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Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

659 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 659
Reviews: 323
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%

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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 659 | Reviews: 323 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.34/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

16 ounce pint - Taco Mac in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a relatively clear, dark amber-hued body with a slim, light beige head.

Smell: Moderately spicy with a growing pine resin presence. Toasty, crystal malts. Thin hint of fruit. A bit of alcohol.

Taste: Toasted bread, crystal maltiness with an extra sip of thinned treacle. Scantly nutty. Lightly estery. Woodsy, lightly resiny hops with very light citrus slipping in the taste. Medium bitterness, yet it still finishes a bit sweetish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's fine, but, I'd politely pass it up on a second occasion.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2013 04:33:20 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2013 23:04:58 | More by chinchill
Photo of Living816

Northwest Territories (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How did I never try this? I live in Kansas City, my god.

I've always avoided these holiday-themed beers. Most of them suck. Nutcracker Ale doesn't. Amazing beer. Great hop aroma, great malt balance. Almost perfect harmony of malt and hops and body. Rich and smooth. This is a fairly high alcohol beer that drinks like lemonade. If there's one thing Boulevard does better than just about any brewery, it's make a solidly balanced beer.

Awesome beer. I wish I'd have tried this years ago. I've been missing out.

$6-7 for a six pack of this beer? A steal. Get a dozen.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2012 04:20:57 | More by Living816
Photo of homebrew311


3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served On tap at Durty nellies. Appearance is a slightly hazy amber with thin layer of white head which retains a micro layer and leaves decent lacing. Nose starts with aromatic hops, and a mild festive spicing which features a touch of nutmeg along with a strong malty base. Taste is hoppy up front with pine and resin with a background of ginger and nutmeg. The spices are minuscule compared to the hop profile as this drinks more like an IPA than a winter warmer. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated with a light body. Overall, an enjoyable brew but not a standout.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2012 00:16:42 | More by homebrew311
Photo of beergoot


3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs...

The beer was a dark, ruby red with a creamy white head. The scent was of sweet malts with earth and grass notes. Taste was lightly spiced with malt tones and had a soft bitter finish. Mouthfeel hovered between light to medium, kind of velvety overall.

In the end, this came across as a mediocre holiday ale, ultimately fair but non-distinct. It's worth drinking, but not worth too much effort to hunt down.

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2012 01:55:01 | More by beergoot
Photo of soju6


3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served a dark mahogany color with a small tan head and nice lacing.

S: Mild aroma of nuts and caramel with a bit of spice mixed in.

T: Mild malt sweetness with some caramel, nice bit of spice. Mild bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, smooth and a bit creamy. Nice balance.

O: Easy drinker, a nice seasonal offering.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2011 11:59:26 | More by soju6
Photo of colt45n


4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a coppery brown color. No head once it gets to my table. Nice streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Caramel malts mix with some light nutty notes. Herbal hops and some even light nutmeg flavor

T- Caramel malts come in first with some light cherry flavors. There is an interesting spicing going on that I can't quite put my finger on. Nutty flavor toward the middle of the beer..

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Sweet malts with light nutty flavors are left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly sweet malts, fading alcohol, and light hopping. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were blended well for what it was suppose to be. No off flavors were present at all.

A good beer, Ive had it both bottled and on tap and I would have to say that I do enjoy it more on tap for whatever that is worth

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 23:35:16 | More by colt45n
Photo of StaveHooks


3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy copper brown with an off-white head with legendary retention. This head does not move. Tight sheets of lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt, herbal hops hints of green grapes and apples.

T - Moderate hops. Sweet malt base with walnuts. Not a lot of spice. Some green apples. The malt has a candy sweetness. Hops finish it of and seems somewhat balanced between the sweet and bitter.

M - Moderate carbonation, creamy.

Nice sweetness and hoppier than expected. No spice to speak of. A different take on the style. Good drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 01:45:39 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of csiewert


3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a phrase... a nice balance of malt and hops in a medium bodied beer that finishes smooth. Pours a dark amber color with malty notes. Lacking in hop aroma, but the flavor sneaks in a gets you when you least expect it. Not much going on in the head department as well. Very easy to drink and appeals to many drinkers. Too bad it's not available all year.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2010 22:22:35 | More by csiewert
Photo of rye726


3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm always a fan of the Winter Warmer style, but this one did not really do it for me. I find myself feeling this way quite frequently with Boulevard. Their Smokestack beers are very nice, but their basic beers are pretty average.

Pours an orangish brown with a tan head. Fruity malts, light hops and spices. Nice medium body.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2010 21:45:58 | More by rye726
Photo of plaid75

New York

3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Bailey's, Portland, Oregon.

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell was neutral.

The taste consisted of a touch of herbal hop but was predominantly malt driven.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall a pretty neutral event. Certainly a quality brew, just no real flavor to grab on to.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2009 22:07:28 | More by plaid75
Photo of MTNboy


3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The body is a light brown with a reddish hue. It has a nice color. The head was thick and frothy with a great lace that just sticks to the side of the glass. The aroma is dominated by citrus and spice. I am not sure if that comes from orange peel or hops. The mouth feel is carbonated but not overwhelming. The flavor is fruity and spicy. It was a little more balanced on tap than it was in the bottle. I am going with the sample I had tap or it would have had a lower rating. Overall not bad.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2009 14:02:11 | More by MTNboy
Photo of jdense


4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Harborside Taproom, PDX, 11/26 poured into chilled (ugh) pint glass.

Brown body, less than a finger of off-white head, quick disappation, minimal lacing. Dry bready nose with no hops present. Sweet taste up front with a bit of spice (nutmeg, cinnamon). Hops more prominent on the back end. Not much carbonation, but a pretty smooth mouthfeel. Taste a bit more complex when warm, why are they chilling the glasses? Very drinkable, need a bit of warming before serving. A nice winter warmer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2009 23:21:21 | More by jdense
Photo of lhaqq


4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish-brown body with a decent light-tan head.
S: Syrupy sugar and malts. Also some fruits--apple and a bit of orange.
T: Tastes kind of like a dubbel initially in terms of sweetness. Finishes with a citrusy hop flavor with little aftertaste.
M: Good carbonation level, and the lack of much aftertaste is enjoyable.
D: A good winter warmer--easy to drink with still a good amount of taste.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2008 03:35:39 | More by lhaqq
Photo of KI9A


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap, at a (thankfully) smoke free bar in Illinois. Nice to really be able to taste a beer at a bar, without the aroma of stale smoke!

Poured a copper, to medium amber. Typical head, some retention.

Smells of hops, and malt.

Taste was a fine balance between floral hops, and malt, with a slight hint of yeast. As expected, the hoppiness rose as the temp rose, which worked well for me.

A nice, dry-hoppy finish. Had 2 of these, not really a session beer for me, 2 was enough. But, I really enjoyed both.
Nice job, Boulevard.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2008 16:07:23 | More by KI9A
Photo of timbro81


3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Head billows out from my mug at the bar. I see that the color is a hazy copper in my friends glass (my mug is ceramic). Somewhat sweet, but not of the good variety, in the nose. Good malt to hop balance mingled with usual Christmas spices (ginger, cinnamon, maybe some orange). Light mouthfeel followed by a short lived aftertaste. Not the best for the style.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2007 22:29:44 | More by timbro81
Photo of BeerWithMike


3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Also sampled tonight on 3/1/14 but had this one back in 2012. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner flute glass.

Pours a hazy amber bronze in color with a good 1-finger light beige foamy head that settles down to a thin layering. Lacing was seen with each sip but wasn't heavy. The aroma is of caramel malts with a touch of honey and spices. The taste is about the same with some citrus over tones and a strong pepper spice finish. Slightly bitter finish as well.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 04:22:12 | More by BeerWithMike
Photo of BierJager89


3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy red-orange, with a tan head.

S: Pineapple, mango, orange hop character blended perfectly with cinnamon and clove spiciness in the nose.

T: Orange, mango, lemon, grapefruit and pine. Cinnamon and nutmeg show up in the finish and aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth, but also a bit foamy.

O: Taste is not quite what I had hope for after the nose, but it smells really good.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 23:27:36 | More by BierJager89
Photo of sweemzander


3.14/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Best by 02/07/14.

(A)- Pours a hazy bronze colored amber. Some good off-white to tan colored froth. Good retention and lacing.

(S)- A very sweet caramel and honey malt base meets very subtle toasted nuttiness and fig.

(T)- Again, very caramel and honey sweetness with a lightly toasted nuttiness and fig.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A touch sweet, but not very complex.

(O)- A slightly richer and sweeter beer, but nothing that really reminds me of the holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 21:23:18 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Captain_Komamura


3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - a tannish colored head, with a dark amber body.

Smell - It is a piney/hoppy smell, with a bit of malts.

Taste - a hoppy bitterness to it, with some spices; not as sweet as I was expecting it to be.

Mouthfeel - a good bodied beer.

Overall - A pretty decent beer, although it wasn't that sweet.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 05:42:37 | More by Captain_Komamura
Photo of Chiefy770


4.59/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Edition.

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light brown body with a nice reddish-orange glow. An off-white fluffy head formed and left a modest amount of lacing throughout.

Smell: A blend of citric and pine hops really stand out... almost thought I was about to sip an IPA. Rich and sweet notes of caramel are also present, making this smell a bit more like its style.

Taste: The pine-rich hops from the nose are front and center on the first sip. The malts follow up almost instantly and even out the taste with sweet and toasty malts. The balance between the malts and hops is near perfection. The bitterness and sweetness are both present and linger around for just the right amount of time in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. The carbonation carries the hops nicely but there is a great base on here for the malts to sit on.

Overall: I was very impressed with this offering from Boulevard. My only suggestion is that they turn down the hops just a bit. There are great moments when this beer evens out and is nearly perfect but there are also many occasions when the hops dominate the taste. I would recommend this to any and all beer lovers. Definitely a brew I am looking forward to having next winter.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 23:18:55 | More by Chiefy770
Photo of haggadah


4.75/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Made w Chinook hops, Nutcracker is a seasonal beer that I look forward to every year. The Chinook hop was developed as recently as 1985. It has a spicy flavor--definitely tasting of grapefruit and pine. About as close as I'll ever get to a spruce beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 04:33:57 | More by haggadah
Photo of a0lbudman


4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark amber in color with a large off white head that fades slowly
S-at first smell it was a piney hops with a touch of spice and molasses
T-spicy hop and malt with a molasses flavor that goes to a warming hop bitterness that sweetens as the finish comes around
M- light body and high carbonation
O- one of the likable winter warmers. Looking forward to next years

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 00:39:47 | More by a0lbudman
Photo of BeerWizard


4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First tried this a few years back and wasn't wowed by it, which made it all the more surprising trying it again and finding it so enjoyable.

Package says it is brewed with fresh hops, and bottle art is officially seasonal in red and green with some nutcracker teeth and 'stache. Body is a rusty brown-orange with heavy suspended, grainy sediment, and a shortish, off-white head. Nose is super-hoppy, tropical fruit, citrus, a tad sour - just yeasty. Flavor is citrusy, perfect sweet-malt balance for me. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, moderate carbonation.

Stylistically it throws me - it's like a fresh-hop-dubbel, which I've never heard of, but I like the shit out of it. Overall, pretty masterful, and one of my favorites from this year.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 05:27:37 | More by BeerWizard
Photo of kismet


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very fine holiday offering from boulevard. this wet hop chinook ale pours a great dark, hazy red-brown hue with a creamy, stubborn head. smell is of hop oil, burnt brown sugar, and a little booze on the end. taste is easy to enjoy...hoppy and creamy, easy on the palate, and very drinkable. i enjoyed it even more as it warmed. i would definitely purchase this one again.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 21:53:06 | More by kismet
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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 659 ratings.