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Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

792 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 792
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 11.83%
Wants: 24
Gots: 81 | 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
View: Beers (53) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 792 | Reviews: 338 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MarzenMan
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber color with a smallish offwhite head. Not much if any lacing. Smells piney with a very faint grape cough syrup like smell that can only be from the malt.

This one is pretty sweet up front but not bready or biscuity IMO, a little one note. Then it transitions to the hops that balance pretty well but may be a little overdone. A pretty stong piney hop finish. A slight malty taste lingers on the tongue.

Winter Warmer seems to pick up a lot of variations. This one is good but I'd rather see the malt featured and maybe more alcohol. This has a lot of hops for this style.

Photo of KeefD
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with orange highlights, slightly hazy, and a nice off white head. Lacing is good. Slightly piney aroma and some sweet malts. A citrus fruit flavor in here, plenty of orange and grapefruit, nice use of hops, piney, some spiciness, and some sweet caramel flavors. Very nicely balanced between the sweet and bitter. Creamy mouthfeel with average carbonation. A very nice beer and probably one of my favorite non-Smokestack Boulevard beers.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a clear dark amber color with a thin beige head. The bottle says unfiltered but obviously it isn't.

Aroma of sweet malts, cinnamon, a hint of cloves and raisins.

Tastes of sweet malts, raisins, cinnamon, caramel, and candy sugar

Medium bodied, smooth and dry, and moderately carbonated.

Sweeter and milder than expected. Quite drinkable and worth trying for sure.

Photo of mjryan
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber almost brown colour. Big white head with ok retention and ok lace. Smell is very fruity and bready. Flavour starts hop foward with a bit of citrus and then gets some malt sweetness in the middle. Finishes with a little yeasty fruitiness and a nice bitterness. Body is quite full, with a lower carbonation level. A nice beer. It comes across to me a bit like a hopped up Bobs 47.

Photo of morimech
3.14/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color with a large white head that slowly settles to a thick cap. Plenty of sticky lacing is left on the glass surface.

Something about the aroma that turns me off. It smells like grape juice. Some pine aroma comes from the hops. Also a little spice is detected.

The malt gives a light caramel flavor but the hops are much more dominant. A little citrus and resiny charactor comes from the hops. The spice does not really combine very well with the hops. Something just seems a little off in the aroma and taste in this beer. Needed more malt charactor as well.

Medium body but just a bit overcarbonated.

Not a favorite of mine. I tried this on two different days to see if my tastebuds were off. Tasted the same. I just did not like the hop and spice combination.

Photo of Fatduck
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I remember this as one of my favorites from 2007, maybe my tastes have changed, maybe its not cold enough yet. Whatever it is, I don't like it as much this year. That being said its still a very good beer and I am happy to have my 6pack, and at 6.99 I'll be getting more.

Pours out a deep russet amber color, no head, a few oily bubbles at first but just a slick surface after that. Smells strongly of spice and sweet malts, tastes the same, but more complexity comes out as it warms. A little over carbonated for my tastes, overall a highly drinkable beer, I will finish off this 5 pack today, gotta love Saturdays.

Photo of SpecialK088
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a willy

A-Nice dark amber good big long lasting head.

S-hops, sweet spices also some piney notes.

T-Nice complex flavor good hop bite with a spicy sweet middle and finish a nice clean finish to.

M-Very good carbonation level medium body feels good in your mouth and going down.

D-Every winter from this point on and i may backstock some!

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is dark copper with excellent carbonation. The head is tall, fluffy, tan and leaves nice lace.

The smell is nice deep raosty malt, nice hops and a light spice.

The taste follows, I usually don't like the spice, but this is mild and not too bad, nice thick malt and good hops for balance makes a good brew.

The mouthfeel is good nice medium body and good carbonation.

The drinkability is better then most for the style. Prosit, MK

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

Dark, cloudy brown with a decent tan head, nice duration with some lacing. The aromas are nice but subtle, roasted chocolate and some coffee. Fine, toffee-like taste that, with the chocolate malt, make this a fairly full-bodied warmer, with a slight hint of mint. Creamy with a touch of bitterness, this is rather good, a fine warmer and solid offering from Boulevard.

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
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
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
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
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
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
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
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
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
4.62/5  rDev +24.2%
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
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
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
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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
3.88/5  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 russpowell
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
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
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
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
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
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
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
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)

Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 792 ratings.