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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

340 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 340
Reviews: 156
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 12
Gots: 15 | 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: 340 | Reviews: 156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Goliath
4/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Goliath, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of orangemoustache
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
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!

orangemoustache, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

pmcadamis, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.1/5  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.

Monkeyknife, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Dogbrick, Oct 09, 2008
Photo of gpogo
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

gpogo, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of deepsouth
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

deepsouth, May 08, 2008
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.1/5  rDev +12%
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.

barefootbrewer, Apr 15, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

BEERchitect, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

barleywinebrewer, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of wcudwight
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

wcudwight, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of birchstick
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
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

birchstick, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of drseamus
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

drseamus, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of westweasel
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

westweasel, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.88/5  rDev +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.

BradLikesBrew, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

BeerTruth, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of beerphilosopher
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

beerphilosopher, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

zeff80, Aug 30, 2007
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

brewdlyhooked13, May 09, 2007
Photo of Bighuge
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Bighuge, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  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.

mntlover, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of gpcollen1
3.73/5  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.

gpcollen1, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of budgood1
3.68/5  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.

budgood1, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

hopsaplenty, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
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!

GeoffRizzo, Jan 04, 2007
Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
83 out of 100 based on 340 ratings.