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Nutcracker Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Nutcracker AleNutcracker Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

659 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 659
Reviews: 323
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%

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: 659 | Reviews: 323 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of blakelive784


2.6/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a pint glass (a winter warmer at 5.9%? I'm skeptical) :

A - Pours a deep, orange amber color with a tall 2.5 finger head. Retention is very good and the head is decently creamy.

S - Grassy lemon, caramel, grapefruit, and musky hops. Really pretty muddy, though, I hope the flavors are more defined.

T - Overbearing citrus hops open and stay throughout. There's a buried caramel and toasted malt foundation, but it's hard to find. Even with the low abv, it finishes with an ethanol aftertaste. Uninteresting and uninspired.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet. Meh.

D - It's not bad, but far from anything good, especially when there are many, many better choices in this style.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2011 06:56:22 | More by blakelive784
Photo of zdk9


3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a medium brown color hued with orange. With an aggressive pour I get about a finger of head, which doesn't last a ton of time. No lacing.

S- An uncoordinated force of grapefruit, sweet orange liquor, green grass clippings, and caramel in the distance. There are some nice aromas, but also some blah aromas and the whole thing doesn't really mix well.

T- Hoppier in the taste than the smell. There's a good amount of gripping bitterness especially in the back corners of my mouth. Some sweet bread flavors, like a candied fruit bread. Hop flavor stretches from grassy and vegetal, like pea pods, to pine sawdust, with a slight mineral aspect.

M- Very bitter, especially for a beer of this alcohol.

O-Hmm...the aroma on this beer I can leave it. The taste isn't bad. Where's the winter warmer? I get some caramel and dark sweet bread stuff, but it's almost like they went with that plus the IPA type winter seasonal that other breweries had and ended up with a slight mess. I'm not a huge fan of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2011 06:36:23 | More by zdk9
Photo of boilermakerbrew


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

A- Pours a hazy copperish color. Three finger foamy head with good retention and lacing.

S- Slight hoppy aroma of pine and floral notes. Underlying nutty aroma with hints of brown sugar sweetness.

T- Like a mix between an American Pale Ale and a brown ale. Definite hop character of slight bitterness intermingled with sweet notes. Some caramel malty tones under the hops. Finishes with primarily hops bite. Very crisp and little aftertaste.

M- Similar to most pale ales. Very carbonated and fairly light. Somewhat silky on the way down. This is a fairly sessionable beer.

Overall, nothing special, but an interesting experience. I like the idea of the hops and sweeter malts together, could use a little more of the sweet to balance it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 23:55:32 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of JuicesFlowing


4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a hazy cinnamon-amber. A sturdy, fluffy off-white vanilla head sits on top, and with a hard pour, it's a beautiful frothy sea-foam head. Sticky lacing that disappears. Smells of pine, apricots, and hop citrus. The beer tastes very much like a Boulevard beer -- highly carbonated, very tangy, hop citrus, pine, and maybe a hint of spices. The is a crisp tangy apple note that dominates the taste profile. Cinnamon and rich malts are in the finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky, and very much in the same vein as most pale ales. Overall, I'm biased, I love this beer every December. And honestly, it actually is a lot better than most of the other Winter Warmers out there. I love the color, taste, and feel, and it's very consistent every year.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 23:57:50 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of Vashtar


3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

The appearance is foggy and burnt orange. Beautiful head that lingers nicely.
There is a malty berry breadcrum flavor, but it's dominated by hops until the first half has been consumed.

The mouthfeel has a dry finish, like a tennis serve.

The taste is still bitter

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 03:09:42 | More by Vashtar
Photo of ahq514


3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.

Pours a reddish amber color. A little more than a finger sized head than diminishes to a light head atop the beer. Appears to have moderate carbonation. Nice spots of lacing.

Malt dominates the aroma on this beer. Sweet caramel malt with a real light fruitiness. Some real light citrus and floral hops in the background.

Less malty than I would have guessed from the aroma. Some caramel malt, but a noticeably more hoppy presence. There is a lingering dry, floral, spicy, bitterness throughout the beer. Maybe a touch of ginger? Better as it warms.

Moderate carbonation and slightly less than medium body. Somewhat dry.

Haven't had too many winter warmers, but this one is just alrite. Would've enjoyed a touch of spices and a bigger malt presence.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 04:46:48 | More by ahq514
Photo of rundocrun


3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a punt glass.

A - has a finger of off-white head with decent retention. Color is somewhere between coppery and light brown. Slightly hazy. No lacing.

S - lots of malt and zesty herbal hops. Undertones of toasted bready grains and sweet berry-like esters.

T - slightly caramely and toasty barley flavor up front with lots of resinous hop flavor and bitterness through the middle. Bitterness rides through the finish but is accompanied by a sweet and slightly boozy generic malt flavor. Good, but I could do for a little more complexity.

M - light to medium body with a relatively dry finish. Good carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 01:04:02 | More by rundocrun
Photo of flagmantho


3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: pale brown hue with a rich haziness. Head pours a thick finger of soupy, frothy deep ivory foam. Very good.

Smell: piney and earthy hop aroma is pretty heady; with some malt the overall effect is dusky. Aroma is hearty and reviving, as a winter warmer's should be.

Taste: citrusy and floral hops with a tangy malt finish. Flavor is a bit dusty, like it's been wet-hopped. My impression of the flavor is that it tastes homebrew-ey to me. Aside from that, though, it is pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and concomitant creaminess. I like it.

Overall: I rather like this beer. I feel like it has some rough-around-the-edges imperfections in the flavor, but overall it is a positive drinking experience.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 00:06:48 | More by flagmantho
Photo of bfields4


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

Hazy amber body. Nice tight off-white head with good retention.

Nice hoppy aroma citrusy and piny with a nice caramel toffee malt backing. Cinnamon and coriander holiday spiciness is faint, but present.

The spices are a little more present in the taste. Good nutty toffee quality too. Rounds out with a nice splash of grapefruit to let you know the hops are still here.

Nice chewy full bodied beer. A good array of complexity to provide a full experience for this hopped up winter warmer. Kind of reminds me of a mini barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 02:36:36 | More by bfields4
Photo of TMoney2591


3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

For some reason, nutcrackers always kinda creeped me out a bit. Yeah... Anyway, this stuff pours a partly cloudy sunset amber-russet topped by a finger of dirty khaki foam. The nose comprises nutmeg, clove, brown sugar, dark wheat, light pumpernickel, and a small vein of sweet caramel. The taste holds notes of orange peel, nutmeg, clove, dark wheat, light grapefruit rind, and cardamom. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, a nice little winter warmer, nothing really special, but drinkable enough to allow for a couple 'round the fireplace.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 05:35:36 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of bsp77


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

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Very hazy, dark orange with thick, creamy head.

Smell: Lots of floral, spicy hops, as well as some tart grapefruit. Nice bready, caramel malt as well.

Taste: While there is a strong backbone of toast, caramel and cherry, this is surprisingly hoppy, with notes of spice, grapefruit and herbs. Somewhat bitter finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a nice, dry finish. Seemed slightly thin at first, but got better at around cellar temp.

Overall: Despite everything positive about this beer, there is something that keeps me from really wanting to have more. However, it is a very good Americanized take on an English Strong Ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2011 01:22:38 | More by bsp77
Photo of secondtooth


3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This hazy amber ale pours with medium carbonation and only a half-finger of lace on the glass. Nothing spectacular in the presentation.

The nose is spiced, malty, and rich. Not bad.

Upon tasting, I get more spice, and some tones of fruit and nuts, with a slightly bitter finish. Boulevard has captured some appropriate flavors for the holidays, and this ale is solid, if unremarkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 18:56:41 | More by secondtooth
Photo of gtermi


4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a nice brownish red, with a nice small head.

S: I was shocked about how many hops this beer has on the nose and I also get some spice.

T: There are many different flavors with this beer. I am tasting some spices, some hops and some malt. It is a nice mixture of flavors for sure.

M: The beer is pretty smooth. It is easy to drink and hardly has any crispness. Very enjoyable.

O: This is a very solid beer. It really doesnt taste like a winter warmer to me, but doesnt take away from the fact that its a very solid good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 05:10:45 | More by gtermi
Photo of tito42


3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to a Blvd. tulip. Best by 03/01/2012.

A: Mahogany, slightly cloudy, with a tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Malt, candy sugar, caramel, and citrus/piney hops.

T: Malt, candy sugar, toffee, caramel, and a prominent hops and sucrose finish.

M: Medium-bodied. Just a tad on the watery side to me, which I find with many Boulevard brews. Great warming effect of the alcohol without lingering or drying out the palate too much.

O: Very solid winter warmer. I've really begun to dig the Boulevard seasonals after a year and a half since diving into the world of craft beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 05:45:15 | More by tito42
Photo of scratch69


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

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Poured a reddish-brown with 1/2 fingers worth of head. Very little lacing.

Smell- A strong aroma of spices with a hint of malt.

Taste- Very strong taste of malt and spices. A bit of hops with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and smooth. Decent carbonation.

Overall- A nice seasonal beer. I've had this one before and I will probably have it again. A good winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 00:46:11 | More by scratch69
Photo of TheAlamoWrocker


3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed October 29, 2011. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a JFF is my BFF novelty Pint Glass. Consumed on a cold night in a cabin located in Potosi, Missouri.

A:Poured a 1/2 fingered head with a beautiful dark red shade backing it up.

S: On the pour if seemed as if this smell just dominated the room. It smelled definitely like a variety of species. When finally in the glass this smelt spicy with some malts in the background. The smell of the pour was better than its actually smell somehow.

T: Dominated by malts with a slight hopness in the back. The spices are definitely there, but they are difficult to pinpoint what exactly I am tasting in them.

M: The carbonation was light and it also felt pretty thin which seemed odd.

O: This beer was nothing special, but it always feels like it's difficult to find a seasonal that blows me away. Compared to an Octoberfest I would rather drink this style all day long because it feels as this has the flavor I desire in my beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2011 02:53:06 | More by TheAlamoWrocker
Photo of soju6


3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served a dark mahogany color with a small tan head and nice lacing.

S: Mild aroma of nuts and caramel with a bit of spice mixed in.

T: Mild malt sweetness with some caramel, nice bit of spice. Mild bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, smooth and a bit creamy. Nice balance.

O: Easy drinker, a nice seasonal offering.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2011 11:59:26 | More by soju6
Photo of FosterJM


3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

902nd Review on BA
Bottle to Mug
12 oz

Best by: 2/28/12
Purchased from: On the Rocks, Lawrence, KS

App- A murky caramel brown with a good bit of amber color behind it. Zero head formed and no cling at all. Much more like a dark whiskey.

Smell- This was more of a pumpkin beer minus the pumpkin. Spicy, yeasty, malty. There wasn't much here bit it did smell like Winter to me.

Taste- A nice bubbly caramel flavor with a good spice note behind it. More more malt forward than I was thinking and also had a fair bit of a grain bill behind it.

Mouth- A light medium body with a light medium carbonation level. A spicy, malty, yeasty after taste.

Drink- A pretty tasty winter warmer. A bit thin for me, but the bubbles and after taste make up for it. Don't think I will come back to this one, but pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 04:25:00 | More by FosterJM
Photo of sweethome


3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour is amber with light tan head. Nose is of sweet malts, a hint of candy sugar and aroma hops push through - rather grassy.

Entry is sweet - light dried fruits - a bit watery compared to other beers with this flavor profile. Nice chocolate malt mid mouth with a bit of english yeast flavors (to style) and hop flavors fight for notice. The maltiness really blasts up front with the yeast charachter, then softens and delivers slight chocolate, nuts and hint of cherries.

Delivers a lot of flavor, but not a very full mouthfeel that I expect from a winter warmer. Alcohol lacking for this style too. That said - this beer delivers a lot of satisfying flavor. A very drinkable holiday ale. Worth having some around during the holiday season to introduce others to this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 23:08:40 | More by sweethome
Photo of emmasdad


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

I picked this one up at a local liquor store last holiday season, and neglected to enter my rating back then. I shall do so now. Poured an opaque reddish brown color with an impressive enough head. Aromas of nuts, piney hops and dark fruits. On the palate, this one is medium bodied, with flavors of dark fruits, resiny hops and caramel.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2011 02:51:44 | More by emmasdad
Photo of colt45n


4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a coppery brown color. No head once it gets to my table. 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 flavor

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..

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.

A good beer, Ive had it both bottled and on tap and I would have to say that I do enjoy it more on tap for whatever that is worth

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 23:35:16 | More by colt45n
Photo of mdaschaf


3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a massive 2.5 finger egg-white head, overflowing from my glass. Decent lacing.

S: Up front there is a lot of apple and some floral hops, with a decent amount of alcohol.

T: It tastes almost like cider with a light citrus kick to it. Some bready malt fills out the flavor profile. After finishing the review, I went back and read some others, and this flavor profile doesn't really jive with most, might be a little past due, looked for a best by and didn't find one, might have been rubbed off?

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation, texture is a little on the grainy side.

O: Not sure on this one, I am guessing its no longer good, but can't imagine a change this drastic. Will try again.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2011 01:30:55 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of THECPJ


4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes:
thanks goes out to deepsouth for sending this one my way.

appearance: dark brown with a 2 finger head

smell: hops, malts, spices

taste: spices, some hops, sweet malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body, smooth, crisp

drinkability: this was one of the better winter warmers I had this past year. Will seek it out again next year.

the CPJ

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 02:29:36 | More by THECPJ
Photo of bnes09


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, dark amber. Huge off white head forms and never gives up. Develops a frothy lace.

Rich aromas of roasted nuts, piney hops and biscuity malts.

Malty grain flavors come through in the taste. Rich like a buttered biscuit. Roasted almonds. Thich caramel sweetness. Nice hop, pine-like and semi-assertive. Well balanced and tasty.

Sturdy medium body with a bit of chewiness. Slightly low carbonation.

Fairly filling which is expected although smooth. Very tasty for a winter season. Definetly gives a warming feeling during the cold months.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 03:11:54 | More by bnes09
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 17:25:36 | More by BigHeavy
Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 659 ratings.