Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

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BA SCORE
89
very good

2,618 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,618
Reviews: 811
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 144
Gots: 422 | FT: 9
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: 2,618 | Reviews: 811 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.05/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
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!

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of Kegatron
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of jlindros
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Photo of Slatetank
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
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

Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of russpowell
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
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...

Photo of oline73
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
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?

Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of beernads
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12/30/11 notes. Had on tap at The Big Hunt in Washington, DC. Served in a pint glass.

a - Pours a deep amber color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of gingerbread, spices, bready malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted malts. Lots of cinnamon and ginger, smells great to me.

t - Tastes of cinnamon, gingerbread, nutmeg, spices, bready malts, toasted malts, light toffee. More cinnamon than the nose, and a tiny step again. Really liking this.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy.

o - Overal I thought this was a great Winter Warmer. Lots of cinnamon and gingerbread in the nose and taste which I love, and exactly what I was expecting. Would certainly buy it again.

Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of jwc215
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,618 ratings.