1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

397 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 397
Reviews: 165
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 18
Gots: 32 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 397 | Reviews: 165 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alleykatking
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Photo of mountdew1
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of obywan59
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of tigg924
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, hazy, orange-brown in color

Smell: toasted malt, cinnamon, caramel, and clovess

Taste: lots of caramel malt, cinnamon, caramel, and a touch of earthy hops in the middle

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied, medium carbonation, very sweet and spicy with a slight bitter jump in the middle

Drinkability: A nice and malty holiday treat where the alcohol really sneaks up. The combination of spices is good. A sipper that is one I will revisit.

Photo of bnes09
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber ale with thick white head. Head sticks around in a thin blanket with some lace patching.

Smooth aromas of whole grains, caramel, spices, citrus fruits and mild alcohol flood the nose and lure me in.

Diverse flavor profile. Caramel malt sweetness with a touch of wheat. Semi-assertive citrus hop bitterness. Orange. Nutmeg. Mild alcohol warmth. All in balance.

Brawny medium-bodied with good carbonation and a crisp and semi-dry finish.

This is a solid winter seasonal. Seems to warm with each sip. Plenty of complex and interesting flavors that blend well together. One of the best brews yet from Schlafly's.

Photo of kbutler1
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Photo of bum732
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Fruitcake like, clove, oranges, ginger, fruity hops, slightly caramel malt, some spiciness, spices are dominant.

L: Brilliant burnt orange, decent carbonated head that dissipates to a light dusting.

T: Spicy rich caramel and melanoinden malt. Some orange peel and slightly spicy hoppy bitterness. Finishes quite sweet with some hoppy leafiness.

M: Medium-full body, medium carbonation.

Ok beer spices are a bit much, they really clash with the malt. Kind of messy.

Photo of titosupertramp
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours a clear red with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is awesome. Loads of cloves, oranges, hint or 2 of cinnamon. Now that's a spicy brewski.

The taste follows the nose for the most part. Big cloves, oranges, spiciness from the hops, but no apparent taste of any cinnamon. This is a very tasty Spiced beer indeed.

Medium describes the body and carbonation...very smooth mouth feel and it's a pretty easy drinker. Nicely done.

Photo of chodinheaven
3.5/5  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

Photo of smcolw
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good starting head that settles quickly but leaves some decent spotty lace. The color is darker amber and appears to be perfectly clear.

Aroma: Lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet molasses. There's a some lesser clove and alcohol smell.

Starts off spritzy and malty. It transitions into white peppery spice. The aftertaste is very dry and the alcohol warms the throat. Relatively thin body but this may be from the high carbonation.

Photo of JToad
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12oz of this for around $2.50.

Poured into my DFH glass a clear blood red orange, the color of Ice Tea. Minimal head with a thin white line of lacing.

Smell is not to overpowering. Malt with faint hops, some cloves and maybe ginger.

The entire flavor profile is on the back end. Ginger and cloves, some all spice and slight cinnamon round out the nice hop profile. Very smooth, if almost uneventful.

Very solid brew, with great carbonation. It's well made and simple, yet some nice flavors hidden if you dig deep enough. A perfect Christmas brew to have with a nice turkey dinner. Enough alcohol to get you a warm buzz, but not a sipper either. Could easily drink a sixer of this, which would be dangerous, given the 8 ABV.

Photo of mikey711
2.95/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: a light brown color with very good clarity. not much head or hold making it almost look like a soda.

S: brown sugar, caramel, toffee, a slight peppery note, some herbal zesty hops. some pine notes.

T: Peppery with some pine tree notes. hints of cinnamon and all spice. lots of brown sugar and a touch of nut meg. the spices arent all that powerful but the all spice note sticks out the most and overwhelmed at times

M: Slightly hot and a bit chalky due to the spices. i would have liked a bit more of a creamy feel

D: Not my favorite of this style but a nice one to try. glad i did not buy a six pack

Photo of bbkd3b
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always kind of perk up when I come across a new Schlafly brew. As one of the few dependable Missouri breweries, I have a strange sort of pride for the company. Way to represent the midwest!

A - Comes out with a clear, copper tone, very orange-golden. Prety color, but the head is 1-finger, thin, and white... retention isn't great at all. Almost no lacing, but a fair amount of carbonation leaves me wondering why.

S - Spices and floral hopiness, mostly. They're backed up by an attractive orange peel scent, and a trace of sweetness. Not bad at all.

T - It's like the nose in flavor-form. There's a degree of peppery spiciness, and definitely a nice citrus twist in there. I don't know how "Christmasy" it is, but it isn't a bad flavor. At the back end, as it warms, a good kick of bitter hoppiness shows good depth and a gives the beer an entirely new character. Nice little trait for a beer.

M - Light-bodied and sharp on the tongue. When it's cold the first swig is almost hard to taste, but as it warmed it became a much better feel on the tongue. I have a feeling I should've let this warm before I gave it a try.

D - Great beer at a bit warmer temperature, and because of that, it's easy to drink a few and let the flavors get even better. It's a bit pricier than the usual Schlafly affair, though. Probably will finish the six pack before long.

Overall/notes - The word dependable is appropriate. I've never had a brew from this company that floored me, but I've also never had one that disappointed. This fits just in that mold, and once again, I have a another variety of beer to enjoy. Worth tasting, but I recommend letting it warm a bit if you don't have a true beer fridge or cellar (like me).

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a basic tumbler glass. Aroma is primarily orange and clove - not surprising considered those spices are used in the brewing of the beer. First taste yields a surprising amount of bitterness followed by a hefty and clear amount of alcohol warmth. Heavy handed carbonation keeps things from getting overpowered. Graham cracker sweetness starts up front, giving way to a cinnamon bitterness. Reminds me of their Pumpkin Ale, though with a slightly different spicing regimin. If I had to choose between the two I'd go with the Pumpkin, though this certainly isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. The high alcohol and heavy spicing make this one a bit tougher to drink however.

Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/17/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in Washington, DC.

a - Pours a amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of cinnamon, cloves, spices, and fruity malts.

t - Tastes same as the smell with cinnamon and spices, fruity malts, and then also some graham crackers and bready malts.

m - Medium body, very smooth, low carbonation.

d - A pretty decent spiced beer, I enjoyed the taste a little more than the smell. Would be willing to try again.

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

Actually looks like the 2009 release, an extra from great trader Brian44556...Thanks mate, and cheers...Pours a rusty amber. Two to three-fingers of marshmallowy head adorn this-a-here brew. Sheets of pleasant lacing fall down the glass like snow. Good carbonation. Actually a beautiful looking beer so far. Huge, robust aromas. I get a lot of interesting notes. Yes, some orange peel. Yes some clove. But the nose is more and better than the sum of the parts. It comes off also having an egg nog note to it, as well as some banana. Sweet smelling and very robust. Wow on the flavor...This is more than I expected. A blizzard of sweet, malty, egg-nog like flavors burst over you. Truly amazing, as I expected a much maltier, more effervescent beer given the carbonation and typical versions of the style. Carbonation actually helps to subdue these Winter flavors and balance it out nicely, otherwise they might be cloying. The initial burst of flavor slowly fades into a nice, malty middle that features a lot of banana flavor, and closes out with a orange peel/hop melding of flavors that lasts a while. This is actually an exceptionally good beer. Very tasty and highly surprising to me. The only flaw appears to be a weird bitterness in the finish, but it's a minimal flaw to be sure. I can only assume this beer is well-priced, and I'm going with that assumption. I would definitely suggest trying to tracj down this wonderful and unique version of the style.

What I like most: Pretty much everything, but mostly the robust, unique and expressive flavor profile upon first taste.

What I like least: The pithy, off bitterness in the finish.

Verdict: Really excellent and wonderful beer. Worth tracking down.

Photo of drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is brown and clear with almost a reddish hue to it and a thin head that forms a halo around the edge of the glass. Beer is lightly carbonated and leaves very little evidence in the form of lacing that it was ever there.

Aroma is spicy, almost like cloves and cinnamon. Eh...

Beer is light in body and sweet at the lead off and finishes with a light cinnamon flavor in the background. It's nice, not a great beer in my opinion but a drinkable one. The spices aren't terrible, its just an average beer.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Churchkey. Served in a snifter.

Pours a light bronze color with only a half finger of head to start out with and that doesn't last all that long. There is a light ring a foam around the edges of the glass for some time. The nose is quite muted, not something I'd expect from a Christmas ale. As it warms, there's just a hint of light spicing with a bit of cinnamon.

The taste is a bit more pungent and the mild spices are fairly tame and well-distributed. At the same time, the beer is completely one dimensional and I'm not sure I'm enjoying that dimension all that much. Light cinnamon and some ginger are what I pick up as well as a bit of light malt. The spicing is nice on the medium body. This is a fairly-drinkable winter brew, but it's not all that special in the end.

Photo of TheSarge
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas in July! That's right, this Christmas Ale is out now.

Anyhow, this brew makes for about a finger and a half thick head that retains decently. The body is hazy and is copper in color.

The aroma is very Christmas like. It seems like a bit of nutmeg, orange rind, tea, and ginger. It seems like there are a lot of different spices used here.

The taste is fruity, kind of in the way of a hot German spiced wine (Gluhwein). There are the nuances of the smell in the taste, along with a hint of cherry.

Mouth feel wise there is plenty of carbonation to make this lively, and the warming feeling in the end is faint for the ABV content, which is a plus for me.

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 17 Apr 2010

Poured in a 512 One snifter. Small off white head. Almost flat. Oily ruby brown color. Smells of banana bread and lots of clove. Tastes like clove blended with ethanol. Sweet, oily and spicy. Finish is a bit tart and spicy (clove), with banana and just a touch of orange zest. Ethanol is quite warming, so is the clove. Did we mention the clove? Becomes a bit more fizzy as it warms (probably an effect of the cloves). Aftertaste is warming and a bit bitter, somewhat clovey. Medium (clove) body.

Spicy, but hard to place a finger on what spice they might have used.

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

A - Pours a crystal clear dark amber color with minimal head and retention. Although the head is small there still is a little soapy lacing on the side of the glass.

S - This is a heavily spiced Xmas beer. Big time cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. There is a nice malt base and very little hops present.

T - Sweet upfront with the cinnamon and nutmeg doing most of the work. It fades to a sweet malt backbone. Not as well balanced as I would like but there is something there to balance the sweetness.

M - Carbonation is on the high side and gives the beer a little chewiness that is needed.

D - Although this is April this is still drinkable. However, it really hits the spot on those cold winter nights as the 8% can warm you up a little.

Photo of rrski198
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a case today at the bottleworks in Maplewood for $26. They stated that some of there special release comes back if it doesn't sell before they roll out the next release. In this case that would have been the Extra Irish Stout. I will wait outside daily for the stout to come back.

A: This mirrors a red ale. Big off white head with moderate lacing. Dark red and amber hues. Beautiful

S: Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, alcohol.

T: I get all the same tastes as smells with a nice balance of hops. This beer is nicely balanced. Alcohol comes through a little more than i would prefer.

M: Cleaner feel in the mouth. Despite a 8% ABV, its not heavy at all. The clove flavors linger long after the sip. Its in the back of my mouth, still.

D: I could have maybe two at a time. This is a very good beer, but due to the "Holiday" flavors, I wouldn't put down 4 or 5. Worth the money for sure.

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 397 ratings.