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

809 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 809
Hads: 2,752
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 147
Gots: 546 | 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: 809 | Hads: 2,752
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (252 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 3/24/14.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, gingerbread, cinnamon, ginger, and earth aromas. Taste is much the same with gingerbread, cinnamon, and ginger flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth and spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that still has a fresh spice and ginger combination even being over 6 months past its enjoy by date.

Serving type: bottle. (685 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev 0%
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. (745 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (646 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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 (411 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (929 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (642 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.88/5  rDev -26.2%
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. (387 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one as an extra from bakerslp. Thanks!

Appearance: A pretty shade of reddish-amber with perfect clarity. Two fingers of off-white head initially, which settles to a disc somewhat quickly.

Smell: Spicy and sweet with cinnamon sticks and cloves at the forefront. Nut brittle sweetness in the background. While the spices are used pretty liberally here, it's pleasant and definitely festive.

Taste & mouthfeel: Spices up front, cinnamon and clove again, perhaps a touch of nutmeg. Toffee sweetness, toasted malt and a touch of alcohol. This stuff is pretty damn drinkable for the 7.5% ABV, facilitated by the medium-light body and crisp finish. Bitterness is in perfect balance with the malts, though there's little actual hop flavor beyond a hint of leafy herbs. Very nice stuff, a step above most winter warmers. (823 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
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. (1,040 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (658 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev 0%
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. (561 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (849 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (406 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
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. (576 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.12/5  rDev -20%
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. (763 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very slightly cloudy reddish amber with a finger of creamy off white head. The head fades to a small layer on top of the beer.

Smell: Sweet with some bready malt and a strong fruity presence. Definitely picking up some spice, mainly cinnamon.

Taste: Not as sweet at the smell. Bready malt with the fruity notes. Still picking up some spices, but there is a bitterness in the finish that wasn't in the smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice Christmas beer. Always try to get a hold of one during the holidays. (651 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
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! (801 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper with about 2 finger widths of fizzy light tan foam. Once it settled down, it retained well with a nice light frothy covering that left some light lacing. Very pleasant looking brew. Aroma is sweetness, spice, and citrus.

Taste is dominated by spice initially. Most notabley cinnamon and ginger. It's nicely balanced though by a mix of honey sweetness and orange zest. Finish is just slightly hoppy. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium with just a slight underpining of heat.

I nice mix of festive flavors and easy drinkibility make this a great Christmas beer and another winner from the GLBC. (662 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.55/5  rDev -9%
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. (873 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
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. (1,783 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

look 4 smell-4 taste-4 mouthfeel-4 Overall-4I had this on tap at Tj's during the 7th Anniversary celebration.

A deep copper with good clarity and small beige head w/ tiny tiny beading, crystal clear and semi-good retention and lace. The nose is very spicy with cinnamon, mildly sweet notes w/ subtle woody nutmeg and a dash of ginger along with a mild fruit note from the yeast ester. The feel is tinged w/ spice and slight woody texture w/ semi dry finish and mellow spice.

The taste gives a mild vanilla quality with caramel malt and fruit w/ subtle cinnamon, ginger and slight orange note w/ a festive nutmeg accent-pretty solid flavors with spicing not going too far to be considered flavorful. The drinkability is good, a quality christmas beer, w/ decent smooth yeast and spice cohesion. Lots of nicely toasted malts - a winter warmer, good for the season and fits the style well.

Re-review 12/11/14 enjoyed on tap at Brass Rail Deli, served chilled in a pint.
The color is golden amber like honey with thick haze and thin white head with fine bead and lace ring sticks with decent head retention. The smell has lots of spice with sweet malt odor and a light ginger and spiced quality that is earthy with mild honey-ginger tea like smell. The feel is thick yet not cloying with medium carbonation and moderately spiced body with light sweetness, low bitterness and semi-dry finish with light alcohol in the feel.

The taste of ginger is prominent with fresh honey-malt backing and light cinnamon mid palate with slight warming spiciness with subtle caramel in the malt with a good amount of hop & ginger continuing into the flavor after the initial sips with a mild alcohol flavor as it warms w/ nice earthy quality w/ no cinnamon candy flavor just nice fresh spice and honey into a mostly dry finish. This is a very tasty festive ale with spice that is sufficient to match the honey which is a nice compliment & is very drinkable for the strength. I would recommend this to anyone who likes ginger or honey in beer (2,030 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (686 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
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... (728 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Tasty! Poured clear copper-orange with a nice off-white head. Obvious spice in the nose, and some honey sweetness. Crisp and slightly fruity to the taste, nutty with a strong honey sensation immediately following, and later flavors of nutmeg, ginger, and light cinnamon, when the honey mellows. A slight hop bite riding in with the alcohol. Nicely balanced, medium mouthfeel, and a pleasant drink overall. (450 characters)

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 809 ratings.