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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

865 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 865
Reviews: 369
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 15
Gots: 76 | 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)
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Ratings: 865 | Reviews: 369 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown that is clear and has a nice creme head. Nose is bland. Very little caramel there. Flavor is a bit tart. The zing is a wee bit much really. There are some nice brown ale-esqe characters here. Decent earthy edge. Nice leafy tone. But the citrusy zingy character is just singing a bit too high. Feel is decent with a thicker liquid body and a slightly lower carbonation. Overall this is an okay winter warmer. A bit off balance and thick in the wrong places, but it is still fairly drinkable.

Photo of quad07
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a Christmas gift so I have no idea where it is from or the cost. Six pack of 12oz brown bottles with a pry off caps. Has some what of a confusing bottled date. "11815807" lazer etched in the glass. On the label "bottled on: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 week: 1 2 3 4 5". I'm open to an interpretation? I could not find an ABV at all. Carton and bottle labels remind me of old fashion Christmas ornaments. There was no need to rap it for the tree at all.

Poured into my large beer glass a dark caramel color that did not produce much of a head. The head was a off white tan color that calmed down very quickly. When the glass was held up to the light it looked just like Coke-Cola to me with out all the fizz.

I could smell caramel, malt and a hint of nut. No floral or grassy hop smell to note about.

After tasting it malt anise and some cinnamon came through and finished with very little hop bitterness. The mouth feel had little carbonation and some what of a liquorish texture.

It snowed last night and was quite cold so I thought it would be a good time to try this winter warmer. I was not disappointed. Thank you Nick & Sarah.


Photo of pwoods
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle, given as a Christmas present from mommy, poured into a pint. Bottled on month list but no etching.

A: Pours a deep bronze with struggled visibility through the dark liquid. A short head forms and dies to a medium fluffy skim. Some patchy lacing at the start but then falls off.

S: Pretty standard. Cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, a bit yeasty. Super sweet caramel malts.

T/M: Very sweet and chewy is the first thing that comes to mind. Sweet caramel malts with a touch of banana and all the spices. A slight citrus hops in the middle but quickly fading.

D: Decent brew and drinkable for 7.4%. There are better winter warmers out there, though.

Photo of berserker256
2.75/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Decent looking dark ruby/brown color with dark head. Smells a bit hoppy with some sweet prune-like odor and maybe some spice. I'm not crazy about the flavor. It's bitter with some lingering unpleasant aftertaste... Like the bitterness of an orange peel. Good body and texture but not very drinkable. Pretty mediocre in my opinion.

Photo of bunnyhustle
2.53/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle, local shop had these on clearance and well within the "best buy" date so I thought why not? I should have thought not. Poured into pint glass and pours deep, dark red, very dark looking with thin head with poor retention and some lacing. Smell is weak, the only really detectable thing I can find is yeast and bread. It almost smells Belgian-ish. Taste is of some malt, some caramel but with a somewhat sharp alcohol bite towards the end. Moutfeel was very light and watery, it just seemed off. Overall this beer was just very bland in all aspects (smell, taste, moutfeel, ect). It wasnt terrible but I will not revisit this and by far the worst Winter Warmer I've yet to sample.

Photo of number1bum
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a sort of medium brown mahogany color with some reddish hues. About a finger and a half of off-white head recedes to a thin lace and leaves some stick, too.

Smell is pretty weak and is very one dimensional. Try as I might I can't seem to get anything but caramel malt.

Taste is more complex than the smell but it's still a pretty straightforward combo of caramel malt and some subtler chocolate flavor. I'm getting some nutty flavor, too. There's a snappy bit of hops, as well, which lend a woodsy/earthy flavor and a low-moderate level of bitterness.

Mouthfeel has a medium-body and an appropriate level of carbonation. There is also a sort of chalky aftertaste to the finish.

Not a bad tasting brew, but nothing terribly exciting or special. I wouldn't seek this out again, but I wouldn't' be displeased to drink it either.

Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at AJ's in late November for $1.59.

Beer poured a mahogany brown with a smallish off white head. Nose is of malts and baked holiday sweets. Taste is of malts that have been lightly toasted, and is somewhat bready. Hops come into play late and ever so slightly. Mouthfeel is lighter than average for the style and lightly carbonated. Overall drinkability is good. This brew just has something about it that is hard to explain but is very tasty!

Photo of BMoney575
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 1-14-08

Pours a hazy deep red color, with a filmy head that bubbles away and thin lacing.

Smell is somewhat fruity, lots of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, but with a nice hop kick near the end.

Taste is a bit plain, slightly macro-y, but not bad. Spice flavors are nice, and the hops impart a nice bitter balance.

Mouthfeel is a little too carbonated, and could be smoother and creamier for the style.

Drinkability is decent, but not enough here to get excited about.

Overall, an average Christmas beer. The right flavors, but not enough kick.

Photo of MMAJYK
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark brown with amber hues. Head is bright white, but minimal. Brew is semi transparent.

S- Nice and malty, creamy too! Some winter spice (nutmeg and cinnamon) and a little chocolatey.

T- Roasted/burnt malts with cocoa, chocolate, and caramel. The same spices carry over too. Little bit biscuity and butter and leaves the mouth a tad bitter.

M- Thin and low on carbonation.

D- Just average.

Overall- Just an average Christmas offering. Nothing to seek out, but glad to try it. Will not look for it next year, but if I happen to come across some, I will definitely give it another shot.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up this 12 oz. bottle at AJ's in Tucson, AZ over Thanksgiving. Poured to a pint glass.

Label looks significantly different than what is pictured here, now sporting an appealing retro-design (think 1920'/30's-era greeting cards...) festooned in green and red. "Bottled on" line at the left has a miniscule tick at 'O'ctober, no week.

A: Pretty color, warm mahogany with auburn tint. Capped with less than a 1/2 finger of dusty tan cream; it drops quickly to slight film and thin clinging ring and leaves good closely-knit speckles of lace. Held to light shows very few carbonation bubbles rising and a faint sediment suspended.

S: An initial whiff of (curiously) juicy citrus, then all malt. A fair amount of caramel and brown sugar, with faint spice (nutmeg).

T: Malty (toasted grain, lightly toasted nuts) with a little spice. A fair sweetness, then trails off to a metallic bitterness. Hops aren't notable, unless you burp: then there's a little herbal and pithy bittering...

M: A medium mouthfeel but seems light for the style. Smooth going down, almost slippery. Barely any carbonation. Tinny and nutty bittering left on the back of the tongue.

D: Tried this one on a whim (damn, that pretty label beckoned me!) so I'm not too disappointed. This beer has its positive qualities, but had a fairly forgettable taste. This bottle says this is about three months old, so age isn't a factor. Maybe I'd get this again...better on draught, perhaps?

Photo of yemenmocha
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium brown with off brown head.

Nose has brown sugary baked goods, mixed nuts, and miscellaneous roasty aromas.

Palate is very nut-brown like with some alcohol warmth, almost like a basic nut brown ale with some kick rather than a darker Winter Warmer. Flavors remain somewhat restrained for the style, with more baked goods, holiday spices, and hops that are present enough to round things out.

Finish is sweet, brown bread and some biscuits.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish brown with a thin head that settles to a thin ring. Smells slightly malty and spicy but with a little sour graininess as well. Taste is similar, including the sour graininess. Quite light in overall flavor, slightly sweet and a slightly nutty finish. Smooth mouthfeel. I drank a sixpack of this and a week later someone brought me another. I was pretty bored with this before I finished the first sixpack, let alone the second.Eh.

Photo of GRPunk
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- It poured a deep copper-brown with light carbonation. It had a 1/2" light tan head that quickly turned to a solid lace that left sticky rings down the side of the glass.

S- Biscuity malt flavors were the backbone of the beer that had definite tones of holiday spice.

T- There was a lot of doughy, biscuit character with a bit of a nutty finish.

M- It had a fairly medium body and carbonation level, but it kind of lingered around the tongue.

D- It was pretty smooth and hid any higher end alcohol levels.

Overall- It was a pretty decent beer. It isn't the best winter warmer out there, but it certainly isn't the worst.

Photo of prototypic
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's clear and dark brown with about a finger and a half head. Good retention and a nice coat of lace lined the glass.

Smell: Big roasted malt smell initially. Secondary holiday spice scents emerge thereafter (cinnamon, nutmeg). Not picking up any hops.

Taste: Holiday spice flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg come through first. There are sweet caramel and roasted malt flavors to it. Gives it a nice base. Hops are slightly noticeable, but not very strong.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light to medium bodied. Carbonation is okay. ABV is pretty good for this beer. Not very noticable. Drinkability is okay. Overall, pretty good offering. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
2.6/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker pint style glass.

A: Poured with little head for the style. Body looks a bit thin for a winter ale but does have a fairly nice deep mahagony color.

S: Nose is a hint of molasses but mostly minty spice notes dominate. Kind of weak.

T & M: Starts off with a bit of caramel sweetness and a touch of molasses flavor that seems weak and then transitions to mostly "Christmas" like spices (your typical mint, ginger, a touch of cinnamon). The malt character fades but is a bit noticeable even as as the wintery spice notes make their way through. The finish is very weak for the style, and besides the mouthfeel, is the real killer for this brew. Additionally, the aftertaste is nothing more than a watery odd metallic off-flavor that does not leave you wanting another sip. The mouthfeel is thin for the style, and the lack of body definitely does not seem like a "winter warmer".

D & Notes: Overall this is at best a half-way decent drinkable beer, but not worth bothering with if you are looking for a truly good "winter warmer". This brew is nothing more than a thin malt body with some holiday spices. The body is much too thin, the maltiness is weak, the finish is very weak, and this overall, in my opinion, a not so great winter brew.

Photo of foureyedgeek
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Breckenridge is a fairly recent arrival in the local area. I'm a fan of their Rocky Mountain IPA and 471. Their other offerings are pretty solid, as well. Dave had said he found this one pretty nasty, but being a Christmas beer and personal taste being what it is, I had to give it a go. So, here it is:

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass, bottle purchased at Uncle Sudsy's.

The pour is dark brown with red highlights and a cap of off-white head.

Smell is pretty non-existent, maybe a very little bit of coffee or roasty malt aroma but that's it.

Taste reminds me a little of a brown ale of sorts, with the addition of a bit of coffeeish bitterness. There's a little bit of fruitiness in the finish along with a hop bitterness that washes in after it that has no real notable character.

Mouthfeel is medium in body and drying.

Drinkability is decent although its just not a very interesting beer, its kind of odd and doesn't really call for more than one. I'll stick to the IPAs.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with a tan head. In the aroma, a sweet Christmas spice, but mainly cinnamon. In the taste, just like the smell, a sweet Christmas spice but mainly cinnamon. A smooth and spicy mouthfeel, and a dry cinnamon aftertaste. Mainly sweet cinnamon, hides the alcohol and easy to drink.

Photo of hiikeeba
4.18/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours up dark mahogany with ruby highlights and a thin head that dissipates quickly.

S - I hate this description, but the first thing I thought was "It smells brown." There are some roasted malt notes, a hint of malt sweetness with some brown sugar notes.

T - Roasted malts are subdued, with some slight malt sweetness. I did not detect any hop bitterness. I like it a lot.

M - Malts are thick on the tongue, and the carbonation tickles my tongue.

D - Very drinkable. I could easily do three or four of these.

Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a deep mahogany hue with a white, soapy, one-finger head. It left small rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spices (cinamon and vanilla). Also, a nice malty nose.

T - It tasted of caramel malts. The spices were a little understated compared to its aroma.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay winter warmer. There are better out there but this is certainly worth a try at any holiday gathering.

Photo of jeffmonarch
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice dark copper. Very little head but it has staying power.

S - Some spice, malt and a sweet scent.

T - Strong malt flavor with a good amount of spices. Slight toasted taste.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - It's a little sweet but it's good. Kick back and enjoy 1 or 2.

Photo of CortexBomb
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is deep, nut brown with a light dusting of white head. Odd aroma, not what I was expecting, almost a light lime twang, sort of mixed with pine...not very strong though.

The flavour is much more intense than the nose though, a deep, sweet malty start with some dark fruit edges, plums perhaps? combined with cherries and with a spice edge in the background. Not overly in your face, but interesting.

The mouthfeel on this is definitely good, thicker than average, likely due to the ABV. The drinkability, decent. I would rate this middle of the pack for the style on both quaffability and the rebuy factor...

The bottom line: A distinctive take on the Winter Warmer style by the folks at Breckenridge. Not amongst my favourites in the style, but worth giving a try if you run into it.

Photo of ruleof72
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a clear medium brown color. The head is kind of thin and goes away quickly. The smell has the typical toasted malt/nut aromas as most brown ales have. The seasonal spices are very hard to discern but they are there, just very faint. Taste was decent and well balanced. Nothing stuck out. Mouthfeel and drinkability were good.

This is a fine beer but there is not much of that "seasonal" flavor to it. It drinks well and I enjoyed it, just not as much as I thought I would.

Photo of letsgopens
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours very near black with heavy ruby highlights. The bubbly egg-shell white head gives up quickly and leaves just a bit of lace.

Very sweet aroma with fruit and malt. Cherry, citrus rind and dark fruit. Honey and a toasty warmth. Lots of spice as well, primarily cinnamon. Smells festive and tasty. Very well pronounced.

The flavor is much more dim than the nose implies. Not as sweet as expected either. Slightly roasted malt and a bit of honey. Just a hint of orange. The maltiness has a slight metallic, semi-dry character. Mellow spicy notes are present as well. Rarely is the smell such a poor indicator of the flavor. Pleasurable but very mild.

Moderately high carbonation with a medium body. The finish is slightly dry as well. A decent amount of warmth in the finish. A nice festive selection but not as flavorful as I would have liked.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hops and spice. Strong citric and floral hops with almost equally beefy spiciness. With the little malty sweetness it reminds me of orange or a perfumey white wine.

Dark espresso/burgundy color with good clarity. Minimal head though.

Hops really tear through with their perfume of flowers and citrus. Beneath, a soft bed of dark-roast malt lies like a snake in the grass, a snake whose venom is sweet and rich and I’ve been bitten. I don’t really get much spiciness now, not like in the nose; maybe that was all hop-play. A little alcohol there, in the back.

This one’s okay; nothing to write about, really.

Photo of GbVDave
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into two small red wine glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a clear dark-brown with some dark, dark orange highlights. Not much head to speak of and not much lace either.

S: Mild aromas of caramel, cherry, toasted malt, and chocolate.

T: Toasted malt, chocolate, cherry, and caramel. Pretty much doesn't differ much from how it smells.

M: Bitter and kinda watery. Not bad.

D: Not too shabby. Easy to drink but not especially challenging...

Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 865 ratings.