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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

808 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 808
Reviews: 362
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 10
Gots: 50 | 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: 808 | Reviews: 362 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a clear, dark amber. Covered with a medium sized, creamy, sand colored head.

Aroma included caramel, pine/spruce, and an unidentifiable spice.

Taste was much sweeter than expected, kinda like toffee. Spicy hops, some pepper - quite a bit, actually! Pine. Minty finish/aftertaste.

Medium to full body. Medium carbonation. Quite dry.

A nice, well hopped, spicy winter warmer. I probably wouldn't want too many at one time, but a couple certainly hit the spot.

, Nov 20, 2007
Photo of hwwty4
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay Chalice. Poured a mahogany and when the light hit it, it showed a lot of ruby colors. Very little head and carbonation. Smells of hops and malty sweetness. Also spices, and citrus, I’m guessing from the hops. Taste is more simple then the smell. Its mostly sweet with a little roasted malts and hops coming out in the end of this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability is good. I don’t know if I could drink a sixer in a night but I could definitely go for another.

hwwty4, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of rajendra82
4.3/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle label was different that what is shown on the picture here, and I found it better looking. The beer itself looked mahogany in color, clear, and topped with a one finger head. The smell made do a double take, because the strong hop presence was not expected at all. The citric smell was backed with some toffee and chocolate. The taste was quite outstanding due to the amount of things going on. The hops were noticeably bright and floral, while the malt was toasty and sweet. There was a rich smoky backbone, and a lingering buttery aftertaste. Even with all of this flavor density, this was not a big beer, but an easily approached one. A little tinny in texture perhaps, but not much given up there either. Fantastic pick from Windward Beverage Mart in Alpharetta at the recommendation of Paz.

rajendra82, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of timbro81
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First time to have this one. Appears a dark red/brown in a standard pint glass. Absolutely no head at all with no visible carbonation in the glass unless provocated. Nose was pleasing, piney hops balanced with rich malts. Taste is similar with some roastedness/nuttiness tucked away in there. Rather light mouthfeel to it. I can't really decide where it wants to go or what it wants me to think, confusing. Aftertaste is short lived and lacking. Not the best winter warmer but worth a try.

timbro81, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of drumrboy22
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium chalice.

Bottled 11/06.

Poured with a small, off-white head that left nice lacing around the glass edges. Beer was dark, dark brown.

Aroma was heavy malt, brown sugar, raisins and molasses.

Flavor was a little heavy in alcohol, that seemed to cover up some of the more subtle flavors present. After 9 months, I think this could still use a little more time to mellow out.

I'm kind of disappointed by this one. I love Christmas beers, but I'm really not that impressed by this one.

drumrboy22, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of uwmgdman
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This ale pours a very clear, deep ruby red into my mug with a thin white head. The head diminished to a thin skim that lasted through the beer. The aroma is dominated by moderate-low roasted character, a moderate malty sweetness-caramel like with a bit of spicyness. There is also a low flora hop aroma. A nice nose to this beer. The taste initially malty, moderate caramel, slightly nutty, a little toasted, and moderately sweet. Toward the swallow a moderate hop flavor emerges, very nice. The bitterness is medium-low, but that combined with medium-low roasty flavor, there is enough to provide a nice balance. The carbonation is moderate and body/mouthfeel is medium with a good drinkability. Overall this is a well done Christmas style ale. A nice looking beer, the nose and flavor are both solid, with some complexity, and the subtle, but noticeable hop flavor is well done. Drinkability is very good too, especially at the 7.4 ABV, it could sneak up on me. I recommend this beer.

uwmgdman, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of BadRockBeer
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving Type Sampled: 12oz. Brown crown-top bottle. Label includes “Bottled on Date.” Label reads “Hand Crafted for the Holidays.”

Appearance: Pours mahogany, nice 1 finger fluffy head faded quickly leaving tight lace.

Smell: Caramel Malts and piney hops.

Taste: Chocolate and caramel malts, Piney, bitter hops. Nutty aftertaste that lingers a while. Slightly warm from the apparent alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body lightly carbonated. Slightly bitter/sweet.

Drinkability: Good. This is one of my Colorado native favorites in the winter warmer category. But at 7.4% ABV you find yourself drinking less than you planned.

BadRockBeer, Feb 12, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a clear dark brown with a smallish head of foam that dissipates quickly leaving very little on the surface and very little lacing.

The smell is dominated by sweet caramel malt and a bit of dark fruit.

The taste follows up on the nose; nice notes of caramel and roasted malt, molasses, dark fruit, and fig. Very little spicing, imo, and that works well for me as the flavours that are there are hitting my palate in a positive way. Oh, I can feel a bit of warming as it goes down but that's certainly not a negative aspect for this time of year. The finish fades pretty quickly; I would have preferred a more lingering aftertaste.

Bottom line: A tasty Winter Warmer that is a solid example of the style. Try it.

Edit: A big 33oz swing top bottle 2007 given to me as a freebie by Mike at Poplar Wine & Spirits

It pours a deep amber brown with about an inch of foam.

The smell is of caramel malt with a light chocolate note. Not much going on here.

The taste has a good chocolate flavour up front with some nice sweetness from the caramel and a light dark chocolate like bitterness that comes through in the finish. It also has some roasted malt notes but I can't say I tasty any of the dark fruit or fig that I mentioned in my earlier review. Victims of aging? Oh well, it's pretty nice and pretty easy to drink. Alcohol is well hidden and the head retention is good with some nice ring after ring of lacing. My overall score for would this sample wouldn't be much different from what I've laready rated it.

Bitterbill, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of Dubblebock
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight across 4's for this year's version of the Breckenridge Christmas Ale. I picked up a bottle on my last trip through Grapevine Market in Austin, as I was putting together a holiday sampler.

The beer poured with a deep brown tone with a slight touch of red highlights. Good fluffy head and a decent, malty nose.

The taste was rich and bready, with a good hop presence. There was an almond presence backed up by a crackery backbone. I was through with the mug before I knew it.

Bold mouthfeel, very drinkable. A strong winter warmer, though, so be careful if downing more than one. A nicely rounded beer.

Dubblebock, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled due to the kindness of gbontrag.

Out of the bottle and in to the glass this is a clear coke brown colored ale without much head.

Smell is sweet and spicy with a scent of orange and lemon with vanilla, ginger and cinnamon.

Taste is sweet and woody with a cinnamon flavor and a little ginger burn at the beginning. Light fruity flavors from a British yeast strain gives this the British Ale flavor that I like. Mild fuggles bitterness in the after taste there is a trace of tobacco and leather taste here.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty and very well mannered winter warmer of a beer here. It shines by having no rough edges and a willing to please demeanor. A recommendable beer.

Zorro, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of biergeniesser
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This 12 oz bottle of Breckenridge Christmas Ale poured a crystal clear deep garnet. It had a thin fluffy off white head which diminished into a thin veil that persisted as it laced itself nicely on the glass.

Aroma is of earthy malt with a slight sulfur character and hints of spicy hops.

The flavor is pretty well balanced between the malt and hops. Malt-wise, dominant characters are earthy, toasty and sweet. Spicy, yet some what tea-like flavors are contributed by the hops, which also lend a mild to moderate bitterness. A substantial warming alcohol character is also evident.

A medium to full bodied ale with a smooth mouthfeel and a slight carbon dioxide bite.

Well done- a nice American winter warmer.

biergeniesser, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of Winter
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper with a creamy khaki head. Aroma consists of sweet caramel malt with hints of citrus and piney hops. There's a hint of brown sugar also. Smooth medium-bodied mouthfeel. Flavors of caramel and chocolate malt are apparent upfront. Piney hop bitterness arrives midway and carries into the finish. Obviously, the 7.4% abv supports why it's listed as an American Style Strong Ale on Breckenridge's website, but the taste reminds me of a hearty amber in my opinion. I think some of that can be contributed to the addition of the black patent malt that's utilized also. It definitely adds a nice depth of flavor to the finish. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. A very nice Christmas Ale that's produced without the use of traditional holiday spices.

Winter, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of MDekker
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out a rich, dark red with very little off-white head. Smells of roasted malts, spices, and bread. It tastes mostly of the same stuff, without any real serious character or flavor. Very little aftertaste, and not much of a hint of hops or bitterness. Nothing was offensive, but nothing was great, either. A little watery with below average carbonation, but easy to consume. The bottle will look good with my other Christmas season brews.

MDekker, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of joe1510
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Bottle
Bottled 5th week of September

Poured a warm looking clear mahogany into my pint glass. A one finger beige head sits up top but fades to a solid cap after a couple minutes. Leaves billowy lacing when you tip the glass but it falls back into the body after a few seconds. Looks good.

The smell is a tough thing for me to pick apart for whatever reason. Theres a unique freshness to this that smells faintly like fresh hops. Unfortuanately after that there's not much else that impresses. Maybe some toasted grains and light pine. As it warms I pick up a mild nutiness. Still hard to pick apart.

The taste is on the weak side. All flavors are muted including the alcohol which is surprising at 7.4%. I'm picking up the same flavors as in the nose.Toasted grains start things off. Mid-palate a small but noticable dose of hops wash across the tongue and ends with a mild alcohol spicyness. If the flavors came through more this beer would be a lot better. It's just average right now though.

The mouthfeel is strange. When I first take a mouthful it feels medium bodied and creamy. The closer it gets to the throat the more watered down it gets. Theres some alchol fumes rising after the swallow that are minimal but there.

Drinkability is average. Nothing special but goes down pretty smooth.

This beer was worth trying for the fact it's a seasonal. I'll pass on it next time I see it so I can either try some new winter seasonals or old favorites. That being said It didnt get the highest ratings from me but in no way was I disappointed.


joe1510, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of chadspivey
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006... poured into a pint glass

A: dark brown, with red. Much like OAK. one finger offwhite head dissipates after about 1 minute

S:not much going on here. smells slight hints of vanilla and not anything else. pretty dull smell.

T: can taste some kind of wood. vanilla is there, but not very strong. can slightly tatse grapes. very matly, not a lot of hop action (for a christmas beer). Nice taste, just needs to be stronger. almost like a light christmas beer. chocolate comes way later while breathing out through the nose in the after-aftertatse.

M: thick mouthfeel, like velvet. This is the best part of this beer, in my opinion.

D: I could drink a lot of these.

chadspivey, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of russpowell
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 version, couldn't tell when it was bottled.

Pours deep caramel/brown with a fluffy 2 fingers deep sand colored head. Above average lacing & good head retention

S: Slight hint of malt & breadyness, plus some brown sugar

T: Nuttyness up front with dryness. A little bit of chocolate & grainy astringency follows. The astringency/cardboard taste detracts from the taste. Finishes with warming & chocolate notes

MF Slick with low cabonation, medium bodied

Didn't drink so well. Whatever it was I liked about lasy years, ain't here, either my tastes changed or the recipe did, not reccomended, but had potential

russpowell, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of TexIndy
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle with brewed one date area on label that wasn't notched into a pint glass. Was a brown/mahagony color with just a very small brownish head. The smell was bready malts well balanced with a spicy hop. The taste was pretty good for a winter warm but since not one of my favorite styles this is about as good as it can get rated. Overall one of the better examples of the style that I've had so far. Recommend trying especially if you enjoy Warmers. (3, RB, T,O)

TexIndy, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of GrillMeister
4.43/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 6 pack of this and the guys at the liquor store told me not to put the whole 6 pack int the fridge or you will drink it all.

They were right. It's a very tasty beer. It has a pleasant aroma, a great taste with a hint of cherry, i think. Very nice beer. I could drink this stuff past Christmas.

GrillMeister, Nov 24, 2006
Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2006 brew of this seasonal has some really nice new artwork on the bottles and six-pack. Classic-looking retro three-tone print. Pretty.

Moderate pour into a nonic yields a thick two-finger light tan head over a dark brown body with red-amber edges. Pretty beer.

Smell is roasty toasty caramel malts with an interesting sourdough bread note. Not much hops aroma, though there's a *slight* hint of citrus-pine.

Taste mostly follows the aroma, though the sourdough bread flavor is a bit more pronounced on the palate than in the nose. Not a lot of complexity. This is fairly one-dimensional.

Decently round mouthfeel, which covers the alcohol very nicely.

Drinkability is okay. However, this is a bit too one-dimensional for me to want very many.

Overall, not a bad winter warmer. Worth a try.

ColoradoBobs, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of whynot44
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear dark mahogany red color with a moderate off-white head that retains fairly well and leaves some decent lacing.

The aroma toasty, bready malts with a bit of caramel and citrus.

The taste starts out sweet toasty caramel malts, then subtle hints of spice with a drier piney, grassy finish and a touch of alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied, drinkable but not really a session beer. A decent warmer after doing some fall or winter chores. Worth a try.

whynot44, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep shade of ruby-amber, with excellent clarity and orange highlights. Thin, one-finger off-white head shows passing retention and light spotty lacing. Clover honey and molasses nose, with some background dark crystal malt, english hop aromas and faint ginger/cinnamon notes. Roasted and caramel flavors upfront, followed by a touch of honey and a rich blackstrap taste. Aftertaste is dry and full of fuggle hop flavor with a solid piney hop bitterness. More hoppy than the aroma suggests, but retains a good balance. Sweet, medium to full body deposits plenty of residual sugar, but the fine carbonation and abundant hop charcter keeps the mouthfeel more dry and airy than cloying. Hint of ginger/cinnamon near the end, and finishes with a mild slickness that fades quickly due to assertive hops and drying spices. Reminicent of Anchor's OSA, this drinks easy and makes a terrific holiday treat.

PBRstreetgang, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A good Warmer. Big on malts, bold on hops, and spiced just right. Too often, the Winter Warmers try to over-do the spices, making it harsh or astringent. This beer starts with a strong malt base that takes on caramel, toffee, bready, toasty flavors and a nearly-syrup body. Hopped for nice balance, while contributing a bit of citrus, earty, and pine flavors. Spices decorate the nose and flavors really subtally, but never contribute harshness in the feel. Seems well aged and matured, with only a hint of hotter alcohols or abrasion. Still has nice head retention and lacing with the last sip. Not one of Breckenridge's finest brews.

BEERchitect, Nov 09, 2006
Photo of Dizzy
2.8/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours brown with red highlight and a off white creamy head. Smells like malts (maybe some roasted malts) and a little bit of fruitiness. I'm tasting cloves, less malt then I expected and a little hop bitterness. There is some alcohol burn as well. I was expecting the spice flavors to be more prominant as well. The mouthfeel is thinner than I would expect for a winter warmer. This isn't bad, and is probably worth trying, but I am a little disappointed with this one. You'd be better off picking up Breckenridge's Oatmeal Stout.

Dizzy, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of xav33
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Breckenridge Christmas Ale
12 oz bottle
Bottled 11/05, imbibed 07/06
Medium pour in a tulip glass

Poured burnt umber with 1/2" foamy thin head that dissipated into a ring.

Smelt of spices and sweet maltiness.

Slowly starts off with nice soft hop instantly balanced by spices, pleasantly decending into a balanced blend with a sweet raisin maltiness that intertwine nicely, although sweetness lingers a bit too long. Caresses the palace too softly. Mouthfeel is soft but light, with slightly overdone effervescence.

Overall, an intruguing yet alluring color, and a very pleasantly balanced albeit subtle taste.

xav33, Jul 30, 2006
Photo of cameraman
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass a light brown color with a small head forming, then quickly fading away. The aroma of malty sweetness, folowed by a tough of spices and some floral hops. The taste starts with the strong malt flavor, then a combination of spices hit the palate, and then a hop flavor shows itself at the end. A watery feel in the mouth is there at the start. Then it gains weight to become more medium bodied towards the end. Fairly drinkable for a cold weather beer. It is faily refreshing, though spices could be a bit of a turn off.

cameraman, Jul 22, 2006
Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 808 ratings.