Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

449 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 449
Reviews: 176
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.04%
Wants: 19
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 449 | Reviews: 176
Photo of kdog630
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of hwwty4
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Smokestack goblet.

This beer poured a nice reddish brown with a fluffy 3 inch white head that left some seriously sticky white lacing. The aroma is really spicy. Clove, nutmeg, a hint of cinnamon, a just a bit of orange zest are apparent in the aroma. The flavor follows suit with what seems like my wife's hole spice cabinet thrown in. Clove and nutmeg are definitely the most prevalent flavors with orange zest, date and a bit of vanilla. The mouthfeel is quite a bit creamier then what I expected. Absolutely fabulous. This is a good beer, and I'm proud to call Schlafly a "local" brewery.

Photo of naterock
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep Amber in color with a decent head that doesn't lace.

smell is rich malt and brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves. definitely a christmas aroma.

tastes very well blended on flavors, spicy cloves and cinnamon, nutmegy undertones. Rich malt with a slight hop bote in the back.

mouth is thick, oily and very candy-like. medium carbonation and easily drinkable. Way to go Schlafly!

Photo of RickS95
4.95/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Three fingers of thick, fluffy, light beige head. The beer is copper in color and unfiltered...it's simply a gorgeous beer as it sits in the glass.

Lots of spices in the nose, but as the bottle mentions, orange peel and cloves top the list. It smells like a Christmas dessert.

Lots of carbonation in the mouth, almost tingling to the point of refreshment.

With the hops, cloves, orange peel and high alcohol, you'd expect a bitter aftertaste, but this beer is simply too smoooth. The only bitter is the alcohol late, late, late in the finish.

The lacing follows the beer with each sip. This is my 4th or 5th Schlafly's and I'm still waiting for one that's not exceptional. This may be the best beer I've ever had. It's potent at 8% alcohol, but it's terribly smooth so it's highly drinkable. It's a shame it's a seasonal brew.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Wichita this weekend

Pours copper with 3 fingers of tan head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Faint breadyness & cinnamon

T: Pineyness, a bit of biscuitty malt & spruce tips up front. Orange slices, brown sugar, cinnamon, pears & dryness dominate as this warms. Finishes with leafy hops, caramel & dryness

MF: Medium bodied, fairly chewy with low carbonation & good balance

Drinks easy, nice mix of flavors here

Photo of KI9A
4.54/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet, have notes back from the past couple years. Seems like 2007 & 2008 have been really tuned, from the 2006 version.

A: 2008 into a tulip. Hazy copper, lingering tan head, wonderful lace windows.

S: Wow. WOW! Best smell from a beer I ever reviewed. Citrus/orange/malt/cloves.

T: Malt. Hops. Then, orange, nutmeg, cloves. What a wonderful balance these guys have stumbled upon. Might even detect a bit of chocolate at the back.

M: Moderate carb, clean, but a very slight ABV burn afterwards.

D: I can drink this year 'round, but, it is my favorite Christmas brew, hands down. The 8% ABV sneaks up on you, so, be careful. this drinks like a macro lager, and easy to get lost in it.

Fine job, guys!

Cheers & Merry Christmas!

Photo of BCK
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a cheap Rusty Wallace racing Pint glass, haha. After drinking it, I regret that I didn't put it in a better glass.

Nice amber/brown/orange color brew with a nice inch head on it after pouring. Smell of citrus and clove, very nice aroma.

Beautiful taste of Hops, spice and citrus.

Nice smooth beer with lovely hops bite to it and a bit of carbonation.

My favorite Christmas/Winter Ale so far this year and lucky me that it's readily available everywhere I go. I am a newer person to the craft beer population, but Schlafly still has not disappointed me and this one raised the bar for the next.

Photo of BigJim5021
4.12/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sea Bass for sharing this one during a wonderful night of tasting at the Oldsmar Taphouse.

A: Pours a nice light golden hue with tones of amber showing thru. 1/2 finger creamy head with okay retention. No real lace noted.

S: Very green aromas, almost a marijuana type quality. There are hints of spice behind, but not the entire spice rack.

T: Nice sweet malt flavors with a big pine hoppiness for the style. Hints of cinnamon and nutmeg poke thru. I like this one.

M: Medium in body, soft and creamy.

D: Not bad, a nice take on the xmas offering.

Photo of MarzenMan
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/29/2008.

A - Medium sized head on a bright amber beer. Good lacing. The bottle reminds me of old Christmas records. I think they took it off a Kenny Rogers Christmas Record we used to have :). Very....'Christmasy'.

S - Reminds me of Blue Moon because of the orange/citrus and the spice that may be clove but comes across similar to corriander. Some slight alcohol.

T - Wow. This is better than I expected. Some good malty qualities and a nice, but subtle, hop balance. Def. some orange and other spices but not overpowering at all. A little alcohol in the mix. Very nice. Medium body on the tongue.

D - I'd drink it a ton if it weren't for the price tag. I paid 10.50 for a sixer but it does appear to be worth it. This is exactly what I want in a holiday ale.

Photo of Goliath
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of orangemoustache
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a reddish/orange amber with a small cream colored head that leaves a little bit of lace as it slides away to a very thin cap. The nose is spicy and smells of clove, pine cones and some very subtle citrus notes. The malt tastes like a mix of pretzel and ginger snap cookies,with a good amount of sweet/sugary hard candy flavors too. Hops are gentle yet assertive and taste of pine sap and greenery. The mouthfeel is not quite full bodied as label suggests,it is well carbonated and has a interesting dry/musty finish that I can appreciate as character. This could use just a bit more hop or a lot more malt and it could be a classic,still a great brew that captures that holiday feeling in a bottle.

Thanks Pmcadamis and Happy holidays!

Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

Photo of gpogo
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of deepsouth
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer poured a nearly clear amber color.

the smell is of orange and clove and sour fruit. i can also detect pumpkin it seems.

the taste is consistant with the smell with the exception of the BIG hop surprise i got when i tasted it. fantastic.

the mouthfeel is appropriate for the style.

this is a great seasonal beer that i wish i could get on the regular.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shlafly's special offerings usually fare well, but it's the standard beers that sometimes fall short. The experience with this beer leads to a wonderful, light, spicy flavor, but with a lesser body. Opens with a bright copper / orange hue with great clarity, initial head formation that lacked staying power. Spicy aromas of curraco, clove, and giner dominate the modest malt profile. Flavors bring more than just a hint of these spices, but allowing a smooth caramel malt flavor to balance and smoothen. Somewhat dry and thin in the textures, leading to a crisp, grahm-cracker finish. Very nice, drinkable beer, but a more round body would have helped.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Photo of wcudwight
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of birchstick
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark orange color, with a small head

S: it has an orange and hoppy/piney aroma

T: tastes hoppy, gingerey, citrusy, and spicey

M: a little too carbonated, burns a bit going down

D: very good beer, one of the better holiday offerings I have tried

Photo of drseamus
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

Photo of westweasel
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a Sam Adams tasting glass.

The beer poured out thickly, with no splashes. The beer is a hazy copper color with almost no head. The smell is dominated by a malty sweetness, but also contains caramel, oranges, and sweet flowers.

The taste contains caramel, toffee, cinnamon, oranges, and tangerines. It has more of a bitter finish than I expected. It also has a strong carbonic bite.

The mouthfeel is on the high-side of medium, getting close to full. There is also carbonation fizziness on the tongue.

This is a very drinkable Christmas beer. Understated spices, a nice orange flavor, and enough bitterness to make it very palatable.

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
83 out of 100 based on 449 ratings.