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Christmas Ale 2011 - Abita Brewing Co.

Christmas Ale 2011Christmas Ale 2011

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
74
okay

150 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 150
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.19
pDev: 23.51%


Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co. visit their website
Louisiana, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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: EgadBananas on 11-06-2011)
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Ratings: 150 | Reviews: 52 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Fatehunter
Fatehunter

Oregon

3.65/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle? No date but I bought it and am drinking it on 31 Oct 2012.
Two fingers of head. Dark brown body, barely transparent.
Smells like toffee, nutmeg and pine.
Stronger bitterness, mildly malty without any serious sweetness.
Soft and fizzy texture. Medium body.
Pretty good Christmas Ale. A good "Christmas" smell but without the weird spice flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2012 01:43:21 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of thekevlarkid
thekevlarkid

Maryland

3.35/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle this beer was a perfectly clear, garnet color with a two finger khaki-colored head. It displayed good retention as a collar and left lacing in sliding bands and spots. The aroma was complex filled with toasted grains, caramel malt, a hint of nuts and light hops. The flavors were odd for a "Christmas Ale," in my opinion. I tasted lots of roasted and toasted malt hints of caramel and coffee beans and wood. Semi-sweet at first, it eased towards a rooty, earthy finish of bitterness. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body medium and the carbonation medium/light. Not bad per se, but it reminded me of Autumn and not Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2012 18:48:12 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Today is my Christmas in July! I am emptying out my backlog of bottles and this just surfaced in the inventory. Cheers!

From the bottle: "Each year at the Abita Brewery we craft a special dark ale for the holiday season. Each year the recipe changes so that Abita Christmas Ale is always the perfect gift."

My pour achieved a finger of fizzing tawny head that quickly fizzed its way out of existence. Color was a deep reddish-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled minty, wintergreen with a hint of chocolate. I was put in mind of a Girl Scouts Thin Mint or a Peppermint Patty. Nice. Mouthfeel was medium and it really tasted like a liquid G. S. Thin Mint! Man, I was digging that. Finish was semi-dry and again, the Thin Mint comparison held up. Happy Christmas in July!

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2012 00:34:13 | More by woodychandler
Photo of mfc
mfc


3.78/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I actually REALLY love this beer and am a little surprised to see the low-ish ratings!

A: Pours a dark red/brown color with a thick head and nice lacing.

N: Very heavy on the pine in a good way. Maybe it's because I normally drink this during the holidays and the pine gives me the warm and fuzzies, but I love it. Grapefruit follows and then a hint of caramel malt on the back end.

T: More bitter than I would expect from the smell, but great. Nice and hoppy with a good malt balance. Really roasty, nutty, piney. Malt finish.

M: Smoothhhh. Love it. Medium carbonation. Can't taste the booze (average ABV so not surprising there)

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 17:26:53 | More by mfc
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

3.4/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber brown color with a half inch fairly solid egg white head that lingers, leaving a hint of lacing when it dissipates.

Heavy toffee and butterscotch aromas dominate, with toasted breadcrust, nuttiness, and a hint of roast malt and pine rounding out the profile. There's a bit of vanilla.

The flavor has an underlying pine character throughout, with heavily toasted malt, almost burnt, and toffee dominating mid palate and carrying into the slightly burnt, bitter finish. Tastes like a burnt pine tree might taste. Vanilla and a hint of ginger emerge as it warms.

Body is on the light side of moderate, with moderate carbonation and a slightly astringent finish. A touch of alcohol warmth is present.

I'm not a huge christmas beer fan, but this is at least not spice overload. I'd probably enjoy this a lot more sans the burnt malt character. Will revisit at christmas.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 22:42:29 | More by barczar
Photo of ckollias
ckollias

Maryland

2.55/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a big tan head that slowly dissipates in to a solid persistent lace leaving a great trail down the whole glass.

S: Strong malty sweet aroma with hints of spices.

T: Smooth tart brew with an bland general malt flavor. There is a little bit of spice here but not much else.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Man – I thought this beer was going to be awesome just by the smell but the flavor was a big disappointment. Just your average brew and nothing I would grab again.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2012 01:53:24 | More by ckollias
Photo of marlinsfan4
marlinsfan4

Maryland

2.43/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark, reddish brown, nice fluffy white head. Not much aroma to this one, maybe some faint nuttiness. Taste is light to medium bodied, not a great mouthfeel. Some roasted malt, not much for hops. A very, boring bland beer for me.. this one did not work well for me at all. Odd finish to it even, something about the taste just feels off and I've had 100 better christmas seasonals than this one, I would pass in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 23:06:51 | More by marlinsfan4
Photo of Doppelbockulus
Doppelbockulus

Florida

3.68/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice clear dark amber color, decent head that settles.

Nose is toasty and hoppy. Smells like plain rice cakes.

Taste is hoppy, but not extreme, with some milt toastyness from the malt. Very similar to a Newcastle Brown ale with a little more hop character.

Very refreshing mouthfeel, light with medium fizz.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 22:47:54 | More by Doppelbockulus
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a brownish red color, with a tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer has some light toasted notes with some spices mixed in there also. The taste of the beer was a little spicy but not anything too flavorful here. There was a slight flavor of Christmas berries in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was pretty smooth with a dry finish. Overall this beer wasn't terrible but had room for improvement.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 03:53:38 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Gambrinus1184
Gambrinus1184

Connecticut

3.23/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a stubby 12-ounce bottle into a New England Patriots pint glass.

A: Poured a dark, caramel-amber color with a two-finger thick head of off-white carbonation that subsided quickly and left little more than a faint ring of soap suds.

S: Malty with a hint of spicy hops and nutmeg. Some powdery chestnut and fruity esters kick around as well.

T: Fairly straightforward two-row caramel malt up front with a hint of seltzery, metallic bitterness, stewed fruits and a little veggie flavor as well. The hops come in around mid-palate with some light, spicy and citrus flavors before washing down pretty clean and balanced with little residual bitterness or sweetness.

M: Clean, balanced, trending more medium bodied, but lacking the richness to be very satisfying.

O: A mediocre 5.5% ABV American brown/amber ale but a change of pace from the slew of other winter brews. Not bad for Abita, but not great for a craft beer. I'll reach for an English style or something with more hop bite to chase my winter blues.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2012 02:23:15 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of krs0123
krs0123

New Jersey

1.53/5  rDev -52%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

on tap into a long trail pint glass.

A - reddish brown, 1/2 inch head, clearish.

S - earthy and dull, lacks the spicy or sweet smell expected from most xmas beers.

T - it would be a stretch to go with earthy hops up front. overwhelming wood notes. unlike anything i've ever tasted. in a bad way...

M - Carbonation was a bit light for me in this style. Watery.

O - I got halfway through it. I enjoyed nothing about this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2012 12:56:47 | More by krs0123
Photo of OtherShoe2
OtherShoe2

Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear dark amber with a tan colored head. Some lace here and a decent skim retention.

Earthy notes and over-browned bread crust. Something else too -- reminds me of pine needles (not piney hops).

Brown bitter breadcrust, a resinous pine flavor, maybe some mint, the flavor waters down a bit, but that is ok, as I'm not sure if anything beyond this intensity would work. Piney/odd light spice intermingling with bitterness on the tail end of this one. The more I drink this, the better I like it.

A little watery, a little mushy. I want a lot more tingle.

This is not a traditional brown, but kinda like a brown, a sahti, and an old ale all combined and left to go semi-flat. Needs better structure, but the malt and spice work ok. I'm probably a bit generous in the rating, but I am rewarding a risky, non-gimmicky brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 23:49:02 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of iheartchicken
iheartchicken

New Jersey

3.08/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler

A: appears a darker shade of red-orange with an inch tall thick head tan in color. good retention of head. respectable retention.

S: not much here but what I could pick up was very earthy... some toasted malts were noticeable and a hint of earthy hops

T: after the nose, i wasn't too surprised by the taste. watered down compared to many beers of this style. picked up on some earthy hops and definitely got the toasted malts. finish is very off-putting, yeasty and dry

M: very unique, it feels very light and fluffy (almost like its floating in my mouth). medium amount of carbonation.

O: very watered down compared to others of this style, relative to the ones ive tried of course. the mouth feel definitely stood out but overall a little disappointing. guess its a good thing this one changes yearly

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 04:09:17 | More by iheartchicken
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, high carbonation, red-brown in color, clear

Smell: toasted malt and cinnamon

Taste: wood, toasted malt, and citrus hops at the end

Mouthfeel: bitter with slight sweetness, moderate carbonation, medium bodied

Overall: This one is ok to just above ok. I have liked other Abita Christmas Ales better. This is kinda like a hoppy American brown. I could have a six of this, but it is not overly memorable.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 16:03:35 | More by tigg924
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

3.95/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe Im just crazy, but I actually enjoy the Abita Christmas Ale every year. I find it to be better than the ratings deem it to be. I always buy at least two sixers of it each year.

12 oz bottle pours a mostly clear, dark crimson-brown color with a decent, light tan head. Very nice lace.

Nose is piney and citric with a moderate toffee malt background. This one seems hoppier than in years past [yea, yea...insert 'this year is hoppier than last' joke here].

Bitter hops, roasty malt and burnt sugar coat the palate with a highly carbonated, bubbly mouthfeel. I usually dont like something this toasty, but for some reason I find myself attracted to this one. Nutty yeast makes an appearance and there is actually a fair amount going on here. Summation: I like it, I can see why others dont and I will continue to buy it each and every year...Its always similar, but a shade or two different from year to year. Carry on Abita...carry on.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 05:04:51 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

1.75/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

(A)- Pours a burnt caramel brown color that produced a nice cap of tan froth. Decent retention.

(S)- A heavy earthy yeasty bit up front. A strong musk-like almost fruity clay; almost like licorice.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A dusty earthy musk-like metallic clay component. A very sharp spice/yeast on the finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level, but a very sharp/grainy/dry feel I do not quite care for. Finishes with lots of metallic-like bits.

(D)- Sorry, but this one is very disappointing, not to mention, a bit disjointed and near off-putting.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 16:28:02 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

2.88/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass

Appearance - Brownish with a bit of red hue. A off color white head formed upon pouring, which gave way quickly with no lacing.

Smell - Sweet smells of caramel and brown sugar up front. These are followed by nutmeg and possibly the slightest bit of cinnamon.

Taste - Not as sweet as would have expected. Much more burnt tasting with a bit of spiciness of nutmeg. There are slight sweet notes of brown sugar later on, but they pale in what would be expected from the smell.

Mouthfeel - Rather average. A little watery with a fair amount of carbonation.

Overall - Nothing to special. If looking for a winter warmer this is not the brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 01:54:14 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung

Maryland

2.38/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into an oversized wine glass, because I can.

A: Pours a murky mahogany color body with a fleeting one-finger off-white colored head. Lacing is nice, but the glass put a kibosh on its retention (not like people give a crap about head retention, anyways).

S: Black pepper, coriander, nutmeg, and strong citrus notes - seemingly not from hops, but perhaps a bit of orange peel added to the brew? It's strange, but it somehow works.

T: Ack. This doesn't. Starts off with a one-two punch of black pepper and orange peel (not citrus hoppiness), without a solid malt base to hold it up. The finish is strangely ashy, where the malt backbone goes from nearly non-existent to intrusively burnt. It didn't completely offend my taste buds, it just left them wholly unimpressed.

M: Far too watery on the finish and thin bodied in my opinion. Strong carbonation helps a little bit, but not nearly enough.

O: Aesthetically, it's pretty nice. And I did get it down fairly easy. But, still, it's not a good beer. I give Abita credit for trying something different with their Christmas ale, but I'm thankful this won't be around for much longer.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2012 02:31:10 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

3.48/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Christmas over.. but not for ME! Let's so how this plays out. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A simple foamy three finger off white head produced, sits on a dark ruby and clear body. Head is a bit "potted" but seems to hold up well.

Nose is interesting. Sugar sweet mild nutmeg like spice, and a light brown sugar. Malt seems a little buried, but I am liking this sweetness angle.

Taste is an interesting mix. Not as sweet forward, but brings a very burnt grain. A little watery with not such a pleasant finish. Very burnt and wet finish and very fleeting.

Overall not that great, as the beer warms it starts loosing appeal to me and gets quite one dimensional. Feels like a very watered down brown ale, and missing the sweet notes that are on the nose which never seem to return.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 02:06:50 | More by smakawhat
Photo of hosehead83
hosehead83

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear, dark copper in color, with a moderate head of foam.
Aroma-Citrus/orange peel
Taste-Orange, white grapefruit,faint cinnamon, orange peel/rind bitterness in the finish. Pretty tasty with a rather unique flavor for a Christmas ale. Certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2012 18:41:17 | More by hosehead83
Photo of larryi86
larryi86

Delaware

3.08/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Brown with a two finger off-white head.

S- Some hops, some roasted malts, mainly wet grass, really not a fan.

T- There are a good amount of different flavors but they don't all work together. Getting roasted malts, earthy spices, some floral notes, and a hint of wet grass, but no where near as much wet grass as the nose and not as off putting.

M- Medium body.

O- Very disappointing, was hoping for better before I poured this. Maybe I got a bad bottle...This is drinkable which surprised me after smelling the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 01:39:45 | More by larryi86
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep crimson amber ruby brown color in the body with a light beige head forming thick and dwindling down. Aroma is a bit skunky with earth and pine pretty christmas ale-ish though. Flavor has mild pine a bit of citrus and harsh flavors going on with a middle of the road caramel malt backbone it's the new Christmas tree beer. Definitely not one dimensional a bit earthy and spicy with Christmas flavors I'm actually enjoying this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a session ale diving down for a Christmas beer from outside of NOLA. Actually a pretty solid offering what's up with this beer being so good and matching my palate during the holiday season, damn good.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 07:30:45 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

3.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

You know what? This is actually a pretty interesting beer. It's honestly something like a mildly spiced pale ale, with a bit of roastiness on the finish. It's a decent looker, a nice red-copper color with a fairly big head that quickly drops. Smell is very weak. The taste is pretty good though, big floral hops with a bit of caramel malts and a slight spiced background. The mouthfeel is very high carbonated and fairly light-bodied, and the drinkability is quite good. Overall, a solid brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 03:48:27 | More by shand
Photo of ProducerBRBeer
ProducerBRBeer

Arizona

1.95/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - A nice nut brown color with a sticky lace. The head is light brown white and stays for a short time.

S - A floral hop smell with a earthy or acidic hint behind it.

T - very odd taste. It is almost like there is a bit of an onion taste to this beer which might just be me. Maybe it is a floral taste but there is subtle hop tastes to it. I get a slight bite from the malts but I can't shake that after taste. A malty beer.

M - A slight carbonation with a light body.

O - Not a beer I would ever try or buy again. Probably one of my least favorite experiences with a beer. Looked better than it tasted.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 06:30:41 | More by ProducerBRBeer
Photo of JuicesFlowing
JuicesFlowing

Kansas

2.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a ruby-tinted toffee color. The head is off-white colored and frothy. Good head retention, in fact it stays in tact all the way down (with a good pour). Decent sticky lacing. The beer smells peppery. I cannot pinpoint the exact taste of this beer. It is weird to say the least. It tastes like black pepper and is malty, but another reviewer mentioned an onion taste, and I can't say that I disagree. Weird. The mouthfeel is medium to light bodied.

Overall, I kind of thought I liked this beer at first, but as I'm finishing off my six pack, I have decided it tastes too much like onions and black pepper. I have edited my review to reflect my opinion. I'd say buy one bottle just to experience a different take on a Christmas Ale, but more than one is pushing it.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 04:03:12 | More by JuicesFlowing
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Christmas Ale 2011 from Abita Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.