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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

178 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 178
Hads: 510
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 21.29%
Wants: 21
Gots: 72 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States | website

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: 178 | Hads: 510
Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy dark amber brew. Thick head lasts nicely, with lasting lace. Aroma is a light popourri, ample spicing, but not over the top. Taste is just what the label indicates, a zesty citrus cut with clove. Again, moderate amounts here, not falling for the overdo that many spiced beers do. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with relative easy drinkability. Not the world's biggest spiced beer fan, but this one pulls it off rather well.

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

Christmas in July! That's right, this Christmas Ale is out now.

Anyhow, this brew makes for about a finger and a half thick head that retains decently. The body is hazy and is copper in color.

The aroma is very Christmas like. It seems like a bit of nutmeg, orange rind, tea, and ginger. It seems like there are a lot of different spices used here.

The taste is fruity, kind of in the way of a hot German spiced wine (Gluhwein). There are the nuances of the smell in the taste, along with a hint of cherry.

Mouth feel wise there is plenty of carbonation to make this lively, and the warming feeling in the end is faint for the ABV content, which is a plus for me.

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

I have had a few Schlafly beers before, and they have all be surprisingly good. This is one of their winter seasonals. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep orange-amber color. Head is very minimal with no lacing.

S/T: The aroma is both fruity and spicy. Hints of toasted malts in there as well. The taste is very unique and unlike any other Christmas Ale I have had. The taste upfront it quite fruity and slightly citrusy, which gives way to a very interesting and complex spicy palate. The spice character is a combination of both traditional Christmas Ale spices and spice commonly found in Belgian style ales. They are very well blended, so it is quite a challenge to pick out specific flavors, however, there is definetly clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg present. The toasted malts also come through in the finish, as well as a bubblegum character. Not the best Christmas Ale, but very different and well worth trying.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Finish is pretty crisp. Very easy drinking beer, but not quite as sessionable as something like Great Lakes.

Schlafly doesn't disappoint with its Christmas Ale. Probably the most fruity of all the Christmas Ales I have had, this is one almost anybody could enjoy.

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

12 oz bottle brought back home by a friend who now lives in St Louis.

Pours a dark reddish brown, very clear and a little rising carbonation. Small finger of off-white head that fades quickly to a very light ring of bubbles, not much lacing.

Aroma is nice and spicy, as well as a little sweet.

Tastes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, the citrus from the orange peel, accompanied by a fairly biting piney hop bitterness. Fairly sweet as well, this is kind of an amber ale for the holiday season.

Mouthfeel is crisp and lightly warming, maybe a product of the highish ABV. I can also feel a little warming from the spicing, kind of like the feeling you get from a mouthful of cinnamon, a la Big Red chewing gum.

Drinkability is good, a little high for more than a couple but one I could have a few of on a cold winter's night.

Pretty interesting interpretation of a winter warmer, I like the spiciness and the clean bite added by the hops. Good brew, Schlafly.

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

Bottled on 11-14-2011. Poured into a Duvel tulip. Nearly clear amber body with a touch of red tint. Small, less than one-finger light tan head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves very little lacing.

The aroma starts like a hefeweizen with some bubble gum sweetness and the noticeable orange peel coming through as well. A few other spicy notes follow.

Tastes like a winter warmer-type brew. Sweet start and finish, with some added spices (not yeast) like the coriander coming through. Otherwise, drinks somewhat like a sweet wheat beer with the added spices.

Although the flavor is not off the charts, nothing offends and it is actually very drinkable. For the high abv, there is no real notice of alcohol. I will enjoy this as a dessert beer during the holidays and think it will be a good fit in that role.

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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.

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Photo of threesignificantstarfish
3.99/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Nothing says Christmas like a beer label that says Christmas Ale on it! I mainly just buy this beer around Christmas time because it's like buying egg nog, you just do it. Smell of cinnamon and cloves are my favorite part. Really smooth going down, easy to drink and a good ABV to tolerate the in-laws.

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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.

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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.

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

The beer pours into a Duvel glass a nice clear dark amber, almost brown, color with a 1/2" light tan head that soon recedes leaving a ring of foam, some scattered patches of lacing, an island of foam and a thin film on the liquid. Sipping creates some small scattered patches of lacing.

The aromas include ginger, caramel, cinnamon and some other spices along with a light bready character in the background.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with the mix of caramel malt, spices and sweetness giving the impression of something akin to gingerbread.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and there's a light prickly feeling from the gentle but persistent carbonation. The finish begins about mid-way through after the malt has given way to the spices and the sweetness begins to fade into a nicely dry, slightly bittered finish that invites another sip.

Overall I've enjoyed this as a well made Christmas beer that is now on my "buy for Christmas list," to have again next year. While there is not a strong hop presence the spices play nicely with the malt and they all get a chance to shine.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

A-a ruby color with a thin cream colored head that disappears quickly to leave a ring around the top

S-caramel malt backbone with cinnamon and ginger, kind of smells like a gingerbread cookie

T-caramel malt backbone with lighter spices than in the smell, but still with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg

M-medium body, moderate carbonation, somewhat dry finish

Overall a very attractive looking beer that lives up to it's look, not too sweet, but with enough spices to make it a Christmas beer

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 178 ratings.