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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

388 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 388
Hads: 957
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 22.35%
Wants: 20
Gots: 122 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.10% 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.
View: Beers (60) | 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: 388 | Hads: 957
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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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 CFHMagnet
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A normal pour netted me about a finger of creamy head whose color was somewhere in between light yellow and light tan. This quickly dissipated but left a little froth and lacing over the copper body.

Smells of sweet malt, christmas spices including cinnamon and nutmeg and a faint whiff of alcohol at the end.

Sweet malt says a quick 'hi' to your tongue before being inundated with a peppery holiday spice mix. There is a faint banana flavor that mixes with the spice near the end, until a bit of alcohol takes that over. Dry, spicy finish.

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Photo of Kendo
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is clear chestnut-brown with a small whitish head that's gone fast.

S: LIke a brown ale - sweet malt (toffee) and a touch of nuttiness.

T: Caramel malt, toffee, brown bread and spices - maybe some cinnamon, otherwise the spices fall in the "nondescript" or the "I can't quite make them out" categories. Slight metallic aftertaste does battle with the sweetness and spices for supremacy. Not loving the overall effect.

M: Light-to-medium in heft.

O: OK, far from great.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.02/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

This is a deep brown colored ale with a bright white head that is foamy. The head fades and leaves a nice thin layer on top. Descent lacing.

Smells of roasted caramel, sweet malt, fig, nutmeg and allspice.

Has a really nice buttery malt middle with a hint of hops. Good, interesting flavor.

Creamy and smooth mouthfeel.

I enjoyed this brew. The spices are not too overdone, the brew goes down nice and easy. Thanks for the brew bro...

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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 mountdew1
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark orange amber with a 1 finger bubbly white head. Head didn't last long at all. Aroma was of sour fruit, with a bit of alcohol if you got up close. A very small touch of sweetness. Taste was sweet to finish, but started off with very mild and well balanced. A hint of spice, but also traces of a chocolate. Interesting, but very mellow flavors. A bit under stated. Intensified the longer it sat. Felt good in the mouth, coated well with the right amount of carbonation. Not a bad winter warmer, just a bit more subtle than I normally expect.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3.07/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This is an extremely subtle beer compared to most Christmas Ales. There is a very big and distinctive malt taste with hints of spices.

The aroma also has a hint of spices and maybe slight chocolate. While not a bad beer, this is underwhelming compared to most Christmas Ales and seasonals out there.

The carbonation level is also too high for this style and there isn't much going on beyond the the malt backbone.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a dark burnt orange/reddish hue body with a medium sized foamy beige head that has decent lasting power. Aroma of wet bread, some burnt caramel, and yeast. The flavor is basically malts with some notes of gingerbread, caramel, toast, and some light fruit rinds. I was disappointed as I expected more spices and maybe creaminess as well The body has a medium mothfeel and lighter carboantion but a sort of slimy feel as it coats your mouth. Wanted more out of this one after a long search for this one.

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

poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A- Pours a Dark ruby with a thick white frothy head that lingers.

S- Smell reminded me right of the bat of an old ale. Fruity notes coalesce with hints of hops and barley. Smells somewhat like strawberries.

T- Tastes is malty and sweet. Very sweet, with a hint of hops near the end. You can taste the earthy barley notes. Hints of rhubarb and strawberries along with citrisy orange notes that hit you at the end. Strong carmaley malty overtones at the beginning.

M- Thick but clean. smooth on the tongue and mouth.

Overall a very good winter warmer very reminiscent of an Old Ale. Would definitely buy again.

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

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Poured from bottle to Schooner glass.

A - Translucent Dark Red/Amber color. Half finger white head with very little retention of lacing.

S - Holiday spices are slightly present but I was not able to detect anything else.

T - Tastes starts with a pleasant blend of caramel malts mixed with spices that seem to be cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Continues through a sweet malty flavot with a hint of fruit.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Very little warmth and and after taste of spice. Seems to finish soapy.

D - Its drinkable but it will hit you with the higher alcohol.

Overall it was an average beer IMO. Nothing too outstanding to report though I am glad I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-15-2011 20:18:47

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Photo of Microbrewtaster
4.03/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Cigar City Snifter

A- This beer pours a dull brown in color with a white head that is small, maybe a half finger, and dissipates rather quickly. The lacing is also sub par as there is barely any to speak of.

S- There is a real heavy malt, with some spice notes, and a slight toffee, and booze smell.

T- There is some cinnamon, some roasted malts, and a very slight hint of booze, nothing near the 7.4% ABV that it says it is. there is also a caramelized sugar taste that makes for a terrific finish.

M- This is a medium bodied beer that has a good amount of carbonation. it is nice and crisp as the finish goes, not quite the way this style is meant to be but it works for me. U

O- While I did not expect much from this beer I enjoyed it more and more as time went on, while its taste is rather mild it is pleasant and while not considered a sessionable beer It is one i can see myself enjoying a couple of.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Breckenridge Christmas Ale is a very clear and sparkling ruby ale with a sand colored head that fades to a bubbly film and leaves very nice lacing on the glass. It has sort of a sweet malty aroma of caramel and chocolate. The hops seem a little spicy and there may be orange peel in there. It's pretty light bodied and smooth. The finish is quick, clean and dry. It doesn't taste sweet like it smells. It's almost a little salty. DMS is detected, along with a note of cherry or plum. It's reasonably bitter. The bitterness lingers for a while after the finish, along with a peppery rumble and maybe phenol. It tastes ok, but it's not very focused. It goes down pretty smooth, but it's a little strange tasting. Maybe I shouldn't be drinking Christmas ale in January.

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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 McNealc31
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rather than focusing on spices, Breckenridge Christmas Ale instead reminds you of of warm, sweet carbs.

Loads of sweet caramel and toffee followed by freshly baked dark bread fill the nose. The lacing left behind is like a dusting of snow on a mahogany cabin. The citrusy hops do eventually kick in with a bigger jolt than expected. More chocolate and a little bit of smoke as it warms.

I like this take on the style. There is a hint of cinnamon, but this is decidedly a malt-forward winter warmer. A quite tasty one

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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 388 ratings.