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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

751 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 751
Reviews: 354
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 8
Gots: 25 | 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
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Ratings: 751 | Reviews: 354 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bmwats


3.48/5  rDev -0.6%

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.

12-23-2008 03:39:32 | More by bmwats
Photo of hopdog


3.13/5  rDev -10.6%

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

12-18-2008 20:47:26 | More by hopdog
Photo of Bagman007


3.13/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

12-14-2008 06:01:59 | More by Bagman007
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

3.35/5  rDev -4.3%

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.


12-13-2008 20:56:01 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of wescj


3.23/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

12-13-2008 20:35:04 | More by wescj
Photo of Jasel


3.03/5  rDev -13.4%

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.

12-05-2008 13:57:06 | More by Jasel
Photo of Morbo


3.9/5  rDev +11.4%

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.

12-05-2008 07:01:14 | More by Morbo
Photo of cadenwhitaker


3.45/5  rDev -1.4%

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!

12-02-2008 23:53:00 | More by cadenwhitaker
Photo of morimech


3.3/5  rDev -5.7%

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.

12-02-2008 23:47:14 | More by morimech
Photo of JDK


3.58/5  rDev +2.3%

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.

12-02-2008 02:29:54 | More by JDK
Photo of glid02


3.3/5  rDev -5.7%

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.

12-02-2008 01:48:07 | More by glid02
Photo of chaunur


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

11-29-2008 14:38:13 | More by chaunur
Photo of bashiba


3.13/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

11-29-2008 01:39:24 | More by bashiba
Photo of JamesS


4/5  rDev +14.3%

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)

11-25-2008 21:34:27 | More by JamesS
Photo of Blakaeris


3.5/5  rDev 0%

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.

11-23-2008 23:39:10 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of Gehrig


3.13/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

11-20-2008 23:16:26 | More by Gehrig
Photo of mpahnke


2.88/5  rDev -17.7%

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.

11-20-2008 18:08:38 | More by mpahnke
Photo of hustlesworth


3.95/5  rDev +12.9%

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.

11-18-2008 06:37:52 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of champ103


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

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


3.98/5  rDev +13.7%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Duvel glass.

Not much head on this one, at first I thought it was going to be a fully opaque beer, but got a nice surprise when held up to the light. Light revealed a very nice dark ruby red color. Without a doubt one of the most attractive lookig beers I have seen.

Smell was a touch sweet, and for some reason reminded me of the smell of Christmas cookies baking.

The taste to me seemed to be dominated by a smokiness. Malty notes in there, and a hoppy finish. Not as complex as some I've tried, but a pleasant taste.

The mouthfeel was probably the weakest part of this one, it was a bit thin, and nothing lingered overly long.

I don't have much experience with holiday beers, but if this one is an example, I will be anxious to try more. A nice beer to enjoy on a cold winter day.

11-15-2008 03:39:53 | More by Vixie
Photo of weezyfart


3.58/5  rDev +2.3%

This beer has a dark opaque apppearance with a creamy beige head that leaves little lacing. The aromas are hard to discern, which I find a little frustrating in my winter warmers. I want these beers to be mysteries with clues left behind. The Breckenridge has spice and malt, but which ones I cannot tell.

The flavors are a little bit more forthcoming. The malts are forward and roasty and smokey. The smoke is welcoming to me because it rides the drink all the way to the long finish. Hops are present, but not the focus.

I really enjoyed the flavor and the finish of this beer. The heat does not show much at all,but leaves the winter warming effect.

Overall, I like. Yet, there are many many many other winter warmers that toast my buns better than this one.

11-12-2008 04:42:41 | More by weezyfart
Photo of homebrewhawk


3.63/5  rDev +3.7%

12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint. Poured a clear brown with a finger of off white head. Aroma of caramel malt with some piney hops. Medium bodied on the malty side. Some chocolate malt. A pretty good amount of hop bitterness. Not very memorable, but fairly drinkable.

11-12-2008 02:05:08 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of kinger


3.88/5  rDev +10.9%

"Comforting warmer to mellow you out. Roasty aroma some coffee and caramel and a good helping of hops, wish it were stronger. Dark brown pour with a thin head but ample lacing. Medium mouthfeel but it's rich and filling with a real easy finish for such a sturdy beer. Flavor is an excellent bundle of roasted toasted malts, mild hops, some minimal spices, and a touch of coffee and rich brown sugar. This is like the Christmas rum cake of beer.

11-11-2008 02:53:37 | More by kinger
Photo of robg2251


3.18/5  rDev -9.1%

Pours a deep amber brown with a head that quickly fades. Not so dark that you can't see through, a very nice color. The smell is a bready yeast smelling with hints of orange, pine and cinnamon.
The beer has a smooth lighter body to it with moderately high carbonation. The hops/pine come through on the initial taste with a bready caramel malt taste to it.
Not what I was expecting, more of a hoppy spiced brown ale. The spices are very subtle but overall it's a well balanced beer. I can see being able to drink a lot of these, it's definitely light enough to pack these away if given the opportunity. I'm not sure the taste is my thing, but it's definitely drinkable.

11-10-2008 23:46:08 | More by robg2251
Photo of Domingo


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%

Had this on tap @ Jim 'n Nick's BBQ.
Arrives a deep brown color that's bordering on black. A 1/4" white head sits on top and Looks a lot like a dry stout.
Smells very malty and a little like pumpernickel bread.
The taste is suprisingly pretty hoppy. Very piney and wild. I think it's the chinooks that are doing that. It reminds me of the wild piney hops I've seen in the CO. mountains. The malty dark bread flavor seems a little subdued because of the piney hop hit, and I'm not sure it meshes really well.
I love the creamy mouthfeel, but one pint was enough for me.
I like many of Breck's seasonal offerings, but this one didn't do it for me. Many beers lack hops. This one probably just needed a different variety...maybe goldings?

11-10-2008 19:32:59 | More by Domingo
Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 751 ratings.