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Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,126 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,126
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 96
Gots: 195 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 11-16-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,126 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GoalieRon33


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

a- golden amber color. White head when poured into a pint glass. Decent retention.

s- not a lot to speak of. weaker spices overall, maybe with a slight maltiness.

t- this beer shines in the catagory that matters. It tastes awesome. Sweet, heavier malty taste. hint of honey, with an overall spicey note. nutmeg, cinnimon, ginger, maybe even some coriander.

m- medium to heavy body. overall smooth, with a slight hoppy ending

d- lovely christmas beer. So easy to drink, even with the 7.5 abv. If I could find it in PA, i would buy cases upon cases of this stuff. I would drink it every day with every meal.

12-02-2009 02:35:01 | More by GoalieRon33
Photo of Winter


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Pours a clear copper in color with a creamy light tan head. Spicy nose consists of ginger, honey, spices and malt. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a touch of crispness to it. Spices are detected in the flavor also. Cinnamon, ginger and honey all combine for a sweet malty front. At times I wish the honey was reduced a bit because it tends to add a bit of an off flavor. Hopping seems minimal. Alcohol can be detected in the finish. This is a very good Christmas spiced ale. Comparable in flavor to Lakefront's Holiday Spice, which is one of my favorites.

02-12-2004 21:47:46 | More by Winter
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Pours a clear copper amber with a nice off white head. Nose is subdued, but distinct. I get apples and carob. But mostly the apple shows. Flavor is nice and earthy and well balanced. Good level of malts and almost a touch of spice to it that just elevates things a wee bit. Feel is good on both liquid and carbonation. This is so easy to drink. It could possibly be the easiest drinking winter warmer I had this year, most in part due to some very brown ale characteristics in the mix. If I had more of these I wouldn't mind at all.

But alas. This is the end of the Great Lakes brews I have. Soon I will return to Brooklyn (I am in Pittsburgh right now), and they will be out of reach.

02-03-2008 05:17:36 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of allengarvin


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

A few months after Christmas now, which isn't ideal:
A: Clear bright walnut colored with a modest, but fading head.
S: Very spicy still, with nutmeg and cinnamon notes.
T: Sweet malt taste, with very low hop bitterness, relying mainly spices to cut the sweetness. Strong cinnamon flavor (I don't pick up the nutmeg of the aroma). Malt gives a nice bready flavor as well.
M: Nice creamy texture, full-bodied but not heavy.

Nice holiday beer!

08-02-2014 13:30:01 | More by allengarvin
Photo of msubulldog25


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

A 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass; poured right around the recommended 55F, maybe a little warmer. Label photo: model railcar loaded with shiny red ornaments. Thanks to tapoutjoe for sending!

Brewed 'with Spices and Honey', 7.5% ABV. 'Enjoy by 01/05/10'.

A: Perfectly clear auburn/amber, showing off fairly robust carbonation in many tiny strings. Dusty tan cream tops musters 1-finger, then drops to a denser thin topping, clingy ring. Droopy lace: some sticks, but most glides down the glass.

S: Nutty, spicy aroma that epitomizes 'Christmas', 'Winter', 'Holiday', tack your pick... Caramel glaze, walnuts, gingerbread zest, dried berries, cinnamon apples...not bursting from the glass nor incredibly complex, but it's plenty alluring.

T: Spiced bread upfront, a malt-enriched mouthful of tangy apple, sweet honey, caramel reduction/candied nuts with balancing hop greens, piney evergreen and mint. First tastes seemed a bit skewed toward sweetness and grain, but given time and a couple more sips the balancing hop backbone rounds things out.

M: Velvety smoothness with a light carbonated prickle. Mellow boozy warmth creeps up steadily and stealthily. Lingering dull bitterness on the back of the tongue, lip-smacking stickiness without being cloying.

D: All too easy to consume, ended too quickly. Would gladly have more - the ground spices are balanced well by those hops; end result: a tasty warmer that blends seasonal flavor and introduces a hard-to-describe 'nostalgia'. Flavor/aroma resurrected memories of Christmases past, spent with family in Illinois - that's praiseworthy enough. Recommended!

11-21-2009 16:01:05 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Kanyon22


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Got this little treat on my holiday trip to my parents in Ohio.Poured into my Great Lakes Snifter Glass.

A: The beer is a gorgeous clear Christmas bulb red with a bit of copper hues going on. The head which was kinda small, thanks in part to my snifter glass, yet to get a good head in this one, is a quick dissipating white color. The red color is amazing.

S: You get cinnamon, spices, and apple pie smell for sure. It has that Yankee candle Christmas smell nailed down.

T: Has a very upfront spicy, alcohol burn here with a quick cleansing clean taste and finishes just like the nose cinnamon, spice with a definite amount of honey drying the mouth.

M: Would call this one on the good side of medium with a lack of carbonation which seems perfect on this beer. The beer starts to really take a toll with the drying of the mouth, must consume slowly.

D: For a winter warmer this beer is easily one of the most approachable and satisfying I've yet to come across. The spices are well done not over the top and at 7.5% abv. goes pretty smooth and effortless. Only thing really hurting it is the overall drying on the mouth, which would be okay If eating with a desert of some kinda.

Overall another winner from one of my all time favorite brewery. Once again please start distributing to Massachusetts soon.

01-06-2011 18:04:38 | More by Kanyon22
Photo of blitheringidiot


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Russet amber sunset hues with sticking to the sides bubbles, topped off with an uneven sudsy 1/8” tan head cap that is well retained.

Caramel apple, Big Red gum cinnamon hard candy (the kind ya get for Valentine’s Day) and fruit cake notes. Wafts of aroma are overwhelming. Bubblegum hops are thick in the nose.

First Swigs: Peculiar blend of rock candy malts and non-descript hops. Fruity blends of cherry front and vanilla notes. Citrous chin rubbing flavors. Some dry hard candy, almost jolly rancher malts. Finally, as this warms a hair, the cinnamon flavors peek out.

Some sticky tongue coat with decent crisp carbonation sizzle.

Last Swigs: Cinnamon biscuit malts. Spicy ale…not much else.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

02-23-2005 11:28:21 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of joe1510


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

12oz Bottle
$10.99 6-Pack
Binny's Orland

Best Before 12/31/07

Let's see how the first Christmas beer of the season goes down. Great Lakes Christmas Ale pours a stunningly crystal clear copper. A one finger head formed as I poured but fell to a solid crown in no time. A good amount of carbonation streams to the surface keeping what head is there alive.

According to the bottle this has a combination of cinnamon, ginger, and honey. The cinnamon and ginger are definately there in the aroma and actually are the spotlight of this brew. There's some toasted malt in the background but it's only there as a backdrop for the spicing. I can't pull any honey out of the smell. It does smell like Christmas. As I was about finished with this review it dawned on me the aroma has a strong aroma of gingerbread. Don't know how that didn't register a little quicker.

The honey shows up in the flavor faintly. Toasted grains are the malt backbone. The spicing is, again, the highlight of this beer. Ginger, cinnamon, and honey glide over the maltiness in that order of intensity. A mouthful of gingerbread greets you and slightly fades toward the finish. The honey is mellow and ends things off nicely.

Medium bodied and coating on the swallow. This beer has a solid carbonation that keeps things moving but there is a (just short of) sticky quality on the finish that actually goes nicely with the body and spicing.

Tonight is downright cold and this is a good brew to enjoy as the holiday season quickly comes into view.

My first Christmas brew of the season and a good way to start things off. The aroma of this beer screams Christmas and it doesn't dissapoint.

11-24-2007 02:42:37 | More by joe1510
Photo of jampics2


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

On tap at the Winking Lizard in Bedford, kindly purchased for me by my boss's boss. Cheers!

Amber beer served in a large 22 oz pint glass. Amber with a small white head.

Smells of cinnamon, ginger, something nasty I can't put my finger on. I've never been a fan of the smell of this beer.

Taste is a different story. Ginger, nutmeg, sweet caramel malt. A perfectly spiced winter beer. I'm from Cleveland, have come of age with this beer, and it's just something special.

Nice upbeat carbonation and medium-light body.

Classic X-mas beer. Great drinkability.

12-17-2009 23:50:15 | More by jampics2
Photo of RoamingGnome


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Thanks again to Dr. K. This could possibly be the best Festivus ever.

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A) It's a rusty kind of copper color. It's pretty clear. About a full finger of foamy white head, which settles to a dusting. Decent lacing.

S) Really nice aroma here. Fresh cut ripe pear, with just a little spice, mostly cinnamon. I really enjoyed this aroma. It left me thinking that this could be warmed up, placed in a thermos and taken to a Christmas parade.

T) Good, but at optimal temperature it is very good. The bottle recommends 55 degrees. The ginger zing and honey give this a nice balance.

M) A medium body with moderate carbonation. It is actually pretty smooth, even with the ginger. That zip just seems to mellow as it warms. Nice finish and aftertaste.

O) I really enjoyed this one. It's a festive beer. It kind of made me want to decorate the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, that was done already. If I had like five more of these, I could probably fall into it.

12-12-2011 04:09:30 | More by RoamingGnome
Photo of jtw5877


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Pours a copper color with a decent orangish white head. Notes of cinnamon on the smell. Malty spicy taste. A real solid beer, maybe a little too much cinnamon, but by no means bad. A good interpretation of the style. Another good reason to live in Ohio.

11-16-2002 17:22:14 | More by jtw5877
Photo of magine


4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a nice copper amber. Has a bubbly light cream colored head, real nice carbonation with some lively action. Leaves a nice sticky ring along the edges. Head settles to a pocketed wisp lace. Good looking brew.

Brews smells nice and malty and spicy as well. Subtle honey and ginger is noticed as advertised on the label. Good smelling brew.

Brew is nice a spiced; ginger and honey are in the forefront of the flavors. Good peppery spice and very nice creamy middle. A very nice balance to the feel of this one. Good creamy smooth malts and some nice hops peak through. Brew finishes slightly dry and leaves the tongue peppered. Wow good stuff here.

This brew is an excellent holiday treat. Great complex flavors here and a nice hidden higher abv. Great stuff here - highly sessionable.

11-18-2011 02:23:31 | More by magine
Photo of warriorsoul


4.08/5  rDev +3%

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.

01-07-2007 17:23:38 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of cabsandking


4.08/5  rDev +3%


10-29-2006 16:31:52 | More by cabsandking
Photo of rmdunlap85

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +3%

A: Looks really nice, crystal clear with a deep copper color, a thin white head caps it off that turns into some decent lacing
S: Caramel malts and orange, some cinnamon and other spices like nutmeg too
T: Lots of spice all over this drink with ginger notes, tastes kind of like drinking a gingerbread cookie. It has some nice sweetness as well, like honey.
M: Feels good, nothing really of note here, crisp and warming.
O: This is a good winter beer one that I will enjoy often during the upcoming holidays.

12-15-2010 23:59:17 | More by rmdunlap85
Photo of heidelbeerg


4.08/5  rDev +3%

This beer poured a clear amber/honey color with a fluffy off white head. The smell was fantastic. Sweet malts and spice. Reminds of the spice blend for pumpkin pies. The taste is a little on the sweet side. The spice flavor is not too involved and is balanced with enough hops to round it all out into an good tasting drinkable brew. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Enough carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy but not too bad. Well worth a try.

12-03-2004 04:00:05 | More by heidelbeerg
Photo of GClarkage


4.08/5  rDev +3%

01/30/06- Received in trade with Irishsnake.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, best by date imprinted on the label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Cherry in color, or a real deep dark amber. Medium sized 1/2 inch semi creamy head. Very light lacing left behind.

Smell- The first thing that hit me was a cherry and light chocolate scent. Then came the cinnimon and maybe a few other spices. Cherry was the predominant scent for me though.

Taste- Lots of things going on here. Spices up the ying tang, but they meld together so nicely. Cinnimon, honey, ginger, clove, nutmeg, throw in the kitchen sink and you have a pretty damn tasty beer. Nice dark malt background, maybe a real light hoppy fix, but nothing even worth mentioning.

Mouthfeel- Lightly creamy, lower carbonation.

Drinkability- This one is a winner. I can see drinking lots of these if they were available here. Another good cold weather beer, even though the abv isn't huge. I'm liking this one lots.

01-31-2006 00:22:20 | More by GClarkage
Photo of NClifestyle

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +3%

Got this beer in a trade from battlekow!
Nice looking winter, ever so slightly hazy orange color, nice head of orange/white foam, large bubbles, with sheets of lace. A thin layer of head stays atop the beer.
Smells like cinnamon sugar bread with butter. Very nice, winter warmer smell for this beer.
Taste is malty and cinnamon, warming, with a touch of citrus hop. The hops are pretty mellow. There is a faint alcohol taste as the beer warms, which almost overtakes the hops. Honey and gingerbread dominate.
Medium mouthfeel, smooth but crisp, with just a touch of carbonation. I would drink many of these as the temp continues to drop. Too bad I can't get Great Lakes here in N.C. A fine winter ale!


01-21-2006 03:34:13 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of scottyb88


4.08/5  rDev +3%

2012 bottle.
A- pours a brownish orange color with a creamy head and decent lacing

S-orange peel, honey, nutmeg, and a little brown sugar

T-the aroma flavors are prominent in the taste, but not one ingredient over powers anything else; there's a sweet, almost candied pecan flavor that lingers, which blends nice with the honey

M-nice, medium to full body and creamy mouthfeel; a lingering dryness from the hops

O-I feel like I've had a better version of this beer in years past, but it's a decent offering. The alcohol is well hidden and it's not too sweet

11-26-2012 00:29:36 | More by scottyb88
Photo of bigdeuce


4.08/5  rDev +3%

Wow, this is an incredibly easy drinking Christmas winter warmer. Has lots of cinnamon flavors in it and some ginger as well. Pours an oft-red color with some head, not much, doesn't lace much either. Of course the one I had was way too cold. Very smooth and clean taste. Very potent, although it doesn't initially seem like it as the alcohol is barely detectable. I highly recommend this one!

10-26-2006 21:10:55 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of xgrigorix


4.08/5  rDev +3%

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Best by date printed on label.

Glowing copper coloured, clear, with intense carbonation. Topped by a firm off white head that retains very well.

Fairly clean nose. Hints of cinnamon, ginger, & a touch of hops.

A rush of sweetness, followed by subtle spicing of ginger & cinnamon. A hint of hops dries it out just enough to keep it from becoming cloying. Didn't really pick up on the honey, but its still quite tasty. Brisk carbonation, medium/full bodied, & somewhat creamy. A nicely done beer just for the holidays.

12-29-2003 18:31:03 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of sonicdescent


4.08/5  rDev +3%

A= just average but possibly from an overly agressive bartender. Small white head and a golden red appearance.

S=light hints of honey is really the only thing I get, but it's an appetizing scent.

T=it's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! Very nice taste with the honey and spices coming through with no trace of alcohol.

M=excellent, thin bodies with very little carbonation.

D=very high, if I wasn't consciously tryin something different each beer, I would stick by this in a Pittsburgh minute.

12-22-2008 20:57:33 | More by sonicdescent
Photo of treyrab


4.08/5  rDev +3%

Just picked some up tonight and poured into my pint glass...

A: This pours a very clear red copper with a small head initially. That head however dissipates quickly into nothing, not even a ring. Oh well...let's see how it tastes

S: This one smells pretty spicy. A lot of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (Whether these were used in the brewing is another story, but it smells like them!).

T: The taste is caramel caramel caramel. An initial taste of caramel followed by some spice, particularly cinnamon and nutmeg. The hop presence is in there only slightly, it is really not that noticeable in this Christmas ale.

Overall this is beer drinks extremely light for the alcohol. You could have told me that this beer was 4% ABV and I would have believed it. The alcohol is not noticeable one bit. The carbonation is slightly low on this one as well.

This is a good beer, not one of the best Great Lakes, but a good beer nonetheless

09-13-2008 00:38:01 | More by treyrab
Photo of Tucquan


4.08/5  rDev +3%

Had this on 2013-12-26 in Columbia, PA

A - Clear tawny-mahogany with a 1/2-finger light tan head that fades very quickly and leaves just a smidgen of lace.

S - Candied apples, cinnamon, cherry, pumpkin bread, ginger. Inviting aroma although not real strong.

T - There's a lot more bready malt than the smell would indicate. There also a shot of citrus and bitterness that wasn't evident in the smell. That being said, the cherry, candied apple, ginger and cinnamon make their presence known. It's a pleasing flavor that dries nicely and thankfully, isn't too sweet.

M - Medium body and light-medium carbonation. Syrupy but not cloying. There's a nice bit of resin that clings briefly. Leaves you wanting another sip.

O - This is a very enjoyable holiday ale. It's got some seasonal spicing but you still know you are drinking a good quality ale. I'll look for this again.

12-26-2013 21:15:26 | More by Tucquan
Photo of sinstaineddemon


4.08/5  rDev +3%

A - this beer is kind of a root beer/mahogany color, atop sits a half finger of light tan head, below average amounts of carbonation

S - big spice elements, especially ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, the bottle mentions honey as well, there is a nondescript sweetness, could be honey, as well as a roasted nuttiness from the malt backbone

T - as it should be with a quality christmas ale/winter warmer, the spices element hits the palate first, followed by a rich earthy sweetness, must be from the honey and the roasted malts, quite a flavor combination

M&D - smooth and easy drinking, full bodied and warming, again as a winter warmer should be, a well brewer beer, a nice introduction to GLBC for me

11-11-2009 21:08:48 | More by sinstaineddemon
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,126 ratings.