Christmas Ale - West Sixth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Christmas AleChristmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

67 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 11
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 9.74%
Wants: 2
Gots: 18 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
West Sixth Brewing Company visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: KingKat on 12-04-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 11
Reviews by McUbermensch:
More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With a ton of anticipation, West Sixth wishes Kentucky a Merry Christmas in a big way- 9.0% alcohol in fact! Where many of their "flagship" beers have been accused of appealing to a mass audience; their Christmas Ale is meant for the connoisseur!

Pouring with a taunting viscosity, its like ominous eggnog as it crawls out of the can. Dark brown with embedded ribbons of garnet and crimson, a regdish tone transpires. As the ale patiently separates its rich body from its dark lather, the notion that this is going to be a sipper sets in. Its long lasting moussy head trails with a smattering of spotty lace in the beer's wake.

Its toasty sweet aromas are expected, but soon after the nose makes nice with its maltiness, here come the spices! Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and clove are the usual suspects that peak from behind its malty shield. Developing into well-melded scent, other aromas abound: drunken fruits, spiced rum, fruicake and little gingerbread men all conjure memories of childhood Christmases- yep, even the rum! Love you Mama!

As the malt sweetness saturates the palate, its taste is of black-strap molasses, heavy toast, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and lightly peated scotch. Its fruit and spice medley really opens up across its long middle palate: Cherries, blackcurrant, figs, dates, plumbs, blackberry, raisins, red grapes, apples, orange peels and a hint of prune all express the beer's estery tone while its balance of dessert-type spices act as a ballast to its sweet and fruity upstart. As the ale turns to finish, its rummy spice flavor pulls from the maltiness of gingerbread and continues to satisfy the sweet tooth deep into its finish.

No doubt, the beer is full-bodied despite its dryish spice and warming alcohol. Its early carbonation weaves into its residual sweetness for a decadant and creamy feel that keeps its bready-sweet textures hanging on. About the time you think you'll need a fork and knive to finish the beer, its spicy and boozy character slices right through the beer's body and signals its closure. A deep and lingering aftertaste keeps its savory and spicy flavors alive for complete enjoyment for the most lengthy session. Relax and enjoy- this beer really opens up as it warms and reveals a plethora of complexity.

As I dive deep into the flavors of West Sixth Christmas Ale, I get a lot of Scottish "Wee Heavy" flavor from the base beer underneath the spice, except its got an English Barleywine tone and sense of power. Despite the ale's massive alcohol content, it is remarkably smooth because of its malt structure and its spicy balance. But take your time, this is a patient session- for the palate, stomach and the mind- too quickly and you'll be seeing in Santa Claus again!

Photo of Jason
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz can with no freshness date.

Dark, opaque, stable tan lacing. Smells of molasses, brownines, mild spicing, figgy, & faint caramel. Bold maltiness, mild roastiness, dark chocolate, full bodied, sweet, balanced cinnamon and nutmeg, dark fruit, hay, toasty, finished slightly dry.

This is a big winter seasonal, impressive all around as the spicing is at a perfect level and the rest of the flavors mesh well together.

Photo of KYGunner
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep raisin brown coloring gives it a black hued body but it lightens just a touch at the edges. The head was stout and thick with a nice coat of lace that did not stick to the glass.

The aroma is spicy at first sniff with a ginger and nutmeg profile. The back end is thicker with molasses and dried fruit but a tinge of booze.

The flavor is well balanced with just enough spice. The ginger and nutmeg support the overall malty flavor of caramel, molasses, raisin, date, prune and grain.

The feel is so smooth, almost viscous and thick, with a low carbonated feel but a bit of winter warmth.

West Sixth has hit a home run here with an ale that is different than their normal fare and perfect for the season.

4.41/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours to a deep warm dark mahagony brown body. Head is a biscuity light brown in tone. Head stands at just about and inch and fades to a skim in a couple of minutes. Just a skim is left behind but very little lace.

Nose is perfect for a Christmas ale laced with tons of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. A bit of sweet malt is there as well. The smell just screams Christmas.

This beer is rich, flavorful and has wonderful depth of flavor. Dark fruits dance with brown sugar and a ton of spices. So many times these styles of beers are so overpowering with spices they are off putting, but not here. There is a wonderful balance to this beer between spice, dark fruit and sweet malt. So appropriate for the style.

Mouthfeel is comfortably thick and satisfying. The 9% alcohol is hidden incredibly well. I have found one of my favorite Christmas ales. I would love to try the Bourbon Barrel aged version of this brew.

Photo of buschbeer
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 FL OZ can
Served in a snifter

L - It is a murky, dark tea color. It is capped with two inches of tan head that coats the side of the glass as it recedes.

S - Clove immediately hits my nose. Nutmeg is a little more subtle. Spices are the primary source of aroma.

T - The taste is loaded with spices as well. Along with the clove and nutmeg I taste some cinnamon.

F - Medium

O - It is a spiced winter warmer. It is comparable to a lot of this style of beer. It is not bad. It is just not in my wheelhouse. I'm glad I tried it, but would not seek it.

Photo of KingKat
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, thin head that dissipates quickly, no discernible lacing.

Spices predominate in the smell, mostly clove, some cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste pretty much follows smell, plus some heat, hop bitterness follows.

Aftertaste is mostly bitter, slightly metallic.

Haven't had that many of this style, my favorite is Great Lakes Christmas Ale. This isn't quite as good but is very tasty.

Photo of Buschyfor3
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Deep amber/brown pour, with ruby flecks along the edges of the glass; just shy of two fingers worth of sandy-colored head with nice staying power; sheets of lacing on the drink down.

S: Dark fruits and spices dominate the nose - notes of figs, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg; malts press through with notes of fresh brown bread and a biscuity sweetness; there is also an interesting citrusy note mixed in there - reminiscent of the little bits of citrus rind you get from holiday fruitcake; in fact, it's probably easier to just describe this as spiced fruitcake in ale form.

T: Like the nose, this has all the classic flavors of fruitcake - dark fruit, figs, rum-raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, citrus rind, light toast, nutty bread and sweet biscuit notes. Nice balance of sweet, spicy and nutty flavors. Finish is drying, with the citrusy kiss and cinnamon/nutmeg outlasting the malty sweetness well beyond the last sip.

M: The carbonation cuts through the body producing a slightly powdery feel - more akin what you would expect from a Belgian-style ale; would say this is on the very light end of being medium-bodied.

O: A solid, canned Christmas Ale from the guys at West Sixth. Pleasing balance and decent complexities, gift-wrapped in a package that belies its 9% ABV content - the alcohol is never present on the palate, but a glowing, warming sensation begins to grow late in the glass. A winter warmer worth checking out.

Photo of denver10
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Pours brownish amber with an off white head. Aroma is spicey with ginger and nutmeg and it is paired with some coffee cake and caramel. Flavor follows suit but with the addition of a touch of hops in the finish, offering a little earthy bitterness to add a nice dimension to this beer. A medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Overall, not really my style of beer but done really well for what it is. Well balanced and they hide the abv well. I'd imagine this would speak to fans of Deschute's Jubelale looking for a little more kick from their winter warmer. Myself, I'd drink again but Odell's Isolation Ale remains my go to for the winter warmer and this isn't enough to serve as a substitute for it for me. I was hoping it might.

Photo of barczar
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque medium brown with a frothy tan head that lingers.

Ginger, cinnamon, and clove dominate the aroma, with burnt sugar and sweet caramel malt playing supporting roles.

Gingersnaps and cinnamon erupt onto the palate, with sweet toasted malt taking over mid palate and finishing fairly dry with s hint of bitterness. Toffee nuttiness is subtle. Really tastes like liquid gingersnaps.

Body is full and creamy, with low carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Had this on tap last week and didn't get nearly the same flavor burst as I find in the canned version. I'm not a ginger in my beer fan, but this is bready and sweet enough to win me over. Anxious to see what flavors develop as it ages and the ginger fades. There's a bit of a sour/hairspray character that I find with a lot of these spices beers that surfaces late and is offputting.

Photo of MichaelJosephB
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

I enjoy the spiced winter warmer style, and consider great lakes christmas seasonal to be top-tier.

West Sixth's offering stacks up well, with a spicy, fruity, full-bodied flavor that finishes with crisp hoppy notes.

slow down santa, at 9% you've got to be careful.

Photo of tykechandler
2.25/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

too much spice. not a style i care for.

Christmas Ale from West Sixth Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.