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Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

810 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 810
Hads: 2,756
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 148
Gots: 552 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 810 | Hads: 2,756
Photo of luckylefty
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer review #1:

It is not by coincidence that GL X-Mas Ale is numero uno.

This beer is cherished by many in central/ northern Ohio and is a symbol to Christmas similarly to that of a present under a tree. There are a number of beers that I get excited about during different times of the year but no more so than THE X-Mas Ale. Furthermore, this beer is very dangerous if not drank in moderation, like tequila it has the ability to erase ones memory (I just don't understand why at 7.5abv)? Future reviews will be more scientific in nature but this beer is not judged with the same criteria by me. (599 characters)

Photo of Lindseyk12
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I get so excited every year for Christmas Ale, as do most in NE Ohio.

I think Christmas ale taste best on tap rather than bottle. Golden-Amber in color, Similar to GL Dortmunder, only a little more red. Great smells such as Cinnamon, Allspice, and Nutmeg. Very warm comforting beer, Reminds me of family and friends. Next year save a case for Christmas in July. All your friends will be jealous!!

My favorite shot is "A Christmas Story Bomb"

Fill pint glass 1/3 with GL Christmas Ale
Equal Parts of Goldschlager, Bailey's, Frangelico in shot glass
Drop Shot glass into beer and drink

It Tastes like Christmas. How does christmas taste?... Christmas taste like "A Christmas Story Bomb" (691 characters)

Photo of StretchZep
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome winter warmer. Had it yesterday on tap in a 23 oz glass. Lots of cinnamon and clove flavors. Nice malt balance. No hop bitterness at all but anything but sweet. Really nice Holiday beer that you find yourself looking forward to year after year.
Loved this beer to death and will be looking to pick up a case as soon as I can! (334 characters)

Photo of CleJB
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite beer. Every late October/early November is like Christmas for me. The minute you crack this beer, it smells like the holiday season. The cinnamon, ginger, and honey blend very well together. This beer goes down extremely smooth for the 7.5% alcohol content, so drink with care. This beer goes well with Turkey, Ham, or pretty much anything you would eat around the holidays. Christmas in a bottle. A little pricey at between $12 and $13 a 6 pack, but worth every penny. Christmas in NE Ohio isn't Christmas without Christmas Ale. (549 characters)

Photo of VncentLIFE
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

100th review! Ein Prosit!

I try to be as scientific as possible, but hype does play into my review. Its one of my most sought after beers in my book, even though it is released yearly in decent quantities.

Pours a red-ish light orange with a near perfect 3/4 inch head. Looks beautiful in the GL Chirstmas Ale snifter.

Smell has the typical GL grain bill, but wait a minute. Theres a ton of spices in this thing. Honey is there, as well as nutmeg and cinnamon in bits. Exactly what a winter warmer should be like.

Taste is fantastic. The honey keeps the grain bill in check in the best way possible. The spices are spicey, accenting the sweetness of the honey which comes in between the initial spices and late dryness. Its really the highlight of the beer. The addition of honey really sets it apart. The dryness on the backend is mead-like, making it crisp and refreshing. Full body which makes it sippable as well as full gulps.

The alcohol really doesnt show up until at least halfway through the finish. the 7.50% makes it presence known, but not in a bad way.

This beer is perfect. A perfect example of something that shouldnt be barrel-aged. The latent sweetness is nice which is accentuated by the dryness from the honey and spices. (1,247 characters)

Photo of Wolfee02
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In this review I am instructed to be constructive and I am. The appearance is red... I have never seen a beer that literally looks so red. The smell is like Christmas cookies! Perfect for the Holliday season! As far as the taste, it is the best beer I have ever had. It tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and Christmas cookies. The mouthfeel is extremely pleasant with the perfect balance of malts and pure utter greatness!!! I recommend this beer to anyone who likes great beer! Great Lakes brewery continues to prove that they are one of the best breweries in the world. I have never had a bad beer from this amazing world class brewery! (632 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.97/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into great lakes sniffer
A-deep amber color with white lace head. Bubbles running the side.
S-Can smell some ginger and cinnamon.
T- tastes exaxtly like the way,you want christmas to. Cinnamon and honey. Nice malt profile. Taste like a ginger bread cookie.
M- very full and delicious. I wish they made this all year!
D- very smooth and crisp. I could drink this all day, every day.

I dont normally like spiced beer but this is the bee's knees! Best winter warmer by far! (480 characters)

Photo of joshwilliams
4.95/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

GLBC never stops amazing me year after year with this seasonal brew. I figure that when I go to heaven this is what will be there waiting for me on tap. Christmas Ale is so delicious during the Christmas season I purchase a keg to have in the house (it doesn't last to long). This is my favorite winter seasonal of them all, the taste and smell of the brew is more of a Christmas smell to me than evergreen and sugar cookies could ever be. Side note: dunk your snicker doodle cookies in the beer and it makes the cookie that much better. (537 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.92/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I lucked into a bottle at my friend's house, yet this review is based off a on-tap serving at a bar 30-45 minutes later...

Dark, honey-amber color with a creamy white head. The aroma was full of holiday spices; gingerbread; cinnamon. The taste strongly followed the aroma with a nice, balancing bitterness. Body came across as in character; smooth, crisp, with a semi-dry finish.

This was equivalent of sipping a warm, nicely spiced liquid holiday cookie. The malts and spice flavors (from whatever the source) just came across so nicely balanced and complex without smacking you in the face with overly strong flavors. This is by far one my best holiday ales I've had in a long, long time. Highly recommended... (714 characters)

Photo of McNealc31
4.9/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that first turned me on to holiday spiced ales. It's elusive, you've got to pick it up when you see it because it likely won't be back. It smells of honey and spice and pours a deep orange, almost copper. It tastes of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, with a subtle honey finish. And at 7.5% ABV, it's holiday cheer in a bottle! Without a doubt, one of my favorite beers and I can't wait until next holiday season for it. (432 characters)

Photo of Icedogs
4.9/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My favorite Christmas/holiday/winter seasonal of them all, by far. I crave this beer, I stalk it. Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers! (380 characters)

Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly an incredible beer. Definitely one of my new favorites. The balance is perfect. Beautiful copper color pour with a medium to thick head with perfect lacing. Smell is subtle but intriguing. Taste is very smooth, very clean yet a bit complex. The ginger doesn't come through until later. When finishing off your first bottle the cinnamon is much more pronounced at the bottom. The finish is incredible and really keeps you coming back for more. Highly, highly recommended. Seasonal availability Oct through Dec. (523 characters)

Photo of bcray
4.82/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at Jakes in Ashland Ohio. This is by far my favorite offering from GL though I enjoy many of their other beers.

The spices really sit upfront without being overbearing. The balance of this brew is darn near perfection. Very drinkable considering it has a slightly higher ABV.

I wish it were Christmas all year long! Also delicious in bottle. (365 characters)

Photo of pschul4
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a nice ruby red with a 1/4" off white head that dissipates quickly

S- Christmas cookies forsure. Honey and cinnamon and dark malts. So enticing

T- Wow, just like the scent except more intense. Lots of honey and cinnamon and nice malts wrap everything up. Perfection

M- Super smooth, works perfectly with the rest of the beer

O- Best example of a winter warmer out there. Seek out at all costs (405 characters)

Photo of jkwuc89
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have sampled several Christmas ales and Great Lakes easily bests them all.

The appearance in the glass tempts the drinker with what's to come.

The warm aroma of Christmas spices greets the drinker. This carries over to the wonderful but not overpowering taste of Christmas spices when this ale reaches your palette.

This is definitely a winter warmer not only with the feel in one's mouth but also with it's ABV. This is not a session beer. It is an ale that should be enjoyed slowly.

I have found this on tap at the Winking Lizard near Columbus and Average Joe's in Dublin, OH. (586 characters)

Photo of sublimesipping
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap and quaffed at Bado's in the Iron City on boxing day. I have had this beer a number of times before, and it has always been at the top of my christmas ale list. The pints tonight absolutely knocked my socks off as well as knocked me on my a--. Very clean lines at this here establishment and the keg seemed very fresh as well so ratings are given as such. Apearance absolutley beautiful reddish mahagony color with good billowy head and eferesence. wonderful notes of the usual spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc but this beer was extremely well balanced with great harmony of flavors- excellent body and high, high drinkability. Great Lakes has always been one of the top notch midwestern brewers; these pints confirmed their rep in my mind and palate as well as reiniforced my view of this beer as the creme of their rotation. Drink it while you can and happy holidays. (875 characters)

Photo of Tronix
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Rich Copper Color.

Decent head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma is just what you would expect from a Holiday Seasonal. Honey, nutmeg.. maybe a little cinnamon.

Very nice bite to this beer. It is one my favorites. Mix this with a Blackout Stout or Guinness for a traditional Black Christmas and you have a beer that's all around tough to beat.

From the feel of just one I continue to believe that Great Lakes understates their ABV by almost 1%. But the taste is very smooth considering the ABV.

GL is one of the best brewers in a top to bottom lineup comparison and This one is their Crown Jewel. (599 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.72/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - creates a large 3 finger creamy tan head on the pour, very dense on top. Golden orange color with some visible carbonation. A good looking beer.

Aroma - first impression of fruit and cinnamon, very spicy and sweet. Mmmmm....

Taste - nice malty base, but the cinnamon and spice flavors hit the taste buds full force. Some alcohol notes are present, though short-lived. A pretty solid hop presence follows, with just a barely detectable trace of ginger. Smooth aftertaste, a pleasing blend of hops and spices.

Mouthfeel - Solid body, coating the mouth with a bit of a drapy feel, but not overly done.

Drinkability - As it warms, the alcohol presence comes out more, but it can be difficult to have any left by the time it gets to room temperature! A wonderful beer for relaxing with in the evening. (821 characters)

Photo of JDK
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a slightly cloudy honey amber with a 2 finger head.
Nice carbonation giving this a very good mouthfeel. The lingering spices and citrus left a very pleasent taste on the back of the tongue for quite a while.
Love the taste. The blending of spice and hops really brings a nice flavor out. Could definately drink a few in a setting. (working on that tonight!)
The smell is very faint, good but light.
One of my favorite Christmas brews. (442 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.67/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Now this is what Christmas Ae should taste like....beautifull work with the spicing....cinamin and ginger on the nose along with almost a pumkin pie like smell.....copper in color...super clean and clear looking (and this is an ale?)...Is medium bodied...a tich of sweetness, but not overdone...at first it felt like a "bock" in the mouth and I guess it still does...some sweet maltiness, and that great spice flavor..that pumkin pie subtle flavor is there on the taste buds too...I've had spice beers that went too far...this is about perfect...what a treat...I love this Brewery...One of my top 2 along with Stone.

*.I rate the drinkability high for a seasonal sipping beer....not for as if you'd want to drink 12 of these in a sitting...rather if you gave me my choice of several holiday beers I'd rather drink this one than most.. (837 characters)

Photo of smerrell
4.66/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've loved this beer for a long time - crisp, clean, and full of flavor. Hops take a back seat to the ginger, and the cinnamon is present but subtle. The color is deep amber, and the finish is dry.

This beer gets better as it warms - Love it.

appearance: translucent red/amber

Smell: faint traces of holiday spices

Taste: spicy ginger, alcohol is present (and pleasant)

Mouthfeel: dry

overall: this beer & Troegs Mad Elf = Christmas (439 characters)

Photo of pauleyh
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Great All Around Seasonal With All Kinds Of Blends And Spices. The Appearance shows a white head. with beautiful copper colored color. very nice thick foam when poured in a 16 ounce thick beer glass. it aroma amazes me ginger cinnamon it's sweet taste is fulfilling. it goes down smooth very lip smackable. the thing about such a high end beer like this that a casual drinker should be careful of is it's 7.5 alc vol content. this is a beer you wanna take sips of and to enjoy it. (482 characters)

Photo of ValpoExpo
4.64/5  rDev +19%
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. (312 characters)

Photo of XenonX
4.63/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Bottom's-Up cup at Progressive Field.

Appearence: A very dark amber with a beautiful finger thick head.
Smell: difficult to tell with the other smells related to being at a ballpark
Taste: Had a slight malty and bready taste complete with some toffee and cinnamon and nutmeg tossed in for good measure
Mouthfeel: Meduim and creamy with some flirts of carbonation.

To be honest I cannot very well describe this beer having had it at an Indians game in a Bottom's-Up cup to boot! It was part of the whole experience and will always remind me of going to a ball game. (578 characters)

Photo of kristenrae8
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really loved this beer. From first sip.

Poured from bottle to snifter/beer goblet

Apperaance: Medium Amber/ 1/4 inch cream colored head - faint lacing.

Smell: Ginger/Spice/Cinnamon/Winterwonderland/ Honey. This is not a sugary beer, it's sweet with the spices. I'm amazed by the balance. I had two in a row because I was so impressed.

Taste: Perfect. Spicy, sweet, malt/hop balance.

Mouth Feel: Not over carbonated - not under cabonated.

Overall: This is the best winter warmer I've had this season. I'm kinda sad that even if I start stock piling now- the shelf life is only good til the first part of March This will be my go-to winter warmer next year, once the temps are below 32 or as available.

Pairings: Good with carbs - all winter warmers are good with something savory in my honest opinion. It's the charm of the winter warmer. (851 characters)

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 810 ratings.