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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

2,172 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,172
Reviews: 772
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 107
Gots: 212 | 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: 2,172 | Reviews: 772 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deejaydan
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Pours a deep orange color. Slightly decent head and retention here. Aroma is spicy, perhaps cloves, perhaps ginger? Taste is great. Malts, fruits, and spice playing well together. Mouthfeel is thick. I can see how this could warm you up on a cold winter's day. The alcohol is well hidden in this beer as well.

deejaydan, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of hustlemuscle
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Please note, this review is from an aged bottle. Drink by date of
01-08-05, consumed 07-30-05. Kept chilled.

Pours a very nice, crystal clear amber, with suspendies, but not cloudy. Still smells of cinnamon and spices, nutmeg, but much more subdued than a fresh bottle. The taste is equally subdued, in my opinion to the better. Still spicy, gingerbread cookie spices, christmas cookie spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger. Easier on the toungue as well, smoother, and the hops come out, they were a little hidden in fresher bottles. I think it is easier to drink with a little maturity. Much smoother, a little less burn from the spices. Overall a very nice beer, even though the last thing I need to be in July is 'warmed!'

hustlemuscle, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of Backer2004
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas in July anyone? I went to a cash bar event near Cleveland last night and this one the only Great Lakes offering. Still much better than any other option there and only $2.50 a bottle. Nice cinnamon and spices, with hints of alcohol. Very easy to drink three last night. Would be a great winter welcome in six months. Even in July, it wasn't a bad choice.

Backer2004, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has been sitting in my refrigerator for almost 2 months. I've been reticent to open it, since I noticed the expiration date was a year and a half ago. It would be unfair to review a beer in such a condition. However, my curiosity finally got the best of me, and my fears proved unfounded. This beer poured out a clear orange, with plenty of suspended floaties. The aroma is spicy, mainly ginger, but also some cinnamon. Sweet honey and malt flavor, along with the aforementioned spices. Thankfully, this beer avoids the trap of the cloying spiciness of too many winter warmers. More drinkable than most beers of the style. I am suprised to read that the abv is 7.5%. I would have guessed about 5.5%. Perhaps the high alcohol helped preserve this beer so long past the expiration date, which is a good thing, for now I feel justifed writing this review.

beveragecaptain, May 14, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.85/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light ruby color ale with a medium light brown foamy head with a quite excellent retention. Aroma of light spices, honey with some bitter hops. Taste is lighter then expected with the honey being immediately recognizable. Bitter taste at the end is also quite enjoyable. I would have hope for a bit more malt and more character for a ‘’Christmas’’ special type beer.

Phyl21ca, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of Star80
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle has a date of Dec. 30, 2004. I'm not sure if that was when it was brewed or if it is best before that date. Seems a little early if that is the case. I wouldn't really bother cellaring this beer, but then who knows? Anyway, pours a reddish copper color with a nice beige head, which quickly dissipated. Has a pretty strong ginger and cinnamon smell and quite a spicy taste followed by honey, and a little bitter snap aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. Hmm, now the hard part. I'm not big into spiced beers though I am slowly acquiring a taste for things like coriander or even ginger in my beer. Pretty strong so I can't see drinking lots of these. I just wish it had a slightly bigger hop and malt presence to balance the honey and spices.

Star80, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of far333
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orangey copper color with an oatmeal colored head that rises up to an inch high and then falls to a fine cap. Aroma is rich and inviting, of biscuity malt, sweet fruit and some cinnamon spice. Full and creamy mouthfeel, almost chewy. Pungent, spciy flavor of sweet malt and spice, cinnamon and a bit of clove and nutmeg, and a bit of spruce riding beneath. Hop presence is understated, nearly all in the finish and aftertaste. ABV is deceptively smooth.

far333, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep honey-amber color with a tall frothy tan head. Aroma is spicy with sweet malts, cloves, faint yeast and fresh gingerbread.

Taste is frosted gingerbread cookies and malt. Nicely seasoned, not too sweet, good flavors of allspice, cinnamon and honey. A gentile, mildly bitter hoppiness arrives as it warms, towards the end of the glass. Might be a good candidate to try warmed a bit.

Mouthfeel is medium, smooth but not real heavy. No trace of alcohol in the taste despite the ABV, very soft on the palate, very drinkable. An excellent pale winter ale, one I would drink seasonally if I could. Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this bottle.

assurbanipaul, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a slightly cloudy orange with reddish hues and a quickly developing off white tall head. Scattered lace was left around the glass as this was drank. Aroma was very nice with cherries, other fruits, plenty of spice and warmth. There was a definite sweetness and also a nice resemblance to spiced cider. Taste was a bit of sweet honey of fruits. Plenty of spice here but it comes off a bit too sweet overall. Medium sticky mouthfeel that brings a bit of warmth with it. Good drinkability as well. I could have a few of these in a row. Nice winter sipper. Thanks goes to clvand0 for the bottle.

meathookjones, Mar 09, 2005
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
Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,172 ratings.