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Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

167 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 167
Hads: 452
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 11.59%
Wants: 18
Gots: 52 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hopsaplenty on 11-02-2006

Our Christmas Ale is a warming winter ale that blends the spices of the season with sweet caramel malt. Orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves are added for spiciness. We use honey in the fermentation process, which raises the ABV without producing too much heat from the alcohol content.

Many breweries produce richer, higher alcohol beers for the winter holiday season, bolder than their year-round offerings. The inspiration for this beer came from spiced holiday beverages such as wassail and mulled wines. Around the holidays, the sweet and spicy aromas, not to mention the booze, in such libations tend to smooth the rougher edges of enjoying each other’s company and spreading goodwill.

30 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 167 | Hads: 452
Photo of BigJim5021
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this stuff for a family gathering. At $10.50, I was hoping for good things. No disappointment there.

Pours a hazy amber with a nice white head. Head settles down into a nice ring with a good deal of lacing.

The smell is goddamn phenomenal, I tells ya. It's like a spicy, sweet, orangey Christmas tree.

Flavor is damn good too. It's not as spicy or sweet as it smells, but it's definitely got a hint of citrus and some nice, piney hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a tad beyond medium bodied. Carbonation is spot-on. The finish is nice and dry. Nicely played.

Drinkability is high for a beer clocking in at 8%. I might have to pick up some more of this in anticipation of the ensuing holidays. I really didn't like Schlafly's Pumpkin Spice offering, but their Christmas Ale is the shit. (806 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes, poured into a shaker pint from the bottle at Jackie's in Silver Spring.

A solid two maybe three finger head off white in color, some good staying power. Body appearance is great dark orange and crystal clear. Some small carbonation rises slowly, not much lacing but a little. Good looking beer.

Even off the pour this bottle releases quite a bouquet. Lots of cinnamon, sweet nutmeg almost allspice too. Toasty malts and a bit of actual hot brown spicy heat. Impressive.

Taste is spicy hot in the palate. Matching the nose of sweet brown nutmeg and the like. Malt action comes with a brown sugar finish and toast a little. Spicy heat detracts a little, but the flavors are quite good. Medium carbonation with a good feel.

Overall a solid Christmas beer from Schlafly, love this brewery. (801 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stumbled onto four bottles from 2007 recently.

Poured from the bottle a cloudy amber gold with a sea of tiny floaties. I assume those are from aging a year. The beige head is creamy but small.

Aroma of sweet malts, Juicyfruit gum, orange peel, ripe orchard fruits, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Tastes of sweet malts, candy sugar, cinnamon, cloves, apple, and just a hint of spicy hops. Not overly sweet or fruity. Finishes quite clean.

Light-to-medium bodied, slightly dry, and lightly carbonated.

A fine ale for the Christmas season, indeed. A great drinker.

Now to pick up some 2008. (592 characters)

Photo of ScorpyX
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice amber color. Translucent appearance with a lot of carbonation visible.

S: Detect orange peel, ginger, and cinnamon. Little bit of cherry, too.

T: Citrus sweetness, ginger, and pine up front. Very sweet beer.

M: Medium bodied and smooth, though gets a little sticky as you work your way through the bottle. Not overwhelming, though.

Nice beer. Reminds me of Christmas, so it's quite fitting. (413 characters)

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden with a fluffy, creamy head. The carbonation bubbles were continuous.

S: Pumpkin, vanilla, sweet and spicy.

T: Hoppy and piney. Definitely suited for the holidays. (This beer does not taste at all like it smells - weird.)

M: Medium bodied and fitting.

D: Excellent beer. I think I'll be looking for this one again next holiday season. (347 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - reddish amber, a good-sized head slows down the pour into a standard pint glass. A minute later, the beer is practically coverless. Some very fine sediment suspended in the brew.

Aroma - some spice and caramel at first, turning slightly metallic and fading back to a light grain, licorice, and cinnamon smell.

Taste - sweet with licorice, citrus, clove, and a touch of the metal, too. The maltiness is nice, a good base to work from. There are some mild hops after the swallow and some creeping warmth in the aftertaste. The finish is extended by the spices and wrap things up well.

Mouthfeel - a little heavier and a good fit. Carbonation is there but a bit restrained, maybe just not so big due to the body.

Drinkability - a great seasonal ale. Good fireside brew, let it warm up a little to let the flavors shine. (841 characters)

Photo of Dave128
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at pazzos pizza pub in Lexington KY. Brought to me in a pint glass.

A - Almost no head with only a slight ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing is nonexistent and color is clear amber.

S - Smells like Christmas. I don't know how else to describe it. It smells like a pot of spices my mom would simmer on Christmas morning.

T - Similar to the nose, but alcohol is very evident.

M - medium bodied. Correct for the flavors present.

O - Pretty awesome smelling beer. Alcohol is a little heavy though. (520 characters)

Photo of gpogo
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Hazy orange/light amber with large off-white head

A- Cloves and orange, slightly pumpkin and maybe a bit of ginger

T- taste is right in line with the aroma. A bit more bitter than originally revealed though. Slight spiciness comes through at the end. Spiced aftertaste(cloves and slightly spicy feel)

M- Medium body with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- Probably my favorite holiday offering. Sadly I'll have to wait until near next december for more of these. Very delicious and very affordable. Not an every day refreshing drinker(not spiced for that), but I'd enjoy it fairly often. (594 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schlafly Christmas Ale
12 oz. bottle; $2.49 @ Joe Canal's, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ

Wow, what a great beer! I'm surprised I've never tried this before, but then again I am a little "gun shy" when it comes to spiced beers.

It's a little bit sweet, but that's balanced by the spices and a nice bit of fruitiness. And the spices aren't overdone. I'd imagine you could have two of these in a row without having either the sweetness or spice build up on your palate. At the same time, it's not a weak or light beer, it's pretty flavorful. There's a decent amount of malt here, and a good 8% abv to boot!

Maybe it's the choice of spices that I like so much: orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves; and the fact that they're so bright and that I can actually pick each one out. But there's no cinnamon or nutmeg either, and that makes a difference as they both tend to be a bit heavy and stick on the palate. And although a lot of people like to think of cinnamon and nutmeg as "Christmas spices", I think this one tastes just fine.

I'm not sure that I would drink it other than as a seasonal, or with special events, but I'm really impressed and I think that it would make a great after-dinner beer, or even an apertif. Quite nice! (1,250 characters)

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, bright amber with a thin sheet of white lacing that combs the pint glass. Streaky, thunderstorm lacing. Sweet piney hops, freshly baked apple pie, cloves, gingerbread and nutmeg are all in the aroma, sets up for a great first impression. Spicy malts, massive cloves and nutmeg that turn creamy. Full bodied; pumpkin and apple pie crust with orange peel and caramel roll noted. Large winter spices, cloves, gingerbread cookies, and spicy cinammon come to fruition. Talk about a full flavored spiced up beer; props to Schlafly for marketing this as a winter ale, one to look forward to each year! (600 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange with ruby trim and a finger of white foam that recedes a bit too fast for my liking. Strong smell of the advertised orange peel and cloves, unmistakably so, with some caramel malt for structural integrity.

Good taste, good enough to make me wish for a "tweener" grade of 4.25--between good and very good. This is really good--clove and some cinnamon predominate--but orange peel and citrus hops are nicely represented. Delicious, smooth mouthfeel, accessible and easy on the palate.

Schlafly rarely makes beer that wows me and, while Christmas Ale doesn't wow me, it's better than a good many Schlafly offerings I've enjoyed. This is a solid, rather enjoyable Christmas Ale that should please, and deserves a spot in many a fridge over the Holidays. (765 characters)

Photo of MCain04
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade with beergod1, thanks! Brewed 11/12, drank 02/13. Poured into a 14oz tulip. Let's go!

Appearance: Opaque amber color, off-white 2 finger head, good retention and lacing.

Smell: Spicy, malty, sweet, nutty. Just what I want out a christmas ale aroma.

Taste: Sweet and malty, apple, some spices. Maybe a tad too sweet for my liking. A little citrus and lemonade. Complex flavor profile that isn't amazing but isn't the worst. No alcoholic heat, not much bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Low-moderate carbonation. Smooth, medium body. A tad sticky, a tad dry.

Overall: Not bad at all! Pleasantly surprised with this. One of the top 5 Christmas ales I've had before. If only it were a little less sweet, I'd really like it. Wouldn't mind trying this again. (768 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This one is a deep orange amber color that is clear, and lighter than I expected. Most Christmas/Winter brews tend to be on the dark side, but this one is the color of a good IPA. The head is initially three fluffy fingers, and settles to a persistent finger of cloud-like foam. Big sheets of lace slide down the glass, leaving nice big arcs in their wake. Head retention is pretty good for a high abv brew.

S - Candied apples (not caramel apples, but the candied apples covered in sugary red stuff), orange zest, wintergreen and peppermint. This smells like a mixed bag of Christmas candy. I'm reminded of those candy canes (sans hook) that some in a ton of different flavors. There is definitely a nice Christmas tree sappy hop note that reminds us that this is beer...not liquid holiday candy.

T - Hoppy, sweet, and well spiced. This seems like it is an IPA style beer that has been Christmas-ified with nutmeg, cinnamon, orange rind, and peppermint. Red apple skin and vinous grape skin tartness keep this lively.

M - This is medium bodied and initially quite sweet before transitioning to a ridiculously dry and dusty finish. I find that many spiced beers have a dusty finish...like putting dry cinnamon in your mouth. The alcohol is extremely well hidden...I would have never guessed that this was 8%!

D - A good sipper for a cold holiday season night. It's 33 degrees and wet here in central Illinois... the perfect time for a spicy and boozy winter ale. This one is pretty good, but not as glorious as I expected from a "special release" beer from Schlalfly. I do like the SN Celebration - like take on a winter brew. (1,634 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear ruby, some carbonation, one finger head

S-Spices galore, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, malt, all balanced nicely together.

T-Not as good as the nose, still good though. Spice heavy, cinnamon, less malt than the nose.

M-Light, some carbonation, tad watery though.

O-A nice spiced Christmas brew, a good one, not the best, but good. (339 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks rsyberg01 for this bit of St. Louis Christmas.
Pours a glowing red/amber with a moderate white head that melts to a sticky lacing.
Aromas are so spicy I am reminded of a pumpkin ale....cinnamon, cloves, orange peel. Very fresh smelling spices.
Taste is so spicy again I am reminded of a pumpkin ale. Tons of cinnamon, a little cloves, corriander, and orange peel hop bitterness on the tail end.
Aftertaste is a tingly spiciness reminiscent of a wheat. A little white pepper in the hop bite.
Nice full comfortable mouthfeel.
This is an unusual winter ale...very spicy...not bad and the farther I get into the bottle the more I like it. Could that be the 8% talking?
Very tasty.
Thanks Ric. (703 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle to Bruges hybrid class on 2/10/11

*I'm performing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts, and finishing off the holiday beer in and around my home - this being one of them.

A: Like a shiny, new Christmas ornament. It's simply gorgeous - rich carmine in color, it's slightly hazy and when poured, yields a robust 1.75 finger head with great retention and lacing.

S: Alcohol first and foremost, then undertones of cinnamon spice and orange citrus. I don't detect any hop presence, but I'm certainly not complaining as this is really well done.

T: Extremely well balanced, as the spicy cloves and nutmeg dance ever so gracefully with the 8% alcohol. Coriander and orange zest work their way around the taste buds. It all finishes a bit hot, but isn't that the point on a cold winter's night?

M: Heavy and thank God for it. This isn't a lawnmower beer, it's to be enjoyed by the fire while telling tales of yore. Creamy and inviting.

O: The review above was performed two months after purchase. For as quaffable as it is today, it is simply outstanding when fresh. Most of the lovely spices are still there, but have been slightly muted, even while sitting in my fridge for a couple of months.

Schlafly's Christmas Ale is one the best holiday brews I've encountered. Like their Pumpkin Ale, they really know how to walk the fine between too little and too much. This is so well balanced, and it makes for supremely enjoyable drinking. Like Christmas itself, I'll be looking forward to this one all year. (1,508 characters)

Photo of rundocrun
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Comes out of the bottle a coppery orange-brown color. Faint rose highlights. Has a 1/4 inch of coarse white head that fades fast.

S - Has a definite aroma of cloves, spruce and banana-like esters.

T - Sweet and caramely up front with more banana and a noticeable spicy nutmeg character. An almost bubble-gum like sweetness comes in toward the middle. Mild hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue that lasts through the finish. Some mild alcohol bite and orange peel in the finish as well.

M - Has a nice hefty body to it with good carbonation. Sweet and syrupy residual mouthfeel. The 8% ABV leaves a pleasant warmth in the chest.

Overall: a sweet, spicy, and warming winter beer. Not exceptional but definitely above average. (780 characters)

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer typifies what a spiced holiday beer should be - lots of spice but doesn't taste like someone stuffed a mincemeat pie in a bottle. Cloves and nutmeg are nicely integrated into the sweet-ish malt, but are well moderated throughout the draft and don't become cloying. Within this class, I think this is a very good example.

For folks who have criticized this beer for having a lot of spice, that is like criticizing an IPA for having a lot of hops. (459 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into dimpled mug (I also had it on tap once in a bar in DC). Pours a hazy orange with a thin-moderate linen white head that lasted through the first quarter of the glass and left partial lace. Pleasant aroma of orange peel, honey, and cloves - subdued holiay spcies. Decent carbonation. The flavor is mild malt with stronger orange peel, honey and cloves. Black pepper emerges in the aftertaste about five seconds after the swallow and lingers for several seconds. (488 characters)

Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice ruby amber color with a short tan head that dissipates quickly

Smell: Some nice Christmasy spices up front, along with some malty sweetness

Taste: Reminds you of fresh baked gingerbread, got all the spices there, along with nice bready, caramely malts. There are other Christmas spices and malt flavors in there as well, so its not like drinking liquid gingerbread. Just gives you that warm inviting feeling, invoking memories of Christmases past.

Mouthfeel: Light body, good carbonation, little bit of spicy finish

Overall: A good Christmas beer, and even better for a spiced one. I enjoy it and would gladly recommend to anyone looking for a solid seasonal choice. (687 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

2008 Edition

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus creamy tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some cinimmon, nutmeg. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with nice touch of spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, I enjoyed the 08 better. Thanks Tim.

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

2007 Edition

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some cinimmon, nutmeg. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with nice touch of spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, Thanks Tim. (742 characters)

Photo of Goliath
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a thin slightly yellowed head. Decent retention, but no lacing.

The aroma is really nice. A big citrusy orange peel up front, with a bit of a hop presence as well and a nice touch of spice. Some sweet honey finishes out the nose.

The taste is nice. A gentle hop profile in addition to the orange peel gives a really nice citrus component. The holiday spicing is also really nice. Notes of cinamon, nutmeg, and cloves linger on the palate. I really love this beer.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and lightly carbonated with a gentle and fine bubble.

Drinkability is moderate to high. Certainly an easy beer to consume as it's tasty and simple, however spiced beers aren't generally sessionable which will limit this beer a bit.

On the evenings following this review, I also got a nice sappy piney hop presence (subtle), and a biscuity malt note. (885 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.99/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours a clear red with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is awesome. Loads of cloves, oranges, hint or 2 of cinnamon. Now that's a spicy brewski.

The taste follows the nose for the most part. Big cloves, oranges, spiciness from the hops, but no apparent taste of any cinnamon. This is a very tasty Spiced beer indeed.

Medium describes the body and carbonation...very smooth mouth feel and it's a pretty easy drinker. Nicely done. (482 characters)

Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruby red brown topped off with lacey ivory rings. This pour came from a bottle, but I had the ale last nite on tap – which always is a notch better.

Just like the kitchen on Xmas, the aromas of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon really tantalize the nose. Also, I smell….pumpkin!! Damn, carln26 planted that thought in my head. Anyway, taste was solid – small notes of citrus and pine is in there, but in the background.

It does hop bite just a tad too strong, a couple more malt seeds would have worked wonders. Oh well, it may be 8%, but I could drink these all evening long, although slowly. (597 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, hazy, orange-brown in color

Smell: toasted malt, cinnamon, caramel, and clovess

Taste: lots of caramel malt, cinnamon, caramel, and a touch of earthy hops in the middle

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied, medium carbonation, very sweet and spicy with a slight bitter jump in the middle

Drinkability: A nice and malty holiday treat where the alcohol really sneaks up. The combination of spices is good. A sipper that is one I will revisit. (457 characters)

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.