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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 161 | Reviews: 53
Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.86/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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 smcolw
2.35/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear, neutral brown color with a good starting head that leaves plenty of ring lace.

Interesting combination of earthiness, darker dry malts and mild hop. There is also an off smell that reminds me of beef soup.

Thin body with a moderate level of carbonation. The off aroma shows up in the taste. Beyond that, this is a hoppier brown ale. It Lands on the drinkable side but barely. Disappointing.

Photo of sommersb
2.49/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Tasted On: 12-19-2011
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Globe glass
Purchased: Single from Whole Foods, Nashville

Pours a clear, dark brown color, which when held to light looks like a dark amber. Head retention and lacing are good from the finger and a half of tan head.

The aromas are none too pleasant - initially I get floral hop smells, followed by a strange vegetable odor that might be described as onion.

Thankfully it doesn't taste like onion, but the taste isn't that great. This is pretty hoppy and bitter brown ale, with little or no malt character. I also don't get any spices that you might expect in a so-called Christmas ale.

The feel is pretty carbonated with a medium amount of body. The aftertaste is moderately bitter.

Overall not a very good beer, and I can't recommend trying this. Perhaps I got a bad bottle.

Photo of rebel1771
2.68/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a reddish brown with a very small white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Mild aroma of hops and a kind of sour funk.

T: The taste has a sharp bitterness up front along with that weird funk from from the smell. Fades to a very slight toasted malt flavor.

O: I can't say I enjoyed this offering very much. The flavors just did not play well together.

Photo of bark
2.68/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The colour is brown-red (30 EBC), the liquid is clear. The two finger head is yellowish and compact. It sinks very slowly leaving no lacing.

The smell is fruity and bitter. Some roasted nutty notes. Bitter oranges and biscuits. It is quite dense and sweet.

The taste is somewhat bitter and roasted with some spicy hints. It is surprisingly thin with some metallic flavours. Dry spicy bread-like notes. The aftertaste got some bitterness, some fried meats and frowsy hops.

The carbonation is mild, the small bubbles light. The liquid is a bit dry.

Thin with odd spicy hints. Not a very good beer.

Photo of ScorpyX
2.24/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark red pour with a thick, two-finger width head. Attractive, transparent appearance.

S: Scent has a strong bitterness to it with a grassy undertone. A little too strong for my liking, giving it an almost rotten smell.

T: Bitterness rules, but not the usual hoppy bitterness I enjoy. There's a sharp, sourness to it along with hints of pine. Tastes a little light damaged, unfortunately.

M: Medium-bodied. Nothing special here.

D: I was very disappointed by this one. Maybe it was a bad sample, but I'm not going to seeking it out again this year.

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 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 UCLABrewN84
2.04/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear dark brown with a 1 inch foamy off-white head that settles to a thin film. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, garlic, and onions. A pretty horrific smell for a Christmas beer. Taste is exactly the same with the garlic and onion flavor being overpowering. A pretty assertive bitterness makes it that much worse. The beer has a pretty crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a horrible beer. Based on other reviews I think that I may have purchased a bad bottle or something. This was a drainpour for me.

Photo of rangerred
3.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark red with a 1.5 finger tan head that does not fade away. Great score for appearance.

Aroma is of earthy hops and cedar. Perhaps some ginger thrown in as well.

Taste is much like the smell. The same earthy/weedy hop flavor that comes through on the aroma along with some ginger notes. Not a lot of malt flavor, though and everything is quick to fade into a lingering bitterness. Not terribly complex.

Overall, this is just an ok beer. It seems like it is so close to being very good. I would probably get it again, though.

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 bieltzc
2.26/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Beer is a dark amber color. The top is thin with some carbonation busting through the foam at the top/.

The smell of the beer is of dark wood and slight spice. The smell reflects the taste of the beer

Mouthful is thin with a deep taste of bitter hops. The bitterness covers much of the spice which is able to be smelled.

In my opinion the taste is not the greatest. It taste bitter and of alcohol with not much flavor besides these two. The alcoholic taste lingers and does not escape very easily

overall an average tasting beer

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 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 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 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 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 PorterLover83
3.16/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really nice lacing. Pours a dark red almost brown color with a thin white head. Smell was a little more hoppy than I expected for a brown ale. Maybe some biscuit smell in there too. Not too hoppy in the taste. Actually almost non existent. Malty flatness. For the style its pretty on par. Not sure if its my style though. Mouthfeel is medium and feels just right. Pretty good overall simple sipping beer.

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 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 brewskifan55
3.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Clear, dark cherry color with a small head that quickly disappears. Decent lacing.

Smell: strong hop presence; piney.

Taste: earthy, hoppy. Dry, hop finish with cinnamon and nutmeg. Not what I was expecting. Where did the malts go?

Mouthfeel: medium; oily coating on the tongue

Overall: This is a hophead's Christmas dream. Only I'm not a hophead. And it really doesn't taste like a Christmas ale. I really miss the malt presense that's been in past batches. Let it warm, the taste gets smoother. But don't expect any snow this Christmas.

Photo of rarbring
2.47/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer is deep brown in the amber area, an off-white head that laves very good lacing. Some curtains.

Smelling citric, grape tonic and lemon detergent, old rancid hay.

Starting sweet, toffee, brown bread, old vegetables, grape fruit peel.

Low carbonation, soft but flat, a rather dry finish.

I wonder if this bottle wasn't a bit off. Or I did not like the low carbonation and the hops.

Photo of Brent
3.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a bit lost on what makes this a Christmas ale, other than the time of release. Overall, a decent, but unimpressive, brown ale. Adequate malt body with some nice nut flavor. No spicing or other additive flavors common to a seasonal designation. Pleasant, but hardly festive.

Photo of zdk9
2.88/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a deep cloudy brown with a finger of white head and dots and squiggles of lacing.

S- One of the first and last things I notice on the smell is corn- not impressive. It's a sweet malty pounded-out over-cooked fresh corn smell. There's a bit of nuttiness as well, and maybe some wisps of smoke.

T- The taste is a little better-more nuttiness- with a very hull like taste like peanut or hazlenut hulls. The corn still crops up, especially towards the end of the taste. Some amounts of earthy hops, more so in the aftertaste than anything else.

M- Pretty bitter overall which is weird given the corn flavors but actually some hops do appear on the sides of my mouth that kind of overwhelm the mouthfeel.

O- I'm underwhelmed by this beer. While the taste is ok, it's not good, and the smell is just not what I'm looking for in beer,brown or otherwise.

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