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Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

342 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 342
Reviews: 156
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 12
Gots: 16 | 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:
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 added by: hopsaplenty on 11-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 342 | Reviews: 156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Re-review from the 2011 batch, bottled.

Amber colored and clear, with a 1.5 finger head and good lacing, a little stickier this year.

I smell malts, bready and toasty, spices (plenty of nutmeg and cinnamon), and a slightly grainy aroma. A bit odd but not bad smelling at all.

Tastes again like I expect from this type of brew. Spices come out strong but not too strong, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and pepper all come to mind. A malty backbone is accented with a little hops and citrus. Alcohol could be concealed a bit better, still slightly noticeable.

Feels warming and tangy due to the spices and alcohol.

Pretty good but not the best of the winters/holiday treats that are available.

AlCaponeJunior, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Pintofbrown
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this into a tulip glass.

Appearance- The body is an auburn-copper with a couple slow columns of CO2 in the clear glass. The orange-tinged, white head was tiny; it only managed to leave a ring around the inside of the glass.

Smell- I can definitely smell nutmeg on the nose, it is the spiciest spice in here. There's also a slight hop quality coming through. Most like a grassy hop.

Maybe a litte biscuit malt is implied, but it is hard to tell. Not really that big, or as fun as it should be for the spices it was brewed with.

Taste- The flavors are better than the nose, and actually beefs up what could hardly be detected by giving a sniff. There is lots of spice that is backed up by a biscuit malt that really smooths this out.

Mainly I am getting nutmeg, maybe just a little cinnamon, even some sweet ginger. However, all the flavors work very well together and make quite a drinkable beer.

Mouth feel- This part of the beer is also great. The body is a lighter medium, but it is really smooth. Maybe the body could fill the mouth a little more, but other than that, this is done very well.

Overall- A beer that does not start out very promising by the way it looks and smells, but it really kicks it into gear on the palate and with the mouth feel. The best holiday ale I have had yet!

Pintofbrown, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of EmergingZymurgy
2.2/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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

EmergingZymurgy, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of DCon
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Schlafly Tap Room in St. Louis, MO for $4.25. Tapped from the Plain Black/Silver tap handle w/o a Label on it into a 12oz Snifter Glass.

Aroma- The aromatics are very tough to pick out in this one... Very strong hops are around, a bit of caramel, and then a booziness that may be too much. Zesty and bit of orange peel? Good all around.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger head that dies almost immediately. Has the darkest orange colored body you can get but then is very clear. Leaves good lacing behind.

Flavor- Very sweet starting and then the nice orange peel and zestiness come into play again. Little bit of booze hits the mouth throughout and has medium hops involved.

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Strong malts, and viscous... Not much to say here on the mouthfeel but this is my meal tonight?

Overall Impression- Not an easy one to drink! I would say you could have your 12 ounces of this and then can call it a night. More of a Night Cap. Go for it if available but only buy a 6-pack of this if your with 5 other guys. Not one to be enjoyed one after the other. You'll see what I mean!

DCon, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of longbongsilver
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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

longbongsilver, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of ortie
3/5  rDev -18%

ortie, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of jar2574
2.65/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

Smells of anise, cinammon, cider, and malts.

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

jar2574, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
5/5  rDev +36.6%

mdvatab, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of dav
1/5  rDev -72.7%

dav, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of DoctorB2B
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

DoctorB2B, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Amyliz4
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Amyliz4, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Illtryit
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a full three finger head. Off white. Great retention and lacing. Deep amber beer.

smells spicy and sweet. Cloves.

Tastes is all spice. This actually reminds me a little of Schlafly Pumpkin ale a bit. A little heat at the end. I can taste the alcohol just a bit.

For all the flavors this beer has it doesnt carry allthat much body. Kind of light actually. Plenty of character though.

I dig this. But I think it worth mentioning again...this really reminds me of their pumpkin ale. Good beer. Drink it!

Illtryit, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of ScreamForMe
4/5  rDev +9.3%

ScreamForMe, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of seth72104
2/5  rDev -45.4%

seth72104, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev +9.3%

UncleJimbo, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ight brown pour fills the glass and leaves a nice and very sustainable top of light fizze head that gives it some nice depth.

the aroma is a very big blend, a kitchen since, or spice rack if you will as i am picking up copious notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, ample apple notes, brown sugar and touches of light citrus. at first you would not think this would work, but hell yeah it does. as i take the first sip I am struck by how well this is working for me. really nicely put together with light body that is crisp, clean and does wonders for keeping the large amount of flavor in check. starts with a healthy dose of citrus like flavors that roll into a spiced brown sugar and ends with a nutmeg and cinnamon led charge of nice spiced, holiday like flavor.

mikesgroove, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of paxchristi
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

paxchristi, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of Boto
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle: This one pours a cloudy amber color. There was a big frothy head on it that took a little while to recede. Leaves a little lacing. Nice aroma. A little lighter, but definitely Christmas: clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Maybe a hint of orange. Taste if pretty good. Malt, clove, cinnamon, a touch of orange and pine. This is actually just a touch bitter, with just a hint of sweetness to start. Lots of hops to balance the malts. A decent winter beer.

Boto, Jul 15, 2011
Photo of DefenCorps
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

DefenCorps, May 15, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes 2/25/11

A: Poured a clear ruby/copper color. Small one finger white head with poor retention and no lacing.

S: Lots of spice, mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. A little bit of orange peel.

T: Very similar to the nose, but more pronounced. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, but by far the most dominant flavor is bubble gum.

M/D: Light bodied with good carbonation and quite smooth. A pretty good beer, but had high hopes after trying their pumpkin beer in the fall, which was amazing.

mdaschaf, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for this bottle.

A- Pours a light hazed amberish orange color. Two finger head shows low retention. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass...nothing else.

S- Spicing on this beer does come through a lot with cloves being the leader. Undertones of cinnamon and orange peel act as a nice buffer between the caramel malts and medium alcohol tingling the nose. Didn't get any hops in the nose but it really wasn't too important.

T- Light toasted malts with a nice orange peel upfront. Clove comes out as well in the front of the beer but no real other spicing besides light pepper notes here and there. Caramel malts in the middle of the beer. Medium alcohol flavor with some light bitter earthy hops in the ending of the beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Clove and caramel malts are left on the palate. Aftertaste is bitter hops, big alcohol warming notes, and spicing linger for awhile. Flavors were kept in check with other flavors so none were over the top. No off flavors were present in the beer. Medium alcohol drying on the palate.

D- A nice spiced winter seasonal beer. The flavors were well balanced but the aroma at times seemed to be a little muted. The ABV is present toward the ending of the beer but only for a second or two. Would love to try this stuff again....I think a little fresher bottle will do this beer a little more justice.

alleykatking, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Rhettroactive, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of mountdew1
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark golden amber. Head was a very thin off white that didn't last at all, in fact never really formed. Aroma was a tad sweet, but also spicy. Cloves and a hint of citrus as well. Taste was fruity, with some bubblegum as well. Hint of hops. Felt ok in the mouth, coated well, but perhaps a bit over carbonated. A different take on a winter seasonal that was a very solid sipper.

mountdew1, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

CuriousMonk, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of obywan59
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours thinly into my pint glass. 2+ finger whitish head recedes quickly almost to nothing leaving some light spotty lacing. Transparent orange-amber in appearance with a few carbonation bubbles.

This beer has some definite spice in the aroma. Cloves especially, but followed by a bit of orange or orange peel.

Some sweet malt upfront Followed by a rising bitterness. Cloves in the middle. Bitterness hangs on till the end. For me it's not the spices that are too much, but it seems like the bitterness of the orange peel clashes with the hops.

Moderate mouthfeel. Some light stickiness retained in the mouth. Minimal bite. Rather potent alcohol burn. It seemd lighter at first.

Decent drinkability. What with the sweet spiciness and the alcohol, it kind of reminded me of a Belgian.

obywan59, Jan 25, 2011
Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
83 out of 100 based on 342 ratings.