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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale - Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saint Arnold Christmas AleSaint Arnold Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

544 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 544
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 17
Gots: 81 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 11-12-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 544 | Reviews: 217
Photo of Myotus
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours with a small, white head. Has a dark amber color with small particles floating within the ale. Smells sweet from the hops. The hops give it a pine and citrus taste. A hint of malt is also present. Overall taste is great. Somehow, the brewers at Saint Arnold have actually captured Christmas in a bottle.

Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good beer. To wit: in the post-Christmas swoon, when some stores rush to unload their holiday-premised ales, I was able to score several six packs of this beer for $4.99, over the course of a few weeks, and then eventually for $3.99; considering it's a cold-temperatures beer that's pleasant and sessionable, despite its slightly boosted abv, that's a damn good deal. Moreover, I really like that this doesn't follow the usual trajectory of holiday brews: it isn't spiced, nor is it too heavy, like some blown-out barleywines or winter-warmers. It shows a lot of restraint, in fact—it just hits a few simple but effective targets: it's a surprisingly fat-bubbled, burnished-brown, damn smooth, malty-mouthed session-sipper—and I think, like the several Saint Arnold's offerings I've tried, it executes without concerning itself with flash or formulated innovation.

It's a good beer; it's also not a great beer. In a very real way, it's hemmed in by some of its strengths. It's effervescent and largely light, but—while that's makes it very drinkable—it doesn't finish especially cleanly, and likewise there are almost no discernible hop notes, necessitating either more sips or salty-snack intervention to break the malt-sugar monotony. It's pretty wonderfully brown-colored, but the brownness of flavor is not especially rich, and indeed—while quite smooth—there's just not a lot there beyond this flatness of sweet brown-malt flavor. Finally, while I called it a "session-sipper," it isn't quite an effective hybrid, nor does it sit comfortable in either category; depending on mood, it's an imperfect resident in one, with elements of the other.

But, as I stated at the outset, it's a good beer—and a welcome break from much of the holiday fare one sometimes encounters. However, at the same time, had it been sold consistently at $8+ per six-pack, I probably would not have swooped in for seconds, much less more.

Photo of jenze
5/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer during the holidays.

Photo of Robjwise
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Mellow and tasty, yet strong and distinct. Spices work well with this brew not overpowering.

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle with twist-off cap and bottled on 10/08/14. Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper with 1 finger of head that quickly dissipates

Smell: Malt and baked bread

Taste: Malt forward with a lot of biscuit, toffee, and bread notes with floral hop bitterness on the end

Mouthfeel: Medium

Overall: I enjoy this beer for what it is, a hearty malt-forward ale. There is no "spices" added which is what many people associate holiday beers with. I personally consider it a celebratory, beefed-up version of their amber ale.

Photo of themostcleveralias
5/5  rDev +35.1%

Amazing beer every Houstonian should try!

Photo of Beaver13
3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours clear red amber with a small creamy white head that goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet figgy malts with a little spice.

The flavor is sweet biscuity malts with some dark fruit and light spice. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with prickly carbonation.

Overall, an OK kind of bland Christmas beer.

Photo of Mikecap
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a medium clear reddish amber with a thin off-white head, not much noticeable lacing.

Smell: Spice, caramel malt and a bit of pine. A nice balance of spices and what I'd expect from a Christmas ale.

Taste: Some cinnamon and spice, but more malty with some piney hop character. Not too spicy which I like, a decent balance with the malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and bitterness. Creamy feel and goes down easily.

Overall: A pretty solid beer here from Saint Arnold. Not the best, but definitely worth a try.

Photo of bigdavid77433
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First thing I noticed was the carbonation. Almost like drinking a soda, minus the sugar.

A - Nice medium dark color

S- Almost none

T- Some spice although not overwhelming as read in other reviews. Malt over hops

O- I look forward to this release in July (brief) and late Oct/Nov each year. This is a good (well priced) everyday brew, when I am looking to knock a few back without tapping into the reserve/rare/hard to find/expensive bottles on shelves in the fridge.

Just as I remember it from past bottlings. Great go to all round beer when available

Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard Saint Arnold label art (mainly green in colour) and a red branded twist-off pressure cap acquired at me local HEB grocery as part of a mixed 6er and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery. 2013 vintage. No ABV is listed on the bottle, but Saint Arnold's website confirms it as 7.0%. ABW is 5.6%. Reviewed as an old ale because Saint Arnold's website identifies this beer explicitly as an old ale, and it's won medals in the old ale category.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of off-white colour, which recedes so fast - inside of 15 seconds - that there's no time to note its thickness or creaminess. Hopefully needless to say, I'm unimpressed with the head. 7% ABV is a bit high, but I've seen many an old ale that holds up for at least 2 minutes.

Body colour is a semitransparent rich copper/auburn. It's on the lighter side for the style. It's glowing, but I'm reticent to call it vibrant per se. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's not unique or special, and falls within style conventions. There are no egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Caramel/caramalts. Hints of toffee. Plenty of Christmasy spices - nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Brown sugar. Cidery notes/apple fruit. Green grapeskin. Hints of spruce wood and nectar. Hop character is floral and fruity, but none of the notes therein are particularly evocative or distinct and are hard to identify as a result. Almonds. Slightly bready. The spices seem to play well with the dominant caramel sweetness. It evokes a Christmas ale character, primarily because of the spicing.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant aroma of average strength. I'm looking forward to trying it. It's quite approachable, but I wouldn't say it's real welcoming or inviting.

T: The body is comprised of toffee and caramel/caramalts, with some pale malt and amber malt in there too. A spruce note emerges at the end of the first act and stays through the latter two acts, lending the flavour profile a guiding cohesion. Complementary spices are present but insubstantial: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg. I get a fairly medicinal note I can't quite place, but it accompanies the caramel-induced sweetness. The brown sugar from the aroma never makes an appearance in the flavour profile. The hop profile mostly matches the aroma: there are plenty of fruity and floral hop notes, but also some unexpected herbal notes.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Yeast attenuation ought to be higher given the style. It could use a higher ABV and less of a hop presence.

Generally cohesive, but the build isn't a gestalt one. There's some mild complexity here, but nothing too impressive. Subtlety is wanting as well. It has a loose balance to it. Below average depth and duration of flavour. Average intensity of flavour.

I'd like to see some darker malts used in the grain bill. It strays a bit too far from the style for my tastes.

Mf: Sticky, smooth, wet. Medium bodied. Somewhat nectary. Slightly syrupy. Thick to style. Decent presence on the palate. I wouldn't quite call it chewy.

Not astringent, hot, gushed, boozy, harsh, rough, oily, or creamy.

Dr: Drinks pretty decently for the somewhat high ABV. I love that it doesn't feel like a poor man's barleywine like many (subpar) Old Ales, but it does go too far in the Amber direction - it's overly hopped for the style, there's not enough complexity/subtlety, and it's just all around unremarkable. You could do worse than to end up with a 6er of this in your fridge, but having tried this as a single I wouldn't buy it again or recommend it to friends. It could do with the warmth and added flavour of a higher malt, higher ABV build.

Devotees of traditional old ales will likely be disappointed, but the price point here makes this worth trying. Saint Arnold has put forward an inoffensive brew with Christmasy spices and above average alcohol. At the end of the day, this beer will get you drunk. Without effort, I was able to to kill the bottle inside of 15 minutes.

On the high side of average. Not worth aging. Serve cold.

High C

Photo of Premo88
3.16/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(365-366/FX100713 printed on bottle on top line; 17:52 printed on bottom line)

L: red, clear ... very interesting look, and standard Saint Arnold clarity -- it's as if all of Saint Arnold's brews are made following the German purity laws, pretty impressive. very soapy head, tannish on top of the brown/amber brew (red) that doesn't last long, doesn't stick, doesn't lace

S: that old ale pumpkin, cantaloupe kind of smell ... it's sweet but that muted sweetness. an obvious malt takeover and a unique mix -- not bready, not sweet biscuits, not prunes, not raisins ... it's NOT a lot of things you expect from malt, but there's no doubt it's malty. reminds me a lot of the pumpkin ales out these days.

T: follows the nose with a little less sweetness ... again, pumpkin, cantaloupe. it has a bit of a nutmeg taste to it, too, but this brew is all beer -- no additives to the holy quartet of water, barley, yeast, hops.

F: not bad considering how weak the head appeared ... enough carbonation and weight to feel good enough

O: i can see, smell and taste plenty of unique notes and good things to tell it's a solid brew, but this profile is so hard for me to describe other than to use the word "off." it's definitely got a bit of a christmas feel with the pumpkin and nutmeg notes, but my guess is if you're looking for a winter seasonal (which this is regardless of style), you can find other brews you like better, Saint Arnold's Winter Stout being a possibility.

winter warmer or old ale -- either way, it's not my favorite style, so my numbers will be off by 0.25 to 0.50 or more. i personally wouldn't recommend trying more than a single brew or two of this ... i made it through a 6-pack fine, but i won't touch this one again.

Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber color with thick foamy head that quickly dissipates, although head retention is decent. Mild lacing. Has a mildly spicy apple aroma. Bready taste up front with a mild nutty hoppy spiciness. Mildly bitter, apple like aftertaste. Good beer for holiday season.

Photo of Boto
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz. bottle: This one pours a clear, orangish amber color. There was a very small off white head on it that didn’t linger or leave any lacing. Pretty decent nose. Caramel malts, some fruits (apple?), hints of spices. The taste is pretty good too. Caramel malts, with a hint of roast. A subdued sweetness with some bitterness trying to come through, resulting in a hint of dryness in the finish.

Photo of TBoneJones
3.16/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours caramel brown, thin head and thin looking body. Lacks lacing.
Smells faintly of pine and apple with a spice.
Tastes bitter and biscuity, and the light apple flavor is there but lacking the spice i thought i detected with my nose earlier, and with a metallic tart finish I'm not quite digging.
Feels smooth enough though, better than I expected from how this appears in my pint glass. Ok in that department. Just ok.
Overall this is a blah brew to me, despite the great respect I have for this brewery.

Photo of LXIXME
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium sized off white to light tan head settles into a nice lacing above a clear caramel copper colored beer.

Roasted caramel malts blended with Christmas style spices in the aroma.

Dark caramel roasted malt dominate the taste with some light spices and lighter hops rounding out the palette.

A light caramel remains in a light dryish aftertaste on this medium bodied beer.

A decent tasting Christmas beer, you can taste the spices but they don't overwhelm the beer taste.

Photo of acevenom
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pours copper with an off-white head that dissipates at a moderate pace. There are a lot of visible tiny bubbles in the beer. The beer smells of toffee and chocolate. There are some floral notes as well from the hops. What hits the tongue is a big malt presence with toffee and chocolate. The alcohol comes through in the taste as do the hops, which bring some floral, earthy, and mild spice notes to the taste. The body is medium to full with strong carbonation. This leads to a cleaner than expected finish. This is a very good beer.

Photo of BigBarley
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours out with a mild head, that immediately recedes into a thin ring of beige foam. Color is deep brown, copper, easy to see through. Active yeast, many mini-streams of rising bubbles.

S - Faint chocolate, caramel comes right after in a big way. Mild hop character just below. Nice buttery biscuit notes at the end.

T - Big alcohol, sweet caramel, heavy dose of yeast flavor. Could stand to be sweeter and maybe a little bit more hop balance. Mostly a biscuity, malt flavor. Crisp, warming beer. But not altogether balanced.

M - Very carbonated, but somehow lighter than expected. It's thick, but not quite thick enough. Or light enough. It's like mouthfeel limbo.

O - Very yeasty, very malty. Sweet, Christmasy beer, but I feel it could be more balanced. It's not as satisfying as a lot of Saint Arnold's beers, but it still has a unique flavor and feel. Worth a try, but I don't drink more than one or two of these a year.

Photo of Tiernan
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very nice, malty beer with notes of caramel and a bit of strawberry. Feels great in my mouth! Lots of caramel aftertaste.
Nice for a winter warmer, but I'm not getting why they call it a Christmas Ale. I generally tend to think of Christmas Ales as spiced beers, but there is not a trace of spice or "holiday flavor" in this beer. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious!

Photo of Ford
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Boondoggle's in Clear Lake, Texas

Wow.. great from the first smell to taste.

To me it's a great ale that finishes with a touch of hot apple cider in the background. Love this stuff and I'm going to stock up on it a bit.

I didn't try this last year, but I did have the Sailing Santa, which was this mixed with Elissa IPA. I didn't love that near as much, which makes sense as I'm not a huge IPA fan.

This is very good stuff... really spreads the Christmas cheer to your mouth.

Photo of DCon
3.31/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a 12 FL OZ. bottle of this brew from cfh64 in a trade. Poured from the Green Labeled bottle w/ St. Arnold Enjoying a beer from a Glass Stein & praising Jesus for it into my 16oz Grand Teton Au Naturale Pint Glass. Has no freshness date on the bottle.

Aroma- Sweetness, especially apple juice, begin this one. Light spices and hops then come in at the end. Almost too artificially for me...

Appearance- Pours a .5 finger, bubbly head that dies fairly quickly. Has a deep-reddish/copper colored body with poor clarity. Leaves tons of suds behind.

Flavor- Has a ton of caramel and sweet malts but doesn't ever hit the hop category. Tons of light spices too. Light bitterness. Sweet and wet finish.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, and has a sweet, caramel finish.

Overall Impression- Not sure whats going on with this one... A nice brew but a Winter Warmer... Couldn't even believe this one was 7% when I looked at it again. I wouldn't dis this one, just won't be going back to it and has some work to do.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass. Stamped 282-283/6 113011. I'm going to hazard a guess that means it was bottled on 30 November 2011?

A: Half a finger of head. Good bubbles. Amber brown, but transparent in the light.

S: Spiced fruit; slightly metallic.

T/M: I fear this may have set too long, or perhaps it wasn't very good to begin with. Either way, it's not quite what I think a winter warmer should be like. Strong and sweet, with flavours of molasses and dark fruit. Carbonated, but light in body, which conspires to downplay the sweet nature of the beer.

O: I suppose it's a little bit above average, stylistically, but in general, I wouldn't particularly recommend it. I suppose I'd drink another, but I'd have to be in the mood.

Photo of shivtim
2.46/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to my friend from Houston for bringing me this beer.

Poured into a pint glass. Nice rich brown/copper color. Slightly translucent with orange hints. Thick khaki head.

Nose is yeasty and doughy, with malt. Very slight spice, maybe anise. Overall quite bready.

Taste is old malt, kind of a stale ricey quality. I don't pick up much in the "christmas" department. Slightly metallic even. Not good.

Dry and thin mouthfeel. Acidic tasting.

Can't say I like this beer...

Photo of Theitos
2.67/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured in to a pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber color. There is no head and no lacing.

S: I smell a little spice and a hint of cherry.

T: It tasted like they made a beer and then thought oh if we put spice in it we can call it a christmas beer. I also tasted some cherry in it. I just felt like it wasn't blended as well as it could have been.

M: Smooth with a dry finish. The taste lingers

O: The beer is ok, but I would pass over this for other holiday ales.

Photo of brewskifan55
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

Appearance: semi-opaque, amber/orange. No head, little lacing.

Smell: Hop-tacular! Piney, citrus-y with light cinnamon.

Taste: Light malts, cinnamon, nutmeg. Smooth finish with just enough of a hop presence not to overwhelm.

Mouthfeel: Light, creamy; good carbonation.

Overall: A low-key Christmas ale. Not bad, just doesn't have any Christmas spirit. Dandy with baked chicken.

Photo of trxxpaxxs
2.82/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a thin reddish orange. There is almost no head to this beer whatsoever. Absolutely no lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells of malt, spice (nutmeg), and a bit of booze. I'm also picking up just the slightest hint of cherry.

T: Not good. It taste like a lager that has had some spices dumped into it.

M: Light bodied beer. Finishes a bit hot.

O: Not a fan of this beer at all. It's like a spicy lager. No thanks. I've had other beers from Saint Arnold that have been outstanding, but this beer falls short for me.

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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 544 ratings.