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Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,963 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1963
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 12.88%


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: 1,963 | Reviews: 767 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Bigboyash73
Bigboyash73

Ohio

1.65/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer is so hyped up that it drives me nuts! I had this beer on tap with some cinnamon shit on the rim and that was the only good thing about it! The taste was absolutley awful! It has a super bitterness to it and maybe im bias, but im just not an ale fan....ILL STICK TO LAGERS!

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2011 17:03:18 | More by Bigboyash73
Photo of mariposafan
mariposafan

Wisconsin

1.73/5  rDev -56.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

The pour gives maybe a half inch of loose head over a coppery body. The head dissipates fairly quickly with just a little lacing persisting.

The smell is where I knew this wasn't going to meet my expectations. Where I was hoping for gingerbread and malts I got sweetness and hops. Lots of hops. If there were spices there they're completely drowned out by the hops.

Taste is much the same as the smell, though there are some winter spices evident in very small quantities. Some alcohol is present as well. Mostly, though, there are those hops. If I'd wanted hops I'd have bought an IPA or APA. The bitterness starts fairly gently but increases as I drink more of it. Now, 45 minutes later, I've still got some of that damned bitterness on my tongue.

The mouthfeel was rather thin with prickly carbonation, but not bad.

The experience of drinking this was akin to ordering a hamburger and biting into a veggie burger. It might be fine in its own right but it wasn't what I was expecting at all and it was nothing like I'd expect from the description of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 02:01:58 | More by mariposafan
Photo of beeristhefuture
beeristhefuture

Ohio

1.8/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is not a bad craft brew at all, despite my lackluster numbers. The color is beautiful, and frost-like lacing, when poured correctly, stays in the glass. However, I find the blend of spices to be too sour and bitter in a bad way, and the thin mouthfeel Great Lakes Beers typically have doesn't augment the flavors needing some heft. The highher alcohol content is also immediately obvious, making the beer taste like alcohol.
However, as is typical for Great Lakes, first-class ingredients are used and the flavors that make me uncomfortable are often enjoyed by others.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2008 17:50:25 | More by beeristhefuture
Photo of pwoods
pwoods

Ohio

1.83/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz. brown bottle, purchased from Party Source, poured into a pint. 1/22/08 best before date.

A: Pours a deep copper that is probably clearer than any other beers I've seen. Very small amount of very small bubbles lazily stroll to the top. average pour produced only 1/2 finger of off white head and didn't last very long.

S: Spicy cinnamon(like Big Red) is the first thing that hit me. Brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, and ginger bread also make an appearance. Not getting anything else but spices. Not terrible but not very complex, either.

T/M: Dominated by hot cinnamon and a cough syrup taste. Some clove and ginger try to make there way through but just don't manage. I don't even want to finish this. Body is medium heavy and carbonation is low.

D: Didn't drink much at all. Winter Warmer isn't my favorite style but I don't dislike it by any means... this one just didn't do it. It's very unfortunate, too, since GLBC is one of my favorite breweries.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2007 02:14:06 | More by pwoods
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

1.83/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I guess I am going to have to give up.

I just don't like Christmas Ales. But this is the spiciest, & least drinkable, of the bunch.

This is the third one I've tried to put down, & I'm not going to be able to finish it. For me spices like this belong in a pie, cake, or salad, not in my liquid libations.

Nothing personal. I just can't handle it.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 00:54:21 | More by maximum12
Photo of Fergyx825
Fergyx825

Massachusetts

2.25/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: a brownish red beer, with some head on the pour. It sticks around for a bit around the edges of the beer and on the surface of the beer. This matches the description of a winter warmer.

Smell: at first you can smell the spices in this beer, they smell rich and thick. Cinnamon and nutmeg, and then you can smell the light hops of the beer, and some maltyness in it.

Taste: the rich spicy flavor is evident, the beer is spicy like fire sauce. Its very high in alcohol content. This is not enjoyable whatsoever.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, and a medium thickness beer. These match each well.

Overall: This looks good, smells good, but it tastes terrible. I was looking forward to this too.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2013 01:37:56 | More by Fergyx825
Photo of k3n
k3n

California

2.3/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle traded from tangfoot (thanks!), dated freshest by 1/19/07. Got in under the wire.

A: Really nice coppery-orange color. Not much head or carbonation.

S: Slightly malty smell, mostly sweet, reminds me of spiced apple cider.

T: In a word: Sweet. IMO, too sweet. The malty sweetness runs right into the gingery, honey sweetness. There's a bit of acidity at the end, but is then overwhelmed by the cloying honey.

M: Mouthfeel is light to begin with, but that sticky honey taste/feeling hangs around too long at the end.

D: Not impressed with the drinkability of this one, and I tend to favor winter warmers. Seems like there's not enough balance to this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2007 05:28:03 | More by k3n
Photo of CheapHysterics
CheapHysterics

Pennsylvania

2.3/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Really nice reddish copper color. Head is soapy looking but otherwise a pleasant looking beer.

S: Spice and pine, dominated by cinnamon. A pleasantly sweet candy like aroma combines with the spices to remind me of holiday candy. The aroma is the best of part of this beer, but I don't buy beer just to smell it.

T: Starts out with spice candy and pine, which seem like they should go together but somehow don't. at all. It's not horrid, but it seems like it should be good and it just is not. Finishes with a bitterness that has a metallic tinge to it, leaving you wondering where all the spices disappeared to - not that they were very good to begin with, but at least they were better than the bitter metal you are tasting now. Malts are totally MIA.

M: Thin and crisp. Carbonation is almost prickly. unpleasant.

D: Don't want anymore. Hopefully my holiday guests will finish the sixer.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 03:38:35 | More by CheapHysterics
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

2.33/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

My 1st Great Lakes!

Clear copper color with a thick head that's quick to vanish. No lace, shameful retention.

Aroma is honey with a malty backbone. Cinnamon.

Smooth and malty up front with ample, but not overpowering, spice. It's the backend of this beer that I object to; it has a tobacco, herbal antiseptic tongue tingling ick that doesn't float my boat. Downright sinks it. Slick, booziness makes this beer seem stronger than 7.5%.

I'd heard so many great things about this brewery that I left Christmas Ale sitting on my counter for an hour and kept going back to it to make sure I wasn't missing something. It eventually ended up down the drain.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 18:32:16 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of drtacks37
drtacks37

Illinois

2.38/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ap - Clean, amber color. Thin creamy white head. Little lacing.

Ar - Damn this cold, my nose is not what it should be. Am I detecting raspberry?

T - I'm gonna need a few more sips to try to sort this all out. Sweet, nutmeg and other spices. Still trying to sort it out. Complex... but I don't think I like it. All the spices of Pumpking, but none of the pumpkin.

I don't want any more of this.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 01:59:14 | More by drtacks37
Photo of Sideswipe
Sideswipe

California

2.4/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The beer looks great. A very clear copper color with a finger of off white head. I can smell the spice from a foot away. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. All these and more are confirmed when I take a drink. Wow, there is a lot of spice here, and a sweetness that must be the honey that was mentioned on the label. Mouthfeel is ok due to the carbonation, but I just can't get past the overwhelming spicyness of this brew. For me drinkability of his beer is non existent. There is just too much of a spice presence. Perhaps I have been drinking IPA for too long to truly appreciate this style. I will not be having another one of these.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 23:07:03 | More by Sideswipe
Photo of circus_cat
circus_cat

Virginia

2.54/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

If you charge that insane amount for a beer, people are going to be disappointed when it doesn't taste really special. Some ginger, cinnamon, and grassiness. Pretty good, but again--when Dogfish Head charges me $10 for a 12 oz, I'm annoyed at the cash register but pleased when I see how worth it it is. This just annoyed me all around.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2013 20:51:10 | More by circus_cat
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

2.58/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from a 12 oz bottle into my Rochefort glass.

The beer pours a very bright yet dark clear amber with about 2 fingers of heading falling quickly. However, it leaves a nice soapy top on the beer and a lots of solid white lacing on the glass.

Can you say nutmeg? That's all you get at first sniff in this ale with a little mixture of spice. I'm trying to pick something else out but all you get is christmas but its a tad to much.

The taste is a huge let down in flavor from the aroma because you would expect huge flavors. But all you get right away is very light watery mouthfeel which is extremely off putting. As far as taste I almost just only taste water with a little nutmeg.

As far as drinkability you could crush a lot of these because its like, but I'm not sure why you'd want to.

Overall, from the hype I've heard this beer was a big let down in every sense. I would not encourage anyone to drink this.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 02:51:53 | More by jrallen34
Photo of jmyers89
jmyers89

Pennsylvania

2.58/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A lot of people find ths beer really good, however I think there was too much clove, some of the spice that they use (nutmeg,ginger, brown sugar, etc..) I thought tasted a little off. Basically I thought this beer tasted just like a ginger bread coockie... not a fan.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 03:59:48 | More by jmyers89
Photo of BZero007
BZero007

Virginia

2.58/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Picked up this bottle at Rodmans in DC. 2010 Bottling had in December.

Poured a crystal clear amber color with an ever so slightly off white head. The brew looks great and leaves lace through out the glass. Smell is a bit off putting as a clovey aroma takes over the brew in a bad way. The taste reminded me for some reason of candy canes with an ever so suddle hint of bitterness in the background. The spice was around and mixing with this candy cane flavor and did not sit well with me. Mouth feel was good and carbonation was good for the target profile. I would have to say I will pass on this brew the next year.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 16:46:23 | More by BZero007
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

2.6/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with an off white two finger head with decent retention and minimal lacing. The aroma has light amounts of cinnamon, ginger, and honey with caramel and biscuit malt. Not much aroma coming through, hopefully the taste will be bolder.

The taste is mostly biscuit malt. I can taste some cinnamon, ginger,honey, caramel malt and some hops, but the biscuit malt taste is the dominant flavor. I was hoping the caramel malt would stand out, but no such luck, at least not in this bottle. I also don't care for the taste of spices trying to interact with biscuit malt. Doesn't work for me.

Light side of medium bodied, with average carbonation. The aftertaste has some spice, but not much else. Not my favorite Great Lakes beer. It is drinkable, but there are better Winter Warmers than this.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 22:49:28 | More by hardy008
Photo of bobhits
bobhits

Kentucky

2.63/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This is a really nice looking beer. It's got a nice head that though a bit airy to the touch (instead of more a creamy head) lasts well and leaves a nice lace. The amber color is rich and nice as well.

Maybe it's because the bottle said it had honey in it, but that's the smell that first came to mind. There are some spices and hops that seem to mix together to create a second smell but the the honey smell really stood out.

The first taste is basically that of water and spices. I find it hard to not combine mouth feel and taste as they are the same here. The beer has this overpowering spice character with a bit of sweetness (honey) and some hops there that much like the smell seem to mix in well with the hops. With this I would expect something thicker to allow the flavor to linger and develop in the mouth but instead the beer is very watery and basically it just doesn't work for me. I want my beer to linger a bit longer and be somewhat sticky especially a winter style beer. This stuff even with the strong carbonation when you pour it doesn't really have it any of it left when you drink it.

It's watery and thus you can drink a lot of these and they go down really quickly.

That said I'm done with this when the 6 pack is done. This is the first beer from Great Lakes that I wasn't blown away by but hey you can't always be perfect. This beer however imo is average at best.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2008 10:25:33 | More by bobhits
Photo of BigMike
BigMike

Pennsylvania

2.63/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: A nice burnt copper orange color with a creamy eggshell colored head. Initially 3 fingers disipates to about one quickly. Overall it's a nice looking ale.

S: I definitely get the cinnamon and Ginger. Those are the two stand out aromas. Caramel and toffee are right there too.

T: cinnamon is the dominate flavor here. Ginger, honey, toffee and light caramel notes also.

M: Mouthfeel is light and very smooth. This one goes down very easy. There's almost zero indication of the 7.5% abv.

Overall: after a few sips this isn't very enjoyable. gets a bit redundant. I wouldn't want to drink any more.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 23:02:17 | More by BigMike
Photo of cproioi
cproioi

Ohio

2.65/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Upon being Served this beer at Molly Malones in Cincinnati I gaze at it. The beer is of a brownish red color with an almost tan head with slight carbonation present in the body. The aroma and taste went hand in hand. They both had a strong maltiness to it with an even stronger Ginger aroma and taste that seemed to over power everything. Even with the extremely strong ginger in it I could still make out some cinnimon and something that was reminded me of coriander. The mouthfeel was a medium body with carbonation dancing on the tounge. The drinkability was rather low, the beer did not leave me wanting another.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2006 21:00:21 | More by cproioi
Photo of mwbeerman
mwbeerman

Minnesota

2.65/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber/copper color with a full head that dissipates rather quickly. Crystal clear with very little visual carbonation. Lots of spice in the smell, cinnamon being the most prevelant with a complementary sweet spice (cloves?). Caramel and sweet malt also in the aroma, along with a slight roast. Altogether a very fragrant beer. Cinnamon hits the palate right off the bat, transitioning into a a sweet malt/caramel flavor, creating a very enjoyble contrast. Finishes with an unappealing bitter spice aftertaste (think the bitterness in cinnamon without the sweet). Spices are aggressive in this beer, but not in a bad way. A nice medium body, though I would have preferred a thicker beer (On the other hand, I have had thinner winter warmers...). Very nice balance to this beer, mixing the bitter spice and the sweet malt. The carbonation in the beer brings forward the spice bite, aiding in the contrast through most of the sip. I will be revisiting this beer throughout the winter, although I would like to see a tiny bit more hop presence in the beer. A great beer to keep you warm.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2011 01:13:13 | More by mwbeerman
Photo of nouseforotacon
nouseforotacon

Connecticut

2.68/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Celebrating the birth of my 1st nephew, Mattéo Raphael, who was born today on Dec. 4, 2006.

Transparent, beautiful golden amber bottom with a thin and rapidly diminishing foam web of sticky film. Minimial lacing on top and on the edges of the glass.

Sweet, layered honey smell with malts and fruits. Hints of ginger and other spices, biscuity, with Christmas cookie-like notes. Nice nose.

Upfront biscuit/bread in flavor profile with a surprisingly good deal of hop bitterness. Burnt caramel. Sweet, honey stickiness. Spice profile is nowhere near as pronounced as I would've hoped. Lingering fruitiness.

Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Burnt and bitter, with only a tiny hint of sweetness or spiciness. Overall product is not so delightful, nor drinkable. Guess I'll have to celebrate this special season and day with something else.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2006 01:40:15 | More by nouseforotacon
Photo of AlexFields
AlexFields

Tennessee

2.74/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to the guy at the BASC release who gave these for free to my friend Photekut (who then gave one for free to me).

Nice reddish amber color with a good sized and attractive head.

Nose is all christmas spices. Unfortunately, my christmas spice vocabulary is not quite up to snuff, and I'm not going to make a fool of myself by naming a bunch of random spices that I couldn't actually identify by smell. Suffice it to say this beer just smells like a ton of different wintry spices thrown together at random. Not that appealing.

Taste is similar to the nose but better. There's more of a balance to the spice flavors and less weird clash than in the nose. There's also a decent honey-sweet backbone that stops the beer from being totally overrun by the spices. Still, though, let's not kid ourselves, this beer is all about the spices, and if you don't love winter spices this isn't the beer for you. I get cinnamon and maybe nutmeg, but again, I don't know my winter spices well enough to name a bunch of specific ones.

Nice mouthfell, welll carbonated.

I don't generally care that much for winter warmers, and this one is no exception. Heavy on the spices, light on everything else. Drinkable, maybe even good if you're into this kind of thing, but I'm not really into this kind of thing.

5.7/10

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 18:03:44 | More by AlexFields
Photo of WakeandBake
WakeandBake

Michigan

2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a clear amber color pour with a small soapy offwhite head , little to no lacing left , medium carbonation . Aroma is a jumble of spices , cloves , ginger, cinnamon and maybe an artifical honey note .Flavor just seems off , sort of a spicy mess with lots of cloves, a little caramel, candy cane and rasins with a spruce type hop finish , medium body , slick mouthfeel , short finish almost metallic, with fruitcake flavored burps , I would say this is quite sessionable if one was to care for it more than I did . I love you guys at GLB but this one was just not for me

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2010 22:06:20 | More by WakeandBake
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

2.8/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean copper color with a tan/ off white head. In the aroma, cinnamon and a sweetness. In the taste, cinnamon and mixed holiday spices. A smooth, yet sticky-sweet mouthfeel and a dry cinnamon aftertaste. Not bad, but cinnamon is a bit much. Easy to drink, but I don't think I could drink two.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2007 12:40:17 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Gouxman
Gouxman

Kentucky

2.83/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A beautiful amber color with an aroma of pine trees and nutmeg. This Christmas Ale is full of holiday spice. Flavors of cinnamon, baked apples, honey, ginger, and cloves combine to make a festive ale which encompasses all of the flavors and aromas you would associate with Christmas.

This is one of the top selling Christmas beers. I can see why people like this beer, but it's not for me. The holiday spice overpowers anything else found in this ale. I always try at least one each year, but it's not something I can sit and continually enjoy.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2009 17:03:13 | More by Gouxman
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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,963 ratings.