Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

334 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 334
Hads: 811
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 11.94%
Wants: 30
Gots: 95 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Nutcracker Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 334 | Hads: 811
Photo of chilidog
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in a samplar pack in western Indiana, surprised and glad i got this beer.

Pours a nice dark amber hue, tanny head that does disapate and spots to lace.

Aroma os spice, pine and hoppy floralness.

Taste is allspice, cinnamon with clove and then a citric hop wave rolls over it all. A bready toast or biscuit malt backs things up nicely.

Mouth is left with a hoppy, leaf like finish.

Overall a surprised holiday ale indeed. The hop is the surprise for there is alot more than expected for a holiday ale.

 520 characters

Photo of imasloth
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a glass goblet, the ale is brown with a reddish-orange twinge. The pour gives a thin almond-coloured head that recedes quickly into a rim around the top of the liquid. Sediment (yeast) remains at the bottom of the bottle.

S- Sweet, piney, citrus. Malt, hops, and hops respectively. Some very light spicy notes.

T- Good-balanced upfront with both malt and the citrus hops. Followed by strong bittering, piney flavor that finishes. Mix of citrus and piney aftertaste.

M- Fairly light bodied and smooth, until the bitterness hits your salivary glands and makes them pucker a bit. Some dryness in the after-feel.

O- Good, hoppy addition to the seasonal ale rotation. Nothing overwhelming but decent enough.

 721 characters

Photo of Docer
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Semi-cloudy amber brew with a couple fingers of slow forming light tan head. The head has settled leaving some bubbly lace behind with a thin pillowing blanket above the ale. Solid.

Smell: (4.0)
- Light zingy spice, a pleasant citrus zest and almost orange peel character, light brown sugar, and a touch of molasses. Overall a unique and pretty good smell.. almost like a fruitcake without being overwhelming. Perhaps some light bitter grassy hops.

Taste: (3.5)
- Indeed like a waldorph's salad of sorts. Fruity canned mandarin orange, grape peel, and light sweet bready grain with a hint of molasses and/or brown sugar. Very interesting and unique brew. Love the bitter earthy hops to balance it out.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Lightly creamy and smooth medium bodied brew. Plenty carbonated and easy to belch. Bit chewy and drying, and has a very tart bitterness that leaves a little zingy feel on the tongue. Not bad.

Overall: (3.5)
- I like this better than most winter beers that seem too sweet and loaded with spice. This one takes on a whole different spectrum of winter flavors. Seriously, we all know those fruity salads with mayo and walnuts. This is much like that, an amber with all those flavors without the dank mayo and nutty flavor. Not bad.

 1,276 characters

Photo of tsauce2
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a globe glass.

A: SRM is deep amber. Cloudy but without particles/sediment. Head is off white, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Light lacing.

S: Very fragrant. A lot of things going on, but all are well balanced. Light citrus (orange), nuts (cashew?), hops, and malt.

T: Follows nose. Many levels to this beer, but all blend well. Initially, hops and citrus additions hit, followed by malt and a touch of nuttiness and spice. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, slightly acidic/citrusy, and malty.

M: Medium body. MF is multifaceted due to diversity of ingredients. At first, this beer gives a hoppy and citrusy mf, but then malt hits with a light sweetness and nuttiness. Finishes semi wet.

O: Very interesting and complex. Easy drinking and quite fun to think about all of the things that go in to this beer. Will buy this beer again.

 874 characters

Photo of KDawg
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into a pint glass. Pours a nice medium amber color

very good aromas of christmas spices, malts and some roasted nuts along with some resiny hop aromas as well.

medium bodied with a good attack, but lacking on the mid and back palate. Good flavors of spices, caramel, and malts

a very good christmas ale. Straight forward, but lacking a slight bit of the taste and feel.

 392 characters

Photo of match1112
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours out the color of liquid caramel with alot of floaties in there, guess that's the unfiltered part. a thin tan head left within seconds and just a small thin layer is left on top.

s: rather inviting. hints of roasted nuts, spice, malts and hops.

t: a nice spicy and nutty taste before it gives way to a well blended hop finish.

m: full body and a little chewy. carbonation tickles the tongue and the hops provide a nice dry finish.

o: not a big fan of winter warmers, but this is one i can and will drink more of. everything is well blended and balanced.

 565 characters

Photo of meeekyh
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have found that I like this brewery for the solid offerings they produce and the occasional stand-out (Boss Tom's comes to mind) and so I figured this would be worth a try, even without knowing if it would be the spice4d variety or not (it isn't).

Color is a cloudy deep-copper with a modest light tan head. Smell is a bit astringent-esque with undercurrents of raisins and pine. Flavor is a compact mouthfull of bitter and sweet with dried fruit and citrus-rind overtones. The feel is on the light side with good carbonation and a bit of a lingering, dry finish.

This is interesting beer, and cheap(ish), which merits a second look. I like it for not being spiced and for being a simple but not pedestrian ale. There is plenty of flavor and balance without being reminiscent of any particular other style. It is robust and bitter, sweet and refreshing. I like it and will surely get more to enjoy this year.


 922 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from 12 0z bottle ,BB 02/28/12

A-pours a slight hazed bright copper color with a light tan 2 finger head and nice clingy lacing on glass.. looks good

S- a roasted nut aroma with citrus and pine a bit of spice/hops

T- citrus hops, with a nutty and spicy taste, sweet caramel with baked bread malts, some nutmeg/cinnamon

M- a tad thin in the mouth for a WW, a little bitter with a washed out dry finish,

O- a session-able WW very easy to drink but lacked the punch and taste profile, more spice,hop,malt,toffee

 514 characters

Photo of lawlerj
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a semi translucent brown w/ a three finger off white head that dissipates to a thin layer of foam. Doesn't appear to be overly carbonated. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - Big piney hop aroma backed up with a toffee and caramel malt. Some fruity notes as well - specifically, I'm getting a bit of pineapple in the mix.

T - The taste primarily follows the nose - the hop profile dominates with citrus and floral hops, backed up by some very sweet maltiness. There are toffee and bready notes, mixed in with juicy flavors as well.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Fairly standard.

O - This an OK winter warmer. I was hoping for a bit more complexity, but definitely a decent brew.

 757 characters

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 518 characters

Photo of coldriver
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adams glass. Decent head and lacing, pours a cloudy deep amber. Spicey, fruity, and caramel aromas, like a fruit cake that doesn't suck. Taste of spicy hops, vanilla, bready malts. Medium carbonation with moderately dry finish. I like this, it's a subtle sessionable winter warmer with a nice malt/hop/spice balance.

 345 characters

Photo of blakelive784
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a pint glass (a winter warmer at 5.9%? I'm skeptical) :

A - Pours a deep, orange amber color with a tall 2.5 finger head. Retention is very good and the head is decently creamy.

S - Grassy lemon, caramel, grapefruit, and musky hops. Really pretty muddy, though, I hope the flavors are more defined.

T - Overbearing citrus hops open and stay throughout. There's a buried caramel and toasted malt foundation, but it's hard to find. Even with the low abv, it finishes with an ethanol aftertaste. Uninteresting and uninspired.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet. Meh.

D - It's not bad, but far from anything good, especially when there are many, many better choices in this style.

 710 characters

Photo of zdk9
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a medium brown color hued with orange. With an aggressive pour I get about a finger of head, which doesn't last a ton of time. No lacing.

S- An uncoordinated force of grapefruit, sweet orange liquor, green grass clippings, and caramel in the distance. There are some nice aromas, but also some blah aromas and the whole thing doesn't really mix well.

T- Hoppier in the taste than the smell. There's a good amount of gripping bitterness especially in the back corners of my mouth. Some sweet bread flavors, like a candied fruit bread. Hop flavor stretches from grassy and vegetal, like pea pods, to pine sawdust, with a slight mineral aspect.

M- Very bitter, especially for a beer of this alcohol.

O-Hmm...the aroma on this beer I can leave it. The taste isn't bad. Where's the winter warmer? I get some caramel and dark sweet bread stuff, but it's almost like they went with that plus the IPA type winter seasonal that other breweries had and ended up with a slight mess. I'm not a huge fan of this beer.

 1,017 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy copperish color. Three finger foamy head with good retention and lacing.

S- Slight hoppy aroma of pine and floral notes. Underlying nutty aroma with hints of brown sugar sweetness.

T- Like a mix between an American Pale Ale and a brown ale. Definite hop character of slight bitterness intermingled with sweet notes. Some caramel malty tones under the hops. Finishes with primarily hops bite. Very crisp and little aftertaste.

M- Similar to most pale ales. Very carbonated and fairly light. Somewhat silky on the way down. This is a fairly sessionable beer.

Overall, nothing special, but an interesting experience. I like the idea of the hops and sweeter malts together, could use a little more of the sweet to balance it out.

 745 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a hazy cinnamon-amber. A sturdy, fluffy off-white vanilla head sits on top, and with a hard pour, it's a beautiful frothy sea-foam head. Sticky lacing that disappears. Smells of pine, apricots, and hop citrus. The beer tastes very much like a Boulevard beer -- highly carbonated, very tangy, hop citrus, pine, and maybe a hint of spices. The is a crisp tangy apple note that dominates the taste profile. Cinnamon and rich malts are in the finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky, and very much in the same vein as most pale ales. Overall, I'm biased, I love this beer every December. And honestly, it actually is a lot better than most of the other Winter Warmers out there. I love the color, taste, and feel, and it's very consistent every year.

 787 characters

Photo of Vashtar
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

The appearance is foggy and burnt orange. Beautiful head that lingers nicely.
There is a malty berry breadcrum flavor, but it's dominated by hops until the first half has been consumed.

The mouthfeel has a dry finish, like a tennis serve.

The taste is still bitter

 266 characters

Photo of ahq514
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.

Pours a reddish amber color. A little more than a finger sized head than diminishes to a light head atop the beer. Appears to have moderate carbonation. Nice spots of lacing.

Malt dominates the aroma on this beer. Sweet caramel malt with a real light fruitiness. Some real light citrus and floral hops in the background.

Less malty than I would have guessed from the aroma. Some caramel malt, but a noticeably more hoppy presence. There is a lingering dry, floral, spicy, bitterness throughout the beer. Maybe a touch of ginger? Better as it warms.

Moderate carbonation and slightly less than medium body. Somewhat dry.

Haven't had too many winter warmers, but this one is just alrite. Would've enjoyed a touch of spices and a bigger malt presence.

 803 characters

Photo of rundocrun
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a punt glass.

A - has a finger of off-white head with decent retention. Color is somewhere between coppery and light brown. Slightly hazy. No lacing.

S - lots of malt and zesty herbal hops. Undertones of toasted bready grains and sweet berry-like esters.

T - slightly caramely and toasty barley flavor up front with lots of resinous hop flavor and bitterness through the middle. Bitterness rides through the finish but is accompanied by a sweet and slightly boozy generic malt flavor. Good, but I could do for a little more complexity.

M - light to medium body with a relatively dry finish. Good carbonation.

 645 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: pale brown hue with a rich haziness. Head pours a thick finger of soupy, frothy deep ivory foam. Very good.

Smell: piney and earthy hop aroma is pretty heady; with some malt the overall effect is dusky. Aroma is hearty and reviving, as a winter warmer's should be.

Taste: citrusy and floral hops with a tangy malt finish. Flavor is a bit dusty, like it's been wet-hopped. My impression of the flavor is that it tastes homebrew-ey to me. Aside from that, though, it is pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and concomitant creaminess. I like it.

Overall: I rather like this beer. I feel like it has some rough-around-the-edges imperfections in the flavor, but overall it is a positive drinking experience.

 796 characters

Photo of bfields4
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber body. Nice tight off-white head with good retention.

Nice hoppy aroma citrusy and piny with a nice caramel toffee malt backing. Cinnamon and coriander holiday spiciness is faint, but present.

The spices are a little more present in the taste. Good nutty toffee quality too. Rounds out with a nice splash of grapefruit to let you know the hops are still here.

Nice chewy full bodied beer. A good array of complexity to provide a full experience for this hopped up winter warmer. Kind of reminds me of a mini barley wine.

 534 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

For some reason, nutcrackers always kinda creeped me out a bit. Yeah... Anyway, this stuff pours a partly cloudy sunset amber-russet topped by a finger of dirty khaki foam. The nose comprises nutmeg, clove, brown sugar, dark wheat, light pumpernickel, and a small vein of sweet caramel. The taste holds notes of orange peel, nutmeg, clove, dark wheat, light grapefruit rind, and cardamom. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, a nice little winter warmer, nothing really special, but drinkable enough to allow for a couple 'round the fireplace.

 651 characters

Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

 705 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This hazy amber ale pours with medium carbonation and only a half-finger of lace on the glass. Nothing spectacular in the presentation.

The nose is spiced, malty, and rich. Not bad.

Upon tasting, I get more spice, and some tones of fruit and nuts, with a slightly bitter finish. Boulevard has captured some appropriate flavors for the holidays, and this ale is solid, if unremarkable.

 388 characters

Photo of gtermi
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a nice brownish red, with a nice small head.

S: I was shocked about how many hops this beer has on the nose and I also get some spice.

T: There are many different flavors with this beer. I am tasting some spices, some hops and some malt. It is a nice mixture of flavors for sure.

M: The beer is pretty smooth. It is easy to drink and hardly has any crispness. Very enjoyable.

O: This is a very solid beer. It really doesnt taste like a winter warmer to me, but doesnt take away from the fact that its a very solid good beer.

 546 characters

Photo of tito42
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to a Blvd. tulip. Best by 03/01/2012.

A: Mahogany, slightly cloudy, with a tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Malt, candy sugar, caramel, and citrus/piney hops.

T: Malt, candy sugar, toffee, caramel, and a prominent hops and sucrose finish.

M: Medium-bodied. Just a tad on the watery side to me, which I find with many Boulevard brews. Great warming effect of the alcohol without lingering or drying out the palate too much.

O: Very solid winter warmer. I've really begun to dig the Boulevard seasonals after a year and a half since diving into the world of craft beer.

 598 characters

Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 334 ratings.