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Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

783 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 783
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 24
Gots: 74 | 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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 783 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JDV
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of artisanbrew. Thanks!
Pours a rich cloudy muddy brown color with a beige lasting head. Sweet caramel and chocolatey toffee malt with a big hit of piney hops. Medium to light bodied with slightly too much carbonation that made it fizzy and foamy in the mouth. Hoppy and piney fresh taste along with rich, toasty malt. Good overall.

Photo of mhewes
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A : Pours a nice dark golden color with a good head

S : Mainly spice with a little hop smell

T : A real nice spice flavor for it. Had a little nuttiness to it also. Good hop bitterness on the finish

M : Creamy with good carbonation

D : Easy Christmas beer to drink

Photo of stephens101
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally finishing off some of the last of my winter brews. This highly carbonated reddish-brown brew is topped off by a fully realized two-finger tan head that peeps over the rim threatening to overflow and finally settling in it's own good time. Sweet malts hit the nose and are checked quickly by the hop and spice aromas. Tastes a bit of spice and pine up front with an earthy tone toward the end. Hops are a bit understated compared to a malt essence that creeps around the edges of the palate. A slight hint of yeast peeks through. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and it goes down smooth. Not as spicy as some winter warmers I've had lately, but damn good drinking nonetheless. Would actually be a good year-round' beer to be enjoyed almost anytime.

Photo of naterock
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this Winter brew, it is definitely one of my favorites.
A: poures a copper color with a thick bubbly head with nice lacing.
S: Smells of cinnamon and spicy hops.
T: I knew that chinooks were the premiere hop choice for this brew the second I tried it. great choice for a winter warmer. tastes of christmas spice but not too strong(a mistake made by most breweries). incredibly tasty
M: feels nice, medium carbonation Important; let the head foam up the first few pours, this is important to release the carbonation so the flavor is released.
D: incredibly drinkable, esspecially in the cold weather. should be served around 45 to 55 degrees

Photo of Sidedrummer
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A russet colored beer, almost copper and slightly opaque. Really nice thick rocky three-finger head.

Smells of hops and citrus, mostly grapfruit with a smidgen of grass.

The taste was much like the nose, only nuttier and with more hops. The finish had a hop bite to it, with plenty of grapefruit flavor.

Mouthfeel was nice, good carbonation.

Overall, a nice beer but not one I would go much out of my way to try again.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a murky, muddy brown color. It looks like marsh water. The head is two inches in height, fluffy, and light tan in color. It recedes slowly into thick lacing. The aroma is of caramel nuts, and citrus hops. It smells like a cross between a nutty brown ale, and a centennial IPA. The taste is a little maltier than the aroma, but the hops show themselves in a lasting bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. The carbonation seems to get it the way of the flavor. Overall, this is a good beer. I will certainly drink this again.

Photo of jmbranum
4.6/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The numerical scores above are from the most recent tasting.

Review of 12-13-2012:

Poured from a bottle in a pint glass. Nice super-smooth/creamy head that leaves lots of lace on the glass.

Excellent hop-laden aroma. Flavor is complex and spicier than I remembered it being. Lots of herbal hops, some raisins, brown sugar, malty grain. Very hoppy but more of a floral tone than a bitter tone. Starts dry but moves towards a little bit of sweetness and finishes again on the dry side of things.

Medium to full mouthfeel. Slightly creamy.

Overall, this beer is a new favorite Christmas beer.

Preview review: 2-25-2008
AP 4.5, AR 5.0, F 4.5, MF 4.0, OA 4.5
a great christmas beer.

poured from a bottle into mason jar.

very fresh tasting with glorious hop aroma. good balance with rich malty wheat breadnotes. just a bit of spices, but I would prefer a bit more spices.

2007 edition. this is much better than I remembered.

Photo of joe1510
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Stubby
2007 Bottling

Was lucky enough to get this as an extra in a recent trade with Vancer, thanks Vance. Nutcracker poured chestnut brown and I was getting a little anxious and poured in a little more yeast than I planned on which is causing a slight haziness. A healthy creamy two finger off white head formed on the pour and stayed put. It just wouldn't disappear and leaves chunky lacing as I drink.

It's a little difficult pulling the aromas from this beer with such a dense head but there is certainly a nice hop bouquet. There are big notes of candied orange peel with a complimenting floral nose bringing up the rear. Underneath the hoppy goodness lies a thick layer of molten caramel.

The flavor, while good, falls short of the nose. The flavor is in line with the aroma but seems to be missing the vibrancy that the nose suggested. Toasted breadiness gets things going but is quickly overtaken by the mouth coating caramel. Mid-palate the sugared hoppiness comes along to balance out the caramel. There's a strong showing from both the hops and malts. This is a very well balanced beer.

There's a moderate carbonation present that keeps the body smooth and creamy on its way through. Medium bodied with a touch of alcohol heat and dryness on the swallow.

A well balanced and enjoyable beer that's more than easy to drink. The balance helps keep the glass tilted.

This is a nice surprise in the winter warmer category. I was expecting something more along the lines of a spiced winter warmer. I'm pretty happy to find this no such thing. It's refreshing to find a hoppy, candied, caramel dripping winter warmer. Thanks again Vance!

Photo of KI9A
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of SMark
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
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 russpowell
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BBD 02/01/08

Pours an orange-hued amber (looks more brown closer to the head) with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Faint bready notes & slight fruittyness

T: Bready with herbal hop notes up front. Hop profile holds up as this warms with leafy & herbal hops, plus a kiss of pine offset by a little cakey/gingerbread sweetness & tangerine slices. I also catch some boozey warmth. Finishes with leafy hops, a bit of grapefruit & some caramel. More complex than I remember

MF: Chewy enough, with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy for the abv, let this warm up a bit. Great to session on

Photo of kcillini77
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass. Steady pour fills the glass and leaves about an inch and a half of foam which slowly dissipates.

Smell is sweet like toffee with faint hops.

Taste up front is sweet toffee and caramel, but relatively weak. As the beer moves over the tongue, the hops come through and the taste is much fuller. Aftertaste reveals more of the hops combined with a malty, cinnamon sweetness.

Alcohol is present but well masked.

One of Boulevard's better seasonals, in my opinion. My tastes lean toward the more hoppy Sierra Nevada Celebration, but I usually pick up at least a sixer of the Nutcracker each year.

Note: They also make an even better dry hopped version of this available only at the brewery on tours or at special tastings.

Photo of KodyBrannon
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beer out of a sampler pack. Overall this beer was more hoppy than most winter warmers I have had. But it poured an amber color and was very enjoyable. I just found these beers available in this area, so I hope to get more in the near future.

Photo of emerge077
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the Brewhaus, Springfield IL.

It pours a deep reddish amber, speckled lacing, with carbonation visible through the haze. Slightly sweet aroma of apricot, some light malty cookie.

Light and dry hop on the back end, a pleasant ale yeast character, and mild hop spiciness to round it out. Doesn't seem like additional spices were used. It's medium bodied with a strong yeast presence. A couple of these would be easy, but not really a session ale to me.

2012: This always seems to be on draft at Northwoods Lodge in Springfield, usually hits the spot and is relatively fresh.

Photo of kguyty
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a medium head that forms into an orange color. The beer is fairly hazy and is orangish red in color. The aroma is of fruit, hops, and spice. Tastes good, nice and hoppy with a good balance of yeast. I would like a little more spice, but not sure what that would do to the quality of the flavor.

A good beer for winter drinking.

Photo of TexIndy
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a best by date into a pint glass. It was a deep ruby color. It had a 2 finger head that settled into a broken film. No carb and light lacing. The aroma was sweet malt, fruity with a touch of spice. The taste was pretty good. It was malty with a nice spice undertone that kept it interesting. I find most Winter Warmers to be dominated by alcohol but it's really not present in this one which makes it enjoyable. Overall, it's a good WW and I could see me having another if I could "borrow" from a friend or get as part or a sampler again. Mild recommend. (Rare buy or steal)

Photo of BeerTruth
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bort11 for this one via the BASS '07. Hell, it's the night after Chirstmas and I'm still in the mood so I decided to give this one a try.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark amber with a two finger dark white head that dies down to a thin layer of bubbels. Definitely leaves its mark with a very nice webbing left behind. Smell is very balanced between a light caramel malt with a fresh citrus zest, almost ESB like. Some floral aromas emerge as well in the nose. Taste is light toffee, sweet hazelnut, and spicey nut. Subtle cinnamon flavors throughout that lead to a similar aftertaste. Medium body with a full carbonation. Very good fit in the holiday seasonal beer category, glad I had the opportunity. Thanks Tim!

Photo of littleshamrocks
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with 2007 printed on the top of the label. Served in a Samuel Adams specialty pint glass.

Pours a dark caramel/deep copper color with light reddish undertones when held up to light. With a moderate clarity, huge creamy/frothy tan head, and champagne-like carbonation, this beer looks alive and actively inviting. Head holds well and leaves a streaky lace. The smell is nice with a mix of toasted caramel/biscuity malts, hints of molasses, and floral esters. The flavor is also well balanced between the rich caramel maltiness and the floral/grassy hops. Also pick up something that reminds me of graham crackers. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a creamy texture and, somewhat to my surprise based on the bubbles rising up in this one, not an overpowering carbonation. It all works really well together. Finishes with a lingering sweetness.

This is a well crafted brew. It has a nice balance of ingredients, with the malts taking the lead, thus making it very well fitted into the style. Another very solid offering from, in my opinion, an underrated brewery. Would certainly welcome another.

Photo of beerphilosopher
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish-brown color with a massive tan head with terrific retention. Sheets of lacing line the wide mouth glass - a beautiful beer. The nose is slightly candy sweet with hints of floral and herbal hops at the fore. The spicy notes really bring the Holidays to mind. This probably how a winter warmer is supposed to smell. The palate is wonderfully complex - a barrage of hops upfront, but quickly balanced out by a nice subtle sweet malt character that lends a great warm caramel and nut aspect to the beer. This beer is masterfully balanced - not a hop bomb or sweet to the point of cloying. The flavors play off of each other in a very nice way, leaving a complex yet accessible flavor profile. The mouth feel is very smooth, especially as the beer warms to near ambient temperature (probably the best serving temperature for this beer). A full-flavored and bodied beer, but not overly thick. I'd say this one is medium in mouth feel and really quite luxurious. The finish is dry with lingering herbal hops on the tongue. Probably one of the more 'drinkable' winter warmers I've sampled this season, and without a doubt one of the best as well. Very complex, yet not overbearing, flavors and an extremely well-crafted mouth feel - I have no reservations in recommending this beer to both the lover of the style and the drinker who is imbibing in a winter warmer for the very first time - substantial yet accessible. Very, very nice. Congratulations Boulevard - this may be your best so far, in my book.

Photo of allengarvin
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a 12-oz mug, this is a very cloudy reddish-amber beer with a very small head. Nice aroma though, fruity with a soft, sweet maltiness and resinous hop notes. There's a hint of spiciness as well. Taste is not quite as interesting. Caramel malt vies with moderate bitterness. Fruity yeast character remains, but largely I don't find the flavor very interesting. Body is a tad watery.

Photo of timbro81
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Best by 02/01/08"

a: A deep, hazy mahogany with light tan head that is quickly reduced to a thin ring around the edge.

s: Sweet malt and spicey/fruity hops.

t: Caramel, toffee, nutty malt is balanced well with chinook hops that produce notes of grapefruit, herbs, and spice.

m: Medium body and carbonation.

d: A hoppy winter warmer with nice caramel malt for balance, this is a great winter seasonal. I always look forward to this, its a good winter warmer that is great for the price. I could easily drink several of these. Another good one from Bully.

Photo of wardough
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this beer COLD a few days ago and didn't like it. Bad idea to drink cold.
ROOM TEMP-Here's my review, drunk at 62F, just room temp in my cold ass house.

A: Poured into a beautiful pint glass. Course bubble pop to the surface and make 1.5 inches of head. It dissipates in 30 seconds to show coarse white top.
S: I get sweet pineapple with a hint of hops.
T: Malts, then spicy, followed at the end by alcohol.
M: Good. Very light Winter warmer.
D: Could drink 2-3 of these very easy on a cold winter's night.

Overall, enjoyable winter warmer. Best served at room temp.

Photo of twbrewer
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-poured into a pint glass a copper/brown hazy color with a 1-2" tan colored head that leaves a nice ring around the outside of the glass.

S-It smells of sweet malt and alcohol with a hint of spicy hops

T-Similar to the smell but has a bitter hop finish.Not as sweet as it smells.Has a nutty,tangy taste.

M-Medium bodied brew with good carbonation and nice sharp finish.

D-I tried it chilled and at room temp.Chilled it seems to be sweet,room temp seems to be the way to go for this beer.Good winter warmer,I hope to try more from Boulevard when I'm in K.C. over the holidays.

Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle has a best-by date of 2/1/2008. Color is a bright, crystal clear ruby. With a small nut colored head with scattered lacing.

Aroma is is a balanced mix of sweet caramel malts, some dark fruits (prune?) and a citric hop blast.

The near perfect balance of malts and hops continues from the nose to the tongue. Flavor starts off with toasted whole wheat bread and a nice dollop of caramel. This is balanced out by some bitter grapefruit notes (box says fresh Chinook), lighter citric notes, and a touch of spice – all 31 IBUs are well represented here. The wheat malt adds a hint of tartness to the slightly bitter and alcoholic finish. This is a well balanced beer with a firm body and just enough carbonation.

While the hop-head in me would love to see them bottle some of the dry-hopped Nutcracker that they had at the KC Beer Fest. The regular Nutcracker is a very well-planned and well-made beer. One of my favorite winter warmers and the only one I know of with fresh hops in it.

Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 783 ratings.