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Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

167 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 167
Hads: 452
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 12.97%
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 aforbes10
2.05/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I've been to Schlafly's, I know they make good beer. I also know that this is not one of the one's that i like. Yeah, i know its a Christmas ale, and i know that some people like to put some spices in their Christmas drinks, but come on guys....this was just they dumped in a bunch of cloves and nutmeg and orange rind and figured that if you could taste all of that crap in the beer it would make it a good beer. I've all for those flavors in beer, now, dont get me wrong; but to the extent that they were all right up there hitting me in the tongue? and it was so muddled and unbalanced. Its the worst tasting spiced beer i've had since that Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin from 2 yeaers ago. way too many spices and it was a bit thin too. looked ok, and actually smelled fine, but yeah, downhill from there.

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Photo of EmergingZymurgy
2.3/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle, crystal clear and deep copper color. Smells like a nice Christmas ale, cloves and other spices. Tastes like a bad beer gone sour and tried to mask the flavor with spices. Not a fan of this one. Has a slick body to it and tastes sour at the end of the taste. Not sure if it was a bad bottle or what.

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Photo of brownbeer
2.58/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a coppery color without much head.

Very subdued aroma with subtle spice, a little funk, and candied tangerine.

There isn't much going on as far as flavor, clovey spice and maybe some citrus. The body is smooth but watery. Lacks depth and the 8% is creepy considering how little flavor it has.

I haven't had a beer I liked less than this in a while and I could easily pour it down the drain but i'll finish it. If you're looking for a strong beer without much flavor and a thin body, this might be for you.

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Photo of jar2574
2.67/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours an orange color with a thin white head. No lacing, no head retention. Average carbonation.

Smells of anise, cinammon, cider, and malts.

The taste reminds me of a Czech herbal lliquor, Becherovka. Herbs, a touch of liquourice, malts, a little sweet fruitiness in the aftertaste. There's a lot going on, and it's interesting, but not something I love. And as I drink the beer, I like it less and less.

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Photo of shivtim
2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

My roomate brought me back some of this from a trip to St.Louis, which I shared with beer club.


It was not too good; I didn't think it was as bad as some others (aforbes) did, but the taste pretty much kills this beer. It pours a deep clear red brown, looks ok so far. Smells like christmas. Piney, nutmeg, cloves. Not bad. The taste is overload of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, orange, pine... pretty much tastes like a christmas air freshener in beer form. On the plus side, the alcohol is very well hidden (errr... covered-up?). Mouthfeel is ok, a bit dry. Drinkability is hurt by the taste. But I bet if you simmered this stuff on the stove it would make your house smell really good.

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Photo of jmw141
2.78/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Serving: 12 oz bottle into Rogue Yellow Snow IPA pint glass

A: A clear reddish brown, with a thin off-white head

S: Malty aroma, slight hoppiness, definite ginger, "farmhouse ale" scent as well

T: Sweet all the way through, woody, slightly fruity, very thin (not subtle) flavors that could benefit from being slightly more pronounced, slight orange flavor

M: prickly carbonation, almost undetectable finishing bitterness, watery

D: Drinkable, this is #1 of the 6-pack I bought. This one served after being in fridge for one hour- lets see how it changes at cooler temps.

Overall: 25% through this one I'm not overly impressed. It seems just a bit too cloying for 8.0% ABV.

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Photo of hophugger
2.8/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Deep amber-gold color with small head and average lacing. Aroma is full of nutmeg and other dry spice. Taste is similar with a mouthful of dry spice, especially nutmeg, alittle too much. Feels ok on thr palate and definitely has an alcohol burn. Overall, not that pleasant of a beer, maybe just my taste...

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.86/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a hazy copper color. The head dissipates quickly leaving nothing, and no lacing at all. The beer smells boozy with lots of different spices. I was hesitant to buy this, and the taste confirms why I shouldn't have: it's just over-the-top with flavor, like most of the Schlafly beers I have tried are. Sweetness and spices just blow your taste buds into defensive mode. There's a lot of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and the likes in this. It tastes like Chai tea, and almost could pass for a Pumpkin ale. And just like their Pumpkin ale, this beer is loaded at 8% ABV and goes down too smooth, so watch out.

Overall, I just don't like the sweetness overload on top of the high alcohol content. Plus, the spices are in overdrive, so this beer is just a bit too much, all the way around. This might be the last Schlafly beer I ever try.

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Photo of longbongsilver
2.87/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

It's that time of year, right? Considered taking a six with me to festivities to share, but having not had this before I decided to test one from a mix'n'match section first. I am guinea pig...

Pours a deep but clear amber with tons of visible carbonation, lacing and a significant white, hollow but short-lived head. Smell orange immediately (though not in annoying proportion), with honey and a bit of cinammon I assume is from the clove. Hop character doesn't come up on the nose at all, if it's there it's all taste. Speaking of which...

The orange continues while the honey disappears & the spice comes forward. No real bitterness, yet oddly little residual sweetness either (the malt character is pretty anonymous as a result). Goes down thin. The 8% is super well hidden -- TOO well hidden to be honest.

I wouldn't call it a total loss, but the richness I expected for a big winter ale wasn't there. Schalfly let the additional ingredients do too much of the work.

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Photo of Myboymi
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured to a pint glass. Nice amber color with a 1 inch foamy head. Aroma of malt and caramel. Taste of dark malt & coffee, and finished with the taste of honey. Mild mouth feel. Overall a good choice for the Holidays!

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Photo of mikey711
2.97/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: a light brown color with very good clarity. not much head or hold making it almost look like a soda.

S: brown sugar, caramel, toffee, a slight peppery note, some herbal zesty hops. some pine notes.

T: Peppery with some pine tree notes. hints of cinnamon and all spice. lots of brown sugar and a touch of nut meg. the spices arent all that powerful but the all spice note sticks out the most and overwhelmed at times

M: Slightly hot and a bit chalky due to the spices. i would have liked a bit more of a creamy feel

D: Not my favorite of this style but a nice one to try. glad i did not buy a six pack

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Photo of dropout86
2.98/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle with bottled on date: 11/12/2009. Sampled 2 for a fair tasting.

A: Pours a crisp, clean amber to toasted caramel with a dense but short off white head. Very little head retention or lacing.

S: Smells of caramel, subtle oranges, fruit (pumpkin?), vanilla, malt, and clove.

M: Moderately carbonated but not overly so. Light to medium-light body with a syrup backbone. CO2 evaporates halfway through the glass leaving a syrup overload.

T: Front: Mild clove and citrus, toasted malts Middle: Floral hops Finish: metallic, oxidized fruits and vegetables, malt, and alcohol.

D: Drink it cold and drink it quickly on a cold night and you'll enjoy yourself.

I've had better examples of this style but I wouldn't hesitate to drink this again next year, maybe a little fresher or on tap?

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Photo of jbone78
3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I know it ain't Christmas no more, but I got theis beer and it needs to be drunk.

A- pours a light amber with a slight haze.
S- has a malty nose and you can start to smell the spices up front.
T- Very malty and a ton o fclove flavors, almost too much. not digging it at all.
M- Sticky, syrup, somewhat thick.
D- Not gonna drink many of these.


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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - slightly hazy auburn color with a nice white head.
S - orange, cloves, spices and sweet nutty malts
T - Cloves dominate with light notes of orange, spices and sweet malts. Cloves dominate though.
M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated, clove aftertaste
D - amazingly approachable for 8%. You'll probably guess a theme, touch too much clove for me.

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Photo of bamadog
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to beerman207 for having this as an offering at a recent tasting. Pour is from a bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a coppery color that is just a little light; starts with a short 1/2 finger fluffy white head that fades immediately to a thin and incomplete whisp with a firm ring around the surface; body is clear and shows mild carbonation; no lacing, but there is a clear, oily residue that slides around.

Smell: Fair in potency, I pick up some nice warm cinammon and a slightly sweet malty backing. Not bad.

Taste: A little lighter in flavor than I expected based upon a stronger scent; does hold a light warm cinammon flavor and also a moderate flavor of anise or black licorice; minimal hint of nutmeg. Meh.

Mouthfeel: Body feels a little slippery and loose; mild carbonation that is too mild and it comes across as flat; not impressed.

Drinkability: I give it a 3 because it's not awful, but I would certainly never seek it out - doesn't really compete with the likes of a Bell's Christmas Ale or the Hoppin' Frog Frosted Frog.

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Photo of Rukasu
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried at Pi - Washington, DC

Great deep, dark ruby/copper color with a clean white head.

Smell is sweet and spicy.

Taste is a bit overly spicy. Abundance of cloves, ginger, and cardamom. A bit overpowering for me, but just about every kind of spice you can think of associated with Christmas, is probably in this brew.

The sweetness of the beer is immediately a bit cloying, but as it sits in your mouth you're able to begin to dissect the different flavors. Nice beer to try during the holidays, but anything beyond a 12 oz. snifter is probably more than enough.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Churchkey. Served in a snifter.

Pours a light bronze color with only a half finger of head to start out with and that doesn't last all that long. There is a light ring a foam around the edges of the glass for some time. The nose is quite muted, not something I'd expect from a Christmas ale. As it warms, there's just a hint of light spicing with a bit of cinnamon.

The taste is a bit more pungent and the mild spices are fairly tame and well-distributed. At the same time, the beer is completely one dimensional and I'm not sure I'm enjoying that dimension all that much. Light cinnamon and some ginger are what I pick up as well as a bit of light malt. The spicing is nice on the medium body. This is a fairly-drinkable winter brew, but it's not all that special in the end.

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Photo of drseamus
3.12/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I'm not crazy about spiced beers in general, but I guess it is the proper day to drink this.

Pours a cloudy red color with a nice white head. The aroma is has a bunch of malt and cloves. The flavor has a bunch of clove in it and a touch of bitter orange. The malt presence is strong but the spices overpower somewhat. The body is nice but I'm still not crazy about this beer.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Party Source. This beer is a hazy amber color with a medium thin light beige head. Spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma of citrus peel, coriander and sweet cookies. Light-bodied with a sweet spiced character. Flavors of clove, caramel malt and mild hops. The finish is citrusy with a lingering sweet spice aftertaste. Slightly above average overall.

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Photo of rsyberg01
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

S - Bottled with love on Oct. 26 2006

A - Pours a pink copper color with an eggshell colored head, decently sticky and attractive.

S - Odd, clove, cinnamon, orange peel, very sweet smelling, mint in there somewhere too I think. Not bad, confusing a little bit.

T - Orange, clove, pretty spicy, malt is well stood for. Similar to the nose, thought for a second I tasted something like orange toothpaste, but that went away pretty quickly. Not bad, not my cup of tea though.

M - Full bodied, good feel. This aspect of the beer is one that is pretty above average, nice.

D - Because of the huge spice note and the little odds and ends that I had trouble appreciating, I would put my personal limit at two with this brew.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 01 December 2010, from the Village Pump.

Pouring a beautiful crimson with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and nice lacing, this is a rather beautiful beer. The nose is a blend of spices and bright orange peel, in some ways, like a holiday candle. The hop character is a little herbal, and has a touch of soap to it as well. The spice character is interesting. A little bit potpourri-like, with some clove, mace and maybe even some grains of paradise? The orange peel is rather dominant here. Solid.

The palate opens with a mild medicinal sweetness along with a blend of spices and herbs. Again, this really is like potpourri, with a melange of flavors present. Pine and citrus from the hops, an herbal character that I can't entirely describe, and a blend of spices with clove, cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Orange peel isn't as noticeable here, for some reason.There's a bitterness present that reminds me of grains of paradise for some reason. The alcohol is rather noticeable, even when cold, making this harsher than it needs to be. The booze also makes this more noticeably medicinal, which isn't entirely appealing. Medium in body with a high level of carbonation that is surprisingly creamy, this feels decent on the palate. Mildly bitter and mildly herbal on the finish, this is decent. Ultimately, not terribly enjoyable, but I don't regret buying a single.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.24/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours a deep copper to basic brown in color with a fairly high level of clarity. A small, 1 finger head forms and is of slightly off white color. Head isn't around long and there isn't much lacing.

S- Lots of spices and semi-sweet caramel malt are the dominant scents in this one. Spices are more prominent than the malt, with nutmeg and cinnamon being the primary scents. Hint of caramel malts towards the end with just a bit of brown sugar sweetness.

T- Much like the scent as far as spice dominance goes. Cinnamon and nutmeg dominate over all the other flavors in a big way. Somewhat of a gingerbread quality emerges form the spices. Caramel malts underlie the entire drink, but is mostly covered up by the spice flavors.

M- Light in body and medium level of carbonation. Fairly smooth going down. Fairly drinkable as far as weight goes, but the spices being the primary flavor and the ABV make this one more of a longer drink.

Overall, this is an interesting beer. It has lots of similarities to Schlafly Pumpkin Ale with the spices. Frankly, this pretty much taste like Pumpkin Ale without the pumpkin, and maybe a hint more malt.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.24/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, "bottled with love on 11/14/2013"
A - ruddy brown color with a very thin ivory head
S - cinnamon, spice, bread, caramel, earth
T - gingerbready, cinnamon, clove, ginger, caramel, molasses, warming booze
M - creamy, a bit chalky, medium-full body
O - ok spiced winter warmer

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle given to me by a friend. Thanks.
Poured into a standard US pint glass.

Pours a 2cm head, mildly thick, mostly of medium-sized bubbles. Head descends over a minute or two to a ring around the top of the glass and some minute islands. Some lace accumulates on sides of glass, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Body is a dark orange-amber color with a reddish tint. Held up to the light, it's a deep yellow-orange-red color. Transparent, with lots of visible carbonation.

Aroma is fairly weak, I detect faint, slight spices [cloves, allspice, cinnamon] and mild fruit [ale yeast esters]. As just stated, these aren't very strong or stand-out in any particular way.

Taste is generally sweet and spicy, with a mild, but always detectable alcohol warmth and burn. In specific, opens with sweet malts, spicy clove, and light citrus zest, changing to clove, cinnamon, and allspice flavors mid-palate, before transitioning to citrus zest, more pie spices, and sweet malts for the close. Aftertaste is of syrupy malt and mild clove spice.

Body is full of fairly soft, but noticeable carbonation. Not bad at all, as it goes with the medium-light body in a sensitive sort of way. Slightly too thin, maybe even watery around the edges, for such a heavy ABV beer. Finish is rather dry.

Overall, this wasn't particularly bad-tasting, but the aroma's meekness and body's lightness make this a bit off-putting as a high ABV winter beer.

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Photo of hellobeerz
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A- A really good copper/amber color. Little head with slight thin lacing.

S- Spices, spices, and more spices, some caramel as well. Smells really close to their pumpkin ale.

T- Follows the nose, lots of spices at work here. Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some coriander. Its all there, I feel like this is the little brother to there pumpkin ale, they taste too similar.

M- Pretty good carbonation. Not too thin and not too thick.

Overall, this is a pretty good seasonal brew. Pretty much the pumpkin ale with not so much pumpkin. All the same spices basically.

Serving type: bottle

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