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Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

339 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 339
Hads: 822
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 18.3%
Wants: 32
Gots: 104 | 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: 339 | Hads: 822
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of Zach136
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Hazy amber, thin head.

Aroma: Tropical fuicy fruit hop character.

Flavor: Well balanced caramel malts and hop bitterness with a piney hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and somewhat sticky.

Overall: Probably my favorite winter warmer... because it's loaded with hops.

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Photo of Fuzzycranium
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A winter warmer which exudes spiciness and freshness warming to the throat.

Appearance = deep amber decent head and lacing

Aroma = wonderfully bright,, clean

flavor = spicy hops, supporting malts a bit of molasses and one of my favorites..chinook hops

Overall= Love it

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Photo of IPA1978
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. beautiful, the color of liquid brown sugar with a thin cappuccino like head.

S. This beer smells great, brown sugar, dry tea, fruity, awesome.

T. I homebrew and use dark brown sugar alot, lends an earthy molasses sweetness that stands out in this brew. Light phenol, figs/raisin, warming alcohol with fruity, piney hops.

M. Typical blvd beer mouthfeel, lots of fine co2, slighty thin to medium body.

O. A go to holiday staple for me, whats awsome is there is no cinnamon and spice here all the flavors come from the malt, brown sugar and hops. Great at room temp.

Update: The 2013 release is awesome. Blvd has tweaked this beer over the years and it seems to get better every year. Originally this beer was 5.8% abv now its up to 7.8% and better than ever.

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Photo of Jekyll
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting "winter warmer" to say the least. Total contrast in styles and I wound not qualify this as a winter warmer simply cause of the hop presence. Doesn't make this a bad beer but IMHO has too much going on that contrast and not accentuate. Looks great, smells even better with the usual spices of the season shining through. Taste is unique with a winter warmer with a hop backing that totally doesn't work together the way I imagined. Very thin mouthfeel again not expected. Then again when you throw all logic out the window and don't judge by style it's a damn fine beer. Go figure. I am gonna buy another sixer and let them rest for a while to let the hops mellow than re-visit.

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Photo of MickeyD
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown half finger of head

Not much aroma slight caramel

Definitely caramel notes with a nice spice. Slight hop but very little not a hop head beer

Fairly thin and smooth

Very good beer. I will definitely buy again
I love the spicey bite that follows the smooth caramel

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Photo of rtrasr
4.84/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A perfect winter warmer. Starts rather caramel like with hints sorghum syrup, then the spiciness of the hops kick in. I wonder if this beer is the closet thing we produce that is closest to a true Burton Ale, someone needs to ask the Zythophyle. I love this beer by an open fire.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

P: A brown/ruby red effervescent body with lush tan micro bubble head.

S: Holiday spices, soapy hops, molasses and rich roasted syrupy malt. Spiced rum and dark fruits followed by a bready base.

T/M: Roasted caramel malts, sweet cherries, prunes, dates and a bitter floral and pine profile with a touch of citrus. Nutty with holiday spices that bring a warming holiday sensation to the palate. Heavy doses of malt but a nice hop bitterness to round it out. Body is medium-full and sticky with a gentle sting of carbonation. Finishes dry with lingering caramel and nuts.

O: A great holiday warmer that really packs a flavorful punch. The alcohol is present but does kill the palate. Can't wait to go back to Oklahoma were I can drink this yearly. Cheers!

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Photo of johnkale
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, 2012 vintage, poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A - hazy chestnut, two fingers of rocky beige head with good retention, leaves moderate lacing

S - caramel and toffee up front, pine resin, some mint and dried fruit (prune/raisin)

T - lots of caramel, raisin, grapefruit and pine coming through from the hops with a solid bitterness at the back end

M - medium bodied, moderate carbonation, a little coarse in the finish

O - nicely hopped for a "winter warmer," good depth from the malt, definitely a nice Christmas-themed beer

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Photo of tut2528
2.99/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 release

A: pours a nice murky brown, with a nice fingers worth of frothy beige colored head formation. moderate lacing is seen as well. just a couple of swirls in the glass re-creates a nice slick creamy looking film

S: hops right up front with a massive alcohol burn. behind the alcohol lies some subtle spices, a sweet malt and a slight touch of fruit (possibly berries), nuts, and interestingly i pick up on celery (like how celery tastes)

T: very underwhelming. hops, nuts, spices, and alcohol. just a slight touch of fruit in there, but I not enjoying this balance

M: medium bodied, leaves hops and a slight nutty character on the palate. slight alcohol presence is also felt as it warms up the gums.

O: usually I enjoy Boulevards offerings, but I could easily do without this one because I dont find this one all that well balanced, and the alcohol keeps all the other aspects of the brew at bay

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Beer pours a nice reddish brown color with a decent foamy head. The lacing doesn't last but leaves spots as you drink.

S: Caramel, citrus, cinnamon, raisin and dark fruits are my take aways from this beer.

T: Toffee, caramel, cinnamon and a bit of citrus along with some spices I just couldn't define, and in a good way.

M: Complex flavors don't disappoint, it's a party in my mouth.

D: This beer is very drinkable. Is it the best holiday beer, no, but it's worthy of buying again and considering it as one of your twelve beers of Christmas each year.

O: I've been disappointed by several Boulevard beers I've tried. I am happy that they have redeemed themselves in my eyes with this one. I'll be a buyer every year if they keep making it.

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Photo of bmwats
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Cloudy amber hue. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, white head. Settles fairly slowly leaving a blanket of foam on the surface. Sporadic, but persistent beer ring lacing

S: Light malt, tea, raisin, sourdough bread, and a little spice.

T: Sourdough bread, with some bitter pecan shell, and sweet raisin.

M: Light body, pungent throughout through the bitter and sweet combo.

D: Goes down easy, but the aftertaste puckers the palette a bit.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Interesting hue, nice foamy head, and some reasonably nice lacing. Nose is sweet and bready with a little spice. Flavor is a pungent combination of bitter nut and sweet raisin. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy copper amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Huge five finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A spicy hop driven aroma with a solid malt backbone. Lively mix of hops with hints of citrus orange, pineapple, mango, and grapefruit. A good amount of earthy and spicy pine resin. Not to be outdone, the bready malts add a nice balancing sweetness with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, and soft cracker. Also a little brown sugar in the mix. A really nice and unique aroma for the style.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a solid mix of spicy and citrus hops along with a sweet bready malt presence. Upfront is a taste of earthy, spicy piney hops and some citrus orange, mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. Hops are lively but not overly bitter. Some brown sugar is tasted. Solid toasty malt presence with a taste of sweet caramel, toffee, crackers, and biscuit. Its a really nicely balanced beer with some nice hop and malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and fairly slick. Very smooth.

Overall: A really good and interesting take on a Winter Warmer. Good hop spice and fruit esters with a solid malt balance.

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Photo of Living816
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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

Bronze and deep, ruby, nut color. Decent bubbling. The head and retention of this off-white colored foam is pretty good. The film of foam lasts for all twelve ounces.

Smells spicey, but not nutmeg and cinnamon and XMAS spicey. That has to be the hops. Spicey with some citrus notes thanks to the hops. That blends with a great biscuit and bread malt bill. Well toasted of course.

Spicey, toasted bread crust with notes of herbal and toasted citrus peel spicing. This is a hoppy, XMAS ale. All the XMAS spicing comes from the hops. Thats awesome. A hop forward Winter Warmer worth a try for any beer enthusiast.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut colored body beneath the frothy light tan head which slowly dissolves yet maintains a constant presence atop the beer with a sticky ring of lacing.

Sweet caramel, nutty, and biscuit malt accompany the Cristmas spices and yeast.

The flavor is a bit nuttier than the aroma, again biscuity and sweet with hints of spices.

The mouthfeel is medium in body with generous carbonation.

A tasty winter warmer with just the right amount of spices which do not dominate the palate.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Translucent ruby, some carbonation, one finger head that tries to leave behind some lacing

S-Spices, nuts, some roasted malt, vanilla, sugar.

T-Spices, nuts, some malt that balances nicely with the spices, not much bitterness. Pine and brown sugar.

M-Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation, smooth.

O-A nice spice forward Christmas brew.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's that time of year for winter ales again! Finally giving this one a shot.

A - Pours a copper-mahogany hue, with a nice two-finger tan head. Lacing is pretty minimal after the head is gone though.

S - Smell is of molasses, candied fruits (orange is most prevalent), caramel, and various spices.

T - Mmm..taste is of rich, bready caramel malts, with candied plums, oranges, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with a hint of nuttiness. Finishes with just a hint of hoppiness. This is one complex, and very tasty winter brew!

M - Full bodied, with just the right, modest amount of carbonation. Pretty easy to drink, and satisfying at the same time.

O - This one was a pleasant surprise for sure. Very good winter ale for a very cheap price! I'm going to have to hunt some more of this down, and very soon!

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Photo of homebrew311
3.77/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber pour, with small head. Light aroma of roasted malt. Taste is typical of the style,
But nothing exceptional. We have noticed variations from year-to- year for Nutcracker Ale. As a winter warmer, it's mid of the pack.

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Photo of JMad
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish gold color with a foamy off white head. Surprisingly I could smell fresh peaches, lots of caramel and some citrus. The taste is very piney with followed by a candy like sweetness and lots fresh hop flavor. The beer is medium bodied and the carbonation makes it feel soft and silky with a nice dry finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this winter warmer and plan on buying some more.

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Photo of BikingDutchman
4.16/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark reddish copper color with a thick fluffy off white head. Lacing is pretty and the head retention is really good.

S - Smells balanced between caramel notes and fruity hop scents. Some brown sugar smells come through too.

T - Very balanced between the Chinook hops and the sweet malt flavors. The malt tastes like brown sugar, kind of like a Christmas cookie. Sweet, but definitely not cloying. The sweet taste covers up any alcohol flavors.

M - Medium bodied with an almost slick feel.

O - One of my favorite winter seasonals that I buy every year. I absolutely love the fresh hopped Chinook flavor and aroma. It fits perfectly with the sweet malt flavors.

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Photo of billab914
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into my Devil's Backbone glass. It poured caramel brown in color with a frothy, bubbly head covering the top. Good head retention.

The aroma has a good amount of malty, caramel flavors to it with some notes of brown sugar as well. I get some herbal spices to it as well, which compliment the maltiness pretty well.

The taste shows a little more of a herbal hoppiness to it with a touch of pine and citrus. The malty, caramel and brown sugar flavors come out as well, especially in the finish. It comes together pretty well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being a little above average. Overall it was a pretty good beer. Pretty flavorful and easy drinking. There wasn't really anything really outstanding about it but it was a pretty solid version of the style.

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Photo of TheCondor
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this brew when I had it around Christmas time. Lo and behold, I’m in this ghetto little liquor store I’ve never been in the other day, and I ask the guy for some Boulevard. He points me in the right direction and says “I gotta get rid of this Nutcracker Ale s*it, or it’ll go bad. I’ll give you half price.” Ok. Did you really have to twist my arm? Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Appearance – Pours an awesome looking dark amber/toffee color with a nice three finger head and excellent lacing for the entirety of the glass. It’s everything I remembered this beer to be.

Smell – The nose on this brew is interesting. At first whiff it kinda smells like a pale ale, but after a few sniffs there is certainly a malty presence and even a subdued spice in the smell. Got a nice pine, citrus hoppiness.

Taste – Malts and spices up front, on target with the winter warmer style. What I really like about it is the citrusy and pine hops at the finish to balance it out. A good combination, not like many other winter warmers I have had. I really enjoy this brew, kinda wish they did it year-round.

Mouthfeel – Light bodied with some decent carbonation to it. Not too bad at all. Finishes with some bitterness that will stay with you a minute.

Overall – Like I said, I really like this beer, and wish they would do it year round and just call it something else. It’s got a decent ABV, tastes good, just presents a taste and style combination that you don’t see every day, which I think is what makes it so fun. I could easily drink a copious amount of this brew while I read a book by the fire in between runs for logs. Awesome.

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Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 339 ratings.