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
89
very good

2,746 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,746
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 143
Gots: 534 | FT: 6
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,746 | Reviews: 839
Photo of Fergyx825
2.41/5  rDev -39%
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.

Photo of crc1935
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of Icedogs
4.9/5  rDev +24.1%
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!

Photo of carolinahophead
3.91/5  rDev -1%
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 .

Photo of 29mikoyan
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A very good holiday ale. You can definitely taste the cinnamon, ginger, and spices. The beer is moderately malty. The aroma is very weak though.

Photo of drewd0g
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Photo of innersanctum
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
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

Photo of gearbike
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of andyo
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of JAramini
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of smerrell
4.66/5  rDev +18%
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

Photo of ChuckZ77
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great beer only available during holidays

Photo of Clowerweb
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

Photo of MaxBrewell
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

Photo of Intimidtor
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of brianlg
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

Photo of EORS
4.57/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of MilkMan126
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of davecavemaster
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you live where they distribute Great Lakes beer, then you look forward to their yearly release of Christmas Ale. This is my favorite seasonal beer.

great lakes christmas ale

Christmas, it seems... pours a beautiful clear and copper color. So long green and red.

The head is a nice off white foam. The foam dissipates, and turns into a thin coating on the sides of the glass, and in the center. Nice amount of lacing sticks around while you drink.

The nose of this brew is heavy on the honey and ginger spices it is brewed with. Malty, but a sweet and pleasant blend of fragrances.

The taste of Christmas follows the nose. The sweetness of the honey hit me first, followed by the spices, and then a bit of the hops bite at the end. This is a truly wonderful flavor combination, and the ratio is just right.

Not a heavily carbonated beer, but just enough to make it tingle in your mouth and make the flavors stand out. Very crisp for all the malty tastes, not sticky at all.

Great beer! Although at 7.5%, you need to be careful how fast you put them down.

If you have not tried this seasonal, and can find it near you..I highly recommend checking it out. I would lay money on it becoming one of your favs.

Photo of lewis0216
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

I enjoyed this brew mightily. Very clean and delicious for a cold night.

Photo of Jasonkyeager
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first "Christmas Ale" I've tried so I have nothing to compare it with but I thought it was a really good beer.

Photo of Kanyon22
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this little treat on my holiday trip to my parents in Ohio.Poured into my Great Lakes Snifter Glass.

A: The beer is a gorgeous clear Christmas bulb red with a bit of copper hues going on. The head which was kinda small, thanks in part to my snifter glass, yet to get a good head in this one, is a quick dissipating white color. The red color is amazing.

S: You get cinnamon, spices, and apple pie smell for sure. It has that Yankee candle Christmas smell nailed down.

T: Has a very upfront spicy, alcohol burn here with a quick cleansing clean taste and finishes just like the nose cinnamon, spice with a definite amount of honey drying the mouth.

M: Would call this one on the good side of medium with a lack of carbonation which seems perfect on this beer. The beer starts to really take a toll with the drying of the mouth, must consume slowly.

D: For a winter warmer this beer is easily one of the most approachable and satisfying I've yet to come across. The spices are well done not over the top and at 7.5% abv. goes pretty smooth and effortless. Only thing really hurting it is the overall drying on the mouth, which would be okay If eating with a desert of some kinda.

Overall another winner from one of my all time favorite brewery. Once again please start distributing to Massachusetts soon.

Photo of BeerHistoryGuy
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

Photo of BeerLovinBuckwildUnicorn
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Full Disclosure: This is absolutely my favorite beer. Perhaps because I had such a wonderful time being introduced to 'Christmas Crack' by amazing people. Perhaps it's because I no longer reside in an area where it's available, or perhaps it's because it's a great fucken beer.. I dunno.

A: Depending on the year it has varied from medium copper to dark amber

S: Slightly metalliac, hints of clove & pine

T: DEEELIIISH!!! Christmas in a bottle (or out of a tap if yer lucky). Hints of clove,orange, carmel. The spice is well balanced with a sweet finish.

M: The spice ignites the front while the carmel, malt smooths out the back. Overall happiness.

Overall: See Disclosure. Pairs wonderfully with Thanksgiving turkey, football chili or Jameson neat.

Photo of foXXtail
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer tastes like Christmas. That’s all there is to it. Sleigh rides, decking the halls, wassailing, trimming the tree…. It’s all there.

Served in a globe glass, this beer reminds me a lot of Santa. Big and round with a jolly red hue, topped off by a fluffy white head. The nose is quite inviting, with plenty of plum sweetness and spice.

The beer starts of quite strongly pine flavored, which gives way to more familiar hop flavors quickly. A fruity malt blends nicely with the bitter hop, and provides a great balance in the brew. Spice flavors are quite strong, particularly ginger and cinamon. The aftertaste is gentle, but leaves me wanting to take another sip. Sadly, the effervescence of this beer fades quickly in the mouth, though the consistency is quite nice.. .not too thick, not to thin.

Another success by the Great Lakes Brewing Company!

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,746 ratings.