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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,138 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,138
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 12.88%
Wants: 99
Gots: 198 | 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: 2,138 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Russet amber sunset hues with sticking to the sides bubbles, topped off with an uneven sudsy 1/8” tan head cap that is well retained.

Caramel apple, Big Red gum cinnamon hard candy (the kind ya get for Valentine’s Day) and fruit cake notes. Wafts of aroma are overwhelming. Bubblegum hops are thick in the nose.

First Swigs: Peculiar blend of rock candy malts and non-descript hops. Fruity blends of cherry front and vanilla notes. Citrous chin rubbing flavors. Some dry hard candy, almost jolly rancher malts. Finally, as this warms a hair, the cinnamon flavors peek out.

Some sticky tongue coat with decent crisp carbonation sizzle.

Last Swigs: Cinnamon biscuit malts. Spicy ale…not much else.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Feb 23, 2005
Photo of crookedhalo
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazed medium amber color with a sustaining light cream-colored head. Spiced and malty nose, but something distracting in the aroma, oddly something like a urinal chip (maybe it's just my imagination, or the guy at the bar next to me just is wearing urinal chip cologne*). Light ginger and nutmeg spicing amidst a paler malt sweetness finishing lightly dry and astringent, with some biscuity maltiness lingering. A bit heavy, but drinkable even after the holdays are forgotten but it is still frigid outside.

*This review is proof that sometimes a bar is not the best atmosphere to be taking notes. 95% of my on-tap reviews are from growlers consumed in the privacy of my apartment.

crookedhalo, Feb 12, 2005
Photo of foXXtail
3.88/5  rDev -2%
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!

foXXtail, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a rich copper, light carbonation, maybe due to temp at pour?

(cold)
hops are not very present, spices mainly cinnamon and malt come out very well. the taste is very malty with a slight spice, not much bitterness.

(warm)
spices come out more cinnamon and ginger, malt more aperent, alcohol. cinnamon and ginger very prevelent in the flavor bitterness is not aperent, minerally.

i did not taste the honey or smell it but its on the label.

plaztikjezuz, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of oracle
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in a traditional english pint glass.

Pours a nice dark red color with a nice lacing of white head.

Armoma is mostly mild hops and some spice, noticably cinimon.

Beer drinks quite easily, with a noticable but not overwhelming hop bite and smoot malt finish. Lives up to the style by warming the insides beautifully.

Very nice.

oracle, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of Ahhdball
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My brother in law Jason brought this down from Cleveland the other day and I was very happy he did. Deep orange-amber with a pleasent crown after pouring it into my new snifter (Christmas present). Smelled all spice, tangy fruit, and a floral hop aroma with added cinnamon and nutmeg. Cinnamon and malt to start, clove, caramel in the finish. Malty with a spicey bite near the end but they melted fantastically. One of my favorites from GLBC but hell, most of their selections are.

Ahhdball, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of JackStraw22
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yum. This is a beer to drink with some Christmas cookies and presents. The beer pours a crystal clear, amber orange with a beautiful foamy white head. The overriding taste here is gingerbread. This tastes more like a beer flavored gingerbread cookie than the other way around. But it's oh so good, not too sweet, just a little hop kick to balance it out. I'll be sorry when the holidays are over and I can't get these any more, better stock up. Only downside is the aroma, just not much there. But the taste more than makes up for it.

JackStraw22, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer came a nice rubyed folden color with a finger of head that slowly receded from the beer. The nose was slightly cherry, with caramel and spices dancing around in the background. The flavor was pretty full on the spices, with the caramel playing more of a background role in this one. There were hints of a cherry flavor in there as well, but very far in the background. The feel was just shy of moderate. Overall this was a nice beer. I'm not a big fan of the winter warmers with spices added, but this was a solid beer.

kmpitz2, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of Bones54
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming from the Cleveland area, the Great Lakes Brewery, and especially the Christmas ale are as much of Cleveland lure as Chief Wahoo and the Dawg Pound.
Appearance: Served from a 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer is dark copper color, and comes with a thin but lasting head.
Smell: The strong smell of cinnamon greets the nose like the smell christmas cookies pouring out of the kitchen on Christmas morn.
Taste: the smell only contributes to the exceptional taste. I remember first tasting a Christmas Ale a few years back and literally jumping out of my seat. Maybe it's because it was truly one of the first micrbrews I came to taste and was not ready for the sensational trip my taste buds would go through. Cinnamon is the most dominating taste, with the ginger finding its way through. However, I have a hard time noticing the honey in the ale.
Mouthfeel: Literally warms the mouth. The aftertaste, however can leave a lingering feel in the mouth that is often hard to get rid of.
Drinkability: Now do not mistake my score. The beer is Very drinkable. However the alcohol content and potent flavors make it difficult to drink more than two or three.
Haven't had a chance to have my fair share of Christmas brews yet, but I have to believe that this one will be hard to top.

Bones54, Dec 22, 2004
Photo of masterbruewer
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium copper color with light carbonation. Half-inch thick offwhite head. Solid lacing.

The first smells were of malt followed by hints of spice.

The tastes were faint. Faint malt flavor, faint hops flavor and faint spice flavor. It's not bad, but it's not great either. As it warms the spice flavors come out. In all its a very balance presentation of hops, malt and spice.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a slight carbonation bite.

Very smooth and drinkable.

masterbruewer, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of ProudBeerSnob
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a chalice. Thick tan-ish head topping a beautiful copper color. Aroma hints of what's to come- fruity and spicy. Very good mouthfeel, not too overewhelmig, due to good balance.
Winter warmers are not my personal fave, but this is a decent, much better than the last one I had- Harpoon's.

I would probably pick up another one next year when I'm in Cleveland (in-laws) especially seeing as how I hear that they run out of this one.

Cheers!

ProudBeerSnob, Dec 13, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served into a tulip glass, this pours a clear amber body with active carbonation very noticeable. Enormous, beige tinted head is pillowy and drapes the glass with chains of lace.
Aroma is heavy with sharp spices, lots of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Caramel malt is underneath, with a pronounced note of honey.
The mouthfeel is incredible. The high carbonation seems to detonate the spice array into a unique sensation of exploding tingliness. Medium body.
Taste begins dry and spicy, with some hops bitterness. Alcohol warming is quickly noticed. The malt character emerges in the middle, as room temperature is approached, and adds an ideal balance to the hop and spice bitterness. Finish is well balanced and pleasant.
Nicely complex, challenging at times, and enjoyable from start to finish. A very nice winter warmer, with an incredibly silky and playful mouthfeel. Thanks to orbitalr0x for this Great Lakes brew.

merlin48, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of trumick
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a thin head that leaves nice lacing all around.

Scent is of sweet, biscuity malts, and spices like nutmeg and ginger.

The taste really stands out in this one. There's lightly sweet malts with some fruity notes, light hop flavor, spiciness is not overwhelming at all. The cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are all well balanced within the sweetness of the malt, and the ever so slightly bitter hops. The finish is lightly sweet, dry and spicy. The abv. is nicely hidden in the mix of malty spiceness. The taste is exceptional.

Mouthfeel is smooth, light to medium bodied with the perfect amount of light carbination for this beer.

Drinkability is good. This is a beer that tastes soo good the abv is dangerous. I could easily put several away without realizing that fact until it's cab callin time.

Nice, nice beer from GLB. I will buy it again before they are gone till next year.

trumick, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of heidelbeerg
4.08/5  rDev +3%
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.

heidelbeerg, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely clear amber red color with a nice fluffy white head. Small bubbles run up the side of the glass. Quite a interesting nose...citrusy hop tones collide with cinammon and sweet honey. Nice and complex.

First sip is an incredible mix of spiceness, I pick out cinammon, a nice ginger bite along with cirtusy hop notes and a sweet caramel malt background. Almost a subtle cherry / floral taste comes through as well. A very tasty winter brew if I do say so myself....extremely unique.

Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, smooth and creamy with good body. Easy to drink and nice on a cold night. This is a great holiday brew and I recommend to anyone looking for something different!

orbitalr0x, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of ken3c
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear honey color. Thin head resolves to a ring of foam and laces a little.

Aroma has a malt sense with various spices. I think I can smell anise, nutmeg, and maybe spruce. Maybe a hint of clove. This smells wonderfull.

Very sweet and somewhat balances by a piney bitterness. The spices add interest. The aftertaste is still sweet. There is a sense of diacetyl but it blends well. Very little sense of alcohol.

Smooth and lightly carbonated. Medium to full bodied.

Very drinkable. Dangerous.

ken3c, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of mattcrill
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: For freshest taste, please enjoy by 1/08/05 clearly printed on the bottle. Nicely done.

Appearance: Pours clear brick red with a tan to ivory sticky white head.

Smell: Ginger, cloves, honey, and carmel sweetness come billowing out of the glass. The spices dominate but there is a sweet background to it. Overall, very inviting.

Taste: Predominate flavors of ginger and cloves throughout the sip. Some hop bitterness creeps up on subsequent sips. A nice honey presence arises as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied leaning towards thicker. Definite complex body to it with the carbonation providing a crunchy mouthfeel to it.

Drinkability: Not too over the top for me. I could make this one a session pretty easily. The spices are present but not dominate.

Another winner from GLBC.

mattcrill, Nov 27, 2004
Photo of benmiliron
2.9/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Paid $6.99 for a six pack. (2 of which I left at Ellbert's house, providing the review below this one.)

Looks nice and amber-red-orange. Nearly killians in color, but slightly more orange. Smell is mostly ginger and floral, nearly potpourri, but not enough that it's bad. I quite liked the smell. The taste however is clearly over the top ginger, GINGER! The brew could've used half as much and been much better. There are lingering tastes behind the hops but you have to search for them.

There are definitely better xmas brews out there.

benmiliron, Nov 20, 2004
Photo of Ellbert
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Red/amber color with a small white head. There was some lace on the glass but nothing too great.

Smell: Malty but spicy. Sweet but tangy. Spices like cinnamon come through in the aroma very nice.

Taste: Very malty with a good mix of spices. You can taste cinnamon sugar in here. Hops have a nice after taste in this brew.

Mouthfeel: Nice and rich, perfect for a winter warmer.

A great winter warmer brew. I will be drinking a lot of this brew during the winter.

Ellbert, Nov 15, 2004
Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a standard bottle, its a nice light reddish colour with generous whitish head. It smells of malt and spice. The taste is richly malty as well, with some spicy notes. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, just slides down your throat. I give this beer a high drinkability score, easily a beer you could sit down with when its cold and play poker. Excellent beer, very recommended.

Viggo, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of andyo
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

andyo, Oct 23, 2004
Photo of DrunkenPanther
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer actually poured a lot lighter in color than I thought. It wasnt as attractive as Id have hoped. I was a bit nervous that the flavor would follow suit. Luckily it didnt.
The smell was very warm and inviting. The cinimmon was very present. It also was very full of a malt scent. Very nice.
The tastes bursts at first with cinimmon. Much like the aroma, it is follwed by another burst of malt. A light malt though and not something heavy that just sits.
Some x-mas beers are hard to get through. This one was surprisingly easy to get through, so I had a second. I didnt grow tired of the spices. It was very nice to drink.
I had this at the Brewery's Pub from a small batch made for July, I was told that they may tweak it a bit for this x-mas (Color was one thing they mentioned).

DrunkenPanther, Aug 02, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go to beergeek279 and cupbeerman for bringing a growler of this to Michigan for Trbeer and I to enjoy.

Pours out to a clear, dark caramel, forming a small head with OK retention and lacing (which is pretty typical for a growlerized brew). Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma has dominant notes of ginger and nutmeg...tim says cardamom and I can also appreciate that. Taste is an echo of aroma, with a moderate malt sweetness, some amber malt husk, and mild caramel and tobacco lingering in the wake of some herbal and spice bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body.

Like the bottled version, this is nice in that it's not too overwhelming. The spices play second fiddle to the beer itself while accentuating the malts and hops. A good representative of the style.

Mitchster, Jul 27, 2004
Photo of budgood1
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out a very hazy copper colour. off white head and nice lace. aroma of piney and spucey hops, caramel maltiness and bits of chocolate candy. upon tasting... very nice sweet toffee, caramel, cocoa and maltiness...subtle spicy notes of cinnamon and maybe nutmeg...anise, molasses and black licorice, too. the alcohol comes across as peppery and there is piney hop bite to top it all off. the more sips i have of this the more impressed at the balance and delicate interplay the flavours have. the mouthfeel is full and smooth. full sticky sweet body. this is one amazing holiday offering. awesome!

brewed with cinnamon, ginger and honey.

cheers to zap and bighuge for getting this sensational seasonal into my hands!

budgood1, May 05, 2004
Photo of CortexBomb
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice deep coppery colour with a frothy head to go along with. Smell is very spice dominated, hints of cinnamon and ginger with an overall sweet tinge, appetizing!

Taste has a nice wave of fruityness and malts up front, and then gives way to a strong spicy back end. A touch of hops is also lurking, along with the bitterness, but they just add character without overwhelming. Quality all the way here.

Mouthfeel definitely has some body, while the drinkability is quite good, a nice winter seasonal by Great Lakes.

CortexBomb, Mar 16, 2004
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,138 ratings.