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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

734 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 734
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-28-2002)
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Ratings: 734 | Reviews: 355 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Brad007


3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bring on the winter warmers. Oddly enough, I haven't reviewed too many examples in quite a while.

Burgundy with a frothy white head that fades along the sides of the glass. Nothing interesting to note here.

Sweet with some caramel notes. Very little if any spice. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be?
Solid otherwise.

Lingering sweetness and caramel make up the mouthfeel.

A simple, unpretentious example of the style. At least it's not overloaded with spice.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2012 02:30:48 | More by Brad007
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2008 04:08:45 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of superspak


3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 04:06:02 | More by superspak
Photo of Tone


3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, dark brown color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of earthy malt, hint of sweet malt, hint of hops, and a hint of oatmeal. Fits the style of a Winter Warmer. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, all spice, earthy malt, and a hint of hop. Overall, good appearance, but average at best in other aspects.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2011 20:36:56 | More by Tone
Photo of Dogbrick


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

This stuff knocked my socks off! I was really surprised at how good this tasted, with a rich dark color and full flavor. This will definitely catch up to you after a few in front of the fireplace. Sweet malty taste and a long, mellow finish.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2002 11:53:31 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm guessing this is the right place to put this review as the only other one listed is the Christmas Ale 2010 entry... Big thanks goes out to robwestcott for sending me this one as an extra in a past trade! Bottle #968 of 1400! 2008 Vintage Limited Special Edition! Served from a 33 oz. swing-top bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured a deep reddish brown with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, and slight peat. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, subtle peat, and very slight oxidation. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. Had a pretty nice flavor here minus the slight oxidation I got on it. The aroma was quite nice too. Not sure if I would put this one in the Winter Warmer category if I'm honest but still a pretty good brew. Really glad I got a chance to try this one!

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2011 11:39:28 | More by thagr81us
Photo of OWSLEY069


3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with a tan head. In the aroma, a sweet Christmas spice, but mainly cinnamon. In the taste, just like the smell, a sweet Christmas spice but mainly cinnamon. A smooth and spicy mouthfeel, and a dry cinnamon aftertaste. Mainly sweet cinnamon, hides the alcohol and easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2007 01:50:40 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of tavernjef


2.35/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark coppery color thats clear and bold with a finger high cap of softly lumped dark ivory. Resides to keep a bubbly collaring and the lace is stretched-thinner-then-thin in a sheeting effect along with some tiny dotting.

Aroma is of a dry wood, slight ginger, and rosemary-like musk and a bit of cooked vegetables; seemingly quite light and takes a good wiff in to get it.

Flavors insist on following the smell; why oh why? Its light and pale, bordering a boring and very understated taste. Quickly sweet, wiped away by a strange woodish mint thing and the continued vegetable musk. It does remind me alot of deep-fried mushroom appetizers, and that is not something I want to find in a seasonal winter ale.

Feel is close to medium approaching thin, definately empty and nearly depleted of anything that would perhaps help this concoction. No sir, I didn't like it.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2004 04:48:57 | More by tavernjef
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.13/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent dark mahogany with a fine-bubbled beige head. Aroma is spicy - mainly cinnamon - and somewhat malty. Mouth-filling flavor is spicy, mostly cinnamon and cloves, with a fruity undertone and a hint of spicy hard candy. Texture is rough, lively and tingly.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2009 03:17:55 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Bitterbill


3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a clear dark brown with a smallish head of foam that dissipates quickly leaving very little on the surface and very little lacing.

The smell is dominated by sweet caramel malt and a bit of dark fruit.

The taste follows up on the nose; nice notes of caramel and roasted malt, molasses, dark fruit, and fig. Very little spicing, imo, and that works well for me as the flavours that are there are hitting my palate in a positive way. Oh, I can feel a bit of warming as it goes down but that's certainly not a negative aspect for this time of year. The finish fades pretty quickly; I would have preferred a more lingering aftertaste.

Bottom line: A tasty Winter Warmer that is a solid example of the style. Try it.

Edit: A big 33oz swing top bottle 2007 given to me as a freebie by Mike at Poplar Wine & Spirits

It pours a deep amber brown with about an inch of foam.

The smell is of caramel malt with a light chocolate note. Not much going on here.

The taste has a good chocolate flavour up front with some nice sweetness from the caramel and a light dark chocolate like bitterness that comes through in the finish. It also has some roasted malt notes but I can't say I tasty any of the dark fruit or fig that I mentioned in my earlier review. Victims of aging? Oh well, it's pretty nice and pretty easy to drink. Alcohol is well hidden and the head retention is good with some nice ring after ring of lacing. My overall score for would this sample wouldn't be much different from what I've laready rated it.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2006 17:22:24 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of RoyalT


3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 23:23:10 | More by RoyalT
Photo of DrDemento456


3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice amber color slight tint with a bit of head that forums a moderate light lace.

S - Ugh. Grains! I didn't expect such a strong hit of grains but looking beyond that I smell moderate spices and cinnamon.

T - Slight malt and bitter hops next to a pretty aggressive grain profile maybe a moderate caramel backbone with barley if any cinnamon and Christmas spices. Disappointment.

M - Pretty light to medium but wish it had more flavor.

D - Well I couldn't seeing buying this again but as one of my ticks on my list I really was disappointed. Need more of a smoother malt profile to balance the grain and what crappy ales like this needs More SPICE! Average...

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 02:57:17 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of ZAP


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

Creamy and smooth texture in the mouth...medium bodied...not super heavy, but not thin like some of their other offerings...pours a light chestnut color....big fluffy tan head...lace rims the glass nicely...definitely some alcohol on the nose along with an earthy spiciness ...some alcohol emerges on the buds but it is very soft...it lends a spicy hit to a pretty sweet beer...reminds me of Sam Adams Winter a little...(although this isn't a weizen bock it kind of tastes like one)...their web-site says I should get chocolate and caramel on the flavor and I don't get any of that...maybe more a breadiness, but not real heavy...just sweet malt wit ha spicy character...

This is a decent winter beer..worth getting a six-pack of..it's probably the best beer I've had from this brewery too....but when stacked up against the best strong ales it is only slightly above average ...I like though....

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2003 21:56:49 | More by ZAP
Photo of jrallen34


3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a very dark brown with a light tan watery head that rises a finger but is gone quickly.

The aroma is pretty light, a little spice mixed with some malts, like a spicy marzen.

The taste is very light, can't really taste a whole lot, a tiny bit of spice that's about it. The feel is very watery without much of a finish.

This is a pretty boring xmas ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 01:41:22 | More by jrallen34
Photo of champ103


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark amber red color. A small white head forms, and recedes to nothing. Light lace.
S: Malty that is chocolaty with a touch of coffee. Some sweet toffee and caramel. Some spice aromas and dark fruit.
T: Compared to the aroma this is a disappointment. Caramel malt is up front. A large citrus and pine hop flavor as well. It just does not mesh well with the aroma though. It needs more malt, dark fruits, and spice.
M/D: A medium body with a crisp carbonation. Fairly smooth and easy to drink for the high ABV.

This is just another mediocre and bland Winter Warmer that has to many hops for the style IMO.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2008 00:07:46 | More by champ103
Photo of alexgash


3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Amber body with dark copper edges and a small, off-khaki head. Sugar cookie dough aromas with eggnog sweetness, caramel maltiness, and spicy vague hops. Taste is sweet, caramelly malt and cookie dough up front. Juicy, piney hops soon follow. Not too big or flavorful, but slightly astringent. Can't do much in the way of balancing the sweet cookie malt. Finish is sweetish and tart-fruity. Not bad. Medium-bodied, although a touch on the watery side. Don't put this on your xmas list.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2005 04:10:45 | More by alexgash
Photo of hopdog


3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle acquired in trade with OhioDad (thanks!).

Pourd a medium and clear copper color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, light spices, toasted malts and some citrus. Tastes of caramel, sweet malts, and some toffee. I found the tastes to be on the weaker side compared to the aromas.

Notes from: 12/23/05

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 20:47:26 | More by hopdog
Photo of Brent


3.03/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great label on this bottle, like an old Christmas card from your grandparents' attic. Poured a dark chestnut, with so little carbonation evident on the pour that I was afraid for a moment that I'd gotten a flat bottle. After a second, though, a thin sheen of lace appeared. Characteristic of a winter warmer with substantial malt and reserved caramel and roasted flavors. There was some indescript spice flavor in the background, but seemed to be yeast-produced rather than a spice adjunct. Not bad, but a bit too timid to satisfy my expectation for the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2005 15:00:59 | More by Brent
Photo of Brenden


3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2013 18:27:08 | More by Brenden
Photo of ArrogantB


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was mixing up a sixer and figured why not give this a chance? Nice, dark, malty beer with a noticeable alcohol kick. This was actually at the bottom of my winter warmer list. This beer was just average. I will still give Breckenridge the benefit of the doubt in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2007 04:06:13 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the 2011 batch. Sampled on December 1, 2011. The pour is a handsome dark amber with a silky, tan head that lingers momentarily. I will give it a higher mark for the way it looks. However the aroma is pretty routine with mellow dark malts, a slight hop note, and little in the way of winter spicing. The body is in the medium range so it makes a slight comeback with that. The taste is an above average combination of barley malts and a moderately bitter quality that leaves a tingle at the end.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2011 23:23:33 | More by puboflyons
Photo of Vancer


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ol' Breck pours a murky amber into the Maredsous tulip glass, thin ivory head pops up and quickly dies. The label notes 7.4%, but I didn't find any burn, nicely hidden.

Not much in the aroma, just some subtle notes of caramel mixed with a malt backbone - it's missing any spice or hops. Thin body doesn't get any points either.

Again in the quaff, lite hints of chocolate, cinnamon and malt - more along the lines of a holiday brown ale than winter warmer. Ya know, a fairly tasty brew but not in the ballpark of a spicy winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2010 01:27:07 | More by Vancer
Photo of DavoleBomb


2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into the perfect pint.

4.5 A: Clear orange amber color. Two fingers of beige, fairly dense creamy head. Retention is decent and a good robust ring of lacing is left.

2.5 S: The nose is simple and weak. Faint caramel notes with equally weak cinnamon and tumeric. Not bad, just uneventful for the senses.

3.0 T: Again, not a whole lot going on here. The taste is much more intense than the nose, but still far less than I'd like. To be fair, there is a nice caramel component, but there isn't really anything else aside from a touch of cinnamon.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Not as creamy as I'd like.

3.0 D: To summarize: Not much going on, but nothing bad.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2011 22:37:56 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of BARFLYB


3.43/5  rDev -2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 21:15:59 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a nice dark reddish amber. Some light head formation is gone quickly, leaving some thin lace behind and a partial covering.

Aroma - the essential grain profile here, nothing distinctive at all.

Taste - the malt has some moderate caramel and roastiness to it, further enhanced by some spices that are hard to pin down. Anise, some vague baking spices I think. They are checked too soon by the hops, I can't figure 'em out. Some alcohol presence as it warms. Finishes dry with a reprise of mild hop bitterness. Not bad at all, it just doesn't identify with the style to the degree I expected.

Mouthfeel - average carbonation. It's smooth with just enough creaminess to feel good on a cold evening.

Drinkability - not a show stopper, but a fairly interesting brew that your mainstreamers would probably tolerate.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2006 16:22:26 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 734 ratings.