Christmas Ale 2009 - Abita Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Christmas Ale 2009Christmas Ale 2009

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BA SCORE
81
good

46 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.24%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co. visit their website
Louisiana, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  ABV ?

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Christmas Ale (November - December) rounds out our calendar. Generally, this beer is a dark ale, however, the recipe changes each year, offering a unique product crafted with special care. Enjoy your holidays with Abita Christmas Ale.

(Beer added by: Bonhoeffer on 11-09-2009)
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of climax
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one poured a transparent brown/red with a nice lingering tan head. Lace was spotty and a film occupied the top til the end.

Nose was well balanced. Citrus, especially orange, hops were met on the tail end by toasty caramel malt. A slight bit of sweetness, spices, and some metallic twang accompanied the main players.

Flavor was equally as balanced. Very nice biscuity toasted flavor with a bit of diacetyl and spice held strong from start to finish. Juicy citrus occupied the hop bill. The taste wasn't overly complex, but well balanced and I enjoyed the malt profile .

It doesn't seem as though the alcohol content is overly stout, and the flavors aren't strong enough to mask a substantial ABV. I'm not sure if winter warmer is the right term for the style, more of a red/amber IMO.

The body was on the shy side of medium, just a little watery but not bad. The carbonation was right on good and crisp. It's definitely drinkable, I could make a night out of a 6pk. Not a bad one from Abita.

Photo of Vengeance526
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly reddish copper color with a very minimal head that quickly fizzles away.

Bready aroma upfront with some caramel and a hint of hops at the end.

Taste is slightly malty upfront with caramel and biscuity notes, but then shows some more hoppy characteristics towards the end with light citrus notes and a grassy finish.

Medium body with light to medium carbonation. There is nothing about this that says Christmas and as usual I'm not quite sure what they were aiming for with this one. It really isn't bad and can be quite refreshing and easy to drink but at the same time it has no depth or complexity. I would prefer this to many of Abita's regular offerings, but their Christmas beers always seem to be very safe and never exciting in the least. I've tried it and don't regret drinking it but overall I can't say this is one I'll be missing when it is gone.

Photo of wknight167
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Apearance - Pours a clear reddish brown with a 1 finger head that doesn't stick around for long, but leaves some decent lacing nonetheless.

Nose- Caramel dark fruit and toasted malts dominate. There is a faint spiciness and a hint of citrus present ass well, both probably from the hops.

Palate- Starts off caramelly sweet with cherries and raisins, moves to chocolatey toffee notes in the middle finishes with citrus, spices and a touch of bitter.

Mouthfeel- Slightly thin body and light on the carbonation.

Photo of KrisPaulk77
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Christmas Ale was poured into a chalice. The color was a crisp and clear deep amber with a good inches' worth of creamy tan foam. The head faded down pretty fast to a small cap, and a nice amount of lacing was present throughout.

The aroma was upfront with a toasted, nutty aroma, and biscuit tones. Some caramel was noticed. Overall, it was very malty smelling and pleasing. There was slight spiciness noted in the aroma, and some grassiness from the hops.

The taste was forward with toasted malt, smooth and nutty. Some caramels were present, as was biscuit tones. The finish had touches of spice, grass, and a whisper of citrus. The aftertaste had a pleasant earthiness to it, with a grainy biscuit flavor.

The beer had a medium body with a decent amount of carbonation. Some offerings from Abita have a thin body, but this wasn't the case with their Christmas Ale. The drinkability of this beer is pretty good. I wouldn't mind having a few in a session, but I don't think you could drink this all night.

This is my first sampling of Abita's Christmas Ale. It wasn't mind blowing, but it wasn't bad either. A good solid beer from one of my favorite breweries. I'll be sure to pick up this offering next Christmas to try the new recipe.

Photo of HalfFull
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The '09 Christmas Ale pours medium amber in color, rather clear, and with an inch of light tan foam. Head settles somewhat quickly, yet keeping a nice film and leaving light lacing.

Spiced hop nose interplays with biscuit and toasted malts. No real sweetness picked up on the nose. Warming allows some malts and woody hops to create an allspice and hazelnut character.

Light caramel malt initiates the flavor, becoming dry and nutty in the middle and finishing with a bit of orange which lingers briefly. Carbonation fits the beer well, allowing for a smooth finish and a quick close as a light bitterness is developed, along with a subtle spiciness, through the back amidst a light cloaking of malts.

Offers a typically light body of an Abita beer, subtly spiced and moderate in ABV. Delicate and unobtrusive, drinkable though not challenging.

Photo of whynot44
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear red/amber color with a decent, but quick disipating light tan head but does manage a bit of sticky lacing.

The aroma is light caramel malt with hints of grass and citrus.

The taste is grassy hops up front with a biscuity malt backgroundand some hints of nuts and spice, especially toward the finish. The aftertaste is pine resin and grapefruit hops.

Light/medium bodied, fairly smooth and drinkable. Altogether a decent winter ale.

Photo of drunkboxer1
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours red/amber. 2 inch white head. Smells of piney hops and lightly of roasted malt. Tastes sweet, bitter. American hops dominate the palate. Fairly high amounts of carbonation I think for the style. Starts of fairly crisp with the hops and carbonation and ends rather thick and sweet -although not cloying. I really like amber Christmas ales, and this one isn't an exception.

Photo of BeefyMee
3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear, reddish orange. Good head disappears quickly. A little bit of lacing.

S: Buttery toffee cookie with a faint hop aroma.

T: Not much to speak of. Kind of sweet, the buttery cookie quality is diminished. A little astringent in the finish.

M: Unimpressive and too fizzy at first but shapes up with a substantial chewiness.

D: Nothing to hinder your drinking here, but I'm getting bored rather quickly.

A halfway decent attempt by Abita. I'd like to see them swing for the fences once.

Photo of indiapaleale
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour - pours a reddish brown with some auburn highlights. Moderate fluffy foam on top.

Aroma - graham crackers! Who would have thought. There is also some vanilla and toffee and some sweet biscuity scents.

Taste - some of that graham comes out in the flavor along with a slight bit of citrus. Not a lot of malt backbone leaves this tasting a bit thin and watery. Its got some toasty flavors and a bit of sweetness but not enough "ooomph" in my opinion. Be malty or be hoppy. Choose one.

Overall - lacking in complexity and body. Its got some sweetness and some tanginess but it just doesn't do it for me. Something is missing for sure.

Would I buy more of it? - since they change the recipe from year to year I'll grab a bottle next year to see what changes.

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this one as one of the extras in a trade with JFFoodie. Many thanks!

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a stemmed pilsner flute.

A nice deep amber-brown with spectacular clarity. A sizable frothy beige head billows forth and settles calmly into a thick, large-bubbled cap. Retention is very nice, and loads of stickage appears and holds on to the walls of the vessel as it empties.

The nose displays a smooth maltiness. Toast, biscuit, caramel, a hint of chocolate and roast with just a faint nuttiness. Aroma hops are limited to just a faint whiff of herbs and grass.

Medium-bodied with very little carbonation. The palate shows hops much more fully than the nose: a little sweet toffeeish malt comes in up front before a base of lightly toasted bread shows up to ground things. The hops show themselves almost immediately in the middle and sides, with a moderately astringent bitterness and showing flavors of grass, earth, and a touch of resin. Finish is quite bitter and dry, but some fruity esters show themselves toward the end. Grass-like hops linger afterward.

Drinkable and pleasant, though not really something to write home about for the holidays. My first sampling of Abita's Christmas Ale, and since the recipe changes from year to year, I look forward to hopefully trying future editions as well.

Photo of katan
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a very clear, filtered, deep brown color with amber hues. Head formation is mocha, well retained at 1mm. Doesn't look very bubbly.

S - Caramel and crystal malty notes balanced by a light noble hopping. A spice is present, which may be topped to the hopping.

T - Starts off with a potent bitter note, aggressive. Mid-stream develops some cascade hopping, bringing in more bitterness. Some nutty notes. Finishes with a floral hop flourish and some spicing. Aftertaste is rather earthy, with some wet hop notes.

M - Stinging palette, well carbonated. Leaves a light oily texture. Only lightly clinging.

D - Very easy drinking - abv is manageable. A bit filling from the carbonation. Certainly has the winter warmer sensation to it.

By far my favorite Abita beer to date. Feels like it belongs in my winter beer rotation.

Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: minimal head, clear, amber in color, medium carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, nutmeg, and bread

Taste: toasted malt, bread, caramel, and holiday spices including cinnamon.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, slightly sweet with a small bitterness at the end

Drinkability: This tastes like an Abita beer with the malts that are present in most of their beers. The spice here is not overly dominate-rather it mixes with the malts. A step above subtle. I could have three in a sitting.

Photo of bob3701
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark amber color with red hints. Fluffy white head that hung around, it laced OK. Subtle hints of clove and nutmeg. Not at all overwhelming like other holiday spiced brews. A well made beer that went down nice and easy. I wish I had had more of this beer since there seemed to be other tastes yet to explore in it.

Photo of wesl56
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- pours a deep red/brown, small head with faint lacing

s- hard to tell whats going on here, kinda citrusy and yeasty, also smells a little like fruit, banana maybe?

t- again, lots going on here, i swear it tastes like there is lemon juice in here... interesting to drink, nothing bland or boring about this

m- for the color, its suprisingly light and refreshing, leaves little to no aftertaste

d- refreshing, easy to drink

abita's beers are always kinda off-the-wall to me, never predictable... this tastes like there are lots of ingredients and flavors mixed together... you almost taste something different with each sip... i wouldnt really associate this with other "christmas" beers, but it is an intriguing beer and for the low price, i'll try it again

Photo of BeerMark
4.33/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Abita's Christmas Ale 2009 serves up a rich looking brown/red with an off white head. The nose detects some spiciness mixed with malt and hops. The taste is very likable to me. It's got a great malt backbone mixed with some bitter hoppiness. I really like a well balanced beer and this one delivers. Abita's Christmas Ale reminds me a little bit of one of my other favorites: Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve (minus the pacman yeast, of course). I'll be picking up more before the season is over.

Photo of degerbah
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light brown with three fingers of head. LOts of lacing as the head dies down. Smell is lots of flowery hops and maybe a hint of malt. The taste is much more balanced than I owuld have thought based on the smell. Much more malt to begin with with most of the hops evident in the aftertaste. A very easy drinker. I might try to load up on this before it goes out of season. This is much better than any other abita seasonal I've ever had.

Photo of hosehead83
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a twelve ounce botle into a standard pint glass
Clear copper in color with a rather small one inch head of foam
Aroma-cinnamon and some spice
Taste-Faint cinnamon with some spice notes-Rather thin-bodied with a bit of a metallic aftertaste
An okay offering, but not the best Christmas ale out there by any means

Photo of nocheinsbitte
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this from a 12-oz bottle...

A: pours a darker amber color with a hint of red in it. A nic foam head with decent lacing. A good looking bier.
S: Mild ginger and spice aroma. Mod wheat bread. Clear in aroma, nothing skunky or uninviting about it.
T: Mild spices, follows the aroma well. A little malty. No bitter aftertaste. Not an overpowering taste, but good.
M: Enjoyable
D: This is a easy-to-drink bier. Could have a few without issue.

Overall, this is a good, but not great, Christmas ale. Abita always does a good job with their biers and this is without exception. I recommend this bier. Prosit.

Photo of popery
3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An okay Red/Amber that does little to distinguish itself. There are no real faults, except that it's kind of boring for a Christmas Ale. It a nice enough looking beer, pretty much middle of the road for the style. The aroma is fairly malty with some citric hops. It's a relatively well-balanced beer, I guess. I'm not sure how much that matters to me. The citric hop flavors and nutty, toasty malt don't quite blend together well for me, neither flavor is particularly interesting. It's an easy beer to drink but doesn't leave me wanting more.

Photo of TLove
2.68/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finally in D.C. Not that the 2008 was that notable.

This beer, like the 2008, fails to conform to the standards of the Christmas Ale set forth by its peers. This beer is not driven by spice, but by hops and is aptly characterized as an American Amber/Red.

Has an almost florescent red color with a subtle, 1/2 finger, thinnish head with a moderate body. Some spices of nutmeg and anise, with a prominent, pecan oiliness on the tongue that is a tad offputting. Similar to other amber ales in its structure and thin balance, but pervasive hop structure. Nice to drink. Crisp and refreshing and a bit sour. Has a nutty feel in the mouth, with a bit of a sour tingle on the finish.

Again, quite odd for a Christmas ale. As my rating suggests, this isn't a particularly well-constructed beer aside from the fact that it lacks distinction.

Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.35/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This may be the best beer I've ever had from Abita. Gorgeous red hue, nice creamy head that persists for a while. Good citrus and pine aroma, probably a little dry hopping in action. Excellent rich maltiness supporting some fantastic hop flavor. This reminds me a bit of Rogue American Amber, which is my favorite example of the style.

We have a home run, here. Can't believe I'm the first to review the '09.

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Christmas Ale 2009 from Abita Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.