towards the end. An enjoyable Winter Warmer, full of spice, full of flavor, not hard to drink at all.

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Photo of One_Man_Gang
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

really good seasonal Christmas beer.

color was a dark, clear amber.

head was decent, good fit for the style. not abundant at all.

smell was very good. lots of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, all of it is upfront and smells great.

taste follows the smell. not one spice is overpowering, all seem to blend very well. no real hop profile.

texture was thin and carbonated well.

overall a very enjoyable seasonal beer. smell and taste were lively. i really enjoyed it, and i am not a fan of this style.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark amber with a nice tan head

S-vanilla extract and gingerbread. Almost syrupy. Sour cream? Not digging the smell.

T-comes in with a decent taste of vanilla cream on gingerbread, along with some nutty grains. It's a decent taste. No off or adjunct flavors. The after-taste has more of the buttercream along with welcomed dark Belgian sugars. I like it. It's a novelty brew, but it comes together.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a dry finish

O-I wouldn't say this qualifies as a winter warmer. Due to so many novelty flavors, I'd just say its a herbed/spiced ale. It's fun though. Women are sure to like it. Something that'll pass well on the local taps. It's worth a try.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
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 justintcoons
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint.

Deep reddish amber with 1-2 fingers of tan head. Good retention and low carbonation.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar cookies and caramelized brown sugar.

Oh yeah, this tastes like sugar cookies. Besides that there’s notes of caramelized brown sugar and buttery breads. Nutmeg and cinnamon are the most prominent spices as well as touches of allspice.

Medium-full bodied, creamy and crisp.

Easy drinking Winter Warmer. Not cloying. This really does taste like sugar cookies! :)

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Split between two people. Shared back in Dec. 2011. Reviewed from video notes. DFH Signature glasses.

A: Pours out a reddish, chestnut color. Tons of big frothy off white head on this one. It actually almost jumped out of the glass. Bottle conditioned much? The head left some sticky lacing bits.

S: Get all the spices: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc. The cookie spices. It smells sweet. I don't get any hops or bitterness from the nose. Maybe some yeasty notes.

T: Taste follows the nose. It tastes like Xmas. Lots of those spices, cookie notes. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and I guess the all spice is there. Clove sticks with you for a while.

M: Probably light to medium bodied. More medium. Lots of carbonation from the bottle carbo.

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