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
88
very good

809 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 809
Hads: 2,750
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 146
Gots: 544 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 809 | Hads: 2,750
Photo of lstokes
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've never liked a winter warmer before, but this was... awesome? Had on tap at the UChicago pub, red-amber body with a light tan tan head and a light ginger-cider smell. It tastes like a cider-glazed spice cake, but not sweet like that makes it sound--like a beer, finishes bitter and dry with some earthy hops, the sweet and the spice mingle perfectly rather than tasting additive. I loved it--will be seeking out in bottles this winter! (439 characters)

Photo of CircusBoy
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A nice ruby reddish tan. Nice white head with good retention.

Smell - Aroma of ginger, spices and pine

Taste - The taste of the beer really brings out the ginger and spices. Really strong flavor that brings something different than other winter beers.

Drinkability - Because of the strong flavor it went down kind of slow. But you will still want another one when you're finished.

Overall - Great Lakes has done it again! One of my favorite breweries has produced another great beer. When I was at the store I overheard the manager telling a customer that they were flying off the shelves, so I grabbed the last 6 pack they had, and I understand why. I only hope they have more for Christmas Eve!!! (715 characters)

Photo of mmciz
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I was only planning to review beers from my adopted state of Arizona and maybe other frontier-type spots like Utah and New Mexico, but when a buddy sent me 12 bottles of this old favorite I couldn't resist...

A: Dark copper (light for the style) with a quarter inch of head.

S: Apricot and cinnamon. Surprising freshness considering the style and what time of the year it is now.

T: It's hard to ignore the nostalgia and be objective but I've always found this to be a Cleveland Christmas bottled. Malty but not really sweet, the cinnamon flavor is almost hot on the tongue like Big Red gum. There's some clove in there, too.

M: Pretty thin for a WW but still plenty of body for my taste.

D: Ahhh. (702 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This slightly hazy copper colored ale pours with a beige head that fades quickly, but still leaves a faint lace on the glass. The aroma is faint and hard to pinpoint. Malt and a hint of spice is noticable, but not overpowering. The taste is malty with a touch of cinnamon and citrus, with little bitterness on the rather clean finish. A hint of alcohol sweetness lingers on the finish. The beer feels full on the tongue, with a touch of carbonation effervesence. A moderate ABV with the good, basic flavor profile makes this a very drinkable winter ale, as long as you don't need to go anwhere anytime soon. Another solid offering from Great Lakes.

This is even more enjoyable on tap! Better balance, smoother mouthfeel, and just oiverall better flavor (or perhaps it's just this year's edition.) On tap at Sapphire's in WashCo. (831 characters)

Photo of ne0m00re
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live review of "Christmas in a Bottle."
A: Poured a clear reddish amber with a nice cream head that faded to a nice collar, thin film, and a little lacing.
S: Cinnamon and clove, apple and pumpkin pie (which is probably a result of the honey based on the mead character), on top of a malty caramel. The hops (Fuggles, probably?) are a bit earthy and leafy and break through in the end. A nice "warm" welcoming beer.
T: The spices come off a little strong in clove with cinnamon in the back and linger through most of the beer, fading to a dry cinnamon with mead alcohol. Caramelized sugars dominate with leafy earthy hops and the recipe seems like it would be very similar to the Octoberfest if it wasn't for the spice (not a bad thing).
M: Slightly thicker with a frothy carbonation at first that lets go to a mildly sticky dark caramelized stickiness.
D: Pretty good. The residual sweetness is pretty intense after a couple, though. (934 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a very clear lighter amber color with a two finger soapy head

S- Huge aroma of cinnamon, ginger, citrus, and floral notes. This smells like Christmas at home

T- Big on the cinnamon, ginger, citrus and honey notes, great balance among those flavors. Sweet biscuit and cracker like malt flavors. Finishes on a nice bitter note

M- Smooth, pretty high carbonation, effervescent

O- This beer is the holiday season in a glass, a cornucopia of holiday flavors and spices. A beer I look forward to every winter. Very good out of the bottle, even better on tap. (610 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a golden color with a slight tint of amber, head is copper/ginger and 2 fingers tall. Decent retention, ok lacing.

S - Caramel and honey up front, with some cinnamon spice and brown sugar

T - Lots of cream caramel/honey with spiced cinnamon and ginger, maybe a hint of citrusy orange flavors as well. Possibly the best Christmas Ale I've had

M - Medium bodied or less, slightly sticky on the tongue, just the right amount of carbonation, quite drinkable but still has moderate warming characteristics.

O - New favorite Christmas beer! (548 characters)

Photo of damndirtyape
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle served in a tulip. I know the glass recommendation is tumbler/nonic for this beer, but I'm now more sure it's wrong. GLBC has the beer shown in snifter, and after drinking it once in a tumbler I can say that a snifter or Tulip is really the way to go with this beer.

The beer poured a 1/4" thick foam that died down to a nice thin foam across the top. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass as you drank it down - which I didn't notice so much in the tumbler. A nice copper orange color, with plenty of little bubbles moving up through the beer. The foam is a very light tan fine bubble foam, a little bit of a sparkle to it as you hold it up to the light.

Smell - I only got ginger with the tumbler but with this I get a hint of ginger and a nicely strong cinnamon. No hops or malt really in the smell.

Taste - quite nice. A sweet ginger flavor up front, followed by the cinnamon and then a slightly bitter finish followed by nice malty aftertaste. Really a great beer for sipping and savoring slowly.

Mouthfeel - because of the tulip I think its holding onto the carbonation more - so spicy on the tongue but otherwise nothing really special to me.

Drinkability - I could easily have another. I think I will. A nice holiday treat and I'm glad I was able to get a six pack while in Cleveland earlier this month because I cannot find it now in Dayton. (1,371 characters)

Photo of TimPowell
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every November, I look forward to combing the shelves of my local beer store for some of my favorite Winter Warmers. Great Lakes Brewing Company once again steps up with an exceptional beer.

Pouring the bottle I was taken by several things;

Color-A rich, deep amber, almost smokey in color.

Nose-Not as stong as I remember. You may notice slight hints of cloves or cinnamon. I would say this beer is better served at warmer temperatures. This is not the beer to be poured in to an ice cold glass.

Head-I was dissapointed pouring did not produce more of a head on the beer.

Tasting this beer really was the reward. Hints of caramel, malt, and some seasonal spice was followed by a wonderful hop finish.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale should make every beer drinkers Christmas list during the holiday season. (807 characters)

Photo of beergod1
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red hue with quickly fading white head. Aroma of ginger, some other spices. Some lacing and rings around the glass, reminds me of snow. Flavor is nice balance of cinnamon, ginger, and sweet honey. Very drinkable, and at 7.5% abv. it's very sessionable, for about 4 beers (230z. brewtus at applebee's), then it's nap time. (331 characters)

Photo of Lepley
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amberish, orange. One finger of tan head, good lacing and retention.
S: Sweet, citrus, fruity.
T: Tangy, citrus, spicy, cinnamon, orange, ginger, good hoppiness to finish off.
M: Watery, good carbonation.
D: Pretty solid brew. Definitely feels like Christmas. I recommend trying it. (285 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange and amber hybrid color with a ton of red hues and a pretty exceptional amount of clarity all around. Small white head fades quick and doesn't leave much lacing at all.

The nose.... what to say about the nose. Full of a basket of toasted malts and spices - most prominent being cinnamon, but also included are nutmeg and maybe some ginger. There's really so much going on and it's executed with a careful hand; there's really something to be admired in the aroma profile.

The taste hits with an incredibly unique and well-executed balance of sweet and spicy malt - sweetness in the form of caramel, toffee, and butter, and spicy in the form of cinnamon and nutmeg. Very nutty, and with the spices, it resembles a warm pecan pie.

Yeast is noticeable in the background, provides a nice bready and buttery aftertaste (think Christmas sugar cookie). Honey is hard to detect, but is noticeable at the tail end as the beer starts to warm up a little bit. Medium body, not too sticky on the mouth, low to medium carbonation.

This beer tastes like Christmas in a bottle. The fact that it's a holiday release makes it all the more alluring and I feel like a little kid on Christmas when I finally get my hands on some. (1,230 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love a beer that actual tastes like the description. There's no lip service with this beer! The warmer the Great Lakes Xmas gets, the more the aroma and favors become. This is not a session ale, so careful with consumption...pace yourself.

Drink it up to make the Holiday Season a true event. Enjoy! (302 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A nice crisp amber with a touch of head.

S - Honey, cinnamon, hops, and spices.

T - Wow it's like it tastes... red. Must be the honey and the mead playing together. Slight cinnamon and a mild hop profile makes it good,

M - Very medium bodied. Liked it.

D - Yes and I will enjoy the last five. Very pleasant offering from Great Lakes! (341 characters)

Photo of KeefD
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (639 characters)

Photo of GRPunk
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured a deep amber/copper with a 1-1/2 finger head and light carbonation.

S- Nice spices blended with sweet malts and light hop tones. The ginger and honey aromas were very apparent.

T- Noticeable honey and spice, even in the finish. There was sitll a lot of malt flavor with some lighter hop tones.

M- Very solid feel. Medium-light caronation with a little hop bite.

D- Great taste makes for an easy drinker even at a solid 7.5% ABV.

Overall- This is a new Christmas favorite. It's renewed my faith in winter warmers (of which I've recently had a hard time finding something with a good balance of flavors). It was a nice combination of malts and spices which are definitely noticeable, but not overdone. (752 characters)

Photo of thegodfather1076
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Initial review is on the GLBCA 2010 Edition.

Presentation- Great artwork and label in the GLB style.

Appearance - GLBCA is a copperish orange color ale with an off white one finger heard that leaves a nice lacing down the entire glass.

Smell - GLBCA has a wonderful smell. This offering is packed with Christmas spices and they def come through in the smell. Nutmeg, Honey, Cinnamon, Ginger are all apparent in the smell.

Taste - A very tasty beer that is heavily spiced with traces of nutmeg, honey, cinnamon, ginger throughout. A slightly malty flavor provides a good ale taste that balances out the heavy spices.

Mouthfeel - Definitly a full bodied offering that is smooth but slightly heavy in the mouth.

Drinkability - A true winter warmer with a fairly high alcohol content. GLBCA is very drinkable because of the flavor but if more than 3 of these are consumed you will definitly start to feel it!!!!

Being from Akron, OH I really enjoy GLBCA but has become so hard to find in this area that I have had to turn to other offerings at times. I would highly recommend as far as the actual beer goes. (1,183 characters)

Photo of trbergman
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Ruby orange with one inch of sticky off-white head. Good sheets of lace.

S - According to the label, Great Lakes uses honey, ginger, and cinnamon in this beer, and all are evident in the nose. Honey is definitely the strongest, with ginger close behind. There's also a hint of toast and some fruity/floral aromas.

T - Good malt backbone, with a bit of toasted bread. The malt is not obtrusive and allows the spicing to shine. At the same time, the spices are not overdone. No real hop flavor, and minimal hop bitterness. Very well balanced.

M - Medium body, peppery carbonation.

D - I wish all winter warmers were this good. Although the spices are the main feature here, they're still restrained enough to maintain a high quaffability. Alcohol is well hidden. All the same, I'm not sure I could drink more than one or two in a sitting. (878 characters)

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, I'd never thought I'd ever get to try this. A buddy of mine got this in a trade.
Bottom right corner reads "Please enjoy by 02/20/15."
This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy bronzed brown color with a light carbonation seen rising to fill a one finger white foamy head that dissipated fairly quickly. Light stringy lacing stuck finely to the sides of the glass.
The smell, hot damn, wow. Well, it had a nice sweet cherry to light spruce and combined with a super nice sweet honey.
The taste takes those previously mentioned flavors to combine and make lip smacking sticky tasting. I like it. A nice sweet honey aftertaste leads to a sweet wet finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionable aspect to it. The carbonation seemed fairly appropriate for the style and for me, slightly smooth and honey sticky.
Overall, hot damn, wow and holy crap! This is probably one of my favorite winter warmers I've ever had. I wish I could get this on a regular basis. (1,023 characters)

Photo of tillmac62
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear medium amber. Nice head and lacing that diminishes in about 2 minutes. Nose is mostly malt sweetness against a hint of soft spice. Medium bodied with a nice slick feel and well carbonated. The taste is slightly sweet with only a suggestion of spice, creating a nice balance of flavor that is subdued when compared to ST 2Xmas, which accentuates spice flavor. A nice crisp finish that brings the carbonation and spices (ginger and cinnamon) a bit more forward. If you want sweet with a hint of spice, then this beer is for you. If you prefer spice flavor, go with Southern Tier 2Xmas. Both are expertly crafted brews that achieve their respective flavor profiles. (676 characters)

Photo of innersanctum
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
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 (838 characters)

Photo of OSUbrewman
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A deep golden amber with little or know head, however, there was some lacing which was a pleasant surprise

Smell: Full of Christmas cheer, this brew overwhelms you with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger

Taste: Smooth and warm, honey and cinnamon dominate the taste. Little to no omnipresent alcohol "burn", which was nice for a change for a beer of this ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and Warm

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable, which can be hazardous with a beer of this strength.

Overall: An outstanding brew from my favorite brewery. I look forward to this beer every year and it never disappoints! This year, replace your bourbon egg nog with a truly fantastic brew, Great Lakes Christmas Ale! (721 characters)

Photo of jeffmonarch
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Light copper color with little head. What head there is dissappears quickly.

S - Sweet and spicy.

T - Sweet with a spicy zing. Good carbonation. This beer has a mix of many spices that keep your tastebuds spinning.

M - Great! This beer fills your mouth and continuously attacks your mouth with flavor.

D - Good. I can sit back and enjoy a couple of these very easily. (408 characters)

Photo of jpro
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sixer from Salud Beer Shop. 12oz poured into a snifter...

A: Rosy copper; one-finger, off-white head; no lace; no retention; unique color.

S: Toasted malt; gingerbread; light cinnamon notes; not overly spiced, though; brown sugar.

T: Cake; honey roasted malt nuttiness; brown sugar; light nutmeg and allspice; cinnamon; again, not overly done with the spice; not much alcohol.

M: Medium feel; moderate carbonation with a little zing; not heavy at all.

O: A great Christmas beer - one of the best; quite drinkable, too.

*from notes 01.08.14 (545 characters)

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle with typical GLBC-looking label. Scores personal points for the railroad car with the Christmas tree decorations in it. The label also states that "For freshest taste, please enjoy by 5Feb03."

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy amber color. Billowing off-white head coats the glass. Lots of chunky yeasties are suspended in the beer.

Smell: Spicy...with cinnamon and ginger (as per the bottle) most noticeable. A bit of the honey used in the preparation is also evident.

Taste: Beers like this are the reason all of us need to try the GLBC beers before we die. A very flavorful, well-balanced beer. Despite the fact that there's a lot going on in the flavor, none of it is out-of-sync with the other flavors. There's the spicy input from the cinnamon and ginger, the sweetness of the honey on the tail-end, a malty sweetness that dances a duet with the slightest bittering from the hops. I can't believe this is 7.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and a creamy finish make for a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Man, this is one fine beer. I would love to try this on-tap. No alcohol taste, the delicate balance of spices, honey, malt, and hops, and the just barely present aftertaste make for a wonderful seasonal beer. I think this is my favorite seasonal. Get some if you can.

Kudos to fellow BA PhantomVoDoo for trading some of this to me. (1,389 characters)

Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 809 ratings.