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

402 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 402
Reviews: 167
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: 402 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of dropout86
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle with bottled on date: 11/12/2009. Sampled 2 for a fair tasting.

A: Pours a crisp, clean amber to toasted caramel with a dense but short off white head. Very little head retention or lacing.

S: Smells of caramel, subtle oranges, fruit (pumpkin?), vanilla, malt, and clove.

M: Moderately carbonated but not overly so. Light to medium-light body with a syrup backbone. CO2 evaporates halfway through the glass leaving a syrup overload.

T: Front: Mild clove and citrus, toasted malts Middle: Floral hops Finish: metallic, oxidized fruits and vegetables, malt, and alcohol.

D: Drink it cold and drink it quickly on a cold night and you'll enjoy yourself.

I've had better examples of this style but I wouldn't hesitate to drink this again next year, maybe a little fresher or on tap?

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.38/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 02-08-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Golden amber color, 2 fingers of foam with carbonation present throughout the review

S - Just what the bottle says. I can pick up the orange peel and cloves. I get a faint cinnamon aroma but next to nothing regarding any hops

T - Medium bodied but a very smooth citrus malt taste, the spices masked the smell of hops until I had some hop bitterness at the back end. The bitterness did smooth rather quickly

M/D - Another great brew from Schlafly. Smooth medium bodied brew that carried the right amounts of citrus and sweet blended well with spices but over done. A little hop bite at the end but doesn't ruin the experience. A great seasonal from Schlafly that comes highly recommended

Photo of pasdachuri
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice reddish brown with a fluffy 3 inch white head

Lots of spices in the nose that smells like a Christmas dessert.

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. Very Nicely done.

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

The spice and sweet malty character of this beer hide the fact its 8% ABV. I had to consciously pace myself when drinking this six pack as the inviting aromas and solid flavor keep you comin back for more.

Photo of Gehrig
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange with ruby trim and a finger of white foam that recedes a bit too fast for my liking. Strong smell of the advertised orange peel and cloves, unmistakably so, with some caramel malt for structural integrity.

Good taste, good enough to make me wish for a "tweener" grade of 4.25--between good and very good. This is really good--clove and some cinnamon predominate--but orange peel and citrus hops are nicely represented. Delicious, smooth mouthfeel, accessible and easy on the palate.

Schlafly rarely makes beer that wows me and, while Christmas Ale doesn't wow me, it's better than a good many Schlafly offerings I've enjoyed. This is a solid, rather enjoyable Christmas Ale that should please, and deserves a spot in many a fridge over the Holidays.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 11/12/2009. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a mostly clear amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Lacing and head retention are both decent. Aroma is very sweet and spicy, I can smell cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and some ginger. It tastes pretty much the same as it smells, but the clove flavor is the strongest. Also, I think it tastes more spicy than sweet. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and is well carbonated. Drinkability is good, the alcohol in this brew is well hidden. However due to the amount of spice in this beer, I don't think I could drink more than 2 or 3 of these at a time. With that being said, I think this is a good overall brew, and I'll have to pick some more up next year.

Photo of jsh420
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 11/25/09

pours clear amber orange with a 1 finger head that left no lacing

smells very fruity - peach orange some malt - reminds me of a saison

taste - just like the smell big fruity hops and earthy spices with just a little bit of funk

mouthfeel is a light body beer with lots of carbonation that gives it a crisp dry finish

drinkability - for a beer @ 8%abv i sure drank it fast

Photo of bamadog
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to beerman207 for having this as an offering at a recent tasting. Pour is from a bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a coppery color that is just a little light; starts with a short 1/2 finger fluffy white head that fades immediately to a thin and incomplete whisp with a firm ring around the surface; body is clear and shows mild carbonation; no lacing, but there is a clear, oily residue that slides around.

Smell: Fair in potency, I pick up some nice warm cinammon and a slightly sweet malty backing. Not bad.

Taste: A little lighter in flavor than I expected based upon a stronger scent; does hold a light warm cinammon flavor and also a moderate flavor of anise or black licorice; minimal hint of nutmeg. Meh.

Mouthfeel: Body feels a little slippery and loose; mild carbonation that is too mild and it comes across as flat; not impressed.

Drinkability: I give it a 3 because it's not awful, but I would certainly never seek it out - doesn't really compete with the likes of a Bell's Christmas Ale or the Hoppin' Frog Frosted Frog.

Photo of jbone78
2.93/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I know it ain't Christmas no more, but I got theis beer and it needs to be drunk.

A- pours a light amber with a slight haze.
S- has a malty nose and you can start to smell the spices up front.
T- Very malty and a ton o fclove flavors, almost too much. not digging it at all.
M- Sticky, syrup, somewhat thick.
D- Not gonna drink many of these.

-Bye

Photo of kopper65
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color is similar to iced tea, sort of an orangish-brown or copper color. Very little head and not much lacing to speak of, either.

Smell: Spicy with orange, cinnamon and clove, and some maltiness.

Taste: Spicy with malty sweetness. You can really taste the orange peel and cloves right off the bat. Then the cinnamon comes in and finally, some hops. I really enjoy this beer. It is one of my holiday favorites and due to the spicy ingredients that dominate the taste, actually makes me think of Christmas.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied carbonation, which suits this beer just fine. Smooth to watery with a crisp finish.

Drinkability: This beer is meant to be enjoyed during the holidays, and I have no problem with that whatsoever. Although slightly overpowering, and for that reason I like to mix it up with other styles. This also helps with the ABV level of this beer, which, if you're not careful, can take you by surprise.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.
Bottled with love on 11.10.09

Pours a crisp, bright orange-tinted copper with a smallish and fleeting off-white head. Beautiful color, disappointing head retention.

Nose is packed with baking spices, predominately cinnamon and clove. Accompanying is a strong pepper and citrus peel combination that's reminiscent, oddly, of a saison, with a lightly funky earthiness. Spicy, and yet mouthwatering. (Seems to be quite similar to the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, only without the big and bold canned pumpkin note.)

Spicy and fruity on the palate, showing clove-studded orange slices up front. Cinnamon comes in mid-palate, subtle and mild yet relatively easy to pick out, and brings with it a powdery feel, dry and somewhat prickly, as though there was actually powdered cinnamon on my tongue. Finishes with a touch of hoppy spiciness, decidedly differentiated from the cinnamon and clove spice. Relatively short and surprisingly clean finish; a few very faint lingering flavors remain, but only if I look for them.

Not the most unique beer in this general style, nor the most flavorful, but I am favorably impressed.

Photo of brownbeer
2.55/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a coppery color without much head.

Very subdued aroma with subtle spice, a little funk, and candied tangerine.

There isn't much going on as far as flavor, clovey spice and maybe some citrus. The body is smooth but watery. Lacks depth and the 8% is creepy considering how little flavor it has.

I haven't had a beer I liked less than this in a while and I could easily pour it down the drain but i'll finish it. If you're looking for a strong beer without much flavor and a thin body, this might be for you.

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

Pours our a really clean effverscent ice tea color with very little suds. Some lacing.
Smell is very spicy. Fresh corriander and nutmeg/allspice/pumpkin pie. Can't really smell the alcohol here.
Can't taste the alcohol here either. This is very refreshing for a christmas ale. Very spicy and a great balance between bitter and sweet. Hey, this is good and from Schlafly!
Mouthfeel is clean for the most part because of the bitter blackness at the end.
Drinkability is good here is you like the spices.
All in all, a pretty darn good beer.

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

Recieved this from diekia so a big THANK YOU goes out to her!

A: This beer pours a burnt orange color with a 1/4 inch of white head and not much lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is of orange peel, clove, and a hint of malt.

T: Taste is - holy citrus and malt batman! Taste starts with a crazy amount of clove and orange peel. Heavy malt presence comes through with a boatload of sweetness - brown sugar, molasses and honey. Finish has a decent hop presence.

M: Medium body, light carbonation, very dry throughout and a bone dry finish. I've never had a beer finish this dry before.

D: This is a tasty little beer, it's one that you could have one or two, but not sessionable.

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

A nice beer here, says it's brewed with orange peel and cloves. Beautiful color, nice head on it too. Clove definitely comes through in the nose, along with some cinnamon, ginger, and something slightly metallic that's off-putting. The taste follows almost exactly, big gingerbread, clove, and spiced notes. Metallic taste returns, though. MF is medium bodied, not bad, coating. A decent winter beer to enjoy and warm up with.

Photo of jmw141
2.78/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Serving: 12 oz bottle into Rogue Yellow Snow IPA pint glass

A: A clear reddish brown, with a thin off-white head

S: Malty aroma, slight hoppiness, definite ginger, "farmhouse ale" scent as well

T: Sweet all the way through, woody, slightly fruity, very thin (not subtle) flavors that could benefit from being slightly more pronounced, slight orange flavor

M: prickly carbonation, almost undetectable finishing bitterness, watery

D: Drinkable, this is #1 of the 6-pack I bought. This one served after being in fridge for one hour- lets see how it changes at cooler temps.

Overall: 25% through this one I'm not overly impressed. It seems just a bit too cloying for 8.0% ABV.

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

I have had a few Schlafly beers before, and they have all be surprisingly good. This is one of their winter seasonals. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep orange-amber color. Head is very minimal with no lacing.

S/T: The aroma is both fruity and spicy. Hints of toasted malts in there as well. The taste is very unique and unlike any other Christmas Ale I have had. The taste upfront it quite fruity and slightly citrusy, which gives way to a very interesting and complex spicy palate. The spice character is a combination of both traditional Christmas Ale spices and spice commonly found in Belgian style ales. They are very well blended, so it is quite a challenge to pick out specific flavors, however, there is definetly clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg present. The toasted malts also come through in the finish, as well as a bubblegum character. Not the best Christmas Ale, but very different and well worth trying.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Finish is pretty crisp. Very easy drinking beer, but not quite as sessionable as something like Great Lakes.

Schlafly doesn't disappoint with its Christmas Ale. Probably the most fruity of all the Christmas Ales I have had, this is one almost anybody could enjoy.

Photo of Tilley4
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up from the local bottle shop today... A new arrival to our area...

Pours a dark amber appearance with a fluffy creamy head... Very inviting..

The first thing I get off of this is the spices such as the orange peel and cloves along with a big dose of booze... Deep and malty and rather Christmas-like...

Big boozy maltiness that melds into a sweet spiciness from the cloves... At first, I wasn't sure if I liked this but it really opens up as it warms and gets really tasty...

A sipper, for sure... This would be terrific with some gingerbread or fruitcake...a nice seasonal effort from Schlafly...

Photo of Tone
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, amber/red color. Oddly, no head. Smells of strong spice, yeast, slight citrus, and some herbs. Fits the style of a Herbed / Spice Beer. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of spice, herb, slight citrus, and slight yeast. Overall, drinkeable, but a little lacking in body.

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

12 oz bottle into a pint dated 12/4/2008

A - Brown to orangish brown in color - head formation is strong and well retained. Off-white to also brown in color. Hazy.

S - Super spicy with notes of cinnamon and cloves hitting you square in the eyes.

T - Starts off with a light mix of the cinnamon spice and malty sweetness. A hair of bitterness builds which jumps into a nice bite of american hops. Finishes with a big hit of cinnamon and spice - almost a gingerbread cookie - and a big bite of phenolic tones.

M - Full of body - both from the carbonation and from the strong substance of the beer. Not very biting in carbonation. Leaves a sweet film on the tongue.

D - Moderate to low drinkability in my mind - the abv on this beer would sneak up on you big time. The spicy edge makes it a nice after dinner drink. Somewhat filling.

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

2008 Edition

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus creamy tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some cinimmon, nutmeg. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with nice touch of spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, I enjoyed the 08 better. Thanks Tim.

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

2007 Edition

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some cinimmon, nutmeg. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, with nice touch of spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, Thanks Tim.

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 402 ratings.