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

12 oz brown bottle
"bottled with love on OCT31 2007"
"T'was Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale, 'twas Christmas told the merriest tale..."
-Sir Walter Scott

a: A very hazy orage brown. The white head has good retention and leaves plenty of lacing.

s: Cloves, orange and nutmeg.

t: Malt mixed with spices upfront, but what strikes me is the solid hop presence in the finish. A very tasty Christmas beer, good mix of spices and hops.

m: Full body, very crisp, nice warming feel from the alcohol.

d: Maybe I'm just in the holiday spirit, but this is one of the best winter warmers/holiday beers I've had this season. It isn't too sweet or spiced and allows hops to shine through. I could just be a homer, but this and boulevard's nutcracker ale have really hit the spot this winter.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bort11 for this one.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottled with love on OCT 31 2007.

Pours a somewhat murky rich amber hue with a pillowy one finger off-white head that slowly dies down to a frothy layer of bubbles. Stickiness is decent, bits of lacing on the sides of the glass. Smell is of candy cane, nutmeg, cinnamon, and gingerbread. Good variety of smells, but they seem a bit artificial. Malty caramel malts in the nose as well. Flavor is of fresh spices and clove with a pumkin like taste. What I do enjoy about the flavor is that it's not over-aggressive like many spiced beers are. Subtle hop and malt balance, but they're a bit hidden. The mouthfeel is light to medium with a powerful carbonation. I was hoping this one would be a bit smoother in the mouth. I didn't even check the abv until about half way through the tasting and I was shocked to see the 8%. bort11 gave me two of these, one to try now and one to cellar. Let's see what this one is like in about year. Thanks again Tim.

Photo of beerphilosopher
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gorgous and lively amber red color and produces a nice, bubbly off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer is just slightly hazy, but very rich in color. This beer just looks good. Spotty lacing is left inside the large snifter I'm using for this beer. The nose is the Holidays in a glass. Strong aromas of holiday spices (cloves, cinnamon and citrus). Behind the spicy notes is a very pleasant roasted malt character. Smells festive in every way. The palate doesn't disappoint either - spices up front, intermixed with aggressive floral hops and dominant citrus notes (bitter orange peel, mostly). Due to the liberal use of hops in this beer, you get an over all dry taste with a lot going on in the back of the mouth. The finish is very herbal and citric, without being medicinal or cloying at all. Beautifully crafted. The mouth feel is medium and very fluid. The 8% ABV is well-masked in my opinion, but opens up a bit as the beer warms. I believe this to be one of my very favorite Christmas beers. It's very well balanced, incredibly tasty te. This is a nicely balanced spiced Christmas beer that is quite enjoyable. It's the type of beer I'd hit up for a and a nice departure from the typical winter warmer. For me, the citrus and bold hop presence makes this beer. These characteristics could well be why some won't like this beer, but it's what makes it stand out of the crown for me. Absolutely excellent and one of my favorite beers from Schlafly this year ... and that's saying a lot.

Photo of zeff80
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an orange/burgandy color with a tan, one-finger head that left some soapy lace. It also had a cloudy appearance.

S - It smelled of tons of clove, nutmeg and orange.

T - It tasted of a good deal of spice. It brought a little heat. It tasted a little like a pumpkin pie.

M - It was crisp and sharp. It had a warmth due to the alcohol. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This was a really good beer. It is probably the best herbed/spiced brew that I've ever had.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of Bighuge
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking scarlet red hue. Glows in a way. Pretty hazy. Thin off white head. Sporadic lace is left behind. Nose is very spicy. Get the cloves bigtime. And some orange notes. Caramel malt notes are evident as well. First sip is not bad, which is good because I'm not a big fan of cloves in beer. But it's not overpowering in this one. And the orange notes blend nicely with the crystal malt in this brew. Hops add some nice spiciness as well. Body is about medium to medium-full. Carbonation is appropriate. This is a nicely balanced spiced Christmas beer that is quite enjoyable. It's the type of beer I'd hit up for a 6er or 2 around Christmas if it were available around here.

Thanks Hopsaplenty.

Photo of mntlover
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium amber color with a smaller tan head that falls to a ring not much lace.

Aroma is nice malty caramel mingled with lots of orange citrusy aromas that mingle with spice lots of clove thru out along with cinnamon hints noted. Nice spicy malty brew strange that it smells like popari.

Taste is some caramel malt that is swamped by orange peel, cloves and again with light cinnamon. Decent malt base but loaded up with spice even spicy hops noted. Decent brew probably very nice spice/herb beer as there are plenty of both to go around. Just a little too much for me to say good though.

Mouthfeel in a solid medium with a good mellow level of carbonation noted.

Drinkability is for me not great but its not a bad brew just not something I could see myself drinking lots of. No notice of the 8% at all, very well hidden. Want to thank merlin48 for sending this one my way.

Photo of gpcollen1
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rec'd from Vancer - thanks again...

Poured into an Imperial Pint yielding a dark coppered color brew with a 3/4 inch head, slowly settling down nicely. Aromas mostly of spice - alll across the board. get hints of clove, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. Taste follows through on the nose with a bit of clove and a touch of citrus in the flavor - hints of cardamom on the finish with a bit of hops here and there.

I am a winter/spiced beer fan to an extent. This one is pretty good and I would drink a few if available locally.

Photo of budgood1
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the bottle a glowing and darkish rust colour with a big frothy head that settles to a rocky lace. aroma is a unique combination of orange peels and cloves, just as the label on the bottle states. there is an underlying caramel malt nose and some leathery, soapish notes as well. very festive. i'd say the flavour is malty at first...very rich, candy sweet and warming. then come complimentary spices...more orange and clove...maybe some nutmeg too. all very well within the parameters of a balanced x-mas spice ale. there is a touch of spicy hops that add a welcome bitterness to offset the heavy maltiness and serve well to intermingle with the clove notes and any other peppery (alcohol) nuances that make this beer a very nice x-mas/winter sipper. the body is full and the mouthfeel slippery; sledding down my throat like a toboggan down an ice encrusted hill. very nice. drinkability is great; this could be an all evening sipper beside a fire or a festive quaffer at a holiday soiree. nevertheless...i found it to be a nicely balanced holiday spiced ale worthy of any wintertime quaffing. hard to believe that this is 8.00% ABV.

thanks to my brother who brought this up from st. louis at thanksgiving.

i was saving this for a special occasion...and i think i found one as this evening my wife and i went for a six mile walk in -15 below temperatures on the coldest day of the winter thus far here in northern minnesota and witnessed Comet McNaught. just because we could. gotta love rural living.

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
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!

Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of foureyedgeek
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid it a Dark amber color with tones of copper and red it contains good carbonation. The head is 2 finger thick tan, it fades leaving little lace.

The smell is holiday spice, with thick sweet malt.

The taste follows mild spice, with a hugely sweet over powering malt.

The mouthfeel is OK, nice carbonation but a thick and sticky syrupy body.

The drinkability is ok not bad but a it's a thick heavy brew and not very sessionable.

Thanks to JPM30 & Vancer for this festive Holiday brew. Prosit MK

Photo of shivtim
2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

oops.

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.

Photo of aforbes10
2.05/5  rDev -44.3%
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.

Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear copper amber body is graced by a small beige head that has good retention. Some spotty patch lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is quite spicy with gingerbread, pine cone, cloves, and orange peel.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a solid carbonation. There is a zingy spice bite on the tongue.

Taste is malty and spicy. A toffee tasting malt backbone supports a myriad of spice flavors. Ginger, nutmeg, and clove are most prominent. The orangepeel adds a nice touch and there is a solid pine hops bitterness. The finish is dry with a hot ginger flourish. Hard to believe this is 8%.

A very well done winter warmer. Tasty and interesting but with all the spices I doubt I could finish more than one at a sitting.

Photo of whynot44
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear cinnamon/copper color with a modest off-white headthat shrinks to barely a ring and leaves only hints of lacing.

The aroma is very spicy with citrus and pine notes.

The taste is also heavy on the spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves - toward the middle some caramel malt sneaks in with orange/grapefruit flavors toward the end. The finish is slightly piney with lingering spice notes and some definite alcohol warmth for cool weather enjoyment. This is a lot like their pumpkin ale without the pumpkin and a heavier load of spices.

It would be nice after shovling snow or just for holiday enjoyment. Medium/full bodied, nice mouthfeel and drinkable, but better for sipping. A little heavy on spices for pairing with most food but should be nice after dinner.

Photo of bort11
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass, after a long day of eating turkey. Not a lot of head, leaves a very thin film of lace around the edges. Color is a warm orange-brown, hazy through the center with mild carbonation. Smell is of cloves, very strong and slightly bitter. Taste has a slightly bitter hardwood flavor with various spices mingling around the edges. More of the cloves, a bit of nutmeg. Finishes with some hop notes. Even though it is 8%, it doesn't feel as "warm" as some other winter warmers that are lower in ABV. It is an interesting beer, and one I will enjoy this holiday season. I think this one is better suited for after dinner rather witht he meal.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Photo of rsyberg01
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of karst
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a smaller sniffer that shows off its chestnut amber, low head persistant ring. A fireside beauty!
Cinnamon, clove, and sweet caramel meets the nose at the taproom with all its competing aromas. Malts don't dominate but easily support the spices that give a gingerbread impression to the palate.

Well balanced with alcohol and IBUs easily handling sweet malts and dextrins that provide a nearly full mouthfeel. Still young but very nice as winter approaches. Pleasing carbonation that allows sipping without going flat.
Alcohol very nice and although apparent very nice in that it overall supports what the brewer is doing.

Hats off to Steve Hale and the rest of the Schlafly brewers.

Photo of jokelahoma
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very bright and clear amber, with minimal head. Very nice looking beer.

Spices come through nicely in the nose. Not exactly pumpkin pie, but very "country kitchen"-like, with a good deal of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and a bit of citrus. A touch of sweet caramel adds to the complexity. Very, very, appetizing!

A bit of fruity sweetness up front, followed almost immediately by the spices. Note this doesn't taste hoppy. I'm getting no perceptible hop flavor. But there's bitterness here to balance the sweetness. The clove really comes through in the flavor, giving it a spicy burn that I found very appealing. Almost a cinnamon roll flavor, but nowhere near as sweet. Unsweetened cinnamon rolls? Nah... not even sure if there's cinnamon in this. But it is spiced nicely, and tastes very good.

The mouthfeel is well done as well. Not watery, but you don't have to shew it, as you do some winter beers. That makes this one a lot easier to drink than many others.

Overall, I found this to be surprisingly good. Easy to drink, with nice "holiday" spiciness that is balanced by the sweetness of the malt. I could drink many of these, I'm sure. Nicely done!

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