Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

377 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 377
Hads: 927
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 12.93%
Wants: 17
Gots: 108 | 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

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (61) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 377 | Hads: 927
Photo of malty
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My bottle has the new 'Old World' style graphics - pretty cool.

Pours a very clear rust-garnet color with a fluffy, loose 1" head that lasts. Visible medium-paced carbonation.

Scents of sweet and faintly roasted malts with an herbal hop presence. The hops are prevalent and very fresh.

The flavors are very loose and disconnected. A spicy warmth hits the tongue followed by a fleeting toasted maltiness that escapes very quickly. There’s a prickly hop component that begs to be accounted for - the texture is there, but no flavor profile detected (ghostly?). Some alcohol warmth in the somewhat dry finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery which is surprising due to the fact of the visible carbonation. Light bodied.

Drinkability is good. The alcohol is pretty well disguised along with features that are very 'middle-of-the-road'.

Overall a beer that looks spectacular but falls off soon after it hits your mouth. Cool looking bottle but the contents didn't excite me. A good beer to have in the fridge for the holidays to serve to not-so-close friends/company. Glad I only bought one bottle for $1.50. (1,117 characters)

Photo of Brent
3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
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. (560 characters)

Photo of GreenWBush
3.37/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brewery has some of the greatest graphic design around. This must be a recent development as the bottle I reviewed from was different than the picture and the beer inside seemed quite different from other reviews too.

Liquid cranberry in color. Miniscule head, but decent lace. All beers i've tried from this brewery have had some carbonation issues.

Very hop-forward on the nose which I noted was 'hop-trickery' in my original notes. Spiciness heightens this hop character, I think. Almost fuely. Tree sap. Pine needles. Fern. Nutty. Peppermint. Or is that a subliminal suggestion because of the inherent X-mas theme of this one?

The first taste that springs to mind is 'homebrew'. Very fresh and hoppy, cranberry, pine. Vaguely similar in hop flavor to some years of OSA, obviously subtracting the tree-like nature of that brew. Malt character gets a bit annoying towards the finish - grainy.

Mouthfeel is thin, back to the homebrew comparison. Tasty, if unremarkable and a tad forgettable.

I think this falls somewhere in between SNCA and OSA, with characteristics of each. Unfortunately this one just doesn't quite do it for me like those other superior brews. (1,185 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
3.66/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Label states that it was bottled on the 3rd week of September. Nicely done! I dig breweries that give me that kind of information.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber brown with a thin, bubbly ivory head. Doesn't last very long and fades into islands of carbonation.

Smell: Carmel, malts, some red grapes, brown sugar notes. No hop presence to speak of but none anticipated either.

Taste: Carmel, cloves, cinnamon, maybe a hint of coriander, pecans, with a touch of a bittering hop finish. Pretty interesting taste here.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied to thin. Some crispness on the tongue due to the carbonation.

Drinkability: A highly drinkable beer. Light and complex.

Notes: Winter warmers really aren't my thing. Still, this is a finely crafted beer that is perfect for a yucky Ohio late winter day. I'd recommend trying it at least once. (870 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma shows a mildly rich malt character that's not particularly complex and shows a slight spiciness.
Pours with virtually no head. Clear. Dark amber of brown and red.
Dry malty taste. Again mildly rich malty but not necessarily intense. Very mild hop bitterness.
Adequately soft. Fair carbonation. Somewhat filling.
This is okay. Nothing special. (352 characters)

Photo of allengarvin
3.01/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance is dark brown, with a good lasting head of off-white froth. Smells of sharp, grainy malt, not very pleasant. Flavor is roasted malt, whose bitterness combines with the hops for a harsh, unbalanced flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy, moderate carbonation.

Something about this beer just rubbed me the wrong way. I had a hard time finishing a single glass. Better in bottled form. (385 characters)

Photo of maxpower
3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orange-copper color, huge foamy off white head, leaves a nice lacing in the glass, malty caramel aroma, fruity caramel flavor, medium bodied with a full and soft mouthfeel, finishes a bit sweet, not bad, a decent and drinkable winter ale. (251 characters)

Photo of alexgash
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
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. (484 characters)

Photo of beerceller99
4.2/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle pours a clear garnet hue with a nice white head. Smell is nutty sweet malts and alcohol. Medium bodied with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Taste is a very nice nutty malt sweetness with a decent hop alcohol tang to finish.
A nice brew to warm up with on a cold winters night. (287 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
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'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. (754 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
2.83/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a nutty brown clear color, with a nice off-white head. Smelled lightly of alcohol light spiced scents. Alcohol was very present in the flavor, along with some thin cinammon and gingerbread flavors. Pretty sweet, but not one of the better winter warmers that I have had, kind of dissapointing. There are many better beers than this one trick pony. (359 characters)

Photo of rowew
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz long neck bottle. Date information on label, but as is often the case it isn't actually marked.

Appearance: Poured a nice dark red/brown clear color with a good sized off white head. Head disappated to a thin lacing when I started drinking.

Smell: Hoppy and fruity - maybe a hint of smokiness.

Taste: Very well balanced flavor - nice maltiness with a hint of hops. Mild spiciness mixes well with a solid beer flavor. Became slightly sour later in the beer. Mouthfeel was slightly watery for the flavors in the beer.

Overall impression: Decent winter beer with some nice spice flavors, but drinkable enough that you can drink more than one. (671 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
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! (1,103 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
2.39/5  rDev -31.3%
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. (877 characters)

Photo of avylover
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a very dark brown, with very little head, alot like a barleywine. aroma is highly reminiscent of a brown ale -with a chocolatey nose up front and some malt and a strange lemony zest in the background. This is a very different winter ale. It tastes and feels alot like stone's 8th anniversary brown ale, sans lemon zing.I really enjoy the chocolatey taste up front but the lemony zing in the aftertaste is a bit unwelcome. Quite drinkable for a beer this big and a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel. If you don't like SNCA - then this may be for you...I'll stick to my hops, thank you. (590 characters)

Photo of ChrisBowers
3.77/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good but unremarkable winter/christmas beer. Poured with virtually no head, decent carbonation though that saves the mouthfeel. Aroma is hoppy with some spicing and alcohol. Taste is slightly spicy with prunes, raisins and ripe fruit present. None of the tastes really jump out and take over. Mouthfeel seems a tad thin. Very drinkable, smooth, non-offensive beer, would make a good introduction into spiced/winter beers for a skeptic but I like my beers to jump out at me personally. (484 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
3.78/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany. Thin beige head with little retention. Lacing is spotty and sparse. Some faint sweet malt aromas and a bit of a spicy hop presence if you sniff hard enough. Body is almost medium and the mouthfeel is just kind of there. The flavors are nice enough. Sweet malts and dark fruits blend nicely. Raisin and plum come to mind. A little piney character. And there's a slight lingering bitter dryness after the swallow. Pretty good. (440 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (1,623 characters)

Photo of ADR
4.15/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, Supreme Court Bar, Adam's Mark Hotel, Denver, CO...

Dark mahogany color, clear and transmits chestnut highlights. Tan head settles at 1/4 of an inch. Crystalline ring laces. Smells of brown sugar/cinnamon on toast. Viscous mouthfeel, a little flat but consistent and without fade. Pleasant taste, caramel and a hint of a cherry impression, rounds to a lush carob and vanilla with a peach sense. A little sweet overall, but a good and festive brew with a number of individual and subtle flavors.. (506 characters)

Photo of filabrazilia
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi-clear brown with floating particles in the beer. Small tan head. Good lace.

Smells doughy, malty and a bit like carmel. Not as robust an aroma as I would have expected.

There is a subdued malty flavor that is balanced by a bitter hop finish. Decent but not great.

The mouthfeel is a little thin for a strong ale. I would have liked something a little fuller and complex. There is a strong carbonation bite that is followed by a dry finish.

This is a drinkable beer but there are so many other seasonals I would rather drink first. (555 characters)

Photo of kbub6f
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear, dark, toffee-brown beer with red highlights. Small, off-white, foamy head dies fast. The roasty aroma is almost a little smoky, with nuts, tangy caramel, buttery malt. Roasted nuts give way to a sweetish, fruity, tangy, caramel body. It's just a little watery. Hoppy, bitter, nutty, tangy finish. Not bad. (314 characters)

Photo of BigRedN
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark Amber, can just see through the glass. 1/4 inch tan head, lingered a while then left after a few sips.
Smell: Chocolate, roasted malt, slight sweetness to it.
Taste: Malty, with hints of chocolate, caramel. Slightly sweet with a hoppy note as it went down.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, relatively smooth. Hoppy bitterness to it.
Drinkability: Easy to put down, maybe not the best I have had this holiday season, but good.

Final Thoughts: Part of a mixed six pack I put together for the holiday season, so far just middle of the pack. (554 characters)

Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours ruby brown with an off-white head that lingers around the outer rim of the beer. The aroma is malty, alcoholic, and deep dark fruit. The flavor is plum with chocolate and the finish is dry and bitter and lasts for a very long time after consumption, to the point of being unpleasant. The body is thin. The beer also has some astringency.

12 ounce bottle, old style label with no date markings on the side. (423 characters)

Photo of JISurfer
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one wasn't too bad. It was very bland when it was cold, but got better as it warmed. It had tastes of various fruits, mostly plums and such, but also had a hint of peach. It also had some different spices intertwined in it. Couldn't really point them out though. The biggest disappointment was the appearance. It was the color of a bock, but hardly had any head at all. The small head fizzed out to an almost nonexistent laceing. It's not great, but's it's not the worse christmas ale I've had. Give it a shot if you like. (527 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
2.13/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed 12-17-03

Standard brown 12 oz bottle with a BARELY notched label indicating bottled on Month 10, Week 2. I’ve said it before, I don’t care for the Month/Week, give me Month/Year please.
Aroma 4: Slightly musty/stale malt nose with a hint of pine hops. Mild bouquet.
Appearance 2.5: A very rough pour produced a good finger of cream-colored head of large bubbles. Head topped a very clear deep amber/brown glass with blond edges. Head settled down to a light coat, but impressive lacing.
Flavor 2.5: That stale perception lasted into the beer. The taste is pretty mild (bland is too harsh) but well balanced. Starts a bit sweet, ends a bit bitter, with some mild spices in the middle. Has a bit of a bitter linger in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel 2.5: Very flat light bodied beer.
Overall Impression 3: Take Anchor’s Christmas Ale, water it way down. The character is about right, just not enough body or volume (taste) to make me feel like Santa. Not a bad beer, just not making my Christmas wish list.

Re-reviewed 12-14-05

Bottle Inspection: Attractive label devoid of any useful information. No abv %, no ingredients, no serving or storage suggestions, nothing. Places for a month and week to be notched, but no notch. Why can’t they just tell me what year and month? I don’t need to know the week. Sigh.

Aroma 2.5: A porter like nose, some what I’m guessing are Fuggles hops, heavy alcohol note that seems a bit “boozy”, and mild plum malt notes. As it warmed, a little DMS comes out that isn’t fun at all.

Appearance 2.5: Clear ruby brown glass with a trace cover of a tan collar. Not enough head to get a good look at color, but some modest lacing.

Flavor 2: Alcohol isn’t very well hidden. The beer does come off as fairly well balanced with a tip toward the sweet malt. Some mild spices are noted as well. All in all, all the flavors are very mild, but given the alcohol kick, it all comes off a little perfumed.

Mouthfeel 2: Medium body, slightly oily in texture, slow drying finish.

Overall Impression 1: Bah humbug. Just didn’t lift my spirits. The flavor is too mild, the alcohol too pronounced, the spices too subtle. I’d recommend looking into what ever is causing the DMS, changing the hop schedule to add some more AA’s, maybe caramelizing the wort a bit to it some depth, heck, go wild, this one needs a real retool. (2,380 characters)

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