Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

334 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 334
Hads: 805
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 6.05%
Wants: 26
Gots: 91 | 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
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Reviews: 334 | Hads: 805
Photo of IPA1978
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (765 characters)

Photo of Jekyll
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (694 characters)

Photo of MickeyD
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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 (278 characters)

Photo of rtrasr
4.84/5  rDev +27.4%
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. (279 characters)

Photo of Hopswagger
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
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! (759 characters)

Photo of johnkale
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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 (546 characters)

Photo of tut2528
2.99/5  rDev -21.3%
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 (911 characters)

Photo of schleprock
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (797 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (728 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (1,323 characters)

Photo of Living816
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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. (489 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (345 characters)

Photo of Flightoficarus
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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! (797 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (563 characters)

Photo of JMad
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (396 characters)

Photo of BikingDutchman
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
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. (676 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (801 characters)

Photo of TheCondor
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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. (1,674 characters)

Photo of beergoot
3.31/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs...

The beer was a dark, ruby red with a creamy white head. The scent was of sweet malts with earth and grass notes. Taste was lightly spiced with malt tones and had a soft bitter finish. Mouthfeel hovered between light to medium, kind of velvety overall.

In the end, this came across as a mediocre holiday ale, ultimately fair but non-distinct. It's worth drinking, but not worth too much effort to hunt down. (466 characters)

Photo of Treebs
3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle served in a DFH signature glass. Best by 2/28/2012.

A: Pours a light plum color with some mixes of brown also. The head is very large on the pour, about two inches in height, that sticks around for quite some time and leaves some sticky sheets of lace.

S: Caramel malts, some dark fruit, light sweetness and yeasty spice all mix in the nose. Doesn't really smell like the typical winter warmer.

T: The toffee malts are the base for the taste, but the yeast really comes through giving it a little spice. Some clove and sweet fruits round it out.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slighty chewy texture. It just doesn't seem to work with this style.

O: This isn't your typical winter warmer. I thought it was more of a weizenbock type beer than anything else. Not a bad beer, but nothing special by any means and don't go in thinking you're going to get a boozy and sweet winter warmer. (912 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a mellow cherry red color with a gentle haze. huge white fluffy head sits atop this holiday looking beer. smells a but fruity, with plums, cherries, and maybe even figs in the nose. a slight sour smelling as well, which isnt entirely enticing. taste is surprisingly complex for what is billed as a winter warmer. i taste none of the usual alcoholic sweetness i ascribe the this genre of beer. theres a definite malt profile to this one tempered by some fruity yeasty things. mild honey and allspice flavors in the background too. mouthfeel is very nice, with an almost belgian style vibrancy to the feel, with a lovely dried fruit finish. i could wish for a higher abv here, but this one works just as it is. (714 characters)

Photo of icecube
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A little cloudy reddish color

Smell: A mix of maltiness and cedar hops

Taste: Sweet, bready malts with a medium hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Aftertastes linger slightly.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer for a winter seasonal. It has a nice balance of malt and hops. There are so many bad Winter beers this falls in the good but not great category. I like a little spice in my Winter brews but not too much. (469 characters)

Photo of tykees88
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- nice two finger head. Pretty nice golden color.

S- Smells like fresh hops. Very interesting. Not what you would expect from a winter warmer.

T- Taste is like a pale ale with a slight bit of spice to it.

M- Light bodied. Just the opposite of what I would expect

O-It's avg. to above. Just a fresh hop ale that I would like more under a different name and style (367 characters)

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