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Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,084 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,084
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 12.88%
Wants: 90
Gots: 176 | FT: 4
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: 2,084 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KeefD


4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Great Lakes bar in the Cleveland Airport. Review from notes: 22oz pour. Dark amber with orange highlights, nice fluffy off-white head that left little lacing, probably from the frosted glass. Spicy, malty aroma with hints of maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Flavor was malty sweet, nice amount of spices, again with the cinnamon and nutmeg, along with a bit of orange peel for good measure. A nice piney hop flavor shows up here and there. Citrusy flavors make an appearance but get pushed out of the way by the spices. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, very delicious Christmas Ale. One of the best Winter Warmers I've tried.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2008 21:22:38 | More by KeefD
Photo of CoolJosh


4/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A Color of an reddish orange autumn leaf, that pours a half finger cream with a brush of yellow in head

S Not as strong scents, everything's kind of half there. Some cranberry, red apple, and christmas spices.

T Some apples and honey that creates a smooth and not too sweet start. The spices come in somewhere mid sip infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, peper and ginger, and ends nicely with a good hop finish.

M Not over carbonated, really smooth with a crisp ending as it warms the mouth.

D Great christmas time drink, but not something for an everyday sip.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2008 05:38:11 | More by CoolJosh
Photo of IronCitySteve


4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A clear copper color. A white/off-white head.

S: Took awhile for the scents to come through, once they did was malty and cinnamon scents. Some hints of ginger as well.

T: A good amount of malt flavor up front. Lots of cinnamon, honey and spice. The flavors combine well and it is not too spicy.

M: Just a tad thin, but a good amount of carbonation.

D: A high ABV keeps this beer from being a session beer, but a good winter warmer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2008 18:32:18 | More by IronCitySteve
Photo of sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Happened to be in town on release day this year. Not much head on the pints but laced nicely. Smelled of cinnamon and hops which mixed for a ginger like taste. was a nice copper/brown color .It went down so nice I had a second and even went to buy a case but they had run out of bottles by that point... will certainly be looking for this in the store for the holidays

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2008 21:38:17 | More by sliverX
Photo of MiguelMandingo


3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This a review from notes I took early this year.

Appearance - Pours a transparent golden copper color. It produces 1 1/2 finger head that quickly dissipates to a thin crown.

Smell - Spicy - nutmeg cinnamon. The malts take on a biscuity brown sugary flavor.

Taste - Tastes pretty good. Spicy ginger, cinnamon, molasses and brown sugar are the primary flavor notes. It has a nice bitter front end and slightly sweet backend.

Mouthfeel - This brew is sticky with a medium/full body with moderate to low carbonation.

Drinkability - This beer goes down pretty easy. I wouldn't have more than one in a sitting, but it was great on a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2008 23:41:09 | More by MiguelMandingo
Photo of kinger


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

2006 edition, hit the shelves late October. I missed this one last year, when I finally went looking it was already off the shelves. That being said I grabbed a single as soon as I spotted it, having heard mixed reviews I wanted to try one before I parted with $10 for a sixer. All in all this is a pleasant spicy warmer of a brew, I did expect something a little thicker and more powerful. Aroma is mild and well balanced with honey and clover mixed with a nice touch of ginger, not powerful but very mellow. Color is a dark copper with an amber-red hue, nice big head that dissipates leaving lots of lacing. Light on the palate with a cool dry finish the mouthfeel isn't as heavy as I wanted but it works. Flavor is medium bodied with an initial burst of honey leading way to the subtle spices. Malty and spicy it's definately not overdone as can happen all to easily with this style. Good Drink, plan on taking some home to the family for the holiday.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2008 01:39:44 | More by kinger
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A bit of head that fades to the edges. Copper in color and clear.

s. Spices and honey are apparent. Some malt adds to the mix.

t. A nice complex brew here. Some nice caramel malt. Hints of pine from the hops (possibly spruce as well?). Some spice (cinnamon and nutmeg namely) in the background, and the honey only adds to a lingering sweet finish, otherwise balanced out by the bitterness.

m. Medium bodied crisp and refreshing. A challange to my palate and a dry semi sweet finish.

d. This is a most excellent winter warmer. Complex and warming indeed. A winner. What I have come to expect from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 00:51:10 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of treyrab


4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just picked some up tonight and poured into my pint glass...

A: This pours a very clear red copper with a small head initially. That head however dissipates quickly into nothing, not even a ring. Oh well...let's see how it tastes

S: This one smells pretty spicy. A lot of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (Whether these were used in the brewing is another story, but it smells like them!).

T: The taste is caramel caramel caramel. An initial taste of caramel followed by some spice, particularly cinnamon and nutmeg. The hop presence is in there only slightly, it is really not that noticeable in this Christmas ale.

Overall this is beer drinks extremely light for the alcohol. You could have told me that this beer was 4% ABV and I would have believed it. The alcohol is not noticeable one bit. The carbonation is slightly low on this one as well.

This is a good beer, not one of the best Great Lakes, but a good beer nonetheless

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2008 00:38:01 | More by treyrab
Photo of zsk


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

This is from a nearly one year old sample.

Poured a reddish amber with a nice one inch head.

Smell was of cinnamon and ginger. I've had this fresh on tap. The ginger is stronger now. Nutmeg too.

Taste is of MALT, cinnamon and honey. Ginger lays back. Hops are here, but way back.

This feels smooth and crisp at the same time.

I can drink these any time. It was tough to hold on to these till late summer. So complex.

Great beer!

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2008 00:29:20 | More by zsk
Photo of garcia2a


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

Just had that last of the lot from the holidays. This beer poured a nice ruby-coppery brown and clear. Very little carbonation that left a lacey, thin head.

The bouquet was resplendent for the season. There was spruce, nutmeg, allspice, chocolate malt and very fine citrus and corriander. Even the smell was warming.

This translated well to the taste, as I picked up the spices first and on the backtaste I got the spruce and citrus. Nice and complex, but more importantly on an 80 degree PA day, warming!

The malt left the body on the big side, but the mouthfeel was excellent, leaving this a very drinkable beer.

Also, excellent graphic of a prewar Lionel 512 gondola, I have mine filled with small gifts when I run my standard gauge under the tree!!!

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2008 18:25:52 | More by garcia2a
Photo of JonathanL7890


3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Many thanks to nrbw23 for this brew.

Poured a 2 finger head into a pint glass.
Color is brown.
Aroma is spruce, piney.
Taste is very smooth, well banlanced. I get the spruce in the taste also. A very malty brew. Lightly hopped.
Drinkability is good but I don't see myself drinking more than a couple.
Another great beerfrom Great Lakes.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2008 17:22:52 | More by JonathanL7890
Photo of jeonseh


3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from a Bottle poured into a tulip pint glass.

A - An amber color that is rather clear and lets a good bit of light through it. As the light shines through, sees rays of golden light and a good bit of carbonation trailing up through it. Really no head at all developed and no lacing.

S - Smells a lot like cinnamon and spice and everything nice. Actually smells a bit like a cider as well and not as much like beer. Also not much of a nose is available.

T - Rather sweet beer that has a big hit of cinnamon spiciness to it. Yet the surprising thing is that this is not at all overpowering as it blends in very well. Also a bit of sweet red delicious apple taste to it as well. Actually reminds me a bit of a fall beer more than a Christmas ale. Seems to have a bit of a bitterness that comes through in the end and adds some complexity to the spice flavors that come thru at first.

MF - A light bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation. Rather easy to drink as it is smooth but also a bit watery. A hint of the alcohol comes thru and has a nice astringent quality to it.

D - Overall a pretty good and non challengin winter warmer. It has a nice spice characteristic but it is not at all too spicy. This would be a good beer to drink during Christmas and could easy drink a couple of them around the holidays. However, as I said above, the beer reminds me more of a fall beer than a Christmas one.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2008 03:29:16 | More by jeonseh
Photo of tayner


3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

It poured a very gorgeous amber color with a nice large, very sticky, bone colored head that lasted quite some time.

Smelled of brown sugar and spices, mainly i smelled the ginger. very sweet smelling, label says honey.

Taste was a heavy sweet malty beer, with a bit of midpalate spice of ginger and what the label calls cinnamon. not sure i could distinguish the cinnamon, but i could tell there was something there. A lightly drying hop finish, but the beer was overall pretty sweet.

Sticky and medium mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to make it drinkable.

The 7.5% is hidden very well. this is one i could drink a few of on a night and be very happy. I might have to hunt down a sixer every winter :)

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2008 01:39:21 | More by tayner
Photo of nrbw23


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A nice clear copper color with a nice amount of head. Left a really nice lacing also.

S- I could pick up a lot here. Very nice picked up spices such as nutmeg, gingerbread and cinnamon. Also some yeast type aroma and honey. Maybe even a little citrus in there also.

T- Wow starts out a little spicy and then balances out really nice and finishes nice and smooth with a honey taste.

M- Body medium and low in carbonation. Feels great though and goes down incredibly smooth.

D- Very drinkable and is great for the season even though I'm finishing off mine a little late.

Serving type: growler

03-27-2008 11:40:10 | More by nrbw23
Photo of JDV


3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to miketd for this nice beer
Pours a clear copper with a fluffy beige head. Smells spiced, and similar to those in a pumpkin beer. I'm not able to pick out cinnamon or ginger specifically, but it is nice. Taste is much of the same spiced flavors. Some nutmeg as well, I believe. Some slight alcohol present, or perhaps its the tartness I'm sensing. Very nice seasonal that I enjoyed more as it warmed.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 22:02:17 | More by JDV
Photo of Deuane


4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear copper with a medium off white head. Leaves minimal lacing.

S-Subdued, apple-like scent with notes of ginger, nutmeg...kinda like sniffing mulled cider.

T-Subtle and full flavoured. The nice balance of malts and the spice make for a very pleasant brew. I really find this to be one of the best of the Christmas beers out there.

M-Light body with decent carbonation. This is certainly not a heavy X-mas brew...but it seems that it could have just a bit more bidy to make it complete.

D-Totally. As stated before this os one of my favs of the season. Nothing is overdone and the flavours meld very nicely.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2008 14:11:40 | More by Deuane
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I can't believe I've never reviewed this beer. I've been drinking it for a while now. Pours a clear ruby/brown in color. There is no remaining head that lasts after the pour. There is some definite ginger in the nose, and it's nice. Taste is much the same. Mouthfeel is medium in body and lively on the tongue. Very good, seasonal, sessionable brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2008 23:30:48 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of donteatpoop


4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've revisited this brew after my initial tasting left me unappreciative. I'm not sure if I had a bad batch that year or if I simply hadn't yet evolved into as much an appreciator of diversity in beer; but either way I badly misjudged this exceptional brew.

I like this beer so much that I intend on sending it to a few out of state friends for the holiday; a stark contrast to my original rating of this beer (which was a D+).

The beer is a deep mahogony color with a cap of creamy head that retains well and leaves some delicate lacing along the side of the glass.

The nose is strong ginger and cinnamon, an underlying sweet malt presence makes itself known as well.

The hops, though a bit overpowered olfactoraly, are very much present in the taste. The initial taste the tongue picks up is that of a piney hop which is soon balanced by a sweet malt; the ginger and cinnamon are picked up in the final wash as the beer goes down the throat and lingers behind a bit.

This is every bit the excellent beer that so many have told me it was. I am thankful that I was persueded to give this a second go.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2008 03:49:33 | More by donteatpoop
Photo of RblWthACoz


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 Hojaminbag


3.43/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle with freshness date.

Pretty copper color, not a ton of head but good lacing from what is there.

Smells like cinnamon and ginger.

VERY spicy. Not hot, just tons of christmas spice. Dominated by connamon and ginger like the smell, but a little bit of honey comes through.

I can really only drink one of these at a time. It's a very interesting beer and worth a try, just not my thing.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 16:07:46 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

JohnGalt1 comes through with long-awaited seasonal for my slurping pleasure. My first Great Lakes brew.

I rode around town today trying to stock up for the beer apocalypse, with 50mph gusts going up-hill in first gear, on one of the deadliest boulevards in the country. I honestly almost feel like boiling this one first, but I'll reserve that idea for another time.

The beer pours out pure copper, about 10 degrees off my prescription, I can read the monitor just fine through these beer goggles. No head to speak of, but the bubbles underneath speak for themselves. The smell coming off this glass is engaging. Let's focus on that.

It almost smells like a heather ale. Spices are very soft & floral. Something like lavender, gale, & an oddly soothing mix of caramel & pine oil. A faint trace of alcohol lifts off the top. Slightly muted overall in scent, but much better then so many over the top winter spiced beers that are more like over-saturated potpourri then anything else. Comparable to the medicinal smell of Fantome Strange Ghost in my opinion, just not as intense.

Taste has a light nutmeg character upfront, with an intense pumpernickel sweetness. It moves into an extra toasty(but not roasted) crust, & brings along a mild lettuce-like bitterness to close things out.

Dry & a little low on carbonation, it still flows really easy. Low in the hop department almost always equal in me having another. There's a reason it's available in six packs. :) Alcohol really is all to quiet. Why did I only get one?! :P

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2008 23:51:31 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of chiefydawg


4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the several holiday beers I anticipate every year. Now I am documenting (for myself at least) justu why.

Dull copper colored with lazy fizz and a weak head. I would penalize this more if this wasn't consistent, and other holiday brews didn't look that way. Makes it look more potent. Grrr baby.

Whoa, there it is - that spiciness I look for in a winter warmer! Nutmeg, alcohol, gingerbread man, cinnamon... This makes me feel like I'm bouts to be getting warmed up this winter evening.

The taste follows suit, keeping the spice, lending some mild honey stickiness and more alcohol for some kick. Not much hop here, but it's a little too crowded for our favorite herb. The spices and alcohol offset the sweetness very nicely.

It's heavy and sweet like I like, and well-balanced as I've mentioned. I also said I didn't mind the flatness, but I would have enjoyed this if it had a little pop to it. It's like a prized beer that has sat in a growler too long, but I just opened the bottle.

An always welcome way to keep the cold and slush from becoming a downer, I will always cherish my GLCA. Because of the heaviness, alcohol, and spices, they force moderation, but that's the nature of this Great beast.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 02:15:16 | More by chiefydawg
Photo of HopDerek


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

Served in a Christmas Ale snifter.

Pours a nice clear ruby red color with amber hues with a thin white head, ok retention touch of lacing. Smells are sweet, lots of honey and cinnamon and other Christmas spices, cherries, berry with a hint of hops and a good malt sweetness. Taste is sweet, like a gingerbread cookie with some fruitiness of cherries and winter berries with a twist of honey, touch of alcohol in the finish. Good carbonation with medium body. Good mix of sweetness and spices and a little candy-like. This is nice beer to enjoy for the holidays, easy to drink and flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 23:23:54 | More by HopDerek
Photo of bobhits


2.63/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This is a really nice looking beer. It's got a nice head that though a bit airy to the touch (instead of more a creamy head) lasts well and leaves a nice lace. The amber color is rich and nice as well.

Maybe it's because the bottle said it had honey in it, but that's the smell that first came to mind. There are some spices and hops that seem to mix together to create a second smell but the the honey smell really stood out.

The first taste is basically that of water and spices. I find it hard to not combine mouth feel and taste as they are the same here. The beer has this overpowering spice character with a bit of sweetness (honey) and some hops there that much like the smell seem to mix in well with the hops. With this I would expect something thicker to allow the flavor to linger and develop in the mouth but instead the beer is very watery and basically it just doesn't work for me. I want my beer to linger a bit longer and be somewhat sticky especially a winter style beer. This stuff even with the strong carbonation when you pour it doesn't really have it any of it left when you drink it.

It's watery and thus you can drink a lot of these and they go down really quickly.

That said I'm done with this when the 6 pack is done. This is the first beer from Great Lakes that I wasn't blown away by but hey you can't always be perfect. This beer however imo is average at best.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2008 10:25:33 | More by bobhits
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the Great Lakes seasonal available when I visited O'Shaughnessy's Public House while in Columbus.
Pint filled with a dark caramel color liquid with a short but strong head. Thin sheets of lace, nicely carbonated. Nice smells of spice and hops. Taste was good, with some spices, cinammon, clove, with the dark malt flavors. High alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both OK, maybe a bit thin. I always like a well made local beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2008 03:48:04 | More by BigBry
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,084 ratings.