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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

1,972 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1972
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%


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: 1,972 | Reviews: 768 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2006 03:00:31 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, burnished copper-brown topped by a large beige head that displays impressive persistance and leaves a small to moderate amount of lace in sheets when it eventually departs.

The nose is sweet and spicy and the flavor is malty sweet, accented nicely by honey and by abundant caramel/toffee notes. There's some spiciness (especially cinnamon), but it's not overdone.

The finish contains a moderate amount of bitterness and a trace of alcohol. The mouthfeel is exemplary; full and rich, very creamy. Mouthfilling with some mouthcoating as well. Drinkability is high.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale is my first beer from the best brewery in my home state of Ohio and my former residence (3 years) of Cleveland. I'm very impressed. I expected a good, solid Christmas beer and those expectations were met and exceeded by a long shot. I only got a single this year, but you can bet that I'll be getting more of this fine seasonal during my future trips home for the holidays. I would have no trouble at all drinking Christmas Ale year-round.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2003 19:20:11 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the bottle, Jeff!

Pours a clear copper color with a finger of off-white head. Lots of cinnamon and ginger aromas, especially ginger. There is a nice bit of sweet malt and bread going on as well. The flavor has plenty of bready malt sweetness as well as some toffee. The ginger is fairly assertive, maybe a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in there as well. Medium body with low to medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 08:36:06 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear amber color and a modest head that leaves dots of lace

Smell: Nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit a honey along with the caramel base

Taste: Biscuity flavors up front with plenty of Christmas spices building by mid-palate; modest earthy hops appear after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the great Christmas beers out there

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2007 03:08:36 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.85/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light ruby color ale with a medium light brown foamy head with a quite excellent retention. Aroma of light spices, honey with some bitter hops. Taste is lighter then expected with the honey being immediately recognizable. Bitter taste at the end is also quite enjoyable. I would have hope for a bit more malt and more character for a ‘’Christmas’’ special type beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2005 18:39:21 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2005 23:20:35 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Great Lakes in July 2009 as part of Christmas in July. Sampled side-by-side with the Independence Ale. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate copper-amber color with an off-white head and a touch of lacing. The nose is quite spicy with some cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. A bit of lightly-sweet and toasted malt backing it all up. The taste brings all the spicing together quite well and the more spicy notes of the ginger and cinnamon begin to stand out. Feel is a bit over the top in some ways and I wish there was a bit more sweetness. Drinkability suffers from the same problems, but overall this is a pretty good winter brew.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2010 17:10:45 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving a few bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of spices are present in the nose—ginger and nutmeg seem to stand out in particular.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and seems a bit more complex with additional hints of cinnamon sticks and caramel malts.
M: It feels a bit mire than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this to be an interesting winter warmer that has some nice holiday spices and seems easier to drink compared to other beers in the style since it isn't that heavy in body.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 03:47:28 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.2/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, orange-amber body with a full, foamy white head.

Smell: Lozenge-like aroma of spiced gingerbread, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey with some faroff hints of caramel malt.

Taste: Brief caramel malt flavor and sweetness before the full-on flavor of spices kick in with candied ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The honey emerges on the drying finish with the ginger tea taste carrying over into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An alright holiday beer, but I couldn't help but get gingered pretty quickly.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 01:36:14 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2006 19:25:18 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.05/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

It took some reaching (literally), but I netted the last bottle from Fresh Market. Victory! It pours a clear copper topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises black cherry, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, green apple, red grapes, and graham crackers. The taste holds notes of orange peel (and plenty of it), pumpkin shell, ginger, nutmeg, wheat, grass, rye bread, and a touch of cocoa powder. A strong bitterness pervades the finish, which follows a poor mixing of the various flavors. Something's amiss here. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly drying finish. Overall, I did not enjoy this very much at all, save for the smell. Things just didn't come together for me here.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2011 00:36:12 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy reddish-brown body with a thin creamy tan head. The head holds OK, drops to a creamy collar and thin surface covering, and leaves some spotty lace. The aroma expresses soft dark fruit, sweet toffee, a touch of cocoa and some mild spice. Very nice! The full body combines with a very fine carbonation from bottle conditioning to give a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
The flavor offers a very nice blend of softly sweet malt with a touch of honey and chocolate, and mild spice (cinnamon, ginger). It finishes semi-dry with a lingering sweet malt, some clear cinnamon flavor, and a drying spiciness. The alcohol is almost completely hidden! Very well-balanced with just enough spice to keep it interesting throughout the glass, but not overwhelm the palate. Definitely a seasonal to look forward to!

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2002 19:23:06 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, spices, honey and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with spices like cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg followed by sweet flavors of caramel and fruit. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is mild as you usually find in this type of beer. The after-taste is slightly spicy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Flavorful, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it's a decent Christmas beer but there are others in the style that I would pick first.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2010 03:18:22 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BBD: 1/19/09 Served at 50º

First time having this beer, surprisingly. Weeks after Christmas, this got pushed to the back of the fridge somehow.

Rusty orange body, lighter than I expected. A frothy finger's width of foam, that slowly ebbs to a ring and skim. Gingersnap and cinnamon snickerdoodle cookie aroma. Light honey too. Flavor is much the same, light cookie malt sweetness with a ginger and cinnamon combo in the background. Clover honey and bitter hop in the finish. Feel is light to medium, nicely compliments the flavors. Not a bad holiday brew, lighter than expected and balanced with moderate spice.

Single bottle from Vrai Amour in Chicago.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2009 02:04:16 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bumping up the taste score after having a few more bottles, the spice mix started really working for me

Pours a amber with cream color head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Holiday spice & faint metallic notes

T: Follows the nose, hints of brown sugar, plus a bit of cranberry up front. Hints of gingerbread as this warms, plenty of spice & a touch of herbal & woody spice sneaking through the back door. Finishes with some hop bitterness, but mostly gingerbread & spice, would probably work great as a mulled be type of libation

MF: Medium bodied, fairly firm carbonation

Drinks easy for the style, I am bit saturated with this style of beer right now, fairly typical of the style. Expected more from these guys...

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2011 02:32:38 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale and crystal malt scent along with a light array of spices that's not overly done. The ginger is the most pronounced. The taste is good. It has a nice cinnamon and ginger flavor along with a dry crystal malt taste. It's relatively light for a warmer, but the spice contribution adds a nice touch. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking winter seasonal. It's nothing exceptional, but it's good for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 01:39:53 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was in a DC beer store recently and picked this up. The clerk informed me that they were under a strict ONE BOTTLE limit on this beer. I had no idea it was this popular, doesn't appear to be anything special oh well.

Beer is red / amber with a mild haze, broken white head of small bubble, some lacing, moderate carbonation. Looks fine.

Aroma...Hello! super strong, some alcohol, lots of spice, cloves and nutmeg come forward, malt, yeast, esters and bread. Interesting.

I guess I need to recalibrate what I think a winter warmer is...Beer is light and has some grainy acidity at the end of the palate. The forward is mildly sweet with some cinnamon and nutmeg spice in the middle. As far as I can tell, nothing special. Drinkability is fine but I'm failing to see what the huge draw for this beer is. No interesting yeast character, no odd hop profile, just an herbed ale. Am I missing something?

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 04:04:48 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the nutmeg and honey. Definitely a heavily spiced Christmas beer. The flavor is more of the same. I get a ton of spices, as well as some toffee and green apples notes. There is a nice sweetness to the flavor. The beer is easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2011 04:20:48 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a semi-opaque, fizzy, burgundy color. It had a foamy, bubbly, two-finger head that left sticky, thick rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of nutmeg, cinnamon, pine, clove and some roasted malt.

T - The ginger taste really comes through with some cinnamon flavors, too. There was a sweet honey kick that blended smoothly with the caramel maltiness.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a smooth finish. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a really great tasting Christmas ale, however, the flavors are a bit too much to have several at a time.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 01:31:52 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Got this, another of the brewery that is constantly growing in my book, thanks to the 365 beers in 365 days himself, Mr. Noslenwerd.

A: A perfect pour just brings the head to the miniscus of the glass just stopped from overflowing on my overizes snifter tulip glass. A 3 finger head rises up but also fades quickly and leaves a slight lacing. It's a semi clear semi hazy reddish orange color.

N: Some malts and spices. Slight malty with a decent pale malt hit and some crystal and a little darker malts. With that is some spices, pumpkin beer reminiscent. A little cinnamon, toasty, bready, sweet candy aromas, just overall nice candy spiced Halloween/Pumpkin/Thanksgiving/Christmas ale like aromas. I also get a touch of honey and some sweet malts, and a slight hint of should be lager aroma despite this being an ale.

T: Similar to nose, with lots of spices. Some light malts, and toasty malts, very pumpkin or holiday spiced ale like. Touch of lager flavors with toasty malts, sweet malts, etc. Lots of spices, like tons! Cinnamon, allspice, pumpkin flavoring, grains of paradise, etc, and some of those other spices typically used in these style beers. A little malty sweetness.

M: Med to lighter body with decent but a little lower carbonation.

F: Some sweetness but mostly dry with lots of lingering pumpkin beer like flavors, lots of lingering spices, creamy gourd fruit flavors, fluffy slightly, a little sticky sweetness. It dries off the tongue a lot actually.

Overall a very bleh beer. Probably the least tasty from Great Lakes so far. I'm not big on spiced beers, and this just goes over the top with spices. Pretty hard to get down the gullet with all the spices. Thanks Drew, but this is the first GL beer that is not my cup of tea or cup of spice I should say.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 03:42:10 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by date of January 2007, Sampled January 2007
This beer sits a brilliantly clear, dark, amber to burnt copper color when held up to the light, otherwise it sits a dark amber brown color. The beer is initially topped by a three-finger thick, tan colored head that is frothy and leaves some layered lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is fruity up front, but then begins to take on a spice cake sort of character that drives a spicy sweetness. The spices are not so dominant that you can easily pick out the specifics; I get hints of cinnamon, ginger, perhaps some nutmeg, all spice, and clove and some spicy cardamom like notes. Underneath this is a fruit character that makes me think of cherries, and raisins.

The taste is lightly sweet up front, with a definitely spicy middle. A ginger-like peppery character rests solidly in the middle of this brew, actually it tends to linger a bit in the finish along with a cinnamon character. This beer is quite light and drinkable, in fact it drinks much easier than even 7.5%. I really like the spice levels in this beer, it is quite noticeable, but not so dominating that it is distracting. Fruity notes provide a nice balance to the spices; notes of cherries, green raisins, sweet Muscat, and even a light orange note reminiscent what one would find in some dessert wines. In the end this is quite drinkable and even enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2007 00:29:09 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Best before 03/01/14:

Pours a beautiful copper with an off-white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of Christmas spices - cinnamon and ginger - with caramel and a touch of honey.

The taste is of cinnamon, ginger, honey, some pine and caramel. It has a semi-sweet, spicy finish.

It hits full-bodied. Warm going down.

This is a malty, spicy winter ale. A little too spiced for me, but it's still a nice winter sipper.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 22:11:10 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper amber with a very nice caramel tone thicket of head, lacing forms a thck collar that continues to leave intersipping full rings. Aroma: Malty slightly toasted nuts but the spicing steals the show very festive, with cinnamon and tones of nutmeg some slightly floral hopping going on as well a bit one sided but who cares Great Lakes can do no wrong. Taste: Fluffy layer of creaminess blended with the spicy tones of ginger and a rich honey finish, and alcohol is very well hidden didn't know that this one was 7.5 % they are usually pretty conservative with their alcohol level at the GLBC, but hey 'tis the season, right? Mouthfeel: Medium body a bit sticky but not cloying in any way smooth mild carbonation, can't complain. Drinkability: On draft much more drinkable but the bottle just seems to concentrate the cinnamon and ginger spices just a bit much one though is a good experience to be had go out and find some while the Christmas beers are still here.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2003 23:29:02 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my twin brother's absolute favorite beer. youd never suspect its 7.5% abv either. the pour is a light and clear sopper color with a moderate red hue, and a lazy but lasting off white head, foamy, roughly half an inch high. the nose is cinnamon and ginger are evident, as is a richer malty sweet body. the flavor isnt sweet though, and that is this beer's best feature. its spiced, but its dry, its malty, but its crisp, its fruity, but its hoppy. there is a lot of strange contradictions happening here, but all work magically. spice up front, malty candied fruit through the middle, and spruced up groggy booze in the finish. this is yummy as anything thats out this time of year. there is an airy body, feeling much lighter than it must actually be, and a mellow but adequate co2 infusion. one of the best great lakes beers going, and certeinly one of the better winter brews available on the east coast. this is the dope show.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 04:18:12 | More by StonedTrippin
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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,972 ratings.