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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

377 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 377
Hads: 929
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 22.35%
Wants: 18
Gots: 109 | 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

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.
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Reviews: 377 | Hads: 929
Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear yellow, brown, and amber in color and has a faint amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that faded away, leaving only a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of nutty malts and holiday spices are present in the nose—allspice seems to stand out in particular.
T: The taste seems to follow the smell, except that there are additional hints of caramel and a slight amount of of bitterness. Hints of sweetness and toffee become noticeable once the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn't that difficult to drink and has subtle hints of Christmas spices. I wish that the spices could have been stronger, but this might not be a bad choice for people that want subtle hints of spices and not something that is overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i know it is a bit early for a christmas beer, but with the first snows falling outside, i couldnt resist the new tap at my local. poured a festive redish color with almost no head to speak of. smells of caramel malts, winter spice, and alcohol. taste is similar to the smell, with some subtle hops joining the mix. a well balanced seasonal brew strong enough to warm the soul. the mouthfeel is perfect for this one as well, on the heavier side, but not filling. a great evening sipper as the snow falls out front

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Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out with a nice red colored body and a light tan head on top. The lacing on this one was decent. The smell of the beer had some sweet malts in there mixed with a sturdy amount of christmas spices. The taste of the beer reminded me of a Sam Adams winter lager. There was plenty of flavors in this stuff to warm you up in the cold season. The mouthfeel was about medium bodied and was highly drinkable. Overall this beer fits the season nicely I think.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A few inches of foam top the clear russet-colored liquid, leaving some shards of lace behind

Smell: Caramel, figgy pudding and some leafy hops

Taste: Caramel and figgy pudding flavors hit the tip of the tongue, followed by leafy hops that spread across the rest of the tastebuds; hints of cinnamon and nutmeg also appear, mostly in the finish, where the hops continue to add an earthy, bitter aspect

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A decent enough Winter Warmer; not crazy about the way the hops and malts blend together but that is a relatively minor quibble

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A good Warmer. Big on malts, bold on hops, and spiced just right. Too often, the Winter Warmers try to over-do the spices, making it harsh or astringent. This beer starts with a strong malt base that takes on caramel, toffee, bready, toasty flavors and a nearly-syrup body. Hopped for nice balance, while contributing a bit of citrus, earty, and pine flavors. Spices decorate the nose and flavors really subtally, but never contribute harshness in the feel. Seems well aged and matured, with only a hint of hotter alcohols or abrasion. Still has nice head retention and lacing with the last sip. Not one of Breckenridge's finest brews.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark bronze with an abundance of orange and furious carbonation. This is my second overly carbonated beer in a row, a streak that I'd like to see end here and now. The light caramel colored head is absolutely massive, initially filled the entire glass and is still four-fingers-and-a-thumb in height. The foam is stiff, but airy; no more substantial than bubble bath. Of course some is bound to stick, but it isn't particularly attractive.

It's tough to appreciate much in the underpowered nose. I pick up roasted malt with a certain sweet toffee-like character and a smidgen of hops, but nothing in the way of spices. Breckenridge Christmas has one of the more anemic aromas you'll find in the winter warmer category.

The flavor is weak as well, but at least I don't have to struggle to appreciate it. What flavor reaches my buds is really nothing special. Even though dark chocolate (subtle), dark caramel and raisins are present, a rather generic roasted maltiness is 80% of the flavor profile. The beer is neither sweet nor bitter, with the exception of a mild bitterness that peeks through on the finish. The body isn't a bit bigger than medium and the whole winter warmer vibe is ruined by chaotic carbonation.

Winter warmers--in my mind at least--should be medium-full, subtly carbonated, creamy, slightly sweet and mildly-moderately spiced with an ABV on the high side to encourage contemplative sipping. Other than the arguably highish ABV, Breckenridge Christmas Ale fails on all counts. I haven't been particularly impressed by any beer from this brewery and this one has done nothing to change my mind.

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Photo of zeff80
3.32/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a deep mahogany hue with a white, soapy, one-finger head. It left small rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spices (cinamon and vanilla). Also, a nice malty nose.

T - It tasted of caramel malts. The spices were a little understated compared to its aroma.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay winter warmer. There are better out there but this is certainly worth a try at any holiday gathering.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of oline73
3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Max's. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber with a finger of off white head and leaving some lacing.

Smell: Very mild smell to this one. Bready malt with some fruit notes and spices.

Taste: Bready malt with a mild spice profile. Not very sweet and there is a slight bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly and smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is an alright Christmas beer. I would have either liked more spices or to clean up the taste a bit if they wanted to go the other way.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +28.1%
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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Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice dark amber color with decent carbonation. Dark roast malt with a touch of butter seems to be the main event. Some slight caramel flavors. Modest bitterness without much hop aroma. Very plain and tending towards dishwater. Faint nose of cold offee and charred paper.

I don't find much reasons to drink Breckenridge beers. You could call this one a Dark Pizza Parlor Lager and it might score better.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Acquired via trade from MilwaukeeCrusher, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruit, spices, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel, spices, figs and dark fruit. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with background flavors of chocolate and smokiness. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a little balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, decent representation of style, there is some complexity to it but overall it’s just a mediocre beer.

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Photo of LXIXME
2.49/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a conical pint glass at Breckenridge barbecue in high altitude Denver, Colorado. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream, good thickness, and good retention. Colour is an amber-copper.

Sm: Nothing. Could be because me nose is broken. All apologies, lads.

T: Amber hops, light toasted malt, light caramel, and cream. Very timid; the flavours hardly come through at all. Balanced but quite muted.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A touch sharp. Complementary of the flavours of the body. A bit too thick.

Dr: Drinkable, but unremarkable and a bit boring due to its muted nature.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown that is clear and has a nice creme head. Nose is bland. Very little caramel there. Flavor is a bit tart. The zing is a wee bit much really. There are some nice brown ale-esqe characters here. Decent earthy edge. Nice leafy tone. But the citrusy zingy character is just singing a bit too high. Feel is decent with a thicker liquid body and a slightly lower carbonation. Overall this is an okay winter warmer. A bit off balance and thick in the wrong places, but it is still fairly drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
3.13/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 version, couldn't tell when it was bottled.

Pours deep caramel/brown with a fluffy 2 fingers deep sand colored head. Above average lacing & good head retention

S: Slight hint of malt & breadyness, plus some brown sugar

T: Nuttyness up front with dryness. A little bit of chocolate & grainy astringency follows. The astringency/cardboard taste detracts from the taste. Finishes with warming & chocolate notes

MF Slick with low cabonation, medium bodied

Didn't drink so well. Whatever it was I liked about lasy years, ain't here, either my tastes changed or the recipe did, not reccomended, but had potential

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 1/20/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear orange copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of raisin, plum, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, light roast, pine, floral, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and moderate hop notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, plum, caramel, toast, toffee, chocolate, brown bread, light roast, floral, pine, grass, and herbal earthiness. Light amount earthy pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, caramel, toast, toffee, chocolate, brown bread, light roast, floral, and light pine on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and robustness of malt and hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice winter warmer style. Good balance and robustness of malt and earthy/spicy hop flavors; and smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear caramel-y brown is the color, the head is a small thing, soon gone, best unremarked upon.
Aroma, cola-ish, coffee tones and nuts, a smidgen of spice? No, not really.
Taste: a bit dull, brown ale-ish, just a touch of toffee, but all in all, dull. Light in body, with nary a finish to be found. Unremarkable all the way.
Warm? Not much. Wintry? by a long stretch, maybe...nothing very Christmas-y about it..."malty and warming in character, with a semi-sweet, full-bodied flavor," says the label...it's a slight stretch of the imagination, but true in many respects. Very run-of-the -mill, just malty and wintry enough...actually gets better as we get further in, but I'm no more impressed.
Yeah, I can drink it, but it's nothing to shout about.

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Photo of Gavage
3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark amber color with some orange highlights. The head is about 2" high but falls quickly to a thick surface foam.

Smell: aroma is somewhat lacking here as some malt sweetness and a bit of earthiness come through to the nose.

Taste: bready carmel, grapefruits, earthiness, some soft nut tones, a hint of spiciness, and a moderate bitterness make up the main flavor components.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late.

Drinkability: decent winter ale worth giving a try. If you want more of a malt focused beer for the holidays this will work.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle, into a pint glass.

Breckenridge Christmas looks very chestnut brown in color with a cinnamon tan foam about an inch in height with pretty good legs but no lacing. Smell is all caramel malt and some nutty appeal, spices are really not in the picture. Taste is malty and caramel and nuts and a bit of spice but not much. There is a taste of alcohol towards the end, the 7.4 is not muted well. Don't get any hops and this is not reminding me of christmas. It's pretty much a very malty brown ale IMO. Feel is a big medium, malty, not bitter, smooth and fairly carbed. I drank it.

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Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Abe's Cold Beer. It poured brown with a short off-white head. There's a big initial hit of spice in the aroma, but that leveled off and left a roasted cocoa scent. Essentially, this beer has a fairly tasty, somewhat imperial brown ale at it's base with a touch of heavy roast mixed in. The Christmas spicing is subtle enough, with some nutmeg and cinnamon type notes in there (I'm not certain that's what it is).

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Breckenridge Christmas ale, poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. Brown in color with a decent off-white head and some lace.

Aroma of light malts and some spices lurking.

Caramel malt in the flavor profile. Good amount of holiday spice, clove, anise, and cinnamon. Leafy hop adds a little bitterness. Long spicy finish.

Low level of carbonation on a medium-full bodied brew.

Drinks pretty easily, one I'm sure I'll have again. A solid offering but a pretty standard one at that.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.05/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish brown with a thin head that settles to a thin ring. Smells slightly malty and spicy but with a little sour graininess as well. Taste is similar, including the sour graininess. Quite light in overall flavor, slightly sweet and a slightly nutty finish. Smooth mouthfeel. I drank a sixpack of this and a week later someone brought me another. I was pretty bored with this before I finished the first sixpack, let alone the second.Eh.

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 377 ratings.