Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

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774 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 774
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 25
Gots: 69 | 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)
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Ratings: 774 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigHeavy
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe. Beer was consumed immediately after pouring and was enjoyed over about 45 minutes before bed.

A: Beer pours a hazy burnt red color. An average pour produces a two finger head, tan in color, that lingers for a couple of minutes then settles to a very pretty looking one finger cap. Each sip leaves a little lacing behind. A handsome beer.

S: To me, the aroma is incredibly complex. I spent about ten minutes just sniffing the damn thing (which I enjoyed a ton), trying to put my finger on all the scents. Picked up on heavy caramel/toffee like sweetness, some citrus hops, some cinnamon and other various spices, as well as some prune/raisin like dark fruits. As the beer warmed, the smells opened up even more.

T: Toffee/caramel notes bombard the taste buds at first, but there is more going on here. All of those lovely scent make and appearance here. The hop presence is citrusy AND a little spicy. There is some hop bitterness as well balancing out the whole package. The spice notes and dark fruits are more in a background role. Delicious and interesting beer.

M: My only real "problem" with this beer is the mouthful. Yes, its a little creamy, but I found it to be a little thin for such a complex beer. I would have liked a little more substance. Carbonation levels were good, however.

D: Beer is very drinkable, could quaff a few of these before bed, if I had them. Alas, I had only the one. Alcohol content is manageable.

O: My absolute favorite seasonal from Boulevard. Always a staple in the fridge come the wintertime, and a great deal to boot at $6.99 a six pack. Improve the mouth feel a bit and we have a contender for favorite seasonal, right up there with Celebration Ale. Still, an incredibly complex and satisfying beer for the ass cold winter months of the Midwest.

Photo of 908carson
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased this bottle in a mix-pack. For a winter warmer, I guess i would expect a little more than 5.9%, but i'm willing to give it a shot.

Appearance: Cloudy, Grade A "Dark Amber" maple syrup. Poured a huge, off-white, billowy head that extended well beyond the rim of the glass, then receded to something resembling a bubble bath.

Smell: Popped right when I opened the bottle... Got a whiff of sweet spice. In the glass, I get a decent balance between spiced caramel malt and fresh Christmas tree. Smells great!

Taste: Piney, to say the least. Bitter. Not very well supported on the malt back-end. Slightly spicy with a cloying resinous flavor.

Mouthfeel: Has a very "drying" effect in the mouth... Slightly more carbonated than I would like to see. Lower abv prevents the slickness that I would actually expect from a winter warmer.

Drinkability: I don't detect anything warming about this ale. As I said, I just don't think 5.9% is sufficient for the style... Most commercially (read grocery store) available Winter Warmers tend to lack in this area... and that's where I found this brew. It's tasty enough, but it's actually a little bit more drinkable than it should be! I usually don't finder winter warmers to be all that comfortable to drink, but I could have 2 or 3 of these in a night before I'd be completely tired of it.

Photo of alleykatking
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a coppery brown color. One and a half finger white head shows good retention. 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 I thought. Simple and to the point for the most part.

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. Light green apple hints toward the end with more of a herbal hop finish.

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.

D- This beer was good but nothing special. Easy drinker with some lower ABV. While this beer was good it was also easy to forget. Overall glad I tried it and will do it again.

Photo of tmcelvain
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Beautiful copper color - so hazy that I can't see through it. Nice foamy head.
S: Full bodies malt smell.
T: Fairly sweet; faint citrusy hops mixed with some caramelly malts and a dried candy aftertaste.
M: pleasantly thick with a refreshing medium carbonation.
D: Very drinkable for any season in my opinion. Lots of body in this WW, without being overly spiced like some holiday ales.
Overall a bit sweet perhaps, but full-bodies enough to keep from a cloyingly sweet flavor.

Photo of kojevergas
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into dinner glass (I know...) in Denver, CO at high altitude.

A: Three finger head of mild cream and thickness. Inviting. Hazy maple-brown colour.

Sm: Nutty, estery. A hint of cream. Hops.

T: Very nutty on the smooth open, which resolves to a heavy grapefruit lacing. Unexpected, but built well for this style (which is quickly becoming a favourite). Balanced but complex. Extremely estery. Holy hops, batman!

Mf: Wet with a dry finish. Adequate coarseness as needed.

Dr: I'd certainly have it again at this price. I'm liking winter warmers more and more. This is no exception.

Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a regular dinner glass at high altitude (around 6,000 feet).

A - Almost opaque amber with a nice white three-finger head.

S - Good fruity bouquet.

T - I found this beer pretty complex with a citric taste -- I got grapefruit.

M - Wet with a dry finish -- very nice.

D - Great price and doesn't taste too alcoholic. I'd be happy drinking this one all night.

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.

Photo of illidurit
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at December Santa Cruz tasting. Pouts an orangey brown color with a wispy tan head. Aromas of apples and oranges go along with molasses maltiness. Flavor is sweetish cakey brown malts with some piney bitterness that comes through in the back of the palate. Light-bodied but pretty flavorful.

Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Boulevard's Winter warmer, Nutcracker Ale, pours a garnet brown color, apparently the standard color for such beers. The aroma is subtle. Caramel and fruit are the main components of the round nose. The palate is medium bodied with carbonation. The flavors of nuttiness and malt sweetness is moderate but nice. It finishes with some bitter hops at the end which provides balance and rounds out the flavor experience. Fro a winter warmer this beer has noticeable drinkability.

Photo of bogeypro64
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12 oz bottle into pint glass

Creamy eggshell color head settled quickly into a dense film akin to the froth on a cappuccino. Nice amber brown color. Very cloudy from bottle conditioning. Foam clings to glass well all the way down to the last sip.

Smell is of mulling spice and hops- has a very nice "Christmas-ey" aroma (that pine and spice character) Not much sweetness in the initial scent.

Slight bready malt that struggles to break through the hops and spice. Spice flavors are present but not overly pronounced and it is difficult to distinguish exactly what they are. Taste is vaguely akin to mulled cider spice. The finish is hops with a citrus peel and fruit component.

As with a lot of Boulevard ales, I find this one slightly overcarbonated. It tingles on the tongue and I would much prefer a finer and creamier texture for this type of flavor profile and style.

This is not a beer to drink casually. While I would likely drink a second, I would be a while getting to it as it helps to savor this one slowly allowing flavors to develop as the ale warms. Overall, this is a very good beer that does evoke a holiday cheer.

Photo of RickS95
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich hazy brown, with a thin tan head. Looks like real maple syrup.

There's not a lot of smell, though my glass didn't help much as I used a flute. I could tell it was 'spicy' but wasn't able to detect which spices.

It's full of spices, but I picked up some apricot as well which gave it an unexpected sweetness.

You'd expect some harshness or bitterness from all the spices, but the sweet fruits balance the bitterness making this pleasant on the palate.

I'd enjoy drinking a lot of this. It goes down smooth and is void of any bitterness. Decent alcohol will keep you warm during the holidays.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

Pours a moderate brown color with a bit of light cloudiness. Big light tan with great retention. A good amount of lacing throughout. The nose is a bit plain with a bit of caramel and toffee plus some very light spicing.

The taste is a bit sweet with some brown ale characteristics. The spicing is there a bit and there is some mild earthiness to this. The spicing doesn't come through too much until the back end and especially in the finish. Medium body with good carbonation. A bit drinkable, but the finish is slightly off-puting in juxtaposition to the flavor and I don't quite need all that much of this.

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.

Photo of Duxx
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Very dark amber but light easily penetrates the glass. Minimal tan head

S: Spicy from hops but no evidence of actual spices. Slight malt or toffee note

T: Surprisingly hoppy...I think this beer is more hoppy than than Boulevard's pale ale. A real strong smack of Pacific northwest hops. Cascade or Chinook. I think. Very bitter in the back of the throat.

M: Medium body with comfortable but not excessive carbonation.

D: Good if I was expecting a hoppy beer but I was expecting more malty taste that would be higher in alcohol like a "typical" winter warmer. I think this one comes across more like a pale ale or even an IPA. Surprise!

Photo of ScorpyX
2.3/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle pour into a tall glass

A: Dark amber color, too hazy to see through. Darker where the foam is. Finger-width head dissipates to leave behind some lacing.

S: Smell is malty with some fruitiness to it. Has a bit of an apple scent to it.

T: I seem to detect the piney and fruity tastes above all. Some hops add bitterness, but nothing overwhelming. The tart lingers.

M: Good amount of carbonation, but not so much that it dominates. Medium-bodied, but a thickness does linger to an extent.

D: While not overly heavy, the combination of the feel and the taste go together for a beer that would give me trouble drinking multiple. Not a bad beer, but I have had a number of winter ales that, in my opinion, are superior, particularly for the season. Good try, but not one I'll actively seek out.

Photo of plfahey
3.08/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep amber in color, with brilliant ruby highlights when held to the light. Very clear. Nice, thick, off-white head with a fine bead and good retention. Some evidence of lacing. Gorgeous.

Aroma-Up front I get an aroma of fresh cut apples that is a little bit acetaldehyde-like, mixed with some light perfumy alcohols. With the spices I detect along side it (cinnamon, light clove), it gives the perception of mulled cider. Behind the apple is some roasted malt, with some light citrus/pine hops to back it up.

Flavor-Just a suggestions of the tart apple flavor around the edges, there's more roast and hop flavor in the flavor. The malt comes across as roasty and bready, and the hops seem piney and citrusy. Hop bitterness is moderate, and leaves the aftertaste quite dry. Not bad, but the tart apple flavor fights with everything else in the beer.

Mouthfeel-Medium body, enhanced by the moderately high carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth. Relatively smooth, though a bit high on the carbonation.

I was not overly impressed with this one. Absent the apple flavor, this probably could have been a pretty good beer-however that flavor really fought with the other components of the beer, making for a less than pleasant experience.

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.

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This isn't too bad of a brew; however, it doesn't stand out in the plethora of winter warmers available now.

It has a light red core with copper at the edges. The carbonation produces a creamy tan head that settles to a 1/4 finger and hangs around a while. The aroma is malty with some oats and spice. The flavor is a tad earthy with nutmeg, perhaps some clove. It has a decent body and has a tart aftertaste. It's a decent way to get through the long winter months.

Photo of DelMontiac
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy red with a nice 3 finger tan head that never completely dissovles. Lacing is pronounced with each sip.

S: Maltiness up front and some spice lingers. Hard to say what the spice is, cinnamon perhaps. Not a strong nose at all.

T: The toungue picks up the cinnamon quickly. Maybe brown sugar to boot. Slighly nutty/malty. Hoppy finish. When cold, there is a discernable metallic taste. Once it warms up, the metallic element is gone.

M: Nothing to write home about. No complaints.

D: A moderately sessionable brew. Could sit for few with friends.

Overall: I'm not ready to go out and buy a case, but this is not a bad beer at all. Make sure you leave it to warm a bit before diving in to avoid that metallic taste.

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

Appearance wise, this brew pours with a two finger thick head of khaki color, with a hazy caramel colored body.

In the aroma there is a piny hint, along with caramel and vanilla.

The taste has a ginger flavor along with cola and metallic hops flavors.

The brew has an oily and chewy feel.

Photo of midwestbrewers
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Came in a bottle with the Boulevard pack.
Best by 2/15/11

A: Beautiful color. The hue is slightly reddish(almost copper like) with the cloudy, unfiltered look of a Boulevard. Amazing finger 1/2 head that has a very creamy look, it does dissipates after a bit to a nice thin head(still creamy looking) with decent lacing.

S: I don't get a real strong smell. Some roasted smell which is to be expected but nothing to in-your-face. Slightly fruity at the beginning.

T: The taste is kind of surprising and different for me. This is the first time I've had the Nutcracker Ale and am pleasantly surprised. It has a a decent amount of carbonation. Malty yet citric all the way through with a slightly bitter finish. Amazing hoppy finish.

Overall this beer is a surprise to me but in a very good way. It has a very balanced taste and is very drinkable. A wee high on ABV at almost 6% but still great for winter days. Great Beer Boulevard Brewing Co!

Photo of jsh420
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

best by 02/15/11

pours cloudy ruby amber with a 1+ finger head that left spotted lacing

smell - sweet candy dark fruit with some light fruits too - apple peach apricot

taste - what the hell has blvd been doing besides brew some amazing overlooked beers in twist off 6packs - again i bought a 6pack of this beer and instead of reviewing the first i am reviewing the last - 1-6 this beer was the same amazing beer - very fruity next to plenty sugary malts - this winter brew will have me dreaming of sugar plums dancing on my taste buds

mouhtfeel is light/medium with lots of carbonation that some how works

drinkability - yes i want more and yes i will get some - i plan on going back to the store and buying then out (around 2+ cases)

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.

Photo of zhanson88
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nutcracker Ale pours a clear deep burnt orange color with a finger and a half of off-white head. Decent retention and lacing. This beer has a lot of lively carbonation in it. It looks very appealing.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts, a bit of cherry/tart fruit, spices, piney and floral hops. Nothing real overwhelming or crazy, but a very balanced smell.

Taste: Lots of caramel malts up front, followed by spices, a bit of fruitiness and plenty of piney and floral hops. This is a very balanced beer all the way through with solid flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. With the flavors included, it makes for a beer that is drinkable but not something that could be drunk all night long. Still, a good seasonal from Boulevard.

Photo of DCon
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought Beer from Lukas Liquor in a Mix-A-Six. (2nd Beer of Night)
BEST BY 02/15/11 (labeled on front of bottle)

Appearance:Has an orange body and cloudy

Smell: you can smell all hops, very nice

Taste: Dry-Hopped, almost like a Pale Ale

Mouthfeel: After sitting on my pallet for a while, has weight and an unique feel

Drinkability: Is a classic ale to have with a meal and would suggest it to anyone wanting to venture out to a new Winter Warmer.

Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 774 ratings.