1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

719 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 719
Reviews: 326
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 22
Gots: 39 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Nutcracker Ale is Boulevard’s holiday gift for real beer lovers. This hearty, warming brew is a classic winter ale, deep amber in color, with hints of molasses balanced by the “spiciness” of freshly harvested Chinook hops.

38 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 719 | Reviews: 326 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by IPA1978:
Photo of IPA1978
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. beautiful, the color of liquid brown sugar with a thin cappuccino like head.

S. This beer smells great, brown sugar, dry tea, fruity, awesome.

T. I homebrew and use dark brown sugar alot, lends an earthy molasses sweetness that stands out in this brew. Light phenol, figs/raisin, warming alcohol with fruity, piney hops.

M. Typical blvd beer mouthfeel, lots of fine co2, slighty thin to medium body.

O. A go to holiday staple for me, whats awsome is there is no cinnamon and spice here all the flavors come from the malt, brown sugar and hops. Great at room temp.

Update: The 2013 release is awesome. Blvd has tweaked this beer over the years and it seems to get better every year. Originally this beer was 5.8% abv now its up to 7.8% and better than ever.

IPA1978, Nov 10, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich tawny color with a huge billowing crown that held for a very long time,finally settling into a frothy mass after leaving globs of soap scum lookin stuff behind.Spicy hop and caramel malt come together well,it has to be chinooks to give off such a spicy note in its hop profile,very nice.A nice mix of winter spice,clove,cinnamon,nutmeg,candied orange peel,and again that hop spiciness,a sweet but not overly sweet caramle base holds true to the finish.Each year I say Iam gonna get some of this stuff,this year I finally did and Iam glad I did,this for my money is one of the best winter warmer's out there.

oberon, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of mojohawk21
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

mojohawk21, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with suspended sediment and not much head.

Citrusy, grapfruity hops in the nose with a certain underlying spiciness.

Very interesting taste. It balances the hops and malt well. It's juicy fruity with apple and slight pine. Light-medium bodied.

This is a neat beer that's worth trying at least once a year.

brownbeer, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A moderate pour of this beer produces a huge burnt cream head that takes up almost half of my pint glass. It is hard to tame and retains a good 1 1/2 inch layer all the wat yo the end. Hiding beneath this beastly head is a cloudy, true amber colored beer. There is a never-ending supply of lightning-fast little bubbles racing to the surface to feed the head and they never seem to exhaust thier supply of carbonation.

The nose is sugar, old hops, spicy hops, and honey. This is a very sugary but spicy brew with a subtle medley of spices (notably cinnamon), orange, brown sugar, and spicy/ herbal hops.

The mouthfeel is mid-wieght and amazingly creamy. Despite all the apparent carbonation, it doesn't really come through in the mouthfeel somehow. Another curious quality of this beer seem to concerns drinkability. It seemed like every sip I took of this beer just made me thirstier. Not like "wow that was good I want more" thirsty so much as "bring me some damn water" thirsty. Does this make a beer "drinkable" I don't know.

That aside, this was a really interesting beer anda great approach to the winter warmer. It is complex, warming, and festive without being heavy, thick, slick, or overwhelmingly boozy. Not what I'd call "balanced" but very enjoyable none the less.

JudgeRoughneck, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of tohe9384
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

tohe9384, Sep 12, 2012
Photo of skybluewater
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky reddish color. Smells of malt and spice, with a touch of alcohol. Taste is the weak link , with of all things pear coming through, as well as some spiciness in the malt.

Overall, this is yet another winter warmer that I'll be passing up next year.

skybluewater, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of Beaver13
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, best by 2/15/11. Pours a bright hazy copper chestnut color with a medium creamy off white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is resiny, fruity, slightly perfumey hops with some bready caramel/toffee malts.

The flavor is caramel malts, nuts and a little molasses with some bright resiny fruity hops in the finish. As it warms, a lot more fruitiness comes out. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall, a nice surprise. It's very well balanced and has some nice bright hoppiness. I'll have to add this to the list to get each winter.

Beaver13, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of DuckDodgers
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

DuckDodgers, Nov 15, 2014
Photo of cschepers
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the typical short 12oz. Blvd. bottle into the ubiquitous Guinness glass.

A - Amber color, not a whole lot of head, a little bit of lacing here and there.

S - Piney hops, a little bit of sweetness here and there.

T - Cedar/pine/citrus hops upfront, nice generic Christmas-y spice. Little bit of metallic hop aftertaste, that's a bit odd.. Malt isn't all that prevalent at first, but it shows up later. Just enough to be balanced against the hops, but not much more.. then it sticks around for awhile. That's okay though.

M - Good carbonation in the beer, mmm. both the malt & hops stick around for awhile.. seems to really favor the piney hops. Its a bit odd.. although there isn't a ton of head upfront, the carbonation is pretty well-integrated into the beer. The malt isn't all that strong while drinking, but it catches up in the end.

D - I like this more than in years past. Maybe I just didn't appreciate it before, others have said its a bit different than before. Don't care, I like it this year. Can't have more than a couple though, the lingering sweetness gets to be a bit much. Hard to stop at one, hard to keep going after two. I'll be buying another sixer of this one, this year.

cschepers, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of lionnusmb
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

lionnusmb, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of Jason
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

LOOK: Muddled tawny hue, great lacing

SMELL: Christmas pudding, candied fruit, alcoholic esters, toasted bread, herbal hops.

TASTE: Smooth, medium body, raw, rustic, bready, hop bitterness, leafy, ripe oranges, papaya, brown sugar, esters, spicy, grainy, bittersweet finish.

Lot of complexities here, don't rush this beer ... let it warm up slowly and sip it and the flavors will unfold. This ale has more than enough going to put a grin on just about any beer geeks face.

Jason, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second Boulevard, thanks to babydoc. This one pours a muddy brown(unfiltered) body with a 1 cm beige head that disperses some nice patchy lace. Aroma is malty and spicy, with notes of chocolate, caramel, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Some grassy hops are picked up in the background. Very pleasant in the mouth, with an ideal carbonation and tingly body. Taste is quite pleasant, with malty chocolate and caramel maltiness melding with grassy and pine hops, a hint of hazelnut, and some cinnamon and nutmeg. Although I cook with fresh spices, I have been deceived before by noting the definite presence of spices that were actually hops, as may be the case here. This is an excellent winter warmer that is quite well constructed. I wish Boulevard could expand their distribution a bit, so more of us could enjoy their fine brews.

merlin48, Jan 05, 2005
Photo of nem2006
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured deep amber/copper with lightly tanned, very creamy head. Holds the head well.

Nose: Spicy, slightly piney. Not too overpowering on the hop aroma, but that is almost all you get.

Taste: Medium bodied, well-balanced at the front end. However the hops linger on the tongue after the malt sweetness fades away. Lingers for a while, drying out the mouth slightly.

Overall: A good beer experience. The flavor really changes with the temperature. In my opinion, a bit smoother at lower temps. With higher temps, you get more of the hop/alcohol bite, not necessarily a negative thing.

nem2006, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at pint night at the Plano Gingerman.

The beer pours a hazy brown color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is heavy on the toffee malt and piney hops. The hop presence is a lot heavier than I remembered from when I had it in previous years. The flavor is grassy and piney hops, along with caramel and toffee. I also get some cinnamon and clove notes. Low overall bitterness, but quite a bit of hop flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of wchasejr
4/5  rDev +7.2%

wchasejr, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Very hazy, dark orange with thick, creamy head.

Smell: Lots of floral, spicy hops, as well as some tart grapefruit. Nice bready, caramel malt as well.

Taste: While there is a strong backbone of toast, caramel and cherry, this is surprisingly hoppy, with notes of spice, grapefruit and herbs. Somewhat bitter finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a nice, dry finish. Seemed slightly thin at first, but got better at around cellar temp.

Overall: Despite everything positive about this beer, there is something that keeps me from really wanting to have more. However, it is a very good Americanized take on an English Strong Ale.

bsp77, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of Justin8mypants
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Justin8mypants, Sunday at 08:36 PM
Photo of MattyG85
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy copper amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Huge five finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A spicy hop driven aroma with a solid malt backbone. Lively mix of hops with hints of citrus orange, pineapple, mango, and grapefruit. A good amount of earthy and spicy pine resin. Not to be outdone, the bready malts add a nice balancing sweetness with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, and soft cracker. Also a little brown sugar in the mix. A really nice and unique aroma for the style.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a solid mix of spicy and citrus hops along with a sweet bready malt presence. Upfront is a taste of earthy, spicy piney hops and some citrus orange, mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. Hops are lively but not overly bitter. Some brown sugar is tasted. Solid toasty malt presence with a taste of sweet caramel, toffee, crackers, and biscuit. Its a really nicely balanced beer with some nice hop and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and fairly slick. Very smooth.

Overall: A really good and interesting take on a Winter Warmer. Good hop spice and fruit esters with a solid malt balance.

MattyG85, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of sigtau200ws
4/5  rDev +7.2%

sigtau200ws, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of doremite
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

doremite, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of whoneeds8
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass cloudy orange with a thick foamy head. Good lacing. Smells of fresh hops. But the taste isn't really all that great. There is a slight hop bite up front, but there is a weird taste after that that leads to a unflattery after taste. The mouthfeel is good, however I'd rather have a little more warmth from alcohol for this style.

whoneeds8, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of ADR
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark coppery brown, seems clearish. Pale tan head of pretty short duration. Dotty lace. A little pine to the malty aroma. Mouthfeel is shy of medium but seems overall creamy due to scant carbonation. Flavor impression strikes as slightly gingerbread malt with a touch of a minty aspect. Finishes with barely discernable hops but a building fruitcake character and a flattish tone. Not a bad beer for the time of year, a little festive, but despite the claim on the bottle, this is a pretty transparent unfiltered brew.

ADR, Nov 19, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears cloudy nearly opaque amber almost marron hued nice sized caramel tan head leaves fine lacing. Aroma contains a great hop profile christmas tree esque piney character nice doughy malt not overly sweet thank god no holiday spices to kill it finishes a bit citrusy sort of celebration like but unique and it's own. Taste is one great hoppy winter warmer once again thanking the beer gods that some brewers leaves out holiday spices and substitue semi sweet caramel malt profiles with yeasty bread chacter blended with a wallop of pine cone and citrus flavored hops, nicely done. Mouthfeel is medium bodied texture is silky smooth of course carbonation is perfect why mess it up now. Drinkability effortless b/c it's so good yet challenging due to the flavors that one could without a doubt crave.

WVbeergeek, Feb 15, 2006
Photo of chinchill
3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep red-amber with a weak head.

Aroma is a mismash of components that don`t gel at first: spices, caramel, earthy hops ... But this improved with some warming or just the repeated tasting. The flavor was initially better than the aroma but as the latter improved they became more similar in both quality and character.

O: an interesting and distinct winter ale. Not challenging although it took me a little while to warm up to it.

chinchill, Nov 17, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 719 ratings.