Christmas Ale 2011 - Abita Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Christmas Ale 2011Christmas Ale 2011

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
74
okay

161 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 161
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 3.18
pDev: 22.96%
Wants: 1
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co. visit their website
Louisiana, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: EgadBananas on 11-06-2011

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.
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Ratings: 161 | Reviews: 53
Photo of teromous
4.41/5  rDev +38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: The color of this beer is dark brown with hints of red, similar to a stained rosewood table. Unfortunately there is no real head on this at all. Despite the opacity of its color, there is no haze or turbidity. No lacing to speak of.

S: Wow, I really get a punch in the face with hops. I know that this style is very open to interpretation, but it is clear that they've taken the AIPA approach on this one! I pick up very strong resinous and pine-like hops. It literally smells like a fresh bag of opened hops, and I don't think I can make it any clearer than that. I don't pick up any spice, which I'm still on the fence about. I know that Christmas ales usually have spice additives.

T: I get a very earthy flavor from this. It has a kind of oak flavor, backed by the very strong hop flavor of pine and resin. It tastes almost exactly as it smells. There is considerable bitterness, but it is not overwhelming. It's nearly perfect.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty good. I think that it could be carbonated a bit more. It has a very solid presence in the mouth, but it doesn't really dance like I feel it should.

O: Overall I thought this was a very good beer. If you're looking for something with holiday spice, this is not it. To me this is more of a "winter warmer" which is perfect for the holidays. IPA fans will be thrilled. I am definitely satisfied with this beer.

Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +34.3%
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!

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wow so weird. never had one anything like this. pours more like a red than a brown ale (which i think this beer may be miscategorized on here...). small head, nice activation when the glass is jostled. not spicy like christmas ales can be, and not all boozed out either. smells malty and heavy like a good old world red ale, but the taste is much more than that. complex and smokey, almost like a scotch with peat smoked malts its very organic in nature. on flavor alone id tag it a scotch red ale, and while ive never heard of such a style, this christmas beer lays the groundwork for one... clever and different and one of the most dry finishing beers ive ever consumed. as soon as its coming alive in the mouth, its gone without a trace... same as the beer itself. damn that was great

Photo of AEArider
4.02/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 'close to brown' color, with pretty good lacing. Smell was pretty complex. . . distinctly hoppy, but with a totally different facet of spice that seemed to justify the "christmas ale" label. Taste starts off pretty malty, and finished with a piney hop profile accompanied by the previously mentioned spice. Had a couple of these at Thanksgiving dinner. . . went down great. Didn't have any of the prior year brews, but will definitely check it out in 2012.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Abita Christmas Ale (2011) has a medium-to-thick, cream-colored head and a fairly dark, yet clear, amber appearance, with some streaming bubbles and a decent amount of thick lacing left behind. The aroma is of pepper and maybe crackers. Taste is of pepper, cracker, cloves, iced tea, and some residual hop bitterness. Moutfeel is medium and soft, and Abita Christmas Ale (2011) finishes mostly dry and easy drinking. Overall, this is very good.

RJT

Photo of EgadBananas
3.99/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, mostly transparent medium brown, with a light colored finger of head. Aroma is pleasant, with a pretty nice floral hoppy note, nutty, chocolate malts with some slight roasty notes. Roasted malts taste, with light chocolate and nuttiness, caramel and a nice spicy, floral, light citrus hop finish. Medium body, but the lighter side. Average, not bad.

As usual, Abita's Christmas remains one of the few seasonal's that I enjoy thoroughly.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev +24.2%
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.

Photo of hosehead83
3.94/5  rDev +23.9%
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.

Photo of TheSarge
3.81/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks perfect with a two finger thick light tan head, which retains quite well. The body is cleanly filtered and is dark copper in color.

The aroma gives off mint, caramel, orange rind, and maybe nutmeg.

The taste has a metallic and bready toffee kind of taste to it. This would be a good desert beer.

Feels medium in body with good carbonation; leaves the palate a bit on the dry side.

Photo of mfc
3.8/5  rDev +19.5%
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

Photo of whatthehull
3.78/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tulip

A - nice blood red, half finger off white head and a bit of lacing

S - weed, christmas, toasted malts, toasted hops, toasted wood, fire, earth and soil

T - roasted weed, hoppy, toasted malts, burnt wood, burnt earth, more weed and Christmas spices

M - medium plus body, low acidity, medium balance, medium complexity and medium finish

D - for a Christmas ale this isn't your run of the mill. This is a very delicious winter warmer but bigger than most. Not high abv but a big flavor

Final thought - for a different winter ale, Try this beer and get er done!

Photo of swampski
3.76/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For whatever reason, the taste was a bit disconcerting at first. However, once started, I found it difficult to stop as the taste grew on me. A lot like Abita's Restoration Ale (a pale ale that although somewhat harsh is near & dear to my heart as I was in restoration mode myself during that time) but not as harsh and thus more drinkable.

As others have mentioned, the style is a very hoppy, and not so specially spiced as traditional holiday specials. I found this to be somewhat in the tradition of O'Dell's stupendous Isolation Ale, and certainly a decent substitute if located in the very subtropical Louisiana winter as opposed to the severe Colorado Rockies one of O'Dell's, as this is the best Noël au Bayou offering. As Abita is the king of the microbrews that are available at supermarkets down on the bayou, I shall invest in more 6-packs of this concoction in the future this holiday season.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with hints of red at the bottom. A large tan head is at first compact but then turns more airy. Slow dissipation leaves decent lacings.

S: Roasted sweet but still dry dark malt. Faint butter. SOme chocolate and very mild coffee. Some vanilla and some fruityness.

T: Milder than I would have guessed after the smell; but better than the smell (yeah, I know - contradiction). Roasted dark malts, liqourice and coffee. Butter.

M: Quite nice and long aftertaste, bitter and bone dry. Body is medium to full while carbonation is medium.

O: Nice, but far from great. I lack some of the American hops...

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.72/5  rDev +17%
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.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.68/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.68/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of shand
3.64/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of Vashtar
3.64/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful beer bottle brown. Nice and clear

Nice smell. Fairly normal.

Soft taste. It's a bit too hoppy but is satisfying

The mouthfeel is like drinking through a straw. It's full, like a silk pillow. It's a bit too light, though.

Overall, it's okay, but there are better Christmas beers. The aftertaste is bitter.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.6/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.56/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Just so you know my bottle looks different from the one pictured. It is red and white with some tree's on it

Picked up this single at my local place for $2.75

A - A very dark shade of brown but clear. Head is a nice full inch and is slightly opaque.

S - I do smell that weird vegetable smell others have described besides the splash of honey and caramel . Smells of almonds as well.

T- Thankfully the taste is more balanced and the vegetable taste isn't picked up, maybe slightly but I get a nice bit of hop presence, which is ok but I do like more malt forward. And a finish similar to "Turbo dog" with a bit of nutty goodness.

M - Light to medium but the hop bitterness is kind of cloying.

Overall I don't know what they could do to make it SMELL better but it was a pretty decent brew just a bit hoppy. It's so weird how it tastes good but smells like steamed brussel sprouts so if you get it I recommend holding your nose while you drink.

Photo of smakawhat
3.5/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of jmbranum
3.5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber/light brown clear liquid with an off-white head.

Aroma is hoppy with some earthy notes. Something is strange in the background but I can't place what it is.

Flavor is... well disappointing. I expect spices and something special for a Christmas ale, but this was fairly pedestrian. Seemed like more of a garden variety pale ale that is a little darker than average.

Some lingering coppery notes.

Not a bad beer I suppose but not quite what I expected.

Photo of schoolboy
3.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It is brown and it is an ale, but it is also boring, like a brown can be. It's not my favorite style.

It has a nice head and a mildly pleasing aroma. The taste follows. At least it is easy drinking, but I will try to avoid this in the future.

Why are so many christmas ales mediocre browns.

Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Photo of barczar
3.45/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Christmas Ale 2011 from Abita Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 161 ratings.