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Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

767 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 767
Reviews: 359
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 10
Gots: 28 | 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: 767 | Reviews: 359 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kbub6f
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

kbub6f, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of BigRedN
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

BigRedN, Jan 09, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.93/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

GCBrewingCo, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of JISurfer
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

JISurfer, Dec 23, 2003
Photo of HardTarget
2.1/5  rDev -40%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

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.

HardTarget, Dec 17, 2003
Photo of winomark
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

winomark, Nov 25, 2003
Photo of Beaver13
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

Beaver13, Nov 15, 2003
Photo of Quaffer
2.68/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Quaffer, Nov 12, 2003
Photo of hotstuff
2.93/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

hotstuff, Oct 29, 2003
Photo of ZAP
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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....

ZAP, Jan 24, 2003
Photo of bditty187
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

bditty187, Dec 26, 2002
Photo of budgood1
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

budgood1, Dec 10, 2002
Photo of aracauna
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

aracauna, Dec 03, 2002
Photo of marc77
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

marc77, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of rockdick
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

rockdick, Nov 26, 2002
Photo of Dogbrick
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stuff knocked my socks off! I was really surprised at how good this tasted, with a rich dark color and full flavor. This will definitely catch up to you after a few in front of the fireplace. Sweet malty taste and a long, mellow finish.

Dogbrick, Jul 08, 2002
Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in color with a huge tan head that fades slowly, with moderate lace. Aroma of chocolate and caramel predominates. Chocolate and then burnt caramel dominate the palate with a slightly hoppy finish, strong alcohol taste, quite warming. Not as much character as some winter beers I have tried, but certainly decent and very potent.

Pegasus, Apr 28, 2002
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Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 767 ratings.