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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

917 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 917
Reviews: 382
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 16
Gots: 104 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 917 | Reviews: 382 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Schmittymack
2.86/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 vintage in swingtop bottle, poured a dark brown with very little head into the trusty old pint shaker glass. Aroma was sweet malt with a hint of spices. Taste was malty goodness with some spices, finish was very odd: kind of sour or spices gone bad? Normally this is one of my favorite Christmas brews; I don't believe I'll age one this long again. Decent but definitely off.

Photo of lwootton
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured a dark brown with red, had a thin head that dissipated quickly.

Aroma - Malty, strong sweet aroma, hint of spices.

Taste - Sweet and malty, some spices. The slightest hint of bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, mild carbonated feel.

Overall - Good beer, a bit sweet for me unless it's paired with food. I'd like more cloves/cinnamon in a winter warmer other than that I enjoyed it.

Photo of mattgreger
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew poured a medium brown color. It does have a just a bit of a red tint that coulds the brew just enough to give it a haze. There is a decent 1/2 inch off white head that lingers a bit, then falls to a nice spiderweb like lacing left on the glass.

In the aroma I am getting a whole bunch of different things. The front of this brew has a great toasted malt aroma, this is followed up by a nice fruit combo. I can smell cherries and raisins. There is also a nice hint of dark chocolate in there. The finish has a nice woody scent too.

As expected from the aroma, the front of this brew has a nice toasted malt, and a hoppy, woody flavor as well. It follows up with a bitter resiny hops, and you are with some dark chocolate and slight coffee flavor. Its gives me a bit a fruit cake feel at the finish.

The mouthful on this brew is pretty heavy, which is somewhat expected from thsi kind of brew. The carbonation on this brew is pretty good, and its a nice crisp brew.

This brew is pretty good. The drink is pretty easy, and I enjoyed it. It would be a bit hard to take in more then one of these. The brew is great, but the complexity of the flavors might just be to much. Still a great Christmas Ale.

Photo of es42289
2.56/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

too much hop biterness. Did not seem to be as spicy as other christmas ales. first sip seems harsh and makes you aprehensive about the next sip. not enough malt coming through to efficiently mask the high hop bitterness and higher alcohol.
Gets better as you get closer to the end of the 6pack though...as expected :)

Photo of CSAsylum
3.3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So here is a review of a Breckenridge Christmas Ale (in June) and the beer was likely not "cellared under appropriate conditions" as it was just recently purchased by a friend of mine from a local (anonymous) package store. It is the age of the beer and it's unfortunate cellaring that prompted me to add my two cents here at BA: for aficionados who may have concerns over a beer collection of uncertain worth.

A: A clear reddish-brown with a thick, light tan head of very tiny bubbles that quickly fade to a cappuccino-like crema. Lacing is slight and hovers just over the beer as it's drunk, doesn't linger long on the glass.

S: A sweet aroma with hints of cinnamon.

T: A sweet beer that barely hints at the barley. Just a touch spicy and a little toffee-ish. It leaves sweet with a definite malt character. No alcohol burn.

M: Light-Medium body with light carbonation.

Overall: For a Christmas Ale this beer is mild by most measures, as most brewers tend to push the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg levels to unimagined heights, as if Christmas could be made more Christmassy through the boiling and tincturing of its traditional aromatics. Not so with Breckenridge. It's definitely a Christmas Ale, my first comment after my initial sip was that it was an out-of-season experience. However, once you settle into the pint, the mild spiciness that is so evident at first, quiets and leaves behind a perfectly quaffable ale. It isn't sickly sweet, although it is sweet. The medium body and carbonation present a drinking experience that isn't as syrupy as the beer actually is.If my experience doesn't match other reviewers, blame the six months in the back of a liquor store.

Photo of donteatpoop
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe I'm just spoiled on Greatlakes, but i can't imagine that no one else can make a good Christmas ale. Unfortunately, I don't think this one from Breckenridge qualifies as particularly good.

Best feature was the color, a nice semi-hazy brown wood stain in color, with a a short lived creamy white head.

Christmas spices hit the nose and the tongue, but they don't seem to have the right blend and leaves the mouth with a very unbalanced taste.

I won't say it's a bad beer, because really it's not; it just wasn't anything worth trying again.

Photo of jabergess
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had at Taco Mac in Buford, GA in the 20 oz mug.

A - Medium brown, slight watery appearance, very little head/retention

S - Slight coffee notes, biscuit, toffee, all very subtle. Couldn't detect any hops or bitterness. Not too sweet.

T - Not huge flavors like you would expect from say a stout or porter, instead everything was subtle like the smell. The malt presence wasn't huge like you might expect from this style. Nothing overpowering at all which for me added to its drinkability. Did not detect an alcohol warming on this one.

M - Thin, slight carbonation

D - I felt like I could drink quite a bit of this, even at 7.4% abv.

I'm tempted to call this beer boring, but sometimes that's what you might be looking for?

Photo of WakeandBake
3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark amber to red color pour with a foamy light tan head , lasting a short time , leaving little to no lacing , medium carbonation. Aroma of cinnamon , cola , nuts and maybe fruit . Flavor is sweet with the promised caramel and chocolate flavors , maybe some cherries , cinnamon and other spice notes , full body , creamy , slightly dry mouthfeel , slight warming effect , a little alcohol and dusty grain in the finish , nothing to put me off but not really my thing , Drinkable and worth a try , but not what what im looking for.

Photo of jrallen34
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a very dark brown with a light tan watery head that rises a finger but is gone quickly.

The aroma is pretty light, a little spice mixed with some malts, like a spicy marzen.

The taste is very light, can't really taste a whole lot, a tiny bit of spice that's about it. The feel is very watery without much of a finish.

This is a pretty boring xmas ale.

Photo of imanidiot777
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a medium brownish color with a slight tint of red and slightly cloudy. Off-white head that is fairly large and stays for awhile, excellent lacing on the glass.

S: Toasted malt smell and some kind of fruit that I can't put my finger on. My nose is terrible though.

T: Toasted malt, hoppy, and some kind of citrus taste in there somewhere.

M: Pretty heavy body, carbonation level is right on, overall pretty good.

D: Goes down easy but I wouldn't want to drink too many of these it did not sit to well for some reason.

Photo of dude
2.35/5  rDev -33%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a chestnut brown, clear without suspension. There's yeast in there though I can smell 'em, along with roasted coffee beans and a metallic quality also. Aluminum foil? Taste is not of aluminum but of black coffee, unsweetened chocolate and some caramel sweetness. There's also a peppery hop presence, but overall this one is bitter much like a porter. Wait is this a porter? Mouthfeel is on the watery side, so I'm guessing the body is thinned out with some adjuncts. Not a bad thing necessarily, and I can't taste them anyway unless they burned them first. I mean roasted them, yes it has a strong roasted malt character through and through. Finish is bitter, dry and bitter. I won't seek this one out in the future, but I will purchase said beer again on the $1.99 discount rack if the situation arises. It is warming me this winter with 7.4% abv after all.

Photo of diamondc
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Six pack on sale for $4.50. No freshness date to be found.

Looks good in a Duvel glass. Dark bronze garnet-like color, one finger foam of head leaving lacing on every sip. Settles down to a thin cap of foam 'til the very end.

After a few furious swirls, I get cola, cherries, dark chocolate, raisins and a hint of resiny wood on the nose.

Taste is bitter resiny hops, followed by the roasted malt flavors of coffee & chocolate. Medicinal cherry and slightly metallic flavors linger around at the end.

A pretty good sipper on a cold night. Alcohol isn't noticeable, tho' it is a bit thin on the mouthfeel. Not a bad Winter Warmer.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear dark redish brown color. Poured a 1 finger tan to brown head that dissipated to a broken skim. Lacing washed down the side of the glass.

S: Bread malt and roasted nutes. Floral hops. Chocolate and caramel too.

T: Sweet caramel malts and herbal flavoring hops. Roasted nuts and citrus.

M: Light body. Medium carbonation. Fizzy and crips on the tongue ahead of mild bitter finish.

D: Very flavorful and balanced.

Photo of Vancer
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ol' Breck pours a murky amber into the Maredsous tulip glass, thin ivory head pops up and quickly dies. The label notes 7.4%, but I didn't find any burn, nicely hidden.

Not much in the aroma, just some subtle notes of caramel mixed with a malt backbone - it's missing any spice or hops. Thin body doesn't get any points either.

Again in the quaff, lite hints of chocolate, cinnamon and malt - more along the lines of a holiday brown ale than winter warmer. Ya know, a fairly tasty brew but not in the ballpark of a spicy winter brew.

Photo of Kromes
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A clear dark brown with a thin off-white colored head. A little bit of lacing on glass.

S: There is a toasted malt aroma with a slight fruity, herbal and medicinal hop aroma.

T: The hop flavor hits right away up front and doesn't really let the malt flavor come through. The roasted malts show up a little in the middle. The hop flavors aren't bad, but they are a little strong. OK flavor.

M: For me the beer is thin and finishes too dry.

D: This is an average winter warmer...it is unique....but one that I probably wouldn't have again.

Photo of SamN
3.89/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Not off to a good start; pours like old cranberry juice, but gives a decent frothy head. The color is an unappealing slightly cloudy light red.

S- Fruity hop aromas, very faint malt. Cherries, oranges, slight hefeweizen odor, coriander spice.

T- Whoa, strong bitter hops right up front. Powerfully bitter shock fades to a mild sweet/spicy aftertaste. After a few sips the initial burst of hops fades and the beer becomes more balanced but the aftertaste is still pretty bitter.

M- Slightly more body than regular ales with the perfect amount of carbonation. Nice thicker texture.

D- Easy drinking, a great social beer, very easy to session.

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark red copper with good clarity and an impressive head that leaves strings of lacing.

S- Nutty bread, flowery hops, and sweet chocolate/caramel.

T- Smooth with a whiskey-like complexity. Sweet caramel and an herbal bitterness

M- Clean, but a bit watery with mediocre carbonation

D- I do like to drink this beer every now and then. I will most likely pick up a 6-pack or two every winter.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to BA dmamiano for this one.

Pours a beautiful deep copper color, with a tan head that is very dense. Lacing is fair to good as this head slowly fades Really a nice look here.

A nice spicy aroma, whether from hops or added spices I do not know. Some alcohol evident with a nice fruity pear sweetness as well. Taste is a nice mix of malt and spice. Burnt caramel and some dark fruit notes. Nice. There is a bit of alcohol warmth.

Nice body to this winter warmer, as expected. Lightly carbonated and more than sippable. Could see this one creeping up on an unsuspecting imbiber. Well done.

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with a ruby tint to it. Decent tan head falls to a minimal one. Decent lace.

Sweet malt aroma with mild spice.

Sweet spiced malt up front immediately followed by strong hop flavor. Hops seem to be the dominant flavor. Mild bitter finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth with a slight bite.

Decent easy drinking brew.

Photo of weeare138
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a dark amber with a fluffy white cap that slowly fades out into a mild cap. Scattered bits of lacing.
Smell is of cinnamon, grain, nutmeg, cloves, mild ginger, and brown sugar.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a gentle bitterness of hops.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, bitey, gently spiced, and drinkable like a spiced wafer.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent dark mahogany with a fine-bubbled beige head. Aroma is spicy - mainly cinnamon - and somewhat malty. Mouth-filling flavor is spicy, mostly cinnamon and cloves, with a fruity undertone and a hint of spicy hard candy. Texture is rough, lively and tingly.

Photo of billzee
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass. Deep ruby with a light tan creamy head that leaves cascades of lacing. Rich sweet fruit notes with grapefruit and piney hops. Raisin and citrus hops all the way through. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Finish with a touch of bitter pine.

Photo of Rayek
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

A: Dark chestnut brown. A dense a soapy cream head has nice retention and leaves good lace.

S: Toffee and licorice out front, plus a hint of coriander and anise. Alcohol adds a light tingle.

T: Pretty sweet initially. A bittersweet toffee dominates right away. Bitterness is mild and peppery, with a light cinnamon note. An alcohol warmth rounds things out. Ever so slightly vinous. Gets a touch acidic toward the end.

M: The dry and syrupy body has about the right amount of carbonation.

D: Overall, this is a nice winter offering. Good complexity and nice warmth make this a fitting winter brew.

Photo of thedrewski86
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this into a pint glass, left 1/2" of off-white head that reduced to a film leaving good lacing. Smells malty, maybe a little peach(?). Color is a dark amber. Taste is smooth with a bitter finish, some spices suitable for a Christmas ale. Body is thin to medium. Mild carbonation. I wouldn't drink a six-pack of this in one go, but it's certainly not bad.

Photo of aaronh
2.68/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep reddish-amber topped by a loose off-white head. Aroma has a slight hint of cherry and honey - not much else. Flavor is also dominated by honey notes followed by a mixture of burnt sugar and alcohol. Not really all that complex. Mouthfeel is smooth but a bit watery. Carbonation is great. Drinkability is OK, but it's really a rather boring beer.

Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.