Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,746 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,746
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 144
Gots: 535 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 11-16-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,746 | Reviews: 839
Reviews by Foam:
Photo of Foam
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Ginger fruit.
flower blossoms .
olive brine ?
sea salt .

that great lakes-ian soul that their brews posess .
best of all, got a bunch of single bottles for $1.00 since it's way out of season .
a spicy nutmeg and ginger-malt finish concludes the taste profile of this Cleveland-brew .
definetly a weirdo/geek even amidst the X-mas beer world .

a few will do ya .

More User Reviews:
Photo of HunterSBeerson
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

This is a great winter seasonal. Pleasantly spicy, and very drinkable.

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 1/17/07.Tis not quite the Xmas season but its great to see the Winter Warmer/Holiday brews out and Iam glad to be able to get this locally,poured a lighter clear copper with a thin 1/2 finger white head left pretty quickly leaving no mark of lace behind.Honeyish esters really stand out in the nose along with some light roasted nut and a real leafy hop presence wich was nice with most beers of the style not showing enough hop presence this was a nice thing to see,the cinnamon and honey imparted in this beer show thru nicely upfront melding into a dryer leafy almost earthy like presence finishing with a sharp ginger-like note that lingers.Interesting I must say no way I would think this 7.5% alc a little light but man it goes down easy and it warms the inside a little,I like it its not overly sweet and has a hop presence to it.

Photo of tectactoe
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange and amber hybrid color with a ton of red hues and a pretty exceptional amount of clarity all around. Small white head fades quick and doesn't leave much lacing at all.

The nose.... what to say about the nose. Full of a basket of toasted malts and spices - most prominent being cinnamon, but also included are nutmeg and maybe some ginger. There's really so much going on and it's executed with a careful hand; there's really something to be admired in the aroma profile.

The taste hits with an incredibly unique and well-executed balance of sweet and spicy malt - sweetness in the form of caramel, toffee, and butter, and spicy in the form of cinnamon and nutmeg. Very nutty, and with the spices, it resembles a warm pecan pie.

Yeast is noticeable in the background, provides a nice bready and buttery aftertaste (think Christmas sugar cookie). Honey is hard to detect, but is noticeable at the tail end as the beer starts to warm up a little bit. Medium body, not too sticky on the mouth, low to medium carbonation.

This beer tastes like Christmas in a bottle. The fact that it's a holiday release makes it all the more alluring and I feel like a little kid on Christmas when I finally get my hands on some.

Photo of sgoodship
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here is the 2009 Christmas Ale. Man, has it been a year already!

The nose is jam packed with sweet honey. Unbelievable. Seems like more than last year to me. Malt and hops fall to the power of honey - no question about this beer's focus.

It's color is an amazing deep honey copper that glows - more handsome than I remember. It has a soft half finger off-white head. Some big spotty lacing. The head remains throughout but drops to a dusting and a ring.

The flavor is strong in honey too. You definitely get some Christmas spice but more noticeable is the uplifting and invigorating infusion of ginger. The finish is dry with a good hop bitterness. The aftertaste is malty and sour with a hint of the honey and caramel sweetness. It's not as sickly sweet as I think last years was a wee bit.

The mouth is on the full side of medium. It feels silky smooth and round in the mouth. The low end of medium carbonation prevents it from being too heavy and syrupy.

Always a favorite of mine at Christmas but beware. These sneak up on you and before you know it... game over. I'm a big fan of Great Lakes and this is a seasonal beer in the true sense. Enjoy!

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark translucent brown, almost black. Abundant head of at least 2 fingers or more - bright white foam. Head receded a bit after a few minutes but had great retention. Laced the glass easily all the way down.

Aromas were moderately malty with a sort of "holiday spice" note to it. I couldn't really pin down if it was nutmeg or cinnamon or what, but it smelled pretty good and didn't detract from the beer.

The flavors in this beer worked fantastically together. There was a solid malt backbone that gave a boost to some of the spices, of which seemed to be nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. There was a grassy herbal hop note but it was just enough to hold back the sweetness a bit. Relatively clean at the swallow with just a bit of that spice mix and some malt clinging on for the linger.

This is a pretty smooth brew and they go down really easy. The carbonation is matched well to the rest of the brew and it all just works. The heavier gravity also seemed well matched and was essentially undetectable with the rest of the flavors. very well done and an awesome brew to drink with friends during the holidays. Highly recommended!

Photo of blackearth
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber body with a thin white head that quickly fades. Aroma of fruity esters, ginger, brown sugar and toffee. Medium bodied with medium carbonation level, this beer boasts flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger with a bit of a spicy finish that's not too sweet, but just right. The ginger flavor dials up as the beer warms and seems to take over more than it should. Overall a good Christmas beer.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely clear amber red color with a nice fluffy white head. Small bubbles run up the side of the glass. Quite a interesting nose...citrusy hop tones collide with cinammon and sweet honey. Nice and complex.

First sip is an incredible mix of spiceness, I pick out cinammon, a nice ginger bite along with cirtusy hop notes and a sweet caramel malt background. Almost a subtle cherry / floral taste comes through as well. A very tasty winter brew if I do say so myself....extremely unique.

Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, smooth and creamy with good body. Easy to drink and nice on a cold night. This is a great holiday brew and I recommend to anyone looking for something different!

Photo of warnerry
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

best by 1/26/11 consumed 1/15/11

A - Pours a beautiful translucent copper with slow rising carbonation and 1.5 fingers of head that dissipates pretty quickly.

S - Mostly caramel malts and cinnamon, with some ginger and cloves coming through.

T - Very nice caramel malts, with a good amount of spicing (cinnamon, some ginger). Spicing doesn't dominate but instead fills out the taste. Also some subtle hops to balance the malts.

M - Fantastic mouthfeel, medium, slightly sticky, really coats the palate.

D - Highly drinkable; one of my favorite winter warmers.

Photo of babyhobbes
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured with very little head but some lacing. It is a pleasing amber color. I smell some spice, notably cinnamon and ginger. The spiciness is not very strong in taste or smell. The taste is somewhat hoppy and bitter with a decent dose of ginger. This is a smooth beer in the mouth with a nice carbonation level.

I like this Christmas Ale but I wouldn't want to down several in one sitting.

Photo of ValpoExpo
4.64/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A winter classic from Northeast Ohio. You have to be VERY careful with GLBC's Christmas Ale because it will knock you on your butt in no time. It truly is the perfect sweet honey, alcohol infused taste of Christmastime. November 1 (the release date of Christmas Ale) is a holiday in itself for Northeast Ohioans.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - 1-finger head. Ecru and thick. Dissipates slowly, leaving rings around the glass. Thin layer of lace remains across the surface. Deep red/orange and clear.

S - Lots of seasonal spices. Cinnamon, and ginger are pronounced. Clove in the background. A touch of sweet citrus mixes in, like candy lemon drops.

T - Toasted malt transport for the spices in the nose. Honey on the tongue. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg on the sides really linger on the finish, along with alcohol in the background. No noticeable hopping.

M - A bit creamy. Good carbonation. Structure is on the thin side. Finish is on the dry side, although the honey stays with the spices, blending quite nicely in a good balance.

D - For me, a holiday seasonal beer to bring to a holiday event and have one or two to celebrate being in the spirit. As far as this style goes, however, I like it much more than many of the offerings that are heavily spiced and hopped out to the max. And the decently high ABV puts a warm spot in the tummy without feeling like I'm doing shots.

Photo of merlin48
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served into a tulip glass, this pours a clear amber body with active carbonation very noticeable. Enormous, beige tinted head is pillowy and drapes the glass with chains of lace.
Aroma is heavy with sharp spices, lots of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Caramel malt is underneath, with a pronounced note of honey.
The mouthfeel is incredible. The high carbonation seems to detonate the spice array into a unique sensation of exploding tingliness. Medium body.
Taste begins dry and spicy, with some hops bitterness. Alcohol warming is quickly noticed. The malt character emerges in the middle, as room temperature is approached, and adds an ideal balance to the hop and spice bitterness. Finish is well balanced and pleasant.
Nicely complex, challenging at times, and enjoyable from start to finish. A very nice winter warmer, with an incredibly silky and playful mouthfeel. Thanks to orbitalr0x for this Great Lakes brew.

Photo of mrquartetman
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A nice darkish golden amber, small head with poured, not persistent.
S - Aroma is ephemeral, malrt and hints of ginger
T - A malty beer that is spiced, but very subtly, with the predominant spice being ginger. The other spice in the beer (according to the label, cinnamon, along with the ginger and some honey) is not detectable. Whereas the wonderful Anchor Our Special Ale comes up and smacks you in the palate, this one is very quiet in presentation.
M - A malty mouthfeel that is neither dense nor thin. Just right.
D - This is one of the Winter Warmers that could be a session beer, except that it is 7.5% abv

The beer should be served at the temperature recommended on the bottle - 55°F. Otherwise the subtle aromas and flavors are buried.

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

Thanks to robertdoesbeer for this one...
Pours a bright copper color with less than 1/2 inch of eggshell colored head...a dusting sticks around, leaving some attractive clouds in my beer...very little lacing.
Semi-sweet in the aroma with a hefty dose of spice...cinnamon, allspice, clove and honey.
Flavors are abundant here...honey up front with a nice ratio of ginger, cinnamon and a light dusting of fruity hops.
Not overly sweet, as expected...finishes with some honey, but not cloyingly so. Mouthfeel is above average and the carbonation if great...easy to throw back a few of these this time of year.
Another solid beer from Great Lakes...never get tired of their offerings.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: orange-brown in color, 1/4 inch head, clear, medium carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, and ginger

Taste: toasted malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, sweet

Overall:A very good holiday. Nice combination of cinnamon and ginger. Both leave a nice spicy tingle afterwards. I would pick this up again if I could get it around here.

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the nutmeg and honey. Definitely a heavily spiced Christmas beer. The flavor is more of the same. I get a ton of spices, as well as some toffee and green apples notes. There is a nice sweetness to the flavor. The beer is easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle with typical GLBC-looking label. Scores personal points for the railroad car with the Christmas tree decorations in it. The label also states that "For freshest taste, please enjoy by 5Feb03."

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy amber color. Billowing off-white head coats the glass. Lots of chunky yeasties are suspended in the beer.

Smell: Spicy...with cinnamon and ginger (as per the bottle) most noticeable. A bit of the honey used in the preparation is also evident.

Taste: Beers like this are the reason all of us need to try the GLBC beers before we die. A very flavorful, well-balanced beer. Despite the fact that there's a lot going on in the flavor, none of it is out-of-sync with the other flavors. There's the spicy input from the cinnamon and ginger, the sweetness of the honey on the tail-end, a malty sweetness that dances a duet with the slightest bittering from the hops. I can't believe this is 7.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and a creamy finish make for a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Man, this is one fine beer. I would love to try this on-tap. No alcohol taste, the delicate balance of spices, honey, malt, and hops, and the just barely present aftertaste make for a wonderful seasonal beer. I think this is my favorite seasonal. Get some if you can.

Kudos to fellow BA PhantomVoDoo for trading some of this to me.

Photo of 1Adam12
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color. Lots of bubbles. Smells awesome. Smells like blended honey, gingerbread, and cinnamon. Loads of cinnamon. Tastes much of the same. Possibly some lemon in there as well. Has a bit of a ginger snap cookie to it as well. Very good. Mouthfeel is a bit over carbonated, but full. Very crisp. This is by far the best Christmas Ale I've had this year. Thanks to JohnPPutz for the extra.

Photo of bsp77
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear amber-copper with thin white head and slight lacing.

Smell: Cherry, loads of cinnamon, caramel and light biscuit.

Taste: Nice malty mixture of cherry, caramel and biscuit, with a strong undercurrent of cinnamon and ginger. Some mead-like characteristics and a slight English hop spicy finish that lingers along with the cinnamon.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a medium body that is fairly light for the abv likely due to the honey. Somewhat mead-like.

Drinkability: Nice spiced Christmas Ale that seems to be much lower in alcohol than it actually is. Delicious and festive.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served from a 12oz. long neck brown bottle into pint glass.

Clear,medium copper color,off-white head,creamy,layer of foam throughout the beer.Lots of carbination,lively looking.
Sweet honeyied malty aroma,spicey,a candy-like smell,hints of vanallia,cinnamon,nutmeg,ginger,complex and inviting.
A spicey taste,lots of cinnamon,a sweet malty taste,vanallia,a bitter taste of the ginger,but just a hint,a sharp,clean,spicey,bitter finish.
A medium body with creamy texture.A very good winter ale with a lot of holiday flavors,but not overdone,very drinkable and enjoyable. Give it a try.

Photo of deebo
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with a BB date of 3/18/14.

Poured into a Town Hall pint glass this brew has a thin finger of off-white head topping a clear copper brew.

Aromas of toasted malt dominate. A little cinnamon and sweet notes detected.

Taste is similar, very malty with plenty of sweetness with hints of warm spices (nutmeg and cinnamon).

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bit of carbonation zing in the finish. Really smooth stuff. Daddy like. Well done for 7.5%

Overall this beer is malty, sweet and simple, but damn its pretty easy to drink and goes down smooth.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12pz bottle poured into a chalce.

Pours a really nice rich ruby color with a nce light white head. Woo! Nose is sweet and spicy, all sorts of cinnamon and crazy stuff.

Taste is Very crisp and smooth, with not much booze at all. It's crisp and very spicy. It's really spicy but not over the top on the g ver and honey so ts real earthy anddrinkable.

Photo of DrunkenPanther
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer actually poured a lot lighter in color than I thought. It wasnt as attractive as Id have hoped. I was a bit nervous that the flavor would follow suit. Luckily it didnt.
The smell was very warm and inviting. The cinimmon was very present. It also was very full of a malt scent. Very nice.
The tastes bursts at first with cinimmon. Much like the aroma, it is follwed by another burst of malt. A light malt though and not something heavy that just sits.
Some x-mas beers are hard to get through. This one was surprisingly easy to get through, so I had a second. I didnt grow tired of the spices. It was very nice to drink.
I had this at the Brewery's Pub from a small batch made for July, I was told that they may tweak it a bit for this x-mas (Color was one thing they mentioned).

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant gold under a thin off-white foam collar.
S: Spices, ginger, honey, light malt.
T: Spiced honey and malt with ginger in the middle and a cinnamon dryness on the finish. Possible coriander. Tastes more like a light fruit cake as it warms.
F: Creamy, medium high body and carbonation.

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,746 ratings.