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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.
very good

819 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 819
Hads: 2,812
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 24.3%
Wants: 157
Gots: 605 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 819 | Hads: 2,812
Photo of bigdeuce
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a sweet malt aroma complimented by cinammon and honey.

The taste was a nicely spiced solid grain experience. Elements of spicy cinammon and sweet honey complimented the toaty biscuit flavor.

The mouthfeel was full.

Overall a nice and potent winter warmer. Would like to get my hands on some more.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of scott
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful copper body with two finger head of tight, spritzy bubbles.
Smell was earthy/bready with very subtle hints of holiday spice.
Taste was an average, middle of the road malt character that I certainly didn't expect from one of my favorite breweries. There is a beautiful rendevous of energy with each sip, yet it gives way to a lackluster finish, making one think of which other beer they get to try when this one is finished.

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Photo of Osiris9588
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a freshness date of 1/7/07. Pours a ruddy copper color, with a one finger which dissipates quicky and leaves no lacing.

Spices dominate the nose: ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, along with hone and pine notes--like a big bowl of pot pourri.

The flavor is also well spiced, kissed by a honied sweetness, and undercut by a caramel maltiness that approaches chocolate on the finish. The mouth is warm, spicy, and complex, and slighly creamy.

Very drinable, much more so than many christmas brews which tend to over do it on the spice in my opinion. This a more elegant incarnation of the style to which I look forward to when the fall chill enters the air.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange caramel color with a short lived 1/4" head of off white foam. It is gone within about 20-30 seconds.

Aroma: My first impression is of fresh spices mixed with some sweet caramel. The spices also contribute a floral presence. I am not too good at picking out particular spices, but they are definitely there.

Taste: The flavor is rather dry from the spice, and the mix of sweet toasty malt gives it the balance of some kind of breakfast cereal. It quite distracting to me, but it is not bad. There is a bit of a roasty note here, but it takes a back seat to the spice additions. The finish has malt and spices sharing the stage. I don't pick up the 7+% alcohol.

Opinion: This is an OK beer, but I don't really like a beer that you can positively identify the spice additions. It is OK, but it reminds me more of a food than a beer. I am not going to pour it out, but it isn't one that I will be drinking again anytime soon. Once is enough for a while.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not much for flavored beer but this one is one of my favorites.
Appearance- Gold copper, clear with a nice white head that mildly clings to the glass.

Smell- Sweet malt, ginger or cinnamon and honey.

Taste- Mildly sweet, ginger up front with a nice malt to back it all up. Some mild hops to add balance.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and clear, mild carbonation with a nice clean finish.

Drinkability- I can't wait for this one every year. I try to buy a case to keep in the cellar for those special occasions when I want a flavored beer.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Great label art! 7.5% abv., 55 F serving suggestion, best by Jan 20, 06 (Enjoyed April 29, 06).

Aroma: Nice spiced malt aroma! Ginger is most evident on some caramelized malt notes.

Appearance: Clear amber/brown with a collar and thin cover of off white that lasts, but doesn’t lace.

Flavor: Spice are up front, as they should be. Nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and mild citric flavors that might be hops, might be orange peel. Nice malt base keeps the beer focused and gives a good balanced feel although no evident hops (unless they are citric) are there.

Mouthfeel: Medium light body.

Overall Impression: Enjoyable! Even though the first signs of summer are showing, this brought back the Christmas spirit! A holly-jolly good beer that I recommend any time of year.

Massive thanks to mattcrill for the sample!

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Photo of Crosling
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chestnut color. Aroma has a bit of spice from the hops, grape vines, tree brances and caramel and biscuit like malt. Quite honestly, there isn’t much there in the aroma. The flavor is mild, with hints of caramel, cream corn, fruit and roast. This is ok.

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Photo of rrwiltse
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

7.5%??? Deceptive for sure! For a 'winter warmer' style, this is awfully light.
The first thing that struck me was the ginger aroma--not overwhelming, but just present and pleasant. Hints of the ginger and some cinnamon cross the tongue, but honey lingers. The spices are not too overpowering like many brewers end up with. Balanced and quaffable, not a case buy, but worth a six.

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Photo of heyitsbyron
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle from a six pack from Woodman's in Madison ($5.99 for 6 on clearance) into a pint glass. Evidently, according to the botttle, I was supposed to have enjoyed this beer by 1/28/06. For $5.99/6, I'll enjoy it whenever I damn well please.

Poured slightly more orange than copper. Head was pale pale beige and didn't stick around long. Maybe 1-1.5cm at most. Nothing special, nothing bad.

Smelled just spectacular. Fruity and spicey. Like spiced mulled fruit, fills the nose. Cinnamon and ginger mostly.

It tastes like a healthy malange of cinnamon, honey, ginger, and nutmeg. I don't taste as much cloves as they claim. Ah well. Also have a strong honey flavor. I'm amazed at this much spice because normally brewers tone it way down. Has a strange "foody" flavor that reminds me of Thanksgiving. I have no idea how they obtain it, but I hope it's intentional because it's great. No real hops or malts to speak of, but who cares? This is fantastic.

Solid in the mouth without feeling sticky or syrupy. Perhaps a bit coarsely carbonated, but hard to notice.

7.5% alcohol? Bring it (especially for this price). This is a marvelous beer for drinking anytime the temperature is below, say, 50 degrees. I'll look forward to this from here on out. I can put back a few in a sitting, it just warms me up inside. My favorite seasonal and my favorite red ale; it probably works its way into my top 5 all around favorites too. Probably wouldn't drink too much outside the fall/winter though.

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper brown. Yes a winter warmer, the cinammon, the nutmeg, cocoa. Pleasant, some hops and appropriate carbonation. A nice drink, though not exceptional. A bit sweet maltiness with bitterness in the finish. Pleasant spicy aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of putnam
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazel orange colored liquid. Scarce topping. Aromas of marshmallows, Juicy Fruit and mulled orange juice. Abundantly nutty. Creamy texture yields to charcoal and graphite flavored tannins. The effect is dry despite candied citrus peel and sweet brown spice flavors. These latter elements ride a hot wave of alcoholic fumes.

Best before 2/14/06

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Photo of GClarkage
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of edbeered
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle, this is a clear coppery color, with a small white head and minimal lacing. The smell is of malt with cinnamon. The taste is malty with cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. The spices do not overwhelm the taste of the beer. The mouthfeel is good, but seems a bit thin for a winter ale. This is a nice tasting beer, but one in a session would be enough for me.

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Photo of NClifestyle
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!


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Photo of Bierguy5
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 300th review. Cheers! Great Lakes Christmas Ale pours into the glass a clear copper color. Some streaming bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Thick creamy off-white head that holds together rather well. Aroma of ginger, nutmeg, maybe even cinnamon. Biscuity malt flavor, with a hint of caramel. Honey sweetness. Spices kick in near the end, again ginger, nutmeg. Not very bitter, spices are done pretty well here. Slight floral/citrusy hop flavor. Medium body, low carbonation. Very enjoyable. Another wonderful brew from Great Lakes.

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Photo of SurgeonGeneral
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving temp: 50F Serving glassware: Pint Glass

Aroma: A bready, but not neccessarily yeasty smell blends notes of gingerbread, a sharp sweetness & a slight graininess. A bit of dark fruity esters in there as well.

Appearance: A dark gold color, similar to that of buckwheat honey. Good clarity, excellent off white head retention. Lacing just as expected, excellent.

Taste: A big sweetness with malt overtones but also influenced by the honey used in this brew. Next to flex are the Christmas spices, most notably ginger & cinnamon. A bit on the heavy side with the spices, IMO but that is why this beer is brewed once a year, I suppose. Fades into a somewhat dry spicy finish, balanced very well with a good amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A little light bodied for this brew, IMO, but still medium bodied. Moderate, crisp carbonation.

Drinkability: I'm still not a huge fan of spiced beers, and this one doesn't convert me. However, for what it is, I appreaciate it a great deal. This will be my last until next Christmas.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear orange copper with a big, sticky off-white head that left a good deal of lace and remained until I took my last sips.

Smell is malty, but with a gingerbread spiciness, some cinnamon, orange, and clove to round things out. Nice for a winter warmer.

Flavor is on-point: not too spice-driven, but the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors really accentuate the overall quality of the underlying malty brew. The honey doesn't come through too loudly, but it's there. Mouthfeel is a well-carbonated medium.

Overall: I picked up all the Great Lakes I could on my last swing through Kentucky, and I still haven't had one that was less than fantastic. Good beers, and this one is an especially subtly-done winter warmer.

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Photo of sublimesipping
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 6 pack, sadhanna's

appearance: pours a beautiful and vivid clear copper, tinted ruby...slight foamy beige head, not a whole lot of lacing

smell: similar to the Lakefront Winter aromas...lots of cinnamon spice - smells like red hots, touch of nutmeg and other spices...loaded with honey, mild maltiness

taste: cinnamon red hots, thick and sweet honey, nutmeg and other festive spices, a fair amount of pine, fair amount of alcohol present, ginger, slight cherry, caramel, biscuit-esque

mouthfeel: medium bodied, cinnamon spice, touch of hop bitterness

drinkability: pretty drinkable

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A medium to full bodied amber ale-like beer with lots of flavors added. Malty without feeling heavy or cloying. A well-woven cherry flavor and aroma melds into the malts. Lightly hopped for balance but little for flavor or aroma, just enough for an extra layer of flavors. Spicy with nutmeg, cinemon, and ginger; without the granular texture that is usually present in bottle conditioned beers. Very smooth and slick to the mouth. Warmingly alcoholic toward the end. Alcohols and cherry flavor resembles cough drops or Vicks 44, but lightly noticed. Lots of peach flavors follow through in the aftertaste. A real good offering by Great Lakes.

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Photo of bahumutx
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very clear copper color with a nice creamy white head.

Smell: Malt, Cinnamon and hints of honey.

Taste: Sweet malt and cinnamon starts of this beer. It then ends with a honey and slight pine. Slight alcohol warming is also present. As the beer warms the cinnamon becomes more pronounced but not overpowering and nutmeg flavor also shows up. Hard to pick out all of the different spice flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thin to Medium Mouthfeel. Thin around the edges of my tongue.

Drinkability: I could have a few of these in a sitting.

Another decent brew from Great Lakes Brewing. I would probably have another of these but not my favorite of this style.

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Photo of maddamish
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber in color. Little to no head on this one with just as little lacing.

Smell: Heavy malt smell with hints of pine and cinnamon.

Taste: At first it was very malty till it warmed up a bit then you could really taste the pine and a slight presence of cinnamon.

Notes: It was nice to be able to get this on tap at the Winking Lizard in Akron Ohio. A great brew.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a copper color with a decently sized fizzy head.

The nose is strong of honey and has a nice yummy sweet aroma.

Flavor is sweet of cinnamon, honey, and ginger. Very fresh tasting. Very delicious. And just in time for Christmas.

Although this is very warming, I must say its much different than other winter warmers I've tried. It's lighter in color and has a large Ale appeal to it all around. Maybe its not true to style, or maybe its just expanding my horizons a little.

The mouthfeel is great, nice body and great carbonation. Excellently done. Drinkability is great too. I have a couple other beers to drink tonight, but I'd love to trade them in for more of these. Great Offering. Get it while you can!

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 819 ratings.