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Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

169 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 169
Hads: 464
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 21.35%
Wants: 20
Gots: 55 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 169 | Hads: 464
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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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. brown bottle, bottled with love on 25Oct2006.

The label included this quotation from Sir Walter Scott: “Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale, ‘twas Christmas told the merriest tale…”

Clear, burnished amber. Short persistent head of loose, small tan bubbles punctuated by steady columns of carbonation. The head falls to a thin skim leaving a few spots of foam. Sweet orange and spicy clove aromas are brushed with the smallest hint of spicy hops. Orange peel, more fleshy than rind meshes with a strong clove presence that finishes with more cloves lingering a long while. There is a modest amount of toasty malt, but it is dominated by cloves and orange. Medium body that feels thin at times, the carbonation is fine bubbles. Relatively singular in its spice focus, I would have enjoyed a wider flavor range and a slightly bulked up body.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a clear orange copper, with a finger high tan creamy head building. It dissipates into nice lacing.
The nose is spice, nutmeg, coriander, caramel.
Tasting the beer, I feel this heavy dose of winter spices, which I feel overpowering in this beer. But than again, I assume that this is what winter ale is supposed to be like.
The beer is medium bodied and has a good malt backbone. The hops are in the shadow of the spices, which does this beer no good.
Maybe I will take from winter brews for a while.,

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Photo of chinchill
3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz 2013 bottle served in a goblet.

Body is dark red-brown with excellent clarity. Head has decent retention.

Smells and tastes like a spicy brown ale. The spice mix seems odd and not entirely appealing in the nose, but works better in the taste.
The spicing, while obvious and a bit strong for some ales, is not so powerful as to mask the caramel and medium roast malts used in this ale. Still, seems a bit too spicy and slightly too sweet

Medium body with medium carbonation..

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Photo of rangerred
3.34/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with abundant carbonation leading to a long-lasting head with plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma at first strikes me as soapy but farther along there is some cinnamon and clove along with honey. Maybe just a light touch of pine. All of it is a bit light, though.

The flavor closely resembles the nose with the spices equally light. Cinnamon and clove once again dominate but they just don't really have any staying power. Gingerbread seems to be a lingering quality with a silky and spritzy mouthfeel. Thankfully the sweetness is held in check with just a brief shot of alcohol towards the finish.

Overall, a very standard Christmas ale that is pretty drinkable. For me, though, I prefer something a bit heartier that packs a bigger punch in this style.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

ST: 12oz poured into a pint glass. Bottle lists BOD but does not list ABV.

A: Reddish amber with a slight-off white half a finger fluffy head. The beer is very clear with steady carbonation. It leaves average lacing, and the head retention is okay.

S: The clove and orange are very noticeable. There is also some malt and some lemon from hops.

T: Sweet malt with orange and clove along with some bubblegum and spice on the finish from hops. There is slight warming alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium and smooth.

O: The alcohol is blended very well in this beer, but it loses points in a few areas. For a winter seasonal, this beer is a bit too light. It is also on the sweeter side. While the hops are there, the sweetness of the orange combines with the malt to create a beer that can be a bit of a toothache. The warming alcohol at the end does help, but the beer almost reminds me of sweet and sour sauce. This beer screams of fruitcake (which is not the best association).

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Photo of chilly460
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy amber with orange tones. Two finger head with decent retention, some spotty lacing.

S- Plenty of spicing as expected, get cloves predominantly, with cinnamon and orange peel coming through. Backed up with sweet caramel malts, and some warming alcohol.

T- Light pale malts form the bod of tasts, with some orange peel sharpness coming through. Transfers to the cloves and cinammon that I picked up in the smell. A bit of white pepper gets in at the end. Bit of grassy hops at the end.

M- Thought this was pretty nice, smooth and a bit chewy.

D- Nice solid winter seasonal, flavors are balanced and appropriate.

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours about the color orange of an orange Christmas bulb, glowing from the glass. Pours with a head that dies immediately. Strangely audibly effervescent too - jumps right out of the glass.

Characteristic holiday spices, but they're fairly muted here. You really have to search to find them.

Holiday spicy on the tongue, with gestures of cloves, cinnamon, and greenery - like noshing on a bowl of holiday spirit.

Decent in the mouth, as the cloves stick around most prominently, holding at the back of the tongue.

A drinkable holiday brew, but nothing exceptional.

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Photo of paxchristi
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap into snifter at Schlafly Bottleworks in Spring 2011.

Appearance: Pours reddish copper with about 2.5 fingers of tan head. Lacing and fairly tenacious head retention.

Smell: Biscuity cinnamon, ginger, pine, and a bit of orange peel. A lot going on but done very thinly in intensity.

Taste: its a spicy brew though it is a bit more underwhelming than what I had anticipated. Its held together nicely, but it does what many Schlafly beers do and have good balance with their flavors but to a lowest common denominator of intensity. Nose is like taste. There are some earthy hops and a sweet pear in there somewhere.

Mouth: Chewy, warm, and low carbonation.

Overall: I really was underwhelmed by this one, sadly enough. I had high expectations, but it seems to succumb to the lowest common denominator again. If I find it on tap again, I might try it again. But there are so many other fall ales that they have leftover by the time its around that it will probably get washed over by the fall leftovers and the spring releases. Give it a shot though if you find it. Not anything to rearrange your life over.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

poured into a snifter

A: An opaque cherry color. A tan one-finger head that dissipates fast. Frothy lacing.

S: Cinnamon, cloves, allspice. Biscuity malts.

T: Follows nose with a festive flavor. Caramel, sweet with a spicy finish.

M: Thin with a kinda watery carbonation. This is what ruined it for me. I miss the robustness from the Pumpkin ale.

O: Disappointed. Wanted to like it. But just too thin. Add some robustness and you have my vote.

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to AlCaponeJunior for the opportunity to try this one.

A: Burnt orange/amber with thin, off-white head.

S: Spices, yeast, maybe a little of the orange peel that was mentioned on the label. Can pick up a little hoppiness when it warms. Pretty good.

T: Nutmeg, cloves and a general spiciness kind of dominate. There is a hoppy bitterness in there that I quite like.

M: I really like the mouthfeel here. Spicy, bitter, a little dry. Alcohol warming. In my opinion, the highlight of the beer.

D: For me, this would probably be a one and done.

Pretty good beer that I think a lot of folks would enjoy, but not something that I would typically seek out.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, bottled on 10-28-2008, with a nice classy-looking Christmas label.

Appearance: A vigorous pour produces a pretty burnt orange/amber beer with some very fine sediment in suspension. This beer has very high, cascading carbonation (quite pretty) and an off-white head with great retention.

Smell: Sweet, spicy, and very "Christmas-y." This is somewhat like their pumpkin ale, in truth, minus the pumpkin aromas themselves. There are strong notes of clove, delicate but aggressive spicy/piney hops, and bitter orange peel. It's kind of like Christmas in a glass. Quite nice.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness, backed by a whallop of clove spiciness and a bit of spicy piney hops as well. It's definitely sweet across the palate, but ends with a small hop kick and a somewhat dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, a bit prickly from the high carbonation levels.

Drinkability: It's fairly tasty, but almost a little bit overpowering in the spice. I usually find myself picking up one or two of these a year in a mix-a-six...but a sixer might be a little over the top. I'm curious to see what a little aging might do to this.

Conclusion: Not a bad winter beer, and I like the balance between malt sweetness and hops (a lot of spiced beers seem to have little to no real hop presence) but at the end of the day the spices are just a little overwhelming for this to be truly great.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a clear medium copper amber color with a slight off white 1 finger head. The aroma is a a muted, subtle citrus and spice of cinnamon. The taste is a lot more flavorful than the nose with a sweet gingerbread like start along with sweet citrus. Fairly malty. Medium mouthfeel. Ends with a slight bitterness. Overall, this is a decent drinking beer. The booze is only slightly noticeable.

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Photo of kdog630
3.47/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Much more flavor and aroma than I've come to expect from a Schlafley offering. The spices are very apparent in this darker beer. Not much head on this glass but the tender worked to get it pretty full. Still, there was some lacing occurring as I drained the glass.

Very spicy. Hints of cinnamon, clove, and maybe some allspice. Mouthfeel was average (or above average for a Schlafley) as was the drinkability. Maybe if it had been a little warmer in more of a snifter or tulip style glass, I might have enjoyed it more.

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Photo of siege06nd
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass...

A: Mostly clear copper color. This beer has a thin quarter-finger ring of very crisp white head resting on top. Pretty good lacing on the sides. Solid retention.

S: Allspice, cinnamon, some clove, and orange citrus. Not a lot of complexity in this bouquet. Smells a lot like a gingerbread cookie....

T: ...and tastes a lot like a gingerbread cookie. Lots of cinnamon, allspice, clove, and even a little bit of caramel. A bit of an odd tang on the mid and the finish detracts from this one a touch. Tastes a little bit like orange or lemon rind, possibly hops. It emerges just as the palate is settling into the bolder and heartier spiced notes and is somewhat disruptive to the flavor profile.

M: This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate carbonation. Maintains a pretty good lightness considering the 8.0% ABV. Main problems are the spices being somewhat overwhelming (my tongue was scorched by this one) and that odd metallic tangy flavor that shows up for a split second on the mid. Decent overall.

O: Drinks like a lesser version of Great Lakes Christmas Ale. It's a spice bomb without a lot of complexity or character. Goes down easy like Sunday morning and is almost as forgettable as that one girl you hooked up with in college after 20 games of beer pong. It's certainly not bad, though, and holds its own with most of the entries in the "let's drink clove and call it a Christmas Ale" category.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying the Schlafly Christmas Ale this evening and the beer pours a mostly clear amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Lacing and head retention are both decent. The scent is very sweet and spicy, I can smell cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and some ginger. It tastes pretty much the same as it smells, but the clove flavor is the strongest. Also, I think it tastes more spicy than sweet. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and is well carbonated. Overall, it can be a tough beer due to the amount of spice in this beer, I don't think I could drink more than 2 or 3 of these at a time.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color with a healthy white head. Smells of allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Smooth rolling body. Caramel malt with a touch of soapiness on the front end. Creamy and big. Finishes with a pumpkin pie like spice flavor much like their pumpkin ale but not as good and with a bit of a drier rather than sweet flavor. Good with deceptive alcohol but its similarities to schlafly pumpkin are too apparent and this beer just isn't as good as the pumpkin

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Brewed with orange peel, cloves, and spicy hops.

A: Dark coppery-penny coloring shows a fine mist of effervesce within. A bready, buff head sits atop moderately before succumbing to a slight creamy covering. Lacing is minimal, a few splashes adore the glass at best.

S: No doubt about the cloves, spicy cinnamon and cola are also there. The dried orange peels is also fairly dominant. Very xmasy, fresh pine, gingerbread and sweet baked sugar cookies.

T: Dominant orange peel first arrives on the flavor, along with sweet baked cookie malt. Pine and ginger closely mirrors the nose. Spicy hops, golding like, with some honey pine. A dusting of dry caramel malt residue covers the tongue on the swallow.

M: spicy and gingerly, dry caramelized malt dusting residue sits on the tongue. Enough carbonation to give this some feel without distraction.

O: Overall a lot of spicy xmas nature here. Sweet and festive and blends rather nicely together. It is what it is a xmas beer, limit of one is fine.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to rsyberg01 for the offering.
Pours a hazy amber color with orange hues. 1/2" khaki head recedes to puddles of fizz. Tight ring of lace clings to the top of the beer.
Orange peel is very prominate. Some clove, and spice.
Candied sugared malt backbone is supported with a bold spiciness that is not overdone. Again orange peel being the most prominate. Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. This beer is a sipper and I'm suprised to look up and see that it's 8% abv as I don't detect any alcohol.

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Photo of AuntBea
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I was expecting more spiced flavor from this beer since it is a Christmas beer. I like Bell's Christmas Ale better but, when this beer is really cold it tastes better. A nice head of foam when you pour and a beautiful color in the glass.

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Photo of chodinheaven
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Nice color, has a short-lived head that dissapates into no head at all in a few seconds.

S: orange and fruity aromas. Malty behind that.

T: Also fruity but bitter first with an alcohol finish. Not quite balanced perfectly.

M: Carbonation is high and alcohol is present, but neither is overwhelming

D: I probably won't have more than one in a setting. I think it loses its effect after one, but definitely worth a try

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Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.