Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Schlafly Christmas Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Christmas AleSchlafly Christmas Ale

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

178 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 178
Hads: 510
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 21.29%
Wants: 21
Gots: 72 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 178 | Hads: 510
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer was a hazy, copper/bronze color with a good amount of rising carbonation and a tan head. The retention was good and the lacing in bands all the way down my glass. The aroma was of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel malt and some light citrus notes. The flavors were very enjoyable to me. I tasted all the aforementioned spices built atop a solid caramel malt backbone with only light hopping which gave it a nice finish. Balanced and not overly spiced as many holiday ales tend to be. Additionally, there was almost no sign that the beer was 8% ALC and I didn’t realize it until after I’d enjoyed a few! The mouthfeel was good, the body surprisingly light and the carbonation appropriate.

 717 characters

Photo of siege06nd
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass...

A: Mostly clear copper color. This beer has a thin quarter-finger ring of very crisp white head resting on top. Pretty good lacing on the sides. Solid retention.

S: Allspice, cinnamon, some clove, and orange citrus. Not a lot of complexity in this bouquet. Smells a lot like a gingerbread cookie....

T: ...and tastes a lot like a gingerbread cookie. Lots of cinnamon, allspice, clove, and even a little bit of caramel. A bit of an odd tang on the mid and the finish detracts from this one a touch. Tastes a little bit like orange or lemon rind, possibly hops. It emerges just as the palate is settling into the bolder and heartier spiced notes and is somewhat disruptive to the flavor profile.

M: This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate carbonation. Maintains a pretty good lightness considering the 8.0% ABV. Main problems are the spices being somewhat overwhelming (my tongue was scorched by this one) and that odd metallic tangy flavor that shows up for a split second on the mid. Decent overall.

O: Drinks like a lesser version of Great Lakes Christmas Ale. It's a spice bomb without a lot of complexity or character. Goes down easy like Sunday morning and is almost as forgettable as that one girl you hooked up with in college after 20 games of beer pong. It's certainly not bad, though, and holds its own with most of the entries in the "let's drink clove and call it a Christmas Ale" category.

 1,439 characters

Photo of MTNboy
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brown amber body.

Smell: Spicy and very sweet malty aroma.

Taste: The flavor has a European like Christmas dessert like feel. Spicy at first but a sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, It reminds me a lot of the pumpkin but smoother. It is very slick feeling.

Overall: One of my favorite holiday beers. Very thick and warm it feels like the holidays.

 366 characters

Photo of tykees88
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- reddish gold color. Two finger lingering head. Lacing is nice.

S- Smells alot like the pumpkin ale. The spices are very nice. Cinnamon and nutmeg. But there is nothing that separates it from that spice smell wise.

T- There is where the taste differs. It has an orange flavor in place of the pumpkin flavor. The spices are the same. I think the graham cracker crust flavor is there just like the pumpkin. I think this is almost the same recipe just swapping out the orange for pumpkin.

M- Creamy and pie like.

O- Good beer. I loved the pumpkin ale, so why wouldn't I love this

 582 characters

Photo of oline73
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2010 bottle poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy amber with a finger and a half of off white head. There is an alright amount of retention and no real lacing on this one.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt with some spices and dark fruit as well. The fruity notes remind me a bit of cherry.

Taste: Follows closely from the smell. The malt sweetness blends well with the spice and fruit notes. There is a slight bitterness in the finish with no real alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The time has improved this beer a bit. The lack of alcohol is a good thing. The spices have faded a bit, but still smooth and good.

 726 characters

Photo of n2185
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear red-orange with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Lots of nice spice aromas with cinnamon and nutmeg notes with sweet caramel and bubblegum aromas mixed in. There are vanilla and floral qualities to it as well.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of sweet spicy flavors. Cinnamon dominates with nutmeg and vanilla flavors also present. Some caramel flavors are also present.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation, this beer is creamy at first with a nice carbonation bite toward the end to accent the spices.

O: A surprisingly good beer that avoids being overly spiced. It definitely tastes like fall and winter in a bottle. It's not extremely complex, but still enjoyable.

 729 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.86/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a hazy copper color. The head dissipates quickly leaving nothing, and no lacing at all. The beer smells boozy with lots of different spices. I was hesitant to buy this, and the taste confirms why I shouldn't have: it's just over-the-top with flavor, like most of the Schlafly beers I have tried are. Sweetness and spices just blow your taste buds into defensive mode. There's a lot of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and the likes in this. It tastes like Chai tea, and almost could pass for a Pumpkin ale. And just like their Pumpkin ale, this beer is loaded at 8% ABV and goes down too smooth, so watch out.

Overall, I just don't like the sweetness overload on top of the high alcohol content. Plus, the spices are in overdrive, so this beer is just a bit too much, all the way around. This might be the last Schlafly beer I ever try.

 876 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.26/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle given to me by a friend. Thanks.
Poured into a standard US pint glass.

Pours a 2cm head, mildly thick, mostly of medium-sized bubbles. Head descends over a minute or two to a ring around the top of the glass and some minute islands. Some lace accumulates on sides of glass, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Body is a dark orange-amber color with a reddish tint. Held up to the light, it's a deep yellow-orange-red color. Transparent, with lots of visible carbonation.

Aroma is fairly weak, I detect faint, slight spices [cloves, allspice, cinnamon] and mild fruit [ale yeast esters]. As just stated, these aren't very strong or stand-out in any particular way.

Taste is generally sweet and spicy, with a mild, but always detectable alcohol warmth and burn. In specific, opens with sweet malts, spicy clove, and light citrus zest, changing to clove, cinnamon, and allspice flavors mid-palate, before transitioning to citrus zest, more pie spices, and sweet malts for the close. Aftertaste is of syrupy malt and mild clove spice.

Body is full of fairly soft, but noticeable carbonation. Not bad at all, as it goes with the medium-light body in a sensitive sort of way. Slightly too thin, maybe even watery around the edges, for such a heavy ABV beer. Finish is rather dry.

Overall, this wasn't particularly bad-tasting, but the aroma's meekness and body's lightness make this a bit off-putting as a high ABV winter beer.

 1,434 characters

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

From notes, poured into a shaker pint from the bottle at Jackie's in Silver Spring.

A solid two maybe three finger head off white in color, some good staying power. Body appearance is great dark orange and crystal clear. Some small carbonation rises slowly, not much lacing but a little. Good looking beer.

Even off the pour this bottle releases quite a bouquet. Lots of cinnamon, sweet nutmeg almost allspice too. Toasty malts and a bit of actual hot brown spicy heat. Impressive.

Taste is spicy hot in the palate. Matching the nose of sweet brown nutmeg and the like. Malt action comes with a brown sugar finish and toast a little. Spicy heat detracts a little, but the flavors are quite good. Medium carbonation with a good feel.

Overall a solid Christmas beer from Schlafly, love this brewery.

 801 characters

Photo of chilly460
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy amber with orange tones. Two finger head with decent retention, some spotty lacing.

S- Plenty of spicing as expected, get cloves predominantly, with cinnamon and orange peel coming through. Backed up with sweet caramel malts, and some warming alcohol.

T- Light pale malts form the bod of tasts, with some orange peel sharpness coming through. Transfers to the cloves and cinammon that I picked up in the smell. A bit of white pepper gets in at the end. Bit of grassy hops at the end.

M- Thought this was pretty nice, smooth and a bit chewy.

D- Nice solid winter seasonal, flavors are balanced and appropriate.

 633 characters

Photo of Dave128
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at pazzos pizza pub in Lexington KY. Brought to me in a pint glass.

A - Almost no head with only a slight ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing is nonexistent and color is clear amber.

S - Smells like Christmas. I don't know how else to describe it. It smells like a pot of spices my mom would simmer on Christmas morning.

T - Similar to the nose, but alcohol is very evident.

M - medium bodied. Correct for the flavors present.

O - Pretty awesome smelling beer. Alcohol is a little heavy though.

 520 characters

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

ST: 12oz poured into a pint glass. Bottle lists BOD but does not list ABV.

A: Reddish amber with a slight-off white half a finger fluffy head. The beer is very clear with steady carbonation. It leaves average lacing, and the head retention is okay.

S: The clove and orange are very noticeable. There is also some malt and some lemon from hops.

T: Sweet malt with orange and clove along with some bubblegum and spice on the finish from hops. There is slight warming alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium and smooth.

O: The alcohol is blended very well in this beer, but it loses points in a few areas. For a winter seasonal, this beer is a bit too light. It is also on the sweeter side. While the hops are there, the sweetness of the orange combines with the malt to create a beer that can be a bit of a toothache. The warming alcohol at the end does help, but the beer almost reminds me of sweet and sour sauce. This beer screams of fruitcake (which is not the best association).

 982 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schlafly Christmas Ale
12 oz. bottle; $2.49 @ Joe Canal's, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ

Wow, what a great beer! I'm surprised I've never tried this before, but then again I am a little "gun shy" when it comes to spiced beers.

It's a little bit sweet, but that's balanced by the spices and a nice bit of fruitiness. And the spices aren't overdone. I'd imagine you could have two of these in a row without having either the sweetness or spice build up on your palate. At the same time, it's not a weak or light beer, it's pretty flavorful. There's a decent amount of malt here, and a good 8% abv to boot!

Maybe it's the choice of spices that I like so much: orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves; and the fact that they're so bright and that I can actually pick each one out. But there's no cinnamon or nutmeg either, and that makes a difference as they both tend to be a bit heavy and stick on the palate. And although a lot of people like to think of cinnamon and nutmeg as "Christmas spices", I think this one tastes just fine.

I'm not sure that I would drink it other than as a seasonal, or with special events, but I'm really impressed and I think that it would make a great after-dinner beer, or even an apertif. Quite nice!

 1,250 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11-14-2011. Poured into a Duvel tulip. Nearly clear amber body with a touch of red tint. Small, less than one-finger light tan head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves very little lacing.

The aroma starts like a hefeweizen with some bubble gum sweetness and the noticeable orange peel coming through as well. A few other spicy notes follow.

Tastes like a winter warmer-type brew. Sweet start and finish, with some added spices (not yeast) like the coriander coming through. Otherwise, drinks somewhat like a sweet wheat beer with the added spices.

Although the flavor is not off the charts, nothing offends and it is actually very drinkable. For the high abv, there is no real notice of alcohol. I will enjoy this as a dessert beer during the holidays and think it will be a good fit in that role.

 817 characters

Photo of Rukasu
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried at Pi - Washington, DC

Great deep, dark ruby/copper color with a clean white head.

Smell is sweet and spicy.

Taste is a bit overly spicy. Abundance of cloves, ginger, and cardamom. A bit overpowering for me, but just about every kind of spice you can think of associated with Christmas, is probably in this brew.

The sweetness of the beer is immediately a bit cloying, but as it sits in your mouth you're able to begin to dissect the different flavors. Nice beer to try during the holidays, but anything beyond a 12 oz. snifter is probably more than enough.

 567 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying the Schlafly Christmas Ale this evening and the beer pours a mostly clear amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Lacing and head retention are both decent. The scent 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. Overall, it can be a tough beer 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.

 607 characters

Photo of daledeee
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright dark orange or auburn. Head was minor and went away without much lacing.

Nose is earthy, spicy and brandy.

Taste is on the sweet side with brandy(maybe a little rum) orange and of course spices. I am not a fan of cloves in my food; therefore it is not my favorite taste in beer, but that is just me. It is a pretty sweet beer.

Mouth feel is not very carbonated. This isn't an in your face beer. It reminds me of some barley wines without the strong hops. Easy to drink with hidden alcohol; nothing remarkable though.

 536 characters

Photo of mdcrouser
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours about the color orange of an orange Christmas bulb, glowing from the glass. Pours with a head that dies immediately. Strangely audibly effervescent too - jumps right out of the glass.

Characteristic holiday spices, but they're fairly muted here. You really have to search to find them.

Holiday spicy on the tongue, with gestures of cloves, cinnamon, and greenery - like noshing on a bowl of holiday spirit.

Decent in the mouth, as the cloves stick around most prominently, holding at the back of the tongue.

A drinkable holiday brew, but nothing exceptional.

 572 characters

Photo of rundocrun
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Comes out of the bottle a coppery orange-brown color. Faint rose highlights. Has a 1/4 inch of coarse white head that fades fast.

S - Has a definite aroma of cloves, spruce and banana-like esters.

T - Sweet and caramely up front with more banana and a noticeable spicy nutmeg character. An almost bubble-gum like sweetness comes in toward the middle. Mild hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue that lasts through the finish. Some mild alcohol bite and orange peel in the finish as well.

M - Has a nice hefty body to it with good carbonation. Sweet and syrupy residual mouthfeel. The 8% ABV leaves a pleasant warmth in the chest.

Overall: a sweet, spicy, and warming winter beer. Not exceptional but definitely above average.

 780 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

 697 characters

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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!

 1,310 characters

Photo of EmergingZymurgy
2.3/5  rDev -38%
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.

 320 characters

Photo of DCon
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
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!

 1,141 characters

Photo of longbongsilver
2.87/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

 974 characters

Photo of jar2574
2.67/5  rDev -28%
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.

 418 characters

Schlafly Christmas Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
84 out of 100 based on 178 ratings.