1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

757 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 757
Reviews: 356
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 9
Gots: 27 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Christmas Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 757 | Reviews: 356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beer2day
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours caramel with a thin, quickly dissapating head. sweet molasses in the nose. Good thickness in the mouth as the beer hits your tongue, but not much flavor in the finish. Vaguely sweet and a little chewy, virtually no bitterness. Probably would not get this one again.

beer2day, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of RickS95
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good looking beer. Light tan, slow forming head. Very dark, burnt amber in color.

Malt forward nose, some caramel or toffee. Smell of hops, but spices were subdued.

Pretty smooth mouthfeel, but nothing spectacular. Slightly sweet before a light spiciness takes over. Great lacing.

There are spices in the finish, but the alcohol is all I really noticed. Not sure of the alcohol level, but with the way this drink warmed me, it's got to be pretty high (I've since learned it's 7.4%). As it warmed, the spices come out.

No bitter hop finish, but you can taste and feel the alcohol long after you've swallowed.

RickS95, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of mdcrouser
2.73/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Admitedly, this came from the sampler pack from World Market - a gift from my sister-in-law this Christmas.

Dark brown, but with glints of red and orange peeking through, hanging in the beer like ornaments on the tree.

The nose is somewhat faint, with light spices, a bit of grapefruit, and some alcohol. The taste brings that bitter grapefruit to the fore, pushing it out to the edges of your tongue - it's just hoppy enough to let you know that it's there, but is otherwise underwhelming. The caramelly malts are also light - maybe roasted over an open fire? decent carbonation, coolly prickly on the tongue.

While this isn't a bad beer, it's nothing exceptional, and I can't see myself seeking this out to enjoy more than just this one.

mdcrouser, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.33/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep opaque brown with mahogany highlights, thinnish white head, light lacing. Smells of roasty malt, some underlying citrusy hops.

Roasty dark malt, bittersweet chocolate and caramel malt. Just a hint of dark fruit and a light peppery bitterness. Rich but drinkable, very smooth for a beer approaching 8% ABV. Full mouth and a sweet and roasty finish. Lovely stuff.

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Clear, brown beer. Nice tan head slowly reduced to sparse bubbles.

S-Spicey and bitter. The spiciness is prominent with little malt character.

T-Spices with a hint of raisin over dark, toasy/roasty malts. Hints of toffee emerge on occasion. Bitterness is present just enough.

M-Very nice. Smooth carbonation with a medium body.

D-Very easy to drink. I could easily polish off a few of these without a problem. That said, it's drinkability does not make this a bland, boring beer. It has deep flavors on top of flavors, making it enjoyable to drink, as well as smooth.

CHSLBrew, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of orangemoustache
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark transparent reddish amber with a light tan cap that retains adequately and leaves lots of Swiss-cheese lacing. The nose is malty with hints of caramel and a bit of cinnamon and other spice,maybe a hint of brown sugar as well. This tastes like a big fat cinnamon roll. Just the right touch of sweetness and spice,with a smooth alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is a little thin,but the carbonation is a little creamy and gives it a fuller finish than the start. A nice WW, just right for a cold Christmas Eve morning like this.

orangemoustache, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of bmwats
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint.

A: Dark brown in color. Light carbonation, pours into a very light head which dissipates quickly leaving only a smattering of bubbles on the surface. Pretty good off-white lacing clings to the sides of the glass as you drink.

S: Roasted malt, light hops, hints of chocolate and cinnamon.

T: Sweet malty flavor with undertones of raisin, hops, hint of spice.

M: Starts with the sweet malty raisin, finishes with hops. The sweetness and light hoppiness linger. Has a syrupy feel, dry finish, a little cloying.

D: Good flavor, no strong alcohol taste, refreshing.

Overall good semi-complex flavor, and a good nose. A little different for this particular style, but a pretty decent overall quaff.

bmwats, Dec 23, 2008
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

hopdog, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of Bagman007
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Dark walnut brown coloring with not much head.

S- Smells pretty hoppy with a hint of yeast. Very light malt smell along with some spices.

T- Fairly hoppy beer with a yeast aftertaste. Can taste some of the spices as well.

M- Bitter, but not too bad. Definitely has a kick to it in the aftertaste.

D- Don't think most people would want to have more than a couple of these in a sitting.

Bagman007, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of UDbeernut
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap poured into pint glass

a: dark amber color with minimal head, decent carbonation, not much head retention but does maintain lacing

s: roasted malts with hints of chocolate and coffee

t: same as the aroma, minimal spice. Decent

m&d: good mouthfeel, finishes slightly dry. Very drinkable for its ABV.

Solid beer, not as good as GLBC Xmas Ale though.

Cheers

UDbeernut, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of wescj
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Color is very dark, almost black in a poorly lit room. If you hold it to some light, you can see some deep red amber around the edges. Head is off white, about half an inch, with ok retention and modest lace.

Mostly roasted malts in the aroma, particularly sweet notes of caramel and toffee. Not quite as spicy as you would expect for a christmas ale.

Taste is predominantly roasted malts, as is the aroma. The mild sweetness of the beer paired with the subtle bitterness on the backend gives the ale a medicinal quality- not necessarily in a bad way, but not that exciting either. More spices in the taste than in the aroma, but still nothing special.

Mouthfeel is a bit over-carbonated, which compromises the taste a bit.

Quite drinkable, and ok overall.

wescj, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of Jasel
3.03/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I believe I chose the wrong glass as I used a goblet and it poured with no head at all.

Smell was very enticing and aromatic with a malty/chocolate aroma.

Taste had a harsh alcoholic kick followed by minimal malty/chocolate taste.

This seemed more like a funky malty wine than a beer.

Jasel, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of Morbo
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours chestnut brown with deep amber highlights at the edges and a one finger off-white head.

Chocolaty malt and molasses dominate the nose. Earthy hops and a bit of spice are there as well, a long with a hint of nuttiness.

Taste is a bit sweeter than expected, caramel malts and molasses. The earthy hops are there too with a nice woody finish.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, nice and smooth.

Wow, I didn't realize that this was 7.4% until I just now looked. This is extremely drinkable for a winter warmer. The subtle spiciness is nice as well, some beers of this style go overboard in that department.

Morbo, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I feel all over the map with this one. First I smelled it and immediatly I thought "ech, a hoppy dark beer that probably tastes like smoked dryer sheets" then I drank it, the hops came on but were cut in half with a nice caramel malty flavor. So the drink started with hops, but ended with caramel. Interesting.

So the taste was quite good and the smell came back to a nice finish. I would drink this again, which I am surprised to say considering my first impressions.

After reading the other reviews the smell is actually a good thing. Learning is fun!

cadenwhitaker, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of morimech
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown with a small head that lasts a little while. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass surface. The smell is sweet malt with a touch of spice like cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavor is just average. Sweet malt with a little spice and alcohol on finish. Mild overall. The body is a bit thin but does have a nice semi-creamy texture. Carbonation is kept in check. A nice beer but will not impress many Beer Advocates. The high ABV limits drinkability.

morimech, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of JDK
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark amber with very little head and what was there quickly disappeared t a lace.
Very light smell of orange and some spice but very faint.
Mouthfeel could use some more carbonation, left my palette rather dry and had no lingering taste.
Really could taste the choc malts but that was about it.
Overall not bad but I've had better.

JDK, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of glid02
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on-tap at Taco Mac in Decatur.

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass.

Smells of light spices and sweet malt with a bit of an off aroma that I can only describe as metallic.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet malt followed by mild amounts of nutmeg and brown sugar - then the off-smell turns into an off-taste. This seems to be the problem with a lot of Breckenridge beers.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side but the carbonation is good.

Drinkability is alright. It's really pretty good until that off-flavor hits.

Overall I'm disappointed once again by this brewery. They sucked me in with the 471 Small Batch and it's been downhill from there. This isn't a terrible beer by any stretch, but there are plenty of other better ones of the style out there.

glid02, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of chaunur
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark clear copper color with a very light off white head. Left minimal cover with almost no lacing. It did smell like a christmas ale with a presence of cinammon and nutmeg. The flavors were not as pronounced while drinking and the carbonation was a little underwhelming. This is the first beer I've had from the Breckenridge Brewery and I was expecting a little more.

chaunur, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of bashiba
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a cola like brown with a light tan head. Some very light lacing at the beginning.

The smell was sweet with molasses and brown sugar with just a touch of alcohol.

The flavor was mildly sweet malt with a bit of molasses and cedar with a bit of alcohol creeping in through it in the finish along with a touch of earthy hops.

The mouthfeel is a bit oily with a bit of a dry finish.

A fairly average winter warmer.

bashiba, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of JamesS
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep copper, nearly brown color, without much head, but with some very good lacing. Great malty Christmas scent (nutmeg, cinnamon, and various spices) withoug going fruity and with a nice hop to almost even it out. Great taste, deep and fizzy with great spice flavors and a well balanced malt/hop combo, leaning towards the malt. It goes down very nicely, overall a really very excellent Christmas beer.

(On tap at Sonka's Irish Pub, Terre Haute, IN)

JamesS, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of Blakaeris
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights. Head is modest, but does leave a generous sticky sheen.

Aroma is caramel malt and subdued spices. Earthy, with a bit of hop.

Taste is sweet caramel malt, plenty of brown sugar. Leathery tobacco. Definite dark fruit presence. Earthy hops bring balancing bitterness. Finish is woody, minerally, and holds vague spices.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Would be nice as a session brew. Flavor is interesting with a malty, but not overpowering character. Certainly worth a try.

Blakaeris, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

With an aggressive pour, Christmas Ale pours a rich varnished brown with ruby trim with a thick patch of slightly tan head that recedes too quickly, leaving modest lacing on the ol', durable Yankees glass. Some caramel and bready malts are emitted, but nothing too compelling, unfortunately. It would be unfair to say the taste is bland, for the decent malt backbone is good. However, Christmas Ale lacks complexity as well as boldness, not a good combination. It's an OK, straightforward beer that honestly could use a good dose of fruit--berry wouldn't hurt, for example. That it flattens somewhat near the end is equally disappointing.

Not all bad, but not one I'll go out of my way to purchase next holiday season. Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale and Samuel Adams Winter Lager this assuredly isn't.

Gehrig, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of mpahnke
2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was a bit disappointed by this beer. While it did have a decent malt characteristic, the beer was quite bland. In my opinion, a winter beer should have a bit more spice than what was here.

Another reviewer mentioned that it was too hoppy...I must disagree. While this style shouldn't be hoppy...i felt it didn't have enough. However, I may be a bit biased, as I really prefer the hops.

mpahnke, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of hustlesworth
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- festive label. happy holidays to you and my 300th review. clear, but dark mahongany brown with a reddish tint and tawny highlights. beige foam is thick, stable, and pretty heavy looking. a band like extremely lacy swiss crusts on the my glass.

S- watery sweet nose, with some caramel and toffee and a dash of bittersweet chocolate. vaporous, but not in the alcohol sort of way. dates, raisins, figs, and grapey sweet red wine and champagne. plenty of elemental complexity but very weak and diluted. red wine aroma becomes more pronounced as it nears room temperature with some acidic chocolate.

T- very fruity wine taste is a combo of port, sherry, and cheap champagne. its an enjoyable (though alcoholic) flavor may make the beer seem stronger than it really is. burnt caramel, burnt toffee, prunes, raisins, toasted pecan, and wood resins come to mind while easing into an earthy, pleasantly bitter hop & chocolate finish. after taste is vinous and green and tree bark with still a little fruitiness.

MF- juicy feel, over medium bodied with tight champagne-like (only toned down) light carbonation. some dry astringency left over, smells, tastes, and feels pretty winous. vinous. grapey. but i dig it. maybe this beer's gettin a bad rep. dryness melts into something chocolatey like i just ate some raspberry chocolate dessert, and everything's holidizzle.

D- maybe i'm trippin, but this could be served in a wine glass. extreme wine characteristics, maybe more so than any beer i've had, but it is fitting and i like it. not a monster ABV but this one commands sipping in my opinion. it's unique and interesting and i could go for a couple more.

hustlesworth, Nov 18, 2008
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.

champ103, Nov 17, 2008
Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 757 ratings.