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Christmas Ale | Breckenridge Brewery

401 Reviews
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Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery
Colorado, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-28-2002

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Reviews: 401 | Ratings: 1,031
Photo of zac16125
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass
2015 Vintage

Full disclosure, I found this buried in my freezer after being there for a few months, not sure how that affected the beer. Took out of freezer a couple weeks ago, so well thawed out!

A: Very hazy, dark copper/brown, decent sized white head, dissipates fairly quickly and leaves only minimal lacing. 3.25

S: Subtle aromas as a whole. Lots of malty characters, caramel is prominent. Not much else to balance out. 3.25

T: Roasty, hebaceous, subtle toffee/caramel. Pretty good but not a lot going on. 3.5

M/D: Fuller bodied, carbonation on the higher end but not bad, drinkability is average. 3.25

O: Its ok, worth a try but not something I would probably get again. Although maybe I should give it a try fresh (and sans freezing experiment). 3.5

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Photo of PhillyB
4.04/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got this beer on sale several months after Christmas 2015. A good purchase if I do say so myself.

Look: Dark reddish brown with a thin tan head.

Smell: Dark dried fruits, malt. Quite sweet smelling.

Taste: Similar to smell, not quite as sweet with a lingering finish.

Feel: Slightly richer than a standard ale, almost chewy but not creamy.

Overall: A slightly heavier ale that does as it describes. Warms you in the colder weather, but can also be refreshing in warmer climes.

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Photo of crob3888
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a ruby copper hue with barely any head, disappointing but the color is beautiful. Aroma and flavors are Christmas desserts: malty fruit cake, cookies, plum pudding. Slightly disappointing mouthfeel...but the flavors are nice and drinkable and the alcohol is hidden, making it easy to enjoy multiple when family is ruining your holiday vibe ;)

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.64/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Superbowl special. This one is especially appropriate on this night as it's blustery and nasty out.

The BB Christmas Ale pours a beautiful toffee caramel chocolate body, almost fading from one color to another as it forms. The head is nice and porous, creme brule colored, and leaves rings.

Lots of yeast out front, with Christmas time spices including nutmeg, allspice, gingerbread, and cinnamon. There's a distinct citrus note fused with orange scrapings and hop sharpness that pokes right through to keep it a bit hoppy. The yeast is still a contender though, finishing out the aroma strong just as it started.

The flavor delivers on the yeast but only in a two dimensional way, giving off a sort of mineral water character. This is followed by citrus and roasted amber malts, eventually morphing into a short of chalky, powdery flavor. Overall it lacks punch and lasting enjoyment.

Feel is heavily carbonated, a touch dry, and ends pasty.

Overall the Christmas Ale isn't bad, but it isn't good either. I wouldn't revisit it again unless some friends were passing them out.

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Photo of alarmclock314
3.78/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date. Pours hazy amber with a large sized off-white head; some lacing. Smells of piney hops, ginger, clove, and caramel; medium intensity. The taste follows exactly with some mild dryness; below average intensity. Average carbonation and below average body. Overall, it's a solid Winter Warmer, but could use bolder flavors and more malt.

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Photo of JSigsbach
2.81/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Not coming back for this one. Only thing that makes this a Christmas offering is the label.

Appearance: Brown bottle; Direct pour Sam Adams tulip. Amber with orange/ pumpkin tones reminiscent of fall offerings.
Aroma: Very hoppy, very citrusy.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied but a little fizzy
Aftertaste: Citrusy, slightly hot/boozy with bitter finish; NO "caramel" or "chocolate" tones as advertised and not sure if this is label mind trick
Overall: Well made but nothing at all special as a holiday offering and a little disapointing from a fine brewery. Only thing remeniscent of a "good fire" is the hot imbalance.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
2.59/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Decent winter beer and I can appreciate them toning down the spices on this one, but I found it very bland. Thin body, light on smell and not much else going on. The alcohol is nicely hidden, but not a whole lot good to say about this.

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Photo of wattoclone
3.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received a bottle of the 2015 version as a gift. Nice dark brown color with a small thick head. Not a huge aroma or taste, but pleasant and appropriate for the style. The malty richness is followed by a subtle pine finish perfect for the season. Not much fruit or spice, just a nice rich maltiness with hints of flavors. Certainly one of the better winter beers, just not exceptional.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich, deep brown/mahogany color with a two finger off white head. Aroma is caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and a touch of earth and chocolate. Taste follows with a hint of chocolate at first, then caramel, toffee, a little bit of earthy spice and bready malt, although not as much dark fruit as the nose suggests. Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side for a winter warmer type beer, but not bad. Overall a nice winter beer that has the rich flavors for a cold evening, and the drinkability for a session.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.31/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Short Review. I've had this beer a few time and for some reason I thought it changes every year, so I bought this yeasts and it was just how I remember, it's pretty middle of the road with a generic malt flavor and some bitterness on the finish. Not bad and it's fairly drinkable, but it's not memorable and it doesn't keep me coming back for more.

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

Pours a three-finger khaki head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Chrystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Very light caramel and malty nose and flavor is toasted malt, light spices. Slight drying finish. The 12oz bottle was a gift.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.06/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. Pours mahogany with a 3 inch sticky white head that leaves behind plenty of lace.

Smell is toffee, caramel, bread, hazelnut, and brown sugar.

Taste follows wonderfully toffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and hazelnut.

Mouthfeel is a little bigger than medium, moderate carbonation, not dry, and very drinkable.

Overall this is a really solid winter warmer/brown ale.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.61/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - copper colored beer with off white head

Smell - caramel

Taste - caramel, toffee, date, nutmeg

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweetness from the caramel notes, smooth and easy drinking

Overall - a pleasant surprise of a winter warmer, I think this is slightly better than something like Sam Adams Winter Lager. Would be easy to drink 3 or 4 of these in a setting. Worth a shot.

Price Point - $1.79/12 oz single

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: opaque; medium brown in color with some ruby at the edges; 1 finger light tan head that receded to a thin collar; sheets of lace;

S: chocolate, caramel, spice cake;

T: chocolate for a brief moment, then caramel and spice cake from the middle through the finish; mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: I especially liked that the spices couldn't be tasted separately - they came through as a blend;

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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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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 401 ratings.