Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

801 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 801
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 11.83%
Wants: 26
Gots: 90 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-11-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 801 | Reviews: 339
Reviews by mskelly79:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of brownbeer
3.64/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of skybluewater
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of Beaver13
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of cschepers
3.83/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of nem2006
3.92/5  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.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber to brown in color with a lot of suspended minuscule sediment within the body gives it a murky complexion. A half inch of tightly knit beige head is present. I smell light malt and perhaps hazlenut. The flavor is more of a nutty fare with gentle citrus dry hopping. The body is fairly smooth and dry.

Photo of MattyG85
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of ADR
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of brewQ
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Tis the season...
A very pretty brew- black but allowing a purple light to come through. The nose is of black malts along with the house character hops (ala the Pale ALe).

Taste hits in waves: sweetness, then hops, then the warmth of alcohol. Good drinking for the holidays- maybe better than last year.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.01/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a massive 2.5 finger egg-white head, overflowing from my glass. Decent lacing.

S: Up front there is a lot of apple and some floral hops, with a decent amount of alcohol.

T: It tastes almost like cider with a light citrus kick to it. Some bready malt fills out the flavor profile. After finishing the review, I went back and read some others, and this flavor profile doesn't really jive with most, might be a little past due, looked for a best by and didn't find one, might have been rubbed off?

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation, texture is a little on the grainy side.

O: Not sure on this one, I am guessing its no longer good, but can't imagine a change this drastic. Will try again.

Photo of SMark
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from a 12 ounce bottle with a best by date on the neck. It was poured at 46° into an Imperial pint glass. The beer poured cloudy amber with a 2 finger head. There was very little lacing.

The hops are very noticeable probably because the beer is brewed to 31 IBU’s. I like the hop bouquet and the slight malt aroma.

Hops are also prevalent in the taste with some sweetness. It’s as if little florets of the hops are present in the mouth.

The hops seem to bounce all around my mouth which I enjoy. There is a nice balance with the sweetness of the malt. Aftertaste lingers enough to ward off inhaling too quickly.

This is a nice beer for the winter months and I have noticed it seems to be more enjoyable with friends.

Photo of Drew03cmc
4.36/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

This beer has a nice taste, which consists of a definite happiness, it is altogether approachable and drinkable.

Photo of cokes
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lightly hazed, toasted honey-orange. The head is moderate and beige with little lacing.
Scented of sweet breads, orange rinds, black cherries, cocoa, and grain. And possibly a hint of Rye whiskey alcoholic pepperiness.
It begins doughy and sweet through the mouth. Not unlike a vanilla-glazed donut. Though, as far a breadiness is concerned, gingerbread is more dominant, and it quickly segues towards it. Some raw graininess, but it's mien is more or less continually and evenly wet and doughy. Eventually, fruit emerges, with an emphasis on black cherry, and then equally orange as the hops hit with an understated citric juiciness.
It's a bin on the wan side, body- and feel-wise. It's notches a step below medium, which isn't very wintery or warming. The carbonation peters out to a trickle with some haste.
The category is fairly wide open, and this resides in the lighter, more drinkable realm. I really enjoy the interplay of the doughy, sweet gingerbready malt, and the more fragrant orange-peel hopping. I could go for a bit more gumption and girth, but this rounds out as a solid winter-themed sessioner.

Photo of Zebus0
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pretty good. I've had it on draft before, good coloration, nothing to really write home about.

S- Pretty good. Lot of nut flavor. To me it has a pretty sharp aroma, lots of spices/nuts.

T- Pretty good. Not a ton of hops but the taste is pronounced. Same as aroma, nutty flavor, bit of spice but not overwhelming. Pretty nice flavor.

M- Smoothness. Good ale texture.

D- Pretty good, this is one of my favorite beers for the wintertime. I'll drink it, and I like drinking it.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Reddish brown russet color with a thick foamy two finger head. Very little lace is left on the glass.

S - Big piney Sierra Nevada-esque hop aroma right of the bat (I wasn't expecting such a hoppy nose in a winter warmer). None of the expected cinnamon or nutmeg. Sorta boring. Just smells like a nicely hopped pale ale to me. Smells dry hopped.

T - Hops again up front, with some subtle mushroom and earth flavors. Odd and vegetal, but more interesting and unique than the nose. Wow....lots of mushroom flavors (I like mushrooms, so this is not a bad thing for me). I can taste a bit of nuttiness in the aftertaste, but other than that, there are just tons of hops.

M - Thick and very creamy to the point of almost being foamy. Tiny bit of sweetness up front develops into a full blown sugary coating, but an extremely dry hoppy finish sort of evens things out. I wouldn't call this balanced however.

D - I would pass on this next time. It's interesting that's for's just a very odd beer. It's trying to be an IPA, a spiced dark beer, a nut brown, and several other things all at once, and it's not really doing any of them well. It sort of reminds me of SN Celebration Ale, just nowhere near as good.

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle into pilsener glass. Best by 2.05.10.

Pours a considerably hazy brown, chinese red. Half an inch of head forms and fades quickly to a ring and slick of light tan.

Dominant aromas of sharp, fruity hops. Cascades, crisp apple, pear. Last night I found spice, but today it seems like it may have been the connotations of the style.

Some carbonation sting combining with some orange and grapefruit peel bitterness leads off. The middle is some bready malt and very low key sweet cinnamon (possibly). A gentle but present level of bitterness with the lingering citrus rind quality that is lovely. Apple, pear.

Prickly, a bit overcarbonated. Average ale mouth, I could drink quite a lot of this particular seasonal.

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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 801 ratings.