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Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

167 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 167
Hads: 451
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 7.01%
Wants: 18
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 167 | Hads: 451
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, bottled on 10-28-2008, with a nice classy-looking Christmas label.

Appearance: A vigorous pour produces a pretty burnt orange/amber beer with some very fine sediment in suspension. This beer has very high, cascading carbonation (quite pretty) and an off-white head with great retention.

Smell: Sweet, spicy, and very "Christmas-y." This is somewhat like their pumpkin ale, in truth, minus the pumpkin aromas themselves. There are strong notes of clove, delicate but aggressive spicy/piney hops, and bitter orange peel. It's kind of like Christmas in a glass. Quite nice.

Taste: 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.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, a bit prickly from the high carbonation levels.

Drinkability: It's fairly tasty, but almost a little bit overpowering in the spice. I usually find myself picking up one or two of these a year in a mix-a-six...but a sixer might be a little over the top. I'm curious to see what a little aging might do to this.

Conclusion: Not a bad winter beer, and I like the balance between malt sweetness and hops (a lot of spiced beers seem to have little to no real hop presence) but at the end of the day the spices are just a little overwhelming for this to be truly great. (1,409 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Wichita this weekend

Pours copper with 3 fingers of tan head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Faint breadyness & cinnamon

T: Pineyness, a bit of biscuitty malt & spruce tips up front. Orange slices, brown sugar, cinnamon, pears & dryness dominate as this warms. Finishes with leafy hops, caramel & dryness

MF: Medium bodied, fairly chewy with low carbonation & good balance

Drinks easy, nice mix of flavors here (442 characters)

Photo of KI9A
4.54/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet, have notes back from the past couple years. Seems like 2007 & 2008 have been really tuned, from the 2006 version.

A: 2008 into a tulip. Hazy copper, lingering tan head, wonderful lace windows.

S: Wow. WOW! Best smell from a beer I ever reviewed. Citrus/orange/malt/cloves.

T: Malt. Hops. Then, orange, nutmeg, cloves. What a wonderful balance these guys have stumbled upon. Might even detect a bit of chocolate at the back.

M: Moderate carb, clean, but a very slight ABV burn afterwards.

D: I can drink this year 'round, but, it is my favorite Christmas brew, hands down. The 8% ABV sneaks up on you, so, be careful. this drinks like a macro lager, and easy to get lost in it.

Fine job, guys!

Cheers & Merry Christmas! (770 characters)

Photo of BCK
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a cheap Rusty Wallace racing Pint glass, haha. After drinking it, I regret that I didn't put it in a better glass.

Nice amber/brown/orange color brew with a nice inch head on it after pouring. Smell of citrus and clove, very nice aroma.

Beautiful taste of Hops, spice and citrus.

Nice smooth beer with lovely hops bite to it and a bit of carbonation.

My favorite Christmas/Winter Ale so far this year and lucky me that it's readily available everywhere I go. I am a newer person to the craft beer population, but Schlafly still has not disappointed me and this one raised the bar for the next. (629 characters)

Photo of BigJim5021
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this stuff for a family gathering. At $10.50, I was hoping for good things. No disappointment there.

Pours a hazy amber with a nice white head. Head settles down into a nice ring with a good deal of lacing.

The smell is goddamn phenomenal, I tells ya. It's like a spicy, sweet, orangey Christmas tree.

Flavor is damn good too. It's not as spicy or sweet as it smells, but it's definitely got a hint of citrus and some nice, piney hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a tad beyond medium bodied. Carbonation is spot-on. The finish is nice and dry. Nicely played.

Drinkability is high for a beer clocking in at 8%. I might have to pick up some more of this in anticipation of the ensuing holidays. I really didn't like Schlafly's Pumpkin Spice offering, but their Christmas Ale is the shit. (806 characters)

Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sea Bass for sharing this one during a wonderful night of tasting at the Oldsmar Taphouse.

A: Pours a nice light golden hue with tones of amber showing thru. 1/2 finger creamy head with okay retention. No real lace noted.

S: Very green aromas, almost a marijuana type quality. There are hints of spice behind, but not the entire spice rack.

T: Nice sweet malt flavors with a big pine hoppiness for the style. Hints of cinnamon and nutmeg poke thru. I like this one.

M: Medium in body, soft and creamy.

D: Not bad, a nice take on the xmas offering. (562 characters)

Photo of MarzenMan
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/29/2008.

A - Medium sized head on a bright amber beer. Good lacing. The bottle reminds me of old Christmas records. I think they took it off a Kenny Rogers Christmas Record we used to have :). Very....'Christmasy'.

S - Reminds me of Blue Moon because of the orange/citrus and the spice that may be clove but comes across similar to corriander. Some slight alcohol.

T - Wow. This is better than I expected. Some good malty qualities and a nice, but subtle, hop balance. Def. some orange and other spices but not overpowering at all. A little alcohol in the mix. Very nice. Medium body on the tongue.

D - I'd drink it a ton if it weren't for the price tag. I paid 10.50 for a sixer but it does appear to be worth it. This is exactly what I want in a holiday ale. (781 characters)

Photo of Goliath
4/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (885 characters)

Photo of orangemoustache
3.67/5  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! (748 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
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. (1,634 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (592 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
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. (358 characters)

Photo of gpogo
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
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. (594 characters)

Photo of deepsouth
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
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. (364 characters)

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
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. (347 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (653 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.03/5  rDev -18.3%
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. (350 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
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. (505 characters)

Photo of birchstick
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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 (259 characters)

Photo of drseamus
3.12/5  rDev -15.9%
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. (376 characters)

Photo of westweasel
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (668 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (787 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (1,020 characters)

Photo of beerphilosopher
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (1,516 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (469 characters)

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.