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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

922 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 922
Reviews: 385
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 17
Gots: 106 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-28-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 922 | Reviews: 385
Reviews by avylover:
Photo of avylover
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a very dark brown, with very little head, alot like a barleywine. aroma is highly reminiscent of a brown ale -with a chocolatey nose up front and some malt and a strange lemony zest in the background. This is a very different winter ale. It tastes and feels alot like stone's 8th anniversary brown ale, sans lemon zing.I really enjoy the chocolatey taste up front but the lemony zing in the aftertaste is a bit unwelcome. Quite drinkable for a beer this big and a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel. If you don't like SNCA - then this may be for you...I'll stick to my hops, thank you.

More User Reviews:
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Has a kind of wintery feeling to it, good for those family gatherings you really hate. But - it isn't so high in alcohol that you'll be stumbling around, tripping over a string of christmas lights, embarrassing your wife and validating the dislike the inlaws have always had for you. Plus the label is nice and festive! It's a must-have for late november and all of december.

Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear rich tawny color with a half finger creamy off white head atop,nice broken lace left behind as it settles slowly.Dark fruit leafy somewhat spicy hops in the nose,a little cakiness in the background as well.Decent flavors but they lack depth,a decent leafy hoppiness goes pretty well with mild caramel and dark fruit sweetness,drying in the finish.The problem is the flavors all end abruptly,it's close to being really damn good,it's still a pretty decent winter warmer as is.

Photo of RoyalT
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a kind of cruddy-looking, dull dark brown in color with a surprisingly white head that came up nicely.

Smell – The roasted malts are sharp here at the nose and a bit burnt. There’s a nice sweet balance as well that is a little like raw sugar. I do get a bitter hop aroma as well so overall this one is well-balanced.

Taste – I got some spice at the taste that I missed at the smell. The roasty malts step back from the nose and the sugar is more cola-flavored than anything else. I like the idea of a hop balance in this style but here it only served to dilute the malt base which was overmatched in the first place.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied with very light carbonation in keeping with the style.

Drinkability – I enjoyed this more than it sounds. I was expecting something a bit more substantial and this turned out to be a session beer which OK isn’t all that bad.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

A more modest carbonation yields a small head here; the lacing does a good beery job of sticking though. Cookie dough, burnt sugar, plum pudding and toasted bread show not only its strength but the thickness of malt from the aroma. Creamy full body. Full malt jacket here--this beer is not kidding around. Brown bread, brown sugar, toasted marshmallows and a toasted husk flavor abound. Warmth kicks in mid-pint and stays mellow. Hops are certainly big enough to at least stand up to the sizable maltiness. The bitterness does not try to crush the malt, but rather tames it. Sweet, roasty and slightly hoppy finish.

Photo of Beaver13
3.26/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Christmas Ale poured reddish-brown with very little head. The head quickly disappeared for the most part leaving little traces. The beer had a slight malty, caramel like aroma with hints of alcohol, pretty subtle overall. It tasted a little spicy with a big hoppy finish. It was pretty full-bodied with a slight metallic feel. Overall, not as impressive as I was expecting. I normally like a spicier Christmas Ale.

Photo of es42289
2.56/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

too much hop biterness. Did not seem to be as spicy as other christmas ales. first sip seems harsh and makes you aprehensive about the next sip. not enough malt coming through to efficiently mask the high hop bitterness and higher alcohol.
Gets better as you get closer to the end of the 6pack though...as expected :)

Photo of pat61
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Breckenridge Christmas Ale pours brilliant garnet tinged chestnut under a thin, off-white foam cap that marks each drink with a thin line. Dried fruit on the nose accompanies dark sugar and cake aromas. Dark, rich cakey bread leads the palate with spice, figs and a suspicion of cherry sweetened with light molasses with an earthy hop presence in the background.

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin patch.

Smell: A toasty malt forward aroma with hints of biscuit and caramel. Toasted barley malt with hints of biscuit, grains, toasted bread, caramel, nuts, and yeast. Subtle hints of cinnamon and clove spicing. Sweet hints of brown sugar. Subtle fruit hints of apple, fig, and dates. Light earthy hop hints.

Taste: Like it smells, a toasty and nutty malt forward taste with notes of biscuit, caramel, and nuts. Toasted barley malt with notes of biscuit, grains, caramel, toast, nuts, and yeast. Light spice notes of clove and cinnamon. Sweet taste of brown sugar. Fruit undertones with notes of apple, fig, and dates. Subtle earthy hops in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a drying finish.

Overall: A pretty decent take on a Winter Warmer. The winter spice is very subtle but there is a nice toasty caramel malt flavor.

Photo of Dizzy
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours brown with red highlight and a off white creamy head. Smells like malts (maybe some roasted malts) and a little bit of fruitiness. I'm tasting cloves, less malt then I expected and a little hop bitterness. There is some alcohol burn as well. I was expecting the spice flavors to be more prominant as well. The mouthfeel is thinner than I would expect for a winter warmer. This isn't bad, and is probably worth trying, but I am a little disappointed with this one. You'd be better off picking up Breckenridge's Oatmeal Stout.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass amber with a thck frothy head. Great lacing all the way down. The scent has a hop presence. The taste has the hops up front that are found in the nose, but it really doesn't have much of a sweet aftertaste like a winter warmer should. This is more like an AIPA than a WW. That being said, it masks the high alcohol well, which really doesn't match the style either.

Photo of ADR
4.15/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, Supreme Court Bar, Adam's Mark Hotel, Denver, CO...

Dark mahogany color, clear and transmits chestnut highlights. Tan head settles at 1/4 of an inch. Crystalline ring laces. Smells of brown sugar/cinnamon on toast. Viscous mouthfeel, a little flat but consistent and without fade. Pleasant taste, caramel and a hint of a cherry impression, rounds to a lush carob and vanilla with a peach sense. A little sweet overall, but a good and festive brew with a number of individual and subtle flavors..

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with minimal head even with a pretty vigorous pour, color is a tawny caramel brown with amber highlights when held toward the light. Head is a light cream hue and forms speckled lacing scattered around my chalice. Aromatics are muted a bit but there is some faint citrus qualities with caramel malts and a touch of spices. Flavor is very light on the spice additions and hop bitterness a touch of that citrus and pine in the finish. Caramel malt drives the flavor with a nice winter warmer, nothing over the top this beer plays it pretty safe. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied carbonation is easygoing nothing big to report here. Move along to some more interesting christmas ales this one was priced right and not bad this may be my value beer this season.

Photo of glid02
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on-tap at Taco Mac in Decatur.

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass.

Smells of light spices and sweet malt with a bit of an off aroma that I can only describe as metallic.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet malt followed by mild amounts of nutmeg and brown sugar - then the off-smell turns into an off-taste. This seems to be the problem with a lot of Breckenridge beers.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side but the carbonation is good.

Drinkability is alright. It's really pretty good until that off-flavor hits.

Overall I'm disappointed once again by this brewery. They sucked me in with the 471 Small Batch and it's been downhill from there. This isn't a terrible beer by any stretch, but there are plenty of other better ones of the style out there.

Photo of pwoods
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle, given as a Christmas present from mommy, poured into a pint. Bottled on month list but no etching.

A: Pours a deep bronze with struggled visibility through the dark liquid. A short head forms and dies to a medium fluffy skim. Some patchy lacing at the start but then falls off.

S: Pretty standard. Cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, a bit yeasty. Super sweet caramel malts.

T/M: Very sweet and chewy is the first thing that comes to mind. Sweet caramel malts with a touch of banana and all the spices. A slight citrus hops in the middle but quickly fading.

D: Decent brew and drinkable for 7.4%. There are better winter warmers out there, though.

Photo of LXIXME
2.49/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an inch or so above the glass gives you a pretty decent off white to light brown head resting atop a clear caramel red colored ale.

The aroma is a weak nutmeg and or other Christmas type spices mixed in with some caramel malt.

The taste was pretty weak also, more of the nutmeg and other Christmas type spices with a weak hops and some caramel malt.

A medium bodied beer with a light dry malty aftertaste.

I'll pass on a 2nd one of these.

Photo of Brenden
3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This malty, not-too-heavy-not-too-light winter brew is a sort of dark orange-red leaning darker, almost into brown. Building from a light, steady carbonation, a somewhat creamy tan head reaches somewhere just over half a finger. A foam ultimately remains, and it leaves some good stick to the glass.
This beer is spiced, a little bit sweet but leaning more the allspice direction, and at a good level that isn't overkill but isn't too subtle. They come out more in the nose than the flavor, which is unfortunate because it's such a key element in a beer like this. A light note of dark fruits play through underneath a decent complexity of smells and tastes. There's definitely a burnt toffee and sugar cookie thing going, with something of a raw dough element. There's certainly a hops presence, but it's a moderate sort of bitterness to break up the sweetness and the spice and add a little more depth. There's a little citrus to it, maybe, and a touch of pine. The backbone is solidly malty, not much roast but some toast to it, certainly. It's also got lots of caramel and toffee, and there's plenty to it as it's the base for everything to build on. It's not especially rich, but it's not a huge beer. It does lean on the higher side with regards to ABV, though the alcoholic warmth isn't harsh, and it serves its purpose as a warmer for the cold months.
There's a pretty creamy smoothness working well with just a little crispness in what's a nice, solid medium body. Hops coming out into the finish lend a little dryness to a sweeter end.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The first thing I found striking was the cool retro-Christmas packaging. Looks like the kind of beer that Darrin McGavin would drink in A Christmas Story. Dig the graphics.

A-Utterly beautiful deep red clear ale with a thick eggshell head that settles to a half inch of creamy foam then a scuddy ring. Pretty beer but some head retention would raise this score to a 4.5

S-Caramel malt predominates the initial nose, with roasted biscuit and some citrus hop far in the background. A slight bit of spice and dark fruits can be detected in the background. Slighly understated, but decent.

T-The nose carries through nicely with creamy sweet caramel malts providing the backbone. Spices are more present in the taste than in the nose and appear mid palate, featuring cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Also mid palate, the dark fruits (plum and candied cherries) make an appearance. Closing it all out is a bit of C hop to even things out a bit. Warming alcohol is present throughout but does not interfere with the presentation.

M-Creamy and well balanced.

D-Very nice drinkable brew. I enjoyed this one completely and will be back for more.

I cannot help but look over some of the reviews for this beer and wonder if we are drinking the same beer. This was poured at slighly cooler then cellar temperature which is how I like all of my warmers. I'm sure my rDev on this will be through the roof, but this beer does not deserve the low overall rating that it has. If you like warmers that have some nice subdued spicing you can't go wrong with this.

Photo of Ryanm1
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pouring beer into a glass is overrated, so I won't comment on the color on this pass. It tastes more vanillay than most other winter warmers. It's as if Breck just tweak their Vanilla porter recipe to get this brew. It does stack up higher than the average beer in regards to abv but the elevated alcohol content is not discernible in the taste. Malt caramel flavors up front.

Photo of bensbeers
3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color of this brew is great - a deep ruby red with a thin, light tan head. Smell was a bit boozy; lots of caramelly malts, somewhat toasty; fruity notes come through with the taste. Taste is not quite as boozy as the smell; mostly malts, some fruity hops, holiday spices - nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon and a hint of cocoa. Feel is pretty crisp; was expecting a heavy, creamy ale, but it drinks almost like a lager; enjoyable, refreshing, and definitely a warmer.

Overall a pretty good cold weather beer. Would recommend if you are in a festive mood, but don't hurt yourself trying to find it. I wish the spices were more prominent, but enjoyable nonetheless. Cheers

Photo of asabreed
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark amber, not much carbonation visible, minor off-white lacing with a few clumps and raindrops.

Smell: Sweeter malt flavors with a bit of a metallic nose. Doesn't seem to heavy on the spices, though they seem to be present, with maybe a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in the mix.

Taste: More intense than I thought it would be, with malt-bomb type intensity without as much flavor as I'd hoped though. Some vanilla and brown sugar with some fruit, mild cinnamon, and a bit of citrus and subdued bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full-bodied with a good burst of carbonation, though it seems to be mildly sticky and cloying with some residual sugars going on.

Drinkability: A rich and fairly heavy seasonal, and certainly one that's not recommended for a session. But it's a fairly flavorful malt bomb, one certainly right for Christmas, and though I enjoyed it, I'm glad I only got one bottle and didn't buy more than this.

Photo of meegs
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of bottle into a Snifter. The beer was a bit too cold when I poured it. The head was minimal, but had a nice auburn color to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the aroma of the beer. The hops (Chinook, Mt. Hood) come through nicely with some spiciness. The beer has a nice mouthfeel with good body and a nice creaminess. The hops in this beer are very nice. There is a real nice floral character to the hops and they provide nice support to the malt without being overly bitter. There are some alchohol notes in the beer, but they are set off nicely by the roundness of the malt. The beer is slightly sweet, but not so much so that you wouldn't want another. I think I could drink 2 or 3 of these before having my fill.

I enjoyed this beer very much. I will look for it in the future.

Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at Warehouse Beverage, Cleveland. Pours dark colour, virtually no head. Aroma is a touch of roast, and that's it. Taste is spot-on coca-cola,with spices added such as ginger and allspice. OK, but not so drinkable tonight after so many good spicey meals.Above average carbonation, and mouthfeel.

Photo of secondtooth
3.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Caramel red, thick, and with minimal carbonation, this one exhibits only a slight amount of lace in my ale glass.

Aroma is malty sweet, with a hint of spiciness and maybe some fruit.

Initial taste seems syrupy, with a sweet heaviness and a trace of cinnamon and coriander, followed by a boozy afterburn.

A solid "winter warmer" (it is a fairly high 7.4% ABV), but not outstanding.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, ruby-chestnut body rests gently beneath a short, creamy head of light tan that drops slowly to a thin surface covering; leaving tiny spots and splashes of lace about the glass. It's quite smooth and even somewhat creamy across the palate with a medium, dextrinous body and fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation that's quite British in character. The nose is inviting, and quite interesting, with interwoven notes of caramel-drizzled and biscuity/bready malt, dark dried fruits (prunes and raisins), and pine. The flavor follows suit, and it's a fairly rich and somewhat complex brew with a beautiful, biscuity and toffee-ish malt component that's accented by yeasty fruitiness and a dollop of rounding buttery diacetyl. It's reminiscent of the Fuller's yeast character; and it's very English indeed! As it warms, the hops become more apparent... leafy, grassy, and slightly mineral-like; leaving it to finish with some lingering buttery toffee and drying, leafy and resinous hops. An excellent beer that delivers exactly what I'd expect of an English brewed winter warmer. Definitely worth trying!

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 922 ratings.