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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
-
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 TimPowell
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every November, I look forward to combing the shelves of my local beer store for some of my favorite Winter Warmers. Great Lakes Brewing Company once again steps up with an exceptional beer.

Pouring the bottle I was taken by several things;

Color-A rich, deep amber, almost smokey in color.

Nose-Not as stong as I remember. You may notice slight hints of cloves or cinnamon. I would say this beer is better served at warmer temperatures. This is not the beer to be poured in to an ice cold glass.

Head-I was dissapointed pouring did not produce more of a head on the beer.

Tasting this beer really was the reward. Hints of caramel, malt, and some seasonal spice was followed by a wonderful hop finish.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale should make every beer drinkers Christmas list during the holiday season. (807 characters)

Photo of beergod1
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red hue with quickly fading white head. Aroma of ginger, some other spices. Some lacing and rings around the glass, reminds me of snow. Flavor is nice balance of cinnamon, ginger, and sweet honey. Very drinkable, and at 7.5% abv. it's very sessionable, for about 4 beers (230z. brewtus at applebee's), then it's nap time. (331 characters)

Photo of Lepley
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amberish, orange. One finger of tan head, good lacing and retention.
S: Sweet, citrus, fruity.
T: Tangy, citrus, spicy, cinnamon, orange, ginger, good hoppiness to finish off.
M: Watery, good carbonation.
D: Pretty solid brew. Definitely feels like Christmas. I recommend trying it. (285 characters)

Photo of ne0m00re
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live review of "Christmas in a Bottle."
A: Poured a clear reddish amber with a nice cream head that faded to a nice collar, thin film, and a little lacing.
S: Cinnamon and clove, apple and pumpkin pie (which is probably a result of the honey based on the mead character), on top of a malty caramel. The hops (Fuggles, probably?) are a bit earthy and leafy and break through in the end. A nice "warm" welcoming beer.
T: The spices come off a little strong in clove with cinnamon in the back and linger through most of the beer, fading to a dry cinnamon with mead alcohol. Caramelized sugars dominate with leafy earthy hops and the recipe seems like it would be very similar to the Octoberfest if it wasn't for the spice (not a bad thing).
M: Slightly thicker with a frothy carbonation at first that lets go to a mildly sticky dark caramelized stickiness.
D: Pretty good. The residual sweetness is pretty intense after a couple, though. (934 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a very clear lighter amber color with a two finger soapy head

S- Huge aroma of cinnamon, ginger, citrus, and floral notes. This smells like Christmas at home

T- Big on the cinnamon, ginger, citrus and honey notes, great balance among those flavors. Sweet biscuit and cracker like malt flavors. Finishes on a nice bitter note

M- Smooth, pretty high carbonation, effervescent

O- This beer is the holiday season in a glass, a cornucopia of holiday flavors and spices. A beer I look forward to every winter. Very good out of the bottle, even better on tap. (610 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a golden color with a slight tint of amber, head is copper/ginger and 2 fingers tall. Decent retention, ok lacing.

S - Caramel and honey up front, with some cinnamon spice and brown sugar

T - Lots of cream caramel/honey with spiced cinnamon and ginger, maybe a hint of citrusy orange flavors as well. Possibly the best Christmas Ale I've had

M - Medium bodied or less, slightly sticky on the tongue, just the right amount of carbonation, quite drinkable but still has moderate warming characteristics.

O - New favorite Christmas beer! (548 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
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! (684 characters)

Photo of irishmoss
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great seasonal ale that is winter, that is Christmas. Nice and fresh, just arrived today. It was served a little cold, so I got another one to allow it to come down to temperature.

Nice dark copper copper with a great light tan head that clings to the sides of the glass leaving excellent lacing. It smells of cinnamon and ginger, with hints of all spice. The tastes were similar with roasted barley and a little sweetness. The spiceyness or the higher alcohol content were not overpowering. I really like this one and look forward to it every year. (553 characters)

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I've had this beer dozens of times, I haven't actually taken the time to review it, so I thought I'd do so before Christmas passes too far into the past.

Poured from a 2009 vintage bottle, so we'll see how well it cellared. Pours a copper color with a soapy white head.

Smells sweet, slightly boost, with hints of ginger, honey, spice, and malt.

Malty, sweet, and spicy, this 2009 vintage seems to have mellowed from a typically tasting GL Christmas Ale for an an even smoother than usual experience. Honey, ginger, and floral notes present, with no hint of the wallop of alcohol that can sneak up on you with this brew. Very low bitterness to finish, this beer is going down way too easy!

Medium bodied, and very easy drinking.

A Cleveland favorite, this is easily one of the best Christmas brews around. Highly drinkable, the only concern is the alcohol content will catch up on you if you're not careful. When they say winter warmer, they're not kidding! (971 characters)

Photo of mobyfann
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $8.99 for a growler at The Party Source in Bellevue, KY...

The beer pours a clear amber colored based with a medium white head, decent head retention and lacing on the glass. The aroma is a balanced mix of aromatic hops, sweet malts, caramel and cinnamon/anise.

The taste is exceptionally smooth, moderate body, slightly chewy and sweet. It is a perfect mix of the aforementioned aroma ingredients and finishes clean. It is crisp and clean in the mouth and at 7.5%abv is a seasonal pleaser, even if Christmas was a month ago.

Final Thought: Freaking awesome on-tap or in growler... just a great example of Great Lakes' versatility as a top national brewer. (665 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture on the main label is that of a green colored model railway car full of Copper colored Christmas Tree Baubles. The brewery blurb goes on to explain that “Its copper color and flavorful taste is derived from cinnamon, ginger and honey”. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F, as well as an advertised strength of 7.5%. Enjoy By Date is Dec. 23 03.

Appearance: Amber copper body with some dark tangerine hints. A thin but very uniform dirty-white head forms easily and with the aid of the odd gentle swirl it remains throughout the drink. Some lacing, but it nearly always sinks and slides back down into the Glass out of harms way. Carbonation appears to be average but well attenuated.

Nose: The nose is well rounded and very fruity indeed. Reminds me of cinnamon toffee, mixed with a hint of ginger. Powdery feel in the nasal passage at times.

Taste: Smooth introduction to the beer, aided by the conditioning. Malts with an immediate cinnamon punch. Some spicy ginger comes through in the finish, whilst the middle obviously benefits immensely from the sweet honey. Spicy with a light citric tingle on the tongue in the finish. Very Nice!

Mouthfeel: The finely attenuated carbonation creates a talcum smooth feel, which is a great background for the finely balanced cinnamon and ginger, whilst the honey lends a rich silky feel to malts

Drinkability: I wish I had another one to finish the night with. The 7.5% is nowhere to be seen at all, but the rich full-bodied flavorsome quality of this Christmas Ale is quite literally all over this beer, front to back, top to bottom.

Overall: This would be a very fitting beer to sit down with after a filling Christmas Dinner. Tasty solid brew that has just the right amount of cinnamon and ginger to balance a honey infused malty body.

Four Brews from Great Lakes, all received 4+ marks. Accomplished.

A belated Merry Xmas to BigHuge for the Great Lakes brews. Cheers! (2,068 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy scarlet red in color. Thin creamy, yet bubbly, tan head. This beer smells like Christmas: Cinamon, spice and everything nice. The beer tastes like Christmas joy as well. The cinamon is the main player of the spices, but the orange contributions are notable and enjoyable as well. Nice little biscuity malt backbone and some alcohol notes to give a little umph to this beer. Carbonated nicely. Medium body. One of the more enjoyable spiced winter offerings I have come across. Thank you PhantomVoodoo for the sample.

I have now sampled 6 Great Lakes beverages. I can't comment on their consistency as I don't have consistent access to them, but the quality of the brews I've had is extremely high. One of the best in the US in my opinion. I've doled out 4.5s to the Elliot Ness, Burning River and Dortmuder Gold. I've rated the Edmund Fitzgerald a 4.6, the X-mas ale a 4.4 and the Loctender Lager a 4.25. My new top 3 would include K-ZOO, Stone and Great Lakes.

I'd love to see what they could do with a Barleywine, Imperial Stout or IPA. (1,048 characters)

Photo of MilkMan126
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks great. Red amber color with a small head that dissipates. Would look great next to your mom's Christians decorations.

Smell is excellent. Ginger cookies with brown sugar and icing. Spices come through aggressively.

I taste ginger and other spices. Cinnamon and vanilla are present. Nice biscuit malt flavor underneath reminds you it's a beer after all. It provides a nice warming sensation. Bitey carbonation adds to the effect. Let it warm a little before drinking to get all the flavors - it gains a nice balance but the spices will still hold up more than anything. Medium to full body.

Complex but not too spicy, which I appreciate. It warms the spirit and reminds me of Christmas comfort. People rave about this winter delicacy in Columbus, Ohio. I can see, smell, and taste why. (794 characters)

Photo of chilidog
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally got ahold of a couple of these for some of the GLBC limited offerings I have to search for out of town. Anyway, I'll gladly make thisone a yuletide tradition. It pours a burgundy, if not a dark cranberry color with a smaller than expected off-white head. The heads fades to a thin film although the carbonation is mild (no fizz) on this full bodied beer. Lace dose manage to dress the glass nicely. The aroma is spice and ginger. The taste is also packed with ginger, spice, cinnamon, caramel malt while backed by a slight alcohol hop. The 7.5abv. dose a nice winter warming job while not overpowering the mouth. A great beer with all or most holiday eat treats. (672 characters)

Photo of lstokes
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've never liked a winter warmer before, but this was... awesome? Had on tap at the UChicago pub, red-amber body with a light tan tan head and a light ginger-cider smell. It tastes like a cider-glazed spice cake, but not sweet like that makes it sound--like a beer, finishes bitter and dry with some earthy hops, the sweet and the spice mingle perfectly rather than tasting additive. I loved it--will be seeking out in bottles this winter! (439 characters)

Photo of CircusBoy
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A nice ruby reddish tan. Nice white head with good retention.

Smell - Aroma of ginger, spices and pine

Taste - The taste of the beer really brings out the ginger and spices. Really strong flavor that brings something different than other winter beers.

Drinkability - Because of the strong flavor it went down kind of slow. But you will still want another one when you're finished.

Overall - Great Lakes has done it again! One of my favorite breweries has produced another great beer. When I was at the store I overheard the manager telling a customer that they were flying off the shelves, so I grabbed the last 6 pack they had, and I understand why. I only hope they have more for Christmas Eve!!! (715 characters)

Photo of mmciz
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I was only planning to review beers from my adopted state of Arizona and maybe other frontier-type spots like Utah and New Mexico, but when a buddy sent me 12 bottles of this old favorite I couldn't resist...

A: Dark copper (light for the style) with a quarter inch of head.

S: Apricot and cinnamon. Surprising freshness considering the style and what time of the year it is now.

T: It's hard to ignore the nostalgia and be objective but I've always found this to be a Cleveland Christmas bottled. Malty but not really sweet, the cinnamon flavor is almost hot on the tongue like Big Red gum. There's some clove in there, too.

M: Pretty thin for a WW but still plenty of body for my taste.

D: Ahhh. (702 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This slightly hazy copper colored ale pours with a beige head that fades quickly, but still leaves a faint lace on the glass. The aroma is faint and hard to pinpoint. Malt and a hint of spice is noticable, but not overpowering. The taste is malty with a touch of cinnamon and citrus, with little bitterness on the rather clean finish. A hint of alcohol sweetness lingers on the finish. The beer feels full on the tongue, with a touch of carbonation effervesence. A moderate ABV with the good, basic flavor profile makes this a very drinkable winter ale, as long as you don't need to go anwhere anytime soon. Another solid offering from Great Lakes.

This is even more enjoyable on tap! Better balance, smoother mouthfeel, and just oiverall better flavor (or perhaps it's just this year's edition.) On tap at Sapphire's in WashCo. (831 characters)

Photo of JackStraw22
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yum. This is a beer to drink with some Christmas cookies and presents. The beer pours a crystal clear, amber orange with a beautiful foamy white head. The overriding taste here is gingerbread. This tastes more like a beer flavored gingerbread cookie than the other way around. But it's oh so good, not too sweet, just a little hop kick to balance it out. I'll be sorry when the holidays are over and I can't get these any more, better stock up. Only downside is the aroma, just not much there. But the taste more than makes up for it. (534 characters)

Photo of granger
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The pour has nearly no head and the beer is mildly carbonated. The color is a thick amber while the smell has faint traces of honey and stronger hints cinnamon and other spices. You'll be able to taste the spices, and the drinkability is excellent for a 7.5 ABV beer. This ale sets the bar by which all other winter beers should be measured. (341 characters)

Photo of trumick
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a thin head that leaves nice lacing all around.

Scent is of sweet, biscuity malts, and spices like nutmeg and ginger.

The taste really stands out in this one. There's lightly sweet malts with some fruity notes, light hop flavor, spiciness is not overwhelming at all. The cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are all well balanced within the sweetness of the malt, and the ever so slightly bitter hops. The finish is lightly sweet, dry and spicy. The abv. is nicely hidden in the mix of malty spiceness. The taste is exceptional.

Mouthfeel is smooth, light to medium bodied with the perfect amount of light carbination for this beer.

Drinkability is good. This is a beer that tastes soo good the abv is dangerous. I could easily put several away without realizing that fact until it's cab callin time.

Nice, nice beer from GLB. I will buy it again before they are gone till next year. (921 characters)

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a ruby red with a one finger head.

S: Smell's like straight up Christmas. Pine, honey, ginger, cinnamon, the whole deal.

T: Really good stuff. Lots of malty goodness, sweetness, but not cloying. Very fruity and tasty.

D: Drink's extremely easily. Has a creamy mouthfeel, too.

Overall: This is a downright tasty beer! I had both a '10 and '11 on Christmas Day 2010. A lot of people say that the spice character fades and it should be drunk fresh. I disagree. The year old one was even better than its younger brother - more blended and subdued, but still rich and spiced. Great beer and a Christmas classic. (665 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

4.5 A: Clear darker orange color. Two fingers of off-white dense, super creamy head. Retention is good and lacing is a plenty.

5.0 S: Wow, there's an awesome interaction between the caramel/toffee and the Christmas spices. Gingerbread and nutmeg are strongest, cinnamon and cardamon next, and brown sugar and honey last. The malts are a combination of grainy and biscuity with the caramel and toffee flavors being at a strength between the nutmega and cinnamon. Very nice. Best winter warmer smell I've encountered so far.

4.0 T: The taste, though very good, isn't on the same level as the nose. Caramel and toffee, grainy and biscuity malts. No appreciable hop contributions - maybe some herbal. Spices are about the same as the nose. Ginger and nutmeg are the strongest with cinnamon, cardamon, and brown sugar pulling up the rear. The reason that this isn't as good as the nose is mainly due to the mouthfeel. This has a medium body, but it could benefit extremely from a thicker malty body and a more pronounced sweetness.

4.0 M: Medium body. Carbonation is moderate on the high end, and it makes for a wonderful, spritzy mix. Could be creamier. As I mentioned in the taste section, a thicker body could have put this beer over the edge. However, it is definitely good the way it is.

4.5 D: Solid brew. Good all-around with an excellent nose. If they thickened this up a bit, it would be out of this world. (1,441 characters)

Photo of BB1313
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 12/25/10. Poured a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Pours a nice copper color with hints of red. Smells like Christmas, there's no other way to put it. Cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and ginger are prevelant in the taste and aromas. The aromas slightly edge out the way it tastes. Although it's full-bodied, it's feels thin. I wish this was a little more on the thicker side and more robust. Drinkability is good, but definitely be careful w/ this one, it can catch up to you.

I couldn't imagine the holidays without this beer.. this is what it's all about. Go crazy for this one!

Note: Definitely let this one warm up to get the full experience. (661 characters)

Photo of ken3c
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear honey color. Thin head resolves to a ring of foam and laces a little.

Aroma has a malt sense with various spices. I think I can smell anise, nutmeg, and maybe spruce. Maybe a hint of clove. This smells wonderfull.

Very sweet and somewhat balances by a piney bitterness. The spices add interest. The aftertaste is still sweet. There is a sense of diacetyl but it blends well. Very little sense of alcohol.

Smooth and lightly carbonated. Medium to full bodied.

Very drinkable. Dangerous. (511 characters)

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