1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,084 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,084 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of heyitsbyron
heyitsbyron

Wisconsin

4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 05:18:03 | More by heyitsbyron
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2006 03:00:31 | More by Sammy
Photo of putnam
putnam

Michigan

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

Hazel orange colored liquid. Scarce topping. Aromas of marshmallows, Juicy Fruit and mulled orange juice. Abundantly nutty. Creamy texture yields to charcoal and graphite flavored tannins. The effect is dry despite candied citrus peel and sweet brown spice flavors. These latter elements ride a hot wave of alcoholic fumes.

Best before 2/14/06

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2006 20:57:32 | More by putnam
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

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

01/30/06- Received in trade with Irishsnake.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, best by date imprinted on the label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Cherry in color, or a real deep dark amber. Medium sized 1/2 inch semi creamy head. Very light lacing left behind.

Smell- The first thing that hit me was a cherry and light chocolate scent. Then came the cinnimon and maybe a few other spices. Cherry was the predominant scent for me though.

Taste- Lots of things going on here. Spices up the ying tang, but they meld together so nicely. Cinnimon, honey, ginger, clove, nutmeg, throw in the kitchen sink and you have a pretty damn tasty beer. Nice dark malt background, maybe a real light hoppy fix, but nothing even worth mentioning.

Mouthfeel- Lightly creamy, lower carbonation.

Drinkability- This one is a winner. I can see drinking lots of these if they were available here. Another good cold weather beer, even though the abv isn't huge. I'm liking this one lots.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2006 00:22:20 | More by GClarkage
Photo of edbeered
edbeered

Minnesota

3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle, this is a clear coppery color, with a small white head and minimal lacing. The smell is of malt with cinnamon. The taste is malty with cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. The spices do not overwhelm the taste of the beer. The mouthfeel is good, but seems a bit thin for a winter ale. This is a nice tasting beer, but one in a session would be enough for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2006 21:21:20 | More by edbeered
Photo of NClifestyle
NClifestyle

North Carolina

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

Got this beer in a trade from battlekow!
Nice looking winter, ever so slightly hazy orange color, nice head of orange/white foam, large bubbles, with sheets of lace. A thin layer of head stays atop the beer.
Smells like cinnamon sugar bread with butter. Very nice, winter warmer smell for this beer.
Taste is malty and cinnamon, warming, with a touch of citrus hop. The hops are pretty mellow. There is a faint alcohol taste as the beer warms, which almost overtakes the hops. Honey and gingerbread dominate.
Medium mouthfeel, smooth but crisp, with just a touch of carbonation. I would drink many of these as the temp continues to drop. Too bad I can't get Great Lakes here in N.C. A fine winter ale!

cheers...

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2006 03:34:13 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

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

My 300th review. Cheers! Great Lakes Christmas Ale pours into the glass a clear copper color. Some streaming bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Thick creamy off-white head that holds together rather well. Aroma of ginger, nutmeg, maybe even cinnamon. Biscuity malt flavor, with a hint of caramel. Honey sweetness. Spices kick in near the end, again ginger, nutmeg. Not very bitter, spices are done pretty well here. Slight floral/citrusy hop flavor. Medium body, low carbonation. Very enjoyable. Another wonderful brew from Great Lakes.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2006 23:57:48 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of SurgeonGeneral
SurgeonGeneral

Illinois

3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving temp: 50F Serving glassware: Pint Glass

Aroma: A bready, but not neccessarily yeasty smell blends notes of gingerbread, a sharp sweetness & a slight graininess. A bit of dark fruity esters in there as well.

Appearance: A dark gold color, similar to that of buckwheat honey. Good clarity, excellent off white head retention. Lacing just as expected, excellent.

Taste: A big sweetness with malt overtones but also influenced by the honey used in this brew. Next to flex are the Christmas spices, most notably ginger & cinnamon. A bit on the heavy side with the spices, IMO but that is why this beer is brewed once a year, I suppose. Fades into a somewhat dry spicy finish, balanced very well with a good amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A little light bodied for this brew, IMO, but still medium bodied. Moderate, crisp carbonation.

Drinkability: I'm still not a huge fan of spiced beers, and this one doesn't convert me. However, for what it is, I appreaciate it a great deal. This will be my last until next Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 05:35:46 | More by SurgeonGeneral
Photo of whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear orange copper with a big, sticky off-white head that left a good deal of lace and remained until I took my last sips.

Smell is malty, but with a gingerbread spiciness, some cinnamon, orange, and clove to round things out. Nice for a winter warmer.

Flavor is on-point: not too spice-driven, but the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors really accentuate the overall quality of the underlying malty brew. The honey doesn't come through too loudly, but it's there. Mouthfeel is a well-carbonated medium.

Overall: I picked up all the Great Lakes I could on my last swing through Kentucky, and I still haven't had one that was less than fantastic. Good beers, and this one is an especially subtly-done winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2006 03:55:45 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of sublimesipping
sublimesipping

Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap and quaffed at Bado's in the Iron City on boxing day. I have had this beer a number of times before, and it has always been at the top of my christmas ale list. The pints tonight absolutely knocked my socks off as well as knocked me on my a--. Very clean lines at this here establishment and the keg seemed very fresh as well so ratings are given as such. Apearance absolutley beautiful reddish mahagony color with good billowy head and eferesence. wonderful notes of the usual spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc but this beer was extremely well balanced with great harmony of flavors- excellent body and high, high drinkability. Great Lakes has always been one of the top notch midwestern brewers; these pints confirmed their rep in my mind and palate as well as reiniforced my view of this beer as the creme of their rotation. Drink it while you can and happy holidays.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2005 06:47:46 | More by sublimesipping
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 6 pack, sadhanna's

appearance: pours a beautiful and vivid clear copper, tinted ruby...slight foamy beige head, not a whole lot of lacing

smell: similar to the Lakefront Winter aromas...lots of cinnamon spice - smells like red hots, touch of nutmeg and other spices...loaded with honey, mild maltiness

taste: cinnamon red hots, thick and sweet honey, nutmeg and other festive spices, a fair amount of pine, fair amount of alcohol present, ginger, slight cherry, caramel, biscuit-esque

mouthfeel: medium bodied, cinnamon spice, touch of hop bitterness

drinkability: pretty drinkable

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2005 03:12:40 | More by dirtylou
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2005 23:20:35 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of bahumutx
bahumutx

Michigan

3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very clear copper color with a nice creamy white head.

Smell: Malt, Cinnamon and hints of honey.

Taste: Sweet malt and cinnamon starts of this beer. It then ends with a honey and slight pine. Slight alcohol warming is also present. As the beer warms the cinnamon becomes more pronounced but not overpowering and nutmeg flavor also shows up. Hard to pick out all of the different spice flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thin to Medium Mouthfeel. Thin around the edges of my tongue.

Drinkability: I could have a few of these in a sitting.

Another decent brew from Great Lakes Brewing. I would probably have another of these but not my favorite of this style.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2005 02:32:24 | More by bahumutx
Photo of maddamish
maddamish

Tennessee

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

Appearance: Amber in color. Little to no head on this one with just as little lacing.

Smell: Heavy malt smell with hints of pine and cinnamon.

Taste: At first it was very malty till it warmed up a bit then you could really taste the pine and a slight presence of cinnamon.

Notes: It was nice to be able to get this on tap at the Winking Lizard in Akron Ohio. A great brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2005 03:58:33 | More by maddamish
Photo of jasonpeckins32
jasonpeckins32

Michigan

4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a copper color with a decently sized fizzy head.

The nose is strong of honey and has a nice yummy hop aroma.

The beautiful taste of fresh hops cascades across my tongue with honey and ginger following. Maybe a bit of cinnamon as well. Very fresh tasting. Very delicious. And just in time for Christmas.

Although this is very warming, I must say its much different than other winter warmers I've tried. It's lighter in color and has a large Ale appeal to it all around. Maybe its not true to style, or maybe its just expanding my horizons a little.

The mouthfeel is great, nice body and great carbonation. Excellently done. Drinkability is great too. I have a couple other beers to drink tonight, but I'd love to trade them in for more of these. Great Offering. Get it while you can!

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2005 05:26:18 | More by jasonpeckins32
Photo of becktone
becktone

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice copper looking color. It has a nice creamy tan colored head to begin with, however it quickly dissipates to be lacing around the sides of the glass. When agitated the lacing becomes a bit thicker but soon returns to its previous state. The carbonation in this beer makes it look lively.

The aroma of this beer is largely malt influenced. I detect spices in the aroma of this beer, cinnamon and ginger can easily be detected. As a matter of fact the aroma of this beer reminds me of chirstmas ornaments my mom once made. They were gingerbread ornaments made out of glue alot of cinnamon and applesauce I believe. The point is that they smell alot like this beer. I don't smell any hop character in this beer.

The taste of this beer is very much like the smell, but a bit more complex. Alcohol is evident and warms a little bit as it goes down. The overall taste of this beer is "earthy." I detect a flavor that vaguely reminds me of pine in the taste of this beer as well (perhaps Northern Brewer Hops?). The cinnamon and ginger are evident in the taste as well as the aroma of this beer. In my opinion this is a beer that has been brewed very well.

The mouthfeel of this beer is good. It seems to suit the style of the beer. The carbonation in this beer is higher than what you might find in a stout, porter or other beer that is largely malt influenced, but compliments the beer quite nicely. This beer is easy enough to drink, but definitely something that you wouldn't want to drink too fast. This beer is one of those, in my opinion, that you can only drink a certain number of in one sitting before you start to get sick of it. The malty character just becomes too much to handle. However I really like this beer and can see myself buying more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2005 19:50:28 | More by becktone
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

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

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear amber with a yellowish head which rose well and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with a strong caramel malt presence and a nice fruity character. The aroma contained a sizable spice presence of clove and cinnamon with a graham note.

The flavor was malty with a clove and cinnamon spice and a cherry fruit flavor that was coupled with caramel. Also present was a graham flavor and a light biscuity flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting spice into the aftertaste. The body was almost medium full and well done. The beer just did not quite have enough complexity to push it over the top although it had quite a bit going on in terms of aroma and flavor.

12 ounce bottle. Thanks Mark G for bringing it back for me. Dated as enjoy by Jan 31 06.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 22:35:41 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of AltBock
AltBock

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this on-tap at a local sports pub that served to me not too cold in a 12oz. American pint glass.

Poured a wonderful ruby red color with a nice head of white sticky foam. The aroma to me was like a lot Christmas, some pine, spices and hops in the background. Up front in the taste were spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and then after all those spices a strong hoppy citrus flavor emerged. A strong hop aftertaste lingered on for a while after that. This goes down nice and smooth, but be careful this beer hides it alcohol content very well. I learned that the hard way. This was a nice Winter Warmer and would also make for a nice Christmas Day drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2005 04:55:12 | More by AltBock
Photo of bruachan
bruachan

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

crystal clear copper with a head i had to beat back with a rod. in the end it took care of itself and went the way of the dodo (alc?), not leaving much lacing in the process

big malty taste with the body to go along. the spices play along with the american hop flavor, though not much hop in the aroma

minimal bitterness. tasty, ya know. glbc does it right

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 05:11:20 | More by bruachan
Photo of karst
karst

Missouri

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The first GLBC brew that I don't care for.

Pours clear ruby with a creamy white 2" temporary head. No yeast sediments at the bottom of the bottle labeled best by Jan 24, 2006. Spicy aroma is inviting. The full body you expect in Great Lakes brews. I generally like ginger and honey but a little nutmeg and cinnamin go a long way. Favors suffer from a bitter finish of lingering spices and vienna malts that really turned me off this beer. I think the overall effect of the spices and malts is very unbalanced. Drinkability suffers as the result. Alcohol is well hidden. I still recommend trying it. Let your taste buds decide - Merry Christmas to all and to all a well crafted brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2005 17:56:27 | More by karst
Photo of ypsifly
ypsifly

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz dated best before 1-25-06 poured into a pint glass.

Clear copper capped by a small head of off white that falls to a veiled ring in minutes. Thin wisps of lace.

The spices and honey aromas are upfront and backed by a whiff of alcohol. Slight bitterness underneath.

Upon tasting the cinnamon takes half a step back and allows the ginger and honey to take center stage. The hops come in rather quickly and fade into the finish. There's enough sweet malt to provide a base and compliment the honey/ginger combo, while the cinnamon pairs with the hops. The finish is spicy and sweet with a warming alcohol after glow.

Moderate to light mouth, seems to have the right amount of carbonation. A very drinkable Xmas brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 04:14:25 | More by ypsifly
Photo of quasimoto
quasimoto

Ohio

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

A - Pours a nice deep dark copper color wiyth a slightly off white head.

S - Strong in spices and hops. There is a background of malt in there but it is hidden.

T - The smells are melded into a flavor with the malts coming out a little stronger.

M - It is crisp and dry, leaves no residue on the tongue. Rather pleasing.

D - For festivites and dealing with families this an all day beer. I enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 16:19:45 | More by quasimoto
Photo of sopor
sopor

Oregon

3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep coppery brew with just a little of rising bubbles helping to keep the offwhite head sticking around. Cinnamon rolls and butter and honey and some other spices I can't quite make out make a potent smell. Delicate malts under lots of cinnamon and spice and everythng nice. Butter and sweet crytsal/candy-like malt. A bit too sweet for me. Not likely to grab this again, but if offered on Christmas, I'd definitely have another.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 13:10:49 | More by sopor
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

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

Served from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: Pours a very pretty ruby coloration. Towering creamy white head almost 2 inches thick. The head quickly recedes to a thin film on top of the beer. Speckeled lacing left as the beer was consumned.

Smell: This beer beer dances across the nose with the smells of ginger, cinnomon, nutmeg and other spicy goodness.

Taste: Nice spicy ginger bread sweetness spiked with good hop back bone.

Mouthfeel: Has a lingering spicyness coupled with a full bodied goodness.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. I wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 13:15:14 | More by nlmartin
Photo of ChiSox05
ChiSox05

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 05:58:53 | More by ChiSox05
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,084 ratings.