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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

752 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 752
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 8
Gots: 24 | 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: 752 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TastyTaste


2.8/5  rDev -20%

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.

12-21-2004 15:51:40 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of rowew


3.53/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

12-19-2004 19:30:14 | More by rowew
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.47/5  rDev +27.7%

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!

12-19-2004 13:09:50 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of tavernjef


2.35/5  rDev -32.9%

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.

12-19-2004 04:48:57 | More by tavernjef
Photo of avylover


3.98/5  rDev +13.7%

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.

12-06-2004 23:34:09 | More by avylover
Photo of ChrisBowers


3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

12-04-2004 02:17:57 | More by ChrisBowers
Photo of Bighuge


3.8/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

11-18-2004 04:02:49 | More by Bighuge
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.18/5  rDev -9.1%

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.

11-16-2004 23:07:45 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of ADR


4.15/5  rDev +18.6%

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..

11-08-2004 15:50:34 | More by ADR
Photo of filabrazilia


3.23/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

03-12-2004 15:58:28 | More by filabrazilia
Photo of kbub6f

New York

3.63/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

01-13-2004 00:47:16 | More by kbub6f
Photo of BigRedN


3.5/5  rDev 0%

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.

01-09-2004 21:28:23 | More by BigRedN
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

2.93/5  rDev -16.3%

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.

12-24-2003 20:15:41 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

12-23-2003 02:44:29 | More by JISurfer
Photo of HardTarget


2.1/5  rDev -40%

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.

12-17-2003 01:03:05 | More by HardTarget
Photo of winomark


2.85/5  rDev -18.6%

Appearance: Pours a medium copper with a frothy light tan head that quickly fades.

Aroma: Sweet malt, slightly toasty. Some hops give some balance.

Taste: Good malt base, slightly smoky with a crisp finish. Hop bitterness shows up mid-palate.

Mouthfeel: Flavorful, but crisp and refreshing. Malt and hops balance nicely.

Drinkability: Easy-drinking, but lacking in character. Worth a try, but no need to work too hard to find.

11-25-2003 15:37:19 | More by winomark
Photo of Beaver13


3.28/5  rDev -6.3%

The Christmas Ale poured reddish-brown with very little head. The head quickly disappeared for the most part leaving little traces. The beer had a slight malty, caramel like aroma with hints of alcohol, pretty subtle overall. It tasted a little spicy with a big hoppy finish. It was pretty full-bodied with a slight metallic feel. Overall, not as impressive as I was expecting. I normally like a spicier Christmas Ale.

11-15-2003 22:25:41 | More by Beaver13
Photo of Quaffer


2.68/5  rDev -23.4%

Appearance: This beer was dark brown with some deep ruby highlights that showed through when held up to the light. The almost white head rose up to a finger and settled back down rather quickly. A thin layer lingered for a lot of the drink. What foam did remain was sticky and left a few patches of lace on the side of the glass.

Smell: Right after the pour, this beer smelled "wrong." It had a sharp, somewhat acidic, almost bile-like aroma to it. Thank God this went away after a few minutes. It was replaced by the smells of sweet malt, brown sugar, cracker, roasted malt, and hints of alcohol. Overall, the aroma was very light.

After the beer sat for a while longer, the aroma turned bad again. The earlier, bile-like smell came back, but it had more of a sour quality to it. The only thing that kept this beer from getting a VERY low "smell" rating is the fact that I caught a whiff of its potential between the two nasty periods.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied and fairly smooth. There was a slight numbing effect on the tongue from the alcohol.

Taste: This beer was a little sour on the tip of the tongue, but gained a sharp hops bitterness as it lingered in the mouth. Maybe the aroma was affecting me, but I thought that the hops had a sour quality to it as well. That was about all there was until the finish, when a little bit of sweetness and an alcohol flavor arose.

Not impressed by this one. Hopefully next years will be better.

11-12-2003 23:58:39 | More by Quaffer
Photo of hotstuff


2.93/5  rDev -16.3%

Hmm.Christmas in September.When poured into my glass, this beer had a very small sized tan head with fine-small sized bubbles that fully diminished.The body was carbonated and clear with a reddish-brown hue.The nose consisted of malt, caramel? and alcohol.The flavor was that of caramel, slightly sour and tart with a lingering aftertaste.It had a smooth mouthfeel, watery, dry finish and medium bodied.There was good lacing with this beer.

10-29-2003 00:37:15 | More by hotstuff
Photo of ZAP


3.53/5  rDev +0.9%

Creamy and smooth texture in the mouth...medium bodied...not super heavy, but not thin like some of their other offerings...pours a light chestnut color....big fluffy tan head...lace rims the glass nicely...definitely some alcohol on the nose along with an earthy spiciness ...some alcohol emerges on the buds but it is very soft...it lends a spicy hit to a pretty sweet beer...reminds me of Sam Adams Winter a little...(although this isn't a weizen bock it kind of tastes like one)...their web-site says I should get chocolate and caramel on the flavor and I don't get any of that...maybe more a breadiness, but not real heavy...just sweet malt wit ha spicy character...

This is a decent winter beer..worth getting a six-pack of..it's probably the best beer I've had from this brewery too....but when stacked up against the best strong ales it is only slightly above average ...I like though....

01-24-2003 21:56:49 | More by ZAP
Photo of bditty187


3.5/5  rDev 0%

Can’t say this “legendary” brew wowed me much. Pours dark brown, reddish highlights, good clarity. The head was surprisingly minimal, poor retention, some spotty lace. The nose seemed too clean but there is a healthy dose of toasted, sweet malt. Straightforward taste; malty sweet yet bitter. Plenty of alcohol to warm the soul on a cold night. Overall this is a decent “winter warmer,” not a “must try” but don’t stray away from it either.

12-26-2002 09:40:40 | More by bditty187
Photo of budgood1


3.45/5  rDev -1.4%

pours out a deep dark ruby color. a hard pour produces an thin brown head. surprising enough it does leave a nice lace as you drink it. aroma of choco/caramel malt with fresh northwest hops. caramel malt flavors ride an oily and buttery mouthfeel straight down my throat. seems too slick...citric hop flavors are there and gone too. it needs more carbonation or something...lots of body and hoppiness is lost because there is nothing to hold it up. high ABV is apparent but succinctly masked. they slide down way too easy for such a high ABV, and i'm sure they're even more potent in the rarified air of colorado.

12-10-2002 20:44:04 | More by budgood1
Photo of aracauna


3.53/5  rDev +0.9%

The body is deep brown with a good head that lasts fairly well. There are aromas of hay, lemon and molasses. The flavor is dark but not thick. The malt is wood and molasses. It is sweet and meaty but not heavy or chewy.

12-03-2002 00:30:10 | More by aracauna
Photo of marc77


3.88/5  rDev +10.9%

Dark garnet hue, w/ excellent clarity. The beige, intially thick head settles into a thin, spotty layer that coats the rim of the glass. Dark caramel sweetness and bready malt upfront aromawise, followed by drying biscuit and mild diacetyl butterscotch. Trace chocolate malt. Lightly earthy Fuggles hop nose and fruity esters lend an overall "British" aroma profile. Rich, dark caramel coupled with biscuit malt lends an toffeeish sweetness initally in flavor, then mellow diacetyl surfaces and provides richness. Although the hop bitterness is mild, a pleasantly dry, nutty, cracker like maltiness assists in offsetting the malt sweetness. Moderately bodied, and smooth in mouthfeel, due to both ample residual dextrins and low relative carbonation. Perhaps a touch oily. The earthy hop flavor mirrors that of the aroma, but is present at a lower level. Finishes sweet, w/ hints of burnt malt. Rustic breadiness coats the palate with an exhale. Breckenrige Xmas is a well above average and tasty winter brew. A bit high in diacetyl, but that seems to complement the dark caramel character. It was a steal for me at $4.99 a sixer.

12-02-2002 19:29:14 | More by marc77
Photo of rockdick


4/5  rDev +14.3%

This was my first "winter brew" to try and was much different than I anticipated, in a good way though. Poured a dark, reddish-brown color with a head that lasted pretty long. Smelled and tasted of sweet caramel and chocolate malts. Very appealing to the palate.
This stuff is pretty strong too. 2 or 3 sitting around the Christmas tree will make you see reindeer or elves running around your living room. Good stuff, I'll be buying it again.

11-26-2002 05:59:21 | More by rockdick
Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 752 ratings.