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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

809 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 809
Hads: 2,755
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 6.41%
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: 809 | Hads: 2,755
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 RickKrumenacker
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours to a crips golden orange resulting in a single finger head that dissipated fairly quickly.

S - I couldn't place it at first, but the initial scent is ginger. Also get some sweetness in the aroma as the beer warms a little. Other holiday type spices are in the background. About half way through the beer I seemed to pick up some orange zest as well.

T - Very similar to the smell. I taste a lot of ginger up front. I like it. A little hoppy near the end of the drink, but not overpowering. Finishes with a bit of warming alcohol.

M - Very smooth throughout. Crisp flavors throughout. Low to moderate carbonation.

D - A great beer for a cold winter evening. Has everything that I am looking for in a good winter ale. (731 characters)

Photo of ChiSox05
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Whoa, smelling this one straight from the bottle is like opening a box of honey graham crackers. Nice aroma. In the glass, lighter than I would have expected. This beer is clear, sandy-orange color. Couple thin rings of foam.

You just can't miss the honey in this one. Such a unique smell. Constant honey with lots of cinnamon and ginger in there too. smells like hop infused graham crackers....mmm

Tastes like a lightly malted, medium ale with cinnamon and ginger. Complex beer with a hint of bitter hops and spiced semi sweet malt taste. Each element is doing its own thing, not exactly blending well. Not much aftertaste at first, but near the end of the bottle, the spices and honey aftertaste show up. Hides the 7.5% very well.

I'd only have a couple of these at a time. I could see this as a great beer to wrap up your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. All in all, a unique, above-average winter seasonal with a great smell, cinnanninnanim. (954 characters)

Photo of heidelbeerg
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear amber/honey color with a fluffy off white head. The smell was fantastic. Sweet malts and spice. Reminds of the spice blend for pumpkin pies. The taste is a little on the sweet side. The spice flavor is not too involved and is balanced with enough hops to round it all out into an good tasting drinkable brew. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Enough carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy but not too bad. Well worth a try. (445 characters)

Photo of heyitsbyron
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle from a six pack from Woodman's in Madison ($5.99 for 6 on clearance) into a pint glass. Evidently, according to the botttle, I was supposed to have enjoyed this beer by 1/28/06. For $5.99/6, I'll enjoy it whenever I damn well please.

Poured slightly more orange than copper. Head was pale pale beige and didn't stick around long. Maybe 1-1.5cm at most. Nothing special, nothing bad.

Smelled just spectacular. Fruity and spicey. Like spiced mulled fruit, fills the nose. Cinnamon and ginger mostly.

It tastes like a healthy malange of cinnamon, honey, ginger, and nutmeg. I don't taste as much cloves as they claim. Ah well. Also have a strong honey flavor. I'm amazed at this much spice because normally brewers tone it way down. Has a strange "foody" flavor that reminds me of Thanksgiving. I have no idea how they obtain it, but I hope it's intentional because it's great. No real hops or malts to speak of, but who cares? This is fantastic.

Solid in the mouth without feeling sticky or syrupy. Perhaps a bit coarsely carbonated, but hard to notice.

7.5% alcohol? Bring it (especially for this price). This is a marvelous beer for drinking anytime the temperature is below, say, 50 degrees. I'll look forward to this from here on out. I can put back a few in a sitting, it just warms me up inside. My favorite seasonal and my favorite red ale; it probably works its way into my top 5 all around favorites too. Probably wouldn't drink too much outside the fall/winter though. (1,507 characters)

Photo of granite
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A---It poured copper with thin white head.

S---Cinnamon and toasted malt.

T---It was very dry and slightly astringent. Very little malt flavor. Some warming alcohol and it finished all spices.

M---Thin-medium bodied.

D---Now this is a great winter warmer. Nice use of spice and just enough alcohol to balance. (355 characters)

Photo of truthbrew
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in Dayton, Ohio in November, enjoyed today. Hint of spices originally, but when poured they were explosive. Good name, the smell did remind me of Christmas-time. I was most stuned by the crystal clear copper color, quite magnificant. Beer was extremely balanced. My wife thought it to be a bit too "complex" for her liking. Overall a great beer, which I will get again. (379 characters)

Photo of ledemie
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S: nice and malty no spices to smell,

V: nice Garnet color little bit of a head, nice and clear.

M: nice and smooth good medium to full body, reminded me of a Biere de Garde

T: mellow maltiness and I can see the honey, but cannot taste it.

D; I wish they had this one all year long a very nice winter warmer, I said that before but it reminded me of a Jenlain Ambre ( Biere de Garde) (388 characters)

Photo of mrquartetman
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A nice darkish golden amber, small head with poured, not persistent.
S - Aroma is ephemeral, malrt and hints of ginger
T - A malty beer that is spiced, but very subtly, with the predominant spice being ginger. The other spice in the beer (according to the label, cinnamon, along with the ginger and some honey) is not detectable. Whereas the wonderful Anchor Our Special Ale comes up and smacks you in the palate, this one is very quiet in presentation.
M - A malty mouthfeel that is neither dense nor thin. Just right.
D - This is one of the Winter Warmers that could be a session beer, except that it is 7.5% abv

The beer should be served at the temperature recommended on the bottle - 55°F. Otherwise the subtle aromas and flavors are buried. (751 characters)

Photo of Fergyx825
2.41/5  rDev -38.2%
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. (708 characters)

Photo of crc1935
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this beer from a growler that was poured from a keg in Erie, PA

Appearance - light amber/orange. Larger head than normal due to pouring from a growler to regular glass.

Smell - Sweet, nutty, and spicy.

Taste - Light honey and nutmeg taste balanced with slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Lightly carbonated to balance the taste. Very smooth ale.

Overall - This is an excellent Christmas Ale, though its legend seems to be elevated by scarcity. Still love the chase. (471 characters)

Photo of Icedogs
4.9/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My favorite Christmas/holiday/winter seasonal of them all, by far. I crave this beer, I stalk it. Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers! (380 characters)

Photo of carolinahophead
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is always a beer that's always hard to get here .
The color is a bright copper , poured a nice head with bold lace .
Tight nose here , you do get nice malt aromas with spice added in .
This is a big holiday brew .. good flavor with sweetness and a little bitterness as well .
The beer has a medium mouthfeel and a surprising long finish .
It's a good beer .. Let's say we will be having one Christmas Eve to enjoy the holiday . (437 characters)

Photo of drewd0g
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Big M in Potsdam. 1 single 12oz.

Pours a brownish orange, pretty clean. i like darker winter warmers. the smell is like cinnamon and spice, real nice very pleasant. when i drink this i taste cinnamon and chocolate. really good, i'd be interested in tasting this beer with some age on it, tastes like it would do it some good. the mouth has a medium-heavy body, appropriate for the style i think. decent drinkability although im kinda full from dinner ;-) drinking this and its snowing outside, very nice. (520 characters)

Photo of innersanctum
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a special one from the guys on the Erie shoreline! Had the opportunity to have a few of these this season, as well as compliment my Cleveland friends. Apparently this beer is revered there and folks will stock up on a case or two, but once you have a sip you'll see why. This is one of the more unique products from GL.

Appearance: Dark coper/orange with a nice thick head.

Smell: Cinnamon spice, and all those other fruit cake season gems.

Taste: Warm, zesty and complex. Despite some of the fruit, this is well balanced and its a nice sipper in the cold season.

Mouthfeel: Despite the complexity this is not a terribly heavy brew, but be warned:

Drinkability: At 7.5% this one is a real creaper because one or two of these in a snifter, while a smaller pour, can pack a nice punch.

Serving type: on tap in a snifter glass (838 characters)

Photo of gearbike
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A darkish golden pour from tap with a small white lacing around glass. You can't miss the sweet smell. The word snappy fits this beer well. It is a winter warmer but not from the usual alcohol burn. The alcohol is almost completely hidden. The warm comes from the mix of cinnamon, hops, and most of all spiciness. The alcohol must be there because I sure did feel it after finishing the glass. (393 characters)

Photo of andyo
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this eber on tap at "Bob's Bar" in Clintonville last night with my good buddy Shane.

This beer was very interesting to me. It poured a rich amber/brown color, and gave off a heavy, sweet smell. There was virtually no head on this beer at all.

My initial taste pretty much hit me hard. This is definately not a weak beer in taste! The malts are very pronounced, combined with cinnaman, honey and clove. The flavors are very sharp...if that makes since, and finishes with a bite. I really didn't care for the first sip, but this beer seemed to get better and better. Mouthfeel was thick and sticky.

A really nice, obscure christmas ale, and at $3 a pint at Bob's, I'll be enjoying this one again. (709 characters)

Photo of JAramini
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've found my new go-to winter beer.

At its heart, this is a very well-made amber ale. Rich, malty, and delicious. If it didn't have any added spices, it would be a very nice, sessionable amber ale.

The spices, however, ratchet this beer up a few levels. The label advertises honey, cinnamon, and ginger. With each sip, those three flavors swirl around your palate. It seems that with each whiff and each sip these three tastes mix with the malt to keep me interested and coming back for the next sip.

Some winter warmers are overly spiced, but this has just the right combination of spices so as to be noticeable but not overwhelming.

I've rated drinkability so high with this one because of that mix of spices that keeps the beer lively and interesting with every sip. I could see drinking this late into the evening on Christmas Eve in front of a fire, watching the snow fall outside. Well done Great Lakes, well done. (925 characters)

Photo of smerrell
4.66/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've loved this beer for a long time - crisp, clean, and full of flavor. Hops take a back seat to the ginger, and the cinnamon is present but subtle. The color is deep amber, and the finish is dry.

This beer gets better as it warms - Love it.

appearance: translucent red/amber

Smell: faint traces of holiday spices

Taste: spicy ginger, alcohol is present (and pleasant)

Mouthfeel: dry

overall: this beer & Troegs Mad Elf = Christmas (439 characters)

Photo of Clowerweb
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. Freshness date: 03/22/2012. Says "best served at 55 degrees F", but I am drinking it from the fridge. I'll sip slowly an edit the review if anything changes.

A: Brownish orange with bright amber highlights, nicely filtered, very clear. 2 fingers of slightly off-white head with respectable retention, but little lacing. Great looking beer, aside from the lacing (or rather the lack thereof), not much to complain about.

S: Honestly, it smells skunky with some piney and citrusy notes, but the nose is on the lighter side with this one, so I'm not picking up much here. Almost smells like an IPA or APA. Definitely detecting hops, but the skunk is a little off putting.

T: Tastes nothing like it smells. Has a very nice depth of flavor with pumpkin, cream, cinnamon, hops and definitely nutmeg. Almost tastes like a swig of eggnog with your pumpkin pie - appropriate for a Christmas ale. It starts and finishes basically the same, no flavor twists to speak of in the mid palate or finish, although the cinnamon and nutmeg spices tend to shine through a little more in the aftertaste. I'm really digging the flavor, it tastes wonderful.

M: Moderate carbonation, body is on the more full side of medium, feels a bit chewy after the finish, doesn't really stick around too much, however it does leave a little bit of carbonation tingle in the cheeks and a creamy coating on the back of the tongue.

O: Oh yeah, this is an amazing beer. This is one of those "warm up with your significant other by the fireplace on a cold winter's evening" kind of beers. You could totally session with this one too. Looks awesome, tastes AMAZING, and leaves little to complain about other than the strange skunky smell.

I've never been disappointed with anything Great Lakes has to offer, and they make me proud to be from Ohio. I'd like to go tour the brewery someday, it's less than 100 miles away. With such a solid lineup of world class brews, who could resist? If you see this somewhere, definitely pick it up, you will have no regrets. Re-buy factor: very high. (2,097 characters)

Photo of MaxBrewell
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear copper color with ample head and carbonation bubbles releasing; minimal lacing.

S - Cinnamon and sweet malts dominate the nose. Honey and ginger don't come through.

T - Cinnamon present up front and malty sweetness in the finish. Nothing special, but a nice Winter Warmer.

M - A little thin, but nicely carbonated.

D - At 7.5% the ABV is well hidden and it is a nice example of the style. A nice beer to ring in the New Year! (439 characters)

Photo of Intimidtor
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite seasonal beer ever. This is a rich Winter Warmer. Honestly the first time I had it I wasnt that impressed. But I gave it a second chance and my second tasting completly changed my opinion. This is a seasonal beer usually released by GLB in late October through the New Year. Mostly served around with Cleveland and surronding area in a glass with the rim coated with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Reddish tint with a rich taste. GLB has compiled a great mixture here that is a must try. This year I will buy more and fill up the fridge in my garage. (567 characters)

Photo of BeerHistoryGuy
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

I don't have the ability to pour it as I am on the road, so I can only comment on the taste.

This is one of my favorite winter/Christmas beers. There is a nice hint of spices, cinnamon and ginger come through, along with a nice honey taste. It's not nearly as sweet as some holiday beers, but it balances well with the overall taste of the Ale -- along with the aforementioned spices -- that truly make this a balanced beer.

I love this beer. It is a Christmas treat, like a not-too-sweet spiced cake, that's perfect for kicking back, watching some TV, and just relaxing. (575 characters)

Photo of brianlg
3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought this in February, which is a little after the season, but I had to try it. 12 oz bottle pours a nice golden color with a 2 finger foamy head. The smell is very sweet, it smells like candy kind of. Also smells faintly citrusy and a little scent of alcohol. The taste is where this beer fell apart for me. It is way too sweet! I didn't taste my carbonation at all. It tastes like bitter honey, and a hint of caramel. Ech. This is not good! I love all of Great Lakes beers, but this didn'd do it for me. I hope this bottle was skunked.
Maybe my palate was off, maybe my bottle was bad. I will definitely try this fresh next holiday season, probably on tap from the brewery to make sure it's fresh. I will see if my opinion changes. (736 characters)

Photo of EORS
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally finished my seasons' worth of Christmas Ale.

Appearance: light amber with a small to moderate amount of carbonation and a small off-white head. Previous years' brews have had more of a ruby hue to them.

Smell: Honey, cinnamon, and clove all dominate the nose

Taste: Christmas in a bottle. More spice, mellowed by honey and malt, with a hint of bitterness from the hops lingering at the finish. Alcohol cuts through in mid-swig, giving you that warming feeling.

Mouthfeel: Well bodied, and the lack of carbonation helps it go down. Not that it needs much help.

Overall: Full disclosure - when someone asks me to name my favorite beer, this is the one I name. It blends the spices and honey in with the rest of the ingredients so well, and there's absolutely nothing better on a cold winter evening. While this year's batch isn't as well balanced as some previous (I could barely taste any malt and I wonder if it's because they've changed their grain bill somewhat) it's still an amazing beer from a world-class brewery. (1,033 characters)

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