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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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 377 | Hads: 929
Photo of thecheapies
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red-amber with a lovely pad of creamy foam. Lacing is thick and sheeting. Very appealing to look at.

Caramel/toffee, cereal English maltiness, a little wintry spice, and earthy tones. Simple, but uncompromised.

Hoppy notes of orange and earthiness mesh well with a sweeter caramel grain with cereal, toffee, and toast. Bitter, but unaggressive. Nice overseas flavor, not dissimilar to an ESB.

Drinks soft and wooly. Has a tiny bite of carb. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

Good, but not great. It's a standard, but pales in comparison to other Christmas solids.

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Photo of tronester
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a massive tan head. Aromas of vanilla, citrus and brown sugar. Taste begins with some vanilla, then some orange, then a big caramel malt finish. A tiny bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. Mouth feel is full. Overall an easy drinking winter warmer.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This poured a deep, auburn hue with a thick cap of dense foam. Quite striking in appearance.

The scent is a little lost on me but I do find some nice malt character. There is some barley, caramel, roasted grain and then a hop cone finish.

The flavor resembles more a pale ale on my palate as I get a lot of the barley malt coupled with a flowery hop. I get no spice, as I'd expect from a warmer but it seems to follow all the tasty qualities of a Pale Ale.

The feel is very full, smooth and hearty without being too airy with carbonation.

This is a quality Pale Ale, whether the description claims otherwise.

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Photo of JeremyAnaya
3.99/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint, awesome deep amber/red color. Small half finger head

Smells like some roasty malts mixed with a sweet semi-citrusy note. Very appealing aroma.

A lot going on here. When it first hits the tongue it reminds me of a porter of some sort but that quickly fades into a sweeter lighter taste and feel. Almost a hint of orange/raspberry? whatever this sweet note is, it isn't overpowering, very nice balance.

Great carbonation, medium bodies, smooth and drinkable

Great beer for sitting on the couch and watching the snow fall with friends and family. I will be going back for the mini keg they have available for this brew. Another success for Breckenridge!

Find it, Drink it, Love it

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Photo of Lucas1000
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice ruby color. Pretty clear. Head is ok, with a decent retention.

Smells a bit like spices and nuts. Nothing too overpowering.

Nice hearty taste. Like the spice and hops aftertaste.

Pretty smooth on the intake, nice medium body.

I wouldn't seek this out to drink on my own again, but a good beer to share with friends during holiday festivities.

Definitely a christmas gift for a buddy you're hoping to introduce to craft beer culture.

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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 Tilley4
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this one last night after all the festivities were over... I enjoyed it...deep ruby appearance with a thick creamy head... loads of toasted malts and some fruits... I like that it isn't drowned in cinnamon and spices.... they are there but very subtle... very drinkable brew in my opinion... warm and inviting without being overbearing...

Not world class but very good... I could and probably will have this again closer to Christmas...

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep red color with orange hues. White head settles shortly. Thin, broken ring of lacing.

S: Caramel and toast. Fruitcake in a big way. Sweet and bready, berries, cherry, and raisin. Pinch of cocoa. Earthy hops lay in wafts of pine and dry herbs.

T: Grain, toast, pinch of cocoa. Fruit cake. Fruit juice tastes of berry and cherry. Warming herbal hop spice. Marmalade. Drying finish of grain, fruit, and spicy hops.

M: Medium body. Creamy. Aggressive hop oils. Touch of husky grain astringency too. Mild warming alcohol. Strong scrubbing carbonation.

O: This beer falls just a little shy of being really great. I really appreciate a holiday beer that doesn't load in the spices. Breckenridge Christmas does a great job of capturing the essence of the season without resorting to the token buckets full of nutmeg and cinnamon. I just would have liked a little more depth and complexity of malt flavors. As it is, this is still a great seasonal offering with above average drinkability.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is a darkish brown that is clear with slightly tannishand creamy head that dissipates quickly. Smell is strongly that of malt. Strong gingerbread notes and bready smells. No citrus or hop notes. Taste is also malty with a hop finish. In addition to the bready malt, the taste also has a gingerbread note to it. The hop finish is a bit butter with a grapefruit note. Mouthfeel is smooth with hints of carbonation. Medium bodied but with a little texture to it. Overall, a decent beer.

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Photo of Brenden
3.66/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of bensbeers
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
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

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Photo of fitzy84
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a six pack for Christmas, finally opened some tonight. The drink poured with a large head and some patchy lacing on the sides. The drink has a dark brown amber appearance. Aromas of malt and some hints of vanilla. A very slight roasty smell; I could sense some of the caramel and chocolate the beer advertises that it has, but it seemed faint, at least to me. The flavor is sweet with a toffee-ish taste with malt and nutmeg flavors detected. Medium body with a good balance. Overall, a pretty good seasonal drink.

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Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a deep red amber with an off white head with good retention
S-brown sugar, plums, and spice
T-Caramel, toasted malt, brown sugar, and a bit bready. Hops provide a nice balance but dont lend much to flavor
M-Medium bodied
O-Well balanced and very drinkable. Starts a little sweet but the varied malt profile keeps everything in check. Nice beer

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Photo of chilidog
4.3/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this Christmas day in a mini-keg, thanks you breckenridge for that option. We have a mini-keg tap system and for the first time, we had a Christmas ale on tap at home. Let's see the in-laws do that!
The beer was good. Sweet malts, holiday spice with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Brown sugars sweetened things as toasted malts carried the load.
Hop carried a mild notice at the finish.
Mouth is coated with buttered toasty malts.
Overall a good Christmas brew, it did the job for the family and me, tis the season.

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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 axeman9182
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Breckenridge's Christmas Ale pours mahogany brown, with a little bit of amber highlights making themselves known as I hold the beer up to light. About a finger and a half of cream colored foam tops the beer, and while head retention is somewhat average, there's plenty of lacing left around the glass. The nose is disappointingly muted. Some caramel and a general spice aroma are appreciable, but neither exactly leaps out of the glass. The flavor profile is similarly dull. There's some caramel sweetness up front, and after seeing the beer's description on Breckenridge's mention chocolate I was able to pick up on a little bit (though maybe just because I was looking for it). There's a moderate bitterness present mid palate, and the finish is light holiday spices. I'm not quite sure if it's ginger or nutmeg, maybe a blend of the two. The body could stand to be a little bit more substantial, but the carbonation has a nice little kick to it. I just wasn't that impressed with Breckenridge's Christmas ale, it's a very ho-hum winter offering.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
4.15/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint. Was super excited to see this reach me as I really enjoyed their Vanilla Porter a while back. Also, if I may say, give this bottle, the vanilla porter and a glance at their other labels... I LOVE their bottle aesthetic. Someone in design deserves a nice Christmas bonus.

Appearance: Very dark amber color. Borderline black in my current lighting. Not much of a head. Head was cream colored and pleasant.

Smell: Not too strong, but this traveled quite a bit. Sweet, kind of fruity, kind of malty. Almost... figgy?

Taste: Very sweet and inviting, almost too sweet. Almost exactly how I like a Winter Warmer. Maintains that almost figgy taste I thought it would have given the smell. I sense some apple or pear-like flavor too? Its got a nice mix of Christmas-y spices, can't quite pin all of them down. A nice malty brew.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation, not too heavy, a little sticky. The only complaint here is that I'd like more of wherever the head came from!

I thought this was pretty much how I like the style. Really liked this beer. Hope more Breckenridge beers make it out to Philly area.

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

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark copper/tan brown. Minor 1/8 inch head, minor lacing.

Smell - Fruity hops, some added sugars, malts, a little mix of chocolate, cinnamon and toffee.

Taste - Sweet caramel and toffee notes upfront with some added spices and some hops. Some apple and cinnamon come out along with some bready/buttery malts. Some alcohol warm in the finish. A little bit of dark fruits and cherry is mixed in as well.

Mouthfeel - Malts caot tounge, along with some hops and spices. Palate gets more malts and fruits, along with some spices and added sugars. The aftertaste is malty, fruity and warm.

Overall - Average, not terrible but many better beers of this style out there. Needs some more flavor, too weak fruit wise. Malts are good and bold but not balanced very well. Nothing i need to ever try again.

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Photo of stewart124
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange to mahogany with a nice lacing.

Breast/toasty note in the nose with some caramel.

Breast and chewy but it is a medium mouthfeel. Some decent spicy bitterness but this a malt forward beer. Lots of caramel and a nice figgy character. A very solid winter warmer.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber/mahogany color with a fingers worth of tan head that leaves a wall of lacing that follows the beer all the way to the end of the glass

S: Has some solid caramel and chocolate malt notes with a very light spice note as well

T: Follows the nose. Some good maltiness that brings the caramel and chocolate notes, with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon as well as breadiness towards the back end

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Chewy and smooth

O: A solid Christmas ale with very nice malt flavors and not too much spice. Definitely preferable to over-spiced winter beers, thats for sure. This one will definitely warm you up on a cold winter night

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Photo of horshack7
3.06/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: It pours a dark chestnut with some amber hues and a head about a finger thick that is smooth in texture.

Aroma: Clove, allspice, caramel malts that have lots of breadiness to them. Faint cinnamon, a little bit of apple.

Taste: Caramel malts in the front, clove, cinnamon that's quite faint, light citrus hops with a light crispness. Allspice in the tail end and a bready finish.

Notes: A decent and drinkable Winter Warmer. Cheers.

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Photo of Brad007
3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of bum732
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Very fruitcake like, nutmeg, brown sugar, dark fruits

L: Very dark crimson red, white head that dissipates.

T: Big dark fruits up front with some holiday spices. Low bitterness with slightly sweet caramel malt. Slight fruitcake like spiciness with some dark fruits near the finish. A burnt toffee like finish.

M: Medium thin body, medium carbonation.

Not bad for a light X-mas ale. The spicing is pretty high in this beer, but nice to have every once in a while.

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

A-a clear chestnut with a thin layer of cream head that sticks to the glass

S-malt, caramel, raisins, but not getting much spicy aromas

T-a little on the weak side, malt, caramel, and a very small amount of hop bitterness

M-mouthfeel is actually pretty decent, medium body, light carbonation

Overall it is hard to believe this is a Christmas ale, the spice profile is basically non existent. Nice maltiness though.

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Photo of XenonX
1.6/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance is very nice, caramel in color. Looks to be a nice heavy ale. Very citrus hoppy smell. Taste, Lemon pledge mixed with hairspray...almost synthetic . Mouthfeel is full however and actually a little pleasant! Overall however, I really tried to get through the entire bottle. Alas, I had to cast the last third to the polluted depths of the lake that caught on fire to be with its kind. I am not a fan.

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