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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

387 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 387
Hads: 955
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 22.35%
Wants: 20
Gots: 122 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

The chill of a Colorado high-country winter calls for a beer with extra flavor and strength. Here it is. At over 7% alcohol, with a sturdy texture and rich flavors of caramel and chocolate, our holiday seasonal is the fermented equivalent of a good fire.
View: Beers (60) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 387 | Hads: 955
Photo of Brutaltruth
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a pint glass via a friend from work---Thanks Justin

This Christmas ale pours a nice reddish mahogany brown with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a thin ring, thin layer, and nice lacing. Nose of spruce, spice cake, as well as caramel and brown sugars. Flavors follow the nose with strong spice caked cinnamon and medium amounts of brown sugars and cocoa hit on all sides followed by spruced hop notes and a moderately bitter spice and bittering hop note. Decent mouth feel, warming alcohol on the back, and a semi dry finish. Solid for the season.


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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.8/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a soft hazy yet somewhat transparent bronzed orange color with a one finger white colored head that dissipates at a nice pace. Lacing was there but mostly messy and all over the place.
The smell had some nutmeg, ginger, pine and allspice blended into some sweet caramel malt.
The taste takes those flavors to combine nicely then becomes dry with the pine in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium with the spices blending into the malts nicely so not to disrupt the balance of some stickiness that tries to stick to my tongue. Still, it feels good with spices and the bitterness even coming together nicely to be an enjoyable harshness.
Overall, this is one of the first American styled winter warmers that I ever had and still appreciate it today. I'd have again.

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Photo of MNJR
4.09/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very good strong fall/winter ale. Not flavored or spiced as far as I can tell. Deep amber/brown color, very smooth and warm flavors. I enjoy this every year as an introduction to the massive onslaught of heavily spiced holiday beers. Makes the transition between Oktoberfest and spiced beers. Tastes like a light Dopplebock with some clean and refreshing spicy flavors without heavy spice additions which get predictable and boring after a while. A go-to favorite of mine this time of year.

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Photo of lokicat444
3.96/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a huge foamy head, three fingers high; the beer's color is an attractive mahogany. The smell is pleasant, reminiscent of nondescript sweet malts and perhaps a hint of tartness. Upon first taste, my mouth is hit with a strong malt backbone. Seconds later, I detect a nuanced blend of spices, which reminds me of nutmeg, ginger, and pine. For a Christmas beer, the spices are well-done; they do not overwhelm the palate and relegate this beer to a mere holiday novelty. The mouthfeel is just right; slightly syrupy and pleasing.

Overall, this beer reminds me a light dopplebock with a slight spice twist. I very much enjoyed this beer and look forward to sampling more brews from Breckenridge (I just moved to the Littleton CO area).

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
2.75/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours a solid brown color with not much head. Aroma is sweet and syrupy with faint hints of caramel malts and a bready undertone. Roasted malts arise in the forefront of this beer's flavor. Sweet throughout. It has a funky afterfinish flavor that I cant quite figure out. Some kind of syrupy candy with a slight hop twist.

This is average at best.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, earth, caramel, dark fruit, and slight spice aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, dark fruit, earth, spice, and slight char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast and earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable, but the aromas on this one are slightly better to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Marraybay
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My typical opening cliche: Interesting beer. Pours a tawny rust reddish brown, with about a finger's worth of beige foam. Extreme soapy - clingy glass lacing from start to finish. Nose is dried fruit (plum, cranberry) + maybe some pine. Taste is somewhat similar, with vinous fruity sweetness upfront that transitions into a little hoppy tartness, but not full blown citrusy bitterness. Good mouthfeel and certainly a little kick to it given the 7.1%. Overall, a decent warmer to kick off the holiday beer tasting with. Had been fairly ho-hum on Breckenridge up until their Autumn Ale, following by this W.warmer.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.27/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 7.1 % abv

Appearance- Pours a deep bark brown with a one finger head that dissipates very quick. Quite hazy

Smell- Bready malt, caramel, plum, clove.

Taste- Sweet bready malt, slightly toasted. Prune/date like dark fruit flavors blend with a clove spice note. Medicinal, phenolic taste ends with some lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy in body with low carbonation. Hints of alcohol.

Overall- A mediocre yet drinkable winter warmer. Could use a bit more carbonation and more of a malt profile.

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Photo of AC-Mivsek
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber with a white head, decent lacing. Smells of spice-less veggie. Taste is better, cinnamon, allspice, a bit of brown sugar. A bit too mellow for in my opinion. Very drinkable body, medium carbonation. I don't know...this one let me down. I can't get over the smell, which is severely lacking any sort of winter warmer aroma. It does taste a bit better, but that is still quite mediocre. I have had quite a few winter warmers and this one is very forgettable.

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Photo of hophugger
3.02/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decent beer of the Christmas style. Spices and malt are the dominant factors. Light hops and the alcohol definitely makes itself known. A Winter warmer, for sure....

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Photo of Michael-GT
4.38/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Great looking beer. Pours a medium brown with a fluffy head.

Smell: Smells slightly hoppy.

Taste: amazing. I look forward to this during the winter season.

Feel: Medium-light mouthfeel with average carbonation.

Overall: great beer. I always look forward to drinking this. I wish I'd have hoarded away a few 6 packs of this for the summer.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug. Pours red with a nice off white head. Smells of some earthy tones, little piney. Tastes of piney taste and maltiness. Beer is light bodied and lightly carbonated. Overall a slightly above average beer.

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Photo of classixIII
2.67/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Cleaning out whats left of the Christmas swaps.
There are some of really good winter warmers out there, this isn't one of them.
Completely lacking in aroma and complexity of tastes I've come to expect in the finer examples of this style.
On the bright side, just made room for some spring and summer brews!

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Photo of larryarms847
3.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a murky copper brown with a little sediment floating around and a finger of very light khaki foam.

Bready malt sweetness, dates, baking spice, and a faint hint of brown sugar.

The bready malts dominate the overall flavor, little spice or the hint of brown sugar comes out to play.

Medium-bodied, light carbonation, sweet, some herbal/piney bitterness.

Overall, a nice brew, but certainly not worth seeking out.

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Photo of bwood06
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Medium brown with a light tan head that dissipates slowly. 3.75/5

S - Dates. White toasted bread. Very light hint of hops. 3.5/5

T - Taste follows the smell nicely. A bit of dark stone fruit followed by a toasted white bread followed up by a bit of earthy hops. Hops are not very prevalent. Dominated by the notes of dates and bread. Maybe a bit of leather as well. 3.75/5

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Not really heavy but not really light either. Not nearly as heavy as many winter time ales. 3.5/5

O - Good beer to drink in the winter time. More of a beer to drink several of rather than a single one with dinner. Not as heavy as expected. 3.5/5

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Photo of pat61
4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

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Photo of Robloc303
4.25/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep amber, nice head, great aroma of malt and spices. A tad bitter on the end but a great balance of flavors. Not exactly a winter warmer, but a good beer!

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Photo of 57md
3.82/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brownish copper in color. Good malt backbone. Decent hop bitter finish. The body is sufficiently hearty for the style.

A decent, but certainly not extraordinary, winter warmer.

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Photo of Pukstopper
3.54/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep cooper color into a pint glass from a bottle. Head fades and leaves some lacing.
You can taste the usual Christmas flavors which is better than the last beer ( see review of Rogue Santa special) not inspiring but better then what was on draft.
Not the worst Christmas beer out there.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.19/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12/20...pours light brown, touches of foam on top. Minor nose, caramel malts, bready. Tasty malt open, buried spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, and a tightly packed hop at the finish. Incongruous.

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Photo of Ryanm1
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.47/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had this poured into my mug. Decent amount of off-white head, average lacing, average carbonation. Notes of hazelnut and molasses, but nothing too strong. The color is a medium brown, very inviting. Frankly would have just liked more flavor.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.37/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The Breckenridge Xmas ale is ok....the beer poured ruby amber with thin slightly offwhite head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent carries slight lactose and some spices. The taste is bitter thou the draw and a funky after taste. The body is medium with decent carbonation. Overall....its ok...

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Photo of Chaz
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear brown-amber in color, topped with a tan head. Nice looking beer overall.

Nose is fairly neutral and malty, but with a hint of spicy hops, and a little bit of warming alcohol.

"Apple" is my first impression. It tastes like a ripe apple dipped in a spicy, boozy caramel sauce. Hop use is -by today's standards- minimal, but appropriate or the style, and this beer straddles the lines (which often blur between winter warmer / Old Ale / traditional British barley wine) very adeptly.

It's been a while since I've had this (ten years already?), but this one is as good for the style as I remember it being.

Body and mouthfeel are both very good. It's not too thin, it's not too boozy-hot, it is easily-drinkable, and is probably dangerously-drinkable at this strength. So it's a very good sipper

Definitely worth re-visiting.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 387 ratings.